For a highly popular MMO of its era, Lost Ark’s in-game server system is very clunky in its execution. Rather than having players create a set of characters that can drop in and out of the game’s separate servers as they please, players must commit a roster full of characters to a single server, playing exclusively on that server for however long these characters are used.
Should they wish to join a different server, particularly one that their friends happen to play in, they would need to start over from scratch with new characters. As this option is not viable to players looking to participate in end-game activities with their end-game characters, many choose simply to designate themselves to a single server, often playing the game alone as a result.
Adding friends cross-server: A world apart
How does this design choice affect friends that just want to enjoy Lost Ark together? Beyond a handful of matchmaking systems, their options for cooperative play are very limited.
For starters, players cannot add one-another to their friends lists across the game’s servers. As every unique name for a character in Lost Ark is instanced to the server in which it is applied, the primary mechanism of adding friends through typing their character name is impossible to use for this purpose. For example, the name “Thirainfan56” may exist for a character in Aldebaran, but trying to search for this character in Rohendel will find zero results.
This doesn’t make playing the game together from different servers outright impossible for players to do, however. Events and activities that queue players together in matchmaking lobbies can, in fact, link players together from across servers. Chaos Dungeons, Guardian Raids, Cube instances and Boss Rush sessions allow for the player-base to mingle freely, albeit without the opportunity to add one-another to friends lists afterwards.