Welcome Travelers, and thank you all for joining us for November’s Developer Blog as we progress through the final stretch to 1.0. As many of you are likely already aware, yesterday saw the first reveal of our Cinematic Trailer for Last Epoch over on IGN. We want to thank everyone for the fantastic support we saw in regards to the trailer, it’s been a great morale boost to see the continued excitement for our 1.0 release. If you didn’t have a chance to check out the Cinematic Trailer yet, please do so below!
Of course, on October 20th, we also announced our roadmap to 1.0, covering the main news articles to keep an eye out for, as well as our 1.0 release date of February 21st, 2024! We’re all very excited for the big day and wanted to talk about both what to expect in regards to the roadmap, as well as share with you all some of the things we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’re all excited to hear about some of these things coming, so allow us to waste no more time and get into it!
Let us start by talking a bit about the Roadmap we showed with our Release Date announcement. As many of you are aware, 1.0 not only marks the release of Last Epoch from Early Access, but will also introduce Item Factions, The Warlock and Falconer masteries, and a host of additional updates!
In the roadmap, we showcase the major upcoming announcements leading up to our 1.0 release on February 21st. We wanted to provide a bit more context on what to expect from each of these areas and give you a bit of a look into how Last Epoch continues to support its community, with both the Warlock and Falconer previews being community-driven exclusives that are designed to bring some awesome depth of information for these masteries ahead of their release at 1.0.
As you may notice with this dev blog, this roadmap is not an exhaustive list of all news posts to expect leading up to 1.0, so you can look forward to much more insight into 1.0 before the big date. Instead, this roadmap shows the dates of when you can expect to get more information on the three headlining features for 1.0 - Item Factions, The Warlock, and The Falconer.
Fresh into the new year, keep an eye on our socials as well as here on our regular posting platforms where we’ll be releasing a comprehensive blog post diving into Item Factions: providing information on The Merchant’s Guild, The Bazaar, Circle of Fortune, and Prophecies. There’s a lot of information we’ll be sharing in this post, so look forward to getting all the info in this deep dive! As a note, to clear any potential confusion, Item Factions are launching with the 1.0 update, and not on Jan 11th.
On this date, our community member AaronActionRPG will be providing a first look at the final Acolyte Mastery - The Warlock over on Icy-Veins.com. A long-time fan of the acolyte class, a huge supporter of Last Epoch, and a great member of the community, we are excited to see what Aaron and Icy-Veins have in store for the reveal. As a note - The Warlock will be coming with the 1.0 update, and this will be an early informational look at the class.
Just over a month before Patch 1.0, the bird will be the word over on Maxroll.gg with the first look into the final Rogue Mastery - The Falconer. We’ve worked with the team over at Maxroll before, and are happy to be rejoining them for this reveal leading up to release. Here, some of our hardest-going community members will be representing Maxroll for this reveal, so we know no interaction will be left unturned. Find out how the Falcon works, what kind of skills will be coming with the mastery, and what kind of stats to expect on the Falconer over on Maxroll.gg on February 8th! As a note - The Falconer will be coming with the 1.0 update, and this will be an early informational look at the class.
The big day! On February 21st, 2024, Last Epoch will be releasing with version 1.0! On this day, everyone will be able to play the Full Last Epoch experience with Item Factions, The Warlock, The Falconer, and all the other improvements we’ve been hard at work on!
Of course, 1.0 is just the start of our journey here at Eleventh Hour Games as we plan for many years of content to come. However we cannot understate our excitement to be hitting this massive milestone, and look forward to seeing you on Launch Day!
A couple of weeks ago we invited everyone to provide feedback on things they wish they knew as a new player to Last Epoch. We would like to thank everyone for providing responses to this form, and we’ll be going over this great feedback to find further improvements to the new player experience we can sneak into 1.0, as well as what kind of community resources we can put together to continue supporting you all in your travels.
If you haven’t had a chance yet to provide feedback on things you wish you knew as a new player, let us know by following this link to the form: https://forms.gle/8Mg9u7e1NJcyDJph9 .
Now, Lets take a look at a few of the improvements coming on the big day!
One of our major goals for the game is to improve both visual quality and performance across the board. To continue chasing this goal, we are making multiple changes to our lighting systems, shaders, and more.
Historically, many of our scenes felt a bit floaty, with characters and objects not grounded in the way we would wish. A big part of this issue was missing good contact shadows and shadows in general. There are many reasons why this is not as simple to solve as it may look - the most significant reason is of course the performance.
One of the systems we have improved for 1.0 is Ambient Occlusion. Our new implementation creates much more accurate contact shadows and brings much-needed depth into many of our scenes.
In addition to ambient occlusion improvements, we are also adding a modern screen-space Soft Shadow system. In many scenes, where we previously did not have any shadows, player light is now the source of physical light where objects around the player properly cast shadow, which is increasing much more dramatic lightning in our scenes, while still keeping performance in check. Since this is screen space solution, it has fixed performance cost, no matter how many objects or monsters are on the screen.
In addition, we are reworking lighting in almost every scene in the game, with multiple goals in mind - to improve performance, to increase the visibility of the player, and frankly, to improve the visual fidelity of our scenes.
Here is our EoT scene as an example. With new ambient occlusion, shadow system, and reworked lighting, all objects in the scene feel more grounded, the player character is clearly visible and there is a much better sense of depth.
The scene variant system is another major system we are introducing for 1.0. It is basically a set of tools and shaders which allow us to improve the visual quality of our scenes and add more variety to the game. It allows us to create dramatically different-looking scenes by using scene variant templates
In the past, it was quite hard for us to create different variants of the scene, having different weather effects or changing our vegetation. In most cases, we needed to create new materials, new texture maps or assets, and decals, and combine them to achieve results we needed - which has a negative impact on performance, since it all can increase draw calls.
However with shader changes, we now can change the vegetation, wetness of our surfaces, and add puddles to the scene using just shader functions. In other words, we can now have richer looking scenes, while improving performance in the process.
This set of tools also allows us to create new scenes more quickly, allowing the level design team to focus on, well, level design, without trying to solve technical issues and challenges.
Last, but not least, it allows us to bring much more variety into the game. For example monolith scene can look very different each time you will enter it, as you can see in some of the examples below!
We have big plans for the system and you will see us utilize it more and more as the game progresses in the future.
We’ve heard all of the feedback regarding the Shaman Mastery and agree. For 1.0 we’ll be revisiting our favorite warrior of the north (sorry Grael), giving this mastery some much needed love helping to bring it up to par with the other mastery options in Eterra. With this revisit to Shaman, we won’t be doing a complete rework of the mastery; However, we know some aspects of the mastery can be a bit lacking at the moment, and we decided it needed some time dedicated to it in preparation for 1.0.
These changes are still a work in progress, so for today’s post we’ll just be speaking a short bit to one of the big improvements coming to Shaman with the reworked Tempest Strike skill. We’ll also be making changes to the Mastery’s Passive Tree to improve options in the tree and a new, as of yet to be disclosed skill. Expect more information in a later post!
Tempest Strike, as it’s currently implemented, is a spammable melee skill imbuing each strike with a chance to trigger elemental storm spells on hit, and offering elemental penetration instead of attack speed scaling. Being a hybrid skill with both attack and spell features, with the spell procs not being the most reliable, and lack of attack speed scaling, Tempest Strike has been in a fairly rough spot. As such, Tempest Strike is getting a complete rework for 1.0, keeping the same name and theme, but with completely new mechanics, skill tree, and even role as a skill.
As of 1.0, Tempest Strike will instead be a powerful high-cost combo ability. With each strike of your weapon, Tempest Strike will flow through launching penetrating icicles, creating tornadoes, and expanding rings of lightning. In its tree you’ll find the ability to specialize into each of these strikes making them more powerful, or removing them for other benefits. You’ll also find the reworked Tempest Strike will be quite favorable to building attack speed, allowing you to rage an elemental storm through hordes of enemies with a whole new suite of animations and VFX.
Speaking of storms, this change to Tempest Strike leaves a vacancy within Primalist for a low cost generator, or filler skill, tailored towards Shaman - but that’s a story for another time as we get closer to 1.0.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback concerning endgame echo modifiers, as well as corruption scaling. As such, we’ve decided this is another great area we can add polish to with our release. In this area, there was two main pieces of feedback we wanted to address. The first is inequality and obfuscation of Echo Modifiers, and the second is the effects of scaling corruption.
With Echo Modifiers, we wanted to focus on enemy power coming less from the modifiers themselves, and more from the inherent strength of high level enemies and Corruption directly. The goal of these changes are primarily to achieve a more predictable experience in high corruption Timelines.
To accomplish this we’ve made Echo Modifiers have shorter durations (now lasting a maximum of three echoes), and importantly made these mods no longer scale with corruption or distance from center.
As we dove into echo modifiers, there was a number of mods which scaled invisibly with corruption including enemies enraging at half health, Enemies have high speed and crit chance until approached, and enemies are deadly if not damaged recently.
These mods actually scaled at the same rate as increased damage modifiers, which if you’re familiar with these mods, means these quickly became extremely deadly without clearly presenting the increasing difficulty of these mods. This will no longer be the case as these will now have fixed values alongside all other mods, including the infamous increased damage mods.
We’re still tweaking numbers for this and testing the changes, so we’re not quite ready to share numbers. These changes to Echo modifiers should make for a smoother more predictable experience, however don’t expect tackling endgame scaling to suddenly be an easier task.
While Echo modifiers are getting reigned in, we’re also shifting some of that power from scaling modifiers directly into Corruption scaling. The difficulty modifier from corruption will now scale much more quickly meaning corruption will be the primary method of scaling difficulty, and hitting these points should be both a quicker and smoother experience. For this, we feel it’s important to provide some numbers here for context, however please do keep in mind these numbers are still subject to change:
100 corruption: 60% more monster damage and health (from 50%)
200 corruption: 170% more monster damage and health (from 100%)
300 corruption: 281% more monster damage and health (from 147%)
500 corruption: 505% more monster damage and health (from 289%).
Corruption will now also slightly scale up the average legendary potential and weaver’s will values. This means item rarity from echo modifiers will increase the total number of unique item drops for more chances at Legendary potential, while Corruption will have a multiplicative effect directly increasing the chance for Legendary Potential on each Unique item which drops.
With 1.0 being such a significant point for us, features are not the only thing we’re working on. We’re continuing to work through many of the current bugs, Improving our networking, improving performance, and addressing many balance concerns brought forward by you all. We want to ensure Last Epoch has the best launch it can for everyone, and we’re working hard towards that goal.
With 0.9.0, we had to change a number of processes with the Community Tester program, meaning we weren’t able to get the program back up and running for 0.9.1, and managed to get the program up and running only just before 0.9.2. We know with this, there’s been feedback and concerns regarding if there will be sufficient testing and review of these big new features coming to Last Epoch. We’re happy to say that the program already started a week ago providing testing a few of these upcoming features, and have already started adjusting to feedback from these community members!
Currently the program isn’t accepting additional members, however we wanted to provide the reassurance that we’re as always committed to working closely with the community, and making sure we fulfill that cooperation and coordination for these important features. Though not limited to the CT Program, we as always will be keeping a close eye on everyone’s feedback as we continue on the path to 1.0 and beyond.
Thank you all for for taking the time to read up on the latest goings-on here at Eleventh Hour Games. For more information concerning 1.0 and all things Last Epoch, make sure to mark the Roadmap Events on your calendar, keep tuned into our social channels, and join us on Discord at discord.gg/lastepoch for further blog posts and teasers as we work forward to the February 21st release!