The current state of the MMORPG sea right now is a bit turbulent due to the decline of World of Warcraft (WoW). This allowed several other MMOs to stake their claim on the various refugees that proceeded to evacuate WoW. One of the newer ones that we’re going to talk about today is the Lost Ark game.
What Is Lost Ark?
Lost Ark, the game is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) created by Tripod Studio and Smilegate RPG for PC. The game was released in South Korea earlier on December 4, 2019, with US and Europe getting the game on February 11, 2022. The US and Europe release of the game is published by Amazon Games.
Lost Ark Game Review
If you haven’t downloaded the game and are curious to know whether it’s worth your time, here’s all there is to know about Lost Ark.
Lost Ark as a game is primarily a player-vs-enemy (PvE) affair in an isometric, pseudo-3D environment. If you’ve played any game like Diablo over the past few years, then you’ve already seen this kind of gameplay before. However, Lost Ark has a lot of emphasis on co-op, multiplayer gameplay.
In addition to the PvE, Lost Ark also emphasizes exploration, achievement hunting, and crafting among others. So long as you are playing the game, there’s a chance that you can progress to your current level and standing in the game. Level 50 is Lost Ark’s current maximum level, and reaching it unlocks the endgame content. These are usually composed of raids and dungeons that have high-level enemies with great loot.
As of right now, Lost Ark the game has five main classes, each with its subclasses that players can choose when the game starts. These are Warrior, Martial Artist, Gunner, Mage, and Assassin. Each of the classes in Lost Ark has various subclasses that we’ll also talk about in their respective main class.
In addition to this, the game’s subclasses have a hard lock on gender. For example, two of the Martial Artist’s subclasses are female only, while the Warrior subclasses are all male. Do note, though, that Lost Ark might add new classes to the game later on.
Warriors are Lost Ark’s big boys, using large blades and wearing heavy armor. They excel in sticking close to mobs and bosses and soaking the damage. In team play, the class is invaluable because it’s the one that usually tanks damage for the team.
The Warrior class has three subclasses: Berserker, Gunlancer, and Paladin, and we’ll talk about these classes below.
The Berserker is exactly as advertised. A hard-hitting, tanky warrior that uses his giant blade to turn enemies into sashimi. He boasts the highest damage amongst the warrior classes due to his specialization in destroying enemy mobs and bosses. However, he’s also on the squishy side. It also doesn’t help that his abilities need a good placement to be effective. However, if the player overcomes this, the Berserker is a potent class to pick for those that chose Warrior.
Next is Gunlancer, and this is, surprisingly, the subclass that fits the “Tank” description best. This is because Gunlancer has a lot of abilities that can be used to taunt enemies into attacking them. Combine this with their gunlance outputting a hefty amount of damage when lined up correctly, and you have a potent class indeed. With good teammates, their true worth shines as they help the team make short work of Lost Ark’s content.
Last but not least is Paladin, a semi-support class. Paladins are warriors in armor and go to battle with a longsword and a book. Paladins have two separate abilities covering the book and the longsword. The longsword has offensive abilities, while the book has support abilities. However, Paladins are usually using support abilities more when it comes to team content due to utility. Don’t let that fool you, however, as this class still packs a punch.
The Martial Artist is Lost Ark’s primary melee DPS other than Assassin. They’re fighters who use their bodies to clobber their enemies to death. Do note that Martial Artists tend to be on the squishy side, so a good character placement is the key to survival.
Martial Artist has four classes to choose from, one male and three females. These are Scrapper, Wardancer, Soulfist, and Striker.
First of them is Scrapper, a martial artist armed with a heavy gauntlet. She’s unique in the sense that she has two energy pools that feed off of each other to deal destruction to her enemies. It is like a Yin-Yang mechanic. Careful management of these two energy pools allows the Scrapper to destroy her enemies with hard-hitting attacks and moves.
Next are Wardancer and Striker, which are the same in terms of mechanics, with the only differences being gender and skillsets. Wardancer is female, Striker is male. The two classes rip their enemies to shreds with strikes infused with elemental power, from turning into tornadoes to fighting with fire hands. They’re fast and have a party buff that increases crit chance. However, they’re also the squishiest out of the Martial Artist subclasses, so players need to be cautious.
Last but not least is Soulfist, a class that might evoke some Dragonball flashbacks from players. It’s mostly because one of her abilities is a Kamehameha. The Soulfist fights in both melee and ranged combat, with debilitating strikes and deadly waves of energy. The Soulfist class is perfect for players that want to have good options when it comes to melee and ranged. However, they also have the demerit of being a squishy subclass due to being a Martial Artist.
Gunner is the primary ranged DPS of Lost Ark, and if you ask us, it’s quite strange to have Gunner as the main class. This is mainly because one of the subclasses uses a bow and arrow. Still, they’re a force to be reckoned with due to how much damage they can output.
Gunner comes in four classes: one female and three male. These are Gunslinger, Deadeye, Sharpshooter, and Artillerist. The Gunslinger and Deadeye classes, however, are remarkably similar in gameplay with some skill set differences so we’ll talk about them together below.
Gunslinger (female) and Deadeye (male) are the game’s most mechanically complicated classes overall. They can swap between three weapon types, which are dual pistols, shotguns, and sniper rifles. The dual pistols are great for short-range combat; shotguns deal with short to mid-range enemies best and have an AoE, while sniper rifles deal death from afar with armor-piercing bullets.
Next on is Sharpshooter, a bow user on a class named Gunner, which is another peculiar thing. They have special mechanical bows and arrows that they use to devastate the enemy. Combine this with their high agility and movement, and you have a slippery subclass that can dodge attacks while pelting enemies with their moves.
Last but not least is Artillerist, a class toting a giant artillery piece that also triples as a flamethrower and shotgun/rocket launcher. This class is who you go to when you just want a particular group of mobs dead with superior firepower. In the game, they’re pretty slow, and all of their abilities tend to have some downtime before they’re cast. However, once they cast their abilities, their enemies better prepare for a world of hurt.
Next on the list is Mage, a class that wants to destroy their enemies through the power of the elements and magic. Depending on the subclass, they can be a helping hand to their friends or an elemental of destruction to their enemies.
The Mage class has two subclasses, both female. One of these classes is a support subclass while the other deals a lot of damage. These classes are Bard and Sorceress.
The Bard subclass is the game’s main support class other than the Paladin. Their abilities can do a myriad of things, from debuffing enemies to healing and buffing allies. However, their damage tends to be rather low, since they rely on damage over time effects in most of their abilities. They can kill; it’s just going to be slow.
In addition to this, a good Bard in a team situation can straight-up turn the tides of battle. Careful usage of her abilities in the right moment can turn hopeless situations around. With proper buff management and a lot of good team play, the Bard and her team can do anything.
Next is the Sorceress, a magic-user that commands the elements to utterly dominate the battlefield. The range of their spells tends to encompass the game’s screen. She uses three elements to do her bidding: Fire, Ice, and Lightning. For the more destructive inclined, she can also call forth a meteor that can turn those that she doesn’t like to dust and ashes. Overall, a destructive and valuable addition to the team.
Last but not least is Assassin, overall the fastest DPS main class in Lost Ark. Assassins are the very definition of fragile speedsters. They have the lowest HP amongst the main classes but they also have high damage potential. When used correctly, Assassin class players can rip enemies to shreds in a matter of moments or cut bosses and endgame content down to size.
Assassins have two subclasses, all-female. These are Deathblade and Shadow Hunter.
Deathblade is the first Assassin subclass that we have to talk about. This class is all about combos, using their dual blades and longsword to dart in and out of enemy mobs and kill them in a flash. Their main draw is the sheer speed of their movement and skills. Movement is king, and as long as a Deathblade player keeps moving, they can stay ahead of their enemies, get behind them and kill them.
However, do note that they also suffer from low HP and are reliant on dodging attacks to survive.
Meanwhile, the Shadow Hunter is another high-speed DPS class with low HP. The difference between this subclass and the Deathblade is that Shadow Hunter has a demonic form that she uses in battle. Shadow Hunter players can access this demonic form by attacking enemies with their skills and filling up their Shadow Burst meter.
Once this meter is full they transform into their demonic form and gain access to a myriad of powerful skills. The Shadow Hunter, for a short time, becomes an engine of death and destruction. Once the Meter runs out, though, they revert to human form and can’t gain points for Shadow Burst Meter for a few seconds.
In addition to the classes we’ve talked about, Lost Ark also has seven additional classes that haven’t been released yet.
Lance Master: A subclass of the Martial Artist that uses a lance and what appears to be a guandao. Lance Masters can swap between the two weapons and both have different skillsets. In addition, they have two gauges for both the lance and guandao that fill up passively and when she hits enemies. Then, once she swaps to either weapon, she gains a buff depending on how much the gauge is filled.
Destroyer: Looks to be a Warrior Subclass that uses a giant hammer to whack enemies to death. Gameplay-wise, it is a mixture of Gunlancer and Berserker, with shields, big damage, and a giant hitbox due to the hammer. Do note that Destroyer has a long charge time on their skills if the player chooses to do so. Thus, proper positioning and timing seem to be key for this class.
Artist: A support subclass from Mage that deals fair damage, but their main role is to buff the party. These buffs range from faster movement and shields among others. In addition, she can create portals that other players can pass through, which can be handy in fights.
Reaper: Another Assassin subclass that makes use of back attacks frequently. She has three types of skills that fill up different gauges that can increase her damage output. Do note that these gauges can be maintained by constant skill usage, so she can continue doing massive damage so long as these gauges are filled.
Other than these four classes, there’s also the Arcana, Summoner, and Scouter, all of which will come to Global soon.
Combat and Controls
If we’re being honest, Lost Ark plays very similarly to any isometric MMORPGs that are out in the open right now. However, a key difference is that players only get to use five of their abilities at a time, much like Diablo games. If the player doesn’t like what a specific ability does, then they have the option of taking it out and using another ability.
In terms of controls and movement, Lost Ark has the usual stuff: QWERTY for skills, mouse for movement. These can be edited in the settings section, but these are the things players have when starting the game.
Combat-wise, Lost Ark has a few unique gameplay mechanics for each of the classes. This adds a lot of variety to the game and helps give each of the classes a personality of their own. Overall, combat should feel very familiar to MMORPG gamers.
Graphics and Level Design
Graphics-wise, Lost Ark makes use of Unreal Engine 3. This means that it’s more merciful to low-end PCs but still has a lot of good graphics in store for players. Lost Ark’s main draw is the anime aesthetics of the characters, and the characters do look like anime characters even in 3D. Combine this with extensive character creation for an Unreal Engine 3 game and you can have a lot of customization in store.
In terms of level design, Lost Ark looks to be at the standard end of the spectrum. They leveraged Unreal Engine 3 quite a bit to make the environment, levels, and world look great. They still look a bit on the generic side though, but not as bad as some other MMOs that shouldn’t be named.
Lost Ark, in terms of sound design, is also a bit on the generic side. It won’t wow you or win any awards like some of the other MMORPGs out there, but it’s decent enough.
Lost Ark Game vs. Similar Games
Now that we’ve talked about the Lost Ark game, let’s go over other titles like it.
Black Desert Online
First on the list is Black Desert Online, which is another game that has a lot of anime aesthetics to it. The graphics are an anime version of 3D. The combat has a lot of shining waves and various other things in it. Everything in Black Desert Online looks like anime and it’s pretty cool.
In terms of classes, there are a lot of classes, and depending on what version you bought in the game you get even more classes. These classes range from the usual Warriors and Rangers to Sages, Novas, Corsairs, and Guardians. Combine this with a pretty interesting story, a lot of good quality quests and things to do, and you have a good MMORPG to sink your teeth into.
Price-wise, the game can range from $10 to $50 depending on whether the player buys the base game or wishes to get the expansions. In addition to this, players will keep the game forever if they buy it as there are no subscription fees for new expansions and the like. There is a cash shop of course, but the game can be played without spending anything other than getting expansions and new classes.
Final Fantasy XIV
Next on the list is Final Fantasy XIV. The game is currently one of, if not the most popular MMORPG game out there due to a perfect storm of events. From World of Warcraft screwing the pooch, various streamers jumping shift. And lastly, the sheer awesomeness of the game’s expansions, with Endwalker as the latest expansion to this decade-old MMO.
This combined with great storytelling, a lot of cool mechanics from the various classes, and a great endgame have cemented Final Fantasy XIV as one of the greats in the MMORPG genre.
However, do note that Final Fantasy XIV starts on the slow side of things. Players can get a free trial of the game’s first part, A Realm Reborn, and expansion, Heavensward. The game starts off the player as a mere errand boy/girl, sending them to various quests before eventually moving up in the world. Players won’t get to the cool stuff until later on in the game, specifically when they reach around Level 50 and above.
In addition to this, the game’s story is basically about your character’s growth and struggles. FFXIV is your story, there’s no changing that, and to get to the more exciting parts, players need to get in the role.
Overall, FFXIV is a great game in terms of story, gameplay, and overall awesomeness. Just note that it starts on the slow side.
Guild Wars 2
Next on the list is Guild Wars 2, a decade-old game that stuck around for quite a while. It’s not your typical MMO to boot, due to a marked emphasis on exploration, puzzle-solving, and overall things that MMORPGs usually don’t do.
However, Guild Wars 2 is free the moment that you buy it, expansions can be bought and kept forever, and progression is Horizontal. The horizontal part is especially important. Why? Because Guild Wars 2 doesn’t make the players get stronger by raiding for better gear. The moment they get an endgame weapon/armor/accessory they like; they can keep it because it won’t be hit by power creep. Of course, for those not used to this, it can be a bit of a weird thing to see, but the game has a lot of things for players to enjoy.
Should You Try Out the Lost Ark Game?
If you’re looking for a good MMORPG to try out for free, then you should try out Lost Ark. The game has interesting mechanics for each class, character progression is OK, and you can have fun with around four or more people with various raids.
There’s also a lot of love from the developers to the game, with new classes, raids, and story quests available in the future. So if you want to stick for the ride, then yes, Lost Ark is a good MMO role-playing game choice.