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A beginner’s guide to Lost Ark: 12 tips and tricks to get started

Lost Ark is a sprawling new MMO from Smilegate and Amazon Games. The highly anticipated title combines common tropes seen in the MMORPG genre with a top-down view, bundles of loot, and a surprisingly deep storyline. If you’re just getting started with Lost Ark, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the systems thrown your way.

While the game does a great job of pacing, there’s no denying that the customization options, available classes, dozens of menus, and gigantic world of Arkesia can be a bit intimidating. Here are a few beginner tips and tricks to keep in mind when starting Lost Ark.

Further reading

Follow the Main Quest and Guide Quests

Lost Ark player surrounded by a crowd.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As is often the case with MMOs, your first several hours will be spent slogging through the Main Quest. Not only will this grant you a huge chunk of experience points, but it’ll also introduce you to new regions, characters, and gameplay mechanics you’ll use throughout the rest of your time with Lost Ark.

While Main Quests push the game forward and often result in big XP gains, you’ll also want to look out for Guide Quests. These are periodically unlocked as you advance through the game and are easily recognizable by their purple color in your menu. These teach you important new features, such as using pets or sailing. Make sure you complete these as soon as possible to fully benefit from their rewards.

Don’t spam your skills

Spamming your attacks is a recipe for disaster in most games, although it’s especially true in Lost Ark. You can probably get through most of the early quests without thinking too much, but eventually you’ll need to know the intricacies of each skill in your hotbar. Understanding which skills have a long cooldown, which ones knock back foes, and which ones take a long time to cast are all key to your success — spamming every skill as soon as it’s off cooldown is an easy way to lose a battle.

Experiment with your setup

Lost Ark player using a skill in battle.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Not only is it important to learn your skills, but you’ll also want to play around with your setup and currently equipped abilities. Lost Ark makes it easy (and free) to respect your build, so make liberal use of this to find a layout that fits your playstyle. Most classes are rather versatile and can be played in a variety of ways, so don’t be afraid to radically change up your character.

Create alt accounts

Since each class comes with a variety of skills and preferred playstyles, make sure you take some time to create alt characters and explore everything Lost Ark has to offer. The last thing you want to do is sink 100 hours into a Warrior only to find you prefer playing as a Mage.

Activate Triports

The world of Arkesia is gigantic. Your mount helps navigate individual maps, but Triports are the best way to navigate large distances. Be sure you’re activating every one of these portals you come across. Remember, they don’t activate just because you’re nearby — you need to physically interact with them before they become usable.

Optimize your pets

Lost Ark wastes no time in throwing mountains of loot your way. Picking up and organizing all those items quickly becomes tedious unless you have a pet. Simply equipping a pet will allow them to pick up everything that enemies drop, although you can further improve their skills by diving into the Pet Menu and telling them exactly what sort of gear to pick up. It’s a powerful feature, and one you’ll want to explore before your inventory starts to overflow.

Learn to level efficiently

Lost Ark player in combat.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For better or worse, Lost Ark is a game that only reveals its true gameplay loop once you’ve reached the endgame. This means you’ll want to level up as fast as humanly possible. Completing Main Quests is the best way to achieve that goal — although it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few Side Quests as things start to get difficult. These will often reward you with useful gear or resources to improve your overall power, making it easy to cut through high-level bosses thrown your way during Main Quests.

Complete Side Quests as needed

While powering through the Main Quest is the best way to level, it’s important to stop every so often and pick up a few Side Quests. Not only can these often be completed on your way to tackle a Main Quest, but they typically reward you with easy experience points and useful gear. This in turn makes it easier to keep plowing through the Main Quest without running into any roadblocks — which often come in the form of an overpowered boss encounter.

Claim Roster rewards

Lost Ark uses two leveling systems — Combat Level and Roster Level. Combat Level is limited to your current character, while Roster Level carries over to all characters on your account. Improving your Roster Level often rewards you with permanent stat boosts, but you need to manually navigate to the Roster Menu and claim these rewards. You’ll get a notification every time you hit a new Roster Level, but make sure you find time to actually open the Roster Menu and pick up your new benefits.

Focus on Trade Skills

Lost Ark player harvesting wood.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You won’t unlock Trade Skills until you’ve put in a decent amount of time with Lost Ark, but they quickly become an important way to earn silver. They also take a ridiculous amount of time to level. Each day you’ll be allotted a set amount of Energy, and once you run out of Energy, you’ll no longer be able to perform Trade Skill actions. Because of this, you’ll want to start working on the leveling process as soon as possible. They’re also a fun diversion from the usual assortment of questing and combat — and one of the best ways to get rich in the world of Lost Ark.

Don’t worry about your Gear

Until you reach the endgame, don’t fixate on your gear. Lost Ark is pretty generous with its drop rates and — if you’re tackling a Side Quest every so often — you’ll probably never be under-geared for your current level. This will also help you save money, as gear expenses can quickly add up.

Start building your perfect Stronghold

Your Stronghold is essentially Lost Ark‘s version of player housing, and it comes with a multitude of benefits. It’ll take several hours before you unlock it, but you’ll find yourself coming back to it frequently once it’s available. Upgrading the location will give you access to a variety of useful features, such as the ability to reach new recipes, craft gear, and train other characters on your account. Be sure to check in frequently and explore everything your Stronghold has to offer.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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