MMO fans have been waiting on Lost Ark for quite a while, especially following the success that Amazon Games saw with New World in 2021. Now that Lost Ark is here, however, there have been a lot of questions circling around it in regards to its price. The game has billed itself heavily as being Free to Play, but the game’s paid elements are being pushed just as hard.
With the current state of the way that games are monetized, it’s become clear that many Free to Play games actually require a plethora of purchases before being able to access the content properly. Anytime a new tentpole Free to Play title launches for a publisher, the worry is that the game will be packed full of intrusive microtransactions that gate off content and get in the way of a true Free to Play experience.
More Lost Ark guides:
Is Lost Ark Free to Play?
To put it simply: Lost Ark is a good example of a Free to Play game that doesn’t feature too many pay to win elements that get in the way of the core experience. The game can be played for many hours without the player needing to put a cent into it, however, it does gate certain quality of life features and cosmetics behind a paywall. That said, if the player is willing to forgo some of the conveniences that are added to Lost Ark when paying for it, it’s still a perfectly functional and gripping MMO.
To play Lost Ark, fans will simply need to download it on Steam for free, but the option does exist to purchase three different starter packs at varying price points to help the player hit the ground running. Each starter pack comes with some in-game items that can make the experience a little bit easier, however, the main item included behind the paywall is the 30-day Crystalline Aura.
Crystalline Aura is essentially Lost Ark‘s subscription model which includes plenty of quality of life features that players looking to put a lot of time into the MMO might find valuable such as reducing in-game fees, reducing the time required to spend in Stronghold activities, access to pet inventories, and free fast travel.
The other main thing that players might feel tempted to spend money on is the Royal Crystals which are Lost Ark‘s premium currency. They can be used to purchase cosmetic items and different mounts, but if the player is willing to put some time into grinding, those items are attainable without paying.
At the end of the day, the in-game purchases present in Lost Ark feel relatively similar to those in other MMOs like New World, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Final Fantasy 14. While certain purchases can make Lost Ark easier for the player, nothing is gated behind a paywall that isn’t accessible through other means, but that could cost the player several hours of grinding resources and trading items.