Lost Ark does not have a housing system in the traditional sense. Instead, you get an account-wide Stronghold, which features a number of important facilities. Getting your Stronghold upgraded is a long term goal in Lost Ark, requiring lots of materials and time to fully max out everything. In this guide, we’ll go through everything that’s available to you in Strongholds, along with some of the upgrades to look out for.
Unlocking Your Stronghold In Lost Ark
Strongholds are unlocked relatively early in Lost Ark, before you start travelling around the world. After completing the story quest “To the Glorious Wall”, you’ll be taken to East Luterra. Few quests in that continent will then unlock the guide quest for Strongholds.
Once your personal Stronghold is unlocked, it will be available on all characters. The only requirement for new characters is to unlock sheet music during the quest “Legends and Fairytales”. This allows the use of “Song of Hearth and Home”, which can be cast outside of dungeons to teleport to the Stronghold.
Lost Ark Stronghold Overview
Your Stronghold has its own level, separate from the Combat and Roster levels used during regular gameplay. This is increased via researching in the Lab, crafting items, sending out ships on missions, and completing weekly Stronghold quests. By completing the tutorial quests, your Stronghold should reach level 5 without issue, though leveling after that will be much slower.
To perform Stronghold tasks, you also need Action Energy. This replenishes at a default rate of 100 per 10 minutes, with the max limit tied to Stronghold upgrades and its level.
Strongholds are made up of six main facilities, each one offering a different benefit to players.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Lab
The Lab is where you’ll make upgrades to your Stronghold, unlock crafting recipes, and more. This is done via researching, a process that requires materials (iron ore from mining and timber from logging) along with a certain amount of time. Real time needed can range from a few minutes to nearly an entire day, based on what you’re researching.
Due to this time requirement, you always want to have something researching in the background. The house icon in the top left of the screen can be used to see if any research is ready, so keep checking as you play.
As you increase your Stronghold level, the amount of available research increases. Eventually you’ll be able to research Lab upgrades, which allows for multiple research tasks to be started at once.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Workshop
The Workshop is where you’ll be crafting items. Unlike Trade Skills, there are no levels tied to crafting, with recipes being unlocked via the aforementioned Lab. Crafting is important for endgame, since it’s where you can make useful potions and bombs. The potions made at the Lab are especially useful, since they heal based on a percentage of your total HP.
The Lab also uses real time when it comes to crafting items, with most costing gold currency rather than silver. Items are crafted in order, though you can have multiple crafting lines on the go when your Workshop is upgraded.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Station
The Station houses your boats, which are sent out to complete daily missions. Normal missions are station exclusive, giving Stronghold experience, tradeable tokens, and rare materials. Special missions are instead based on regular content like Chaos Dungeons, allowing you to get gear and upgrade materials passively.
The amount of missions you can do at once is tied to the Station level, along with the number of crew members on each ship. New crew members can be recruited via earning Stronghold Crew Application Forms — these are generally carried by visiting Trade Merchant NPCs.
It’s worth sending ships out on missions at all times, though they lose durability over time. This can be repaired with iron ore and timber, the same resources used for Lab research.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Manor
The Manor lets you place certain structures that offer bonuses to your Stronghold, including reduced Action Energy consumption when doing certain tasks. You can also see what areas can be unlocked — new areas are generally gated behind Lab levels and research.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Training Camp
Unlocked once one of your characters reaches level 52, the training camp will allow lower level characters to gain experience over time. However, this only works with characters that are two levels or below your max leveled character. For example, if your main is level 58, then alts will only gain experience from training up to level 56.
Experience gain is increased if you have an active Crystalline Aura subscription, as this gives you the Ultimate Stress Buster training dummy.
Lost Ark Stronghold - Knowledge
Knowledge lets you boost characters to level 50, skipping a certain amount of story in the process. This system has many limits tied to it, starting with a story and item level lock. To unlock each Knowledge transfer, you must have a number of characters that have already reached a certain point in the story, and reached a specific item level.
The easiest unlock is a skip to North Vern, which only requires an item level of 10 and completing of the Vern main quests. However, you’ll also have to pay a hefty 600 gold — later skips require even more.
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Lost Ark Stronghold - Extras
Aside from these main facilities, there are few other reasons to visit your Stronghold. There are a number of vendors that can be used to trade in tokens (generally from Station missions) and materials. At Lab level 4, you’ll also be able to unlock a Trade Skill area. The materials from here can be used in the Stronghold, but aren’t tradeable with other players.
It’s also possible to just customise your Stronghold with various cosmetic structures and items. Each one has a cost, with each area of the Stronghold having a separate cost limit. Your other created characters, and NPCs that befriended via the rapport system can be placed on your island too, with a separate points cost to structures.