The continuing early access launch saga of Wildcard’s new pirate MMO Atlas

    
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(We’re updating this post at the bottom as the drama unfolds!)

Marking its third delay since its announcement just two weeks ago, Wildcard’s pirate MMO Atlas is not going to launch early access today, either.

“Pathfinders, we expect early streaming of ATLAS to start this evening at approx 9:00 PM PST,” the game’s Twitter account said just a few minutes ago. “Following that, the game will be ready for full Early Access Launch tomorrow by noon PST. We’ll keep you updated should there be any changes. Thank you for your patience and support.” To recap in EST: Partner streaming will start tomorrow morning at 12 a.m. EST, with launch tomorrow at 3 p.m. EST.

Naturally, since it’s Christmas, all the replies on Twitter are super warm and supportive.

Readers will recall it was originally planned to launch on the 13th, but Wildcard pushed it to the 19th, then the 21st, and now the 22nd.

Here’s that trailer one more time, why not.

Source: Twitter
Update Saturday morning
Astonishing, truly, that the streamers didn’t get in on time.

But they’re in now.

Update Saturday afternoon
The game is now available for purchase on Steam. Do note it’s an early access title and is expected to be in early access for a long time, so plan accordingly. The current sale price is around 25 bucks.

The official site is up too, with Wildcard’s brief outline of post-launch plans, including third-party server hosting, tools, and settings.

Update Saturday evening
It’s finally up, though players and streamers are reporting that the game is already suffering from login queues and that the game’s starting zone is capped at under a few hundred people per server, thereby creating a bottleneck as people are trying to log in and being throttled instead due to too few servers to hold them. Welp, that part is MMOsy, at least. Just check out all the irate comments on this Twitter thread and get out yer backup games.

Reddit isn’t having a much better time; there, as DK pointed out to us, just as many complaints are about the game supposedly being “ARK 2.0.”

40,000 Simultaneous Players In The Same World from playatlas

Update Sunday morning
Looks like the “ARK 2.0” stuff isn’t so unfounded after all; MOP reader Siphaed pointed us to threads and reviews where players are currently chronicling the copypasta job. But then… who didn’t assume this game was already going to be a spinoff of ARK?
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Cornelius Vortigern

Atlas is just a “total conversion” of ARK. The problem is not this thing. The problem is that has been advertised as complete new and different game, and this is what was possible to understand from the trailers and the screen shots shown before its launch. As soon as you get in, and go past the character creation, you’ll understand that you are inside a modded ARK version. Same horrible configuration interface. Even the title score resemble the ARK’s one. But it’s fine, all is fine if this game would have been promoted as a “total conversion” and not a completely new game. Oh well, maybe it will become a complete new game, but with a lot of time. Now is just a bad conversion of ARK. And I’ve played ARK for a very long time, quite before the official launch.
So I’ve asked for a complete refund, but I’ll follow the development, still hoping to get (maybe one day) a PIRATE game (yarr!!).

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agemyth 😩

I don’t understand how public opinion can be so negative and the game so clearly in poor state and clearly in early access, yet it has over 10,000 reviews on Steam already. Their tactic of giving streamers exclusive first access has paid off in the short term. Even big name streamers seem to be willing to play any trash you give them if it is hot and new. They are all complicit in helping make Atlas a financial success at launch by being active participants in the marketing.

I don’t think the idea of Atlas being a “mod” of ARK as far as the game engine is concerned is a big deal. Plenty of good games have come from heavily borrowing work done on previous games and just iterating. A lot of great sequels are built on the backs of the work done on some middling or underwhelming new franchise. Atlas is just a poorly done and rushed to early access monstrosity.

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MrSaxon
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socontrariwise

Watched it on Twitch yesterday night and yes, it is really just Ark with a different theme. UI modified a bit, extra menu for the sailing skills, odd skill tree impact (someone said he had maximum gathering but realized the skillpoints put into that are basically lost as gathering is only manual and even with a simple sickle he got more than gathering manually at max skill).
The world is static chunks so 1 server per chunk and no ability to dynamically adjust boundaries of a chunk based on player number. That basically means it is impossible to host something reasonable privately as you would need to pay for so many servers.
Considering the massive problems Wildcard has with griefing even on PvE servers that means no way to avoid the mess on a private server really.

And people basically spend their time chopping away wood to build ships and then … what? Sea of Thieves was really polished for sea battles compared to Atlas convoluted, unintuitive interface – and SoT was suffering from that being way too little to keep people interested.
The focus in Ark is the tons of dinosaurs, taming them, training them, breeding them, using them. Atlas is having a few critters but since the major action is supposedly happening on the sea with the islands rather inaccessible (rough terrain, getting stuck often) you won’t take them with you on boats likely (to what end?) or use them on the hilly, rough islands for travel or such.

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Suikoden

Good to know. Pretty much what we were all thinking. Thanks for the confirmation.

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draugris

Interesting,

they released the server files a few hours ago

https://www.playatlas.com/index.php?/forums/topic/3498-unofficial-dedicated-server-info/&
https://github.com/GrapeshotGames/ServerGridEditor/wiki

It seems that their map is divided into squares, each server can host a square of 1×1, now if you want to host a private server with multiple squares of the map you have to host multiple server instances which are connected together. That seems really complicated to me.

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Kayweg

Not to mention expensive.

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draugris

Yeah, plus the server files are Windows binaries. So you need also a Windows license, Linux would have been the better alternative.

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_Windsong_

if you own a 1×1 Server you cannot leave the starter Area and the Level is limited to LvL 8.

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draugris

So you basically need to host more server instances. I am wondering what that means performance wise for the server and how it should be sized.

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Jeremy Barnes

No idea why anyone would trust this particular developer. I wonder how many expansions the game will have while it’s in “early access”.

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Bluxy

I wonder why there is so much hype over this compared to dark and light
Its basically the same spinoff

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Melissa McDonald

It should be noted that this game has settings for VR… ;)

But not Nvidia ANSEL, like ARK has. I’ve taken some glorious super-resolution pictures from ARK, like 8Kx8K pixels and even much bigger than that (I think it goes to 32K pixels wide). Perhaps they’ll work that in. I do take it into account that it’s just launched.

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Siphaed

Looks like the “ARK 2.0” stuff isn’t so unfounded after all; MOP reader Siphaed pointed us to threads and reviews where players are currently chronicling the copypasta job. But then… who didn’t assume this game was already going to be a spinoff of ARK?

Didn’t really expect it to be spinoff in such a way as to use the original coding. Using the Engine, updated, sure. I can see that happening. But not the original everything, including a lot of assets to the point where it can be called a standalone expansion rather than its own separately existing game.

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cursedseishi

I think everyone wasn’t expecting it to be as… blatant… as it is. I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. I’ve seen some estimated math based on shard capacity saying the game can’t even support 34k at its very best. I’ve seen assumptions that the game is nothing more than a 4th DLC pack for Ark that they decided to sell separately and under another studio to try and dodge a lot of the bad baggage already attached–rightfully so–to Wildcard.

Heck, I’ve seen suggestions that this is their way of avoiding having to give Snail Games a slice of their pie with the ‘Ocean expansion’ that is Atlas.

Double heck, the comments I’ve seen before that this is supposed to be using a better version of the Unreal Engine doesn’t even match… They’re apparently still using an older version (some saying same as Ark, some around that same version), one that predates the sort of optimization and fixings that is applied to Fortnite Proper with its Battle Royale mode.

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_Windsong_

wow, so many Negative Steam Reviews, no one ever can make them go away, its sad they Decided to release this Game before x-mas, welcome to the §hitstorm :(

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Denice J. Cook

77% of the Steam reviews are negative. Ouch!

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Jeremy Barnes

bad game gets bad reviews? What’s the problem?