Smilegate RPG’s Lost Ark has been popular worldwide as Amazon Games launched the game on Steam. It has been maintaining a large number of concurrent users since its launch. It was as if Lost Ark filled in the need for a new MMORPG for global gamers. The numbers Lost Ark put up on Steam were record-breaking, as the game surpassed 20 million overall users and over 1.32 million concurrent users.
Behind its success was Lost Ark’s global director, Keum “Gold River” Kang-sun, who worked hard to make everything possible. Inven Global had a chance to interview Gold River, where he talked about the game’s global success.
Lost Ark launched globally on Steam, and there have been more than 20 million users who played the game. Did you expect such popularity? How were the reactions?
At first, we were half excited and half nervous. Launching the game globally was one of the goals of the studio. We also had a small hope of meeting players’ expectations as we did our best polishing the game based on the Korean users’ feedback. Even so, we didn’t expect such an intense welcome. Many people congratulated us on the launch, so I’m rather dazed and moved. We had a live stream to thank the users for the global success. This was all thanks to the users and our staff. I’d like to thank everyone here again.
The gaming styles of Korean gamers and global gamers are quite different. What did you focus on the most while preparing for the global launch compared to the Korean launch?
We focused on polishing the important parts of the MMORPG. The game has been live in Korea for three years already, and it’s just taking its first steps globally. This means we needed to re-evaluate the progression speed and balance. Besides that, we got much advice and help from the publisher Amazon Games about localization.
Just after the launch, a great number of users joined the game, creating a massive queue that resulted in server-side issues. Did you predict this would happen? How are you dealing with the situation now?
Queue was something that occurred in the launch in Korea as well. Based on that, we prepared as much as we could in advance. AGS prepared much as well. However, the traffic was way beyond what we anticipated, and we ended up having queue and server issues. Many people, including our server team, worked nights and days to fix the issue, but the issues went on for a long time. I’d like to apologize to the users who had to go through the inconvenience.
There have been many users enjoying the game since the launch. What was the most frequently given feedback or the most memorable feedback from the users? Are there any changes you’ve made or will make from that feedback?
It still hasn’t been that long since the launch, so we’ve seen more comments about the impressions from playing the game rather than feedback. Some players that leveled up fast discuss difficulty. We’ve been looking into most of the feedback and striving to deal with actual problems as fast as we can. At the moment, we are focusing on gold sellers’ spamming on chats and bot issues. By co-working with AGS, we have been banning a considerable number of accounts. Aside from that, we have been monitoring many comments from the people that are waiting for new classes and skins — we’re trying to provide them soon.
Which country has the most users? Why do you think they enjoy Lost Ark that much?
To be honest, we do not know the exact number per country. Especially in Europe, multiple countries are tied into one region. Except for the Europe West region, which was added latest, all the users are evenly distributed through the regions. I’m so grateful for all the interest regardless of region or country. I believe so much love from global adventurers for Lost Ark originates from all the Korean users’ feedback.
Compared to internal expectations, how fast are the users progressing through the contents? When will the Legion Raids be updated?
Although we saw a heavy influx of users, the speed of leveling is within the expected boundaries. I had previously said that we would update Legion Raids fast, but the timing of the update needs more consideration. Not that the update isn’t ready yet, but delivering the contents quickly is not necessarily providing the best experience to the players.
We need to constantly check how much the players have leveled and see if the progression for the prepared contents is being made properly. This being said, I can’t say that Valtan will be updated as soon as possible, but it will be updated at an appropriate time. We also need to discuss this with AGS, so we’ll be able to disclose the update plan afterward.
Will nation vs. nation or server vs. server PVPs be possible in the future?
The publishers have been giving positive opinions on that, and we also think it’ll be an interesting experience. However, there are version differences among the countries, and there’s a lot to tune in — we need to discuss this further to determine when we will be able to proceed.
We are curious about your plans for the future service, including how you will be handling users’ feedback, regular patch periods, and so on.
I don’t think there’s a shortcut to solving any of the users’ feedback. All we can do is do our best to solve the issues. We’ve been cooperating closely with the Amazon Support Team (CS Team) and some members of our operation team flew over to the U.S to help out as well.
There are version differences between the Korean and global servers. In the trailer videos, there was some content, such as Kayangel or Elgacia, which wasn’t yet applied on the global server. Global users who already have information about the Korean server may be enthusiastic about getting Korean specs as soon as possible. When will the gap between the two servers be closed?
We are trying to minimize the gap as much as possible. The publishers are spending a lot of resources on localization, including translation and other things. But the amount of translation is not at all little, meaning that more time is necessary. We are planning to gradually narrow down the gap. It would be great to catch up quickly, but we also need to constantly see which pace of updates will be suitable for the western service.
Are there any events that you are preparing specifically for the global users?
On Mar. 10, we started an event called Arkesia Grand Prix. Because the users in Western territories consist of diverse nationalities, we are not considering any culture-specific events such as holiday-related events yet. Of course, since events can be fun content that can be variated easily, we are discussing various events including collaborations and user contests.
Lost Ark has already put up a solid array of records, such as 20M users, 1M CCU in 2 weeks row, and 81 Metascore. Moving forward, what’s your next goal in the global market?
I’m thankful for all the love. Our goal now is to make the game fit for such love and support in return. As we grew with the Korean users’ feedback, I am eager to establish a good relationship with the global users. Large numbers may be important, but what matters more to us is providing our best to the remaining users who continue to enjoy the game.
Lastly, do you have any comments for the global users?
Thank you so much for all your interest and love. Although the time you spend playing Lost Ark may not be 100% enjoyable, I’d like to say that the time you spent playing the game will become decent memories when you look back after some time. I promise to make the game better today than yesterday, tomorrow than today. Please keep an eye on us and give us more feedback. We are always ready to listen.
All images by: Lost Ark