Is Lost Ark pay-to-win?

It's not a straightforward answer.

Image via Smilegate

A free-to-play game with several opportunities, different levels of pre-order packs, and numerous Twitch drops from sponsored streamers? Smells like a breeding ground for pay-to-win mechanics.

Any free-to-play title is going to be supported by an in-game store with a variety of different cosmetic items so that the game makes revenue. But sometimes there’s more than just cosmetics available in that shop.

Is Lost Ark pay-to-win?

Yes and no, depending on who you’d ask. The best way to describe Lost Ark would be “pay-for-convenience” instead of pay-to-win. Lost Ark is a deep, long grind for those willing to put in the time, but not everyone has the privilege of time to dump into it. So there are items players can purchase to make things more convenient.

One of the big ones is the Crystalline Aura, which is sort of an in-game subscription item that binds the account with Beatrice’s Blessing for either 30 or 180 days. It removes the Triport cost, reduces the ocean liner costs, increases life energy recovery, adds Bifrost slots, reduces the Song of Return cooldown, and unlocks pet functions like selling and repairing items, among other things.

Will Crystalline Aura help you kill monsters and conquer dungeons? No, but it will drastically improve quality of life, and it’s only obtainable with Crystals or actual money.

Players can also purchase weekly packs from the Packs section of the store. These packs contain trade potions, battle items, and rapport items. Some of the items you can purchase can improve your combat proficiency, but there’s nothing game-breaking there.