Since Lost Ark in North America is behind compared to the Korean servers, the upcoming Smilegate update will bring a set of class balance changes already implemented on the Korean servers. Some of these changes are massive and will alter the performance of these classes at the higher levels.
This tier list will only consider the class’ performance in PVE content. The factors under consideration are:
- How well does the class do in its role compared to its competitors?
- How much does it cost to build the class?
- How difficult is the class to play?
Bard has struggled a bit with its competitor, Paladin, proving to be the more consistent support in PVE encounters. Paladin’s consistency comes from its skills, having both defensive and offensive options, while Bard’s skills often offer just one of the two.
Bard currently has two potential skill builds that are based on two core stats: specialization and swiftness. Bard typically goes both of these stats, but the stat the Bard leans toward typically determines the skill build. Swiftness Bard excels in a defensive role by protecting its allies with shields and heals. Specialization Bard, on the other hand, excels in increasing the party’s damage output through her debuffs.
Specialization Bard received major buffs with the debuff duration of Sound Shock’s Sacred Shock and Rhapsody of Light’s Note Brand increased by one second. At the base level, Specialization Bard can increase the party’s damage output by ten percent for five seconds. With Specialization becoming a powerful option for encounters that require high DPS, Bard’s two options both exceed the potential of Paladin’s more all-rounded skillset.
Sorceress remains untouched despite its popularity across all levels. With no real nerfs, Sorceress remains a consistent DPS that doesn’t have to worry about positioning while having the best escape ability in the entire game.
The class’ only problem is unrelated to its in-game performance. With Sorceress’ immense popularity, you’ll have to compete with other Sorceresses and have superior specs to be selected above everyone else. As such, the cost of optimizing its build will be comparatively higher.
Gunslinger is in a similar boat to Sorceress where the changes really don’t change its performance. Catastrophe’s buff is negligible since players hardly use it in PVE content. With that in mind, its popularity puts the class in a similar position to Sorceress, where its build costs are relatively higher.
Gunlancer will always remain a desirable asset to the party as long as Smilegate does not release another tank class. The class provides damage reduction, unmatched stagger damage and enemy combo interruptions while being healthy with his massive self-shields.
The newest addition to the North American servers wasn’t underperforming by any means. But with these upcoming buffs, Glaivier is only going to get stronger. Vault and Wheel of Blades being changed into back attacks make the class’ positioning simpler while all of its Spear skills receive major buffs.
Spear skills were rarely used in the past due to their damage not making up for their low utility. With these changes, Korean players began to experiment with investing more points into Spear skills. These new builds will be more useful in PVE encounters since many of these Spear skills specialize in attacking single targets.
Paladin is a multipackage deal. It can serve as a decent frontline while having heals, shields, buffs and debuffs. With the Artist not released in the west, it also remains the only support class other than Bard. That alone makes it a very desirable class to have in your party.
Deathblade received a damage reduction nerf for Surge, a major part of its DPS cycle. This nerf puts Deathblade in an even lower priority than before in comparison to Gunslinger and Sorceress. For one, the class’ skills all rely on back attacks, which makes its positioning quite difficult. Its fragile body also makes its DPS cycle very dangerous.
Despite all these risks, Deathblade’s damage output remains insanely high. The surge nerf is significant, but it would take much more than that to displace the class from the A tier.
In short, all of Scrapper’s skills received a 24% damage buff. In addition, all of its primary skills were changed to be back attacks from front attacks. As a result, Scrapper no longer has to constantly switch positions to maximize its damage output.
Sharpshooter continues its upward trend despite its unpopularity. Many of the class’ abilities possess unmatched range, and it can quickly cycle through skills as long as you use Wealth runes. While it can potentially be an A tier DPS, the low sample pool makes me hesitate to place him there.
The damage buffs Wardancer received in all of its skills are good. This will just intensify the class’ current strength of providing a consistent damage output by quickly stacking Esoteric Orbs and casting Esoteric skills.
The major difference between Wardancer and Scrapper is Wardancer’s reliance on Esoteric skills. By missing critical normal skills, Esoteric Orb collection can be delayed and lead to immense damage loss. This risk that Scrapper does not share is the reason why Wardancer is placed here.
Berseker definitely received the biggest nerfs out of all the classes. Almost every important skill was nerfed. Smilegate likely realized that Berserker’s defensive durability was too high for it to compete in damage output against much squishier classes. Berserker will remain a powerful DPS option but the class’ prime days are far gone.
Smilegate perfectly buffed the parts of Artillerist that made it an undesirable DPS in the past. Artillerist still has lower DPS output than other ranged DPS classes but makes up the damage disparity with higher durability. Smilegate greatly buffed the class’ stagger damage while moderately buffing its damage. This by no means puts it in a strong position, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
With no real changes, Striker remains a very inconsistent DPS class that relies heavily on Esoteric skills. Its normal skills deal close to no damage while critical Esoteric skills require precise positioning and immense windups.
Shadowhunter received buffs that enhance its mobility. But since Mobility was not why the class was lower in priority compared to Deathblade, it will remain a less desirable DPS option by comparison.
Soulfist’s buffs do nothing to change its extreme reliance on its Awakening skill. It remains a DPS class that is most inconsistent in terms of damage output.
Gunslinger’s sheer superiority in performance compared to Deadeye is the reason behind this placement.