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LOST ARK: A POPULAR MMO SETTLES IN THE WEST

Lost Ark was a huge hit in Korea. When Amazon Game Studios decided to bring it to North America, I was pumped up. I had never experienced an MMO game this epic! The map is so enormous that you have no option but to sail to the other side of the continent! It took me two weeks to reach Combat Level 50. Once I hit 50, it’s all about honing my gears to 1400+.

The road to 50 was exhausting. Though there were a few memorable events, the grinding was too much! I almost gave up on it, but the daily login rewards help push my character’s progression. When I finally hit 50, I felt powerful and triumphant. I would not have known how good and fun this game was had I not given it due patience. It is now one of my favorite MMO games.

The main selling point of Lost Ark is its free-to-play principle. Most MMOs these days operate on paywall infrastructure, meaning power items are locked unless you pay cold hard cash. With Lost Ark, the majority of your mats and gear can be achieved through hard work. The only scenario in which you would use cash is the Skins and Character Expansion Slot.

The game is so much more fun if you play it with PUGS (pickup groups). One such event is a three-level Chaos Dungeon where you have four people surviving waves after waves of beasts and demons. At the end of it, you collect rare items like books of engravings that can boost your “identity” attribute.

Then there’s Chaos Gate, where up to 30 people can join in, plowing through a series of powerful bosses. There are also Guardian Raids with multi-tier gear requirements. You and your team face off against one massive boss here. Field Boss is another cooperative feature where anyone can join in, regardless of their combat level, to fight a common enemy in open terrain.

One of my favorite things to do in Lost Ark is explore the Adventure Islands. This is also a team effort where all of you may be given a particular task to defeat the boss. The rewards you get from these “Adventures” are extensive, from song sheets and pirate coins to rapport and relics that boost your skills. These adventure islands run on a tight schedule. You will need to use the Procyon compass to check when these islands are available.

My least favorite thing to do in Lost Ark is the Abyssal Dungeon. It’s a bit harder because not everyone knows the mechanics, which can lead to a group wipe. The further you go up in the level, the more complicated the mechanics are. A successful raid pays off with crazy rewards, pushing gears beyond their limits. I can do some of the Abyssal levels, but my main issue is that my hand-eye coordination is getting rough.

The game features an impressive lineup of warriors, and it’s still growing. There’s Gunslinger, Shadowhunter, Wardancer, Striker, Gunlancer, and Berzerker, to name a few. I chose Sorceress because I love using magic to attack enemies from afar. As a suggestion, try to pick your “main” wisely—the one you really like, as that’s the one you will spend the majority of time at level 50.

Choose the wrong type, and you can end up hating the game. You would not want to miss the fun things you could have had. Once you hit 50, you can choose another character. If you’re worried about leveling up that character to 50, don’t. You will have a power pass available that skips the main quests and brings your alt to level 50. You can also use the Tree of Knowledge to bring your Alt up to speed.

One of my disappointments about Lost Ark is that it has been getting hit with hundreds of bots on the NA (North America) server, ruining the economy of the game. These bots are farming for gold, so you can buy them at a cheaper price. However, you will get banned if you get caught buying gold from these bots’ websites. AGS is taking actions to reduce these nuisances, like blacklisting users’ VPNs.

Another letdown for me is the lack of ability to team up with friends from different servers in the same region. It would have been nice if there was a way to transfer fighters that have already achieved level 50 to another server. The only solution available is that before creating a character, make sure you and your friend pick the same server you want to play on, unless you want to start over from level 1.

Overall, I had an amazing experience with Lost Ark. It has a little bit of everything you can ask for in an MMO. The game looks great, the sounds are epic, and the gameplay is spot on. Character creation is mediocre, to say the least, but there’s always one to match your playstyle. While leveling up to 50 can be tedious, the rewards of making it through are very worth it. Most events are straightforward unless you’re dealing with Abyssal Dungeons. The best part is that it’s free-to-play, so you really have nothing to lose!

FINAL SCORE: 7.0 OUT OF 10