Team Update - Bringing Balance Updates to the West

November 24, 2023

Heroes of Arkesia,

When bringing updates to Arkesia’s western shores from Smilegate RPG, there’s a lot that factors into our decisions and process. With the highly sought-after balance changes that recently released in Korea, we wanted to let players know we hear their feedback and give a look into our process.

First, let’s dive into how we bring over “base builds” to the West. Base build refers to the Korean build version used for an update in the West. For example, the November 2023 update includes features from patches that were released in Korea between July 5 and September 13. All packaged up and prepared by Smilegate RPG and Amazon Games, these combine to make a base build, which is different than just releasing an independent piece of content.

Each base build contains hundreds of different updates, including everything from system/UI improvements, additional settings, combat and character and skill updates, guild-related improvements, additional tooltips and help, design/model improvements, or difficulty changes to various combat content, along with many backend changes not visible to players. Some of these updates are specific to Korean content or systems that have not yet been released in the West. The team at Smilegate RPG has to work to remove updates that don't apply to West, or to rearrange them to fit into West's player progression. Of course, these changes need to be fully tested again. After this process, the Korean base build is applied to the West build.

For this reason, simultaneous releases are not easy, and some updates in Korea may be adjusted again at a later date, so West builds have the advantage of additional testing that collect and combine those changes. However, if Amazon Games determines that we need significant improvements sooner (such as the endgame raid changes and Chaos Gate update) we will work with Smilegate RPG in advance and aim to bring it to West as soon as possible, separate from the base build update.

Most QoL and Balance updates are made via base build updates, which occur roughly every three months. In some cases, Korean balance updates are rebalanced after release, so once we've confirmed that they're sufficiently optimized, we add them to the base build. With the November update including the last Korean base build, we are currently working on preparing the next base build for January, 2024.

We appreciate your passion for Lost Ark and excitement for the recent changes in Korea, and we know that many players would like to see Balance updates released more quickly in the West. Amazon Games is working with Smilegate RPG to look into how we can make this happen outside of the base build system we currently use, and we're working hard to bring you more good news in the future.