The ARK: Survival Evolved updates keep getting more substantial. Studio Wildcard released update 256 for the Steam PC version of the open-world survival game that adds interesting new creatures, like the horse ancestor Equus and the mega-fish Leedischthys, plus new Tek tier items like underwater bases and a teleporter. The game also received the first step towards a fresh new user interface (UI) and sounds plus took a pass at re-balancing flyers.
Patch 256 is available to download now for ARK: Survival Evolved owners on Steam. The patch weighs in at 1.1 GB and will eventually make its way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime over the next month.
New UI and Sounds
Studio Wildcard is taking the first pass at giving the ARK: Survival Evolved user interface a makeover and is starting with all inventory menus. This includes player inventory, storage inventory, crafting station inventory, and animal inventory. The menus were given a Tek-themed look and re-organized for better usability.
Inventory icons also received a touch-up while right-click context menus were added to give players more information and options. For example, right-clicking on a stack of wood will offer options to drop the wood or split it by one piece, in half, or by a number set by the player. Meanwhile, right-clicking on a food will enable the ability to consume and doing the same on a wall will give the option to place the structure piece and the Crafting menu received similar changes.
The user interface has often been a complaint for users, especially on consoles. However, the developers have always explained that it was going to be one of the last things it worked on before the game exited out of Early Access. That the UI refresh is starting now is a good sign that the game is getting closer to its official release. Expect to see more UI changes in upcoming patches.
In addition to the UI changes, ARK has received a “massive sound effect” and “audio design overhaul” with this update, per Lead Designer Jeremy Stieglitz on Twitter. Details on what those audio changes are haven’t been shared yet, as the developer appears to be waiting to see how players react when they hear it themselves.
The Equus is a large zebra-like horse. It can be tamed, but Survivors will have to mount a wild one and break it in like a real horse to make it their own. A tamed Equus can have saddlebags mounted on it to not only allow for more to be carried in its inventory, but also turn it into a mobile research and crafting station.
Studio Wildcard decided to have a little fun with the Equus by adding an extremely rare Unicorn variant to ARK: Survival Evolved. The all-white creature comes with a horn, of course, but only one can exist on the map at a time. That gives bragging rights to the Survivor lucky enough to find and tame one.
The Leedsichthys will be the largest creature in the sea with the ARK 256 patch. The wild giant fish is not known to attack humans in the water, but it is not particularly fond of rafts. The creature is big enough to sink the hardiest of boats.
Tamed versions of the Leedsichthys are extremely unique in Survival Evolved. Players can carve chunks of meat from the fish without causing death or serious damage.
Like the Equus, there is a unique version of the Leedsichthys. A white alpha will spawn in the oceans even larger than the regular version. Prospective Captain Ahabs that kill the Moby Dick-like alpha will be rewarded with a ton of fish meat and special cosmetic skin.
The Iguanadon is a new addition to the herbivore family in ARK: Survival Evolved. The creature walks on all fours or its hind legs. A tamed Iguanadon is highly effective at gathering fruit in-game and can carry quite a bit.
Another ARK creature that can be mounted on a Survivor’s shoulder as a companion is the Ichthyornis. The Ichthyornis’ hook is that it can be sent to catch small animals like fish, dodo, and compys. This makes the bird potentially extremely useful as the prey it brings back will harvest far more meat than if killed by the player.
New Tek Tier Items
ARK Survivors will finally be able to construct underwater bases. This will require crafting multiple items to create a water-proof structure, such as oxygen providing ventilators and air-locks to allow safe entry and exit.
Tek Power Generator
An upgraded power generator capable of powering other Tek or electrical structures wirelessly is also coming. Similar to the Tek forcefield, players can adjust the range at which the generator powers other items. The larger the range, the faster it will consume the Element power source.
Star Trek dreams become reality in ARK: Survival Evolved with the Tek Teleporter. Players will be able to move swiftly around the island, but not without cost. The components to build the teleporter are expensive.
Tek Mosa Saddle
It’s not quite a shark with a frickin’ laser on its head, but its close. Similar to the Rex Tek Armor, players can now equip the Mosasaur with a hi-tech saddle with blasters mounted on either side of its head.
Flyer Balance Changes
Balance changes are always controversial, but ARK: Survival Evolved players should expect to see plenty as the game gets closer to official release. Patch 256 takes a shot at re-balancing flying dinosaurs in the game like Pteranodons and the Quetzal.
“These [changes] won’t render them completely useless,” Studio Wildcard Community Manager Jat explained in the official forums. “I imagine most would still use them as their go to creatures for travelling and transportation — but it will certainly bring them more in line.”
He went on to state that these changes could be reverted or altered in future updates. Studio Wildcard’s goal is for each creature to have a role and not to have players depend on one to do everything.
Details on exactly what has been changed will be added once they’ve been shared and/or discovered.
The addition of underwater bases comes with the bonus of the breeding mechanic finally being introduced for aquatic and amphibious creatures. There’s a catch, however. Underwater eggs cannot be taken out of the water or else they will die. Fortunately, there are no temperature requirements to hatch eggs, but it will require players to prep themselves with scuba gear at the very least to raise the young.
Ark: Survival Evolved received another batch of Explorer Notes to discover. There are now another 30-plus to seek out.
The hair variations continue to grow as well. Players can now grow ponytails and even go with mutton chops.
[Featured Image by Studio Wildcard]