February was a damn good month for games. And only games it seems.
Lost Ark came out, with a few years of content already onboard. And there is a lot of content. Almost too much.
I find these types of localized releases quite interesting, because the western sensibilities to F2P are much different than the east. Allods Online is still burned into my brain as to how to lose an entire playerbase with a single swoop (they put in a resurrection sickness that could only be cured with a cash stop item).
From what I can tell so far, Lost Ark doesn’t have a huge burden with their cash stop. The typical acceleration items are there, potions and random boxes and whatnot. The actual gameplay doesn’t seem to suffer from it though… and PvP is normalized, so even if you did boost a character with money, it wouldn’t go very far.
I should note that as with any F2P game with a cash stop, there is a plague of bots. They only seem to be in the city, and they zip through walls. Guess they are running an easy quest to make currency to sell. Literally dozens of them, one on top of the other.
But enough about that. There are plenty of other reviews, videos, and blog posts that praise the game. I am certainly impressed. What I want to point out is one simple matter.
This is what Diablo 4 should have been.
It’s really that simple. The combat itself is tight, there are plenty of skill options, there’s min/maxing, a long tail that is more than about gear score, group content that is more than just DPS. The whole demon/angel bit. This isn’t so much a dig at Blizzard – I certainly could – but more a reflection of how there isn’t a revolutionary bit to Lost Ark. They took the best parts of ARPG games, figured out how to include actual group mechanics, and plopped a rather effective cash stop on the side. Hell, this might be the first game Amazon Studios (as publisher) actually gets right.
I’ll be giving the game a bit more time over the next month, see what comes out of it. So far, it scratches all the right places.