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Lost Ark best class choices for PvE and PvP beginners

Mage up your mind.

Selecting your starting class for Lost Ark can be a tough decision, as you will have to spend plenty of time with your character while levelling up through the story.

Each class boasts unique abilities and very different styles of play, and while the early stages of Lost Ark are quite forgiving, certain classes will be better for PvE or PvP, and the initial decision can feel daunting.

Thankfully, Lost Ark provides class difficulty ratings, previews, and an in-game class tester to help you make your choice. For those wanting to plan ahead, this guide on best starting classes for beginners will help you make that all-important first decision.

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Here's Ian exploring Lost Ark and playing a boring class, but he's got a really cool mount!

How important are classes in Lost Ark?

Lost Ark has an elaborate class system, with individual abilities tailored to each character. Each class has unique combat abilities with their own skill trees, and powerful identity abilities that can swing the tide of battle. Your class choice will eventually determine what role you play in group PvE raids and PvP battles.

The main questline can be completed with any class, but you should still think carefully when making your choice. If you change your mind and want to try a new class mid-way through the story, you will have to repeat the same quests to level up your new character. This can be a significant time investment, and a bit of a chore.

Luckily, after completing the final story mission, players are given access to a Powerpass item. This allows them to create a new character which is automatically levelled to level 50. So it's worth initially picking a class that you like, and sticking with that character until you finish the main story.

As you will be spending plenty of time with your first character, the most important thing is to pick a style of play that you enjoy. Consider whether you want to play as a melee-based character like the Berserker, or a ranged class like the Sorceress. In group dungeons, do you want to help deal damage with a class like the Shadowhunter, or play more of a support role with the Bard? There's no wrong answer, so pick what feels natural for you.

Lost Ark classes list

On loading Lost Ark for the first time, you will be asked to decide between seven base class options. When selecting your base class, make sure to check out the advanced class preview option, as this will ultimately be your final class choice.

Here is the full list of base classes, and their subsequent advanced classes:

Base classesAdvanced classes
Martial Artist (male)Striker
Martial Artist (female)Scrapper
Gunner (male)Artillerist
Gunner (female)Gunslinger

It's worth noting that some of Lost Ark's classes are gender-locked. Warriors can only be played as men, while mages and assassins can only be played as women.

This class list is likely to expand over time, as the Korean version of Lost Ark has plenty of classes that have not yet been released in the American-European version.

Lost Ark best PvE class for beginners

PvE will be the first style of play that you encounter in Lost Ark, as the PvP arena doesn't unlock until about level 26 in the main storyline.

Rather helpfully, Lost Ark has a difficulty rating system to help beginners decide how technical they want the combat to be. Here are the main classes ranked in order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest:

  • Warrior (2 stars)
  • Martial Artist, Male (3 stars)
  • Martial Artist, Female (3 stars)
  • Assassin (3.5 stars)
  • Gunner, Male (4 stars)
  • Gunner, Female (4 stars)
  • Mage (4 stars)

Generally speaking, melee classes and tanks will be easier for those getting used to the mechanics. For this reason, any of the warrior class options - such as the Berserker, Gunlancer or Paladin - are good first choices for beginners. They have a fairly straightforward playstyle, and as they are able to tank a lot of damage, they allow new players to make some mistakes without being punished too heavily.

The Berserker, in particular, has high damage output and plenty of area-of-effect (AoE) skills, making the class perfect for PvE. He uses a massive greatsword to sweep through rows of enemies, and while some of the wind-up animations can be slow, these skills deliver massive damage. When the Berserker's Burst Mode is active, you'll deal increased damage, and you can obliterate enemies with the Bloody Rush attack.

The Berserker in Lost Ark.

Another good pick for beginners is the Shadowhunter, an Assassin class that excels in PvE. Thanks to her excellent mobility and mid-range attacks, the Shadowhunter can easily manage groups of enemies. With a mixture of AoE and single-target skills, she can take on large numbers of enemies at once, or solo a boss by herself.

The Shadowhunter in Lost Ark.

Her identity skill lets her shapeshift into a demon. This mode gives her access to some extremely powerful attacks, and boosts her health and movement speed. It also makes her a surprisingly tanky option.

A great all-round option is the Scrapper, a female Martial Artist who uses heavy gauntlets. A melee class that's easy to master, the Scrapper boasts good damage output and solid mobility.

The Scrapper in Lost Ark.

Importantly, she's great at staggering enemies, which can be useful when taking on enemy hordes and boss fights. The Scrapper's skills are split into two separate resource gauges called Stamina and Shock, with the use of one type recharging the other. It's a fairly simple identity mechanic compared to other classes, and alongside her relative tankiness and decent mobility, this makes her a good class for beginners.

Lost Ark best PvP class for beginners

Lost Ark's PvP unlocks at around level 26 in the main questline, when you are given access to the Proving Grounds arena. PvP battles can feel chaotic at first, but over time you will learn each classes' abilities and how to counter them.

If you're unsure how to get stuck into a group battle, the Bard can be a great first choice, thanks to her ability to support her team from a distance. She can provide teammates with buffs such as shields and damage reduction, and her healing identity skill can be invaluable in a pinch. She's also able to deal some damage of her own, with great crowd control abilities that can keep enemies at a distance.

The Bard in Lost Ark.

Choosing to play as a Bard will certainly make you popular with your fellow players, whether that's in a PvP or PvE situation. Just make sure not to get sucked into melee combat, as she won't survive for long in the centre of a battle.

It's also worth remembering that not all of Lost Ark's PvP modes are group battles: team elimination is all about 1v1 face-offs. For this mode, it might be worth thinking about classes that can hold their own in a solo fight.

A good option for this would be the Deathblade, an Assassin whose playstyle is both beginner-friendly and extremely flashy. The Deathblade has plenty of skills with level two super armour, meaning it's hard for her to be staggered or paralysed. Her significant burst damage and lingering skills mean she's able to lock down other players with ease. With good mobility and medium tankiness, she's a great choice for PvP beginners.

The Deathblade in Lost Ark.

If you're more interested in dealing massive damage from a distance, the Artillerist might be the choice for you. Although the Artillerist isn't particularly mobile, he's a defensive class who can put up a self-shield when under pressure.

The Artillerist in Lost Ark.

His gatling gun comes in handy here, as it can stagger enemies. He also has access to some great AoE attacks, and an extremely powerful combo attack. The key to mastering this class is getting your positioning right, and making the most of your high-damage attacks.

Those are some suggestions to get you started on your Lost Ark journey, but remember, it's important to pick a class that appeals to your preferred playstyle - so don't be afraid to dive in and test them out.