South Korean Action-MMORPG Lost Ark is attracting more and more attention from western audiences. If you are curious about the title but don't feel like moving to Korea because of it, we have an only slightly less convoluted solution.
While rumours are floating around that Lost Ark is struggling to make back its development budget off of South Korean players alone, audiences outside of the country are showing an ever-increasing interest in the action-heavy MMORPG.
If you aren't deterred by a little elbow grease, we can walk you through the process of running the game on your non-Korean machine. Just step into this virtual dark side-alley here please.
Get a Lost Ark account
As you may or may not be aware, playing video games in South Korea requires jumping through the same amount of loops one would expect from buying a firearm in some countries.
If you don't have a Korean friend willing to give you a spin on his credentials, you will have to buy an account of a dodgy website of your choosing.
It is worth keeping in mind that not all accounts are created equal.
During your search, you are likely to run into verified and unverified accounts. Obviously, you want an account that has already been cleared with the developers, since you won't be able to verify it yourself if ever prompted to do so, unless your VPN client also doubles as a teleporter to Korea.
Get a VPN
After you have purchased a dodgy account off a shifty website, the Korean game servers will have to be fooled into thinking you are actually attempting to download the game from somewhere on the southern part of the Korean peninsula.
For this your machine will have to run a Virtual Private Network or VPN, configured so that for all external intents and purposes, you are a law-abiding Korean citizen with serious latency issues.
A lot of VPN service providers have referral programs and the like going on, and since we here AltChar still politely refuse to have embedded ads masquerading as "guest articles" polluting our work, you will have to find a solution that best fits your needs.
Most VPN services offer some sort of trial period, so maybe take advantage of those before you start paying a subscription fee for your VPN on top of the money you already had to burn on your Lost Ark account.
You should have your VPN running in the background at all times while setting the game up, because remember - as far as Lost Ark is concerned, you are operating from South Korea.
Learn to read Korean, or patch your game
Since it would be silly to take a language course on top of all the trouble you've already been through getting the game to run, you will need a Lost Ark English language patch.
There are a few flavours of this patch floating around the internet already. Some of them rely on machine-translation, others operate on human-speak, and a decent chunk will translate the experience into Russian.
The translations will most likely be delivered via executable file. While the game's UI seemed quite intuitive from what we could gather, sitting through the story bits in Korean is your only alternative if you don't feel comfortable with running shady looking .exe files on your machine.
Get help from kindred spirits
As with all things on the internet, if you run into problems with any of the above steps, someone probably already posted a solution on Reddit or game-specific forums.
There's even a Discord server up and running specifically for those playing outside of Korea.
Of course, we omitted most of the self-explanatory steps like "power up your machine" and "install the game", since those should be obvious.
As a final remark - while all of the manoeuvres above may get you into the game, there's very little stopping the developers and publishers from banning your account should you get caught.
We still strongly suggest you wait for a proper EU/NA release, but again, it's your time and money, so do with it whatever you please.