About two, or three years back I decided I probably shouldn’t bother with Lost Ark, as people claimed it would come to focus on very mechanics driven group raids, and I’m more of a solo player. Although I guess I got swept up in the hype, or whatever, and after about 1800 hours, I decided that my decision from back then was correct, Lost Ark isn’t for me, if you like it, good for you, I’m done though.
Anyhow, here’s my issues/thoughts, and some suggested changes to the game that should help people that want to play Lost Ark, especially new players in the future.
1. Why does it take so long to launch the game?:
Seriously, what the heck?
2. Class balancing:
Evidently is focused at when people would be doing legion raids, and makes heavy use of the gear available in that range. End result of this is some classes while supposedly get to be great later on, with heavy investment, can feel like garbage before that point (ex: wardancers). How about doing something about what they’re like before late end game?
3. Equipment, and pheons:
Given how equipment, and ability stones are limited to X number of trades, adding a pheon cost just seems a bit much, and only works to limit how much people would be willing to trade/buy things. Worse still is for a game that wants players to make multiple characters, I will still run into the same value of a pheon cost when moving equipment accross characters in the same roster, as I would buying the same items on the market.
Please at least remove the pheon cost when transfering things within the same roster, and ability stones which we would need many of due to the RNG.
Seems like a nice idea to help add more ways to build a character, the execution although leaves much to be desired. There’s a large number of them, but we can only use a small handful to any meaningful way at a time, and especially due to that, most just end up being regarded as trash. The worst part is how while we are introduced to them as a system were we learn them from books, then apply them from there, we instead mostly get them from accessories, and ability stones, which just renders some 90%+ of those we get as trash.
I would say just remove engravings from accessories, and ability stones, add more ways to get books, and make it just a system to apply passive bonuses. They could also let us use more of them at once, but group them related to function, and limit how many different ones of the same function can be used, so people don’t just use all damage buffing ones.
Common enough idea in online games that want people to play multiple characters, although I do wish they would only complete character specific quests, and leave roster ones alone.
6. Too many scheduled activities:
While I understand the idea behind scheduled activities is to try to funnel people into set times, so there’s a greater chance enough people will be there to do the activity, in some cases, like for certain islands, there’s rarely anyone there looking to do it, and there’s no clear indication of what the schedule even is, resulting in even more waiting around to do something than is normally associated in scheduled activities. At the very least, show the schedule for all such activities, but also consider converting some to on demand solo activities instead, and have adventure islands scale with the number of people there.
7. Too many things that just feel like they were made only to waste time:
Daily Una’s tasks honestly feel like meaningless busy work, and I feel we should be able to skip clear them at no cost once we have full reputation from them. Various cooking tasks, like oysters in South Vern, were clearly designed only to waste time. Some things seem to have absurdly low drop chances, just to keep us busy. The very nature of difficult group content focused games comes with a wealth of things to eat up our time (get a team, wait till they’re ready, attempting content repeatedly when we fail, repeating the prior steps after a group disbands, inevitable drama between players, etc…), so stop trying to waste our time, simply to waste our time, it won’t make people want to play your game, but it can push people to quit.
8. The daily resource grind:
At first chaos dungeons, and guardian raids seemed fun, but before long they become an annoying thing to slog through to get resources. Chaos dungeons provide the best daily rewards, but they are all pretty much the same, with just different backgrounds, and mobs to fight, so are extremely boring. Guardian raids quickly become annoying, what with running through some needlessly large areas (Foggy Ridge), then having to do that repeatedly if you don’t use an item to keep them from running away, and not seeing their health bar doesn’t make it any better. Ways to add variation in both would be very helpful in making them more tolerable (I quite like the event guardian raids with Deskaluda in Woeful Drylands), also make all character bound honing materials, roster bound, and put in the roster inventory, then change it to one entry per day, with double the rewards.
9. Weekly group content:
Let’s face it, often enough the game does a pretty bad job of letting you know how to handle some mechanics, while also sometimes punishing everyone when even one person makes a mistake with a team/raid wipe. Most things are clearly suppose to be learned through trial, and error, which is what leads to lengthy guides, groups taking up to some eight hours of attempts before completing a raid, and people in time just expecting everyone to know what to do, so many give up after even just a few wipes, plus about all you’d see in the party finder is things like “quick run,” “fast alt clear,” and people offering to clear content for other people, for a price. Weekly content is suppose to be the thing everyone is working every day to get ready for, and many would rather pay others, to play it for them, no matter how you look at it, that’s a clear sign that there’s something wrong.
In fighting games (ex: Street Fighter, King of Fighter, Guilty Gear, etc…) there is often a tutorial system to help teach players how to use the skills of a character, and other functions, as they can be rather involved games to learn to play, which helps players get ready to play it with more confidence. That’s what Lost Ark needs if the devs want to layer in so many mechanics in content, a solo training tool to get people ready for content, so it would be something they want to do themselves, rather than pay someone to do it for them, or you know, quit, presuming the daunting existence of that content didn’t keep them from installing Lost Ark in the first place. People shouldn’t have to rely on the community to teach them how to play, the game should be doing this.
There could also be per character badges on our character window, that would show people which solo training versions they completed, which legion raids they cleared in inferno mode, which guardian raids they solo cleared, and other such things which would show people this person has invested effort into becoming proficient at content with this character, so should be a good addition to their team. Letting people do weekly content more than once, while only getting the reward once would let people that enjoy it, do it more often, also make it easier to get a team, as with only one clear per character, per week, the longer you wait after the weekly reset, the harder it is to get a competent team to do that content with. Some would say “but some will just use that to sell buses,” so what, if there’s a learning tool in place, the people that want to do the content, will be doing the content, and anyone not doing what the game is pushing them towards, in time will find Lost Ark has nothing more to offer them, and will quit anyhow.
I feel that the only way one can really enjoy Lost Ark as it is now in the long run, is if you have a static group of people to do the weekly content with. If you’re trying to do all that with random people, I found the experience increasingly more frustrating, until I just couldn’t stand it any more, and quit. The biggest recommendation I could make to Smilegate RPG is have things like inferno mode legion raids for those that want hard group content, but make a path forward for those that aren’t into that, with some new challenging recurring solo content, or maybe make the normal, and hard weekly content scale with the team size, so one can solo it, as the solo content now is either one time only, or becomes a time consuming easy slog fest.