Last Epoch Shards
Every player who has ever played an ARPG knows that dropping a perfect piece of gear is extremely rare and, sometimes, simply impossible (with a notable exception of some very lucky legendary/unique drops that happen on rare occasions). The games are set this way on purpose as it forces players to focus on gearing up more, makes good gear very valuable, and creates a solid base for the economy if paired with good secondary gear sources and an upgrade system (in multiplayer modes - in solo play, it makes gearing up extremely difficult sometimes). Because of this design choice, crafting - the most important source of "good" gear in ARPGs, is always an inherent part of these titles' gameplay. LE is no different in this aspect; it features a well-designed and fair (not pay to win or heavily rng-based like in some other titles) crafting system based on Last Epoch Shards that can be fused into gear to modify its statistics.
Crafting in Last Epoch
In Last Epoch, the Crafting system allows you to improve and change your equipment's properties by modifying (changing, removing, or adding) its Last Epoch Shards. Set pieces and gear of Unique quality cannot be modified through crafting, however, they sometimes feature very powerful bonuses, that are not otherwise obtainable. This makes some of them much more powerful than even the best pieces created through crafting.
To open the Crafting Window in-game, you have to press the "F" key (this key bind can be remapped in the options); doing this will bring up an extensive crafting menu which may seem a bit baffling at first - you can press the "?" button, located on the top, to quickly learn more about all the functionalities the Last Epoch's crafting system has. After you place your chosen piece of gear in the crafting window and choose one of the Last Epoch Shards from your inventory, a few important pieces of information will appear below:
- The chance for Success - how likely you are to successfully apply the Affix to your chosen item.
- Instability - This number represents how damaged your piece of gear is from crafting. The higher the item's Instability, the more likely it is to fracture during crafting and the higher the damage it suffers from a damaging fracture. Simply using a Last Epoch Shard results in +5 Instability, however, this number can be modified:
- Adding a Glyph of Stability to the Support Slot reduces the Instability suffered by anywhere between 0 and 3.
- Adding a Rune of Removal or a Rune of Refinement reduces the Instability suffered to +2.
- Combining Rune of Stability with a Rune of Removal or a Rune of Refinement makes the Item suffer +0, +1, or +2 Instability.
- Using a Rune of Cleansing will set the Item's Instability anywhere between 5 and 15.
- Using a Rune of Cleansing with a Glyph of Stability will set the Item's Instability anywhere between 2 and 15.
- The chance for Minor Fracture* - how likely your item is to suffer from this crafting penalty; Minor Fracture locks the item making it impossible to add new affixes to it. Minor Fracture Chance is equal to the fracture chance and is capped at 25%.
- The chance for Damaging Fracture - how likely your item is to suffer from this crafting penalty; Reduces all affixes by 1 to 5 Tiers (if the result is an Affix with Tier lower than 1, it is removed instead), and locks the item making it impossible to add new affixes to it. Damaging Fracture Chance is equal to the fracture chance -25 and is capped at 25%.
- The chance for Destructive Fracture - how likely your item is to suffer from this crafting penalty; Removes all affixes from the item and locks it, making it impossible to add new affixes to it. Destructive Fracture Chance is equal to the fracture chance -50.
*Chance of Fracture is calculated from the following formula: Instability + [5*(AffixTierLevel - 1)] and always equals 0% if an item has 0 instability.
Obtaining crafting items in Last Epoch is seemingly easy as they will occasionally drop from monsters as random loot. In reality, however, getting all the Last Epoch Shards you need might be a bit tricky as there is quite a lot of them which makes dropping the right ones quite unlikely. Once picked up, crafting items will be stored in your character's regular inventory; right-clicking them will move them to a special crafting storage space with unlimited capacity (which is handy as otherwise, they would clog up your inventory very badly). There are three types of crafting items in Last Epoch:
- Runes - crafting materials that can be placed in the modifier slot of the crafting panel. Currently, there are 4 types of Runes:
- Rune of Cleansing, which removes all affixes from gear and sets its instability to anywhere between 5 and 15.
- Rune of Refinement that rerolls all affixes, within their tiers, on a piece of gear (very useful if you possess gear with multiple high-tier affixes already) and adds +2 Instability.
- Rune of Removal that removes one affix at random and adds +2 Instability.
- Rune of Shattering that destroys a piece of gear and generates a random number of Last Epoch Shards containing its powers. While the number of gained Shards is random, it cannot exceed the tier of the given affix that was present on the item (Tier 5 Affix can produce up to 5 Shards, Tier Affix 4 up to 4, etc.). The number of gained Shards is rolled separately for each Affix, so a piece of gear with 3 Tier 4 Affixes can produce up to 12 Shards (up to 4 of each type).
- Glyphs - crafting materials that can be placed in the support slot of the crafting panel. Currently, there are 4 types of Glyphs:
- Glyph of the Guardian, which reduces the tier of the fracture by 1 and is always consumed, even if a fracture does not happen at all. A very useful tool that will protect your gear from devastating crafting results, at least partially.
- Glyph of Stability, which causes a modifier to add between 0% and 60% less instability to the gear than usual. Useful when you plan on using a piece of gear in crafting multiple times.
- Affix Shards - crafting materials that add or upgrade the gear's affixes. Each Shard upgrades its respective affix by 1 Tier (and adds Tier 1 affix if it is not yet present; the maximum Affix Tier is 5). The maximum number of affixes on any kind of gear, except some Uniques, is four (2 suffixes and 2 prefixes). Important: adding affixes to gear may add or increase its level requirement; if the crafting result would be an item with the level requirement higher than your current, you will not be able to proceed with crafting.
- The affix level requirement is calculated by the following formula: Sum of All Affix Level Values + (2* Max Affix Level Value) -10. Each Tier has a different Affix Level Value (T1 - 1, T2 - 3, T3 - 6, T4 - 10, T5 - 14).
Which Affixes You should add to your Gear
Each Build will require a separate set of affixes to make it work, however, some of the bonuses are much more universal than others. Here are some examples of solid Affixes, together with build archetypes they work the best in:
- Critical Strike Multiplier - Higher critical numbers are almost always welcome which ensures that Crit Multiplier is on top of the priority lists very often.
- Critical Strike Chance - This will make you crit more often, a very desired stat in most offensive builds.
- Stat (Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence/Vitality) - Statistics often scale very well with skills (for example, Dexterity is one of the main stats for all Bladedancer Ballista builds, and many Druid builds greatly benefit from high Strength).
- Elemental Damage (Lightning/Cold/Fire/Void/Necrotic/Poison) - These will boost the damage of spells and attacks that utilize the specific element. For example, Bonus Poison Damage is extremely strong in some Bladedancer Builds (like our Poison Flurry Marksman build).
- Magic/Throwing/Melee/Physical Damage - Damage bonuses specific to a single attack type. Most builds focus on a single attack type; you should choose this prefix accordingly, but only if the specific build recommends it (sometimes, other affixes are just more powerful).
- Cooldown Recovery Speed - Useful in builds that rely on powerful skills with long cooldowns.
- Health - Great for some Tank builds that feature percentage-based regeneration, but not that useful otherwise.
- Hybrid Health Leech - This suffix greatly improves the sustain of many offensively-focused builds capable of dishing out a lot of damage. Often a solid option, unless passive trees provide enough Life Leech by themselves.
- Chance to Bleed/Blind/Chill/Ignite/Poison/Shock/Slow on Hit - These effects are usually stacked if the build is focused around them, otherwise, they are not that effective; Bleed or Poison-focused builds will benefit from Chance to Bleed/Poison the most, Chance to Chill works the best in builds focused on Cold Damage, and so on.
- Dodge Rating - Defensive statistic that will sometimes allow you to completely avoid damage. Worth taking only if your passives and skills already support it. Otherwise, other defensive options tend to outvalue it.
- Elemental Protection - Almost every Build needs at least some Resistances, don't overlook them.
- Health Gained on Kill - Very solid in builds with high AoE Damage output, but not that useful in ones that focus on high single target DPS.
- Movement Speed - Mobility is the key to the survival of many "glass cannon" builds, don't skip on it. It also comes in handy during speedrunning.
- Minion Damage - Self-explanatory; pretty much all minion-based builds want this Suffix on most of their gear.
- Mana Efficiency/Mana/Mana Regeneration - These are usually taken care of through passives or Skill upgrade trees (like in our "Shadow Crafter" Bladedancer Build). If you have severe mana problems, however, you might want to consider adding these suffixes to your gear.
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