Lost Ark was released in Korea back in 2018 and finally came to the West, with the help of Amazon Games, earlier this year. Even though the MMORPG garnered success with solid review scores and popularity, controversy has arisen, urging Amazon to respond to the outcry surrounding Lost Ark’s puzzling gender-locked classes and poor female representation.
According to Eurogamer, “players have expressed disappointment in both the gender locked classes and the prevalence of revealing female outfits.” Concerning the first point, men have warrior-centric classes, and women are mages. Developer Smilegate released a blog post last year mentioning that it’s aware of the issue:
“From the earliest days of Lost Ark’s announcement in the West, we heard players’ feedback about gender locked classes loud and clear. While not every class in the game currently has a male and female counterpart available, we wanted to be sure to include those that do early on. In the future, Smilegate RPG will be creating more counterparts for classes that are still gender locked, and we will bring these to Arkesia in time.”
More recently, Amazon Games’ franchise lead Soomin Park told Eurogamer that changes are incoming:
“First let’s start with gender-locked classes. This is something that will roll out over time. Classes are tied pretty closely to their character models in terms of function and animation, so bringing opposite gender characters to a class takes more work than just making a differently gendered model available.
However, Smilegate RPG is actively working on this; the female Berserker is the next class coming to Korea. While not every class in the game currently has a male and female counterpart available, we made an effort to include those that do in our launch class lineup. In the future, Smilegate RPG will be creating more counterparts for classes that are still gender locked, and we will bring these to Arkesia in time.”
Park would go on to talk about the revealing female armor sets, saying:
“As for armor sets, while we aren’t altering any of the original costumes from the game, we are making adjustments so that the more revealing options won’t be front and center in places like our marketing or the initial character creation screen (although the original character creator outfits are still available in-game as early drops). We are also including in some new outfit options that are not quite as revealing, but these are an addition and not a replacement.
As we are aware of the balance between hardcore fans who want a Lost Ark experience that is close to the original Korean version and new players who may not like the current armor and costume options, we are adding outfits and alternatives to the game instead of taking away options.”
Hopefully, these changes and the promise of more appropriate, respectful content make Lost Ark a more enjoyable experience for its player base.