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Lost Ark updates will always be “a couple of months behind Korea”

As Lost Ark approaches the third year of its western release, PCGamesN speaks to community lead Roxanne Sabo about future updates.

Lost Ark updates will always be behind Korea - Interview with community lead Roxanne Sabo - A handsome man with black hair wearing golden gauntlets.

Lost Ark is preparing to celebrate the two-year anniversary of its global launch, yet while it’s done a lot of work to catch up to the Korean version of the game, developers Amazon Games and Smilegate are unlikely to ever quite reach a point of parity. In the wake of its most recent balance update and ahead of the much-anticipated Thaemine legion raid, PCGamesN speaks with Lost Ark community lead Roxanne Sabo about its current and future plans.

I spoke with Amazon Games one year ago for the first anniversary of the Lost Ark global release on Steam, when the goal was to “greatly reduce the gap between the western build and the Korean build in our second year compared to our first.” Now, after another twelve months of the MMORPG, we’re certainly seeing some updates make their way over at an increased rate, but there’s still that slight sense of envy looking over at exciting updates on the Korean servers and wishing they were available locally.

“We’re quickly closing the content gap between Lost Ark in the West and in Korea,” Sabo tells PCGamesN in an email interview. However, she warns, “As we close that gap, players should expect our version of the game to trail a couple of months behind Korea’s updates as we account for localization and implementation.”

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Quality-of-life patches are the highest priority, along with updates designed to ease progression and help players catch up to the current endgame content, with some even aimed to arrive simultaneously across both versions. “That said, since we do need time for localization or UI optimization to add in these updates, please understand that we’ll usually need at least one to two months to get these updates ready for the West,” Sabo notes.

I ask whether the team finds it difficult to place major balance updates among the new content – for example, Korea’s next balance patch is based on performance in the Thaemine raid, which is yet to arrive in the Western version of the game (it’s currently scheduled for April). “Bringing balance patches to the West is actually quite challenging, but we try to align balance and content releases as best as possible,” Sabo explains. “Bringing in the current Korean balance patch right away might not fit our version of the game.”

When Thaemine arrives, the team intends to initially run it at its original day-one difficulty from the Korean release, which was notoriously difficult for players to complete. Sabo confirms this is still the plan: “This version won’t stick around for long, but our most hardcore players will have the opportunity to beat the raid at its most challenging level, as it was first available in Korea.” She adds that the up-to-date version should be brought in “quickly,” however, so you’ll have to move fast if you want to prove yourself.

Lost Ark interview - Thaemine, a white-haired figure in a black and blue mask.

Another concern resulting from the Thaemine legion raid’s scheduled April date is that it’s a little earlier than many players expected, causing worry that people won’t have time to prepare for this extreme challenge. “We know that some players are a little nervous about the release timing of Thaemine,” Sabo tells me, “but we’ll be having more events and rewards in-game in the coming months that should help with progression, as well as the upcoming Road to Thaemine event that will come out with the raid in April.”

Sabo also notes that only the most dedicated players are likely to want to tackle the launch version. “While it’s true that we’ll have day-one difficulty implemented, we don’t expect all of our players to charge forth and try to clear that extreme mode on day one. The raid is a permanent addition, and we encourage players to clear it on their own time.

Lost Ark’s recent jump-start servers saw quite a few players returning to the game, giving those who might have fallen off an opportunity to catch up without feeling like they were trailing behind the curve. I ask Sabo what the team has learned from this experience, and whether we’re likely to see more events catered towards all-new starters.

Lost Ark interview - Three characters wearing green Mokoko outfits.

While there’s no confirmation, she says the team “learned a ton, especially around new and returning player behaviors, and what content they really want to stick with.” She adds that the team will have “more to share later in 2024 on what we’re trying next” in that regard.

One of the most appealing aspects of the jump-start servers for me, and something I’ve heard echoed by others, including the Lost Ark team itself, was the joy of replaying content at its original item level and difficulty. While the game does offer a range of difficulty options, I query whether we might see item-level, day-one versions of certain dungeons and raids making a return. “It’s certainly an interesting idea to explore,” Sabo responds, but doesn’t elaborate further for now.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to have a little fashion talk in our conversation, so with the news that the Lost Ark second anniversary will also bring over the fifth anniversary skins from the Korean version, I ask Sabo what her favorite in-game fashion is right now. “I swap fashions like they’re going out of style,” she says.

Lost Ark interview - Several fifth anniversary skins from the Korean version that are being made available in the western release.

“Right now, I am hooked on the Night Star skin set, which just came out this winter. It strikes the perfect balance between classy and dark, which is perfect for my Sorceress when paired with her Midnight Rose Long Staff from October.”

If you’re just getting started, make sure you grab all Lost Ark Mokoko Seeds for those juicy rewards. Alternatively, we’ve got a look at the best new MMOs to try in 2024.

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