One of Lost Ark’s many unique systems is the Stronghold. This is a private island given to every player, where you can upgrade and unlock new things. There’s quite a lot to it and your Stronghold makes up a decent chunk of Lost Ark gameplay, so let’s take a look at it in our Lost Ark Stronghold guide below.

How to Unlock Your Stronghold

First off, you unlock your Stronghold at around level 26 just by following the main storyline. It comes right after the castle siege in Luterra. Once you create your character, simply follow the main story quest and you’ll unlock your Lost Ark Stronghold!

Once unlocked, you can use [CTRL+1] to open the Integrated Management tab that will allow you to manage every aspect of your Lost Ark Stronghold. Below are all the options available in the Stronghold management tab.

Entering and Leaving your Stronghold

You can use the Song of Hearth and Home to get to your stronghold once it’s unlocked. To leave your stronghold, you can use both the Song of Escape and the Song of Return as well as using the Stronghold exit at the top of the Stronghold map.

Stronghold Laboratory 

The Laboratory is one of the most important parts of your Stronghold. It’s used to research and unlock upgrades, which includes both upgrading other aspects of your island, as well as general character and account-wide upgrades like extra storage. 

There are a ton of very useful things to research, so you should take a few minutes to look at all the options and choose a research path that will benefit your playstyle. 

Crafting Workshop

You can use resources that you obtain out in the world and through Life Skills to craft items in the Workshop. This mostly comes in the form of consumables like potions, bombs, and different types of utility items.  Using the Workshop is by no means required, as you can just purchase anything that can be crafted, but it can save you a bit of money, or even be a good tool for income if you really dedicate yourself to crafting.

Dispatch Station

The Headquarters is one of the most important aspects of the Stronghold. This is essentially a minigame, where you pick certain troops and send them to complete missions. You need to pick specific troops for certain missions, as they all have different requirements, and the success rate depends on your Lost Ark Stronghold Crew. 

It’s important to note, you can’t fail missions, however, generally the lower the success rate, the fewer rewards you’ll get. 

This is one of the most important parts of the Stronghold because it can reward you with Honing Materials and a significant amount of Stronghold Experience.

Training Camp

The Lost Ark Stronghold Training Camp is unlocked by a series of quests available at level 52. Once you complete the Legendary Monster Slayer quest and the Magic Society’s Amazing Skill Quests you will gain access to the Training Camp

The Training Camp is used to passively give EXP to any character on your roster AS LONG AS ITS NOT YOUR HIGHEST level character. The Training camp can ONLY level up a character to your highest characters level.

Knowledge Transfer Machine

In short, the Knowledge Transfer Machine enables you to convert gold to progress your alt characters faster. So, it is a form of character boosting in game. For more information on how it works, please check out our Knowledge Transfer Guide.

Decoration Placement, Traveling Merchants, Manor Management, And Stronghold Life Skills

There are many other

Stronghold Decoration Placement

You can decorate your Lost Ark Stronghold Island using [CTRL+2]. This has no real impact on the game, other than customization. You can add a ton of cool structures, plants, and decorations to make your island feel like home.

Traveling Stronghold Merchants

There is also a small NPC area, where you can trade for a wide variety of things – it’s worth exploring these and seeing what they offer. This includes traveling merchants, which are important as their stock changes every day and they sell some very useful items. You should try to check on these every day to see if they have anything you want. Some good items to purchase include Runes, Sailors, and Cards. 

You can also find a Chef outside your mansion at a large table. Here you can craft Feasts, which are powerful food buffs. It’s worth making these before doing something difficult like a raid.

Stronghold Farm and Cave

Finally, there are Stronghold Life Skills. These allow you to gather resources on your island to perform island-specific crafting. Once unlocked, you can find the Stronghold Farm and Cave management on the bottom island on the map.

Stronghold Manor Management

You also have access to your Stronghold’s mansion. This is a pretty simple place, you can equip structures and outfits to your mansion, which give you Stronghold-wide bonuses. For example, this can be increased mission success rate, increased crafting quality, and more. 

There isn’t a real priority of what to use in your mansion, just equip whatever structures and outfits benefit the activities you’re focusing on. 

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Best Lost Ark Stronghold Upgrades And Research

When it comes to upgrades and research, there’s no strict priority. It all depends on your personal preference and what you’ll be focusing on. If you like cooking, you can focus on upgrading that, or if you want to mostly ignore the Stronghold, you can upgrade warehouse space for an extra bit of quality of life. 

That being said, here are some of the more useful upgrades:

  • Stronghold Cost Reduction
  • Headquarters Upgrades
  • Reduce Energy Cost
  • Reduce Research Time
  • Expand Storage
  • Building Upgrades
  • Crafting Recipes


That’s it for our Lost Ark Stronghold guide! Hopefully, this helps you understand the Stronghold and begin to get the most out of it. It’s by no means required, but using the Stronghold does give some nice rewards and makes life a touch easier.