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A lot can be said in the heat of the moment that is later regretted and taken back. Something similar happened to Ark: Survival Evolved developer Rob “WC_Stark” during an exchange on Discord that led to him calling Ark players “too cheap to pony up 20 dollars  for a game worth 60”.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days (perhaps to avoid the rampant man-eating dinosaurs out there), this explosion came about as a response to the widespread backlash against Wildcard, developer of Ark: Survival Evolved, announcing paid DLC for an unfinished game. Scorched Earth features a new desert map, more fantastical creatures, and different survival emphasises that long-time players might be used to. Water, once plentiful in supply, will now be much more scarce. For many players, securing a steady source of Mama Earth’s sweet nectar will be even more important than taming the dragons that wander the wastes. 

Like most DLC, Scorched Earth requires that players already own a copy of Ark – but players aren’t happy at the idea of extra optional content becoming available for release when the base game isn’t even finished. Long-time fans saw man-hours being poured into DLC that should have been going into fixing the game that people had already paid for. People were livid that an unfinished game was asking for money for further content in a game that still wasn’t complete. 

And it was in that context that the following Discord conversation took place between a concerned player and WC_Stark.

Ark: Survival Evolved dev rant - player post Ark dev rant

If the reception to the initial announcement was frosty, the temperature was now close to absolute zero – but with none of the usual inactivity that comes with the coldest temperature possible. 

This isn’t the first piece of bad publicity for Wildcard. Back in April, the developer chose to settle a court case brought by Dungeon Defenders developer Trendy Entertainment – which cost them $40 million – and might go some way to explaining why the Ark developer suddenly might need the funds. WC_Stark’s apology was not long in coming, and seems to explain a lot of the frustrations that must be felt by any member of a development team when an announcement goes as badly as this one did. 

Ark Survival Evolved dev rant apology

Regardless of the rant, the state of the DLC remains a divisive existence amongst fans of Ark: Survival Evolved. Scorched Earth itself currently sits at a “Very Positive” rating on Steam, with over 1,000 reviews having been submitted. Unfortunately for the main game, Ark‘s recent reviews have plummeted to a “Mostly Negative” rating, as thousands of players make their opinions known.


Quick take

This smacks of all-too-human response to stress, and frankly, WC_Stark’s outburst can be forgiven under the circumstances. But that doesn’t address the wider issue of paid DLC for an unfinished game. Is this a case of developer greed, or did the settlement with Trendy Entertainment reduce Wildcard to this? Questions certainly need to be asked of Steam Early Access as a model, and whether it can be allowed to continue as it is. 

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Mark Jansen

Staff Writer

When I'm not writing on TechRaptor, you can normally find me on YouTube pulling stupid faces under a silly pseudonym.