Community Review: ARK Survival Evolved

After years in Early Access, the dinosaur sandbox tamer has finally left the wilderness for a full release.

The evolutions in Ark's gameplay aside, the proper launch has been beset with more than a few server issues. The developers launched a new server cluster for launch, but it resulted in new players and existing fans all being merged into the same cluster at once, which resulted in a lot of players unable to join a game.

Ark: Survival Evolved Launch Brings Serious Server Overcrowding

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.

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It's just one bump in what has been a long, interesting road for Studio Wildcard, though. Survival sandbox games are one of the most popular genres on Steam, and one of the biggest successes from that has been ARK.

After it launched in Early Access two years ago, the game has steadily been around the top 10 or 15 of the most played games on Steam. At the time of writing, it's the fifth most popular game, only behind Team Fortress 2, CS:GO, PUBG and DOTA 2.

There's been a ton of changes over that time, too. Survival of the Fittest was originally launched as a standalone, Battle Royale-style spin-off of ARK, but the game was later merged back into the main game as a separate mode.

The general gameplay loop revolves around gathering resources, building a base, and generally managing dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are the most efficient means of doing things, and to keep dinosaurs happy, you'll end up dealing with a lot of ... well, poop.

Poo: The Most Important Thing In Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark. Survival Evolved is a shitty game. Literally. You might think it's about dinosaurs and blowing stuff up, but no. The real star of the show is this guy. The humble poo. Let's explore all the wonderful ways poo brightens up the harsh world of this survival game.

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The fact that poop was introduced to avoid putting in an insta-kill key is kind of fascinating. It's also indicative of ARK's development: a lot of features and changes have been added along the way, some of which worked, and some of which still need work.

How have you found ARK Survival Evolved, both over the last couple of years and since its full release?


Comments

    incidently, @weresmurf and anyone else interested, i have 4 servers currently running. Its a private cluster so you can move your player and dinos across these 4, but cant download or upload dinos outside of this cluster.

    running The Island, The Center, Scorched Earth and Ragnarok.

    theres about 8 of us active on the centre at the moment.

    Search the Unofficial Server listings under all maps for "Syndicate Of Gamers"

      I was running my own, but Im scrapping it soon, my son and I will likely join yours.

    It's good. It's got some problems.

    I played it since launch. Maintained a vast solo base on The Island OC server 43 and a base on Scorched Earth. I was getting a little sick of the upkeep and wanted to see how different the game would be on release.

    Early on in early access, the official servers were always packed. As in 74/70 players on a server was a regular occurrence, causing frequent disconnects. Didn't help that there were only 6 Oceania servers.

    It looks even worse now. Post official release , servers with high populations became "Legacy Servers". Servers with low pops got recommissioned into a new cluster. So what's happened now is that there is only a single official Oceania server, an Island server with 70/70 people on it. No other maps at all.

    I checked the Legacy OC servers, and player count for my Island has gone down to 20 at peak, for the Island it's only 4 at peak. Did everyone join NA and EU servers with terrible ping? Are they all just crammed into one Island server? WTH?

    So if you are an Australian wanting to join official servers, don't. Search for private.

    I thought they'd learn, but they obviously haven't.

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