Lost Ark has been an unequivocal success for Amazon’s publishing arm, taking the big Korean MMOARPG west. But after a wild launch with 1.3 million concurrent players on Steam, a short while later it came crashing down to a low of about 340,000 competitors. Still high in the grand overview of Steam, but a significant loss all the same.
Now? Things have…changed.
Since that low point in early April, Lost Ark has spent the last two and a half months steadily re-growing its playerbase to the point where it’s now topping out at close to 900,000 concurrent players. It’s a massive departure from Amazon’s own homegrown MMO, New World, which started strong at 900,000 players itself, but has never stopped declining, and now has been hitting fresh lows recently with peaks around 18,000 competitors.
Lost Ark is routinely a top game on Steam, often top two or three, in the mix with DOTA 2 and CSGO. So, why has it grown so much?
- A light release period for several months may have caused players to return to it with not all that much else to play.
- The free model, which does have paid purchases eventually, but there’s a massive amount of content to experience for free.
- Lots of new updates, which include the addition of new continents, quests and subclasses. It’s been enough to keep players coming back.
- Many claim that thousands, tens of thousands or even potentially hundreds of thousands of these players are bots, so some of these gains may be illegitimate. Amazon has talked about already doing widespread bot ban waves with even more to come soon, so we will see what that does to the playercount. But even after batch bannings, the trend has still been significantly upward.
And of course that in many ways, Lost Ark was kind of a slam dunk to start with. It’s already been live in other regions for years so it already got to experience its growing pains a long time ago. The current western version is a result of those years of built-in success, which puts it at an advantage over a lot of similar “live” games that struggle to find their initial footing.
I really liked Lost Ark a lot, as I felt like it scratched my eternal Diablo itch, a gap that was not filled by Immortal, and will not be filled until Diablo 4 a year from now. My only issue with Lost Ark was time. As an MMO it commands a whole lot of time, even just to manage a single character and keep growing their power. As such, with so many other live games I also need to keep up with, I couldn’t keep going for the long term. But if I could clone myself, that clone would absolutely be playing and writing about Lost Ark right now on the regular.
The past few days have seen some big drops for Lost Ark, but mainly because of server issues and maintenance I believe. I really want to see if it goes back above a million again, as that’s currently how it appears to be trending.
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