Frankly I feel a bit odd writing a post that amounts to “14-year-old rendering tech works better than 20-year-old rendering tech”, but Lost Ark – 2022’s biggest surprise hit so far – has only recently come around to the benefits of DirectX 11. While it’s the default rendering option in the western version that launched last week, the original South Korean version went years with just DirectX 9 to its name, and the press build that I used for performance testing (and Ed is using for his review-in progress) remains locked to DX9. Despite the fact that, as I’ve confirmed from testing the release build as well, DX11 provides a tidy performance gain over its predecessor.
DX11 doesn’t make Lost Ark look better in any other way, but a frame rate boost is a frame rate boost. Back on the DX9-only review build, equipping my test PC with a humble GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and running the Very High preset at 1080p produced a 73fps average, but on the public DX11 version this jumped to 87fps. That’s an extra 19% FPS, for free.
Switching to my recommended settings of Very High with Indirect Shadows, Distortion Effect and Motion Blur all switched off, Lost Ark could also pump out an 114fps average on DX11. Using the same settings on DX9 got me 95fps, so again DX11 is a direct upgrade with no drawbacks. No wonder the Lost Ark Twitter account simply tweeting “DX11” earlier this month was enough to get some people excited.
DX11— Lost Ark (@playlostark) February 4, 2022
While I’m not super jazzed that the pre-release version was stuck with DX9 – DX11 being just as absent as the female Deadeye’s trousers, and for no more apparent reasoning - I am, as the schmuck that spent several hours benchmarking it, glad to see that the performance gains of lowering individual settings remain proportional in the move from DirectX 9 to 11. In other words, using those recommended settings in DX9 produced 30% better performance than the Very High preset as-is, while on DirectX 11 they sped things up by 31%. So Lost Ark players get more frames, and my settings guide isn’t rendered completely useless. That’s a win-win, though it sadly won’t help with the lengthy server queue times and reported missing characters that Lost Ark has been grappling with since its delayed launch.