So I kind of made a mistake in my comeback to Lost Ark. I apparently did have at least one Powerpass to burn up, but I accidentally used it on the wrong class, so the wrong character ate the cookie.
However, I also had at least one more cookie to use – not the Powerpass but a boosting event that would apparently let me select one character to earn some slightly better XP as well as some other goodies once milestones were hit. So while it’s not precisely as I had originally planned, but I was at least able to get through this current assignment all the same.
It’s probably just as well that I didn’t immediately skip too far forward. As I said before, it’s been quite some time since I have been in Lost Ark, so the time spent both learning the Slayer as well as learning how to best play with a gamepad was still pretty valuable. And I have to admit that the combination was a winning one.
First off, the Slayer class is pretty simple in terms of its mechanics as well as its gameplay. It runs no deeper than running into enemies and swinging the big giant sword I’ve got in my character’s hands. That’s a bit boring on the face of it, but as usual, the visual grunt of this ARPG continues to do a whole lot of heavy lifting, as every single skill impact and sword swing felt and looked like enemies were being slapped with a van.
That’s not to entirely suggest that the Slayer didn’t have a few tricks up her sleeve. Sure, her entire kit is basically to hit things as hard as inhumanly possible, but then the modifiers afforded by this game’s skill tree kept things fresh and customizable. For some reason I had completely forgotten that this was a thing, but it was a welcome reminder, as the system kept my creature bashing skills fresh. After a little bit of time, I was starting to work out a pretty solid attack routine.
Honestly I probably would have gotten acclimated to the game’s combat faster if I weren’t using a gamepad, but I was, which meant there was some muscle memory to develop. This might take me a bit more time than I would have wanted, but I also am going to say that playing this class on a gamepad feels a whole lot better than using the click-to-move nonsense of mouse control. I was able to get a handle of how to aim my character effectively in rather short order – a feat that’s helped out by the fact that the Slayer’s skills all have mighty, wide, forward-facing swings. There is no precision or grace in her attack skills, only unrepentant violence at anything that’s generally facing her direction.
I think some of my problems with the gamepad interface actually stems from the UI itself. In other ARPGs or even other video games, the UI was designed to look like the gamepad’s button layout at a glance, so I would have an easy reference of what ability was sitting on what button. Lost Ark doesn’t have this, opting to keep its UI designed with keyboard and mouse users in mind. Sure, there are overlays to tell you what button combinations engage what abilities, but having them in a horizontal arrangement still gives me a moment of pause. And that’s not helped by the fact that the attack buttons modified to A and B are sitting at weird locations on the hotbar.
In addition to this, there doesn’t appear to be a way to entirely remove the mouse cursor from my field of view, as the cursor seems to magnetically attract itself to the enemies I’m attacking. I have to presume this is a limitation of Lost Ark that helps gamepads work, moving the cursor over a foe so my controller buttons “click” the enemies dead, but it’s still kind of annoying.
Despite these misgivings, I’m still going to stick it out with the gamepad control setup. Knowing what I know about how important character placement is in many of the boss fights or raids that are to come later down the line, I’d much rather have the precision control of a thumbstick and work over the bumps of everything else than put myself well out of position because I didn’t right-click my character into position correctly.
And besides, the absolute rip-roaring damage the Slayer puts out kind of makes me think boss fights will be a lot more fun this time around. Of course, I do have to keep the mental asterisk in mind that these are the early levels and so bosses are still probably a big pushover, but I also don’t recall these fights going nearly as cleanly as they did when I was playing as the Sorceress or Machinist. I am repeating myself a bit, I know, but guys, seriously, this class absolutely smashes health bars into paste.
Now even though I made the mistake of eating the wrong cookie for the Slayer class, I didn’t get terribly far – not because I ran out of time but because Amazon Games decided that the fresh start servers would open up on the same week as the next leg of this journey, which was a lot sooner than I expected them to arrive. So that does present itself a polling opportunity.
Now on the one hand I definitely want to know what these new jump start servers are like, especially since this does present the opportunity to get into the game at nearly the same time as everyone else. That means there’s less potential for me to be locked out of endgame content. Maybe.
But on the other hand, there does seem to be value in taking it a bit slower than the jump start servers would have me allow. I admit that I don’t necessarily relish the prospect of starting from zero once again, but I also feel like the speed of XP earnings, the speed of the Slayer class in general, and the growing comfort with this gamepad play could mean I’ll hit the cap faster.
Or perhaps I just compare and contrast instead? You decide.
What progression track should I follow?
- Boosted XP. Get more comfortable with the Slayer and the gamepad. (14%, 3 Votes)
- Jump start. Let's get to the end of this gravy train faster. (45%, 10 Votes)
- A mix of both. Alternate between the two, compare and contrast. (41%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 22
Polling will close at its usual time of 1:00 p.m. EDT on this Friday, September 15th. Let’s see what happens next together, shall we? Until then, I’m going to furiously crash a massive blade into more enemies.