Hello Travelers of Eterra! My name is Mitchell and I’m the lead on unique item design. I’ve also designed the crafting system and generally worked on a bit of everything in our code. One of my favorite parts of RPGs (ARPGs in particular) is figuring out how unique items can interact with other systems, so creating unique items that have interesting interactions with the systems of Last Epoch is something I’ve really focused on.
The goal of unique items is to give players more interesting choices when gearing their characters. With magic items, it is most optimal to focus on the most important stats for your character. Uniques either give an abundance of these stats, making them something to hunt for or give an interesting tradeoff by forcing the choice between mechanical power and raw stats.
There are two main categories of unique items in our design philosophy, power uniques, and mechanic-changing uniques. Power uniques are the simplest to explain, and often the simplest to design. Power uniques are about providing more power, mind-blowing right? This can range from an early leveling unique like Taste of Blood to the powerful “chase” uniques that have not yet been released. The purpose of these uniques is simple; they can be swapped in for a similar magic item, probably be an upgrade, and add a bit of flavor.
The mechanic-changing uniques are where the real fun is at, both for gameplay and design. Mechanic-changing uniques are all about changing the way the game is played. Some affect moment-to-moment gameplay like Beast King and Humming Bee, while others change how you build your characters like Urzil’s Pride and Mourningfrost. The purpose of these uniques is to change how you think about the game, in the ideal case giving a lot of power if you build your character correctly to utilize it, along with a significant tradeoff.
Mourningfrost is a good example of this idea. It increases the amount of movement speed gained from each point of agility from 3% to 5% and adds 5 points of cold damage to attacks and spells. These significant bonuses come with the two downsides; agility no longer grants any additional attack or cast speed, and you have 10% less maximum life. Mourningfrost is best utilized by builds that stack a large amount of agility, but completely change how a high-agility character plays.
What unique items in the demo have you found most interesting?