This post ended up being quite long but I thought it might be useful to relay the experiences of a brand new player to Lost Ark. Feel free to not read it if you aren’t interested (most sections have a TLDR). I might come back and update this later after a few more weeks but wanted to do this while it was fresh in my memory.
I’m a long time MMO player, primarily WoW, where I play at a reasonably high, though not top, level (mythic raider). I started playing this game with no intention of hitting top end content. I was playing for more of a single player RPG experience, reading quests, account completion etc. I felt it was important to mention this, as it impacts how I felt about the game.
I’m level 50 with an item level of 460. Have done quests far enough to unlock Chaos Dungeons and Guardian Raids, and I’ve done a few of each. This weekend I’ll probably play a bit more seriously and try and make some progress, I’ve googled a bunch to figure out what I want to do.
I wanted to play a melee class, read some of the descriptions and went with a warrior. Initially I tried out Beserker but ended up rerolling (more about this later) and am now playing a Destroyer.
The initial gameplay was fun, and seemed reasonably self explanatory. Quest lines/text aren’t amazing but are pretty decent for an MMO.
There was a lot of things I didn’t understand while browsing around systems, but I assumed I didn’t need them yet, which was correct (e.g. engraving, cards, etc.). I was getting a lot of reward chests and I basically didn’t use any of them, I didn’t want to choose the ‘wrong’ thing. However at no point did I feel like I ‘needed’ these things (systems or rewards), I was cruising through the game fine.
TLDR: First impressions are good, the game feels fun.
This was the first problem I had, and tbh I think most people would quit at this point. I initially rolled my toon on Valtan, as I’m from NZ and wanted to play on the unoffical Oceanic server (from what I read). After a couple of days, suddenly there was massive queues when I wanted to play. I did some googling and decided to change servers to Enviska (sp?) as it looked like it was lower population and I wanted to avoid the queues (given I was planning on primarily solo play). This worked, initially, I was frustrated but not too bothered.
Since that point the queues are on my new server too. I’m now aware it’s because of the bots. I won’t go into this in any more detail, as the topic has been discussed enough in other posts, beyond saying it felt ‘bad’ as a new player once I realised almost everyone I’d been seeing was a bot (though explained why they never mounted!).
TLDR: Queue times will make most people quit.
The first thing that bothered me was the inability to complete a stronghold quest. I had to add a structure, but every single structure I had access too cost gold, and I had no gold. I did some googling and it turns out as a F2P player you basically can’t get any gold until 50 (can’t even sell on market as no gold for deposit). Eventually I stumbled across a structure I could make without gold (can’t remember how I got it) and was happy to proceed.
Very shortly after this I got another stronghold quest which needed me to make 3 sets of health potions (major I think), these also required gold. I did not find a workaround for this, I waited till I got to 50.
I have since learnt that you used to get gold from rapport at lower levels and this wouldn’t have been an issue. I am also aware the change was made in an attempt to counter botting (which is fine). My suggestion would be minor tweaks to these quests, add some sort of structure not requiring gold by default, change the health potion quest to be the potions that cost silver.
It’s possible there was some way for me to get gold. However I went as far as googling (quite a bit) and wasn’t able to figure it out.
While I now know I wasn’t missing much by delaying these quests, at the time it was quite annoying as I’m a bit of a completionist.
TLDR: Quests that require gold, before you can get gold, are bad.
INITIAL LEVEL 50 EXPERIENCE:
I hit 50 and now wanted to earn some gold (mainly for the quest I mentioned above). I did some googling and headed over to Vern so I could unlock things. I got up to the quests to unlock the Chaos Dungeons, tried to queue up, my item level was too low and I wasn’t allowed to do so (was about 230 I think). As such I still couldn’t earn any gold (maybe could have done islands somewhere or something but not sure) and had to go back to questing to get my item level up. Note I had quests telling me to do Chaos Dungeons, but couldn’t enter (in case that wasn’t clear).
Eventually I hit 250, and was immediately boosted to 302, I beleive this is just from the current event though. Why did I have to hit 250, if you’re just going to immediately boost me up to 302 once I do? I don’t understand what the purpose of this is, just award the 302 items when the player hits level 50.
TLDR: Should be able to immediately do content at level 50.
LEVEL 50 DUNGEON CONTENT:
Chaos Dungeons were pretty self explanatory, smash guys and you get loot, all good here.
My first Guardian Raid was a rather confusing experience, I went solo as I’d done everything else solo so far. I entered, ran around and basically didn’t find anything. I googled and found out I was meant to use a flare. Then I went and attacked the boss, and for some reason I couldn’t do any damage to him (I now know the health isn’t shown and I actually was damaging him). I was very confused at this point, I thought I was missing something, maybe I had to use specific abilities, I had no idea. Anyway I ended up not killing him and bailing (he might have almost been dead lol). I again googled, discovered that the health isn’t shown, used matchmaking and was fine.
It’s worth noting I’m currently working on a guide quest that sent me to an Island and is about the Guardians. It’s possible that this is what’s meant to explain all of this to me, but I had my ‘license’ before I did this questline.
The ‘licenses’ in general are a little frustrating. I tried to do things (e.g. Guardian Raid) and it just says you first have to do a specific guide quest. I had no idea how to get the quest, even now it’s not always clear what the triggers are for some of these guide quests.
TLDR: Guardian Raids were a bit confusing at first.
OTHER LEVEL 50 CONTENT:
The amount of things to do was a bit overwhelming. In particular I didn’t understand sailing at all, I knew how to sail places, but didn’t know why I’d do that. I’ve since had a guide quest about Island Souls which has explained it, but I think that could be earlier (unless I got it straight away but didn’t do it, which is possible).
So far I’ve basically ignored islands completely, unless a quest sent me there. I do have some plans to do a specific set of islands, which I found in a guide, to get some honing mats.
Also note it took me a while to figure out why I couldn’t do Una quests, I had to google this.
TLDR: Sailing was pretty confusing initially.
As you will know from my item level I haven’t done too much of this yet. I’ve got quite a lot of mats (including reward chests) saved up, but I want to do the islands I referred to above first, as then I can hopefully use my chests for higher tier mats. I also don’t have much gold at the moment (maybe 300), so I doubt I could hit tier 2 anyway.
The process for this seemed reasonably straight forward, I was a bit surprised how fast the item level lifted (and how much stronger I got). I don’t think I’m far enough in to comment much more on this, I haven’t even had one fail yet!
TLDR: Seemed fine initially, too early to say any more.
One of the issues I had was the sheer number of currencies in the game. I was getting rewards and didn’t understand what almost any of them did. I didn’t want to google every single one so, as stated earlier, I basically just put them all in storage.
While this isn’t something that can really be changed, as they all have their uses, maybe some sort of currency guide in game would be helpful?
TLDR: No idea what half of the currencies are for → google.
WISH I KNEW EARLIER:
There are quite a few things I wish I’d known earlier, most of which I stumbled across in a guide, rather than the game teaching me. Ideally important things should be explained, and I don’t think they all are.
The worst, and most embarassing, example is I didn’t know about the Destroyer mechanic about building and spending gravity charges. I was level 50 when I found this in a guide. I had noticed the spender abilitied lighting up but didn’t really know what they were for.
Other examples are things like the push immunities, counters, weak points etc.
Also I think auto-run at cursor should be on by default, it’s seriously a game changer.
The game is fun for a new player, however the queues are a major ‘I quit’ moment. There is quite a lot of the game that isn’t clear and anyone not willing to google is probably going to quit too.