Four Winds: The Artist has become my favorite support class in Lost Ark
Here’s a thought experiment: How would Anakin Skywalker have turned out if he had grown up on a planet covered in paint and not with coarse, hateful sand everywhere? The answer will surprise you! He probably would still have become a Sith Lord, but he would also be a main character Lost Ark.
Star Wars theories aside, I was looking forward to the artist’s release. Technically, the artist is a specialization (think advanced class) and the base class is called specialist. It shares the same class as the Aeromancer. However, this class hasn’t been released in the US yet, so the artist will have to hold us off until it’s released here. Using a giant brush as a weapon, the artist displays a Taoist aesthetic with the ink she uses to attack, assuming the form of various animals to attack her enemies and aid her allies. Each stroke of ink leaves a mark in the air, much like a calligraphy brush marks paper.
The artist is the third support class this game gets here in the west. Generally supported in Lost Ark are most appreciated in group content. Bards and Paladins historically get into parties easily, so I have no doubt Artists have no trouble either. But there are still key differences in support playstyles – not so much in terms of the power they bring to the party, but more in terms of how much fun a player finds playing the class.
For example, the paladin gains two buffs that use a special gauge – one that deals personal damage to the paladin and one that deals damage to the other players in the paladin’s party. Bards have similar mechanics; As their personal gauge fills up, players have a choice of using it for an AoE heal or a damage buff. The bard has a little more nuance here, as his identity gauge is made up of three bars. If you use any of the identity skills, the bar will be completely emptied. The more meters filled when used, the stronger it is.
I don’t play any of those classes, so take what I say with a grain of salt. There are many websites and videos that analyze their effectiveness in different content and they are a better source to learn how to play these specific roles. But that’s to be expected when choosing between the two classes: For the vast majority of Lost Ark players, support is support. They will help keep the party alive and clear the dungeon. Because their skills are more valuable, they often find themselves in parties even if their gear isn’t up to par.
In other words, it’s a safe bet to just roll an artist when your ultimate goal is to delete content with parties. But even if that weren’t true, it’s become my favorite class, mostly because it does something that supports the other classes tip Do.
Basically, the artist’s playstyle is similar to that of the other supports; She gains two support abilities that use a special identity gauge unique to her. In this case, it’s called the Harmony Meter, represented as three orbs in the center of your screen. Successful hits with either auto attack or various abilities fill each orb one at a time. Fully filled orbs can be used as a resource that powers one of two abilities: Sunrise and Moonfall. Moonfall provides party damage buffs for the cost of two orbs, while Sunrise provides healing for the nominal cost of a harmony orb. Since healing is fairly cheap, it’s entirely possible to always keep an orb available for those emergency situations. And if both abilities must be used, that is absolutely possible.
I’m pretty sure this is more of a thematic choice as I didn’t really see a button to toggle between them, but it’s cool nonetheless and fits the class fantasy of an archetype inspired by Daoism philosophy. Each of their abilities, labeled Paint, uses one of two types of paint – one for killing and one for healing. The deadly color is black color which she uses to create cool tigers and animals that damage enemies. The white color is the opposite; She uses it on allies to grant a variety of damage buffs and boosts to party members within range.
So what makes her my favorite? Well, it’s her ability called Paint: Door of Illusion. With her white color, she can create a portal that will teleport anyone who uses it to her location. In addition, party members who use it gain a nice shield that absorbs 30% of their max health. Veterans of any raid scene can immediately see the value of this ability. If the artist has excellent positioning, this step can easily fix any mistakes. Out-of-position players can safely backtrack with the help of an observant artist. But of course there will always be the human factor. And the only real weakness of this skill is when the player the artist is trying to save has a bad case of tunnel vision!
This little addition adds so much to group play in my experience. A long cooldown means it can’t just be spammed mindlessly, and it’s enough to save a few members of the party – but not all. And since its success is tied to artist positioning, it maintains a high enough skill cap to reward the most dedicated artist majors without making the game too easy.
Smilegate has done an excellent job here, making the game’s third support a class apart from the other two. Paladins get a large meter to fill and use a skill of their choice, bards fill three meters so using a skill consumes the entire meter with increasing potency, and the new artist gets three meters, with each identity ability having a set price. Neither is better than the other, although the artist is my personal favorite and which one you find most compelling depends on the player’s preferences.
I would like to note that the Artis is not without its weaknesses. Maxroll.gg’s raid guide suggests that artists struggle with shielding allies without risking falling out of position, and since these shielding abilities come out as a line, players will need to pay attention to group positioning to keep their shields down maximize. In other words, a large part of the artist’s playstyle involves paying attention to positioning. But if that’s your thing – and it’s definitely mine – then you might just have found your muse in the artist.