Lost Ark is the hot new MMO, but it has a huge problem

ByJose A. York

Feb 22, 2022

By Jason Collins | 3 weeks earlier

After becoming available to North American and European players, lost ark, the hot new MMO, suffered massive server congestion, preventing players from getting into the game. Those who were lucky didn’t suffer from stability issues, but those who were unlucky did saw their game go offline. They would then have had to wait in incredibly long queues to reconnect to lost ark to resume their game. Although the game launched over ten days ago on February 11, server congestion issues persist, with no clear resolution in sight.

In fact, it seems that the game’s developer, Smilegate, has no intention of increasing server capacity. According to Game Rant, Smilegate acknowledged the issue and said there likely won’t be a fix for congested server issues anytime soon. The game’s “Western” publisher, Amazon, was already giving players three free days of Crystalline Aura, granting them 7,000 free experience points (needed to level up and progress) per minute, a pet that can repair and store items, and 10% faster regeneration of life energy. That said, the lost ark the servers are always saturated, especially for European players.

True, Amazon and Smilegate have already tried to solve the problem by launching Europe West Region servers, which would relieve some of the traffic from the existing servers. However, they didn’t offer free character transfers to current players, meaning those who wanted to transfer would have to start the game over from scratch. And given the magnitude lost ark i.e. it could be an exceptionally high order. It should also be noted that the game is Official Twitter stated that increasing server capacity is not currently possible and not likely in the near future due to the complexity of the game.

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That said, we should question the legitimacy of these claims. For example, Final Fantasy XIV also suffered massive server congestion, prompting Square Enix to pull the game from sale. The company managed to resolve most of the bottlenecks and put the game back on sale within 60 days of removing it from digital storefronts. Opening of new servers for lost ark would require more money, and comparing Amazon’s net income to Square Enix’s, the advantage is clearly on Amazon’s side. So if it’s not about money, what is?

Good, lost ark had 1.32 million concurrent players, according to Steam, which is most likely a number inflated by the game being new to the Western market. It would therefore not be economically viable for Amazon and Smilegate to open new servers to accommodate all players, only to eventually see 20-30% of its player base leave the game after three to six months. This is purely speculative, of course, and does not reflect the company’s lack of intention to expand server capacity. It may really be a matter of limitations in the game’s systems. But Amazon could have at least offered free transfers to eligible players.

Well-established MMOs with a huge number of servers and realms, such as world of warcraft, have already offered free character transfers to eligible players. Players could request a transfer from a congested, high-population domain to a low-population domain, which would balance the player population across regional servers, preventing congestion. It’s in Amazon’s and Smilegate’s interest to fix the congested server issues in Europe and sometimes the US if they’re to see the continued success of lost ark, which is now available on PC.