Hello Travelers, I hope you’ve been enjoying your adventures through time in Eterra and the recent additions to end-game. As we progress through our early access phase of Last Epoch, which will lead to the 1.0 kickoff patch, we are preparing the company to support the live service model and bring you awesome content for years to come. I’d like to give you some insight into what’s going on behind the scenes and answer some common questions we’ve been seeing as we progress up to 1.0.
Eleventh Hour Games Growth
The Last Epoch team at Eleventh Hour Games is growing and evolving quickly. Significantly more quickly than we thought possible. Not even 4 years ago, only a small number of us were developing Last Epoch as an after hours passion-project with zero funds and zero full time team members. We are now a dedicated team of over 50 ARPG enthusiasts that covers the full spectrum of a great development team. Our team is spread remotely across the world, rallying to make this underdog studio a name for itself through the development of Last Epoch. Going from an after-hours project to a team of this size has been a major exercise in “changing the tires while barreling down the highway” but has been an extremely enjoyable challenge. Our amazing community has enabled this growth by supporting Last Epoch during early access through purchasing supporter packs, spreading the word, and consistently interacting with us and providing feedback. We cannot thank you enough!
Early Days VS. Now
If you are a die-hard ARPG fan and would like to join the team at Eleventh Hour, we recently launched a Careers Page on the Last Epoch website. We’re looking for a few more talented individuals to help us in our march up to the large upcoming multiplayer and 1.0 releases!
Gearing up to be a live service game
We are creating Last Epoch to be a game that is continuously updated with large swathes of content for many years to come. We’ll be adding Cycles (seasons), economy and leaderboard resets, races, and other regularly scheduled events in addition to large content additions. To execute this properly we have put a large focus on our CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment ) pipeline which will be key to ensuring that releases are stable and we can better prevent risks that come with scaling concurrent users.
You may have noticed the speed at which we distributed hotfixes in the 0.8.2 patch cycle. This was somewhat of a test to see how quickly, reliably, and safely we could integrate and deploy updates to the game without our tooling or processes breaking down. The good news is that we can now distribute updates quickly which will help us stay agile and responsive for years to come. It is also a major boon to our multiplayer development since it allows us to deploy server and client builds much faster which will significantly decrease iteration and testing times.
We know you all want more information about multiplayer system specifics and a release date to put on the calendar. While I can’t give you a specific date, I can give you the information I do have. Going forward we will be more transparent and communicative on the specifics and keep you up to date on all the great progress that is being made.
Currently, as of this post on 7/20/2021, we have team members playing multiplayer daily and a full multiplayer team test every Friday. Gameplay is feeling smooth and mostly lag-free with up to 4 players in a party. Core party systems have been developed, most systems are networked appropriately and are server authoritative. Servers are spinning up, allocating, deallocating, and spinning down appropriately. Getting to this point has the team very excited and hungry to rapidly improve it and get it into your hands.
While we’re very happy with the progress, there are still plenty of bugs to squash, more multiplayer-specific features to implement, balance changes, and then scale testing to perform. We have no visible roadblocks and are making steady progress. We are also now working with some senior talent that have worked on systems like Battle.net for Blizzard Entertainment and games like League of Legends.
I cannot overstate how important it is to EHG that multiplayer is executed correctly. A bad initial multiplayer experience can harm the game for all players and jeopardize the success and reputation of the studio long term, much more than holding it until it’s ready. We want multiplayer to be enjoyable when we first release it without confusion or game-breaking bugs, even in early access. Several games with many more resources have failed to stick the landing on multiplayer, so we’re making sure to learn everything we can from those mistakes and not to repeat them. While we still may make some mistakes, we’ll be able to react and iterate on them quickly.
Learn more about multiplayerTo provide more insight into how multiplayer is developing, today we are pushing out our first **monthly multiplayer development update** to keep you informed on how we’re progressing and a new **Multiplayer FAQ** to answer common questions regarding multiplayer systems and their development.
Multiplayer Info Quicklinks:
We are very confident, excited, and busy as heck in our quest to bring multiplayer to the game. Because getting it right is more important than getting it now, the release date for multiplayer is “ready when it’s ready”. With the transparency we’ll now be providing, “when it’s ready” won’t be a completely nebulous timeframe.
Performance & Optimization
Improving the performance of our game client has been, and will continue to be one of our top priorities as we approach 1.0. If you have played Last Epoch in the last year you will have noticed significant improvements to client-side performance. Our recent efforts in this area have focused on optimizing lighting in levels, tuning ability visual effects, and pooling object instances. We have much more planned for the future, especially as we revisit some of our older content to bring it up to par.
As we move towards our multiplayer release, the optimization work will grow to encompass server-side performance to ensure everyone has the best online experience we can provide.
Graph of performance gain thus far
Roadmap Format Update
One of the major benefits of developing Last Epoch through an early access program is that we are constantly receiving feedback from the players that love this genre the most. This results in a lot of great feedback, ideas, and much more time spent iterating during development - which is hard to account for upfront - but well worth the time investment. This also makes a traditional roadmap quite challenging to adhere to and can leave people confused, disappointed, or pleasantly surprised since it’s a set of continually evolving targets. None of those are feelings a forecast/roadmap should aim to evoke. We think we can improve the format of the forecast to better serve you while maintaining our ability to be flexible, agile, and responsive.
In order to address these issues we’ll be changing the forecast so it’s focused on what’s coming next in more detail while leaving future content priorities flexible. This is much more reflective of how our fast paced development and design process works internally which will make it a better communication tool between us and you. The plan for upcoming features is largely the same, though some may evolve, be replaced, added, or come after 1.0. Most features we want to implement after the initial 1.0 patch are not shown in this graphic.
With that said, for the first time I’d like to share with you much earlier than normal what we are developing for the next patch in the new format.
We’ll be sharing more information and teasers on the upcoming patch through our social media channels so make sure to follow along:
Again, I want to sincerely thank you all for the amazing opportunities you’ve provided to the team and me. We’re working hard to make Last Epoch a game that you want to come back to for years to come.