Amazon-published Korean MMORPG Lost Ark published two documents for prospective players this week, addressing both how the upcoming closed beta will play out as well as how the business model will work.
The closed beta itself will once again run on Steam, this time starting November 4th at noon EDT and running through the 11th at the same time with both NA and EU servers. “There’s no need to worry about an NDA— feel free to discuss with friends and share, record, or broadcast your Beta content and gameplay,” the company says.
“At the start of the Closed Beta test, we will be conducting a load test for a few hours. For those first few hours, every player within a region will be sent to a single world. We want players to understand that there may be queue times depending on the number of players logging in during the initial load test. This is an intentional part of the testing, and we will be expanding worlds as more players come online after the first few hours of load testing is complete to ensure all Closed Beta participants are able to hop into Arkesia quickly.”
Players can still sign up on the official site for a chance at an invite, or they can just preorder the game for automatic entry; having played in the alpha earlier this year does not guarantee your access this round. Gamers will want to take a peek at the beta patch notes as well; Amazon says the closed beta will include the Striker class, the new prologue, a level cap of 55 and expedition level cap of 100, the second awakening skills and quests for all classes, UI tweaks, tutorial content, and a huge slice of dungeon, raid, and zone content that was closed off during the previous alpha.
Players will also notice immediately that the cash shop will be unlocked with “partial products,” the price and range of which “may change between now and launch.” There will be a stipend for players to test the shop during the event. There’s also the buyable “crystalline aura,” billed as an “exclusive premium service for the Western users” – basically, a sub. The second blog post, on monetization, clarifies that the game will still be a “completely free-to-play game with optional in-game purchases, Founder’s Packs, and other bundles released alongside new content,” with chiefly “convenience items” in said cash shop.
It’s probably worth taking special note of Smilegate’s and Amazon’s plan here, as the companies have removed annoyances like temporary/rentable items, added a gold-to-cash-shop-currency exchange similar to Guild Wars 2’s to ensure “all items will be available for in-game, earnable currencies” with only a few exceptions (like name changes). The studios also stress that the crystalline aura sub won’t confer pay-to-win benefits.
Lost Ark was originally slated to launch this fall but was delayed to early 2022 last month.