Steam: Lost Ark catches attention in numbers ahead of official launch

Lost Ark, a free-to-play action RPG produced by Amazon Games, is already extremely popular prior to its full Western launch.

Designed by South Korean studio Smilegate (well known for online FPS CrossFire), Lost Ark has already proven to be a huge hit in Korea, Japan, and Russia. Following a collaboration with Amazon Games, the online RPG is set to premiere for Western audiences on February 11 through Steam. That hasn’t prevented it from rocketing up Steam’s player rankings.

Lost Ark is an isometric action RPG (ARPG) similar to Diablo or Path of Exile that allows players to fight against swarms of enemies as one of 15 playable classes or compete in brutal PvP arenas.

Alternatively, players can simply relax and focus on non-combative activities such as fishing, mining, and even archeology. Combat – whether against basic masses or theatrical raid monsters – is quick and highly skilled, with technical expertise to be discovered amid the visual assault, although players will be able to relax in some of the game’s more tranquil areas.

Offers ahead of official launch

Twitch viewers can obtain a Battle Chest Item, an Arkesia Paper Hat Chest, a Helgaia Pet Chest, and a gold Neugier hoverboard mount for every four hours viewed until February 28 – an offer facilitated by Twitch’s owner Amazon also supporting the game’s western premiere.

On Friday, February 11, Lost Ark will be officially released as a free-to-play title on PC via Steam.

The game has already risen to the top of Steam’s player count charts as a result of the early access offered through purchased Founder’s Packs. It presently has more than 200,000 active players, with a record of more than 500,000. (via Steam Charts).

Moreover, buying a Founder’s Pack grants gamers three days of early access as well as a selection of in-game goodies to help them get started.

The game is also showing to be quite successful on Twitch, with over 300,000 users coming in to see it in action. Steam has struggled under the weight of interest as a result of its success.

This week, Lost Ark opened the doors to preloads, allowing users to download the 50GB file size prior to launch. The ensuing flood of eager players caused servers to fail, with the developer admitting problems on Twitter.

High download traffic issue

Much like the Halo Infinite and New World rollout, Steam saw a significant increase in download traffic as players rushed to hit the big green “pre-load game” button. On the day its free-to-play multiplayer bombshell began, Halo Infinite registered a bandwidth spike of 23.5 Tbps, while Lost Ark’s pre-launch hit the meter at 30 Tbps on Tuesday.

Fortunately, everything appears to be back into balance, which means that anyone wanting to install the game ahead of launch will be able to do so through Steam.

Smilegate, on the other hand, anticipates interest to spike again when the game launches on Friday and has cautioned against server waits ahead of time.

Lost Ark is Amazon Games’ second milestone, following the successful release of MMORPG New World in September of last year. During its first week, the game had over 500,000 concurrent players, though that number has since declined dramatically. It remains to be anticipated whether Lost Ark’s Diablo-style gameplay will attract a more regular player base on Steam.