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Last Epoch Ward Guide: Retention, Decay Threshold, Per Sec, Calculation & Build Tips

3/11/2024 3:59:45 PM

Ward is a crucial mechanic in Last Epoch, acting as a defensive layer that absorbs damage before it affects your health. In this Ward guide for Last Epoch 1.0, you'll gain insights into how Ward operates, its interaction with other stats, and the computations behind its retention over time, ensuring you understand how to build an effective Ward-based character.

What is Ward in Last Epoch 1.0?

Ward is represented as a bar above your health that decays over time. There's no cap to how much Ward you can accumulate, but the more you have, the faster it decays. The decay rate is influenced by your Ward retention and Ward Decay threshold.

How does Ward work with Other Stats?

Ward doesn't exist in isolation; it's influenced by other defensive stats such as armor, block, and resistances. These stats apply to damage before it impacts your Ward, enhancing its effectiveness. For example:

  • Armor reduces the damage that passes through to your Ward.

  • Block Chance allows you to block attacks before they touch your Ward.

  • Resistances reduce incoming damage, thus preserving your Ward.

Factors Affecting Ward Value in Last Epoch:

Here are the three main factors that can influence how effective your Ward is and how it interacts with the game's mechanics:

1. Ward Retention: The Cornerstone of Sustaining Ward

  • Increases the duration your Ward lasts before decaying.

  • Becomes more valuable when you have a higher base Ward.

Ward retention is a percentage value that reduces the rate at which your Ward decays. The higher your Ward retention, the slower your Ward will deplete, allowing you to maintain a higher Ward for extended periods during combat.

Building Ward Retention

Increasing your Ward retention can be accomplished through:

  • Equipping gear with Ward retention stats.

  • Investing in passive skills that increase Ward retention.

  • Stacking intelligence, as each point provides a 4% increase in Ward retention, benefiting spellcasters with both damage output and Ward sustainability.

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2. Ward Decay Threshold:  Your Ward's Safety Net

  • Determines the minimum value your Ward will decay to.

  • Works similarly to Ward per Second but is impacted by Ward Retention.

The Ward Decay threshold is a stat that determines the minimum level to which your Ward can decay. It serves as a safety net, ensuring that you always have a baseline level of Ward to protect your health.

Ward Decay Examples

Imagine your Ward Decay threshold is set at 100, and you have 500 Ward. As you engage in battle, your Ward will decay but not below the 100 thresholds, giving you a consistent buffer against incoming damage.

3. Ward per Second: Continual Ward Replenishment

  • Directly increases your Ward over time.

  • More beneficial when you have a lower base Ward.

Ward per second is a stat that continuously adds to your Ward, effectively countering its natural decay. This can be crucial during long fights where your Ward is being consistently chipped away.

Ward On Hit: Reactive Ward Generation

Some Last Epoch items and skills provide Ward on hit, granting you Ward each time you strike an enemy. This can create a dynamic ebb and flow of Ward during combat, rewarding aggressive playstyles.

Last Epoch Ward Calculation

The formula for Ward loss per second is:

  • Ward loss per second = (4 * current Ward - Ward Decay threshold) / (1 + 0.5 * Ward retention)

In this formula:

  • Current Ward: The amount of Ward you currently have.

  • Ward Decay Threshold: The lowest value your Ward will decay to.

  • Ward Retention: A stat that reduces the rate at which your Ward decays over time.

  • Ward per Second: An additive attribute that increases your Ward over time, multiplied by Ward Decay Threshold.

Ward Per Sec vs Retention: Which One To Choose For Your Build

Choosing between Ward per second and Ward retention depends on your playstyle and build:

  • Ward Per Second is more beneficial when you have a lower base Ward, as it helps build up your Ward quickly.  So if your build has a low base Ward and you find yourself dying quickly, focus on Ward per Second to increase your overall Ward and slow down the decay rate.

  • Ward Retention is more valuable when you maintain a high Ward level, as it slows down decay, allowing you to preserve a larger Ward pool for longer durations. So if your build generates a high amount of Ward, prioritize Ward Retention to maintain that high Ward state for longer.

Ward vs Health vs Armor: The Defensive Triad

Understanding how Ward interacts with health and armor is key to maximizing your character's survivability:

  • Ward vs Health: While Ward acts as a shield for your health, having a high health pool is still important, especially for gear that converts a percentage of health into Ward.

  • Ward vs Armor: Armor reduces the damage that hits your Ward, making it last longer. Therefore, even with a strong Ward, neglecting armor can be detrimental.

Last Epoch Ward Build: Setup a Ward-Based Character

When creating a Ward-focused build, consider:

  • Ward Retention: A higher Ward retention rate slows down the decay of your Ward.

  • Ward per Second: Directly counters the decay, adding to your Ward continually.

  • Intelligence: Each point of intelligence grants 4% Ward retention, making it a dual-purpose stat for spellcasters, increasing both damage and Ward retention.

Gear for Ward Builds:

When selecting gear, aim for items that offer:

  • Ward Per Second: To counteract decay and build your Ward.

  • Ward Retention: To maintain a higher Ward value for longer.

  • Intelligence: For its Ward retention and potential damage benefits.

  • Unique items and affixes can also offer substantial Ward per second, which is especially important for maintaining Ward during battle.

Understanding the intricacies of Ward in Last Epoch can be the difference between life and death, especially in hardcore modes. It's not just about stacking Ward but also about strategically managing retention and synergizing with other defensive stats. Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the game, mastering Ward mechanics can significantly improve your survivability and success in Last Epoch.

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