Lost Ark features an overwhelming number of methods to vertically progress a character’s power, from gear upgrades and skill tiers to the min-maxing capabilities of faceted ability stones. With all of this power at the player’s disposal, some may start to wonder where the skill ceiling of Lost Ark lies, and where to find difficulty fitting a character’s skill level.
Fortunately, some locations, particularly the instanced dungeon raids, feature an optional hard mode for players, and up to three of their friends, looking for a bit more of a challenge to the MMO’s isometric dungeon-crawling.
What is hard mode, and how do players find it?
Before entering a dungeon, and even before accessing the matchmaking menu necessary to create a dungeon-raiding party, players are presented with a dungeon overview displaying its potential loot and the recommended item level of an interested player’s total equipment.
At the top right of this menu, however, there are three square buttons, each bearing the logo of a helmet. While the first two are labeled “Normal” and “Hard,” the third option is unlocked later.
The option marked “Hard,” when selected, creates a statistically more difficult playthrough of the same dungeon, complete with additional enemies of higher level, health pool, and damage output.
While the difficulty of the dungeon may increase this way, its recommended item level doesn’t change. This means that players at or around the dungeon’s expected equipment won’t feel overwhelmed by hard difficulty’s challenge, provided they’ve built their character’s skills for PvE and bossing purposes.
Related: How to add friends in Lost Ark
Why would players want to play hard mode?
When looking at the dungeon overview page, while the recommended item level doesn’t change between difficulties, the rarities and strengths of the potential rewards do, with hard mode’s drops proving particularly valuable to a character’s early-game development.
Should the added challenge of a higher difficulty not be enough to entice potential players, the allure of loot in a dungeon crawler MMORPG will.