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So, what do I do regarding WC and Ark? For real

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Ark was love, Ark was life for years.

I bought ARK: Survival Ascended, but The Island? I can close my eyes and retrace every step of that map. And WC is planning to release all the old maps over the course of this year?

I just can't.... the stories in the news, that they're releasing old maps over the course of 2024 that we have to pay for? And zero news on Ark 2.

Is Ark over? I'm sure everyone has their opinion, but these are serious red flags.

Edited by CaveNoob
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There's a concept in product design, called the Iron Triangle, which deals with how to make a quality product.

It says that your ability to produce a quality product is constrained on three sides: By resources, by scope, and by time. If you can't adjust any of the three, you lose your ability to build something quality.

Resources, for a software product like Ark, means money to market the product and to pay for staff and servers, it means quality staff in software development, in QA, etc.

Scope, for Ark, means the cadence of map releases, the cadence of new dinosaurs, the cadence of seasonal content, the cadence of feature drops like Survival of the Fittest, like enhancements to server customization, like the ability to use things like cryopods and server transfers which tax the game's ability to run correctly and are vectors for cheating to ruin more than just the single server where it happens, etc. Seasonal content dropping via the mod system before artifacts could be assembled into the base game is a scope problem, because it means people in private and single player can't enjoy the content at the time it was intended to be played. The Center was delayed indefinitely.

Time is time. Scorched Earth, the first map promised to drop, is months late, and the rest are a huge conga line of delays, all backwards from that. Ark 2 is years late.

We have very little insight into the resources side of things, because Studio Wildcard is not a public company, but we can consistently see Studio Wildcard moving its constraints on scope and time. As this cannibalizes the userbase willing to pay for the product, and cannibalizes their ability to win new revenue from creation of revenue streams like premium mods, and especially like the launch of Ark 2, we can probably safely consumed that they're very constrained on resources, that the difficult server performance the game has been dealing with is a side effect of this, and that this constraint is a very rigid one.

Scope and time keep moving outward in the wrong direction. That means the company is fighting for quality. And, in spite of it, they've released in ASA a game which seems very buggy, very underscoped, and very slow to release planned updates.

The Iron Triangle is unbreakable. Every game is some combination of bad, unprofitable, less ambitious than hoped for, and late. Every single game. Even the wildly successful, billion dollar franchises have to deal with it.

The interesting thing is: Why release ASA at all, when on paper it made Ark 2 far later? In the initial press releases, Studio Wildcard said that it was because the migration of development for Ark 2 to Unreal Engine 5 had proven more challenging than anticipated, and developers needed a less ambitious project to build the company's experience with the underlying platform. I read that as: "We don't have the resources to finish Ark 2 without first generating some new revenue, and our parent company isn't going to save us, so we have to release something which can." ASA is prioritizing building revenue streams. We can probably assume they're being paid by Nitrado for the game's exclusivity to their platform. We know premium mods are coming, at that these will effectively be a vending machine for the company as third party developers begin to publish content into the Ark ecosystem that players will pay for. Perhaps these things will unblock the resources side of the triangle, and scope and time can stop moving so much, or Ark 2 can get moving again.

Last I saw, all the old maps are going to be free releases; we won't be required to purchase any of them a second time as paid DLC. A reversal of that promise would be another way to bend the "resources" constraint on the game. It remains to be seen, if the studio elects to do that, whether or not enough players would re-buy the content to save the studio and therefore the game. Certainly there are a lot of unhappy players here.

Me, I have fun in the game almost every day, and have had fun in the game almost every day since it released, especially since cryopods came in. The exception was six weeks from January through the start of March, when my single player game couldn't save properly without rolling back, no matter what I did, and I took long enough of a break to play Cyberpunk, another beleaguered game which eventually made the long climb back to quality.

I have hope for this game, and I have hope for Ark 2. But studios and games that I love have failed before. And franchises I love have released sequels I hated--I'm looking straight at you, Payday 3.

My advice? Play the game. Explore the island again on Ascended. There are differences--small ones, but significant enough that there are some interesting new spaces to build bases in, different challenges in the course of traversing the difficulty curve, new dinosaurs to the map, quality of life enhancements (oviraptors and dung beetles especially became crucial to non-pvp play) and more, whether you're playing solo or in a tribe. I'm really enjoying some of the new design flourishes I can build into bases which weren't possible before, and I find undersea exploration a lot more like Subnautica than how it once felt.

It really does keep improving. It feels much less like an early access game than it did in December.

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I don't say this to apologize for Studio Wildcard, but what you're effectively arguing for here is that they shouldn't have made ASA at all. It seems clear to me that they released the best product they were capable of releasing before running out of money to continue developing either ASA or ARK 2. The fairest criticism I can give is that they should be more transparent with their fans/customers about what the game's future prospects are, given that they essentially asked us to crowdfund their continuing operation as a studio.

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It's not how you start, its how you finish. If you get to finish that is.


I'm going to be the guy that says that, eventually, ASA will be a functioning game with active meta and will develop new content that players like. There have been tone deaf or clumsy efforts like the Mickey Mouse Cosmetics launch but, there has been great content like the Gigantoraptor. How it was introduced was not as preferred but I think it will get better... or it won't... but I hope it will. 

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9 hours ago, NoobSupreme said:

It is a early access game :rofl:

Except it's really not, which is the point. That's a marketing lie designed to let WC get away doing a bad job.

If you can't figure out that describing ASA as early access is a lie then that's your intellectual failure, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you real cheap.

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as of how its looking now wildcard will be releasing all the new maps with a theme on it to give something new to all the maps, Scorched earth will have 4-5 new caves and will be cowboy themed, abberation will be steampunk and extinction will be madmax themed as far as we know, The island is renewed with being slightly larger and elongated and no movement speed allowed to make the map seem bigger, all the other maps will be completly revamped and remade to give the players something completely new while still feeling familiar and sticking to the story of the arks, the release of scorched earth will tell us if they will stick by this new motive

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