'ARK: Survival Evolved' Ascends With New Patch Featuring Active Volcano, End Cave, Sharks With Laser Beams

ARK: Survival Evolved took a big step towards its exit out of Early Access Friday. Studio Wildcard released the latest 257 PC update that turns The Island volcano active and introduces the end-game progression to the open-world survival game.

The 257 PC patch is available to download now via Steam for PC gamers. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can look forward to the same content and changes being added sometime over the next month or so.

This is a momentous patch for ARK: Survival Evolved as it introduces the final boss battle and player progression end-game content. The current estimate is for the game to go fully content-complete sometime in July with a couple of more months of optimization and clean up.

Volcano Goes Active with a new Tek Cave

The final boss entrance in the ARK: Survival Evolved Tek Cave.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

As previously covered, the volcano on The Island map goes active with the 257 patch and has wiped out any structures and tamed animals that lingered around the top while adding lava and mysterious new cave entrance inside the mouth.

Not only is the volcano now filled with lava, but cave entrance also leads to the final Tek-themed boss cave in ARK: Survival Evolved. Survivors will need to gather artifacts by defeating the other bosses, fight their way through some hellaciously difficult enemies, and make their way to the arena to face off against the final boss and learn the secrets of the ARK.

Update: Per Studio Wildcard, the end cave is not complete. Lead Developer Jeremy Stieglitz explained on Twitter that what was released with patch 257 is not the true ending and is just a placeholder.

Additionally, up to 10 players and 50 tamed dinosaurs can enter the cave at one time. However, any tamed dinosaurs that enter will not be able to leave.

This all leads to…

Ascension Game Progression

Studio Wildcard has introduced a prestige-like or a "New Game Plus" system to ARK: Survival Evolved. Survivors will be able to start their character over and face more difficult challenges on their quest to survive again. Or, as it was explained in an old ARK Digest Q&A:

"It involves beating all the bosses, going into the volcano, completing an uber-hard dungeon and travelling through a stargate, beating a final fourth boss and discovering the true nature of the ARK, sacrificing your character and resurrecting as a new character containing a soul cube with a progressively level cap (and if done again, taking on bosses that are scaled even more difficult and have some changes each time)."
Update: Studio Wildcard further explained that beating the ending of ARK: Survival Evolved and Ascending will grant up to an additional 15 character levels. This is dependent on the difficulty level selected when entering the cave (Gamma, Beta, or Alpha difficulty). The Survivor implant will indicate the difficulty level.

Survivor Reset (aka free Mindwipe)

Studio Wildcard has done a complete Engram revamp in ARK: Survival Evolved, which calls for all players to essentially get a free Mindwipe. Survivors will maintain their same level, up to level 100, and will have all of the stat points and engram points refunded. It will then just be a matter of reallocating the points once again.

New Dinosaurs

Giant Bee

The Queen Bee in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

The Giant Bees make their homes in the Redwood forest on The Island along with rocky cliffsides. They can also be found in the Canyons on Scorched Earth expansion. The drones are not tamable, but the queen bee can be tamed after drawing her out from the nest.

A tamed queen can be converted into a hive, which can be farmed for honey. The hive require Rare Flowers to supply and the honey it produces can then be used to lure other dinosaurs to kill or tame.


The healing power of the Daeodon in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

The Daeodon can be best thought of as a support pig. A tamed version of the beast has the ability to heal itself and allies within a certain range by using the secondary attack. This obviously has significant benefits during boss battles, raids, and the like. The downside is the creature will burn through food at a prodigious rate.


The lucky Liopleurodon in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

Do you have bad luck when opening underwater crates or getting good loot off animals? Then you'll want to tame a Liopleurodon. The creature provides a luck bonus to increase the chance of obtaining high-end loot. Just note that the finned beast yearns to be free and will become untamed and disappear after 30 minutes.


The Kentrosaurus impales a Raptor in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

The Kentrosaurus is a smaller, spikier cousin to the Stegosaurs. It can be tamed, but not ridden. However, it serves as an excellent base defender capable of impaling and essentially trapping attacking creatures and other players.

New Tek Items

Tek Cloning Chamber

Cloning dinosaurs in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

Have a favorite tamed creature? Wish you had more of them? The Tek Cloning Chamber will do just as it says, produce an exact replica of the creature you put in it, down to the level, stats, and appearance. However, Survivors will need Element Shards crafted at a Tek Replicator station or by grinding the Element resource.

Tek Megalodon Saddle

A Megalodon with a laser on its head in ARK: Survival Evolved.
[Image by Studio Wildcard]

Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies finally gets his wish. ARK: Survival Evolved now has sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Tek Turret

The Tek Turret is an upgrade over the existing Auto Turret. The defensive structure fires Element Shards to take out enemies and offers more targeting options for owners.

Tek Grenades

Grenades are already powerful in ARK: Survival Evolved. Now players can throw what is effectively a sticky grenade at enemies and animals.

Other Changes

  • New Hairstyle and Facial Hair
  • Approximately 20+ New Explorer Notes
  • 15 new music tracks, per-biome and situational
  • Full Gamepad input pass (i.e. console gamepad functionality)
  • Fixed issue with Cave spawns not functioning properly in singleplayer
  • The Center mega-update adds deeper oceans, fixes animal spawns, fixes bugs, and adds the Dragon boss
  • New "Dr. Evil" emote
[Featured Image by Studio Wildcard]