Lost Ark is finally out for Western audiences, and with it comes all the challenges and trials of any expansive MMORPG. Whether it’s trekking through endless forest, deserts or the space in-between landmarks. Or maybe it’s going on a Dungeon dive or trying to beat that one Boss for the nth time? There are so many ways to play MMORPGS and Lost Ark is no different.
This game is a dense game, with a variety of things players can do. And one of those is the process of unlocking and maintaining a Stronghold.
What is a Stronghold in Lost Ark?
Also know as Estates, Strongholds are a a base of operations for playing. Acting as a progressions system, crafting system and housing for players. Whilst Strongholds might not be for all players, particularly those who are more nomadic, it might be worth considering nonetheless.
Strongholds allow you to craft endgame items, level up characters, complete research tasks, dispatch crew and pets and more. Players unlock access to Strongholds when they reach level 25. You can treat your Stronghold like any other MMO house, although Lost Ark does grant quite a lot more options. However, players will need to invest in their Strongholds to get the best out of it.
When you reach level 25 and after retaking Luterra Castle, you’ll unlock the “Clerk Theo’s Invitation” quest. After completing the Clerk Theo’s Invitation quest, you’ll unlock your estate and its associated fast-travel song. Once you’ve unlocked it, you’ll need to spend some time in upgrading it to its full potential, as it’ll be sorely lacking upon its first creation.
Enter your music sheet menu to access your stronghold. Using the ‘Song of Hearth and Home’, you can teleport to your stronghold. Although you can manually try to find the various rooms and estates and accessing it like that, you can also press Ctrl + 1 to access your structures and features.
There you will have access to:
- Lab: Research new stronghold features and crafting options.
- Workshop: Craft consumables and other items.
- Station: Direct crew members to complete daily missions, including endgame activities.
- Manor: Set bonuses for your stronghold.
- Training Camp: Boost the level of your alts up to two levels below your main.
- Knowledge Transfer: Boost a character’s level straight to 50 at the cost of gold.
The Lab is where you can unlock new features for the rest of the Stronghold. You can unlock new recipes for the workshops, upgrade parts of the stronghold and unlock new ships. To do this, it’ll take multiple hours and require materials like ore and wood.
From the Station – and as long as you have a ship – you can send crew members to complete various missions. These missions will be able to improve your Stronghold by either offering currencies for it, upgrade materials or rewards from the Chaos Dungeons and Guardians Raids.
The Workshop is you go-to for crafting new items to use in the endgame. Whether it’s battle items, tools, cosmetics or HP Potions. You can unlock more recipes to use in your workshop by using your lab.
Various structures in your Stronghold will grant passive effects. In the Manor, you can choose which passives you want active or inactive.
You only gain access to the Training Camp when you reach level 52, whereupon you’ll be able to passively increase the level of your characters. You can only level your characters up to two levels behind your highest level character though, to keep it balanced.
In the process of eight hours and the cost of 600 Gold, you can boost any character to level 50.
Upgrading your Stronghold
Most rooms in your Stronghold will have tiers and ‘levels’. However, you can boot it by performing research tasks, completing them will unlock more options in your Stronghold and speed the process in making it top tier. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking to upgrade an aspect of your stronghold but can’t, you likely need to upgrade your stronghold level.
Because like your characters, your Strongholds will also have levels. And you gain Stronghold XP by using your Stronghold. Whether it’s Researching, crafting or sending you crew on expeditions, they’ll all grant CP.
As aforementioned, various rooms and tasks will require material. Whether it’s ores, wood, plants or food. Nothing comes free! So if you want to use your Stronghold to the best of its ability, you’ll need resources, and to get resources you’ll need to trade. While out in the world, press “B” to swap to your trade skill tools. Harvesting ore, flowers, and wood all count as using your trade skills.
When harvesting, the material you pick up has a small chance of granting uncommon and rare varieties used in more exotic recipes. But if you need a refresher on the best places to find resources, here’s the best spots:
- Ores: Lakebar
- Wood: Sunbright Hill
- Flowers: Dyorika Plain
You can also exchange your material. If you’ve got a large number of exotic materials, you can exchange with merchants near the spawn point on your island.
Some general tips to remember are:
- Always have a mission active. These take time and you’ll want to be earning XP and seals as much as possible.
- Focus on upgrading the Manor first. This will later unlock your lab research options.
- Before you finish your gaming session, send your crew on a long station mission. That way it’ll be ready when you log back in.
- Feasts will give free stats, so activate them before you head off on an Abyss Dungeon or Legion Raid.
- Collectibles are rare and sometimes trade merchants will sell them. They can give rewards that’ll increase your character stats, grant skill points and more.