This past weekend we held our first of multiple multiplayer events, the “Invitational”, which went exceptionally well. The aim of this event was to gather feedback, test our live operations procedures, and give the community their first full look at playing together with friends in Last Epoch. We were able to capture a ton of significant data and feedback to help us prepare for the multiplayer release coming with Last Epoch: Convergence on March 9th.
From what we observed, many of the participants thoroughly enjoyed the new and updated campaign zones, all the VFX, SFX, and music changes, which was fantastic to hear. We also received a lot of positive feedback regarding the ease of grouping up, and generally feeling great playing together for hours on end, outside of a few minor bugs (we’re on them!). Some issues that we are aware of and have been actively working on did rear their heads during this event, such as server-side performance in end-game activities and specific late-game team strategies that were providing too great of a bonus for groups. While we were aware of these kinds of things, from the event, we were able to get a better view of where these impacts are coming from, have made some adjustments to our priorities, and have already made some changes for the next events.
We want to go over some of this feedback and what kind of differences you can see between the Invitational event, future events, and Patch 0.9.
What we’re working on
One of the last things we saw during the event, but one of the first we want to address, is some late-game activities server-side performance. While participants agreed that client-side performance has improved significantly with this release, we did encounter some issues with server performance for endgame builds that can spawn a lot of objects. As mentioned, this was something we were already aware of and actively working on for 0.9. However, the event was able to show us a few specific things that were leading to more performance loss than others.
One of the largest offenders we were able to identify was server lag encountered when groups would split up within an area to individually tackle different parts of the zone. This caused a number of issues, including many actors to all be activated at once, and the server needed to handle that data flow for each player. We’re already well along on a fix for this which should greatly help reduce that performance hit, and while it won’t be in place for Thursday’s event, it will be in place shortly after. There are other hidden things we’re working on (like excessive server logging); however, we think this was one of the more visible issues, and so wanted to make sure we’re addressing it here.
Another offender we saw with ‘lag’, was actually not performance at all. We found some participants who were experiencing lag were actually being assigned to incorrect server locations, such as European players being issued North American servers. This is something we immediately began investigating, and have some changes in place to help address incorrect server allocations which should help with many of these scenarios. In conjunction with the added ability to see server region with the latency tooltip, we expect this to help improve the experience when partying with various players, as well as being able to recognize reasoning for certain ping values.
Of course, there was a lot of gameplay experience feedback provided that we’re acting on as well. For the next event, we’re prioritizing some of the quickest improvements we can get in in time. Some adjustments are technically smaller things, like adjusting the latency bar to represent expectations with ping values better, and adding server information to the latency tooltip, however, this can have a much larger impact on user experience and received more feedback than we expected. As such, we’re working on adding these two items for the event this Thursday.
One of the more common areas of feedback we received during the event was that the campaign was made a bit too easy when in a full party. In response to this, we’re going to be bumping up enemy health scaling for the next event. We’re doing this in smaller increments, so we don’t over-correct, as many of these players are highly experienced players, but we’ll be continuing to monitor feedback on this and adjusting as well.
We also heard from participants that they really enjoyed the new online monolith experience with seamless transitions between Echoes and Echo of a World (the rest area in monoliths). For the campaign, though, the length of some loading screen times was a common topic. We have some adjustments already in the pipe to help reduce these loading screen times, which we’re hoping to have in for this Thursday’s 10k event.
Another common topic of feedback was item gifting and the user experience of it. While feedback noted that the interaction felt really good with gifting, and it was a strong addition to gameplay, currently, once you gift an item to a party member, that item can’t be gifted again. Being unable to gift it further caused a couple of negative experiences during the event, so in response, we’re changing this so that when an item is gifted, it retains its ‘giftability’ status and can still be gifted to all the same people who were eligible for it. While this does offer a bit more power to the gifting system, we want to prioritize a fun experience.
Many keen-eyed community members also called out that there seemed to be something up with item drop rates during the event, and that some things appeared a little more common than normal. They’re correct! In response to feedback from both previous blog posts, and event feedback, we’re adjusting some drop rates. In particular, this means making ‘rarer’ idols such as Smite on Throwing Hit not as rare, culling some of the lower level drops - converting them into crafting material drops, and adjusting the distribution of exalted items to make drops more exciting rather than all the focus being on echo reward nodes. We’re continuing to tweak this to reach an even better state in the looting and gearing experience in Last Epoch, and are actively watching feedback on this topic.
We also see the efficiency of boss farming in multiplayer talked about frequently. We currently have an active plan to bring this in line that we’re working on implementing. When you participate in a monolith boss fight in multiplayer, in order to get rewards you will need to have sufficient stability for the fight, and receiving rewards from the fight will cost your stability. So while you can participate in any boss fight, in order to get rewards you need to have, and spend the stability for it. This means you won’t be able to farm stability once as a group, then chain bosses with each party member. While this change won’t be in place for Thursday’s event, we wanted to acknowledge that we do hear this feedback, and are actively working on it!
Onward to 0.9!
There are, of course, many other things we’re continuing to work on, and with our next pre-patch event in only a few days, we’re hard at work on getting everything ready for this Thursday’s 10k Multiplayer Beta week-long event. We’re really excited to get everyone in the community into the experience, as well as the big Pack the Server party, where we’ll ask everyone to help us break things on Saturday. There’s a lot to see and explore with 0.9, including many new unique items, base item changes, updates and adjustments to almost every skill in the game, new zones, VFX, SFX, Enemies, and a whole bunch more. Even if you’re not a big ‘multiplayer’ enthusiast, there’s still a lot to see and check out in this patch.
If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to sign up for the 10k event, you can quickly and easily do so here: https://events.lastepoch.com/packtheserverparty. We hope to see all of you in Eterra in just a couple of days.
Until then Travelers, may the bees be with you!