Publication date February 18, 2022

Lost Ark beats Counter Strike, second only to PUBG in the most played games list on Steam

The Korean MMO – Lost Ark has taken off in the western market, but what is the secret to its huge success?

After only 24 hours, Lost Ark surpassed 1 million concurrent players, making it the second most played game in Steam history by concurrent counts. The Diablo-like MMO has released in the West a few days ago, thanks to a collaboration between Amazon Games and Smilegate RPG to localize and translate Lost Ark and make it available in English. In fact, it has outdone Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, which have long dominated the top of Steam's most-played games lists.

Lost Ark is so popular right now that it's having server problems and there's a line simply to get started. Lost Ark now has 1,311,842 concurrent players, surpassing CS: GO's a record of 1,308,963 and Dota 2's record of 1,295,114. However, it's unclear how many of those players are actually playing the game rather than waiting on a server line.

In any case, it's now the second most popular concurrent game, trailing only PUBG. It'll take a long time to surpass PUBG's all-time high of 3,257,248 players. After New World, which set a concurrent record of 913,634 players four months ago, Lost Ark is Amazon Games' next biggest release.

What are the origins of Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Although Lost Ark has only recently been released in Europe and the United States, it has been available in Korea for several years and was released in Japan and Russia in stages. However, It also has a huge pre-release history too. Project T was the codename for the game when it began production in 2011. Project T was first mentioned in a news item on the Unreal Engine website, which described it as a "blockbuster action-MMORPG, armed with the spectacular visuals that Unreal Engine 3 can deliver." Various dev diaries gave glimpses of the game's environment, combat, and characters as early as 2014, but the game didn't completely premiere in Korea until December 2018.

We don't have much information on Lost Ark's development, but we do know that it was completely different when it first came out in Korea. To begin with, each character class had its own Dragon Age-style introduction to the game, which provided an origin tale for that class while guiding players from level one to ten. For the Western release, a class-agnostic prologue that started players at level 10 was substituted. Furthermore, the player's progression from level 10 to 50 was slower in the Korean launch version, with more complicated questing and less streamlined zones.

We also know that the Korean release of Lost Ark was a huge success. Lost Ark received "a record 350,000 concurrent users" on its nationwide premiere, according to the Korea Herald. This number declined dramatically during the next few years, as it did in most MMOs, but the game enjoyed a revival in players in 2021. Multiple things, according to the Herald, contributed to this. Lost Ark's free-to-play structure is deemed "soft" in comparison to other, more pay-to-win focused Korean games. 

Multiple rumors surrounding MapleStory —  another popular Korean MMO that was accused of, among other things, "manipulating the ratio of random cash goods," leading to gamers transferring to Lost Ark and in turn helping Lost Ark to its road to success. 

What draws western players to Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Although the answer may be subjective and can change from player to player, the popular opinion is that — The dramatic combat, the original character powers, the varied and interesting dungeons, and the wild swings the game's major quest takes were among the things that impressed players about the game. While the game's story isn't very well-told, as an adventure, it regularly transports you to new and intriguing locations with a wide range of themes and tones.

More MMO-oriented gamers will like the permanent online component of the game, which includes raids, daily challenges, and teaming together to combat tough zone bosses, as well as gathering materials in the world and using them to build out your own fortress, which is unique to each player. There's so much more to keep you coming back, and if you're the type of player who prefers to focus on a single, all-encompassing game, Lost Ark delivers.

In many ways, the two aspects of the game's personality complement each other, catering to both fanbases without putting either side of the game at risk. If you're an MMO enthusiast, you'll find that it has everything you'd expect from an MMO, but with far more interesting combat. If you prefer ARPGs, you'll enjoy all of the fantastic powers and character development, but with a large globe to explore. The connection isn't always mutually beneficial. Combat in open zones, for example, feels somewhat redundant due to the continually respawning creatures that only grant a little amount of XP. However, an instanced zone or dungeon is always only a few minutes away, and they do a much better job of scratching that ARPG hunger.

Lost Ark's success may be due to the fact that it caters to an audience that hasn't been well served in recent years. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Diablo III, and while there have been a few outstanding ARPGs since then, such as Path of Exile and Grim Dawn, the last decade hasn't exactly been kind to the genre. As a result, Lost Ark arrives at an ideal time to fill that void in the market, snatching up all those fans who have tired of Diablo III and are looking for a change of pace from Path of Exile.

As mentioned earlier in this article the biggest and the only point of disappointment in the Lost Ark community right now is the server queues. Many players are delayed in server lines ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of people since Amazon and Smilegate appear to have grossly miscalculated the game's response. Many gamers are unable to join a queue at all, instead of receiving the message "Cannot Connect Due To Heavy Traffic."

Have you played the game yet? Tell us your thoughts about the game in the comments below.

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