Current Issues with the game and potential solutions

I wanted to go over my view of the largest issues with the game currently, as well as proposed solutions/actions to fix the problems. My goal is for this to be as constructive as possible. I’ll say that while I list bots first, these aren’t necessarily ordered in rank.

tldr; remove player to player trading, increase pheons, start using projections and not rearview player numbers for content release


This isn't news to anyone, bots are currently a plague on the game and causing many problems for everyone. Lets look at the root cause of this entire problem. Lost Ark is currently a free to play game with unrestricted player to player currency trading. The combination of F2P + unrestricted player trading has caused bot problems in many games.

There is a big red flag in product management for me. It is when a team looks at a problem that no one else has been able to solve yet, and their "Plan A" is to think "we'll be the ones to get it right". How will you succeed where everyone else has failed? What makes your team special over others? These are generally issues that get ignored and then people end up in the same state as everyone else that has tried this in the past. This is what we have now.

You absolutely should continue to combat botting with the automated detection mechanisms you’re going for, but it can’t be the “Plan A”. Looking from the outside in, it certainly seems to be the “Plan A”.

So first off if you want to combat botting, you need to fix the root cause of the problem, unrestricted player to player trading. With that in mind, here’s the potential solutions I see to the botting issue:

  1. Turn off all forms of player to player trading until you are able to succeed in the automated bot detection system you’re working on. This will push everyone towards the marketplace to RMT, but you’ll be able to more easily detect the transactions from there. There’s also more levers to pull to combat the problem when it’s pushed into the marketplace.

    • FWIW I think that the VPN changes are already more aggressive than this one is.
  2. Start punishing people who RMT. Let’s be real here, there’s very few legitimate reasons someone would be mailed hundreds of thousands of gold. When people are able to RMT without any sort of punishment it feeds into the botting problem even more as the demand is high a long with the supply and botting is more profitable.

I am aware of many people who have been mailed such quantities and none have had action taken against them. This is some pretty low hanging fruit. I don’t even want them to be banned. WoW has done things as simple as emailing the person and telling them “We know you’re doing it, can you stop?” And they found it works better than banning in some circumstances. Why don’t you just start there?

Now, I don't think this will actually happen. So here's some other changes

  1. Right now bots are farming endless chaos and selling the mats. Consider changing the T3 endless chaos system to being similar to T1/2. All bound mats but also significantly more mats for a smaller time investment. Bots are propping up the material market right now farming endless chaos for us. If you removed endless chaos you’d need to makeup for the lost resources in some way or the market will explode.

  2. Continue removing gold from low level quests (why do any of them still give gold tbh??), but add it back somewhere else. Increase later abyss dungeon rewards or something of that nature to compensate.


AGS/SG have been giving us tons of great events to help us push alts to T3 and Argos. With the most recent update giving us both a late T2 pass, and the express pass giving what is essentially a free T3. This is all on the back of the Naruni event which was also great. Thank you! This has created a new problem though. We’ve now been given a bunch of characters to gear up, but very few Pheons to do it with.

This affects the accessory market as there’s very little reason to buy or sell “cheap” accessories as most of the price is being paid in the form of pheons. Also, this problem is going to get significantly worse come Valtan/Relic Accessories when they start costing significantly more Pheons to buy and we have little ways to acquire them.

I’ve been told that part of the reason for pheons is to prevent market manipulation… and I’ll believe that for this post. With that in mind here’s some possible solutions:

  1. Give us more Pheons. The simplest and easiest solution! We honestly need a solid 180+ Pheons, (2 char * 90 for accessories) right now to let us gear up our alts relative to how fast you all are giving us mats to level them.

  2. Give the option when purchasing an accessory to use Pheons. If pheons are not used, the accessory/skin is immediately bound to your character. If Pheons are used it functions as it does today.

  3. Change Pheon cost from being based purely on the tier of the item to based on the gold being spent. Putting it simply, a 50g item shouldn’t cost 750g to buy. That item should cost 1 Pheon to buy, or something like that.

The #2 option was suggested on reddit and I believe it’s a great solution to the problem if you are trying to optimize around market manipulation.

Content Release Cadence Methodology

As I’ve been reading the news posts and different comments, one of the things that always stood out to me as odd is how the release dates are being determined. Roxx and others have said many times that AGS/SG are looking at current player data to make sure everyone is ready for the content release, pointing to Argos as a problem.

I believe the wrong lesson has been learned from Argos. Argos was released too soon, yes, however the takeaway from that problem seems to have been “we should have looked at the playerbase and waited”. What astounds me here, is the takeaway should be “We should have looked at the materials the players were given and the requirements to get to 1370 and saw the timelines didn’t add up”. If the expected progress of a player had actually been mapped out, it would have been obvious the average player would be nowhere near Argos.

This may sound a bit rash, but honestly the current state of the playerbase should have very little to do with determining the next slated content release date. In my opinion a better system for determining content release would involve the following:

  1. Upgrade paths and timelines should be projected out over the next release. It’s fairly straightforward to look and add up the average amount of materials a given character will earn over each week and compare that to the amount of materials required to reach the next tier. You then add on some amount of time to account for bad RNG and boom, that’s the next content drop date. Or you inject the materials required over that period of time to get the players ready.

  2. You should be looking at the playerbase to see if your projections were right, not to see if you should release content.

Use this information to feed into the next round of projections. Continually leaving the playerbase in a state of limbo shouldn’t really be on the table. Not only is it on the table though, it’s seemingly the preferred mechanism to going about the content release.

There’s another problem with the currently methodology. When people aren’t given a firm timeline/deadline they won’t hone towards the goal as much. If the communication is “just play the game and we’ll let you know when everyone’s there”, people aren’t going to push their characters as high as they would if they had an actual timeline. You would then look at this an see “players aren’t progressing”. But in reality they aren’t progressing because they essentially have been told not to.

Lets look at how another game who gates content behind ilvl tackles this problem

Destiny 2 also releases new content and expansions and gates the raids behind item level. Destiny’s item levels are much simpler, and there is less RNG involved in upgrading your equipment so their projections are easier. That being said, when a new Destiny expansion comes out the players are given the expansion release date far (months?) in advance. From then, the players are also given the raid release date. It is usually a week after the expansion drop.

Players that want to go for day 1 now have a firm timeline to shoot for. What Destiny 2 doesn’t do though is communicate that the expansion is dropping and we’ll let you know when we feel enough players are there and you’ll have a few days notice that the raid is coming. I will say the communication from AGS has been improving in recent weeks. Thank you, there is always room for improvement though.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading my novel.


The entire point of Pheons is to regulate Blue Crystal prices. They are not going to give everyone enough Pheons to the point they never have to buy them with gold because then players would not be able to convert Royal Crystals for gold.

The better solution would be to add more things to the in-game shop (not materials or Pay-For-Power) that entice people to sell gold for Blue Crystals.

We already have Crystalline Aura that players can buy for Blue Crystals, no other region has that.

You might as well just get use to Pheons.

You should only really be using them on long-term BIS pieces.

So there should never be an alternative to gearing up alts? Your alt is either BIS or no engravings? No wonder all the people I get into matchmaking with blow up and do no damage in T2 and Armored Nacrosena.

Also remind me again how pheon costs on something I can’t buy for blue crystals regulates the blue crystal cost?

I think tying Pheons to gold spent is a great way to make gearing up alts way easier but still addressing the problem of gold selling through the market. I was told they were supposed to combat bots but I fail to see how it does that.

Agreed completely.

Argos wasn’t too soon; Content that should of been in the game from launch wasn’t. (Abyss Trials, Heroic Guardians, GvG/GvE, Heck the Pet Farm Too so we can upgrade the useless Blue Rarity Egg we got because it provides no % stat gain.)

Pheons shouldn’t be required to trade to Alts, and we should get more of them.

For removing Player to Player Trading - I’ll note we need wayyyy more stuff in the Store for Guild Leaders to provide prizes for events. The one skin a month cadence with removal leaving the shop nearly empty at all times would just push us into not being able to make our own social events with the lack of content that again…should of been in the game already.

I concur and don’t nerf sorceresses. Thanks.

A perfect example of the release cadence, this poor Sorceress has no idea if they’ll be nerfed next patch cycle because we don’t know what’s coming or why at any time.

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Pheons cost Blue Crystals.

Players buy Blue Crystals with gold.

Blue Crystals come from players buying Royal Crystals and converting it to Blue Crystals to buy gold from other players.

If you remove Pheons from the game you reduce the desirability of Blue Crystals and therefore you reduce a primary revenue channel for the game which is players buying Royal Crystals and then buying gold from other players in exchange for Blue Crystals.

Also you can gear up alts, stop acting disingenuous. I have 3 alts in T3 with 3x3 engravings and my main has 3x3 as well, I have not even had to buy Pheons yet from the free amount we have been given.

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I’d hazard players buy Blue Crystals with RMT’d gold because of the far greater value to them for it.

I would also be shocked if Blue Crystals were the primary revenue source for SG/AGS.

We’re talking about the point of Pheons, not your assumptions where players get gold from.

You can speculate all you want what their main source of revenue is, but if you’ve watched any streamer or play with anyone who spends cash, the overwhelmingly vast majority of their purchases are gold for cash.

imagine being stupid enough to rmt on stream

That’s strange, the consensus has been that Pheons were for preventing Market Manipulation - not a primary revenue stream.

Before Pheons you use to have to wrap your items in a package, if the item didn’t sell, you lost those consumables.

Pheons are a more friendly version of that system. Pheons can inadvertently have several positives or negatives.

But the primary intention for Pheons is to ensure that players are buying them with gold to supply buy-orders for people who are buying gold with Royal Crystals.

Do you have a source on this? I’d love to see where SG claims its a revenue stream.

Do you have a source where SGR specifically states that Pheons are a prevention against market manipulation and serve no purpose to drive revenue?

Speculation goes both ways.

But tell me where you think players are spending cash long-term in the in-game shop.

You think it’s only costumes 1 time per month? Mari’s shop loses values as time goes on, players are not buying Blue Crystals with cash to get Mari Shop items.

Where else do you think players are spending money?

Prior to pheons f2p wouldn’t have been able to afford half the shit on the AH.

crazy i never knew the money i put into the game to buy peons just magically vanishes and never reaches sgs or ags, haha learn something new everyday

buy 10 skins and sell on AH for gold and then use gold to buy upgrade mats
you get alot more gold for your money then if you was to exchange royals for gold, anyone who does that is pretty stupid

What grinds my gears is the missing content is even getting worse with no chaos gate or field boss in south Vern.

Bridge I can somewhat understand being missing but the other two taken away is ludicrous.

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Do the math on this on your region.

On NA West you would almost break even buying skins versus buying gold directly with cash without accounting for the tax you would pay for selling those skins.

The difference?

If you flood the market with that may skins, no one is going to buy them all.

What about the other people buying skins for cash and then flipping?

You see the problem?

Skins also cost Pheons.

Do you still see the problem?

No one is mass-buying skins in the cash shop and selling them over just buying the gold directly with Royal Crystals.

Skins don’t cost pheons