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Lost Ark — Everything you need to know

lost ark box art
(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

The launch of Lost Ark isn't too far away, but you might be wondering what this new massively multiplayer online action/RPG out of Korea is all about. It's a free-to-play (F2P) game in the vein of Diablo, which has you traipsing around a fantasy world to stop big baddie.

The game has proven popular enough in its home country of South Korea for Amazon to publish it in the West. Here, we'll break down just what you can expect from Lost Ark when it launches on Feb. 11. We'll also have a full review in the coming days. 

Here's everything you need to know about Lost Ark.

What is Lost Ark?

Lost Ark is a massively multiplayer online action role-playing game, or MMOARPG for short. It hails from South Korea, co-developed by Smilegate and Tripod Studios. Amazon Game Studios has stepped in as the publisher for the Western release.

lost ark screenshot of gunslinger

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

Lost Ark blends the hallmarks of the MMO genre with a Diablo-esque isometric RPG. That means lot of enemies, and plenty of over-the-top abilities to slay them all. Giant swords, guns, martial arts — Lost Ark has it all.

You'll explore the land of Arkesia in search of the titular Lost Ark. It's a race against time as you fight against an ancient evil. You'll meet plenty of characters and other players along the way, which is where the MMO aspect comes in. You'll often be surrounded by other players.

Dungeons will keep you busy, as well the PvE and PvP endgame activities, such as raids and duels. 

Lost Ark gameplay

Lost Ark is a 2.5D isometric action/RPG, meaning that you'll have a angled top-down view of your characters, the playing field, and your enemies and allies. If you've played Diablo, Path of Exile or Grim Dawn, you'll be quite familiar with this style of gameplay.

lost ark screenshot showing an ability

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

The isometric viewpoint lets Lost Ark pack in a ton of enemies on the screen, and it's satisfying to slay them with your powerful abilities. Each subclass has several skills to work with, from huge area-of-effect attacks to powerful single blows.

In Lost Ark, you'll choose one of five classes: Warrior, Gunner, Martial Artist, Mage, or Assassin. From those five, you'll pick a subclass/specialty. These affect your weaponry and abilities as you progress through the game. Sex is also sometimes locked to a particular class. While there are male and female gunslinger-type classes, for example, the warrior is a male-only class. 

lost ark screenshot showing boss ui

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

Once you select your class, you'll have some character customization options to sift through as you create the perfect avatar. As far as we can tell, Lost Ark does not let you alter your appearance once you've started the game, so make sure you're happy with your customizations before locking them in.

Of course, as Lost Ark is an MMO, there are plenty of mundane side activities to do, such as fishing or collecting wood. We expect that these will have some impact on gameplay or leveling up. There will also be different servers depending on your region, so make sure you and your friends sync up so that you can play together.

Lost Ark story

lost ark story screenshot

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

In Lost Ark, you're searching for the Ark, an artifact that once helped save the land of Arkesia. Kazeros, Lord of the Abyss, once again threatens the precious order of the realms, and it's up to you to stop him. After he was defeated last time, he was imprisoned beneath a volcano in the hopes that he'd never threaten Arkesia again.

You'll travel all across the land searching for the Ark, hoping to once again banish Kazeros and save the world. It's a standard high fantasy affair, with what seems like deep lore and worldbuilding. Live service games generally need stories that are just serviceable enough to keep people interested for the campaign and endgame. 

Lost Ark outlook

lost ark screenshot

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

Lost Ark launches on Feb. 11 for the general public, or Feb. 8 for players who have pre-purchased a Founder's Pack. Regardless, servers will open at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT / 5 p.m. GMT. You can purchase a Founder's Pack on Steam. Be sure to check the game's website for additional info and expect launch day teething issues.

The live service space is currently crowded, with games such as Destiny 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Halo Infinite consuming a lot of people's attention. Lost Ark also directly competes with the single-player F2P ARPG Path of Exile, which is itself a live service title. Lost Ark will need to be an attractive game all around to draw people away from their other games of choice.

Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.