Mockingarchaeopteryx – Ark: Survival Evolved’s New Mode

When we sent Brendan into the dinosaur-infested open-world survival game Ark: Survival Evolved [official site], I imagined that he would get super-killed a dozen times over by players riding 12-metre murderlizards. Instead, he luckily found people helping each other, a whole server of good samaritans (riding 12-metre murderlizards). Well, it’s not all like that.

A new Hunger Games-style (or Battle Royale, if you prefer) mode is coming soon, with last-man-standing permadeath arena action and limited supplies. Developers Studio Wildcard say it’s “specifically balanced for tournament competition”, and plan to debut it through a livestreamed tournament with a $20,000 grand prize.

Here’s the official word:

“In this new mode specifically balanced for tournament competition, contestants begin in a neutral staging area where they can communicate pre-game, strategize, or talk trash. After a count-down, they dramatically descend from the sky onto the ARK in a circular formation via beams of light. There is a cache of valuable items in the center – do survivors dash for the goods and fight it out, do they run into the forest and hide, or do they freeze up from the sheer terror of death? A continually shrinking ‘ring of death’ forces contestants ever closer together over time. The game is on!”

Yup, that’ll be Hunger Royale action all right. The mode’s a pretty great fit for formal competition in survival games. It’s hugely popular in Minecraft, and H1Z1 has an equivalent too.

That debut tournament will kick off this Saturday at 12pm PST (8pm UK time). 35 teams will duke it out for cash money and other prizes over five hours.

Ark is still in Steam Early Access, with a full launch planned for June 2016. It sounds like it’s in far better shape than many Early Access open-world survive ’em ups, but clearly still has a way to go.


  1. Danorz says:

    May the LODs be ever in your favour

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    Nice that it is arena mode as well, more hungergamesyishesque.

  3. vence333 says:

    You mean Battle Royal right ? which hunger game ripped off shamelessly ?

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Oh pllllbt! Yes, of course. I forget about that because modes doing this thing are inspired fairly directly by the Minecraft mod named Hunger Games. But yes, Hunger Games is v. Battle Royale.

    • frightlever says:

      You mean “The Running Man” right?

      Anyway, this is the sort of esports I could get into watching, if they get the reporting right.

  4. Kabukiman74 says:

    ARK is a nice game, however the update cycle is insane. With sometimes even multiple updates (each with 100+ MB size) on a single a day(!), I’d strongly encourange anyone with a wonky or dialup internet connection to wait until release. A further effect of the extreme amount of updates are the resulting bugs/glitches – many people are reporting lost bases and other stuff in the forums. Sure, it’s early access and many EA games lie dormant for months if not years, but I’d love ARK to settle on a more manageable timeframe for their update releases.

    • aepervius says:

      Ark would interrest me a lot, if only there was no offline griefing. Losing everything because somebody razed your stuff and killed your dino while you sleep is not what I call fun. I find in fact such system appallingly bad. They could have had another system, for example you cannot lose more than 50% durability of anything or 50% health. But as it stands, getting murdered in your sleep has no appeal to me.

      • badmothergamer says:

        You can find a PvE server that does PvP events, or do what I do and just play offline. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the game without worrying about griefers.

        As for hoping to play on a PvP server without griefing, the moment a developer figures out how to pull that one off they’ll get rich because I have yet to see a solution that works for any game of this type.

        • Kabukiman74 says:

          Wouldn’t be too much of a challenge I’d say. At the moment, most cases of griefing I’ve heard of have to do with things stolen from bases/ppl being harrassed while offline/bases being destroyed. Making bases safe (think Dalaran in WoW), not allowing any offensive actions within bounds and allowing container access to owner(s) only would remove 99% of the issues players are complaining about. To ensure the “mortality” of bases, I’d implement some sort of upkeep (think buildings in Star Wars Galaxies) – if you don’t pay (say, 20 wood + 20 thatch a week), your building will decompose in a sensible time.

          That way, you would still have the whole island for open PVP while having an option to log off in safety and keep your belongings secure.

          • badmothergamer says:

            I’m not familiar with how WoW works but it seems like the system you describe would only work for an individual player’s base. If a player isn’t logged on, his base can’t be touched, which is reasonable. Structure deterioration is already implemented in the game to avoid abandoned bases clogging the server.

            However, in ARK most people join a tribe and build a base together, so I’d be interested to hear how this would work with multiple people “owning” the same base. If just one member of the tribe is logged on, can the base be damaged? If so, I don’t think this would reduce griefing much and would seemingly force tribes to schedule playing times to avoid a single player logging in and allowing the team’s work to be destroyed.

      • fish99 says:

        The game is surprisingly good single player, and there’s always PVE servers if you want to play with others. Another option is run your own server (and play on the same PC) and just invite friends to join.

    • badmothergamer says:

      I’m the opposite. I love the daily (sometimes multiple per day) updates. The updates are not only bug fixes, but they add new stuff to them as well. I’m on the forums every day just seeing what they’ve added.

      As for the issues, I’ll avoid the whole “it’s EA” argument and just say I haven’t personally had a single game breaking issue and from what I’ve seen on the forums there have only been a couple of updates causing major problems. I know they had to do a server wipe due to a duplication glitch people were abusing and I know the groups with cave bases got really upset when they nerfed structure damage without warning. Other than that I haven’t seen any large issues, just minor stuff they usually fix on the next day’s update.

    • fish99 says:

      Most people seem to be happy that the game gets updated so often, and TBH most of them are small updates – 50-200 mb. Feels like there’s a motivated and ambitious groups of developers working on the game and they could actually achieve their ambitions for it.

      • Xzi says:

        It looks very nice, to boot. I might have to pick it up sooner rather than later…are there any micro-transactions in ARK? If so, are they entirely cosmetic?

        • fish99 says:

          No micro-transactions so far. Here’s what they have to say about DLC-


          “Will this game ever have a Pay 2 Win feature?

          There will never, ever be any monetization of this game whatsoever other than possible entirely new Expansion ARK’s (whole new worlds as expansion pack).

          There will never be any pay items, not even cosmetics — there WILL be tons of cosmetic “item skins” but they will all be earnable in-game rewards and time-limited free events to encourage gameplay, nothing ever to spend any $$$ on.

          The term Loot Crate simply was employed to denote high-value item cache ;)

          To be clear, we at Studio Wildcard are very much against any in-game monetization whatsoever. We’ve seen it distort too many otherwise good games.”

  5. Blackrook says:

    Not sure how this works in an arena mode, but considering it can take 2 -3 hours on normal settings to tame a big dinosaur, I hope they have the speed of taming and resource gathering upped.

    Overall its a good game, but I prefer to play on our own PVE server so we don’t have to play with people
    who want a ‘how to be a b******d” simulator. Also lets us up the taming speed and resource gathering a bit,
    to reduce the GRIND aspects of the game.

    The downside on this is every time there is a major update having to manually update the Linux server (codes not quite right yet to update automatically) and you can’t play until this has been done. Which is why daily (or twice daily) updates can be frustrating.
    A couple of weeks ago every time I started the game I had to wait up to 20mins for the update then found I couldn’t play because our server needed an update as well. Of course it isn’t such an issue on the official servers but you have to put up with pillocks there instead.