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Ark: Survival Evolved expands again tomorrow, this time for free

Why don't they all have feathers?

Ark: Survival Evolved is nearly as popular now as it was at launch, so it's no great surprise that Studio Wildcard's Dino Riders-ish survival sandbox is still being supported. What is a pleasant surprise is that the new Valguero expansion will be completely free of charge, and released tomorrow. It won't require any existing DLC, and will include one new dinosaur to hunt or befriend; the agile and feathery Deinonychus, seen tussling with a Tyrannosaurus above. Below, a trailer taking us on a scenic tour of the multi-layered, 63 square kilometre new environment.

I can't deny that the new map is a fetching looking landscape, and nicely varied too. Wildcard boast eight varied biomes across multiple climates, although I'm not sure if that number includes the underground regions as well. On top of icy valleys and an active volcano, there'll be plenty of tunnels to dig around below. There's a mixture of natural caves, environments seen only in the Aberration expansion, and old ruins to discover underground or even underwater. It should be a fun showcase of what the developers have learned about environment design over the years.

The new map seems as good a reason as any for players to start fresh, and shake up the server social orders once more. Apparently it even includes an endgame challenge to work towards; a boss arena where players can challenge a Megapithecus, Manticore and Dragon simultaneously. Seems like it would be a fun challenge for a relatively low-tech swarm of players. Less so if they're all stomping around in power armour and with energy rifles. Perhaps one to try with the official Primitive Plus mod.

The Valguero expansion launches on June 18th, free for all Ark: Survival Evolved owners. Developers Studio Wildcard will be streaming a first peek at the new map later tonight at 3pm PST (11pm GMT) here on Twitch.

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