Last Epoch Has Everything Diablo 4 Lacks at $35 Less

In Short
  • The highlight feature of Last Epoch over Diablo 4 is its expansive class system, which further has in-depth and highly customizable skill trees.
  • The Last Epoch also punches a notch above Diablo 4 with an offline mode and a ladder system at launch, which has players excited.
  • Moreover, this game brings the best crafting system in any RPG game, along with an end game that truly matters to the players, unlike Diablo 4.

Last Epoch is an upcoming ARPG releasing on February 21, 2024. The game has been in Early Access since May 2019 and has shown massive improvements over the years, working on the community feedback, and is finally making a full release with a complete and polished game.

Yes, complete games on release are not a thing of the past!

Since Diablo 4’s release, ARPG fans have been going back and forth between Diablo 4 and Path of Exile, looking for the best option. Path of Exile is known for being overly complicated, basically requiring a Ph. D. even to start playing the game. At the same time, Diablo 4 (review) is simply bland with a lack of engaging end-game (or early and even mid-game) content, reskinning the enemies each season.

Path of Exile is also free, so we can kind of ignore its shortcomings. However, Diablo 4 has a price tag of $69.99, which is $35 more than the price of Last Epoch (at $34.99). Meanwhile, Last Epoch has 7 things on release that Diablo 4 still lacks. Let’s find them out!

1. 15 vs 5 Classes

Last Epoch Classes and masteries
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

In every ARPG, the first thing a player does when creating a character is selecting its Class. Classes are where ARPG shines, as it shows several different ways to play the game. A large number of playstyles is what excites an ARPG lover, adding much-needed replayability to the game.

Diablo 4 was released with five classes — Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer, Necromancer, and Druid, the standard D&D classes we are all familiar with. Each of these classes only has two or three viable play styles and builds, which is very underwhelming. And it’s been 8 months since Diablo 4’s release and players are still waiting for a 6th playable class, which has been assumed to be Paladin.

Compared to that, Last Epoch will be released with 5 classes and 15 different subclasses on release. Each of the classes in Last Epoch has 3 subclasses, called Masteries, which unlock around level 25. Each of the Masteries has its own skill trees with completely unique skills that define the subclass’s playstyle, additionally to the Base class skill tree.

Last Epoch Mastery Skill tree
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch (Edited by: Sanmay Chakrabarti)

What’s more interesting is that every Mastery Skill tree is separated into two halves, and players can invest in the left half of any of the (three available for their class) mastery trees, creating specialized hybrid subclasses as they desire. This makes the game highly replayable with multiple playstyles, while not overwhelming players like Path of Exile does.

But that’s not where the customization stops, as each of the Skills in Last Epoch has its own Skill tree!

2. Highly Customizable Skills For Each Class

Image Courtesy: Last Epoch & Diablo IV (Edited by: Sanmay Chakrabarti)

Diablo 4’s main selling point has been the simplicity of playing it. Just anyone can pick up the game and figure out the game mechanics and Skill tree, fairly easily. This is also why ARPG fans with little time for video games, like Elon Musk, choose to play Diablo 4 over Path of Exile. However, Diablo 4 can be overly simplistic, with a lack of skill depth and only a handful of viable play styles.

I never agreed with the take that a game cannot have a simplistic skill tree while also adding depth for different playstyles, and Last Epoch has proven me correct.

In Last Epoch, players can choose to specialize in particular skills they like, which unlocks the Skill’s own skill tree. As the Skill levels with usage, players get the Specialized Skill points to invest in the Skill tree. Now, specializing in Skills doesn’t simply increase the damage numbers, it can even change the nature of the very skill, like making the Fireball Skill into a Flamethrower.

Last Epoch Specialized Skill tree
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

Experimentation is highly rewarding in Last Epoch and it can be all done with simple clicks on linked trees. You do not need to watch a 2 hour-long build guide before starting the game, like Path of Exile, nor throw away the mantle of creativity most appreciated in ARPG games in the name of simplicity, like Diablo 4.

3. Offline Mode!

Ever wondered why you need your internet connection to play a game largely oriented toward single-player gameplay? You are not alone!

Most ARPGs are oriented toward single-player gameplay and have a multiplier mode as an added element. However, you cannot play Diablo 4 and Path of Exile offline. Both games require internet connections and will throw you out at the slightest of internet issues.

The fact that I, and so many other players, have mostly played both Path of Exile and Diablo 4 as a solo player, infuriates me so much that we cannot play them when my internet is facing issues, or when I have limited data.

Last Epoch Gameplay
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch (Edited by: Sanmay Chakrabarti)

Now, Path of Exile being an online game makes sense because it’s free, and they need you connected to their store at all times in hopes of generating any profit. However, when I pay $70 for a game that is largely created for a single-player experience, I want the option to play it offline.

There is no secret to developing an offline ARPG game with online multiplayer because Last Epoch has done that fairly easily. Last Epoch has an online and offline mode, and although characters from each mode don’t carry over, at least I can enjoy my single player playthrough in peace and create a new character when jumping in with my friends.

4. End Game That Matters

Replayability is a major factor in ARPG games and multiple builds and play styles definitely help, but having a viable end-game matters the most. Diablo 4 suffers a lot due to a lack of a good endgame. So, what makes a good endgame?

An ideal end-game for me is something that is hard mechanically (not just buffed-up numbers), and highly rewarding.

Now, Diablo 4 has two core end-game content, Nightmare Dungeons, and the newly released Abattoir of Zir.

  • Nightmare Dungeons adds barely any new element to gameplay other than increasing the health and damage of enemies, forcing players to get stun-locked while getting one-shotted, irrespective of the defenses they put on.
  • Abattoir of Zir is the latest addition to the end-game in Diablo 4, and it does have many redeeming factors compared to the other end-game content, other than the fact that you cannot play it! But why can you not play it? Because Diablo 4 devs for some reason added an item requirement for playing the new end game, which can be farmed in Nightmare Dungeons, a mode already hated by the community and that almost no one wants to play. A masterstroke of a plan!
Empowered Monolith Last Epoch
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

Last Epoch has four distinct end-game content, the Empowered Monoliths, Dungeons, Arena, and the Arena of Champions.

  • The Empowered Monoliths allows players to chase particular items, gears, and weapons they want by defeating strong challenges in a linked dungeon tree. The Empowered Monoliths become stronger as you progress, rewarding better items, and are the perfect example of adding meaningful difficulties.
  • Arena is another fun end-game where players fight through endless waves of enemies to get their name on the arena ranking board. However, this endgame doesn’t reward anything (yet) other than bragging rights. But it is so fun and challenging that players will undoubtedly spend hours trying to get a better ranking.
  • The Arena of Champions is similar to the Arena but it has 40 waves of enemies with a boss at the end, who drops a unique item on defeat.
  • The Dungeons are extremely fun to play, they have multiple stages, bosses, and rewards, rolled every 24 hours. Some of the daily quests are also tied to the dungeons and it’s a fun end-game to spend your time every day.

Overall, Last Epoch’s end game is far more rewarding and challenging (mechanically), than Diablo 4, and also far more enjoyable. However, Last Epoch’s end-game still has scope for improvement and we expect Eleventh Hour Games to add more to it over time.

5. Best Crafting System in any ARPG

Without a doubt, Last Epoch features the best crafting system in any ARPGs released to date. Every item in Last Epoch has a forging potential, and rarer items have more forging potential than normal items. So, crafting in Last Epoch is adding affixes to an item on top of its own affixes.

Now to craft, all you need to do is open the Forge menu, which can be done from anywhere in the game, then attach the item you want to craft on top, and choose either a prefix or a suffix to add to the item. Now, it will clearly show you the cost of adding that affix to the item, like 1 forging potential, and clicking on the Add Affix button will add it to the item. You can continue to add affixes until the item’s Forging Potential reaches zero.

Last Epoch Crafting
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

You are GUARANTEED to get the affixes you are adding to the gear WITHOUT a chance of failure. Additionally, you can use crafting materials to increase the chance of saving the Forging Point, or even change the nature of the affixes. On top of that, you can get lucky and have critical success, adding twice the value of the attached affix and even saving the materials used during the crafting. The affixes can be collected around the world, and there are over 100 distinct affixes in the game.

You get what you want, without a chance of failure, as long as the item has the required Forging Potential, with a chance of adding double the value while saving the items.

Diablo 4 Crafting vs Last Epoch Crafting
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch & Diablo IV (Edited by: Sanmay Chakrabarti)

Compared to that, Diablo 4’s crafting system allows you to reroll random stats on gears, basically putting it up to luck on landing a good affix on the item you have. It’s equivalent to a gacha system with no ingenuity and very little thought process needed behind it. Although there has been talk about a new upgraded crafting system coming to Diablo 4, considering their record, it will likely take another year.

6. Leaderboards

Leaderboards and Ladders are the most essential components of a multiplayer ARPG. It allows players to see how they fare against others around the world and drives players to become better, for the sweet bragging rights. Last Epoch features a fully implemented Leaderboard or Ladder system, ranking the highest levels and waves cleared in the Arena.

Last Epoch Leaderboard
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

The Leaderboards are separated for Normal and Hardcore players and can be further sorted based on the playable classes.

Compared to that, Diablo 4 has yet to implement a leaderboard or ladder system, and it’s been 8 months since the game’s release. Season 3 is supposed to feature the new leaderboard for Abattoir of Zir, so let’s see how that turns out in the future.

7. Quality of Life Features to Preserve Your Sanity

Last Epoch Quality of life features
Image Courtesy: Last Epoch

Two essential quality-of-life features in an ARPG game are loot filters and a high number of stashes. Last Epoch has both added in their game, which also says how much the Eleventh Hour Games understands the community compared to Blizzard.

  • The loot filter of Last Epoch is better than most 3rd party loot filters available in other ARPGs. It allows players to very specifically select the items they want to pick (or appear), better than many of the well-known 3rd party loot filters in Path of Exile.
  • Stashes are highly important in ARPG games, which have a big focus on farming for ridiculous gears. Last Epoch has 200 stash tabs, allowing players to hoard all the items they want, without the need to go through PTSD by selecting the ones to discard.

Compared to Last Epoch, Diablo 4 has no loot filter, although they have mentioned adding it in the future, which means not anytime soon if they do at all. When it comes to Stash tabs, Diablo 4 only has four stash tabs, with each having a holding space of 50 items. This means you can hoard up to 200 items in Diablo 4, which is a very low count for an ARPG.

I should also add that Path of Exiles provides 4 basic stash tabs, and players can spend in-real-life money to upgrade to Premium tabs. However, Path of Exile is free and Diablo 4 is a $70 game.

Diablo Fans, Don’t Sleep on Last Epoch

Last Epoch is a game made with heart and soul from a small dev team, with years of development and community feedback. The game truly has some of the best elements in the ARPG genre and is extremely fun to play. Eleventh Hour Games has even said on record that the game won’t have any additional payments for future DLCs. A $35 game providing years of content is not regularly seen, so I request all ARPG fans to not sleep on Last Epoch and give it a try.

comment Comments 1
  • Manawar says:

    Bullshit. The story and side quest in D4 blow Last Epoch away. Yes, there are better QoL things in LE, however, the fact that it doesn’t even run in online mode right now should make you run away from this game as quick as possible.

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