Blaugust 2019 is here! It has started! At least — in the New Zealand timezone it has. So here is my official post #1 for Blaugust 2019. Preparation Week is still under way with many of the Mentors posting great advice posts.

Even as a participant, I threw my own 2c into the ring with watching out for Procrastination in the name of ‘Research’ and finding your motivation or your ‘why’ for entering the blogging world.

It seems I picked a really good time to jump into Lost Ark. Just yesterday the Assassin class launched, along with a new introductory story path which ties masterfully into the existing story. You start as a fresh faced Assassin, subordinate to the rest of the crew. They’re professionals and know their business, yet the very Gothic looking and foreboding castle ahead does little to inspire confidence.

In there, you know, is your target. One of your own.

At least, they were once. It is hard to say precisely what they are now after succumbing to the call of chaos — that constant, whispering presence and companion to all fated to bear the legacy of demon blood. Like you.

Worse, they are converting others. And so, here you are.

You will perform a number of fairly Assassiny-feats to breach the castle. A lot of climbing, vaulting, and attacking from shadows. What took me by surprise at first, was just how adept at AoE and group management the Assassin is.

Just casually climbing my way around the Chandelier. *queue Sia song*

When I think ‘Assassin’, I typically think strong single target. Maybe poison DoTs or bleeds but that’s more of a flavour choice really. The Lost Ark Assassin goes in with wide sweeping slashes, lifting enemies into the air from behind and then slamming them down again in a flurry of spinning blades.

Despite the initial surprise at this, Lost Ark does a superb job of making this feel right. It feels right for the class thematically after even just a moment and it is glorious to control from a gameplay perspective.

The introductory sequence for the Assassin is likely the shortest of the classes1 but it creates a sense of scale and place difficult to adequately describe.

Breaching the walls and then getting past the antechamber guards are just the beginning. The sense of scale is very cleverly built by — except for getting over the walls initially — a constant downward progression. This is a castle built on the ruins of other castles. You travel down, down, down through increasingly worn paths.

Parts of the lower areas are submerged and navigable by boat.

At last you will come to a giant stone door. It immediately put me in mind of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and the stone door in the university library. It is immense. And just as I was remembering the speculation about that door being designed to keep something in at least as much as it is to keep people out…

…This one starts sliding open.

Tendrils emerge which your Assassin valiantly attempts to fight back, but it is for naught. You are grabbed and dragged through, the doorway slamming shut behind.

I don’t particularly want to spoil the rest. So I won’t, except to say again how bloody fantastic it was how they tied the Assassin class in with the other class starts, subverting expectations of a particular event that occurs for all the others. In fact I would go so far as to say that you should not make Assassin your first class in Lost Ark when you get the chance, just so you have the opportunity to compare and contrast.

For now, I shall leave you with a look the two classes skill sets and feel. I haven’t selected one or the other yet, but have tested them both in the trial area a little. Blade is likely where I’ll go, being the fast moving highly agile option. Demonic may be the heavier hitting of the two though with a bit of range added to the mix as well. In some respects it reminded me of Devil May Cry 4/5’s Nero.

Footnotes

  1. Noting I still haven’t completed Fighter yet