Last Epoch is an online ARPG bringing together time travel, a vast skill and abilities system; crafting and loot system into one hell of a replayable experience. Eleventh Hour Games has released the pre-alpha demo and launched their Kickstarter campaign in hopes of reaching their of $210,000 goal, with currently 710 backers at the time this article was written. In part 1 of this preview I will talk about the overall story, in-game systems, gameplay, end game and audio/visuals of Last Epoch, with Classes and Skills coming in Part 2.
Last Epoch Preview Part 1
Genre: Action RPG
Developed by: Eleventh Hour Games
Release date: Alpha August 2018, Beta April 2019, Full Release April 2020
Last Epoch Features
- Offline and online multiplayer action
- Time travel and high fantasy world
- 5 base classes that advance into 10 powerful mastery classes
- A deep skill system with augment trees for each skill
- Engrossing loot and crafting system
- Massive end-game content and replayability, trading, PvP, Cycles(seasons), Ladders, and Achievements
- Epic storytelling, memorable characters and environments, voice acting, journals, and hidden secrets
Story & Setting
The story takes place in a rich and deep lore that is part of every step of the game, from environments and characters, down to the items you carry. The world is comprised of four different eras in time, and the zones of the game change as you progress, impacting the lore and keeping the player captivated. The myths, legends and gods are all full of intricate details that shine some light into the history and breadth of this deep storyline.
There are four eras to this world, each reflecting the conflict of the current events of that time. The four eras are: Ancient, Warring Gods, Undead Empire and Ruined. The player begins their journey at the end of the Ruined Era, but as you make your way through the map you will see different parts of them.
Ancient Era – Birth
Described as the “time before humanity” the Ancient Era takes place when the human race had just begun, under rule and the protection of the goddess Eterra.
The lore explains the legend that Eterra once crafted the world with her very hands. She added life and vitality to it’s every corner, taking a barren land to a rich and plentiful forest covered world, home to beast people and other numerous creatures. The human race was kept hidden by the grace of Eterra, inside her temple, but this changed after a uncontrollable event caused humans to go beyond and explore the outside world.
Warring Gods Era – Growth
Set in the year 1059, known as the “divine era” humanity begins to flourish but only under the watchful eyes of the gods.
The human race starts to push out the beast people from their lands. In the north, a frozen land bears the nomadic culture, to the west the seafaring culture, to the south the desert, and to the east upon the mountains a theocracy with strict ideals. A war breaks out between the gods and the sun god Rahyeh.
Undead Empire Era – Decay
Set in the year 1621, the civilization once thriving begins to decline as the ruthless Emperor has taken interest in the Undead, slaying anyone who questions him.
The race of beast people are now nearly extinct, the land has deteriorated as humans fight a losing battle against the Undead Empire. Taking influence from Rahyeh, but embracing militaristic rule, necromancy-filled experiments only add to the Emperor’s tyranny.
Ruined Era – Death
Now in the year 2281, the void has taken over the surface of the world and the human civilization take refuge underground. Those on the surface are driven to madness…
The fight for humanity now exists underground, a safe haven known as the Last Refuge. But this place cannot last forever…
Gameplay & In-Game Systems
Combat is real time hack and slash and is heavily dependent upon the class you select. No matter whether you prefer melee or more magic based attacks this game has you covered, as there are plenty of different types to choose from. Controls rely on a set of actions using 1,2,3,4 to cast or perform, and use the mouse to point the direction of the attack. Just like most ARPGs, moving your character relies on clicking the left mouse button to the spot you wish to proceed, and right mouse button for quick melee attacks.
As you travel along the map you can unlock teleportation points that allow you to jump from one area to another, meaning you don’t have to travel by foot to places you’ve already been. This feature reminds me a lot of Wayshrines from Elder Scrolls Online, or even Diablo to some degree.
Loot is in abundance and is key to controlling the stats of the your character. The in-game item comparison helps players choose between items, which is color-coded in terms of their rarity. Having a limited amount of items you can carry, players will need to decide what to keep and what to sell for gold. The pre-alpha shows a merchant that will happily trade your items for gold and there is a chest to stash those important weapons/trinkets you wish to store.
This is a VERY loot-heavy game. If you’re someone who enjoys weighing up the stats of each weapon, comparing armor builds or trinket buffs, you’ll enjoy the loot system in the Last Epoch. Playing the demo gave a lot of insight into how often a player will receive drops, it is highly frequent, and you’ll have more than you can carry most of the time.
A crafting system has been set in place but not many instructions are given in terms of how to use to it in-game. Craftable materials called Shattering Stones are dropped from various adversaries which you use to destroy items but it is not clear yet what buffs these will give to your items.
PvP is available, whereby participants enter the Time-Lost Colosseum, engage in duels, 2v2, 3v3, 5v5 and free for all in the arena. Winning these battles will earn you cosmetics rewards and titles that show off your skills in battle. The pre-alpha demo only offers the early stages of game, so no PvP mode has been shown to the public as of yet, however.
The end game systems allow players to take on quests in the different eras, and your choices will determine what questlines and timelines you will have access to. Once you finish a questline you will have a chance to unlock a different timeline zone, an alternate timeline in Monolith of Fate causing change to the storyline and different outcomes. You can also choose to travel back in time in Gates of Memorium, to discover the world of Eterra as it once was. Or, participate in Epoch’s Call a chance to put things right, where correcting the past will gain you valuable rewards.
Audio & Visuals
Sound effects are pretty solid, but no voice lines have been added to the game yet. Whether this is something they will add later on or not, its too early to tell. Music for the most part is fitting to the game, although towards the end of the demo there is some music with heavy guitar that I can only describe as reminiscent of a 90’s action movie, was little bit distracting compared to the rest of the soundtrack.
Visually the backgrounds are still rough but give a lot to the imagination and definitely adds to the feel of the game. Because the different eras have their own ambiance and vibe, it’s very noticeable when you reach different time zones as you progress. The only gripe is when fighting the Void creatures, it’s incredibly hard to see them against the purple void backdrop. Hopefully they will add more of an outline to these, as it was a shame not to be able to see them in all their purple glory.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Last Epoch Preview coming next week, where we’ll cover Classes and Skills, as well as our overall impressions of the game. Be sure to check out the demo on Kickstarter if you’d like to try it out. It’s free!