To wipe official servers at launch or not to wipe official servers at launch. That has been the question bugging ARK: Survival Evolved players since they first began pouring countless hours into the Early Access PC and Xbox One open-world survival game taming dinosaurs and building bases to house their tribes. Studio Wildcard gave an official word on the matter recently, which ended up being a compromise of sorts.
ARK: Survival Evolved Co-Creative Director and Lead Designer Jeremy Stieglitz originally responded to a fan’s letter to Studio Wildcard posted to Reddit asking the developer to please not erase all the work he and his tribe have accomplished in the game. The initial news was not good, as Stieglitz explained the studio would archive the official server save data for fans to host on their own if they wish. All official servers would then be wiped when ARK launches this winter.
Stieglitz had a change of heart after hearing the response from ARK: Survival Evolved fans. There is still the chance an official server will be wiped once the game hits full release, but it will only be those that are rarely used.
“Alright then, I’ve thought a lot about this, read a lot of commentary on the subject, and understand the time players have been putting into the game. Here is the final word on the matter: we will not be wiping the Official Servers on ARK’s release (and as mentioned, we will do everything in our power to ever avoid wiping — we all felt the sting from the launch duping bug all too well). We will keep existing active Official Servers as they are post-ship — no wipe — though at ship we may at our discretion re-purpose certain empty or near-empty Official Servers with 1 month prior warning (we’ll provide archives to data of such servers if anyone wishes to re-host). New Servers will be ADDED to help accommodate new players at that time; we can afford it.
“We take the time players put into the game seriously, and we want to reward them for that. The reward is having a permanent impact on your ARK, simple as that.”
This is great news for ARK: Survival Evolved players as long as they are on servers that have a healthy population. Where those servers are between now and March 20, 2017 — the official end of winter — is anybody’s guess. Official server populations have swung wildly since the game hit Steam Early Access last July and the Xbox One Preview Program this past December.
New servers start a gold rush of players looking for a fresh start or a prime piece of land. The launch of The Center (guide) as an officially supported map resulted in servers hosting The Island to dwindle in population.
Studio Wildcard still has more planned that could affect the population migration of ARK: Survival Evolved servers. The Primitive Plus mod is scheduled to officially release as free DLC on July 28. It completely changes the nature of the game with more building types, more weapons, and other unique items. The current metal tier is completely removed while the rest of the items that can be crafted or harvested are greatly expanded to the point where players will need to specialize more than they currently do.
Other changes coming with patch 244.0 include the pelican-like Pelagornis and the Allosaurus. Players will finally be able to fish with a new fishing rod and build new ceiling doors to build hangars for flying dinosaurs.
What do you think of Studio Wildcard’s plans to handle official servers at the official launch of ARK: Survival Evolved? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Studio Wildcard]