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What do you think about Seasons? ...are they really necessary?

What are Seasons actually good for?
→ I mean, sure, I know the romantic thought to start every few months with as many players as possible at the same time more or less new.
→ That seems fair, the competition blossoms!

Is that really the case?

If some play 10+ hours a day for weeks, while others only play a fraction of that every day, it’s rather irrelevant for the majority of players who killed this or that boss first [see Path of Exile].
→ In addition, there are often “ladders” for certain comparisons, there you can also compete at any time.

Then there are gladly a few months any “new fancy” season exclusive game mechanics". Chic!
→ If these are good enough, they will be transferred to the “season free main game” here and there after the end of the respective season.

Couldn’t this be implemented without a season and after 3 months [example period] be voted ingame in such a window [simple majority counts] if these changes have to stay in the game or not?

And then there are often Season exclusive items.
→ Exactly, they only work for sure in the season, they just can’t be used in the “main game”. [At most afterwards. :grin:]

I often feel like a trained dog!

What do you think?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Totally against seasons, leagues, etc… Standard player for ever

2 Likes

To understand the appeal of the season system we can look at it from different point of views.

For the dev team, it makes them (crunch yeah a bit) try stuff they wouldn’t try otherwise, “force” them to update the game every X months, most importantly it gives them ressources. It keeps the game alive, and give them revenues. They can continue to support their beloved game, improve it while still being getting paid at the end of the month. Isn’t that perfect ? It also make their game relevant again, dynamising their playerbase.

From the consumer point of view, it depends i guess. I do like the seasonal system : it keeps the game fresh, makes me come back at it. The new content is crazy, especially when you take for example PoE.
Even in diablo where almost nothing was new but a few changes i kept coming back for 2 years. It’s also a fun experience for everybody to start from scratch together.

if you don’t like season, just play standard and profit from the newest things when they’re available to you ! I don’t see any negative on your side.

7 Likes

Seasons are a chance to have a fresh start, as if you had never played before.

You can use that to start and see what you can accomplish. Then, the season after, you see if you can do better.

Or you can decide that each season, you will play a different class and only this class. Or even one only hero.

Or you are a competitive person and you will push in order to be in the leaderbord.

Of course, all this can be accomplished without seasons. But they are a way to incentive us. Like people who do sports in fitness clubs, but never have the motivation to train alone.

And, most important: nobody is forced to play seasons when the “standard game” is still active.

3 Likes

There are several good reason for cycle based content IMO.

  1. It gives the devs way more freedom to experiment with new stuff, that does not necessarily needs to become a permanent part of the game.
    Taking something away from players is always bad, especially when they like it. If you play under the premise, that this cycle is only temporary anyway, it feels less like “taking something away”, if it doesn’t make it into the main game.

  2. If you would not have any cycle based content and only “standard”, most of the “new stuff/additions” needs to be endgame focused and there is very few opportunities to implement cool new stuff during the campaign/leveling aspect. Since the majority of players, except new players already have established characters.

  3. Both point 1. and 2. play into not bloating the game unnecessarily (especially the endgame), just for the sake of adding stuff. It is totally fine to have something unique for a temporary time, that will not have a lasting impact on the core game.
    I even imagine maybe EHG will do something very different from PoE in terms of cycle based content, maybe some cycle mechanics will go away and return at a later point again.
    But not alot of those will stay permanently.
    They also could spice things up and do something like:
    Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C, Cycle A+B, Cycle B+C and mix and match them over time, when they accumulated enough cool cycle mechanics that people enjoyed and liked, but not keeping them all in the core game at once.
    Because that’s one of PoE’s weakest points IMO: A lot of unnecessary redundant/samey mechanics that don’t contribute a lot to the core game.

  4. And lastly, if done well, EHG can implement a set of cycle based achievements, which serve as milestones for players and also lead to having a good amount of longjevity for a lot of players.
    Both Diablo 3 and PoE’s Season/League Achievement Systems are insanely clever and rewarding.
    They keep you going.
    Alot of player have a hard time coming up with self-imposed goals to keep them playing.

10 Likes

Seasons have multiple benefits that outweigh the cons from your post. The primary benefits from my perspective are:
-New Content Balance
-Economy Reset
-Finite short term goals and long term player retention

New Content Balance
I believe this is something the devs are actively wrestling with given the lifespan of the beta - see the newly released Chapter 9. When designing a new boss or mechanic how do you make it challenging for new players and players with thousands of hours played? A complete wipe allows the devs to approach balance from a fresh character standpoint and work from there.

Economy Reset
The barrier of entry for trade on Standard and Scourage League in PoE is astronomical due to inflation. A tabula on Standard is around 23 chaos currently and 8 chaos in Scourage. A fresh economy keeps prices relatively accessible to all players.

Player Goals and Retention
Burn out is very real. Players are only willing to chase the carrot on a stick for so long but they need to reach it eventually. The carrot varies from player to player and seasons create a new one every few months to entice players who have previously acquired one to return to the game.

3 Likes

The main reason is to prevent bloat of the “main” game.
It also gives devs a chance to do something “crazy” and unbalanced as a lark.
Economy is irrelevant since there likely won’t be one in LE (no open trade).

Just because there won’t be unrestricted trade doesn’t mean an economy won’t evolve. But you know this 'cause we’ve had the discussion before.

1 Like

Player point of view:
After 2, 3 or more characters on standard and HC, I find it quite fun to have a time-limited challenge, see how far I can go in two-three months, sometimes on HC for added challenge. I wouldn’t start a new game directly on a league/season, but after a while they add to the longevity of the game.

Devs point of view:
As mentioned above, it is a good way to try new and sometimes very innovative mechanics without harming the base game, and without getting (too much) backlash if they don’t turn out that great. A kind of active play-testing.

I’ll summarize and keep it short [but can go on, go ahead, guys]:

Last Epoch is all about TIME TRAVEL.

What would be closer to simply introduce additional time lines and then just try out all sorts of special things there and then market/present that accordingly?
→ There could also be special content like special events, items or even unlockable, additional characters and the like, there are no limits to the imagination.

That’s what I meant by training dogs or something like a big (dog) bell… on stroke it starts.
→ We are adults and don’t need a trigger to get going to have fun, do we?

It depends.

If my friend list is fragmented because some play here and others play there, that’s a negative for everyone involved.

If there are season-specific items that you can only get from other players for an overpriced price if the season content is not transferred to the main game, that is unfortunately rather unpleasant for me.

I hope that the Economy in Last Epoch will be good in the end. It’s at least doable. I am confident.

I am not entirely sure how you want to implement that.

Where do you add these additional timelines?

If you just add them to the endgame (possibly MoF), this will not age very well and become a mess over time.
This will bloat the game eventually.

If you add it to the main story, the main story will eventually become a bloody mess either.

It really sounds like you want to add extra stuff, which will most likely be after the main campaign.
This will be:

  • Either content that prolongs the content/progression of each character unnecessarily
  • Or at some point give you 100 different things you can do, once you finished the story, which will be very daunting

As much as adding new stuff sounds exciting, it will not work out in the long term.
At some point you will need to cut it down again.

I don’t understand the argument?
Obviously, apart from food, water, oxygen, etc…, we don’t NEED anything. Certainly not a game. Still I enjoy playing, and more options help me have fun longer, even though I don’t NEED it?

Of course, I could decide on my own to drag out ALL the items from my stash, write down how much gold I have and use only what I find above this number, and set myself a date to stop my new character…
But somehow I find it more appealling if it is all automated. I must not be adult.

It depends.

Why should EHG suddenly not have the possibility to decide whether this timeline can stay or has to go? [like after planned seasons just].

To that I have’ suggested in the opening post a voting for all active players of the respective timeline, then EHG would not have to decide that always alone.

Or you let players start the new characters which timelines they want to play.

The original, without additional content… or which with a change, or more… no matter, just make them selectable.

Additional:
You could do almost anything.

For example, try to imagine a timeline in which you HAVE to start with a new character. IN this timeline there are special events, or items or whatnot. At the end this leads back to “End of Time”.

Or how about a timeline that you can choose or change in the course of the questing but a new master class.

Or for the introduction of totally new classes that no one has ever thought of before… just start with Mage for example and unlock the new class.

Or one timeline selfound with new char. etc.

wow :slight_smile:

Look at this:
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

EDIT:
As for EHG’s income, that consists of selling the game and MTX at some point, right?

Just sprinkle that stuff in with every major update, much like would happen in Seasons.

Sometimes I want to play seasons and sometimes I just want to fiddle with all of the loot I collected over time and try some wacky stuff that would be unfeasible without lots of specific and strong loot.

What I like about seasons in ARPGs is that new mechanics (be they primary or secondary) can make the game fresh. It also gives me an excuse to try out a completely new build or two. If you like the season then you are good for a few months. If not, take a break and you typically know when to come back. Because the cycles increase revenue, there are often expansions to classes, skills, and general content.

What I ABSOLUTELY H A T E about seasons is when developers do yo-yo balancing. This makes over 90% of non-seasonal builds/classes underpowered or unviable. The biggest reason I left POE was because of this garbage balancing that assumes players are too STUPID to not get bored by playing the exact same build each season. If I want to play a particular build, don’t gut it because you want to force people into your newly reworked playstyle. League of Legends was handled similarly, though it was to force change in their professional scene so that they could keep their E-Sports aspect entertaining (at the cost of all their other players). Conversely, D2 did just fine and did not feel the need to wreck the majority of their character classes each season. Sure, when things like skill synergies came out that changed the balance - but it wasn’t targeted towards funneling people into a predetermined path. There were many builds that synergies actually enabled because of the new system, so I found that to be a great win.

As to seasonal necessity, it can be done without seasons. Games like Titan Quest, Grim Dawn, and Torchlight 1 & 2 proved that. Marvel Heroes had no seasons and did amazing before the company lost its talent/direction and imploded. So it is definitely possible. However, that does not mean there are no strong arguments in favor of seasons. They do encourage people to come back and play a game they left for awhile. Seasonal changes, to me, are like mutators in FPS games. Same game, but different enough to make me rethink how I am playing and what my intermediate goals should be.

Regardless of what we think and discuss there though, the biggest reason that seasons WILL be here is because money. It all comes back to money. Seasons are a good way to get new publicity and grow the playerbase. More people = more money. Also, there is the ever-present push for battle passes, selling limited time cosmetics, new lootboxes, and other monetization schemes that abuse psychology to manipulate people into making impulse buys that they will ultimately regret and try to justify to themselves and others as a coping mechanism down the road. It starts with the fear of missing out, then after the money changes hands and cognitive dissonance sets in, the streamers and advertisements are pushed to normalize reckless and unsustainable spending patterns that CEOs and Investors love so much.

So yeah, seasons are a thing and will be a thing. They can be done in a good way that promotes fun, fresh gameplay and creative experimentation. They can also be plagued by corporate monetization fueling all the decision-making, leading to a greed-fueled train-wreck. GGG started off much like Eleventh Hour Games with people who loved making games and wanted to create the ultimate ARPG (I know because I was in POE’s closed beta all those many years ago). POE isn’t the only example though. Look at CD Projekt Red, Blizzard Entertainment, Gazillion Entertainment, Overkill Software, Tripwire Interactive, and countless other gaming companies that sold out their players in some for or another for that sweet cash. But, only time will tell. There are a few devs like Supergiant Games and Crate Entertainment in the world. What I do know, is that money and power change people - though seldom is it for the better.

edit: grammar

1 Like

And if we [EHG of course ^^] instead of Seasons simply call Timelines and market it?
→ If you differentiate that properly you could also bring [beside new Timelines every 3 Months] whole add-ons including new classes or/with timeline packs or something like that.

I just like the idea of letting the time travel stories grow and not fragmenting them every few months. :slightly_smiling_face:

I would totally be down for the paid expansion model that brings a couple new timelines, more items and dungeons, at least one new system, and a character class so long as the price is favorable (like $10-$15, NOT $40-$60). But as we both know, it ain’t up to me.

As for the timeline thing, I am reasonably sure that the devs will capitalize on that aspect because it’s just too good and convenient not to. I don’t know if seasons will focus on new, individual timelines or just “X” has appeared/happened to influence timelines. Also, if they make something that the community really likes in a season then it could be incorporated into the main game. That’s often what happens with seasonal or event mechanics that people go crazy for, plus I am pretty sure that any new timelines they make (that do not objectively suck) will be added to the main game.

Seasons are easy… If the Season setting is good everything is fine and people will play it but if the season setting is bull people will hate it and stay away.

Simple solution: Make good seasonal content and everyone will be happy.

To me it’s a bit different and I’d rather take content updates every 6 months that enhance the overall game instead to start over and over and over rendering standard playmode completely useless.

If you dont like seasons then dont play it, you dont need to write an essay and why you dont want it

Fact is most aRPG players who play seasonal games mainly play seasons/leagues. its good for a fresh start as the game becomes pointless after a while as you accumulate too much shit - Path of Exile without leagues is a cesspool of overpriced gear full of RMTers

Also the excuse of ‘I work full time’ doesnt really fly as I work 45 hours a week and still manage to do everything I want to, leagues usually last 12 or so weeks and im usually done by 5 weeks in

Once EHG releases leagues/season/cycles. Ill never play ‘offline’ or ‘standard’ ever again.

ive spent hundreds of hours min/maxing characters in a league to never ever play them again, that should tell you how much I cling to old characters

2 Likes

League is as good as content gateting.

So the illusion of choice, “you can play standard if you dont like leagues” argument is flawed becauae you are not really enjoying the full game’s content anymore if you just play standard.

So its either you play standard till you are bored or get “peer pressured” into doing something you dont like.

As good as saying you have freewill but you go to hell if you dont believe.

I personally hate seasons. Why would I want to start over from square one again without any of the awesome loot I found?

For me, part of an ARPG experience is the journey. It’s empowering when starting at nothing - but it’s not where I want to end. I want to feel that journey of progression from a normal, albeit talented, human into a demigod. This is also a weird experience for a player - when you’ve experienced the game at it’s highest level - think: killing Baal on Hell, why would I enjoy running around a fallen camp? The only reason is to find loot or experience a new feature you otherwise wouldn’t have.

This is why Blizzard and Diablo keep adding “gimmicks” to each season, because it’s easier to add a single, simple feature, rather than adding entire acts. This spoon-feeds the player base something that looks ‘flashy’, but will only be used sparingly, as they repeat the same content over and over again.