Steam is hiccupping as everyone rushes to preload Lost Ark

Lost Ark - key art of five character classes standing together
(Image credit: Smilegate RPG)

On Monday, Steam strained under the weight of preloads for Lost Ark, a free-to-play Korean action RPG MMO that's now launching in the Americas and Europe. Prospective players complained about long download times, and Lost Ark acknowledged the issue and said that Valve was looking into it. Things started looking smoother last night, but Steam's bandwidth appears to be peaking once again as Lost Ark's servers open for players with head-start access.

As we saw with the Halo Infinite and New World launches, Steam reported a big spike in download traffic as players rushed to hit that big green "pre-load game" button. Halo Infinite logged a spike in bandwidth of 23.5 Tbps on the day its free-to-play multiplayer surprise launched. During Lost Ark's pre-launch yesterday, the meter hit 30 Tbps.

"We are now seeing improvements in players being able to download and decrypt the game, and have confirmed this with the team at Valve," the developer has since said.

Lost Ark originally launched in South Korea in 2019, and is just now being released in other regions by Amazon. Jody tried it out back in November and called it "a bizarro action-RPG married to a trad MMO." 

The pre-launch rush seems to show that players are still very, very hungry for a new MMO, especially a free-to-play one. As it announced previously, today is the first day of head-start access for players who purchased Founders Packs.

(Image credit: Valve)

Steam's download traffic peaked again today, this time past 40 Tbps. SteamDB indicates that over 532,000 players are currently running the game. Lost Ark is already warning players about server queues: "Please be aware that there are servers in each region with no or low queue times that you can join if you want to enter Arkesia more quickly!"

For everyone planning to play for free, Lost Ark servers open this Friday, February 11 at 9 am PT. If the pattern of the last 24 hours continues until then, you might want to go ahead and start that pre-load now.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.