Lost Ark has been something of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I don’t recall when it first entered my awareness, but I think it was no later than 2017. It might even have been 2016. Whatever the case, it was a long time ago and even though it was already known to be only releasing in the East (specifically Korea) to start with — the hype began.

I couldn’t help it.

Marry an Action RPG, with stunningly visceral looking combat to a full on MMO with dungeons, raids, sailing the seas and crafting skills? I’m so in. I even briefly joined the Korean Open Beta and had a blast.

But years rolled by, with releases coming in other regions — Japan, and Russia — with narry a mention of a Western release.

THEN! WE GOT ONE! :D Well- sort of. It wasn’t made totally explicit. But we knew. We knew.

Finding the lost city of Trua, in the new Lost Ark prologue.

It was finally going to happen. A little less than a year later we got the official news. I heard about it while at work — you know, in those days when we could actually go into the office — but the excitement was heading through the roof. Until I got home, that is. And found out the release was region-locked, with New Zealand and Australia on the wrong side of said lock.

It was… Quite the blow.

But as you do, you move on and put it aside. Sure, it was years of hype and anticipation but in the grand scheme of things it’s still just a game, right?

So I put it all aside — there was plenty else to look forward to, after all!

I didn’t realise just how much I’d put aside until the decision to exclude us was reversed and more — that I’ve been able to jump in and play the Closed Beta for myself.

This turns into one wild wagon ride!

Lost Ark is super fun. But it’s more than that. The release of the bottled up anticipation elevates everything to eleven — it isn’t just ‘fun’, it’s joyous.

I don’t even have a lot to share with you about the game itself right now. I’ve played a Sharpshooter (Bow) character until level 18, and a Paladin to level 13 so far. Both characters are new to me. The Paladin didn’t even exist when I played the KR Beta. The Sharpshooter I am using as my solo character, the Paladin with friends.

Around level 20 you do the first of what I would consider to be the first of the ‘proper’ dungeons of the game and I’m looking forward to it.

I didn’t think I was going to go too crazy in this beta window — and I still might not — it is after all, going to all be deleted ahead of next year’s launch. I also already have access to Forza Horizon 5, the proper release even! But the bubbly joy of finally getting Lost Ark ‘properly’ is pretty amazing, so we’ll have to see how this next week goes.