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.
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.
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.
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.
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?