Lost Ark offers its players a Stronghold to use as they please at a certain point in the story. The Lost Ark housing differs from conventional MMO player houses. In a way, it reminds me of Albion's private islands. The Stronghold is meant as your base of operations, a headquarter of sorts for all your characters, including your alts. There you can spend resources to craft items, passively level up your alternate characters, and get rewards via Stronghold-exclusive systems.
Developing your Stronghold is a long and arduous process so I recommend you read about it first, so you can minimize the time loss and maximize potential gains.
How To Unlock The Stronghold Housing In Lost Ark
So then, how do you actually unlock the Stronghold for your own use? Do you start out with it? Do you need to fill out some requirements? Well, the only requirement is that you advance the main story of the game. You should eventually reach the quest To the Glorious Wall. Without spoiling anything, it is the culmination of the overarching story in Luterra Castle which ends with the knighting of your character. You should reach this point between levels 25-30 depending on if you are rushing throught the content or slowly taking it all in.
Completing To the Glorious Wall starts the quest [Guide] Clerk Theo's Invitation which only requires the player to travel to Luterra Castle. After that, the quest changes to Stronghold Ceremony, which requires us to speak with the Royal Receptionist in Luttera Castle. If you follow this questline, you will receive Song of Hearth and Home which takes you to your Stronghold. Then a long line of quests sprouts from that where Lost Ark basically tutorials you through managing your Stronghold.
When you complete all the tutorials you are finally left with your Stronghold, which is pretty barren for now. When you are in the Stronghold your usual bars with EXP and HP are replaced with your Stronghold level and your energy. You spend energy to use your Stronghold facilities. Using any of said facilities gives your Stronghold more EXP.
The Main Buildings of The Stronghold
Your good ol' Laboratory is where most of the magic happens. At least the most important part of the magic. Researching allows you to grow your Estate at an insane speed, especially when you research the most important things. You should strategically leave some things out for last, and avoid anything that doesn't sit right with you personally.
I recommend upgrading everything under the Manor Development section that has to do with gaining more energy. Obviously, the more energy you have, the more you can actually spend. And the more energy you spend, the higher your Stronghold level. Definitely chase after these kinds of upgrades first!
The other thing I find very useful is the Expand Expedition Storage section. This enables you to have more slots on your account that you share with your other characters. Lost Ark encourages players to have multiple characters of different classes, so having the storage be as large as possible is basically a must if you want to smuggle items from your main character to your alternate ones. Do keep in mind, that if you are not yet interested in alt characters you might want to skip these upgrades.
If you are sure you are in for the long run with Lost Ark, you should consider researching things from the Reduced Time Spent category. Those are very simple and obvious things like “speeds up research time by X %” or “reduces crafting time by X %”. Super useful for getting your Stronghold to be as good as possible in the most optimal time possible.
Opening regions and cells are expansions to your Headquarters building which launches naval missions. Naval missions are one of the best ways to passively progress your character, so I would definitely put this as high priority upgrade too.
Then you have Building Development section where you upgrade all the major buildings of your Stronghold to be better at their jobs. How urgent this is, varies greatly. Just upgrade the buildings you use a lot first, the ones that you want to be more efficient. And then worry about the rest sometime later.
Reduced energy cost section is one of the last things you should worry about. You should be able to obtain plenty of energy thanks to manor upgrades. And don't get me wrong, this is good for your Stronghold. Just not as good as building upgrades, or reduced time spent.
Everything else is up to your personal preference. But I would consider them to be low on the priority list. Especially any recipes. Again, you should be able to identify which items you use on your adventures and which ones you want to be able to craft yourself. So some of these items might be a high priority depending on the specific player.
The workshop is where you can save some gold by utilizing resources collected during your playtime. Or you can even make some hold by crafting and selling items on the market! If you want to tackle end game content then invest in the workshop because it will make you sure you won't go bankrupt buying healing items through the market. Some of the more useful items you can craft are:
Healing potions – This is pretty simple. You do not want to die in end-game dungeons or to end-game bosses. So you need to chug them potions down. But they are quite costly. We are talking about the %-based healing potions naturally, as those are the only healing pots allowed in most of the end game content.
Bombs – destruction, corrosion, and the elemental grenades deal a respectable amount of damage. Respectable enough that you want to gear up with some of them for end-game bosses to squeeze out that extra damage. Cannot go wrong with crafting those.
Utility – Respite and Panacea Potions are awesome. Respite potion makes not take any damage for a couple of seconds. This is used as an emergency dodge when you know you will get hit by something nasty – such as a party wipe attack or instant-kill spell. Panacea removes any unwanted debuffs.
Buffs – Adropin potion sacrifices 25% of your max HP for 30% attack power and 20% movement and attack speeds. Great thing to use during the boss's attack window. Awakening potion refills your identity gauge when you really need it.
This might be the most important building in your Stronghold. Because like I mentioned before, doing any naval missions thanks to this place furthers your character and Stronghold's progress so much, while being so easy to do. Maintaining headquarters is stupidly easy. You just need some wood and ore to repair your crew's ships. Well, you also need to train your mates to have better chances at Naval missions. But that is also very resource usage light.
Even if your mates fail the mission you still get resources, just smaller amounts. Remember to ALWAYS have this running. Even if you do not feel like playing Lost Ark that day, you should log in just to get rewards and send out your crew to do Naval Missions. Thus, any upgrades for them are considered a high priority in the Laboratory.
The Mansion and Training Dummy
These are very simplistic compared to the rest of your island. The Mansion allows you to pick out special buildings from your inventory that give you % buffs. Always line up the buffs with your needs. You can boost naval missions, various crafting results, reduce research times. And remember to come back and swap them out again when you change your focus. For example, it is a good idea to use buildings that reduce your energy consumption in the early stages of your Stronghold when you have a small pool of energy. But then it is better to switch to anything else once you upgrade the Mansion.
The Training Dummy is just a tool to passively boost your alt accounts. If your alternate character is behind your main character in at least 2 levels, but not lower than 10, then you can put them to work and let them grow on their own. Which is a great time saver for someone who wants to experience end-game content with different classes.
The Empty Space
There is a bunch of empty land all around you, and you can decor it up to your heart's content! You can earn various decorative buildings and pieces by doing quests, increasing your rapport with certain NPCs, or overcoming some of the most challenging content in the game. This is YOUR Stronghold. Remember to make it feel like it belongs to you.
If you are interested in more Lost Ark content, check out what we had to say about all of the subclasses in the game. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire you to pick up some alt characters and experience Lost Ark in a different light.