This Lost Ark guide will fill you in on things it doesn’t tell you up front, or that you might not notice in its blizzard of pop-ups. This MMO has arrived here after over two years of evolution in Korea, meaning a lot of things Korean players were introduced to slowly are present right from the start. That’s why Lost Ark can feel like an explosion at the submenu factory, full of endless new systems and references to endgame stuff you’ll only see at level 50.
One significant change the Korean version made, and which the western release inherits, is the scrapping of class prologues. These solo introductions originally walked players up to level 10 before they were allowed to select an advanced class and join other players in Prideholme, but these bespoke tutorials are now replaced by the current, shorter prologue shared by every class.
That’s why you start at level 10 with five attack abilities already slotted in and are subjected to a baffling slideshow summarizing events you missed, even though they’re completely irrelevant to the quest for the arks you’re about to go on.
Lost Ark is full of that kind of thing. Fortunately, the western release includes a new system called the Welcome Challenge. It’s yet another menu, but this one bundles together lists of challenges that steer you through the basics. Check it on the regular to see which ones you’ve completed and collect the rewards, which include silver coins, HP potions, and so on. Between the Welcome Challenge and the following tips, you should be good to go.
Use healing potions, save HP potions
While we’re on the subject of HP potions: don’t drink them yet. When you’re hurt, use healing potions instead. They’re the ones that heal a set amount of points over time and are bound to F1 by default. The more valuable HP potions heal a percentage of your overall health instantly. That means HP potions continue being useful at high levels, while apprentice healing potions that give back 600 hit points will eventually become junk once you’ve got a hit point total in the thousands.
What’s more, HP potions can be used in raids, while healing potions can’t. So while you’re working your way to level 50 only chug that red juice if it says healing potion on the label, and save the HP potions for the endgame. It sure would be easier if these two varieties of potions had clearer names, hey?
The UI doesn’t need to take up all that space
Like most MMOs, Lost Ark’s interface hogs more screen real estate than it needs to. While you can minimize individual elements (goodbye, global chat), that still leaves things you need to see blocking more of the view than they should.
If your eyesight’s up to it there’s an option under video settings to alter the HUD size. Dropping it down to 80% is a definite improvement. Pressing alt-X also hides UI elements. Press it once to get rid of the minimap, questlog, and top menu, press it a second time to hide everything bar the essentials like hotbars, health, and mana, and a third time to get rid of everything. Unfortunately it’ll all come back as soon as you exit a dialogue.
Finally, the overlay map you bring up by pressing tab can be shifted off to the side—just middle-click and drag it wherever you want.
Respecs are free, spend those skill points
Each time you level up you get skill points to distribute between your abilities. If you’re used to games that are stingy with respecs you might be tempted to save them until you’ve decided on a build, but in Lost Ark you can move skill points at any time for free.
Open the skill menu by pressing K, then click the plus and minus signs next to each skill to assign or remove points. Every point increases the effectiveness of an ability, and you unlock ‘tripod’ options for each skill at tiers of 4, 20, and 48 points. These add or alter elemental damage, add effects like knockdown or push, increase range, and otherwise transform skills.
Pay attention to the Attack Type of skills while you’re at it. Some deal more damage if you use them from the front or back, some counter boss attacks, and so on.
Reskins cost money, however
If you decide you don’t love your face or your name, that’s harder to change than your skills. The Appearance Customization Ticket and Character Name Change Ticket are premium items available in the store for 800 and 1,500 royal crystals each. Be certain before you give yourself clown makeup and a meme name.
Your G key will get worn down to a nub
The quests you do on your way to level 50 are nothing special, and neither is the questgiver dialogue. You’ll be pressing G line by line to get through a lot of guff as characters tell you where to go to kill some bandits, find a monolith, or whatever. The combat, setpieces like the castle siege, the later dungeons, and the endgame make it worthwhile, but you’re not alone if you find yourself sighing as you tap through another conversation with a villager.
And no, you can’t remap G for some reason.
Pets aren’t just cosmetic
Cute as all those bunnies, crown-wearing cats and so on look following the badass heroes of Lost Ark around, they’re more than just adorable goofs. Pets pick up loot for you, which is super useful on its own, and provide minor combat bonuses. If you’ve got a crystalline aura active (a store item that provides a month’s worth of bonuses and is basically Lost Ark’s premium subscription), pets also let you access menus like storage, repair, and the market when you’re away from town. Your first pet is free, and can be earned by completing the Learning About Pets quest in Prideholme. It’ll trigger after a cutscene where you wake up in the inn.
If you don’t think pets are so cute, note that under gameplay in the settings menu are options to prevent them from being displayed. You can even hide everyone else’s pets while making sure your own special little guy remains visible.
Do early dungeons on normal instead of hard
Though there’s not much challenge in the opening hours of Lost Ark, bumping the difficulty of dungeons up isn’t really worth it. Though the loot you get is slightly better, the xp rewards are not and it’s xp you really want.
You get decent loot often enough already, and you’ll be trying to level up as fast as you can to get to Lost Ark’s good stuff—like the dungeons from Ruins of Morai onward, which are full of traps, multiple bosses, setpieces, ziplines and mine carts and general excitement. When you’re leveling, race through dungeons on normal by yourself to get them out of the way. You can always come back and do them again later with friends.
You can fast-travel from the map
Once you’ve unlocked triports, you’ll be able to return to each one you’ve activated for a small fee paid in silver coins. (Unless you’ve got a crystalline aura active, in which case it’s free.)
You don’t need to be at a triport to fast-travel, however. You can do it at any time by clicking a triport on the world map, either on the list down the left-hand side or directly on the map. You can do the same on the overlay map by alt-clicking. Your character will whip out their instrument, play a tune, and you’ll be off.
Each class has a different musical instrument
To fast-travel, teleport out of dungeons, and impress certain NPCS, you play music. Songs are slowly unlocked over the course of the game, but they’re always played on your class’s default instrument. If you’re having trouble choosing between the well-balanced
Lost Ark classes, that might tip you in one direction or another.
All gunners have electric guitars, martial artists have lutes, warriors have war horns, assassins have flutes, and mages have pan flutes (the mage advanced class of bard uses a harp in combat, but still plays a pan flute for everything else).
How to Change Instrument Lost Ark