Lost Ark, a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Smilegate and released in Korea in 2019, is the latest free-to-play MMORPG to make its way to the United States and Europe, and it has already proven to be a huge success. What distinguishes Lost Ark from other RPGs of its caliber is that it is played from a top-down, isometric, fixed camera perspective, rather than the usual top-down perspective of an ARPG. If you’re a fan of games such as Diablo, Grim Dawn, or Path of Exile, you may find yourself immediately at ease with the look and feel of Lost Ark gold selling, despite the game’s obvious differences from those titles on the surface.
The first thing you’ll do in Lost Ark is, of course, choose a class for yourself. Lost Ark has 15 distinct advanced classes that are divided into 5 primary archetypes: Warrior, Martial Artist, Mage, Assassin, and Gunner. Lost Ark has 15 distinct advanced classes that are divided into 5 primary archetypes: Warrior, Martial Artist, Mage, Assassin, and Gunner. You’ll learn about each of the 15 classes’ unique abilities as you progress, and there’s a very helpful training room where you can try out each of the advanced classes from the primary class you’ve chosen before committing fully to it. I chose to begin as a Warrior and spent nearly an hour agonizing over whether to choose a Paladin, Gunlancer, or Berserker as my first class. All three were distinct and responsive, and they possessed abilities worthy of appearing in an anime film. Ultimately, I chose Paladin because I liked the combat support playstyle, which involves shielding and healing allies through the use of my abilities. However, this will be a game in which I will have several alts to play as.
To say that playing Lost Ark gives you a sense of empowerment is an understatement. When it comes to combat, it’s best described as making you feel like Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, stunning and sending flying enemies in a flurry of gore and visual effects. Every button on your hotbar is pleasing on both the visual and audible levels. Monsters are knocked back, thrown up in the air, and stunned, allowing you to combine your abilities more effectively against them. When you consider the impact of each skill and the effect it has on what you’re fighting, the combat gains an incredible amount of weight, which elevates it above even Diablo 3’s combat. The combat is a quick and long-lasting draw, and even after dozens of hours of play.
Aside from the combat, the first few hours of Ark: Survival Evolved are a mix of high points and low points. Following a prologue in which your character’s level is increased to 10, you’ll be dropped into a city and given a slew of tutorial quests that are both overwhelming and tedious. Essentially, the plot is your standard good vs evil story, with McGuffins in the form of Ark shards that must be collected in order to assemble the titular Lost Ark, which is a mysterious object that has the ability to control both creation and destruction itself. A lot of dialogue and cutscenes are presented to you, and the game makes an attempt at being entertaining by displaying a high production value. However, the best that can be said about the story you will experience on your way to the Level 50 soft cap is that it moves quickly between locations and the quest design is straightforward and not grindy. The majority of quests only take a couple of minutes to complete, so this is an MMO that wants you to get to the endgame as quickly as possible. In fact, the campaign can almost be considered a tutorial for the game’s mechanics. When you are placed in instanced single-player events or 4-player group dungeons, this is the only time you will not be able to do so. These are without a doubt the highlights of the leveling process, and I can confidently state that there are moments peppered throughout the campaign that make up some of the most epic set pieces I’ve ever encountered in an isometric perspective game, complete with dramatic camera shifts and a scale of hundreds of opponents. The fact that I was able to witness what Lost Ark is capable of in these moments fueled my desire to see what else the game had in Lost Ark gold store for me.
The more you progress through the campaign, the more options you’ll have to customize your character and roster, the latter of which is Lost Ark’s way of ensuring that all of your alts progress in the same direction. The advancement of your character’s level grants you access to new skills and skill points, but it also allows you to accrue roster experience, which, at higher levels, grants stat bonuses to all characters on your roster. The number of skills you have access to will far outnumber the number of slots available on your hotbar for each character; therefore, you must choose which eight skills you want to include in your loadout and which of those to allocate your limited points to. By using your points to rank up a skill to Level 4, 7, and then 10, you will be able to unlock new tiers of Tripods, which are perks that allow you to enhance or modify the behavior of the skill. Some Tripods have the ability to add additional debuffs to monsters as well as movement utility. Others can completely change the attack type of the weapon, unlocking the possibility of a combo or a timing window for additional benefit. A beautiful system with a great deal of depth, made even better by the ability to respec at your leisure and the ability to store several loadouts of skill trees that you can switch between on the fly, among other features. I constantly switch between support and solo skill builds on my Paladin depending on the content I’m working on, and switching between them is as simple as pressing a button on my keyboard.