Lost Ark aims to spend 2023 reducing grind and improving the newbie and catch-up experience


Lost Ark has been live in the west over a year now, giving Amazon and Smilegate the opportunity to reflect on how far the game has come – and where it’s going from here.

“Last year, our top priorities were introducing content into the Western shores of Arkesia at an appropriate cadence to avoid burnout, working to pull forward quality of life (QoL) changes, and waging the war on bots,” the studios write in their latest dev blog. “Now, our goal is to continually improve the Lost Ark experience, while layering in the exciting content that has yet to arrive.”

Indeed, the teams spent plenty of ink recapping their efforts against bots, telling players they’ve banned “millions of bot accounts,” purged 55B botted gold, and reduced bot interaction with the economy by 99%. However, the devs are still aware that economic and inflationary impacts are still being felt by legitimate players, so it’s still working on those “unwanted side-effects.”

As for the cadence, the teams note that the game moves much faster in the west than in South Korea, which is great for hardcore players – but not so much for helping newer players catch up. Amazon and Smilegate have a plan to address that that involves eliminating “unnecessary” content that is “exhausting new and returning players” – namely, reduced gear progression tiers, better low-tier rewards, easier collecting of mats and runes, guides for battle items, and other quality-of-life perks. That’s all on deck for “the end of summer or early fall.”

“[F]requent content updates are leading to enhanced exhaustion and gatekeeping, making gameplay difficult for new and returning players. With dozens of patterns to memorize, burden is put on new players attempting to learn,” the studios add, noting they’re working on making early raids available sooner in the game and at easier difficulties. And finally, the devs are working on an overhaul of dailies to eliminate the sense of grind and exhaustion, though they’re clearly aware of the possible pitfalls of tweaking the cadence.

“Catching up to the new end-game content is important to us and our players, but there are two problems with speeding up the process; localization timelines and player burnout. If content is localized too quickly, the overall quality may be compromised. Regardless of localization timelines, there’s still the problem of having to digest too much content at the same time, or constantly feel pressured to hit the next required Item Level, related to the previously mentioned exhaustion and issues with new player catch up mechanics.

“Our goal is to introduce content as fast as we can without having these problems occur. However, we know this is not satisfactory for players. Therefore, we promise that new classes (at least) will be updated as soon as possible. New continents and Legion Raids have to be updated in order, while classes don’t have the same restrictions. We’re excited to share the next 4-month roadmap with you next week, and hope that you feel heard when the content plan is revealed.

“Another piece of content we plan to integrate at a faster speed heading forward are in-game events. The events in our version have mostly been older events in Korea, which isn’t ideal. Heading forward, our teams at Amazon Games and Smilegate RPG plan to introduce more events applied simultaneously across the versions, including events similar to the recent April Fool’s event in Korea. Of course, some of them will be Western-exclusive, and some will take place at the same time as Korea. We are open to suggestions!”

If you made it through the whole letter, you’ll want to log in and pick up your freebies; the teams have granted everyone free skins and silver.

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