Atlas, still in early access, addresses reviving PvP and buffing the core game


Atlas has had a long journey since its stumbly early access rollout in 2018, back when it was still promising to be an “MMO on the grandest scale” with 40,000 players on the same globe simultaneously. It can’t do that even now, and in fact even if it could, it doesn’t have the players to try (its peak concurrency on PC in the last month is around 5000 players total, down from around 40,000 at soft launch). In June, we chronicled the game’s many missteps along the way, homing in specifically on weak communication and slow updates.

Most recently, Studio Wildcard’s Grapeshot Games dropped a (very) brief Q&A with the playerbase, though it doesn’t address the decline of the game’s population or hint at when an official launch might occur. The team does say that it’s considering more PvE ocean jobs, hasn’t given up on the promised player offspring feature, and isn’t focused on underwater ship combat. It also says there’s “no clear roadmap” for feature-complete small group maps because it’s “putting everything behind cleaning up the main game and adding new features to it.”

There’s a note about re-emphasizing PvP that might be worth your attention if you’re still playing the game, too:

“Since season 1, many hours have gone into creating PVP centric mechanics in ATLAS. Seasons 2 and 3 saw many changes that restricted the use of these mechanics. We’re interested in highlighting these unique mechanics, and are looking at different ways to bring them back into the mix and balance them further. As the current state of the game develops, so will the meta. Starting with the next patch, we’ll be unveiling a quick survey on the latest changes that all players can take, so that we can get a better understanding of the community’s sentiments.”


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Robert Mann

Atlas came in looking like a fun pirate game, hopefully with NPC bases for PvE stuff to do… and then proceeded to be what most of us expected despite the trailer, a survival sandbox with minimal PvE.

It’s sad, because the idea of a good game with a mix of building, crafting, and adventures together in a world like that of Atlas would be quite fun for many of us.

2Ton Gamer

No one here really plays this game, and with their track record I do not blame anyone. However, I will give my take on it because I have “sunk” many hours into this game from many aspects except official PvP.

Atlas’s biggest problem is lack of development time spent on it because the team is not capable of handling both Atlas and Ark. They should not have 2 “active” games in progress/development at the same time unless they can give needed attention to both. Atlas has so much more potential than Ark does, yet Ark is it’s most popular game and so in getting ready for it’s next DLC in March, they have already pulled most of the team from Atlas, if they were seriously really working on it as a whole anyway, which I doubt.

Atlas does some things well. Base building is on par with the quality of Ark’s, but does not have the mod support Ark does, (which is something they keep saying they will work on such as the promised dev kit update they have not yet delivered). Sailing in Atlas is quite fun. Building ships is interesting and could use more options which they have also promised. Having a crew to help fill the void of not having a lot of players to run your ship isn’t bad but needs some upgrades such as crew management with placing them on stations, or changing them up, etc. Ship battles with NPC’s are not too bad, but could be a lot better and more engaging. The kraken boss fight was not bad, but needs some work such as when the tentacles spawn and it spins your boat around on its side.

Taming in Atlas is half-assed. I get that they kind of tossed it in as a way to help with gathering resources and with the new warehouse/farms they added this summer they are not needed as much, but they also have balancing and population issues/rules that need to be worked with those new additions. Ultimately I could do without many tames with the exception of cosmetic or mounts for travel IF.. and it’s a pretty big topic… If…

If combat was better. As it stands now, they tried to do somewhat of a MMO type of combat system with a skill tree with learned skills and trait lines, but they are a mess and with long cooldowns that make them more a novelty than something useful. I’d love to go down a skill line, unlock new skills for my skillbar and go after dead pirates for treasure hunts or go to boss islands to work your way to treasure, however, thats not how combat works. You breed top tier bears and just steamroll dead pirates for maps you sail to islands to. Or for boss islands you run naked with a rifle to kite a boss back to your ship where cannons await it without much in the form of group dynamics or a need to sink points into some of those skill trees.

The game also suffers from a lack of clear direction which they have attested to and have “plans” they have not shared yet. Now normally I would say, yes game masters, you have your secrets and you divulge them all in due course, however in this case they took almost a year off from active development, came back saying they had plans and still have yet to deliver or be clear on those plans, meanwhile their development seems to have stopped after the warehouse update a few weeks ago, which also broke some of the SOTD so they are just floating at sea, bugged out. That’s a pretty big bug to just let go for weeks.

I am fully aware that this game is EA and we all know the fine print with that mess, especially with WC or Grapeshot or whatever the hell they are calling themselves on Thursday. The problem is, whereas Ark had steady updates while it was in EA and even though it released with problems, it was still being actively worked on and you had updates. You never went more than a month or two without an update. We had a steady stream of new creatures, new items, new features and a new map or areas every year (even if they did charge you like a chump for a game still in EA – Scorched Earth I’m looking at you).

I played Atlas a lot this past month and I did not burn out as fast with it as I do in Ark because there is some replayability there that goes beyond getting a nice base and the best tames and then being bored. I got to own settlements and sail through storms (they seriously need to tone down how long those cyclones last) and look for buried treasure and meet folks and buy nicely bred animals and do the kraken with 37 other people and go searching for rare resources and explore. I just wish they would give it the chance it deserves before they put out another DLC for Ark that people did not ask for and what will ultimately fail to satisfy. I fear that with UE5 coming out that they will begin working on Ark 2.0 and forget about this huge possibility of a game. It does have it’s problems and can run hard at times, but on the server we played on (8×8 PvPvE) it was fun and the lag was not game breaking most of the time especially considering it has yet to be optimized. Here’s hoping they do not abandon ship….