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Stones, Shards, and Fractures Oh My!

Greetings everyone, it’s Mitch again and it’s time to talk about crafting! Crafting systems are always very important in ARPGs and can be very hard to get right, so when we started the design for Last Epoch’s crafting system we came up with a few main goals.

  1. Lower tier items having the potential to remain valuable late-game.
  2. Items should be directly upgradeable, and near perfect items should be able to be perfected.
  3. It should be easy to craft a desirable item, but very difficult to craft a perfect one.

The system we came up with to fulfill these goals is the shattering system. Using a shattering stone, you are able to destroy an item and have a chance to get shards representing the affixes on the item. This helps lower tier items hold some value later on because low tier items, just like higher tiers, can be broken apart into shards. We wanted to avoid the situation where only nearly perfect items are ever worth picking up. Ideally, with the shard system, even single affix items are worth a glance.

Shards can be added to other items to add new affixes or improve the ones already on the item. If you find an item with 3 tier 5 affixes and one tier 4 affix, though it would be risky, you can upgrade that tier 4 affix and perfect that near perfect item. The idea here is to allow players to upgrade their gear as they play, as well as preventing the problem of the “almost good” item.

When shards are added to an item, the item has a chance to fracture and cause damage to the item, if the item doesn’t fracture then the item’s fracture chance increases. As the chance to fracture increases so does the potential damage the fracture does. This makes crafting high-end items very risky, but still allows more basic items to be crafted with much less risk so that players can craft their own gear as they progress, but there is still an incentive for players to strive for very powerful magic items because they are so difficult to create.

One major component of what the crafting system will be like that is not currently implemented is support- items. Support items won’t be used to modify items directly like shattering stones of shards, rather they will be used alongside those items and affect the outcomes of using them. For example, the Fragile Shield will reduce the tier of a fracture if one occurs, so if an item might have received a Damaging Fracture, instead it would only be a minor one. Items like these will help add some additional depth to the crafting system, some making it safer, others increasing the reward but raising the risk along with it.

Another major change we’re going to be making to the crafting system soon is restricting what types of items certain shards can be added to. When an item is generated, the base type of the item determines what kinds of affixes can be on it, for example, shields can generate with block chance but boots will not. Right now affix shards are not restricted in this way, which allows for the creation of gear sets far beyond the power level intended for the system. Restricting shards in this way will help improve the identity of each gear slot and bring the power of crafting back in line with what it is intended to be.

That’s all folks! Let us know if you have any feedback on the system, particularly if you’ve experimented with it in the demo!

Thanks for share!

I like the system and the 3 main goals. They are in the direction of “easy to play, hard to master” philosophy. This philosophy is good for the casual but also rewards the most dedicated and hardcore people.

thanks for the 411 :slight_smile: much appreciated. that title definitely hooked me in lol as I look forward to seeing more of the crafting system as it develops. One of the things that was/ is disappointing with D3 is the crafting system. While their is potential to craft something useful and powerful it’s normally not meaningful or unique. Plus other systems have been implemented later on in the game’s life that have put the blacksmith out of work :slight_smile: (crafting via the cube and gambling via kadala).

Sounds good but i’m kinda scared of the fracture mechanics. This kind of things scream like korean MMO and loosing an item due to bad RNG seems harsh to me.

I’m sure Mitch could explain it better but I’ll take a stab at that. There are many different types of support items that you can invest in your crafting to do things like remove the possibility of a fracture all together but bind the item to you or add a chance to double the affix upgrade. The whole crafting system is based on a risk/reward system. You know exactly what almost all the crafting items will do to the item. Without some sort of risk or RNG, the process is a little predictable and the value of things becomes a calculated algorithm.

You’ve got to risk it for the biscuit.

To add to Mike’s response, I’d say that in my eyes the system is closer to Path of Exile’s crafting system than it is to anything else.

In Path of Exile, often the most powerful and valuable versions of an item possible are those which have had a Vaal Orb used on them. Body armours can be given a corrupted implicit raising the level of every gem socketed into it. Bows and quivers can be corrupted to give arrow-firing attacks an additional projectile. Skill gems can become level 21 (usual cap is 20) or 23% quality (usual cap is 20%).

Yet using a Vaal Orb can completely brick an item. Unique items with very powerful special properties become ordinary rare items, fully-linked six socket items get converted into a four socket item with only three of them linked, and there are some corrupt implicits that have massive anti-synergy with the item they’re applied to. When you use a Vaal Orb the item becomes corrupted - you don’t get a second chance.

If your ambitions aren’t unduly high then crafting - particularly with the use of support items which Mike has mentioned - can be relatively safe and a good way of taking an item and making it even better. But the risk of mechanics with deterministic outcomes is that they can be fundamentally broken - we don’t want crafting to completely invalidate other ways of getting loot, particularly when ARPGs are, fundamentally, an item hunt.

We want crafting to be capable of creating some incredibly powerful and valuable items, but if the system doesn’t have any risks associated with it then we’d have to gut the possible rewards which stem from using it. If you’re interested in discussion around the risk of items becoming fractured, then you may also be interested in reading this thread where a community member posted about similar concerns.

Having played the demo extensively, I have to say the only thing I don’t particularly like about the system is the need to find shattering stones. After about 20-30 hours of gameplay I had 2-3 stash tabs full of items I wanted to shatter for their attributes, and not enough stones to do so.

Perhaps if there was some later-game vendor you have to save/rescue/find, who is able to create shattering stones for you. They could cost gold and maybe a random piece of jewelry or 2. This would ensure both that a) you cannot completely abuse the shattering aspect and b) later game players can shatter more easily than early game players (aka you actually feel like your character is more powerful because you can attempt to create more, and hopefully better, hand-crafted gear).

All I would like to see is a substantial increase in drop rates for the stones, everything else is pretty good.

I just hope that the materials are kept to a reasonable amount. D3 has increased their materials, Gems, DB’s, White, Blue, Yellow, Bounty only Materials. I won’t get into all of the versions along the way, but the one item that comes up in most crafting, augmenting, or rolling adjustments are Death Breaths and a bunch of them. I hope along the way this is much more scaled and realistic. I can’t wait to see it all.


I would have to agree with several here that a drop rate increase in shattering stones is needed. I would also like to see some very rare and extremely rare shattering stone drops with attributes like “One time use per item, will not fracture.”. That way when you have finally reached your risk threshold on an item, there is still an upgrade out there if you keep playing. Kind of the Zod rune principal in my mind.