*Dream Title Goes Here*
I’ve fallen into something of a comfortable pattern in balancing out my time expenditure for Lost Ark and Elden Ring. However, it has not left me a lot of time for writing posts. This reached a sort of critical mass last night, apparently, where I had quite a vivid dream in which I finally wrote and published a post… But… I had left a placeholder title in when I hit publish! And I didn’t notice until I’d already linked it in Discord etc. In the dream, this was quite a big deal to me, similar in feeling and nature to turning up at school in pyjamas.
The pattern I’ve settled into essentially puts Lost Ark as the priority when my friends are also able to play — largely in the evenings. During which we do our Chaos Dungeon runs, Guardian Raids and, more recently, Abyss Dungeon runs as needed. If we’ve done all that, then it’s just time to hang out and Discord and do whatever else strikes our fancy, either alone or together. Islands, optional quest lines, whatever is needed.
Since I spent a lot of additional time in the game at launch with time off work that the others didn’t have, my main was significantly ahead for a while, leading to a lot of alt time for these group sessions. Between my time on alts and their time catching up mains, though, things are starting to come together a little more nicely.
In any case, before they come on, if I’m available earlier — or after we’re done with the activities we like to group for — then Elden Ring comes to the fore! Elden Ring all the way to bedtime. So far, almost midway through the month, this has created an almost equal balance in time spent between the two games. ~44 hours in Lost Ark and ~41 hours in Elden Ring.
To correct the balance between gaming and posting, though, today, I figured would give an
brief update on where I’m at with each1 Lost Ark! :)
Lost Ark: Cracking Tier 3
There is a certain rhythm to working through the tiers of gear in Lost Ark. The early progress is rapid. You need hardly any materials, and the chance of success is high (100% even when you first start a tier of gear). As you get nearer to the magical +15 level, material costs rise, and chances plummet. Doing your Guardian and Chaos dungeons for the day might only earn you one or two attempts at an upgrade which may or may not then actually succeed.
To a point, you can supplement this honing material income with islands (although this is finite) or various traders (although this has a weekly cap). After which, if you still want to accelerate your process even further, you can purchase from the Auction House, or… From Mari’s Shop. Mari’s shop utilises blue crystals, which you can buy with gold or with royal crystals, purchased with cash.
Psuedo Edit: Ooh! Forgot a big one- Alts. You can transfer many of the materials earnt from alts and feed them to your main. This can help a great deal, too, although, of course, then eventually hits the age-old issue of time being finite.
So far, I’ve not felt the need to head to either the auction house or Mari’s shop.
But I’ve also been quite OK taking things at a pace dictated by the game. Those who reached Tier 3 in the opening days of the game would have certainly had to.
In any case, once you break through the end of tier wall, your reward is more than just a significant power jump. It’s also that you go back to the glorious easy days of low material costs and high chances. Your early increases will fly in fast and furious.
In terms of that wall, it certainly can be problematic. And some have expressed… shall we say, quite negative sentiment about it upon hitting it. I think a large part of this comes down to the fact we had all three tiers of content at launch. Amazon and SmileGate made concessions to the speed of these tiers to be sure, but without a doubt, the pacing of those latter levels was designed to be an endgame activity.
For those of us motivated in large part by reaching the end (like myself, most of the time) it is hard to feel ‘done’ or ‘complete’ until getting to Tier 3. And having two mountains to climb before even starting for the final summit can be pretty rough. It’s a bit like coming to an MMO with three expansions out already, but where the game expects you to reach the top of each of the older expansions’ gear ladder before even making a start on the next.
Diving into 8-person Content
At the end of Feiton, there is a quest chain that acts as a lead into the Abyss Dungeon for the region to find the Gateway to Paradise. Unlike every other Abyss Dungeon series to date, the Feiton ones require 8 people to complete and are tuned closer to a raid experience in terms of difficulty. Using the auto matchmake function just seems like a recipe for a really bad time.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Amazon tackles this for the Western audience. They’ve already shown an inclination to nerf encounters that show the slightest sign of being difficult for this region. To be fair, Amazon was reporting less than 10% completion rates on the nerfed encounters and they’ve said (so far, at least) that nerfs will apply to blockers to the end game, not the current active end-game content.
Provided that remains true I don’t really have a problem with it.
I still don’t know that I’d use the automatic matchmaker tool though…
In any case! I’ve completed all but the final boss of the third (and final) dungeon of this now. We had 4-people last week from the guild ready to go including me, and we used the Looking For Group tool to find the remaining four.
We had a great run! Few of the bosses took us a little bit to get. Almost all of them beyond the first instance have a raid-wipe mechanic that requires everyone in the group to know what to do. One of them involves a bit of a circular-line dancing type thing. We had a few sub outs between the instances, but in addition to the guild group, we made a new regular friend who stuck with us through the three.
Here’s my major complaint about how Lost Ark does things in this regard though… You cannot get a replacement party member in mid-run. If someone leaves — that’s it. Everyone leaves and you restart. We had a disconnect who didn’t come back during the second boss of the first dungeon and had to restart that. But at that point, it was still early and we had time. So while irritating, it was merely an inconvenience.
However, when the latest PUG member we had for the final dungeon decides during the third and final boss to leave… Ouch. It meant the difference between overall success and failure that night.
Now, I don’t mean to say once you’re in a run that’s it. You should be allowed to leave at any time for any reason. The current Lost Ark restrictions put a lot of pressure on everyone to stick around whether they want to or not though, and punish everyone else if it isn’t a mutual decision.
But not to worry. Later today, the guild is going to reform a group — likely with more of us capable of doing this content — and hit the third dungeon again, and I’m sure, beat it in full.
For better or worse, Punika — the Tier 3 content after Feiton (which is still Tier 2) — returns the Abyss dungeons back to a 4-person format. I quite like it, though, as it makes for challenging group content that you can do without a lot of rigamarole. For that, we now have Argos with even more true raids coming in the not-too-distant future. :)