Massively Overthinking: Lost Ark and its place in the MMORPG genre

Lost Ark is an MMORPG that has been compared to both Destiny and World of Warcraft. The game was released in 2017 with a unique, sci-fi setting and some very interesting ideas behind its gameplay. How does Lost Ark’s place within the genre stack up?

Lost Ark is a game that has been released in the early 2000s. It was developed by South Korean company, NCsoft. Lost Ark is an MMORPG with a unique story and gameplay. The game takes place in a fantasy world where humans are the minority and monsters are the majority. In this world, there is one city that humans have managed to hold onto for centuries: Ark.

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We’ve all been waiting for the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark for a long time; I recall writing a post about it in 2014 because I was so enthusiastic for a proper MMOARPG. I definitely didn’t think we’d have to wait until 2022 to see it, but I also didn’t think Amazon would have a games studio, publish the game, or that it would be a big success on Steam. In a genre that is just 25 years old, eight years is a long time.

Let’s chat about Raiders of the Lost Ark for this week’s Massively Overthinking. What are your early opinions on gameplay and monetization, one week in, if you’re playing? Are you feeling the pull if you’re not playing? What are our thoughts on the game’s short-, mid-, and long-term prospects in the market? Does it meet all of the MMO’s requirements? Is the game going to make it into the top five MMOs, or will it, like Amazon’s previous MMORPG, fade away in a month or two? Will it inspire imitators and rejuvenate the MMOARPG subgenre? What are our thoughts on Raiders of the Lost Ark?

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​Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Not feeling any pull here whatsoever. 2.5D POV is hard for me to get over, but so is a game that’s eight years old and only now being ported over. No, age shouldn’t mean a thing for a good game, as we saw FFXIV’s rise years after re-release, but even my brother gave it a whirl with his friends and wasn’t impressed. I could really be wrong, but especially as I lack faith in Amazon to do much more than cut prices and deliver physical goods to the edge of my line of sight without ringing the doorbell, I just can’t see Lost Ark bringing a surge of very much beyond short-term sales.

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Andy McAdams: I’m Andy McAdams, and I’m I have a rather controversial viewpoint here in that nothing about it appeals to me. I tried playing during one of the early sessions, but the gender-locked classrooms killed me. I liked the creator, but it’s a 2.5 ISO, and I don’t see what my character looks like 99.9999 percent of the time anyhow. It simply seems like a regular Eastern port to me. It was awkward to play a mage because, seriously, stilettos on a sandy beach? Her hip anatomy, on the other hand, was something else entirely. I’m glad people are enjoying it and having a good time, but I’m not sure how it will retain its popularity. It seems to be dull from what I can see.

Let’s hope it sells well and has a long life for those who like it, but it’s simply not my cup of tea.

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Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): I’m not playing at the moment, but I do admit to a passing curiosity. On one hand, there’s no real cost to entry, but on the other hand, I’m already waist-deep in another “free to play” game in World of Warships, and I don’t think I can stomach any more F2P monetization tactics. I’ll probably download it at some point, long after everybody else’s excitement has subsided.

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Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): As people have maybe already read, I’m having a wonderful time 30+ levels in. I’ll not repeat too much of what I’ve already written here, but in my opinion this game is highly entertaining and enjoyable, with combat that feels visceral (even if it’s not mechanically so), an entertainingly cheeseball story, and systems that drip-feed little obsessions; I like improving my stronghold and adding points to skills and getting engravings. There are certainly things to grump about – the cash shop does seem to desperately want to sell currencies over cosmetics – but I’ve been having a huge deal of fun and have been pretty fully hooked.

Long-term, I believe I’ll continue to enjoy myself even as I reach endgame grinds. I’ve done some research and watched/read instructions, but nothing seems like it’s worth obsessing about. This is most likely due to the fact that I see endgame growth as a relaxed, slow-paced marathon rather than a blitzkrieg race to a predetermined victory condition. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding, and when I get there, I’ll share my ideas.

I believe Lost Ark’s lifespan will be sunk by the endgame grind, its systems, gear score lockouts, and other issues like as the obligation to have alts feed a main. Many people will be enraged that they can’t go pell-mell into the high echelons or that time barriers are too difficult to overcome, and that’s great. Because of a number of those mechanisms, as well as some genuinely awful and just disgusting views against Korean-made MMOs, this game is likely to fall out of the top five. In the end, however, I’d want to see this one find its audience and grow. Right now, I’m going to enjoy the good times while keeping an eye on what happens next.

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Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I’ve only put maybe three or four hours into it, so I’m not the person you’d want to go for an in-depth review, but I will offer a few surface observations. It looks very pretty, but of course you knew that. The music is stunning, which you might not have. I didn’t like how long the tutorial was and how little combat it involved, especially touring around the town, but that’s a small issue. Combat is decent — repetitive but has a punch — and I really do like being able to level up and customize skills. Decent UI and intuitive design that’s not overly cluttered. I’m nervous to see if the game gets more and more confusing in terms of upgrades and systems, but so far, it’s a breezy way to waste an afternoon.

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Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I’ve mentioned that I’ve never gotten into ARPGs in any significant way before. I don’t know why, I just missed lots of the formative games in that perspective so they don’t usually stick with me. With that said, the buzz around Lost Ark definitely has me interested. I downloaded it a few days ago and plan on getting in there soon.

I have my concerns that it will continue to be as popular as it seems to be right now. But I’m still amazed at how popular Genshin Impact is. So we’ll see what happens. I’ll have a better idea of its lifespan when I’ve played it.

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(Blog) Tyler Edwards: To be honest, I believe Lost Ark’s current, tremendous success is due as much to the dump trucks worth of money Amazon has been pouring into marketing as it is to the game itself, and I don’t believe the present population is sustainable in the long run.

That said, I feel it is a quality game that will continue to do well in the long run. It’s just not on the same scale as it is now. My only real issue is that if the population begins to decline, they don’t presently have any infrastructure in place to handle server transfers or mergers, so you may wind up with a lot of empty servers. It’s a fixable issue, but it may cause some issues in the near future.

Personally, I’m still on the fence about it. I had similar feelings about this book as I did about New World, but for very different reasons. In certain aspects, New World outperforms its predecessors, yet it is not without drawbacks. Lost Ark, on the other hand, has few if any serious flaws but also fails to shine in any one area. It’s quite “secure.” In both situations, I’m having trouble deciding whether the game is right for me.

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wowbrainParticipate the Massively OP crew every week for the Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable where we examine the hot themes in the MMO business — and then encourage you to join in the discussion in the comments. Things’s basically the entire idea to overthink it. Now it’s your time!

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