Just for background on me, I am a Softcore PoE player that started in HC in 3.0 then moved to SC in 3.4 to push endgame with thousands of hours in the game now and consistently make it to T16 maps early in day 2. I have played looters for pretty much my entire life and I enjoy games with a grind component, whether it be looter shooters like borderlands and Destiny 1/2 or ARPGs. I usually have about 15-20 tabs open with various informative YouTube videos, guides, or Twitch stream so even when I am not playing I am still listening to people talk about the games often. I bought this game on May 29 and put about 45 hours into it, and was in the top 25 of HC solo ladder with a Bleed Dagger Dance BladeDancer for a few days although I know its easy on patch reset to enter the ladder. Then I heard about the VisionGL tournament that started on the 4th, played about 45 hours in that and finished in 5th. All that to say this feedback will be from the perspective of someone who hard grinds and understands ARPGs extremely well and has no problem going outside the game to learn. Also I want it to be known that as a PoE player, I would love for this game to become great like PoE as I hope to grind both of them for years to come.
Mob density- PoE often gets bashed for the raw amount of monsters and screen effects in maps. While Last Epoch doesn’t spam your screen with monsters ALL the time, empowered monos still have a ton of monster skill effects. What my main concern is though is while there are far fewer monsters than PoE, some of the monsters in this game are GIGANTIC and regularly block my character HP bar and the area around me. As the tournament was Sentinel Rive, I was playing a melee character, and even just having moving closer to 2 or 3 scorpions rare mobs would often mean I had no Idea what was happening even when they weren’t attacking. Having less mob density doesn’t matter when fewer mobs still cause the same amount of screen clutter around my character.
Mob hitboxes and body block- The monster hit boxes in this game are ATROCIOUS. Scorpions, Frost Wyrms, and Centipedes are absolutely awful to fight to due to me having no idea where the hitboxes start and end on their deceiving models, especially when they do attacks that cause their bodies to reel back and forth like the Scorpion Tail Smash attack where it winds back and then lunges forward with its tail to slam the ground. This means that unless you have a way to move through enemies or have a movement skill up you basically just have to hope you are tanky enough to survive while you hold left click and pray their bodies line up perfectly that you can slip through them. Or, you stack enough damage to instakill the enemies so they cant block you anymore, thus making stacking damage often more beneficial than making a tanky character, because not letting enemies surround you through pure DPS means DPS is also the best defensive option just like PoE often gets called out for.
Mob packs mechanics- This is actually something that PoE sometimes still does, and usually it gets removed fairly quickly when it slips through on new enemies because it is so seen as a BS mechanic by the playerbase. What I mean is when a pack of 10 mobs, often ranged, all attack at the exact same time when your player enters the attack range. This means that most of the time you either get hit by all of them at the same time or get hit by none of them, essentially making the monsters one shot you with non-telegraphed autos or not being threatening at all. This inherently punishes melee as ranged characters have more time to either evade the attacks or to just straight up kill the mobs before they get a chance to all use their attacks. PoE has since changed monster AI to stagger attacks from mobs in packs so they attack in staggered patterns, make the damage take longer to apply so you can react to the damage instead of being “one-shot” by a large pack of monsters. I think most people would agree non-telegraphed “one-shots” are a constant detriment to players enjoyment in ARPGs because they is no skill involved in dodging or mitigating the damage.
Melee vs Ranged- A tale as old as time in ARPGs, but playing a melee character in this game feels SO BAD compared to ranged so far. I have played 2 Bleed Dagger Dance BladeDancer, one to 69 in SC and the other to 81 in HC, and my tournament Sentinel Rive character and I honestly didn’t even notice all the mobs attacking at the same time on my Bladedancers because they were easy to dodge due to my range. Also, stunning high damage mobs feels more dangerous than not stunning them because immediately after being stunned the go back to the start of their attack, often times meaning you don’t get the built in downtime after the monsters finish their attack that is prevalent with high damage telegraphed attacks. Seriously, go fight the soul lizard enemy thing that spews what I’m assuming is necrotic gas in a small AoE in front of him. Stunning them has almost gotten me killed so many times because they will get stunned and then immediately lock on to you again and do the attack at you instead of being locked in place during their long animation. This is exacerbated by the MASSIVE hitboxes enemies have, so often if you are fighting them they will instantly retarget you and if you are melee and have more than a few enemies around you, you often aren’t able to move away from them.
Crafting- While the crafting in this game is less RNG than PoE, the fact that after about 40 hours of a character the only thing worthwhile to pick up is exalted bases. Since crafting is so “easy”, its not hard to make a t17-t20 item and then from that point the ONLY items that matter are exalted items. This makes the grind for items feel bad because you have to get lucky by getting a mod you need on the right base, which means you can pretty much hide all non-exalted drops, or even exalted drops on bases your build cant use well. Except for the ones that you want to shatter for affixes… that you will only use on the exalted drops.
Also while I once again only have about 90-95 hours in this game, having a nice base drop as rare is often worse than if it dropped as magic due to crafting being easy. If an item drops as rare with 2 t5 affixes that you need, but then has 2 other affixes that don’t work for your build, the items has extra instability from mods you don’t need. You then have to use the rune that removes an affix, and adds more instability, and hope you don’t remove the mods you need. Where as if an item drops on a good base with just 1 T3 mod that you need and nothing else it’s pretty easy to just spam craft on them until eventually you get lucky and the item doesn’t fracture after crafting 10-15 times on it. This is made even worse by the fact it seems like runes drop infrequently, where as amassing affix shards is incredibly easy so the opportunity cost seems heavily favored towards towards crafting from low rarity up, devaluing rare drops in general. Even just removing all affixes from an item has a chance to make a white item START at 15 instability, which may be my inexperience showing, but serves no purpose as it doesn’t seem like high level bases are rare or anything. I just do not see a purpose to the rune at all when you could just make the filter show those bases when they drop as white and have 0 instability.
STILL crafting- I actually brought this up as a question in the last Dev Stream, but having so many resistances to balance seem… excessive. Because there is so many, even when you get a great item, you often can’t wear it for hours because you then need to change your entire characters gear to be able to wear it and still keep max res on all 7 of them. This is especially bad for when Multiplayer come out, people will trade the item they found away for currency they could use now to by and upgrade instead of waiting the hours until they have other pieces of gear to be able to use the one piece of gear they found earlier. PoE had this exact same problem for years and still does to an extent, but harvest even in its now nerfed state has fixed the issue of balancing resists semi-quickly due to being able to switch resistances on an item.
Mono UI- I am enjoying the new monos, although they are essentially a mix of Synthesis and Delve league from PoE, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing as long as its done well. However, people that push hard in SC tend to not care about anything except the rewards from the particular echoes, and while I have heard that there is maybe a search function for echo rewards coming in a later patch, I think it would be a good idea to make the reward icon on echoes like 3 time size they are now so it is easier to see what the rewards are on the echo. I basically have to hover over every single echo to see what their rewards are because the reward icon is tiny.
Maybe it’s just me, but I could LITERALLY not care any less what type of tile layout an echo is. I’m not running it for any other reason other than the rewards it gives me like items and stability, thus these need to be easily seen and recognized so I dont have to hover over the 50 unrun echos in the mono I’m doing just to be sure I didn’t miss some reward type I’m searching for. This means that instead of taking time to buy some sextants or scarabs like in PoE, I am wasting my time reading all the unrun echoes for the 50th time because I’m paranoid about missing good rewards.
Auto stash tab sorting- please add “stash tab affinities” like PoE has. It is slightly less needed than in PoE because PoE seems to need more stash tab scrolling than this game, but it is maybe one of the most asked for inventory management QoL’s in any ARPG I have ever seen. They even have the icons you can label your stash tabs with, just add the auto dump feature so you can dump all your idols or helmets you wanna keep and get back to mapping instead of scrolling through the numerous stash tabs.
Environmental hitboxes- This one I have noticed while pushing arenas in particular. Often there are pillars/rocks/walls that have a hitbox for the character movement, but enemies can shoot right through them with arrows or whatever ranged attacks they are using. This feels awful as you essentially have to memorize what environmental objects you can hide behind and what others are essentially environmental “flavor” additions. I would rather not have the objects on the map at all so it is easier to see incoming attack from enemies behind them or from ground targeted skill indicators that are 4/5 of the way in an object and so thus are essentially invisible if you are standing on the 1/5 of the ability indicator that IS actually seeable. This is essentially just added screen clutter that doesn’t really need to be there. Either give them proper hit boxes or have an option to turn them off in setting so players that don’t want to see them can turn them off to help clear up some of the screen.
That’s all for now, I actually have even more feedback to give, but I’m waiting a little longer to give it because this post is already huge and I want more time to think how I wanna phrase my points and play the game more to see if those issues might just be caused by my inexperience in the game. And I want to be clear that even with all these issues I listed, I still think the game is a steal for the price, especially since it comes with the same amount of “cosmetic coins” or whatever they are called. And since as an ARPG fan I woulda picked this game up eventually I essentially got the game for free since I’m sure I would buy at least 35$ worth of cosmetics over this games lifetime. I also understand this game is early access and thus is unfinished and some of these should be lower priority than others, but the need to discuss them is still there. Happy grinding!