ARK: Survival Evolved got a hardware upgrade in the wee Thursday morning hours. Studio Wildcard migrated the open-world dinosaur survival game to several new servers overnight, with the hope to improve the title’s performance.
The European servers for ARK: Survival Evolved were migrated to faster machines at approximately 2 a.m. ET and were offline for a couple of hours while the transfer was performed. A complete list of servers moved can be found here. North American servers for ARK: Survival Evolved were not impacted by the upgrade, as 144 “EU” servers were migrated to better hardware.
Unsurprisingly, a couple of issues did pop up. EU-XboxOfficialServer186 experienced some connection issues when the servers came back online. Studio Wildcard Community Manager Jat Karunakaran was quick to respond to the issue with a Twitter post stating, “There are some current connection issues with Server 186. They’ll be resolved ASAP!”
The new servers are 30 to 40 percent faster than the old servers and are meant to be part of the solution to solve performance issues with ARK: Survival Evolved. The game is technically still in a pre-alpha state, as it is in early release for the Xbox Game Preview Program. That means it is highly un-optimized as Studio Wildcard focuses on adding content and features to the game. Once that is complete, the developer will turn its attention to improving the game’s performance.
The performance issues with ARK: Survival Evolved are glaringly obvious to anyone who has spent even a little time with the game. The frame rate is wildly variable, and will often dip down into the single digits or freeze altogether. This is due to the game streaming in new assets as the player moves around the world, and is most noticeable around structures built by players and large numbers of animals. The title also suffers from a rubber-banding issue where the game will become unresponsive and then players will snap back to a location. This is caused by the server performing a save of the game world and the rubber-banding becomes worse as players add more structures and tamed animals.
I asked Jat via Twitter if the new servers will help with frame frame rate performance, server performance, rubber banding, asset streaming, or all the above on Twitter, where he responded, “Should pretty much help with it all, hopefully!” He made a similar statement in a post on in the comments on the game’s official forums where the server migration announcement was made.
There is no confirmation from Studio Wildcard yet that upgraded hardware will be brought to the North American official servers. The Community Manager explained it is “hard to say so right now. Quite a lot of other stuff takes priority over it” in the ARK forums.
This juggling of priorities is part of the reason why the release date for the game was officially pushed back to a holiday 2016 release window. ARK: Survival Evolved was originally planned for a June, 2016, release, and was quietly pushed back to a fall release by Creative Director Jesse Rapczak during an IGN livestream revealing split-screen multiplayer.
The game was officially delayed during PAX East this past weekend as Rapczak explained why in a statement shared with GameSpot.
“Ark‘s success has increased our content goals and Early Access players have helped us raise our ambitions with their invaluable feedback,” Studio Wildcard co-founder Jesse Rapczak said in a statement. “When we first announced, we said 70 dinos, now we’ll have over 100. We never anticipated adding modding, local multiplayer, split screen, or numerous other upcoming features. The game at launch will be far more robust than originally conceived, but it takes a little extra time to wrap it all up.”
The PC version of ARK: Survival Evolved recently received the 239.0 update, which added the Dire Bear and Manta among other items. There is no ETA on when this update will hit the Xbox One. Studio Wildcard is planning to release official servers featuring The Center map mod in May. It is possible the studio is working on trying add support for official mods in the next Xbox One patch, which would mean a slight delay to console update 734.0.
Have you been playing on one of the ARK: Survival Evolved servers migrated to new hardware for the Xbox One? What has your experience been like so far? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Steam]