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Friday, January 12, 2024 5:15:34 AM

Lost Ark Review (Lillypop)

Henlo friends, I have about 400$ in this game, but I am f2p. It was mostly skins, but 200$ was spent getting one of 112 LOS30 cards.
I have 6200 hours in this game as a f2p pleb, and here is my review of why even after all of the positive changes we've had in the last 6 months, I cannot recommend it.
To begin, why do I have 6k+ hours? The boss fights. Legion raid fights are so, so fun, especially with friends (I rarely PUG, I typically do 90% of my content with a mix of the same people.) That...is about it. That's the only good part about Lost Ark.
Now, for the bad. The systems for progression.
To build a char, you need to hone it to the level of content you wish to participate in. I have 5 1600+ characters, 1614 artist being highest. It has taken me 8-12 characters worth of funneling and daily grinding for the last 24 months to achieve this as a f2p. Yes, there is a pity system, but you have to put a ridiculous amount of time/effort in just to hit thresholds, and I'm not even where I want to be. My goal was at least 1 1620, and I could have hit that if I ignored my alts but to hell with that, I chose the 'fun' route.
But that's not all! You need gear. What does gear entail? Lotteries. Multiple, lotteries. To start, you need an engraving stone. TL;DR there are 30 'nodes' on 3 lines, 10 each. 2 are positive, 1 are negative. You have at most a 75% chance to 'fill' a node, filling one is -10% for the next, failing is +10%. You are REQUIRED to get a 7/7/x (pray x is lower than 5), 9/5/x, or similar. My cheapest attempts at acquiring one took around 20k. My most expensive, on a single character, was 490k gold. (You can earn around 100k a week in-game if you do EVERYTHING on at least 6 1580+ characters, which only takes like a year+ of grinding so good luck.)
After your stone, you need accessories, the easy part. You farm some gold, save, then buy what you need from the market. If you're smart about it, you can get a 5x3+1 build (acceptable level) for under 150k with market tax (pheons, awful system.)
Now you can play your character! Unfortunately, you will be gatekept unless the quality on your gear is also pretty solid. Quality is a weighted lottery where the first 0-70% is about a 90% roll, and the remaining 30% you actually want/need to be in is about 10%. There is no pitying. Your chances cost raid tokens and raw gold. One of my characters purple quality weapons took 60k, another (my main dps) took 580k. This is just your weapon, and whereas quality tapping armor pieces is cheaper, there are 5 of them. Getting 70 quality is about a 3-4% roll, and anything above 70 starts going down even more (90% is less than 1% chance.) No, you do not 'need' this, but you aren't going to get into any groups to do content to get gold to try more unless you do.
Ok, NOW you can play the game! If...your bracelet is also 'ok.' This was a system introduced with Brelshaza, 13 months ago. You can grab a cheap one off the market, roll it until you get both your secondary stats and some extra health or something, and call it a day, but people gatekeep off of these, two. Bracelets are an additional accessory that costs pheons to buy, or you can pray your content gives you a few to tap a day. They can have 1-2 fixed slots (you typically look for your fixed secondary like swiftness, or crit, w/e) and 1-3 'open' slots. Bracelets can be rolled 4 times, that is it. 4. No more than 4, just, 4. Each time you roll your random open effects, you can choose to lock one if you get something spicy, but you only get 4 chances total. There are about 5 good options to roll for on a list of like 80, and no I'm not kidding. On top of that each option has green, blue purple and yellow quality. Congrats when you finally win but it's all blues, yes it's still good but it looks like garbage so weee. It has been 13 months, I have 5+ 1600s (and 2 more that are over 1580) and I only 2 bracelets that are considered 'ok' after throwing about 500k into buying some as well desperately trying to get one that was acceptable.
And now, for the coup de grace. We just recently got Voldis introduced here, and along with it, the elixir system. Week 2 of this content release, players began gatekeeping off of having a set bonus with elixirs. I can't tl;dr this so here we go.
There are purple and yellow quality elixirs. Purple can be a max of 4/4 (two level 4 effects) and yellows can be 5/5. Only your 5 armor pieces can have elixirs, so with purples you can have a max of 40 levels, and with yellows 50. A set bonus requires 35 total levels for the first part of your set, and 40 for the second. You can obtain purples at 1600, and yellows at 1620. Seems simple enough, right?
To 'cut' an elixir, you take your little vial of happiness and hope to the shiny mirror, and then you have 5 steps to choose 1 of 3 options from a pool of like 40. Like 10 of these are specific set bonuses, 10 are specific piece bonuses, and the remainder are general stat bonuses. They range from useless garbage like additional damage while you're by yourself, to raw attack/primary stats. In my experience, I have rolled my required set bonuses on my characters about 5% of the time. Then, you begin building it. Each elixir begins at 5 effects and will end with the 2 you will apply to your gear. Purples have 12 steps, yellows have 15. Each step gives 1 point to one of the 5 effects (only 2 of which you're going for) at random. You need to get 9 points in 1 effect to have a level 4 for purple (2 effects need 9 each to have a 4/4) and 10 points in 2 effects for yellows in a 5/5.
Each step also allows you to pick 1 of 3 random options from a pool of 40+ actions. These range from -2+2 to a random of the 5 effects, or they have you select one, shuffle all points, reducing points from 1 effect and adding them to another but both effects selected are random, huge effects like -4-+5 but then that option of 3 steps is just gone for the remainder of the cut, literally every elixir is different. Every step is a random one of like a million options, the effects they affect and the way they affect them is random, and...well you see where this is going. After 4 weeks of 5+ characters, I don't have a single viable set piece yet, and you need 2 to start.
But wait, there's more. If you spend about a years worth of setting alarms for timed events you probably won't get to complete because nobody does them anymore, then people may finally not assume you're a bot, or a whale, and you'll have lots of shiny adventure/game content completion! (Mostly a collectibles system but 90 times more annoying, and there are like 20 of them, I gave up on them over a year ago) Doing about 90% of this content to its max will give each of your characters like 2% more dmg/health and stuff. Congrats.
Oh, and cards. Don't have Light of Salvation 30? Not only are you missing 15% damage, you're still being gatekept. Took 18 months to finish my LoS30 and I finished pretty quickly (I did an extra 2-3 hours a week of 'abyss loops' which is just old dungeons you 1 shot for a like 2% chance at a card, praying its a card you need and not the 400th copy of one) compared to other guildies, some of which have finished in the last few weeks (almost 2 years of play time.) Also there's 3 other semi-necessary sets.
I have 6k+ hours in this game. I want to love it, because the combat is soooo, sooo so so fun, but the other 95% of the game is pure despair, and if I wasn't playing 12 hours a day I wouldn't even be able to experience it the way I do. Also I love my friends.
I still can't even do all of the content in the game, lol. Am I crying over the 900 lottery systems cuz I have bad luck? No. My luck has been above average, easily, and it's still actual trash. Even people with good luck are starting to hate it. Lost Ark CAN be great, but right now, I absolutely, 400% cannot recommend this game, because it's a full time job+ that treats you worse than garbage.