This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
Destiny 2’s recent PC beta certainly brought out curious players in droves, and MMO bloggers couldn’t help but share their opinions on this next evolution of the sci-fi shooter franchise — even if those opinions weren’t too positive.
“It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience,” Superior Realities said. “Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.”
Endgame Viable just doesn’t get it: “I know I’m going to regret this, but: What’s all the hype about? I didn’t hate it, but Destiny 2 looked and played like every other shooter.”
How would you respond to those observations? While you think about it, let’s look past D2: The Mighty Space Ducks to more essays on Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest II, and the dinosaurs of ARK: Survival Evolved.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree deal with a hodge-podge of interesting MMO news, including ARK’s launch, Destiny 2’s PC beta, and what some studios are doing to help players in response to the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Warning: After the break is a shocking depiction of human nudity and the bravado of a squirrel that seeks to save you from nightmares for the next two weeks. It is all thanks to that online weirdness generator called Final Fantasy XIV and beloved reader Skoryy, who is incredibly quick with that screenshot key.
This is from Skoryy’s private photography gallery entitled, “Random MMO Funny Faces.” Gaze in awe and dumbstruck horror after the break, then read on because we’ve got a whole bunch of interesting player shots for you to admire when you tire of trying to peek around that bushy tail.
The open beta for Destiny 2 finally hit the PC, and while I’m generally reluctant to say that anything is the preferred platform for a given audience (people get excited about platforms I personally would never have expected), in this case it seems fair. The beta has, of course, run into some issues, but people seem to have enjoyed it even without getting to take a trip to a nice farm. Plenty of space to run around in that farm.
Also, while it seems almost like a joke to say this, it really happened: ARK: Survival Evolved finally launched. If you were waiting for launch? You were waiting for now. It has happened.
More news? You’ll no doubt hear more with the convention this weekend, but let’s go nuts anyway.
- The final alpha test for Legends of Aria will arrive on September 21st, incorporating huge improvements over prior versions. Whether or not that will make you want to jump into the game is another question, of course.
- The alpha test for Wild West Online is absolutely very definitely happening on September 15th. That’s nice and unambiguous, isn’t it? Now no one will misunderstand when it’s happening.
- Crowfall has a cinematic trailer now! It’s very cinematic. And… a trailer. That’s a bad description, you should watch it and come up with a better one.
- In worse news, MU Legend has delayed its open beta until November. Perhaps it saw the other games in testing and got shy?
- Ashes of Creation is planning for its first alpha, helpfully titled “alpha zero,” to start in December. There are reasons why it’s a zero instead of a one, but it’s still the first test.
- Also, Dauntless is in closed beta. Like, right now. Surprise! No daunting for them.
All right! Are you pumped to scroll through a whole list full of other titles currently in testing, possibly incorporating more surprises along the way but probably not? Jump on down below, then, and if you see something which ought not to be there, do let us know down in the comments.
With an expansion and official launch released in that order, ARK: Survival Evolved is busy at work on its next expansion. Announced at PAX West this weekend, ARK: Aberration will take players to a dangerous underground biome replete with new enemies, 50 additional recipes, leaking radiation, sci-fi themes, ziplines (whee), wingsuits (double whee), and lots of spelunking gear.
Waking up on ‘Aberration,’ a derelict, malfunctioning ARK with an elaborate underground biome system, survivors face exotic new challenges unlike anything before: extreme radioactive sunlight and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, cave dwellings, charge-batteries, and far more, along with a stable of extraordinary new creatures await within the mysterious depths. But beware the ‘Nameless:’ unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids which have evolved into vicious light-hating monstrosities! On Aberration, survivors will uncover the ultimate secrets of the ARKs, and discover what the future holds in store for those strong and clever enough to survive!
Aberration is coming to all platforms in October and will retail for $20 if you don’t have a season pass. Massively OP will be talking with the ARK team about the game and this expansion at PAX West, so stay tuned for more info!
Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie is at PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime, a much catchier name if you ask me!) for us this weekend as it kicks off today, accompanied by a huge roster of stuff to see, from Ashes of Creation and Ship of Heroes to Chronicles of Elyria and Dual Universe — and a dozen more. She might get to eat lunch, but she will definitely not get to sit down!
The good news is that the con is gearing up for a much better showing for MMORPGs than we’ve had in the past two or three years, something that ought to fill you with cheer. On the other hand, what I’d like above all else is to be getting major MMORPG announcements — new AAAs, new expansions — in addition to these solid in-progress games that actually have the PR prowess and cash to show up (which is good too!). It’s a changing landscape out there, folks!
What PAX West announcement would blow you away? What would you most want to see? And of the games in attendance, what do you most want us to see and ask about for you?
Along with approximately 80 million other games, ARK: Survival Evolved launched this week, putting an end to mockery about the game’s eternal test phase. Or did it? Dun dun dunnnn! Yeah, probably not, especially when the game’s suffering from what is apparently severe overcrowding on the official servers.
Yesterday, Studio Wildcard apologized for the issues, promising work on new servers as of last night and noting the team is “looking into whether [it needs] to increase [its] numbers based on player activity,” though “the process is still going to be a long one, as it will have to be a manual setup as opposed to what [the studio] normally [does].” According to Wildcard’s Jatheish, that process takes extra long in part because of necessary security measures. He further identified problems with the update that came online with the launch yesterday, including the PS4 crash bug.
Yes, it actually happened: ARK has finally launched. It’s like the world is ending or something! For those on official servers, their world pretty much did end as the now “legacy” servers won’t receive any more support. But that doesn’t affect Massively OP’s MJ, who runs around on her own, personal server. Have things magically improved? Is the launch optimization actually there? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to see what amazingness the real launch brings.
What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
If games industry giants can be seen as extremely territorial siblings, each jealously guarding his or her own possessions and unwilling to work with others, then Microsoft is positioning itself as the one who is finally maturing and willing to reach out.
One of the big topics for consoles of late is that of “crossplay” — allowing the same game on different platforms to offer shared gaming space for its community. Some titles have this; Sea of Thieves made waves at Gamescom by announcing that it will support crossplay between Xbox One and PC, while Final Fantasy XIV has had crossplay for its PlayStation and PC community for years now.
Some, such as ARK, are resisting this functionality. Companies such as Sony are being blamed for stonewalling further efforts to break down these walls of segregation.
Try to hold back your shock: Sci-fi-dino-themed survival sandbox ARK Survival Evolved is really, truly, launching today, so put all those delay gripes and eternal early access jokes back in the grudge box. As of this morning, Studio Wildcard says the Xbox One download is up and running, while PS4 is lagging a few hours behind. Do remember that even on Steam, a newbie will be paying just shy of 60 bucks for the whole bundle. We’ve got a read on the new servers too:
“For ARK’s launch, we plan on providing new Official Servers for the following games mode: Regular/Vanilla, Non-TEK, Primitive+, Hardcore, Isolated Clusters, NoTaming, Extinction Servers and ORP. With the bulk of the servers being focused on the vanilla game mode (Both PVP and PVE), and smaller amounts of niche servers which could be increased based on player demand. The primitive game mode will be removed in favour of the Non-TEK Tier Servers.”
Want more ARK goodness? We’ll be chatting with the team at this year’s PAX, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we’ve rounded up the launch trailer, some of MJ’s streams, and our best content on the game. Plus, don’t forget you’re welcome to join our long-running ARK server.
The latest raid on ARK’s Broodmother went so well that Massively OP’s MJ and the group are excited to take a stab at the other two raids. And instead of waiting a week in-between fights, they will use two sets of raid Rex teams — one for each fight. They will start with the ape boss at the red pillar, then move to the green pillar to fight the dragon. This will be MJ’s first time ever facing the dragon. Will she make it out alive? Join us live at 12:00 p.m. to watch the raid boss double-header.
What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 25th, 2017
A few weeks ago in Massively Overthinking, the team discussed the resurgence in popularity of small-scale co-op games and whether that has impacted the MMORPG genre negatively or positively — if at all. This week, I’d like to aim that same question at the survival genre, so everything from ARK: Survival Evolved to Citadel Forged With Fire.
The question was sparked in part by a VentureBeat piece that points out SuperData’s numbers: Non-massive survivalboxes pulled in $400 million in the first half of the year. This is a lot of money that is not going into MMOs and MMORPGs that could be, which was the same thing we suggested about online co-op RPGs — only this subgenre is attracting builders and PvPers. Is it attracting them away from MMOs directly? I’ve asked our writers to reflect on the rise of survivalbox games: Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?