Lost Ark, the proven technical beta

Lost Ark, the proven technical beta

Lost Ark

Perhaps few readers remember Expa that passes you, a weekly column that we published on sportsgaming.win several years ago, when the MMORPG market was much more prosperous and lively than today. Even then we were talking about Lost Ark, so try to think how long we had been waiting for the title by Tripod Studio and Smilegate RPG, released in Korea and Russia after a long gestation phase at the end of 2019. After all this time, we were beginning to believe that in our part of Italy would never have arrived, also because in the meantime the market has changed profoundly and fewer and fewer publishers are focusing on MMOs ... except perhaps Amazon Games which, after the recent New World, has also decided to localize Lost Ark, which it will officially arrive at the beginning of 2022.

The recent technical beta, however, has allowed us to try firsthand a product we had only heard about so far. Fans who have followed its development may have also already tested it in the wrong way in its language of origin: this Lost Ark trial of ours is, in fact, focused on the first hours of play and has been designed for those who really never have one. heard of it before. The game, however, has received a certain interest and it is also for this reason that it will arrive in its most refined form, enriched by all those updates that have served to improve it over time and that distinguish the life cycle of an MMORPG.

First steps in the world of Arkesia

Lost Ark, the Gunner is one of the various archetypes The first thing that needs to be done is to frame Lost Ark in terms of genre and gameplay. We have called it MMO but the truth is that it is not exactly a competitor of World of Warcraft - which remains the most representative title of the genre - as much as an "action MMO": at the base Lost Ark is, in fact, an action game in Diablo III style, with which it shares the isometric view. However, it has a social and content component that brings it closer to a real MMORPG, narratively inspired by the school of Final Fantasy XIV. This means that the Tripod Studio title is closely linked to the story. It is the campaign that leads the player from one map to another, first teaching him the rudiments of the trade in an unprecedented prologue that starts him directly from level 10, having chosen class and specialization. Not all archetypes were available for testing, but the roster of classes contextualized the style of play well: warriors, wizards, martial arts experts, agile assassins and acrobatic gunslingers.

We chose the warrior, specializable. in three different subclasses: Paladin, a shining warrior who wields a sword and a book to hit enemies and strengthen group mates, Gunlancer, a kind of tank that collects hits and fights with a weapon strongly inspired by the Monster Hunter's namesake, and Berserker, our choice, a traditional thug who wields a huge two-handed sword to manch enemies. The introduction allows you to test the classes and choose the one that suits us best before confirming the creation of the character, which unlike the aforementioned Diablo III is much more complex and allows you to choose features and particular signs before giving the fateful OK.

After the choice of class, we found ourselves on a small island in the company of an expedition that had just landed in search of a precious artifact hidden under the ruins of an ancient city. This mandatory introduction essentially serves to teach the basics to new players, and it can seem a bit obvious: how to move, how to interact, how to accept assignments and so on. Although essential, it shows the muscles of Lost Ark in this respect and in the following hours we have been able to see more and more how important the narrative component is, characterized by long but never verbose dialogues in English, some multiple choice that helps to deepen our knowledge of this world and its inhabitants, cinematics in real time that enhance the most important moments of the plot. It is important to understand that Lost Ark is a game that dictates this structure: it does not seem possible to circumvent the plot and you probably have to complete the campaign to access all the most important content.

If the images and trailers have therefore led you to think that it is a sort of Diablo in which the narrative is accessory if not marginal and that after passing the initial stages, the freedom to explore the maps in search of hordes of enemies to slaughter to fill the pockets with loot opens up, you have The Tripod Studio title is badly framed, but it's certainly not your fault. It is only within a few hours that we understand how the visual setting betrays a spirit much more akin to traditional MMOs. Leveling, for example, is punctuated quite slowly by main and secondary missions, which represent the bulk of the rewards in terms of experience points. It is simply not advisable to go hunting for enemies to level up, and even the itemization passes relatively through the grind: you will find new weapons or armor preying on enemies, yes, but in the first few moments it turned out to be much less frequent than we thought, and once again we had to rely on the rewards of the missions to improve our equipment.

Combat and customization

Lost Ark, a fight with a Final Fantasy XIV boss has accustomed us well, as far as narrative in MMOs is concerned, but Lost Ark would seem to be the game that comes closest to him in these terms. The cinematics appeared to be spot on, the staging engaging: the work of framing and dynamic shooting does a lot, in this sense and the script would seem to devote enough space to the supporting actors who outline the story in our place, silent protagonists at the mercy of events. The Lost Ark of the title is the proverbial McGuffin: an artifact of incredible power that has already once allowed to repel the diabolical forces of the terrible Kazeros. Now that the demon is back, Arkesia's mightiest heroes have mobilized to find the Ark and save the world, but of course there are intrigues and differences that risk ruining everything.

Us, in our own small way, we must slice, poke and char hordes of demons, beasts and bandits as we make our way to the highest level and the most difficult challenges that we will be able to face alone or in a group. Lost Ark is an MMO, remember? If you want those beautiful shiny armor, you'll have to team up with the other players, because otherwise the giant monsters that preside over these loot won't go down on their own. And on this front, Lost Ark would seem to promise extremely spectacular incursions and activities.

Lost Ark, the artistic direction is spectacular After all, the title Tripod Studio makes a good impression right away. Not so much in the modeling of the characters, clean but modest, as in the general artistic direction: leaving aside the more kitsch armor and costumes that fall within the nice definition of "Korean" that MMO fans probably know well, we must say that Lost Ark has us impressed by the care taken in the creation of the scenarios, which are full of details and meticulously finished with the help of graphic devices, such as blur in depth of field, filters and different types of lighting.

Lost Ark it's beautiful to look at and it also runs pretty well: the technical beta wasn't quite 100% optimized, but even in the most complex fight scenes the game didn't miss out. And we can assure you that the clashes almost immediately become a hellish pit, but despite this the combat system is designed to be intuitive and accessible to anyone. For our part, we found the control system not exactly very precise: we played using mouse and keyboard, but you want the habit of binding actions to the numeric keys rather than the alphabetic keys, you want the need to constantly reposition the character during the fight , the experience at first was not as rewarding as we would have hoped. We are very curious to replay Lost Ark with a gamepad, perhaps more suited to fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay.

Lost Ark, the maps are full of details The fights, in fact, are not so much focused on using the right skill at the right time, but on the concept of rotation or combo. Playing as the Berserker this feeling is more pronounced because his initial attacks, taken individually, seem unrelated and autonomous, but once you understand how to chain them in the appropriate sequence everything becomes much more loose. The game, however, does not explain some dynamics of marginal importance at the beginning of the adventure, but which we bet will become fundamental in the most demanding battles. Each attack, in fact, is characterized by a value defined Stagger which reduces the indicator placed under the health of some enemies: by resetting this indicator, the enemy remains stunned for a few seconds during which he perceives much more damage than normal. The same concept applies to Part Break, another value that distinguishes attacks capable of damaging the parts of the enemy's body, up to breaking them to deprive him of certain attacks or movements.

It seems pretty obvious that the most challenging content will require a well thought-out composition of the team and builds, in order to maximize effectiveness - the infamous damage per second - and facilitate battles. This is because there is no real "trinity", there are no dedicated healers or tanks: some classes have skills capable of passively heal, enhance or protect teammates, but most of the gameplay is focused on the autonomy of the individual players in a highly action context: you have to consume the potions at the right time, carefully dodge the telegraphed attacks bearing in mind that the evasive somersault has a cooldown and, more generally, learn the patterns of enemies and bosses in multiplayer dungeons. br>
Lost Ark, the PvP arena The Tripod system allows you to customize your arsenal in a very dynamic and contextual way. The Skill Points earned at each level up can be assigned to each individual skill; once a certain threshold is reached, you can choose one of three modifiers that will change the characteristics of that attack, for example by reducing its reload time or increasing its range.

It is a versatile system that resembles runes of Diablo III or the talents of World of Warcraft, and we can only imagine the level of theorycrafting that revolves around the numerous synergies and variables. Lost Ark, in this sense, is a game really packed with content and we, despite having played the technical beta for about ten hours, feel we haven't even scratched the surface.

Lost Ark, sometimes it road stops and you have to jump If there is one thing that has impressed us, however, it is the very rich amount of additional content related to exploration and the search for collectibles. The game interface, consisting of dozens of windows and a scattered menu, promises hundreds of hours of gameplay both to the most hardcore users, who in PvP and PvE will find bread for their teeth, and to the more casual ones, who will be able to devote yourself to the countryside and then to secondary activities such as crafts or navigation ... because yes, in Lost Ark you can also get yourself a ship, customize it and set sail in search of treasures and collectibles.

The first hours that We spent in the technical beta of Lost Ark unveiled a fresh title, despite its age, which combines the essences of two seemingly different genres in a surprisingly effective hybrid form. We liked what we saw, but we did not delve too much into some aspects such as microtransactions and the in-game shop for a simple reason: before the western launch various aspects or contents of the Tripod Studios game could change, and the last thing what we want to do is to feed prejudices or distrust towards a genre that in microtransactions - the infamous pay to win - has always found its Achilles heel. Let's talk again when Lost Ark is officially released at the beginning of 2022, will you?


Art direction of great impact Full of contents for all tastes Fun and spectacular combat system DOUBTS Control system a a little clunky, but a controller or some setting could improve it The narrative has a strong presence, but it could get tired Did you notice any errors?

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