Ark: Survival Evolved's Survival of the Fittest mode is designed for competitive play, bending the mechanics of the survival-and-crafting dinosaur game towards an experience that's faster paced and more aggressive. It's also designed to be more entertaining to watch on Twitch streams than the process of punching trees in the main game. If that sounds of interest: the game's developers [official site] have let us know that that their next official Survival of the Fittest tournament is called The Last Stand, will run from September 24th to October 24th, and can be joined by anyone who owns the game on a first-come, first-served basis.
More details await below.
Players will compete in teams of six across the month, culminating on Saturday, October 24th in a 230-player finale. 70 of those places are reserved for "popular Twitch streamers", while the remaining 160 places are for players who qualify over the preceding month of matches. All of it will of course be streamed throughout the month via the game's official Twitch channel.
In the meantime, there's a trailer to watch. It's very excited:
For those taking part, $60,000 in prize money is available to win by successful teams, including $100 Steam Gift Cards for each of the 230 players that make it to the final. The prize split is as follows:
- First Place Winning Tribe receives: $24,000 (split six ways)
- Second Place Winning Tribe receives: $12,000 (split six ways)
- Third Place Winning Tribe receives: $6,000 (split six ways)
- Each of ‘The Last Stand’ 230 entrants receives a $100 Steam Gift Card
- All three Championship Winning Tribes will receive an in-game Gold/Silver/Bronze Trophy Structure Skin, customized with their Tribe details, for everyone to marvel at with envy!
As well as speeding up certain systems, such as crafting and dinosaur taming, Survival of the Fittest also adds a number of other features designed to draw players together. For one, every time a player dies, their image is broadcast into the sky. With so many people on a server, this happens early and often and does wonders for creating panic. There are then a number of server-wide events that trigger at intervals during the play session, including 'boss' dinosaurs that appear in a prescribed place and can be tamed by teams who dare, and 'evolution events' that are chosen by audience votes. These include acid rain, explosives being distributed to every player, and loot drops containing highly valuable items.
It's a machine designed to kill you, basically. If you're keen to take part anyway, here are details of when you can do so:
Servers for ‘The Last Stand’ Preliminary Rounds will be open to all gamers from Noon EST through 8pm EST, on the following days:
- Thursday, September 24, and Saturday, September 26
- Tuesday, September 29; Thursday, October 1, and Saturday, October 3
- Tuesday, October 6, and Thursday, October 8
- Tuesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 15
The Winning Tribes from the Preliminary Rounds will be exclusively invited it to ‘The Last Stand Pre-Championships,’ being held from Noon - 8pm EST, on the following days, from which the top 160 finale contestants will be calculated:
- Saturday, October 17 and Tuesday, October 20
If you want a better sense of what the mode is like to play, you can check out our Survival of the Fittest video preview. Or you can read about the future of the game, including details of the first Ark expansion.