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Lost Ark is cutting back grind to add new stuff “as fast as we can”

Lost Ark year two is underway, so Smilegate and Amazon Games lay out plans for the RPG game with less grind, more events, and an improved new player experience.

Lost Ark reduces grind for year two - a mystical white-furred, deer-like animal with a puffy collar wearing a golden helm

As Lost Ark year two continues to ramp up, developer Smilegate and publisher Amazon Games lay out their 2023 plans as they aim to cut back on endgame and daily grinds to introduce more new content faster without player burnout. The Diablo-style MMORPG had a successful first year following its worldwide launch, albeit one marred by a wealth of bots and server troubles, but Amazon says it has big plans to improve the game for both hardcore players and complete newcomers.

“Last year, our top priorities were introducing content into the western shores of Arkesia at an appropriate cadence to avoid burnout, working to pull forward quality-of-life changes, and waging the war on bots,” a blog from Smilegate and Amazon begins. This philosophy is planned to continue, it seems, but that will necessitate some changes to ensure that no-one on either the developer or player side suffers from burnout due to an overload of content.

Chief among these is a proclamation to reduce the amount of grind involved in endgame content and dailies. “We’re aware of the sense of discontent regarding Chaos Dungeons, Guardian Raids, and Una’s Tasks,” the team admits, saying it recognises how repetitive and mundane such activities can become. While the plan is ultimately to reduce the daily grind, it notes that such activities are currently a core thing to keep hardcore players busy each day, so they can’t be immediately stripped out without replacement.

For now, May will see the arrival of the Ebony Cube activity, which combines Boss Rush and Dimension Cube to create a tool aimed to help cut down on necessary grind. Following that, “quality of life updates like Ebony Cube will be implemented as fast as possible” to help mitigate the need to grind until more dramatic overhauls arrive.

Lost Ark - numerous characters on a giant checkerboard floor, with numerous large dice pouring in from one side

Lost Ark year two plans

All of this is in service of one primary goal – “To introduce content as fast as we can without having problems occur.” The problems in particular include the localisation timeline of bringing the current Korean endgame content across in pristine condition, and the worry that players might burn out if faced with an overwhelming flood of content or demands to hit item level requirements in a short period.

The best news, perhaps, is that Lost Ark classes aren’t beholden by the narrative restrictions of new continents, Legion Raids, and the like. That means “new classes (at least) will be updated as soon as possible),” with an idea of when we’ll get our hands on the remaining classes likely to appear in an upcoming four-month roadmap due to be shared next week.

Lost Ark events are also planned to ramp up, with plans for “more events applied simultaneously across the versions,” rather than simply bringing over older events that have already taken place on Korean servers. These will include some western-exclusive events along with some that are scheduled simultaneously across Korean and western servers.

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Improving the Lost Ark new player experience

Sweeping changes are also being made to help newer players get started and smoothly catch up to the rest of the player base. These include a halving of the number of gear tiers, meaning you won’t spend as long honing gear through multiple, repetitive stages. Additional runes are being introduced to the early progression, while certain set items will become easier to obtain.

An expansion to the recently introduced Silver Honing mechanic is set to arrive alongside the game’s next class, and has also been trimmed to require less silver and honour shards to speed progression further. Triport activation has been made roster-bound, so you won’t have to unlock teleport spots on multiple characters, and plans are in place to make the quest-skipping Knowledge Transfer function for alt characters easier to use.

New players should find less stress in their early dips into harder content, too. Battle items are being made free in early Guardian Raids “before summer comes,” along with a guide to help newer players figure out when and how to use them.

In addition to this, the Argos Abyss Raid has been streamlined, with many mechanics that would previously wipe party toned back to instead just deal heavy damage, giving players a bit more leeway to make mistakes. Smilegate is considering similar changes to early Legion Raids such as Valtan and Vykas, although the team notes that “not every wipe mechanic will be adjusted, considering their designation as top-tier end-game raids.”

Lost Ark year two plans - Beatrice looks out across a planet from a platform in outer space

Lost Ark’s war with the robots

Last but certainly not least, Smilegate and Amazon Games reaffirm their ongoing battle against bot accounts. The blog notes, “With new measures and constant ban waves, our changes have led to 55 billion bot gold removed from the game and a 99% decrease in bots interacting with the economy.”

The team says it “will continue to take strong actions against RMT (real-money transaction) participants” and is continuing to invest in further anti-bot measures, although notes that “specific tactics can’t be revealed for security reasons.” It acknowledges that “it will be difficult to ever completely remove bots from Lost Ark,” but says that great strides continue to be made in that direction.

For now, all Lost Ark players can claim a thank-you gift as a first-time login reward until May 19. This package includes a Mokoko Skin selection chest, a Moko Pet selection chest, a Mokoboard selection chest, ten Collective Battle Item chests, one million Silver, three Relic Rapport selection chests, and 50 Pheons.

Lost Ark has a big year ahead as it faces off challenges from other similar games, with the Diablo 4 release date nearly here and the Path of Exile Crucible league proving why it’s still a major player in the space. There’s also competition from more of the best new MMOs worth playing on PC in 2023.