The Lost Ark player count has seen a dramatic drop on Steam in recent days, plummeting from roughly 300,000 average concurrent players to just under 100,000. But it might be good news for fans of one of the most popular free games on PC. Developer Smilegate reassures players that “This change is the direct result of a roll out of a significant number of bot account bans” in the RPG, and promises even more in the coming months.
Lost Ark bots have long been cited by players as a notable problem, and it’s easy to see why. Just wander around one of the town hubs or out in the open world and you’ll come across plenty of ‘players’ exhibiting slightly strange behaviours or moving in weird ways. In many cases, you’ll even see multiple characters all doing exactly the same thing, following bot scripts in order to farm resources and take advantage of the free-to-play model.
In a post on the Lost Ark forums, Smilegate says that it has used “new and highly effective tactics to target and remove bots from the game.” It adds that the team expects players will experience “a positive impact on gameplay, including improved Market and Auction House experiences, decreased lag in heavily populated areas, and fewer bots present in the game.”
This isn’t the end of the bot bans, however – Smilegate promises that it will “continue to deploy large-scale bot ban waves, implementing new methods of identifying and actioning against bots en masse,” in the coming months. It notes that it will keep players of the multiplayer RPG game updated with when these rollouts occur and how successful they have been.
Bots are certainly a big problem in free online games such as Lost Ark, where players can utilise them to grind for additional resources that can then be traded to a main account for an advantage, or sold on the in-game marketplace (or even through third-party sites). As such, they can often destabilise the player economy, as well as simply making the user experience less pleasant due to overcrowded and laggier servers, especially if many bots are acting simultaneously in the same areas.
Steam tracking website SteamDB shows that where the average concurrent Lost Ark players in the past several months has hovered between 250,000 and 350,000, the player count since January 10 peaked at 101,763 and has stayed under 100,000 in the two days since. While that can look bad at a glance, it’s obviously an important step to take to ensure that the player experience is better so that your actual, non-bot community sticks around.
The Lost Ark Witcher crossover release date is almost upon us, meaning that it’s a great time to jump back into one of the best new MMOs in recent years. Check out our Lost Ark tier list for the best classes if you’re just starting out, along with all Lost Ark Mokoko Seeds locations to nab every one of those pesky collectables.