Atlas appears to be listing dead in the water

    
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Ain't no one sailing now.

Off the port bow, there’s something drifting in the water. Is it a shipwreck? Yes, in the sense that the ship is Atlas, the pirate game run by Grapeshot Games (i.e., Studio Wildcard) and it appears to be listing, taking on water, and generally drifting along without any remaining momentum. You may remember that we looked at the game’s general scale-down and continued slide in numbers in February, or our coverage of the game’s patch at the end of March. And what has happened since then?

In a word? Not a damn thing. Wait, that’s four words.

Following that last patch, the game has apparently gone completely incommunicado, with nary a post to be found on the game’s official social media since that April 1st update. (In an even more telling sign, the pinned Tweet on the linked account is from December.) Nor are the game’s official forums in a different state, with a dearth of official postings since the end of March and no clear statement about future updates, development schedules, or the like.

Players on the game’s subreddit are not universally upset, but the general attitude seems to be that the game is effectively in a finished state; the most optimistic views state that ARK: Survival Evolved had a major update recently, which likely resulted in developers being pulled off of Atlas to work on that title. However, others note the slow removal of features and key staff members as a sign that the game is as done as it’s going to get, and it’s only worth buying if you’re fine with the game being what it currently is.

Notably, even as the game has failed to ever match its promise of holding 40,000 people on the same server, the official Steam numbers have been trending resolutely downward since January. This is in stark contrast to many other online titles, which have benefited from the ongoing pandemic and players needing to connect and seen surges in player numbers during March, April, and May.

It’s certainly possible that the pandemic, the aforementioned expansion pack, and staff changes have made the Atlas developers unusually silent and development is still ongoing. But in light of the past half-year of development (or the lack thereof), it seems the most reasonable assumption is that this particular ship won’t be pulling into port any time soon.

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2Ton Gamer

I for one played the game and ran my own servers (a 3×3) grid map. The idea was great. The problem though, as with most of their ARK DLCs is a huge failure to understand who their player base is (those who are long term) and what they want. One of the things they do best is animal taming, something that took a backseat with Atlas. Also, mods are another thing that ARK has done well with promoting yet was not promoted the same in Atlas. As the mod community began floundering last summer Wildcard decided to hold a contest for ARK yet not for Atlas.

Another failure on their part and one that I think also carries over to ARK is their lack of dedicated server tools that are official. Atlas dedicated servers were very hard to run and I spent way more time troubleshooting servers than actually playing. The tools that were released by players were great but limited and I spent a lot of time communicating with them weekly to work with issues that could have been easier had the devs released something especially considering the complexity of running a multi grid server. ASM for Ark is great and I have used it for years but the official Conan Exiles server program is better overall and I think it’s because the devs themselves released it.

Anyway, Wildcard sucks for not knowing their playerbase or why people play and utilizing statistical info to dictate their direction. They also suck for the lack of communication, this article clearly shows that. My only hope is that they go back to basics with an Ark 2.0 and use the newer Unreal Engine next year to create something that works better and gives us what that original trailer promised 5 years ago. A survival experience with huge base building and awesome dinos to tame.

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Bruno Brito

Who the hell is deleting Schlag memes? Did something happen?

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rafael12104

Yo! Burno! What’s going on? Where is our boy, Schlag?

Covynant001
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Covynant001

Listing in the water, please…more like thiscomment image

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Bruno Brito

Never go away please <3

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Sorenthaz

I mean it looked like it was a stupid rush of an ARK expansion. Maybe if it had actually achieved what the trailer made it come off as, then it would be a different story.

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Arktouros

The problem with that though is in most of these sandboxes what the developers show off as one possible outcome for the game it’s an entirely different matter when you give those same tools to players. Like if you give players access to rediculous body sliders and your trailer doesn’t have misshapen horrors from the island of Dr Moreau like obviously not going to match up once players get their hands on it.

This is also why Amazon gave up on the sandbox elements for New World. They had their private friends and family alpha early on and people built public towns and usable places and everyone sung hearty lumberjack songs while living a frontier life. Then they invited the rest of us and we murdered everyone in their public villages and took them over to build proper fortresses with concentric defensive walls and the guildless masses got destroyed without places to build good equipment.

Such is the beauty and horror of a sandbox.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah and that’s kind of the issue with allowing no-consequence/no-limit PvP in a sandbox as well. But even if PvP were lifted folks could still find ways to grief if they wanted to, I’m sure.

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Danny Smith

This thing stunk of a hustle since its first reveal trailer. I cannot imagine that many people are surprised.

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rafael12104

You reap what you sow. That money grabbing crap they released as early access is finally bearing fruit.

Others have learned that lesson too, like Bethesda. But they didn’t let their game go to total shit.

GrapeShot? Heh. They have no issues doing that.

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Jeremy Barnes

they reaped a lot of money for this pile of garbage..

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Bruno Brito

Damn, raf.

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rafael12104

Brother, you know what I mean.

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Arktouros

The whole “bare minimum working client” thing worked for ARK because players could fix a lot of the failings of the game via mods and other settings tweaks. You can’t really do that when you’re playing on servers owned and operated by a company like a MMO putting all that back onto the developers to get right or lose players. While I still prefer over all that style of game design/updates it was pretty clear early on Grape Card just wasn’t up to the task.

Most people I know who were into this game are playing Last Oasis right now with their dev appearing to do a better job over all so far.

Really the company over all should focus on getting a better engine/game client and working on ARK 2 or similar style game setup or focus heavily on pumping out Aberration style content maps.

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Greaterdivinity

Color my shock that a “EVERYTHING” game that was built upon influencers bringing their audience to the game doesn’t have lasting power given that there seemed to be no direction beyond “JUST ADD STUFF AND PEOPLE WILL PLAY!”

I’ve been impressed with the success of Ark and now this in terms of sales, but the developer has really never struck me as…well…organized, focused, well put together, or with any business plan to speak of.

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cursedseishi

Well, at least Grapeshot Games lived up to its name then, right? The game set sail, as an Ark–if you will–to ferry players across the sea. Instead? Grapeshot struck them on the starboard side and punched their hull full of holes. A(t)las, a watery grave is all that awaits.

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Arktouros

Traditionally grapeshot was used as an anti infantry shot similar to like a shotgun blast and posed very little to no danger to ship hulls.

But I like the attempt.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

lol sorry guys.. Grapeshot/Grapecard always trips the language filter.

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cursedseishi

I’ve noticed that myself other times I’ve specifically said that name… Much like Voldemort, it’s the name we shouldn’t say! I knew better when I went to post it…

… But I also couldn’t resist.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

It’s all good – I just push ’em through approval. “Magazine” always trips it too. :P Just sorry for the lag time before it hits my email :D

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Arktouros

I was wondering if I had another campaign against me again cause I’ve had more than a few waiting moderation posts lately. What got me here?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I think it was the reeee. (But seriously if your post ever sits in moderation for more than 30 minutes and it’s not like midnight, ping me. Sometimes I don’t get the email and I forget to check to see if anyone is stuck in pending. Atm, I am checking lots because of all the harassment in the BLM thread.)

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Bruno Brito

I know there are some trolls, but are the people who tried to derail the BLM thread with bogus false equivalence and statistics harassing you?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

A couple of the dudes who got banned keep coming back and posting even though the system insta-deletes them, either because they haven’t figured out they are shadowbanned or because they know I still have to see their drivel even when nobody else can, so they can keep hassling me directly. Nobody’s taken it offsite though, and under the circumstances I can hardly complain – I knew what kind of jerks would show up in a thread like that, and it’s my job to not subject our readers to them. So I’m just keeping a close eye. Which means it’s harder to miss when the “pending” bin lights up, even if the site doesn’t dispatch the email or google sends it to spam (which happened a bunch this spring).

Thank you btw Bruno for the reports last night.

Edit: I take it back; now the harassment is off-site too. Kinda reiterates who the bad guys are.

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Bruno Brito

My pleasure, boss. I assume you saw the video i linked too?

I’ll admit, i’m really jaded when it comes to corporate activism, but i’m all for what smaller companies ( Little Orbit ) or companies like Anet, that have been trying for a while now to be better.

I’m still not over the fact that Blizzard doesn’t pay taxes since 2018.

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Arktouros

or because they know I still have to see their drivel even when nobody else can

This is why I keep posting when you start carving :)

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I’ve been doing this job for a long time and I have two little kids with epic tantrum skills. The trolling doesn’t even register on me anymore. Hooray for numbness!

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EmberStar

Sorry for the side track, but I don’t know the acronym. What is “BLM”?

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zoward

Black Lives Matter.

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EmberStar

Thank you, I didn’t recognize it. I don’t do social media, and I’ve made an effort to not experience “the news” since the leader of a major world power started musing during live press briefings that maybe someone should look into whether injecting disinfectant into people would stop them from getting a virus. (Yes, it would, because they’d be too dead to get infected.)

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Bruno Brito

It’s shitty but you need to be updated with what’s happening, friend. You can literally help people right now.

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EmberStar

Out of curiosity, which thread is said discussion happening in? I suspect I’d probably get a more objective overview of the situation by reading that than trying to find articles on the site of any “major news outlet.” :(

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Bruno Brito

The thread about companies supporting it.

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Arktouros

Awww don’t delete the Re

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cursedseishi

True. Along with its smaller brother the Canister shot, it was mostly used for anti-personnel and equipment (mostly the latter for this particular shot), but well…

I never did say this particular ship was all that well constructed either! I’m pretty sure half of it is just plywood…

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Actually, not the hull, the sails. Ships under sail only have as much maneuverability as their way gives them. With sails full of holes they lose way and thus maneuverability and are, excuse me, sitting ducks. Fouling the rigging with chain shot was another tactic for reducing an enemy’s maneuverability.

Cannon balls were fired at hulls. When a hard metal ball passed through oak at high velocity, it created a shit storm of splinters, which then flew about ripping everything and everyone they came in contact with.

Anyway, fun times.