Life skills in Lost Ark are unique in terms of both mechanics and the materials they yield – hunting is no exception. As a hunter you will be laying traps and throwing machetes on unsuspecting rabbits and – depending on your luck – martens, then flay them for drops you can use to craft battle items or food. Hunters can craft the best food in the game, some utility battle items and buffs also sell for a decent amount of gold. Skins are also used to polish life skill gear so pretty much everything you drop will sell.
Life Skill Basics
Access to life skills is unlocked through the main story; you will be level 20ish by the time you reach Lakebar in West Lutheran where you will go through a series of quests.
The backwater village of Lakebar.
Life skill experience is an interesting concept in Lost Ark – basically any life skill you do adds to a pool of life skill experience that you can allocate to improve individual skills. The maximum level you can reach is level 50.
Maxed out hunting – barely any extra points left for other life skills
What this also means is since there is a finite number of life skill points you can allocate, you will have to specialize in just one profession if you want to get the best results.
Your hunting rank is determined by your skill rank and your tool rank. You can increase your skill rank by spending life experience points, which not only unlocks access to higher tier nodes but some active and passive skills as well that will help you with your chosen profession. The maximum skill rank you can achieve is 4.
Your skill rank
There are two types of tools in the game:
- Green tools: the default tools. Adds 1 to your final hunting rank. You can either buy them from the tool merchant NPC, get them from various quests or craft them from 60 green skins of any tier at a refiner NPC.
- Blue tools: adds 2 to your final hunting rank, and therefore mandatory for harvesting T6 nodes. Can be obtained either from the cash shop, crafting them from 60 blue skins of any tier at a refiner NPC or from certain daily quests.
RU only: you can get 5 sets of blue tools just by spending an hour in game every day if you have Beatrice’s blessing. For hunting that means 75 blue tools/day.
Skill rank + Tool rank = your final hunting rank
Throw – your rank 0 skill that is active by default for everyone without spending a single point. This will be your main skill to hunt rabbits/martens.
You can only use it within a certain range and the machete will hit your prey in a small AoE, even outside of the marker. I will go through some tips and tricks later on in the guide in great detail.
Search – Search will highlight prey hiding in ore and herb nodes. Absolutely mandatory, regardless of your play style.
A toggle skill, so if you ever stop seeing crosshairs over herb nodes in Platinum Fields, remember to switch it back on. Only costs a single life skill point.
Track – Used to track the T6 tiger in Platinum Fields or the T5 hidden dungeon boss on Predator Island.
You only need this skill once you get to skill rank 4, any earlier and you just hinder your own progress. Mandatory in Platinum Fields once you can harvest T6 nodes. All skills from here on cost 5 life skill points.
Hunting Game – You can get prey to move from ore/herb nodes by throwing a machete over it. Slows the target.
Only works with Search toggled on. Not mandatory, but good to have.
Two main uses for the skill:
- pretty handy to have it early on while levelling on islands. Some T4 and T5 herb nodes spawn as mushrooms and you will be unable to get the rabbits to move otherwise.
- saves you some time in Platinum Fields when you are running between nodes for resets. Saves you some more time during the final clear.
Hunting trap – your second active skill, used to lay traps. Costs 5 tools. Once you laid it, takes 5 minutes before you can bag the prey and you cannot lay more traps in the meantime.
Very limited use and a questionable investment of skill points early on. Will expand on it later on in the guide, but for now, only put points here once you reached skill rank 4 or even better, when you maxed your mastery.
Skill of Flaying – get additional items (not hunting materials) while flaying. These can be vendor trash for extra shilling or affinity items.
Again, not mandatory, but nice to have, you can easily drop enough junk to cover your crafting costs. Only put points here after you reach skill rank 4.
Hunter Dexterity – more drops from traps.
Since you barely get anything to start with, and you can only only lay two traps during one Platinum Fields run, and for that you will have to waste quite a bit of time you could spend flaying rabbits, a very questionable investment indeed. Only put points here once you are at level 20 mastery.
Apply poison – martens die from a single machete throw.
Mandatory skill for Platinum Fields, will save you quite some time.
Becomes available once you reach skill rank 4. You have to choose between the three masteries as you can only level one of them. Maxed out at level 20.
Specialization: Flaying – the mastery to go with, hands down the best choice for hunters. 50% chance for more hunting drops at level 20 while flaying (which is what you will be doing 99% of the time).
Specialization: Traps – this mastery grants you an additional 30% chance for drops at level 20 when checking traps. You won’t be doing it that often and when you do, you barely get anything anyway. Don’t bother.
Specialization: Trophies – grants you an additional 100% chance to drop valuables while hunting. This would only make sense if the battle items/food you craft or the drops themselves wouldn’t sell at all on the AH as that way at least you could get some extra shilling. But if that was the case, why would you even choose that life skill? Again, don’t bother, just pick the first mastery.
There is a rather common drop when you engage in hunting called the Finest Fur that you can exchange for hunter engravings at various NPCs.
Butcher – low % chance to preserve the carcass when flaying, depending on seal level. Basically more drops as you can harvest again if triggers, you want this engraving first. You will need 5000 furs for the 20 books, so if you can nick some cheap books from the AH, do it. The NPC is on Mercia (Protected Islands on RU).
Rabbit trail – additional Golden Rabbit spawns in Platinum Fields on trigger. Decent if you get lucky as it can speed your run up considerably. Don’t count on it too much though, pretty low chance. Can be exchanged at the Sylian’s Board NPC, costs 5000 furs for the set of 20 books.
Nucleus – never got this one as it costs a whopping 750 furs per book, which means you will need 15000 for the engraving. According to the google translated description, you can immobilise big game with machete throws. Can’t see this being useful as big game probably means tigers (if we go with skill descriptions), but those don’t do any damage and die in about 20 seconds even to my bard at i490. If it refers to martens, those die from a single throw with the Apply Poison skill, so no use there either. NPC is on Crescent Island (Predator Island on RU).
Double Jump – chance to use your dash again, saving time in Platinum Fields. A no brainer. You get it as a reward for turning in Masterpieces, Double Jump I at 20, II at 36 paintings.
The Road to Platinum Fields
Platinum Fields is the ultimate life skill experience in the game. You get double the XP, multiple times the drops than in the open world and on top of these, you also gain access to T6 nodes in abundnance. You probably noticed in the guide so far that the deciding factor whether if a skill was useful or not solely depended on the fact if it was useful in Platinum Fields.
Platinum Fields is a 15 and a half minute instance, accessible through Sylian’s Command Board in cities. Level 50 is a requirement for entry. You use one Sylian’s Order upon entry. You cannot change your gear or your skills once you are inside, but you can change tools and use battle items.
There are two maps to choose from – Runart Manor and Kizara Gardens. Runart Manor is for herbalists, miners and lumberjacks, Kizara Gardens are shared among hunters, fishermen and archaeologists.
Sylian’s Command Board overview
If you hover over the possible drops on the right hand side of the screen, you will notice right away that the lowest node level is T4. This means you will need to be at least hunting rank 4 before you run Platinum Fields, otherwise you simply won’t be able to harvest anything.
Getting ready for Platinum Fields
The bare minimum
If you have another look at the Rank section of the guide, you will notice there are two ways to achieve this.
Skill rank 2 + Tool rank 2 – the easy, but slightly costy way. You only need 12 life skill points to get to Skill rank 2 and also get Search so you will be there in no time. You can either hunt T3 rabbits in the open world, do three quick chain quests for life skill potions or just do island quests for life skill XP; I strongly recommend getting used to throwing machetes first.
Skill rank 3 + Tool rank 1 – the tedious way. You will need 72 life skill points to get to Skill rank 3 and activate Search. You want to get all the life skill potions you can to speed things up a bit. Hunting on continents is frustrating as you can be interrupted while flaying – I suggest trying to find areas with plenty of ore and herb nodes next to safe zones.
You can usually hunt uncontested near safe zones
Once your total hunting rank is 4, you can enter Platinum Fields. Kind of a waste though, as you won’t be able to flay (or even kill) T5 and T6 nodes, and since entry is linked to a time gated special currency, you want to make the best use of these runs. I only recommend doing Platinum Fields at rank 4 if you have more than 7 Sylian’s Orders before the reset.
The recommended way
Ideally, you want to be rank 6 when you first enter Platinum Fields. That’s not going to happen unless you already acquired the majority of the life skill potions in the game – skill rank 4 costs 201 skill points on it own, and you will also need to spend at least 6 points for the mandatory skills to make it worth.
Currently you can only get 24 life skill potions on RU on a character that has never done any life skills before, that’s 96 skill points. This includes affinity and adventure book rewards though, so unless you have been playing for a couple months, you won’t be able to get anything near that and you have wasted plenty of Sylian’s Orders as well. So what’s the plan?
Probably the best compromise you can make here is trying to get to Skill rank 3 and equip blue tools to be able to flay T5 nodes as well. If you have blue tools in abundnace, the fastest way is getting to Skill rank 2 and use blue tools on T4 nodes in the open world. There are quite a few islands with plenty of T4 herb/ore nodes where you won’t be interrupted during flaying, and there’s one island you should be visiting anyway as it was designed for hunting.
Mercia (Protected Areas on RU) – hands down the best island to level hunting. Littered with herb nodes and random spawns.
Protected Areas, just south of Tortoyk
The only downside is that i350 mobs are plentiful, but if you clear them after a quick sweep you can flay rabbits uninterrupted. Not recommended for low ilevel characters as fighting would slow you down too much. Low chance to drop the rare T1 life gear upgrade material that would otherwise cost you 2000 T4 skin.
Sunflower Island – lots of herb nodes, some additional rabbit spawns, no monsters – what’s not to like?
Serene Island – ore and herb nodes, monsters can be avoided for most part.
Tortoise Island – herb nodes, no monsters.
There are four types of upgradeable gear in Lost Ark RU – Chaos, PvP, Raid and Life gear. As you have already guessed, the best choice by far for running Platinum Fields is Life gear. Set bonuses on both the T1 and T2 version will help you immensely during your run, so you want to craft the full sets even if you would otherwise polish Raid or PvP gear. Every big city will have a Life gear crafting NPC.
Life gear crafting NPC in Bern
T1 Life gear – perfect if you are under i385. Crafting the full set will cost you 210 T4 ore and 150 T4 flower, you have to buy these from the AH as you have not put any points in either herbalism or mining (or at least I hope so).
3 set piece bonus – you get the Light Burden I engraving effect, which means you gain a 15% move speed bonus while carrying somehting. In your case, these will be Golden Pelts in Platinum Fields, and you will be carrying them often. Mandatory to have at least 3 set pieces if you want the best results.
5 set piece bonus – low chance to get the Fruitful Effort effect on hit, which grants you 20% attack and move speed bonus for 8 seconds.
There are only a handful enemies in Platinum Fields and most of the time you will never come across them as a hunter, but there is one thing in abundance – Mossy Feltweed.
Mossy Feltweed will disrupt you while flaying, but running past it can trigger Fruitful Effort and grant you 20% move speed for 8 seconds. Make sure to take advantage of this while wearing T1 Life gear.
T2 Life gear – perfect if you are under i515. You will need to have some experience with life skills to craft it as the main ingredient for all of the armor pieces is a Sign of an Experienced Artisan, which can only be exchanged for life skill essences you drop while working on a profession. Life Material Exchange NPC is what you are looking for, every big city has several of them.
One of the Life Material Exchange NPCs in Bern
3 set piece bonus – Light Burden II engraving effect, a 30% move speed increase while carrying. No reason to run Platinum Fields without this as a hunter.
5 set piece bonus – flat 10% move speed increase – yes please.
If you have been following this guide this far, you will know that everyting you have been doing so far was so that you are able to run Platinum Fields and harvest at least T5 nodes. There is a marked difference in how you approach this if you are Skill rank 3 only, however, because your only goal is to flay as many rabbits as you can for XP, as opposed to your goal being harvesting as many T6 nodes as possible once you reached Skill rank 4.
This will be a very long and detailed piece – before we go into too much detail, have a look at this raw video of an average Platinum Fields run to have an idea what you should be aiming for.