I’ve been keeping half an eye on this for a few months, as it sounds like it could be a lot of fun, and I’m a sucker for good APRGs.
As for an actual release date, Steam says Dec 31, 2021, but that it widely considered a placeholder date. So while a lot of the promotional stuff says “Fall 2021” I don’t think there is an official release date yet.
There is a youtuber named Sywo who puts out a lot of Lost Ark videos. He currently plays the Russian version. Here’s a recent one:
According to what I have read, the game is completely F2P, but Steam is offering Founder’s packs that range from $20 to $100 that offer some advantages. Each Founder’s Pack includes beta access and a 3 day headstart. The tiers offer differing amounts of assorted non-combat cosmetics and pets. But the higher tier packs offer currencies/potions /reward chests that will give you a leg up in playing your toon. As with all F2P games, there are a couple different types of currencies so I have no idea how much of an advantage one of these Founder’s Packs will give you.
I don’t know much about the in-game shop and whether or not it offers similar items. I would guess it does.
Some Youtubers have tried to stir up a bit of “controversy” over the Founder’s Packs, claiming it’s a form of “Pay 2 Win.” I can’t get worked up over that though, as it smells like a tactic to get views.
Here’s a short video that goes over a bunch of topics, I think it’s a good one in that it shows a lot of different aspects of the game.
I’m looking forward to this!