Hello everyone, it is truly heartbreaking that the day has come where I even feel the need to write a post like this.
As a general statement to preface this whole thing, my final wish is for everyone globally to enjoy the great game that is lost ark, my intentions with this post is not to instate a doomer mentality, but rather, hopefully reach out to any people who will be willing to be mature and take everything I am saying into consideration, so hopefully our voice can be heard, and positive changes can come.
To start, a little bit about myself:
- I have been interested in this game since the very first trailer in late 2014.
- I have been playing the game since CBT2 on the Korean Servers
- I have experienced every iteration/version of this game, be it on Russia, Korea, Japan, season 1 or season 2, I have seen it all.
I experienced this game since you couldn’t press one button and instantly be inside your ship, I have experienced this game since chaos dungeons weren’t a daily loot grind, but were more similar to the story dungeons you currently experience while leveling, I have also been here when the game was at it’s worst state in terms of p2w and was at it’s dying breaths (Yon/Faten update season 1)
All things considered, our lost ark release for western audiences is quite possibly the best possible release in terms of game polish and game content.
A new player can easily get lost for months with all the horizontal and vertical content available (vertical content/vertical progression refers to gear score and overall character strength progression while horizontal contents refers to things like collectibles, islands, side stories and etc)
It goes without saying that, for the most part, the new user experience to lost ark should be amazing, especially with all the Quality of Life changes implemented so early on in the game.
However, all of this greatness on the outside hides a much darker picture that only people familiar with the game can possibly see.
I see a lot of people who get all their information from big streamers, and due to their trust in these streamers, they take their opinions and thoughts for fact.
For instance, months before release, when we had no release date in mind, and communication was silent from AGS, a lot of popular content creators were actively pushing for and supporting the idea of a Tier 1 release of the game, saying that this will help people focus more on their account progression (horizontal progression), by collecting runes, skill points, and other important collectibles.
However, just a few weeks before release, streamers quickly started supporting a Tier 3 release out of nowhere, something they would have never said months ago.
It became very clear that the opinions of these streamers and content creators were no longer supported by what they actually think, but tainted and manipulated by monetary incentive through being sponsored.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, of a much darker future to come, and many more horrible decision that are directly against F2P players or even players that are willing to put a reasonable amount of money into the game.
Here is a list of some of the changes that actively harm the players:
3 years of game content being compressed into a 1 month release, making any person with a reasonable amount of daily playtime feel completely overwhelmed with how many things they have to do to progress their character.
Removal of the July 7th (known as 7/7 astalgia patch) honing changes.
For context, during LOA ON Mini, the director mentioned specifically how the new player experience feels horrible and extremely stressful especially during honing from item level 1340 to item level 1370.
Due to this, the director decided to implement a relief patch, so people could more easily access relevant endgame contents such as Abyss Raids and Legion Raids (namely Argos, Valtan and Biackiss/Vykas)
This relief patch would change a few things:
As you can see, with these changes, a dedicated free-to-play player would with relative ease be able to get a few characters into tier 3 contents, from which they can directly funnel materials into their main character, and easily be able to access contents such as Argos, and eventually Valtan and so on.
These changes were planned for our release and were on the release date patch notes, then suddenly out of nowhere got removed and were never talked about to this day.
Staggered class release for monetary profit: currently, not all classes are available for launch and we are currently missing 7 classes, which will slowly be implemented into the game at around a monthly or bi-monthly cadence, this is really good for the game company, since it can generate hype, interest and most importantly money, but for the playerbase who wants to play a certain class, once that class is released, they would have to invest a ridiculous amount of time or money in order to get it up to where their main might be.
Horrible User Experience and Feedback (Mostly for EU): if you have been playing on the EU Central servers for the initial release, there were multiple game breaking issues that were handled way too late, and that we got almost no compensation for.
Crystalline Aura not working (Which is a premium paid subscription by the way), we got 3 days crystalline aura compensation (that other servers which had no issues also received? XD), during the days where it was bugged, so even the compensation we received was a shot in the dark since no one got to benefit from it, and in a recent forum post by Roxx, she states there is no compensation planned currently.
Extremely long queues: I am talking 5-20k people queues on any given server on EUC, which translates to about 3-9 hrs of purely sitting inside of a queue.
Completely broken matchmaking: you finally endured sitting through a 6 hour queue, only to suddenly realize that you cannot even get into solo instances (chaos dungeons, which are your dailies btw) or queue up with others to do various game contents (guardian raids, abyss dungeons etc)
Broken Store: for most players, trading in the auction house, whether it was gold to crystal exchange, or purchasing any goodies would be completely unavailable for most of the day.
Botting Issues: horrible anti-cheats and using steam as a game launcher means botting and using cheats or hacks becomes laughably easy, this issue is not so awful on other servers mainly due to Korea and Japan requiring mobile phone verification and having way stricter policies.
Unfair account bans: countless people got banned for simply trading in the auction house (yes, literal bots running around not getting banned while legitimate players do) with no feedback, no compensation, nothing.
Outright lies: when the EUC issues got out of hand, we got an entirely new region, EUW, one of the ideas people had to motivate people to join EUW was to implement an instant level 50 boost so players do not have to go through a 12-15 hour leveling process all over again, it was officially stated that this cannot be done because apparently ‘‘not possible.’’ due to powerpasses only working on rosters in which there is already at least one level 50 character.
This is a straight up bullshit lie, on Korea, Russia and Japan, a completely freshly created account can purchase an instant boost to fucking Punika while never having played the game before.
Horrible communication: there are countless changes to the game that happen that do not get added whatsoever into patch notes, including NPC rewards being changed, Island Rewards being changed, collectibles names being changed (Island Token > Island Soul).
Horrible advertising: on any other Lost Ark release, when new content would be coming out, especially with skins, we could open the official game site, and be able to preview the skins we want to purchase.
Korean Server Example (You can preview all classes):
Meanwhile our version:
Overall, this and many other changes I simply cannot put into a single thread, that is already excessively long, have ruined my and many other people’s perception and enjoyment of the game.
Lost ark always has been and always will remain a P2W game, and while in the past players like me and others have been fine with this, since you could make meaningful progress as a dedicated free to play player, this is no longer the case on our release of the game, which is ironic cause most people would have predicted our version to be less pay to win than other releases.
As it stands, content is gated behind a pay-wall, and the most commonly presented counter argument is that ‘‘the content will always remain there, so there is no rush’’.
Would you say the same if I told you that you can simply wait 3 months to play lost ark or pay 2000 USD to be able to play the game right now?
Most MMORPG players play for the endgame, for the character progression, and for being able to enjoy high-end difficult raiding with their friends or guild.
And while on other servers, frequent events, boosts, and being able to have multiple high level alts to support yourself was enough to be able to keep up with the endgame as a free to play player, this is simply not the case on our release.
In the past, I knew that as a free to play player I will never be able to reach +25 on all my gear, and I was perfectly fine with that, let the whales be happy with maxed out gear and an illusory sense of superiority, as long as I can enjoy and clear the contents with lower gearscore, I am satisfied.
As of right now, not only is it a hopeless dream to ever max out your gear, it’s also pretty unrealistic to even be able to access content before it eventually becomes outdated and new content comes out.
Also, if you are a member of a guild that was trying to do region/server first clears of equalized contents (Hell Mode), say goodbye to that wish as well, since even the entry point for that content has become an unrealistic goal if you wish to not drop a ton of cash on upgrading your character.
Last but not least, to people who aren’t worried about this yet, AGS has delibirately disabled server announcements for gear upgrades, why?
I am aware that this was an incredibly long read, and if you made it this far, thank you.
I hope in the future, issues like this are no longer present, and we can all enjoy this game together.