I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Raiders of Lost Ark. It’s a free-to-play MMO that was previously only available in South Korea, Russia, and Japan, but Amazon said today that it will work with developer Smilegate RPG to bring it to North America and Europe this autumn. I’m overjoyed.
Lost Ark essentially asks, “What if Diablo 3 was an MMO?” You use flashy talents to destroy hordes of demons, fairies, and everything in between to acquire experience and loot, and the 15 various character classes are all wild and exciting. (Because it’s set in a strange universe where everything happens, you may be anything from a warrior with a big-ass sword to a cartwheeling Devil Hunter with twin pistols.) Combat is fast-paced and fluid, requiring a great deal of timing and agility to avoid opposing strikes. There are several ways to combine talents and build combinations.
It’s a lot of joy to see Diablo 3’s action incorporated into a regular MMO where you can do dungeons and raids with your buddies. Outside of battle, there are a number of intriguing elements, such as a relationship system with NPCs that allows you to court them for unique benefits and the option to construct and sailboats over an unexplored ocean. You may even build your own island and use it as a vacation.
Amazon has stated that the English version of Lost Ark will be released this fall, but you may register here for a beta test that will take place later this summer.
I initially heard of Raiders of the Lost Ark when it was still in its early stages. Back then, the only way to play was to spend a lot of money on highly shady websites in return for a Korean phone number, which is necessary to register for the game (since phone numbers are tied to your real-life identity in Korea). Despite having to use a Korean-only gaming client, I ended myself wasting a couple of weeks of my life on Lost Ark. It’s also exciting to see Amazon enter the publishing and localization markets. It seems logical that it would use its internet infrastructure to host a live service game, and perhaps it will have better luck as a publisher than it has in producing games in-house thus far.