Lost Ark

Icon - Calendar Released: 11 Feb 2022
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 26 Feb 2022
Platform: PC

Lost ark

Lost Ark is an MMOARPG (these acronyms are getting a little long). In short, it's Diablo, but in MMO form. You level up, grind, kill bad guys on a fixed top-down camera angle, and try to work out what the hell is going on using the terrible translation and voice acting. I can absolutely see why this has positive reviews, and has been so hyped up; it caters to that monkey-brain flashy lights reward cycle - you're constantly progressing in something no matter what you're doing, and there are so many currencies and achievements thrown at you, that it's very easy to get dragged along. Whether it holds your interest long term though will be based on a few of the different systems.

Notes

The biggest pro of the game is the combat, which is excellent. Skills are well animated, flashy and powerful. Mowing down bad guys in many different shapes and sizes is very satisfying. The classes are all varied, and it was really difficult to pick one and stick with it. From what I hear, they're also generally well balanced too, so one in the "Win column" for the developers.

Unfortunately the same can't be said of their publishers. Amazon have proven themselves, first with Crucible, then New World and now this, that they are utterly incapable of making or publishing games. Even in control of one of the largest resource of servers on the planet, they managed to screw up the launch - and not just in terms of capacity.

  • On launch day, they took the early access servers down for maintenance a few hours before the servers opened to the public, then failed to launch the game until 6 hours after schedule, sometime around 2am
  • A day after launch, Amazon announced with no warning that they were locking existing servers. This meant that the careful planning and decisions that all guilds had made for weeks before the game for which servers they would play on, were suddenly locked out from playing with the rest of their guilds / friends who started playing on launch day.
  • The store was broken for over a week at launch, and is still regularly down for maintenance
  • When the store is under maintenance, the people who subscribe (Crystalline Aura) lose all their benefits like travel discounts and pet bonuses

So, full marks for the original development team (if a little "cash grabby":). Half-assed marks for the translation team, and I will never be playing another game published by Amazon. While I love the combat and some of the mindless grind though, the lazy translations are really what's putting me off. The story and dialogue is important to me in an MMO, and just clicking through fetch quest after fetch quest just to get to the combat isn't going to hold my interest long term.

Pros

  • Dungeons and raids
  • Beautiful models for enemies, mounts, players etc which are really well animated
  • You can re-spec skills any time for free
  • Teleport network for getting around on a continent, Ocean Liner system for fast travel between continents
  • Huge world
  • Lots of different biomes to explore
  • The UI is very complicated, but the buttons look nice, and there's lots of detail in things like transitions and effects for menu items, looting and achievements
  • Beautiful skills and animations that make you feel powerful
  • You get your own stronghold, where you can send out missions, place structures and craft things
  • There are life skills - mining, fishing etc to gather materials to make consumables

Cons

  • You start at level 10 with 8 abilities. That's a jarring introduction to the game. It looks like the prologue where you learn skills from the beginning was removed because of ADHD streamers getting bored
  • The quests are outdated, extremely simple fetch quests
  • Classes are gender-locked (so if you want to play a male wizard, bad luck)
  • The translations are mind-numbingly bad. This is annoying but not a real problem for the crappy early-2000s quest dialogue, but it is a problem when it comes to complicated mechanics like engravings and skill mechanics. It also makes it even more boring to play because half the time, the quest dialogue doesn't really make much sense
  • Translations can be inconsistent. Your stronghold manager refers to "Maintenance Mode", but the UI button is "Management Mode". A quest refers to iron bars in one sentence and when you interact with it, they're steel bars. Also in the stronghold, I had some text say I could check on progress in the office. There is no office building.
  • Korean character appearances. I guess that goes without saying, but if you want to play a female - be prepared to play in hot pants for the entire game, or spend real life money for trousers.
  • Epic-level items are handed to you within the first hour of the game
  • Steam achievements trigger the first time you reach a milestone in-game. So I have Steam achievements for 100% completing zones when I only have 10% completion.
  • There's an energy limit for life skills which takes 2.5 days to recharge
  • The store is still broken 10 days after launch, and people are unable to claim paid-for items
  • There are so many visual effects going on during a boss fight, it's impossible to see the red telegraphs you're meant to dodge, which ends up in a lot of one-shot deaths
  • There are many many many currencies in-game. Even in the real-life money store there are 3 different kinds of crystals
  • There's a "Mokoko Seed" collectible (1200+) that you can find. Unlike the game it ripped off (Breath of the Wild) these aren't there to be found by careful exploration or puzzle solving - it's literally impossible to collect all the seeds without using a guide. Some of them are actually invisible, off the map, or obscured by the fixed camera angle
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