NA/EU Lost Ark meant to be easy mode / encourage FOMO?

First of all, I’m looking for some opinions on this facet of the conversation: why do you play games?

Is it to:

  1. Have fun?
    a. What is fun to you?
  2. Overcome challenges?
  3. All of the above?
  4. None of the above? If so, what would your reasons be for enjoying a game?

I’d like to preface this section with some information about the KR version of Lost Ark. Don’t freak out; it’s not comparing apples to oranges, it is simply noting the differences in possibilities and culture between the two releases, and this includes the other non-KR regions.

Each one of us know for a fact that KR is the bleeding edge (gets the newest stuff) version of this game, When content is released for KR, it is done so based on the KR playerbase; the boss’ non-mechanical difficulty is balanced off of the current player power. This makes total sense, as I believe all MMOs do this when releasing new content for their playerbase, so that the content is rewarding and challenging for those who want to try it out.

What this means, the majority of the time, is that players are rarely overgeared for the new content released, because they do not have the same number of sources as they do after the raid is released and completed on a weekly basis. In addition, the item level cap is normally increased with new content. So, as a KR player is farming their current content, they are completely up to date for Brel. When Akkan releases, a minority of the player-base would actually be overgeared for the balance crafted for the raid.

This means, that in KR, players are encountering these new raids with appropriate challenge. There are DPS checks, there are mechanical requirements, there are game knowledge and skill-based methods to increase your performance in the raid. Once a raid is completed for several weeks, people do start busing the content to make some gold where possible and also help others out who may not be confident enough to try the content themselves (not saying this bus part is good, but it is what it is). Even though the buses exist, they are never done off-the-bat, because players are not geared enough to bus the content themselves the majority of the time, and they have not learned anything about the fights at that point. This is very healthy for the game because it allows anybody who wants to, to try their hand at the hardest raid in the game without an advantage.

Now, let me point an idiosyncrasy that has been told to the player-base by Smilegate:

  1. DPS meters are bad; they are not allowed.
    a. Why? Because they encourage gatekeeping and discriminating behavior.

I can absolutely agree with this perspective, from my opinion. They are the source of truth for this game, and so they make any decisions they want to in order to promote health within the game. Some min/maxers ignorant to the toxicity of these addons might disagree; I would say, if you want to worry so much about DPS, you should just be perfecting your gameplay and sit yourself on the top of the MVP screen at the end of the fight – there is no need for a DPS meter to tell you whether you got the highest performance or not, we already have something which tells you this.

Now, let’s switch focus over to NA/EU’s global release.

There are a few reasons that NA/EU can never experience the same kind of game that KR does, no matter how caught up we are. Those reasons are:

  1. Even if we’re almost caught up, we are not caught up. This means that we already gain knowledge about all of this content before we ever get it, and this content has already been played and tested by the Korean player-base; allowing them to min-max strategies and characters for a particular fight.
    a. This in itself means we already have an advantage. None of it is truly new for us; it is a new experience, but not new information.
  2. Item level caps and accessibility to gear are way too large for current content.
    a. Example: The item level cap when Vykas was released for us is 1580 (1575?). That is 120 item levels more than what is required to try Vykas hard. Before Vykas was actually released, most hardcore gamers were already extremely over-geared for it. The same was true with Valtan on a different scale.
    b. This detail ends up causing the exact same issue that DPS meters do, not including scrutinizing every millisecond of DPS and degrading somebody because of the mistakes they made which you can see from the numbers. When it’s so easy to over-gear with some cash (be it via G2G or through Lost Ark) or pure game grinds, there are going to be many people who do so in order to more confidently approach the raid. With the power walls we currently have, people are already geared with 5x3 since Valtan and so high on item level that they do not experience the true nature of the fights. Because of this, they expect other players to either have the same thing, or make their own group of purposeful normally-geared players, and they in general think that they’re better at the game because they have an easier time doing more DPS and not as much required skill to survive – even though this is not a 1-to-1 comparison, gamers treat it like it is because they want to personally feel like they’re a great player. This is just normal human behavior; to try to make yourself feel as good as possible, no matter what you are doing.
    c. This detail also promotes short-cutting your way to what you own, because you will always be able to make more gold and progress off of the new content than others who do not shortcut. Frankly, it is worth it for many people; you see this when accessories and items from these new raids are being sold on the Auction House – people who have invested a lot of gold or cash into making sure they were prepared seemingly attempt to make some of what they invested back by being the first to access things. This means that F2P really has to fight a lot harder in NA/EU to even come close than they do in KR.
    d. The way this is handled creates FOMO when it does not need to exist. What does FOMO do? It makes people feel like they need to do something in order to be a part of the group, and if they don’t, they’re going to lose out on profit that they could have made. This includes paying cash for gear.
    e. In addition, because this is how NA/EU Lost Ark works, the auction house is absolutely screwed whenever any type of new content is released, because people know that people scared of FOMO will end up paying for that gear in order to trivialize content. This hurts F2P massively.

With these points, I just want to say that, frankly, our version of the game does not give our players as much satisfaction as I believe Smilegate would hope for. The way our release has been managed has been an utter cash grab at multiple times with complete disregard for the true health of the game.

We do not have the same level of challenges. We have “challenges” which we convince ourselves are what we enjoy overcoming.

In addition, the cheese mentality in NA is seriously pathetic. We are not even doing these fights as they were intended, and when there is a challenge, we seem to find a way to shortcut ourselves past these challenges instead of learning how to defeat them. In my personal opinion, learning how to defeat the challenges presented to us is why games are fun to play. These kids can’t even consume 8 orbs in order in Valtan G1 90% of the time; they never even try to learn how, and you get a fraction of people lying about their experience the majority of the time you create a group.

To be honest, I think this may be what they want. I’m sure it makes them a lot more cash than they would otherwise, and why would somebody invested in the financials of SG not want to do this – especially when NA/EU would bang their heads against a wall in order to complete a raid, regardless of the over-simplification and cheesy tactics.

I really thought this game was actually the answer to our NA/EU MMO issues that we’ve had for the past 15 years or so. This is the case in every single MMO that exists out here in NA/EU, and Lost Ark has brought some fresh perspective and satisfied what people have been asking from MMOs for years. The depressing thing about this is… even if there is a game out there in the world that could satisfy our hunger for fun, it would not actually end up satisfying us, because they would cater to this kind of toxic mentality, which introduces the things that people have despised for so long.

Lost Ark, sadly, has just become another NA/EU MMO with the state of our region. Makes me kind of sad that I’m not sure we’ll ever actually see an MMO like this which actually cares about dishing out true challenges for NA/EU, given that this was basically the best chance we’ve ever had.

To the NA/EU players out there (not all, but whoever these apply to):

  1. Stop being toxic
  2. Stop acting like you need more gear than you do; it just means your success means less than it would if done as a true challenge.
  3. Stop treating others like they need to have the same toxic mentality as you do.
  4. Enjoy the game. There is no need to be sadistic.

In KR, whales are whales because they want to have the most ridiculous stuff in the game. In NA/EU, whales are whales because they want to be the first and most profitable, and it works.

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Bump to annoy people lurking the forums; you need to understand reality.