Last week was a close vote here in Choose My Adventure World Land slash Waffle House. The vote came down to one person casting a suggestion that I focus on the jump start server of Lost Ark. In fact, the voting was so tight that I had assumed doing both boosted server and boosted character at once would win out – which is pretty much what I did, actually. Fool me for assuming the poll had already been decided!
As a refresher, I’ve got my agreed-upon Slayer character on a normal server with a story express XP boost engaged, while I also made a new character on the US East’s jump start server who also has a similar story express boost engaged. So what were the differences between the two experiences? Not terribly much, as it turns out.
I started off first with the Slayer character in order to establish a kind of mental baseline. She’s been moving along through the opening story beats, past Prideholme, through the Ankumo Mountain zone, and up to roughly the near end of Rethramis. Along the way, I started to get acquainted with both my chosen gamepad control scheme and the Slayer class, both of which unfurled to become extremely smart choices.
I still have to admit to a little bit of visual discomfort with regards to the ability UI while holding a controller. I wrote previously how the UI isn’t lined up in a “cross hotbar” arrangement to visually denote what buttons presses engage what abilities, but I am starting to develop a smaller bit of muscle memory in that the upper hotbar is for abilities engaged with the LB modifier and the bottom bar has abilities engaged with the LT modifier. It’s still taking a bit of adjustment, but I’m slowly working my way through.
This control scheme still remains the best option to play Lost Ark in my opinion, which was further reaffirmed during a boss fight that featured attack shapes that weren’t simply just a forward-facing line or cone. Moving into the safe spaces of a series of concentric rings was immediately easier to do with a thumbstick over click-to-move, meaning that I could halt my assault and avoid the fire far more effectively than I ever could with KB+M. Positioning has also come into play in terms of exploiting flank and back attacks in order to try and apply stagger and harder DPS, which similarly felt easier to do on a gamepad.
Speaking of DPS, the Slayer class continues to be deliciously simple and a strong candidate for melee classes being better in this game than ranged ones. Again, I am speaking from personal preference here as well as memories of the miseries of using mouse-click movement to line up my Sorcererss’ shots, so perhaps there’s some bad experiences painting some bias on my opinion here, but it feels good to not have to worry so much about being in the right place and just charging in with guttural, feral roars and big meaty sword swings.
I will admit that the Slayer is almost too braindead, though. That’s not to say that there’s a lack of merit for being a pure DPS type that’s all about burst damage, but I find myself not really bothering to engage her big Spicy Mode mechanic all that often. I’m probably going to need to learn how to weave that in more, honestly. Sitting on a resource feels like a waste, and something tells me that I’m going to be punished for not using it more often.
That line of thinking did rather lead me into the choice for my jump start character, who ended up being a Destroyer. I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to be a pure tank (though Gunlancer did have my intrigue), but I also wanted to try and perhaps provide a bit more support as well as introduce a few more mechanical wrinkles to my preferred archetype of Warrior Too Angry to Die.
And my goodness is the Destroyer too angry to die. I don’t know that there’s much in this thing’s defensive kit other than “big hammer make enemies into ketchup.” It’s a surprisingly plodding form of DPS, but it also is astonishingly satisfying to behold in a grim sort of way. This class activates my monkey brain neuron in a similar way that the Hammer in Monster Hunter: Rise did, bringing big beefy slaps of power, an interesting gravity core mechanic that made certain attacks more potent, and this other Spicy Mode thing that just made basic attacks hurt.
This character also went through to the same point as the Slayer, moving from Trua to the near-end of Rethramis. That (finally) leads me to the initial results of this little experiment: The XP gain might have been slightly better for the Destroyer vs. the Slayer, with the former being just one level higher than the latter, but the pace of leveling didn’t really feel all too different for me. I suppose the bigger benefit of this jump start server is the currency earnings and free goodies. My normal characters are sitting on a collective treasure trove of materials, silver, and roster XP (whatever good that does), while I’m literally starting from scratch in that regard on the jump server, though handouts and boxes of crap seem to try and make up the shortfall.
This does lead me to assume, then, that this jump start server won’t be a solution at all, especially since I wasn’t in one of these from the very beginning. It’s entirely possible that by the time I get either of these characters to the endgame, I’ll still feel locked out of moving up the tiers because I don’t have intimate knowledge of every encounter whatsoever. And I have to admit, that thought doesn’t really motivate me to get to cap that hard.
Still, we’ve got a bit more time to get into this whole thing, so that means it’s time for me to focus up. I admit that this week’s poll is basically asking the same question as last week, but we’re going to instead choose one over the other. And I promise that this time I’ll wait until polls close before I start playing.
Which Lost Ark character should I focus on going forward?
- The boosted Slayer. Enjoy big sword until the month's end. (30%, 8 Votes)
- The jump start Destroyer. Hammer smash and maybe see where this server's community sits (70%, 19 Votes)
Total Voters: 27
Polling will wrap at its usual 1:00 p.m. EDT time on Friday, September 22nd, by the way, which is as much a reminder to me now as it is to everyone else. We’re in the home stretch of this little experiment. Let’s try and see it as far as we can, shall we?