Thursday, June 30, 2022

Lost Ark broke CS:GO and Dota player count records, despite a technically bumpy weekend

Despite Friday’s wonky launch, Lost Ark become the second-most-played game on Steam ever over the weekend. The free-to-play action-RPG hit 1.32 million peak concurrent players on Saturday, narrowly pushing it past the all-time peaks of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. Well, 1.32m were in-game, but they might not have been playing. Server problems continued after launch with long queues for some. Publishers Amazon say they’re working on it, including planning to create a whole new extra European server region.

Barely 15 minutes before Lost Ark was due to launch on Friday, Amazon delayed it, citing “deployment issues”. It ended up launching four hours late aaand 20 minutes later Amazon took the servers offline again for 15 minutes due to fix a problem with missing characters. This continued across the weekend with Amazon taking down or restarting servers while resolving problems with everything from auction houses to infinite loading screens. And queues to join servers remained a persistent problem.

One of Amazon’s plans to resolve that is to launch a new European region. That’ll be wholly separate to the current Central Europe region, and take extra work with the developers, Smilegate. “Due to the game’s architecture this is the only way to accommodate more players in Europe so it’s a joint effort between Amazon Games and Smilegate RPG,” Amazon explain. And being a separate region means other issues.

“Please note that this will be a distinct new region (separated from Central Europe) without cross-region play availability,” Amazon warn. “This also means that region-wide features, such as your Royal Crystal and Silver balances from Central Europe will not be accessible in the new European region. The new region will be ideal for players who have not yet created their character or haven’t otherwise committed to stay on their existing server.”

That blog post also details a “launch celebration gift” they’re planning to offer to all players, with a mount and a load of chests. Anyone who plays between the time the new region launches and 7:59am on March 2nd will get that.

I had hoped Amazon would be better prepared after the server shortages when they launched New World in September 2021, but even they probably didn’t expect Lost Ark would be one of Steam’s most popular games ever. And not only because it’s just, like, fine.

Our Lost Ark review-in-progress summarized it: “excellent Diablo-like combat struggles to make up for a grind leveling process baked into a cookie-cutter MMORPG template.” Alice Bee compared it to Diablo II too, and found it wanting. But hey, it’s evidently good enough to get over a million people clicking in unison.

Lost Ark is available free to play onSteam.

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