Lost Ark is… interesting.
The Diablo-esque combat is pretty fun; attacks feel bombastic and weighty (once you get past the odd, largely unchangeable control layout) and carving your way through hordes of enemies feels is very satisfying. Loot doesn’t pour out quite the same way as a true ARPG, but the mechanics are solidly enjoyable.
The MMO side of the game I’m personally less engaged with, but I do recognize and appreciate that (so far) it’s a lot more streamlined and snappy than standard MMO fare. There are some quality of life and overall design elements that make things feel like a pretty solid step forward.
There are other areas of the game, though, that just feel a little dated in 2022 (the game came out in 2019, but nevertheless). This is a South Korean game, so a lot of this is likely differences of culture, but it feels odd to see certain classes restricted by gender. It’s not quite as egregious as “Pick either the Male Warrior or the Female Housewife”, but it’s odd these days to play a game where the gender of your character isn’t solely a cosmetic choice.
Perhaps it simply solves for them the need to create armor for each class that then also works on multiple body types. I can appreciate that perhaps it cuts the development time of new armor sets almost in half in that regard. That, however, leads us to the more disappointing element of the game: if you happened to select a class that is female-only, you have no choice but to run around in the tired chainmail-bikini trope, whilst your male compatriots tend to look like walking fortresses, in head-to-toe armor. It’s got a little bit of “what year is it?!” meme vibe to it.
Lost Ark is pretty impressive as a whole, but for all of the cool stuff I’ve seen, there’s just as much that feels restrictive, or frustrating or backwards. I downloaded it to toy around this week up until the release of bigger games, and it’s been fun for that purpose (and since it’s free, I can definitely recommend checking it out). But I wouldn’t say it’s given me any real reason thus far not to abandon it the moment other things drop this week.