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Early Access survival game Ark: Survival Evolved shocked fans today when they announced their first paid expansion, aptly titled Scorched Earth. This $20 expansion was released on both PC and Xbox One and was accompanied by a patch. On PC, this patch was pretty minimal with just a single door, Nvidia Ansel support, added to the game, in addition, to support for Scorched Earth. On Xbox One, it was a significant update for users – with new dinosaurs, HD Resolution upgrade with 720p gameplay and 1080p UI, and the official mod ‘Primitive+. These things have already been on the PC version for a while.

Scorched Earth introduces a desert setting to the game which has different survival tensions on it as the availability of resources like water, which was ubiquitous on the island, is significantly changed around. The DLC introduces new creatures (including tamable dragons), 50+ new items, new biomes, new gameplay mechanics, new flora, harsh weather conditions and more. Players who survive in the area will be able to travel back to the Ark: Survival Evolved main island, although the precise mechanics for this are not explained yet. 

This DLC content will cost players $20 and requires that you own the base Early Access title as well. None of the new creatures, items or other new features have been added to the base Ark: Survival Evolved title for those who are on the island, or who haven’t bought the dlc. Studio Wildcard also brags that this is a polished and finished expansion, and unlike the base game, it does not appear to be in early access of any sort. However, it does require that you own Ark: Survival Evolved, and presumably it didn’t magically fix many of the optimization issues in the core game. 

In the press release, Studio Wildcard lead Designer and co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz (who was the subject of a lawsuit with Trendy due to his work on Ark), released the following statement on it:

“While we’ve had Scorched Earth and future ARKs in the planning stages since the project’s inception, establishing its inter­ARK travel technology was the essential reason for making this content available to players right now.”

We have asked Studio Wildcard for further information on the Scorched Earth release, and will update when we learn more.

While there had been a negative response to Ark: Survival of the Fittest when it was announced over a year ago, it was more muted than what we’ve seen today. The user rating for recent reviews has fallen at least 10% since the DLC was released and there are numerous user complaints there. While there are far too many to post them all, here were a few choice ones that stood out:

Started off as shining example of how to do early access. Ended up a complete disaster after the developer went off on adventures of making SOTF, console versions and paid expansion while still in early access! No wonder the game is so behind schedule. – Fastidious

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I really like ARK. It’s got a lot going for it. Unfortunately, as of today, I can’t say that any of that matters. I can’t recommend ARK.
Today, Wildcard announced there is now a $20 paid expansion. For their early access game that still is missing huge amounts of core features. Additionally, the expansion represents what can only be described as “pay to win,” as you can tame mother-effing FIRE-BREATHING DRAGONS now, then bring them back into other servers. Anybody that doesn’t have the expansion will NEVER match that.
Wildcard just paid out a huge ($40 mil, reportedly) legal settlement that they probably deserved to owe the plaintiff, and so I can understand feeling pressured to release some ♥♥♥♥ for money to make something back. But holy cow, dudes. This is NOT the way you keep customers happy and playing.
As of now, don’t buy ARK. Until they stop being ♥♥♥♥♥♥ developers and failing to do things they need to do in favor of things that make money, I can’t recommend it.
I really, REALLY hope this changes in future. – Reverberant Duck

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Wow way to release paid DLC before getting the game out of Early Access. Seriously what is going through your heads? How’s DirectX 12 and the TrueSky fix coming that have been sitting on your to do list since the game came out on Early Access? – Synthetic

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After a year of development Early Access with bad optimization and server side and they release a DLC that cost the astounding amount of 20 bucks. The sad story is that people are gonna buy it and the industry is going to get worse. Good Job Wildcard you have not the excuse that you are in Early Access anymore. – -=ÆsirHunter=-

Scorched Earth indeed.

More About This Game

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.