It had to be too good to last! We were all pretty shocked when Studio WildCard actually launched ARK’s newest expansion on the right date (as opposed to weeks or months and multiple new launch dates later). Folks dived into Extinction and began experiencing the robots meet dinosaurs of the new landscape.
And then it happened. WildCard did as WildCard does.
I wanted today to be a happy little letter of praise for my first impressions of Extinction. After all, it is the culmination of a three-map story arc and it pairs dinos and robots. Who knows, there might even be ninjas in there somewhere. I will get to praise… sometime. But first, I have to address this monstrosity. A monstrosity that has many wishing the studio did hold back the launch instead of releasing the buggy mess that it did. Because dealing with that delay backlash (I mean, we all expected it anyway) would have been better than what actually transpired. Instead, one of the Extinction bugs ate the bases! Yes, it made bases go extinct — along with any goodwill and faith that the on-time launch engendered when the studio just shrugged it off and said too bad, so sad, you’ve got to rebuild.
What was this big bad bug? It blew up bases galore. November 10th’s update demolished builds all over the official servers (here is one huge reason we update our private servers after time has passed and we see how stable “fixes” are!). Structures and storage boxes poofed, causing items to be dropped on ground and lost or looted and dinos (and any sleeping players) to become vulnerable to the elements and player attack. The magnitude of this disaster made it very gamebreaking. Whole bases, some massive, that tribes worked non-stop on for days on end in shifts, were wiped out. Tribes everywhere lost everything, or nearly everything.
Remember how I mentioned that we hold back our updates to make sure the dust settles first? Well, here is the horrible part. This base-eating bug didn’t happen immediately on the patch deployment. So things seemed fine, and when folks requested I update, I did. But then, hours later, the reports started filtering in of base destruction on official servers. It was a freaking time-bomb bug! We’s already deployed the patch, so all we could do was watch and wait. Maybe we dodged a bullet because everything was fine for at least seven hours. And then… poof. Poof. Poof. It started disappearing. As if some malicious worm had been let loose to slowly devour everything, our private server’s bases were all devoured.
What in tarnation was this bug? Why was this happening? According to official WildCard word, it turns out that “an unintended issue with Element Veins being enabled caused some bases near veins to be destroyed.” Is the whole map laced with these veins? We are talking about a widespread effect, not just a few outliers. Thankfully, the problem was discovered and a fix was deployed the same day. And luckily for my server, I rolled back for folks — something I will continue to do when WildCard screws up so royally. But all those players who worked on official servers? Sorry, you were screwed. They are screwed.
I was really hoping WildCard was back on an upswing of earning back some trust and goodwill; instead, players have resigned themselves to the knowledge of it’s the same old WildCard. The worst part was not the bug, which royally sucks. Bugs happen, and fixes happen. And the fix did happen same day, so not too much gaming time was lost. Well, actually, that isn’t true: Gaming time was severely lost. Remember, people spent gobs of time over the days since launch building up. And WildCard effectively slapped players in the face, refusing to rollback after this gamebreaking experience. Here’s what the studio had to say:
“We have just deployed v286.104 onto our official servers and unofficials may now also update. There is also a client-side update that single-player survivors should download. An unintended issue with Element Veins being enabled caused some bases near veins to be destroyed. We will not be doing a server-wide rollback as a rollback could cause even more players to lose their progress and characters. However, we will be introducing 3x harvest rates shortly onto official PC servers to allow players to reconstruct their bases as quickly as possible over the weekend. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Really?! The whole fiasco part of this situation is the fact that WildCard refused to roll back because it would impact other players who had made progress since the update. Um, excuse us, but tons of giant builds that tribes worked on since Extinction’s launch days before — often non-stop — were demolished. Gone. For days and days of work. And you won’t help them because you don’t want to disturb the hours of play some other players might have had? Seriously? And you think 3X harvesting rate is going to help? Will slightly increased harvesting replace dinos lost due to the bug? No. If you are going to up rates, why not do that after rolling back to help those who lost a few hours of progress from the rollback? Wouldn’t that be logical?
No, the message from WildCard is: Sure folks, go ahead, spend all the time again to rebuild… but just know that it could also all be randomly destroyed and we don’t care. In fact, expect it. Or maybe the studio does care, but only about those players who might lose those few hours of progress — those hours that possibly gave those players quite the advantage over those who lost everything.
Every time I look at this I can’t help but wonder who really benefits from a decision like this. The only ones who benefited really were those who profited off the destruction of the other bases. Decent folks would not begrudge a few hours lost versus days lost by everyone else. I mean, those who revel in the misfortune of others and benefit from it would, of course. They wouldn’t want the rollback. They wouldn’t want to lose the advantage they now had over all those other tribes who lost everything. I hate that this is my first thought here, but dang, do WildCard employees or friends benefit on servers they play on somehow? Because honestly, I cannot see how under any metric not rolling back would be better unless someone profited from it and wants to protect that advantage. It’s not as if the idea tribes benefiting unfairly from WildCard is unheard of; it’s become a common accusation on the forums and Reddit over the last couple of years, though it’s extremely difficult to prove. The saddest part is that it’s such a pervasive accusation that even someone as naturally trusting as I am can’t help but wonder what’s really going on when bizarre decisions like this are made.