Nothing is Forever

ARK is no stranger to controversy, but the latest debacle is especially cruel.

ARK 2, which stars Vin Diesel for some reason, is set to radically change the formula from 1st-person survival game to 3rd-person Soulslike, presumably with you dodge-rolling away from a T. Rex’s jaws. So there’s already some angst from longtime fans (including myself). Like most of Wildcard’s products though, ARK 2 is getting delayed… this time all the way into late 2024.

Enter a tweet from the devs that they are working on a UE5 engine upgrade to the original game, to be released to everyone for free!

oops, just kidding. The UE5 upgrade will cost you $50, but hey, you’ll get ARK 2 for free. For whenever that gets released. In the meantime, enjoy the original game upgrade… until they release UE5 versions of the expansions, at which point you’ll have to buy them again.

Also, the official servers for the “old” ARK are shutting down.

Wildcard is doing some damage control, with them acknowledging the general shittiness of the situation. The new deal is that, yeah, the ARK UE5 upgrade is going to cost $60, but it’ll come with the upgraded expansions too. But now ARK 2 will be a separate purchase. Which is sort of what you’d expect for this situation, although it still seems like something is getting taken away.

Which, in terms of official servers, it is.

Now, everything I have ever heard of in regards to the official servers is that they’re a shitshow. Alpha clans raiding noob shacks for fun, murdering dino tames that take people literal, concurrent hours to achieve for no reason, and trolls building posts everywhere on PvE servers to prevent others from building a base anywhere useful. This is the same game where you could literally be drugged, kidnapped and held indefinitely in a cage.

In my few hundred hours of playing, I never joined an official server for more than a few minutes. My escapades were safely sequestered on a private server, where I effectively eliminated the time it takes to tame a dino, because fuck that. However. Wildcard got famous and (presumably) made a lot of money on the backs of players using their established rulesets on official servers. And now that will be over in a few months. Not because the server is shutting down per se, but because they want more money for an upgrade that is probably being done to save the sequel with a cash infusion. Sort of like how Wildcard sold paid DLC of the original game while it was still in Early Access to pay for the lawsuit threatening to bankrupt the company.

As MMO players, I think we all understand that none of our digital lives are forever. Granted, EverQuest seems to still be going strong, and WoW Classic is more profitable than Blizzard certainly ever expected. Nevertheless, I still sympathize with ARK players who are seeing their digital lives evaporate. The servers are apparently able to be exported to private servers, but that is cold comfort to the psychopaths players who roleplayed murder-hobos ARK socially.

Posted on April 12, 2023, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Geez, I hadn’t been watching anything these guys have done in a while so entirely missed this shitshow. I stopped playing somewhere during early access when one of their updates just annihilated weeks of playtime with friends by nuking the base we’d setup. I think it introduced a new or adjusted landmass or something.

    That was on official servers, so no option to just revert patch and host ourselves. Ah well.

    I am curious also though, how after (shitshows like this one notwithstanding) they managed to do such a successful game in ARK, and then… ATLAS. I think it is still getting updated, I see it in my Steam activity feed every so often, but I’ve not looked recently(ish, even) to see if it has really made any meaningful progress or not.


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