Last Epoch players help judge what overpowered builds will be on the chopping block for its next major patch

 A mystical being holds a magical artifact.
A mystical being holds a magical artifact.

Last Epoch's next major patch could destroy its most broken builds, but Eleventh Hour Games wants player feedback to direct its approach to balancing the game.

The mid-cycle, or mid-season, patch for Last Epoch will be the first opportunity to fix its most egregious bugs and over-performing skills. Eleventh Hour Games posted a survey with questions on how to approach balancing the game, acknowledging that major changes could ruin entire builds and gear setups.

"Previously, our decision on the topic of mid-cycle balance has been to avoid adjustments to skills and items that are over-performing but are not bugs and to avoid fixing bugs that result in those skills becoming significantly weaker. The exceptions here are bugs that cause server stability issues," Eleventh Hour Games wrote in the survey.

The survey focuses on nerfing bugs, skills, and items within Last Epoch's roughly three-month cycles, and if leaderboards should be reset when changes go through. Users can choose on a scale of one to five on how much they think certain things should be nerfed. Eleventh Hour Games says it knows "the conversation can be more nuanced," but had success getting similarly broad feedback during its early access development.

"...it's a vital move for the long-term integrity of the game to fix bugged interactions, so that players making good, informed decisions can get rewarded.

A Reddit thread about the survey has over 500 comments discussing the survey. Most commenters agree that bugs should always be fixed regardless of their role in a popular build. Players bring up a current bug with a warlock passive skill that incorrectly gives them 40% (instead of the 4% on the tooltip) ward, a magical shield on top of your health, for sacrificing your minions, making them effectively invulnerable. Several people argue that a bug like this should be fixed because it's not intended, even if it's core to the meta build at the moment.

"I fully appreciate that nerfing anything mid-cycle, for any reason, is going to cause short-term pain for players that are relying on it," HRTS5X wrote. "However, I think it's a vital move for the long-term integrity of the game to fix bugged interactions, so that players making good, informed decisions can get rewarded."

BaThalnoNow added that, in their experience, using anything else on warlock "makes wanting to play normal builds less appealing."

In a response to a separate Reddit post about a different bug, a developer who goes by EHG_Justin, said, "We aren't staunchly against fixing bugs that impact player power mid-cycle. We're currently just trying to avoid mid-cycle changes that could hurt existing character builds, especially if the player may not even be aware their power is coming from a bug."

Diablo 4 is another action RPG toying with an approach to seasonal balance patches. This week, Blizzard released its season 3 mid-season patch, which intentionally left the strongest barbarian skill, Charge, untouched. A bug that caused rogues to deal millions more damage than they were supposed to with crossbows, however, was fixed. Most people don't seem unhappy about the patch, but there are some who wish Blizzard would dethrone barbarians from being the strongest class in the game for the third time in a row.

As Blizzard has made clear in its streams and Eleventh Hour Games seems to be getting at with the survey, balancing an action RPG season is hard. Some players want the experience untouched, warts and all, and others want everything to be as equal as possible. You have to weigh how much you value the satisfaction of finding a strong build versus having a build that is so strong there's no reason not to copy it. The answer is probably always going to be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but I expect both games to return to this discussion as time goes on.