Is LOST ARK Worth Playing in 2022? | An MMO Review

Is LOST ARK Worth Playing in 2022? | An MMO Review

If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to play a Korean Path of Exile… then you’re going to need to keep wondering, as in the hundreds of hours I’ve spent playing the Russian, and now the North American version of Lost Ark, they’re about as similar as hands are to feet.
They both kinda.. look alike? I guess? Okay actually, in retrospect, that was a bad analogy. Let me try again.

You can walk on your hands, and pick things up with your feet. No, that really doesn’t apply to Lost Ark in this instance…

Well you get what I’m trying to say. Lost Ark is a very different game to Path of Exile or Diablo. It might have the same top-down isometric perspective, but it’s a very different beast!

Today, we’re taking a look at Lost Ark’s international release, having put hundreds of hours into the Russian version of this over the last year it’s a surreal experience to finally be able to play this officially in English.

Lost Ark is a top-down isometric MMOARPG – yes, you may have noticed that there’s an “A” in that acronym. That single letter is used to differentiate it from other MMOs – and stands for “Massively Multiplayer Online Action Role Playing Game,” something that is apparently different from an MMORPG like Black Desert or TERA that are.. well, action MMOs.
Lost Ark takes place in a fantasy medieval setting, with humans, elves.. furries, if you want to go that route.
There are multiple different classes, although – and let me preface this by stating that this is only at present – but the classes are gender-locked. Meaning that each class can only be played as a single gender. Much like Black Desert.
According to Smilegate, they are working on removing the restrictions on gender-locking, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that ever comes to fruition.
Character creation itself is fairly extensive. You can make some absolutely gorgeous characters.. and if you’re ugly like I am IRL, and you want to make something that accurately resembles yourself.. well, you can make some slightly less gorgeous characters. So we’re outta luck.

Lost Ark is a very different MMO than players are traditionally used to. And this is very evident by the sheer number of players trying the game out.
People have been eagerly anticipating this game ever since it was announced, and with Amazon’s infinite marketing potential – including every streamer opting to stream the game, there’s no wonder it achieved the concurrent numbers it did.
Again, Lost Ark utilizes a top-down isometric perspective. As opposed to the typical 3rd-person perspective we’re used to in our MMOs.
Typically, MMOs share the same control scheme: You use your mouse to rotate the camera, you use WASD to move your character, keys like C open your character page and B opens your inventory. You have abilities set to number keys or shortcuts like shift or control number keys.
In Lost Ark, you move using your left or right mouse button, abilities are bound to your letters, and your number keys are reserved for less important items or mounts.
This takes some getting used to. I can’t tell you how often I try to right click to rotate my screen so I can get a better view of something and end up running off like my dad did when I was a kid.
But hey, the good news? I have brothers and sisters I didn’t know about.
Honestly, it isn’t too difficult to acclimate to the difference in control style. I feel like it’ll always be a little awkward, but not enough where it’ll really have any kind of impact on my enjoyment of the game. Different is good. Not always, but in this instance, it is.

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The world of Arkesia is an enormous place. There are over 10 entire continents to explore, with each continent having their own unique zones, their own unique cities, their own unique monsters, quests and purpose.
The zones themselves are small and linear, though, which is probably my single complaint with this game. I like large, open areas. Where you can wander in any direction. Find small treasure chests. Elite monsters you wouldn’t be aware of without exploring. Locate missable, optional dungeons.
Exploration is key to enjoying the zone you’re in, integral to fully becoming enthralled in the area you’ll be potentially spending hours in leveling. This is what made WoW’s zones so special.
Unfortunately, the map for quite a few zones consists of small, thin straight lines. Which I understand isn’t necessarily going to be an issue for everyone. Mrs Stix as an example likes it small, thin and straight.
But the world isn’t comprised exclusively of zones so small. On the contrary, zones get larger, and once you obtain the ability to sail your own ship, you have the entire ocean to explore. Which is exactly what I wanted.
The ocean is immense – it takes several minutes to get from where you are to where you want to be, and there are a variety of tiny little islands you can find scattered around the world that you can dock your ship at. This provides me that sense of exploration I was looking for.

Leveling is about what you’d expect. You follow through the main scenario, moving from hub to hub, region to region, stopping bad guys from doing bad guy things. Meeting new NPCs to join you on your journey.
Leveling is fast and fluid. I never felt like I was forced to do anything other than the main scenario if I didn’t want to, but I chose to pick up side quests wherever I could. It’s a force of habit. I don’t like hitting a leveling wall that halts your progression and requires you do side-quests because you’re too low.
Side-quests were very fast. They didn’t send me all over the zone, they were as simple as “kill a few monsters,” or “loot a few items.” I find it absolutely atrocious having to loot or eliminate 100 of the same monster or item. That isn’t fun. That’s a waste of time.
Leveling dungeons were fun. You could do them on Normal or Hard difficulties. Although admittedly – and this is both a PRO and a CON – both difficulties were doable solo.
Neither provided too large a challenge that a larger group was required to complete it. Not that queues for dungeons were an issue – with 1.3 million people playing, queues were instant. And since role-queues aren’t a thing, we don’t have to concern ourselves with those horrendous DPS queues.

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Speaking of dungeons though, there is one other aspect of this game that I found to be underwhelming: The community. The number of threads I saw on Reddit from players playing through Lost Ark for the first time that were berated, insulted and verbally abused because they didn’t “skip” every scene in the dungeon was actually kind of disgusting.
I even saw this first-hand once or twice. Granted, not toxicity. More random people spamming “skip plz” over and over.
Generally, the community outside of group-content seemed fun, they seemed helpful, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. But players so focused on shaving a few minutes off of their completion timer at the expense of ruining other players’ first time experiences are entitled.
If running into other players that want to experience the content as it’s supposed to be experienced is an issue, there’s always solo-queueing.

When we see Korea is making an MMO we think 2 things: 1.) The game is going to look gorgeous and play incredibly well. And 2.) The game is going to have no story.
Lost Ark is different in that while the former holds true, the latter does not. On the contrary, Lost Ark has quite an interesting narrative. It’s voice acted. It spans every zone in the game we encountered over the course of our way to level 50.
And it actually made sense. Playing through Black Desert’s story, or Astellia‘s, Bless‘s, TERA’s… they’re all convoluted messes that you try and forget exist. Or, well, you don’t need to try to. You just end up doing it without realizing.
And while thankfully Lost Ark has a lot of story to keep you entertained long-term, it isn’t the only form of content worth looking forward to.

The game is filled with an immense amount of content to partake of. Sure, grinding to level 50 isn’t very difficult. On average you might get there playing casually within a few days. What comes AFTER level 50 is what’s important.
If you have a guide readily available, you’ve no doubt already been slowly working towards completing the goal of collecting all 233 billion Mokoko Seeds.
You’ll also want to start researching your fortress and crafting professions if you’re not strongly against crafting like I am. You’ll want to focus on completing Island quests and stories. There are Chaos Dungeons to run. Guardian Raids. Abyss Dungeons. PvP.
You might feel a little overwhelmed at times by the selection of content, but it’s all important to upgrading your item level. And the higher your item level gets, the more content you gain access to.
This is completely disregarding the creation of alts. Oh, you didn’t know you needed alts to keep up with other players? That’s so sweet. Although admittedly, alt maintenance isn’t nearly as bad as it is in games like World of Warcraft so realistically I can’t complain.

Speaking of PvP, there are 2 dedicated types of PvP in Lost Ark. On the one hand, you can engage another player in a duel. This can take place anywhere at any time and is a way of humiliating your friend because he hasn’t been playing very long and doesn’t understand his class.
Alternatively, there are PvP Arenas that are unlocked after progressing through the story. Normal Arenas have 3 game modes themselves. 3v3 team matches where players enter as a team. 3v3 individual matches where players enter individually and fight separate 1v1 matches. And finally, 6-player death matches.
You also have competitive Arena matches, co-operative battles, and custom games that you can play with your friends.
Interestingly, Arenas have their own builds completely separate from your field-build. Meaning that you’re required to build 2 different characters: One for when you’re out in the world questing, running dungeons, raids and PvE content. And one for engaging in PvP.

And for those of you, like me, who are too poor to afford a house in real life, then you can live out your fantasy of having your very own island in Lost Ark.
I’ve never been all too fond of player-housing in my games but I know Mrs Stix is. Which is why she’s always in charge of decorating our homes. I mean, I struggle at times dressing myself. But that’s what we have significant others for, right? To make up for what we lack.

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At the end of the day, Lost Ark is an absolutely incredible MMORPG. Smilegate have chosen to do something completely different to what is traditional in our MMOs with this – something that was contrastingly different from the norm.
And it has worked out for them, being one of Korea’s largest MMOs and becoming the #2 largest game to have ever launched onto Steam.
They genuinely built something beautiful, something that not only looks visually superior to a large number of its competitors, but also plays substantially better.
Sure, zones might be a little snug and might not promote the same sense of grandiose exploration that I want but no game is infallible. You’ll always find fault with some aspects of what you’re playing, it’s impossible not to.
There’s likely a lot I’ve missed, but with how large and filled with content Lost Ark is, there’s really no helping it.

Is this the greatest MMO? To some people, maybe. To me? No. But it’s definitely one of the most fun MMOs I’ve played.

Combat – 10/10 I’d give the combat an easy 10/10. It’s just that good.
Graphics – 8/10 This is an absolutely gorgeous game. There’s no qusetioning that.
Narrative – 6/10 Honestly, it was much better than I would’ve expected of a Korean MMO but still nothing extraordinary.
World – 7/10 The world is massive and filled with varied environments. But the zones are too linear to fully enjoy.
Content – 9/10 There’s an incredible amount of content present that you’ll always have something to fill your time with.
Overall – 40/50 – Lost Ark is easily one of the best MMOs available right now. Given that it’s a free title, there’s even more reason to play it. It’s beautiful, it plays better than any other free MMO, and it’s updated regularly with new classes, regions and content.

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