Yesterday, Wildcard's dinosaur extravaganza Ark: Survival Evolved finally launched after two years in early access development. Things didn't get off to the smoothest of starts, however, with several unforeseen technical issues leading to the game's official servers coming online later than expected. Eventually, that issue was resolved, but players almost immediately ran into another: There simply don't appear to be enough servers to go around.
Wildcard has launched a brand-new server cluster for Ark's proper release, featuring a full complement of official PvP and PvE servers for the Island, Center, Scorched Earth and new Ragnarok maps. The new cluster sits alongside, but is separate from, the game's early access "legacy" cluster, which, as we learned previously, will no longer receive customer support. However, Wildcard's decision to thrust older servers into the equivalent of the Ark ghetto may have exacerbated the launch day problems; not only did Ark see a huge influx of new explorers, many early access players migrated to the new cluster at the same time, making things a little… cramped.
Even now, scanning down the server list on PC, many, many servers are at capacity, and players are still reporting difficulties joining a game across Twitter, Reddit and the game's official forums. Here's how things were looking for me this morning:
One of the greatest frustrations for those struggling to join a game, it seems, is that Ark's server queue feature is reportedly being a little unreliable at present on console, and doesn't exist at all on PC. This means that many players have been forced to take the old-fashioned manual route, constantly refreshing the server list in order to eventually, hopefully, join a server when other players leave. Reddit user IronElisah has awarded Ark's full-launch release the accolade "Best Clicking Simulator 2K17".
For its part, Wildcard has already addressed some of the early launch issues experienced by players, giving assurances that it's doing its best to alleviate server overload.
"First of all, I'd like to sincerely apologise for the delay in the servers [coming] online," lead community manager Jat posted on the official Ark forum. "We ran into a few technical hiccups that extended the amount of time it would take, and then our tool/usual procedure wasn't working, so we had to do it via a manual method which in turn takes a lot longer," he wrote.
Jat said that more servers had already been made available, and more would be coming online in the days to come, but the process "is still going to be a long one".
Wildcard has also addressed a persistent crash issue being experienced by some PlayStation 4 players when attempting to use the "Join Ark" server list button, or when applying the "Unofficial server" filter. Anyone affected, says the developer, can prevent the crash "by heading into your the System Storage on your PS4 and deleting ARK's configuration file. This won't clear any of your game-data, but just settings you've applied to the game/last known uses." A proper fix, meanwhile, is incoming.
"I know the launch has been a little rough," Jat concluded, "and we're very grateful to all of you. As we get further into it, things will smoothen out and the experience will be much better. Thank you for hanging in there."