Lost Ark – Basic Class Overview

Who Is This Guide For?

Alright, so it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited for an MMO. I have so many fond memories from the various ones I’ve played over the years – here is hoping for more to come! I am writing this guide to have useful information I came across in one place, and hopefully to make it easier on others to get into the game and have fun.

This started out as something to try and get a few of my friends to play, some of which don’t know much about the game, or have never played an mmo. I’m going to post a shoutout to content creators that have helped me learn and get more excited at the end, but I wanted to give my take on the game, and a brief overview for the classes at launch.

Please note this is from the perspective of someone that has researched the game a lot, but is yet to play it personally. In the future I may add to or edit this guide once I gain firsthand experience.

What Is Lost Ark?

I think the easiest way to describe it to an outsider would be an mmo, in the arpg style (like Diablo or PoE). Let’s be clear though aside from the isometric view and the general feel of combat, this is very much an MMORPG. At the endgame, a large part of your progression is built around farming gear/mats for upgrades from daily and weekly content, some of which require a party to complete.

If you are a fan of dungeons and raids in other MMO’s or have ever wanted to try it, you are in for a treat. The quest system is also more similar to what you find in games like WoW or FF14. We have open world content, gathering/crafting, player housing, arena pvp, collectibles, events and more, along with regular balancing/content drops to give you a new carrot to chase.

While you don’t have to play it that way to enjoy it, like other MMO’s Lost Ark aims to keep your interest for a long time to come, and keep in mind this is launching with around 5 years of updates/content to experience – Completely Free To Play.

Class Overview

Before I dive in, I just wanted to throw out this little disclaimer. Personally I have never been that huge on pvp in MMOs. If you are looking for a tier list for PVP, or mostly PVP specific info – sorry I can’t help you. That said, here are a few things I have picked up :

Tier lists are always subjective and with class balancing being one of the major focusing points for Smilegate this year, what is at the top could change in any patch. Most likely you are going to have a better time mastering a class you really enjoy rather than chasing after the flavor of the month.

If you do want to play other classes in PVP though, it is not much of a time investment to do so. In the high level 20s you unlock the arena (I’ve heard this takes around 4-8 hours) and both ranked and unranked arena pvp are truly normalized – meaning class aside, you will be on a level playing field with everyone else.

So classes…

To start off, in character creation you select a base class, and not far into the game you pick your advanced class. They are gender locked, but recently Smilegate started releasing male and female counterparts to certain classes. The best way to describe these would be a new take on an already existing class. These include Wardancer(F)/Striker(M) and Deadeye(M)/Gunslinger(F)

Each base class has unique advanced classes to choose from, and when you select your advanced class the choice is irreversible for that character. For all intents and purposes, the real choice is what advanced class you want to play. Other than a quick list here, nothing else to discuss for base classes.

Warrior (M)

  • Berserker, Paladin, Gunlancer

Martial Artist (F)

  • Wardancer, Scrapper, Soulfist

Martial Artist (M)

  • Striker

Gunner (F)

  • Gunslinger

Gunner (M)

  • Deadeye, Artillerist, Sharpshooter

Mage (F)

  • Bard, Sorceress

Assassin (F)

  • Shadowhunter, Deathblade

While in no way is this supposed to be an in-depth guide to every class, there are a few terms we should go over before moving forward. Knowing how these apply to your class would be a good place to start if you want to dig in further on your own.

Identity Gauge – Each class has its own bar/gauge/meter that you typically build up over time or with certain skills. Once full, you use this resource to activate more powerful skills, buffs, extra damage, etc, etc. Generally speaking (but not always) your identity gauge is one of the larger factors in how your class plays.

Super Armor (SA) – Super armor abilities will grant you immunity to crowd control. As you would expect this can be very useful both in PvP and PvE.

Synergy – Synergy typically refers to the specific party buffs your class brings to groups. This can be buffs like crit chance, attack speed, damage, or even boss debuffs and does not stack with the same class. Because of this most groups will prefer to avoid class stacking for harder content. I should mention that for buffs this normally only applies to your 4 person group, so in content with more than 4 people it can be fine to bring multiple of the same class, as long as you spread them out.

Stagger – Most bosses will have a stagger bar, once depleted it will stun/interrupt them. Some classes have higher stagger attacks than others, which can be desirable for ignoring/interrupting boss mechanics. 

Destruction – Again this is a boss mechanic where they gain armor or shields, typically with damage reduction and locking the stagger bar. Having abilities with high destruction quickly removes this, and is another bonus to have.

Counter/Parry – From what I understand this has only recently started to be used in boss encounters, but as the name suggests there will be certain mechanics that can be countered and allow your party to either block it or deal damage back to the boss.

Utility/Group Utility – While synergy typically refers to specific buffs, and each class has it in some form, Utility is more about a combination of Stagger/Destruction/Counter, or other benefits your class can bring to the party. You can mitigate this to an extent with consumables, but having low utility may make it harder to find groups based on the encounter, or what a party needs.

Burst/Burst Window – As I am sure most of you know burst damage is all about having certain periods of high damage, usually due to a combination of skills or buffs. I wanted to mention this here because there are a lot of boss mechanics in Lost Ark that trigger on certain hp thresholds. Because of that, having burst damage is generally a good thing. It also typically means a higher skill cap, as you have to know how and when to land your burst.

So really, classes…There is no trinity system in Lost Ark, so when it comes to group content you are mostly responsible for yourself.  We can however break down classes into two groups – supports, and dps.

Gunlancer is the oddball in that it’s a little bit of both, leaning more towards dps. However, for the purpose of this guide and the fact it is a highly desirable class for group content, I am going to place it in a category all on its own.

Supports

As the name suggests supports are about supporting your teammates with things like buffs, shields, or heals – usually at the cost of your personal damage being lower. Most (if not all) groups will want a support so all supports are highly desirable for group content.

ClassClass Fantasy/MiscProsCons
Bard

The ranged support that uses music and magic to help allies
Similar to a disc priest in that generally you want to prevent damage rather than heal it, but does have the stronger heal of the two supports
Multiple tools for saving allies and preventing damage
Low Skill Floor/High Skill Ceiling
Typically stronger buffs than its main competitor the Paladin

Huge difference in how the class feels to play with better gear. (takes a long time to build up identity gauge with lower tier gear)
Squishy
Low personal damage

PaladinThe holy warrior that buffs and supports their allies with the power of the gods
Tankier of the two supports with a smaller, but more constant heal
Newer class so it looks and feels awesome to play

Easier/more forgiving of the two main support classes
Has a cleanse
One of the main support abilities is locked behind a long quest chain, and not available until later in the game
Low personal damage

DPS

DPS classes are all about dishing out damage. Each dps class offers a unique party buff, or are better in specific situations. When it comes to groups, stacking one class will be something you want to avoid when possible while progressing through new content. Generally speaking the highest dps class is not that far ahead from the lowest, but some classes do require more effort or skill to get there.

ClassClass Fantasy/MiscProsCons
BerserkerPowerful melee warrior that gets angry and has a high damage/burst state
Based around smashing enemies with your B.F Sword, timing your finishers and managing your rage
Most mobile warrior class
High durability for a dps class
Two viable builds that feel different from each other
Can feel slow or clunky to play early in the gearing process
Madness build keeps your hp low in exchange for % damage reduction – can take some time to get used to visually speaking
WardancerMelee martial artist that augment their attacks with elemental effects
Female counterpart to Striker
Great party synergy
Meta build is agility based so once mastered it is a fast, reliable class
Has a huge six second self damage increase where you will feel powerful and see big numbers
High skill ceiling due to skill comboing/timing
StrikerMelee martial artist with a Bruce Lee twist

Male counterpart to Wardancer
Great party synergy
Highly mobile
High burst damage
High skill ceiling – Hard to consistently land damage as meta build is somewhat on the slow side
Not much to offer groups as far as utility goes
SoulfistFemale Goku, complete with  kamehameha, spirit bomb and super saiyan

See Above ^
Did I mention it’s the Goku Class?
Has the hardest hitting attack in the game (spirit bomb)
Has one of the highest burst windows in the game while in the heightened state
*Also has a more consistent build not based on spirit bomb
Low damage outside of burst window
If the boss moves before you drop spirit bomb, you are sadge (and take a decent hit to your dps)
ScrapperClosest class to a “way of the fist” or “boxer” style of fighting

Considered the gold standard of balance in Lost Ark due to never having been in a bad spot (PvE)
Beginner friendly
Multiple viable builds(one punch man or a quick agile fighter)
High Stagger skills
Can stick to others like glue in PvP and lock them down with crowd control
Learning curve with self buffs and identity gauge when starting out
Low damage in PvP – really the only big con of the class (hard to land big hits due to low Super Armor)
GunslingerGun wielding high damage class built around the idea of high risk, high reward 
Female counterpart to Deadeye
More focus on the sniper rifle compared to the Deadeye.
A very flashy class where you can really show off if you are good at it.
Never bored when playing this class due to the number of skills
Easier and arguably better version of the two due to being able to rely more on the sniper rifle
Very squishy
One of the highest apm classes in the game due gun cycling
High Skill Floor, High Skill Ceiling
DeadeyeGun wielding high damage class built around the idea of high risk, high reward, (but a larger focus on close range and back attacks with shotgun when compared to Gunslinger)
Male counterpart to Gunslinger
For the most part the pros are the same as the Gunslinger, this class is flashy and a good one will be a pleasure to watch.
*Has a lower damage but easy to play pistol only build
On top of the cons the Gunslinger has – Deadeye also has the drawback of needing to stay in close range. 
The combination of being squishy and close range means you will die a lot trying to master him
ArtilleristShow enemies the meaning of firepower with your BFG
Probably the best fit for the title of underdog, being a really good class, but underplayed
One of the more durable dps classes
Meta endgame build is agility based so it’s more responsive and reliable than you would expect
Good group utility
Some skills are on a delay so it’s easier to miss with them than most classes
SharpshooterThe quintessential archer class
One of the few true range classes in the game letting you focus more on dodging boss mechanics, rather than where to stand to get the most out of your damage
Beginner friendly
Good group utility
One of the classes that can use stealth in PvP (when combined with your high damage makes you a huge threat lower on the ladder)
Older class so abilities may feel less impressive to use than others
Very linear and predictable in PvP

SorceressYour standard magic caster that uses fire, water/ice, and lighting to destroy your foes
The other true range class we are getting at release also allowing you to focus more on dodging boss mechanics
Two viable endgame builds, one focusing on burst damage, the other on consistent damage
Offers high destruction damage with fire skills, and high stagger damage with lightning skills
Squishy
Skills have a delay so easier to miss
You have a high damage trade off if you need to use your mobility skill
ShadowhunterTurn dark demonic powers back on the demons and beat them at their own game
This class is “not” at all inspired by or similar to a specific night elf from a certain IP
Two viable endgame builds – one built around your demon form, the other with no transformation at all
Demonic build is cheap to gear as far as itemization goes
Self healing when  using Transformation
Some, but not a lot of utility
DeathbladeFast paced assassin bringing three blades to the fight and a death by a thousand cuts fighting style
More of a combat rogue vibe than a pure assassin
Excellent in PvP
Flashy, enjoyable class to play
High super armor abilities
Endgame PvE build is bursty
Synergy requires certain comps to get the most out of it (buffs head and back attacks quite a bit, but only a small amount for everything else)
Can be difficult to position and get the most out of your abilities

Utility DPS

Currently one of a kind with the Gunlancer. While a few other classes may have good group utility, he stands out enough to be in a category of his own. For most groups just consider him in the dps role but this class brings so much more to a party than a standard dps.

ClassClass Fantasy/MiscProsCons
GunlancerTake enemies head on and shoot them in the face with your mighty gunlance
Only class in the game that can somewhat flex the support role and still deal good damage(You will still want a main support in the group)
Able to straight up ignore some boss mechanics with tankiness/shielding
Can fit into any group/good in all content
Only class with a taunt and a party cleanse
Loses a large chunk of its damage if not attacking from the front
Not the greatest leveling experience early on

Classes Yet to Come

Classes yet to come (either already out in KR or in the roadmap for 2022) – Just going to provide their names maybe a small piece of info here.

Destroyer (out in KR)Pulverize enemies with your giant… mace
Lancemaster (out in KR)Has a lance… that they mastered… *ahem*
Really though this is one of the more popular classes in KR and is currently top tier in pvp
Scouter (out in KR)Scout Marine with a drone buddy and an Ironman suit ultimate
Arcana (out in KR)Mage class based around cards, for those who want some randomness with their rotation
Summoner (out in KR)Mage class but with pets, for those of usyou that pretend to have friends while playing alone
Reaper (out in KR)If Deathblade is the combat rogue, this is sub/assassin rogue
Artist/Painter (out in KR)Third true support with some stunning visuals and the ability to troll save your teammates with portals
Aeromancer (KR 2022 roadmap)Not much is know about this class other than it will have abilities based around climate/weather manipulation
Female Berserker (KR 2022 roadmap)Expect a similar take to other gender unlocks, will share some abilities with the berserker 

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