Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The openness of PC gaming allows anyone to contribute, from modders, Twitch streamers, and two-man dev teams to the biggest game studios in the world. But with no real regulator at the helm to set and enforce standards, it also means that everyone has shared ownership of the platform, opening the door to abuse, troublemakers, and scandal.

Pour a glass of dramamine and revisit the finest flubs that graced PC gaming this year. From least-most controversial to most-most controversial, these are the stories that drew the greatest negative reaction from the PC gaming community in 2016.

Scorched Earth added a ton of new stuff: new creatures like the deathworm and the mantis, new features, over 50 new items, and the centerpiece, six desert biomes.

ARK: Scorched Earth

The pressure on Steam's Early Access program has only increased since its introduction in March 2013. Although Early Access has yielded excellent games like Darkest Dungeon, Don't Starve, Offworld Trading Company, Subnautica, Divinity: Original Sin, Infinifactory, RimWorld, and Kerbal Space Program, some PC gamers remain reluctant to buy into unfinished games and the uncertainty that the Early Access label sometimes carries.

In September, Studio Wildcard dealt a blow to Early Access' reputation when it released Scorched Earth, the first paid expansion for Ark: Survival Evolved. At $20, it was two-thirds the cost of the base game. Many fans were unhappy to see a game that was by definition unfinished getting post-release content. On the third most-popular post on the Ark subreddit ever, one fan criticized: "We paid for the developers to finish Ark: Survival Evolved, instead they took our money and made another game with it." Studio Wildcard defended its decision saying that implementing an expansion early would make the technical process easier for future expansions.

More reading: Ark: Survival Evolved dev responds to paid expansion controversyValve must take greater ownership over Steam's Early Access program

Nostalrius could accommodate as many as 11,000 concurrent players.

Nostalrius

Vanilla WoW (that is, a pre-expansion version of World of Warcraft) has remained a popular way to play the most popular MMO of all time. As Angus wrote in April, "Nostalrius is a time capsule: a beautifully nostalgic record of what a living world used to look like. It's a museum piece created by passionate fans with no official alternative." 

But it's against WoW's terms of service to operate an independent game server, even if that server takes no money from its community. In April Blizzard issued a cease-and-desist against Nostalrius, WoW's biggest vanilla server, which boasted 150,000 active players. The forecast was grim: Blizzard had shut down other vanilla servers before, and it felt unlikely that the internet petition that sprung up in response was going to reverse the action against Nostalrius.

The server owners complied, shutting down Nostalrius in April, but the fight wasn't done. Shortly after, they managed a face-to-face meeting with Blizzard to press their case for the value of vanilla WoW. "After this meeting, we can affirm that these guys WANT to have legacy WoW servers, that is for sure," wrote a Nostalrius admin.

The story continued to develop as members of the Nostalrius team, seemingly uncontent with Blizzard's lack of discussion about the issue at BlizzCon, announced their plans to bring back the server under a new banner, Elysium. Barring some change of heart by Blizzard, Elysium itself stands a decent chance of also getting shut down. But the resurrection of Nostalrius puts greater pressure on Blizzard to permit vanilla servers, lest it be embroiled in another battle with a big piece of the WoW community.

More reading: Inside the WoW server Blizzard wants to shut down

The revised victory pose.

Blizzard's buttroversy

Debate about the portrayal of videogame butts came to a head in 2016 when, in a lengthy post on the Battle.net forums, player Fipps complained about a victory pose for Tracer, Overwatch's speedy and spunky attacker.

“I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the Recall trailer again," Fipps wrote. "She knows who Tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters. What I'm asking is that as you continue to add to the Overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You've been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you've already done.”

Blizzard agreed, and promised to amend the pose. “We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented,” game director Jeff Kaplan wrote. 

Then came criticism that Kaplan was caving to criticism, or worse 'censoring' Overwatch in response to a complaint. "We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay," he wrote in a second update. "That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it."

Lost in the pile of this was how civil the original critique was. "My main complaint is that there is no facet of Tracer's silly/spunky/kind personality in the pose. It's just a generic butt shot. I don't see how that's positive for the game," wrote Fipps in the original post. I continue to agree that the pose wasn't Blizzard's best. Really, the reaction to the reaction was bigger, as it fed into a wider conversation around sexualized characters, feminism, inclusiveness, player criticism and other issues in games.

More reading: Overwatch victory pose cut after fan complains that it's over-sexualized

We loved Forza Horizon 3, but not the UWP strings it's attached to.

Microsoft's UWP

Microsoft's latest courtship of PC gaming continues to be a mixture of good and bad. We loved Forza Horizon 3, liked Gears 4, and found Halo 5: Forge to be surprisingly great. But on the operating system side, things weren't all blue skies and green fields for PC gamers in 2016. 

In March, Microsoft asserted its plan to bring its biggest games to Windows through its Universal Windows Platform, a set of standards and restrictions meant to, in Microsoft's eyes, make it easier to publish applications across multiple Windows devices, improve security, and help developers write code under a more unified platform. Those modest benefits are outweighed massively by the danger of Windows becoming more of a closed platform.

Among game companies, Epic Games CEO and co-founder Tim Sweeney was the most outspoken critic of UWP. In March, Sweeney labeled the initiative "a closed, Microsoft-controlled distribution and commerce monopoly," and called for others in the industry to oppose it. Sweeney didn't miss the opportunity to level more harsh words later in 2016. "Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken," he warned in July.

More reading:Epic CEO Tim Sweeney pummels Microsoft's UWP initiativePhil Spencer on Microsoft's PC plans: "I wouldn’t say our strategy is to unify"

CS:GO's in-game items sparked multiple scandals.

CS:GO skin gambling

The stage for 2016's skin gambling debacle was set three years earlier, when Valve rolled out cosmetic microtransactions for CS:GO. These items could be traded, sold, and bought through Steam for as much as $400—the maximum listing price on the Steam Community Market. It didn't take long for questionable, unlicensed third-party websites to realize they could use Steam bot accounts to automate item winnings and losings, and it didn't take long for dozens of flavors of skin gambling to spring up as CS:GO peaked in popularity.

The lowest point so far in a story that continues to develop, though, was the revelation that two very popular YouTubers showed themselves winning thousands of dollars of items on a site called CSGO Lotto without mentioning or indicating in any way that they were the creators of CSGO Lotto. Oops. Exposed, TmarTn offered a pitiful apology, saying that his relationship with had been "been a matter of public record since the company was first organized in December of 2015," presumably meaning that a public record existed of his co-ownership of the shady gambling website for someone else to uncover.

There's no definitive verdict on the legality of in-game item gambling at this time, but you can expect the issue to continue to be explored in 2017.

More reading:YouTuber owner of CS:GO betting site offers worst apology ever CS:GO’s controversial skin gambling, explained

A beautiful alien dinosaur that existed only as marketing.

No Man's Sky

It was a perfect, ugly storm of some of the least-appealing trends in modern gaming: unchecked hype, unfinished games, last-minute review code, bland procedural generation, and misleading marketing.

Before that, though, heavy, sincere anticipation had formed around No Man's Sky. Here was a game from a small studio with an impossible promise: 18 quintillion planets, procedurally-generated wildlife, infinite exploration. In trailers, it looked like a massive step forward for the stagnating survival genre. To help Hello Games achieve these lofty designs, it had the backing of a major publisher in Sony. And No Man's Sky was delightfully mysterious, so much so that we were still answering fundamental questions about the game a month before launch, thanks to limited access to code. At a preview event, Chris was allowed to play for less than an hour

Concerning signs came in the days before release. A significant day-one patch was on the way to fix major exploits. The PC release date itself wasn't announced until very late. A player who acquired a leaked copy of the game was able to reach the center of this allegedly near-infinite galaxy very quickly. And in a strange move, Hello Games wrote a blog warning players about the game one day before its launch on PlayStation 4. "This maybe isn’t the game you *imagined* from those trailers," wrote Sean Murray in a blog post that outlined, from his perspective, what the space game was and was not. "I expect it to be super divisive."

It was more than that. But initially, No Man's Sky became the biggest launch on Steam of 2016, hitting 212,620 concurrent players on PC. That's more than double the all-time peak of 2015 phenomenon Rocket League. In short order, the mystery unraveled. Two players, livestreaming simultaneously on launch day, could not see one another despite reaching the same location. The limitations of the game's procedural generation were revealed, as players shared screens and video of samey-looking aliens. And the hope that somewhere, cool, custom snake monsters were prowling the universe, disappeared. Players urged other players to seek refunds, and No Man's Sky's concurrent players sunk. Hello Games went quiet.

Our reviewer, Chris Livingston, recaps the rest of the saga perfectly in our lows of the year:

And then there was the reaction to the reaction: Hello Games went utterly silent for a couple of months. While I understand the reasoning—when everything you've ever said is suddenly under intense scrutiny, it makes sense to be careful saying anything else—the impenetrable silence only made matters worse, as fans felt they had been completely abandoned and ignored. At least things have gotten better recently, with new features added in the Foundation update, and the promise of more changes to come in the future.

There are lessons to be learned on all sides. Devs: keep in mind that no one ever forgets what you say during development, and while it's fine to talk about the elements you hope to put in your game, you're going to hear about it if those things aren't actually there when you release it. Plus, completely shutting off all communication with the people who have bought your game is a terrible idea. As customers, we need to remain skeptical of early E3 trailers, bullshots, pre-launch hype, and be especially cautious about pre-ordering games. And, we need to be patient. Even if developers aren't talking, they're listening, and adding new features to a game takes time.

Ultimately, it was a pleasantly chill, but underwhelming neon planet generator that became the poster child of many of the things we dislike. The lingering thought is how differently things would've gone if No Man's Sky had released in Early Access as a $20 or $30 beta.

More reading: The anatomy of hypeFive reasons game marketing can be misleading

ARK: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has clarified that the Ovis Aries—better known to the world as "sheep"—will be coming to the game in its next major update, regardless of whether or not it takes the prize for "Best Use of a Farm Animal" in the ongoing Steam Awards. The announcement was made following a wave of criticism over the original Ovis Aries reveal, which implied that the wool-bearing beasts would be added to the game only if Ark wins the award. 

"We were encouraged by Valve to rally the Community to come together and vote in the upcoming Steam Awards. We thought what better way to do this than add a modern-day farmyard animal! In our excitement, Ovis Aries was designed as a celebration of the nomination," the studio said in the "re-announcement" of the sheep. "We want to make it clear that regardless of whether Ark wins a Steam Award or not, Ovis will be making its debut in the next major Ark version update!" 

The original announcement, which has since been deleted but can be seen through the Wayback Machine, is somewhat more open to interpretation. "Head over to http://store.steampowered.com/SteamAwards/ on Thursday the 29th of December, as you’ll have the opportunity to come show your support for Ark by voting for us!" it said. "If Ark wins the award, we will ensure that our fluffy friend quickly makes its debut on the Ark in the next major version update!" 

That could be taken to mean that winning the award would spur the studio to ensure that the sheep arrive with all possible quickness, but many players read it as an all-or-nothing proposition: No prize, no sheep. A flurry of negative feedback blew in, both on and off Steam, as gamers shared their outrage over the attempted "bribery," leading Wildcard to pull the initial announcement and issue the update.   

A date for the update hasn't been announced, but voting for the Steam Awards' "Best Use of a Farm Animal" will begin later today. Ark: Survival Evolved is up against some major rural competition: Goat Simulator, Stardew Valley, Blood and Bacon, and Farming Simulator 17. 

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jat


A new Dino Dossier has been revealed, this one is everyone’s favourite fluffy farmyard friend, the Sheep!

Hello Survivors!

We were encouraged by Valve to rally the Community to come together and vote in the upcoming Steam Awards. We thought what better way to do this than add a modern-day farmyard animal! In our excitement, Ovis Aries was designed as a fun celebration of the nomination. We want to make it clear that regardless of whether ARK wins a Steam Award or not, Ovis will be making its debut in the next major ARK version update!



If you hadn’t caught up, ARK has been nominated by the Steam Selection Committee for a Steam Award! We are a finalist in this category:

The “Best Use Of A Farm Animal” Award - Animals are rad and almost any game is better for including them. This game used a farm animal in the best way possible.

Voting has begun, and we'd appreciate if everyone can vote today at http://store.steampowered.com/SteamAwards/!

We are really honored by the nomination, and are thankful for all the support plus ARK’s recognition in this category. Whilst ARK’s animals may be non-traditional in modern farming, some have held such roles in the past, and ARK contains a variety of animal farming mechanics: such as wild animal taming, breeding, slaughtering/harvesting of animals, workhorse animals (for resource/crop farming), and of course who can forget working with animal byproducts (manure, milk, and other substances).

Thank you and happy shearing (& mutton chopping) in ARK v254:)
ARK: Survival Evolved

There's no place like home for the holidays, and if you've made a home on Ark: Survival Evolved's incredibly dangerous dinosaur-filled island, here's a present for you. Patch 253 has arrived, and with it some new dinosaurs, some new locations, and a new item: the camera. Plus, you might catch a glimpse of Raptor Claus as he flies above the island dropping presents for the next week as part of Ark's second annual Winter Wonderland event.

The patch, which is now live, adds two new underwater caves containing artifacts and challenges. You may find an additional peril in visiting them, however, due to some dangerous new sea creatures like the Cnidaria Omnimorph (a large glowing jellyfish) and the fearsome Tusoteuthis Vampyrus, a giant squid capable of grabbing you with its crushing tentacles and sucking the blood out of you.

There are a few new land-based dinos as well, such as a T-Rex-sized herbivore called Therizinosaurus Multiensis that promises to be useful for harvesting greens, and the Troodon Magnanimus, which may be a bit smaller than a raptor but is reportedly much smarter.

If you spot one of the new dinos (or Santa), you can now snap a photo. A camera has been added to Ark, allowing you to take pictures and apply the image to an in-game canvas, for a lovely keepsake of your adventures.

In less joyful news, Studio Wildcard has confirmed that the sci-fi themed TEK Tier update has been delayed until patch 254, which is currently planned for January. So those lasers you were planning to mount on your T-Rex's head? You're gonna have to wait a little longer for 'em.

For those who aren't playing but want to, though, there is good news in that Ark is currently part of the Steam Winter sale and can be had for $12.

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jat


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgMKeuPtieg

Season's Greeting Survivors!

It's that most wonderful time of year again, a time of celebration, joy, and sharing. And we have a lot to share with you in this update!

Join Raptor Claus as he darts across the night sky in his sleigh, air-dropping presents filled with high-end Loot Blueprints, Mistletoe, or Coal for naughty Survivors. Survivors can trade in Santa's gifts for Reindeer Costumes, Candy Cane Club Weapons, Santa Hats, and if they collect enough Coal, they might even be able to summon the elusive holiday-themed DodoRex to do their bidding for a limited time!

Along with this holiday-themed update, we are also excited to unveil content Patch 253! Which includes two new full-scale underwater caves and setting free five new creatures: Cnidaria, Troodon, Tusoteuthis, Pegomastax, and the Therizinosaurus. Not to mention an extra special surprise, allowing survivors to truly enjoy every passing moment, and make them even more beautiful and memorable than ever before: a camera item used to take in-game photographs, which can then be applied to the in-game Painting Canvas! Tek Tier Phase 1 will now make its debut in January's ARK v254, which will be previewed in-depth with additional items at the start of the new year, more details can be found here!


Dossier

Cnidaria Omnimorph, a combination of everything good and bad about various species of Jellyfish, the Cnidaria is too simple to tame or train, but tribes keep schools of them around for their bioluminescence and their ability to sting. Containing them in pools around a camp is a great way to make a barrier of swimming, stinging security that also illuminates the night. They also drop a special biotoxin which can be used to create shockingly powerful torpor darts.


Dossier

Pegomastax Fructarator, a relatively harmless herbivore who prefers to live alone and gorges on just about any plants it can find. Far from the definition of "pretty", Pegomastax features a nasty looking beak (with tusks for extra effect!) and feathers, making him a unique sight on the island. Some tribes keep a few Pegomastax around, as they are excellent scavengers, and are notoriously known for their thieving ability.


Dossier

Therizinosaurus Multiensis, is one of the strangest dinosaurs on the islands. Built like a T-Rex, this herbivore possesses great harvesting abilities. Its claws allow it to perform both brute-force or delicate actions; from taking down enemies (though it would prefer to just leave them alone) to plucking leaves from a particularly tasty bush. Because of this ability, Therizinosaurus are always handy to have around for harvesting specific resources, or, when needed, decimating enemies in combat.


Dossier

Troodon Magnanimus, outside of human beings, the Troodon might just be the cleverest creature on the island. You don't "tame" a Troodon, you earn its loyalty through its social nature and love of the hunt. Their ability to scout is second to none, and often you will see tribes adventuring out with Troodon, as they are often considered a smaller relative of the island's Raptors, but arguably no less dangerous, especially because of their love of the hunt.


Dossier

Tusoteuthis Vampyrus, a monstrous relative of the vampire squid, Tusoteuthis bears a closer resemblance to giant squids. It may be slow, but the aquatic Tusoteuthis is a horrific threat to anyone who dares get too close, using its tentacles to first grab, then crush...and then syphon the blood out of, its hapless victims. Tribes will sometimes tame this nightmare of the deep in order to extract its unique ink, which contains oils that can be processed into fuels.



Patch 253 also introduces two brand new underwater progression-oriented caves to TheIsland, with new artifacts and challenges!



Intrepid survivors will want to suit up and explore these new depths to uncover high-end loot, fight the terrifying creatures, discover two brand new artifacts, as well as uncover the mysteries of the ARK.



And for those of you who want to relive the experience, but not take the plunge themselves - you can! With a brand new camera! Survivors can snap pictures of their adventures, and instantly paint them on a canvas, reliving the memory whenever they so choose!



Patch 253 also includes; additional network performance gains, various new ARK DevKit features and hooks, and BattlEye has been enabled by default for Dedicated Servers (use -NoBattlEye to run without!)

ARK Winter Steam Sale!

The Steam's Winter sale is now live which means ARK: Survival Evolved can be tamed on PC/Mac/Linux for a 60% discount and the Scorched Earth Expansion Pack is also available at 33% off! Or introduce someone new to the game, this holiday season by gifting them the Survivor's Pack Bundle!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110

http://store.steampowered.com/app/512540/

We hope you enjoy this latest update, and from everyone at the Wildcard Team, we wish you Happy Holidays, and keep on Surviving!
ARK: Survival Evolved

As an Ark player, I'm still new and more than a bit of a disaster. The island of Ark is a dangerous place, and even simple tasks often result in a horrible death. I've been bitten by everything with teeth. I've been poisoned repeatedly. I've fallen off cliffs, drowned, starved, and drowned while starving after falling.

This isn't some heavily populated PvP server I'm on, either. A friend invited me to play on a private server, where the few players around are all extremely friendly. I joined my friend's camp on Herbivore Island, where nothing hurts you unless you hurt it first. And still: death. Death, for me, all the time. That's why it's important to have a trusty mount, and I have a few, mostly gifts from the server admin who has tamed just about every creature in the game. I have a T-Rex, and Argentavis (like a giant eagle), and I even tamed my own (low-level) Megalodon. The Rex can kill anything in its way and the eagle can cruise safely above danger. But I recently found something even better, and it's a damn frog.

The nice thing about riding a giant eagle is you can pick up smaller creatures in the eagle's talons. You can them drop them from great heights (though they don't seem to take fall damage), shred them to ribbons, or carry them somewhere, such as a taming pen like the one we built on our peaceful little island.

I'd already had several misadventures in the Gulch of Lamentation (a swamp whose name should have tipped me off), which is teeming with nasty creatures like Titanoboas (huge snakes) and Sarcos (crocodiles). However, during one of the many, many times I was dying horribly in the swamp, I noticed a multitude of Beezelbufos (big frogs) hopping around, and decided I wanted one as a pet. I returned on the eagle, picked up a pretty white toad, dropped it at our base, punched it unconscious, and stuffed it with raw meat, thus ensuring it would love me forever. I hadn't really planned on riding my frog, but saddling dinos makes them easy to move around in case they get in the way of anything, so I crafted a saddle for her and named her Electra.

Hopping around on Electra was briefly fun and silly, but just seemed like something to do in moments of boredom. She could really leap though, and since every time I venture into the water I seem to get feasted on by angry dino-fish, being able to jump across rivers seemed like it could be useful. So, anytime Electra could be leveled, I put all her points into movement speed. Before long, she was over 400% speed.

Now, her leaps give her some major hangtime. And she's fast. So fast. So fast that when I accidentally let her wander rather than stay where I parked her, I could only catch her when she ran into a boulder and got stuck.

So, when we run into trouble (which is every time we leave our base), we're a half an island away by the time most dinos have even managed to turn around. Nothing can catch us. Nothing can even come close. It's like I'm visiting a zoo. I can look at all the pretty monsters, and none of them can hurt me.

What's more, Electra can eat bugs. What's even more, is that when she eats a bug she harvests cementing paste, which is a craftable item made from stone and either chitin or keratin. Most items in Ark don't take long to craft, but cementing paste seems to take twice as long as everything else, leading to long boring minutes standing at a crafting bench, so having a shortcut is a real blessing. And with her movement speed, I can scour the jungle and swamp for bugs, eat them, and be back home with a pocket full of paste within minutes.

Beyond her usefulness, she has an odd quirk, in that sometimes when I spawn into the game she's not where I left her. I've now found her on my roof, and on top of the taming pen, which is so tall I'm not even sure how she managed to get up there. One time I found her sitting at the bottom of the lagoon. I don't know if there's a glitch with how she spawns, or if she's got a mind of her own when no one is around, but it gives her a bit of a personality.

Mainly, though, it's Electra's speed that makes her supremely useful to me. Everything in Ark scares me, but now I feel confident riding her just about anywhere. Anything comes close, we can just speed off. We've hopped through crowds of dangerous dinos. The swamp, my biggest nightmare, is now a breeze to navigate. And Electra has opened up the ocean, too.

Electra is a great swimmer. She's not as fast as she is on land, but we've yet to encounter anything underwater we can't speed away from. Best of all, swimming doesn't drain her stamina: in fact, if she's exhausted from land-travel, which requires stopping to recharge, we can just head into the water and she'll regain stamina even while swimming.

I'd been trying to locate an underwater cave for a while, by riding my shark while wearing scuba gear (another gift), but caves are guarded by Plesiosaurs that are a little too dangerous for me to tackle with my somewhat wimpy shark. On Electra, we breeze right past, and I finally managed to find the cave.

There's one small drawback: all that fast-hopping means Electra needs food. A lot of food. Noticing her belly was empty during an extended hop-about, I stuffed her full of dead gator meat and she tore through it, consuming about 1 meat per second. She fully consumed a couple bellyfuls of dead dodo before we got home. My girl can eat.

The beezelbufos aren't breedable, unfortunately, or believe me I'd be busy creating a genetic line of superfrogs. Even still, it's hard to imagine a better mount for the cautious or new Ark player. Find a frog, tame it, cram as many points into movement speed as will fit, and nothing on the map will be able to touch you.

ARK: Survival Evolved - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A cute new megasnail has arrived in Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] and it is useful for… what, would you guess? You’ve got it: Achatina Limusegnis mucus can be used as glue. That’s an easy one. What about the new ceratopsid Pachyrhinosaurus Mitisaura? If you guessed that it emits a calming scent when threatened, you’ve cheated and already looked at the answer you filthy rotter. I do enjoy the weekly routine of guessing what wacky gadgets dinosaurs are turned into with each Ark update. This week’s patch adds four of ’em and also kicks off a Thanksgiving celebration with deadly ‘Super Turkeys’. … [visit site to read more]

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ1rWekHO6E

Thanksgiving is upon us and today, Patch 252 brings a feast of new content to ARK: Survival Evolved! New friends will be making an appearance as four new creatures will become available to discover and tame, including the slimy Achatina, nocturnal hunter Megalosaurus, harvesting-specialist Moschops and the pheromone-spewing Pachyrhinosaurus!



Dossier

Achatina Limusegnis, slow and steady, that's the best way to describe the Achatina. A land mollusk standing about 2-3 ft tall, prized by local tribes, the Achatina is often captured and tamed for its glue-like secretions, which can be used as an adhesive when building various structures. It is also reverence for its uncanny ability to create an organic, incredibly strong, lightweight plates that can be shaped and then heat treated into casings for anything.



Dossier

Megalosaurus Noctedominus, the scary nighttime predator Megalosaurus is a beast that causes both survivors and other land creatures to fear the dark. Megalosaurus is a voracious carnivore and is often trained for use in night-time raids against other survivor camps. Due to its ferocious strength exhibited during the night, it sometimes finds itself recovering or sleeping during the day. However be warned, as it is a light sleeper and will wake with tremendous anger is disturbed during rest.



Dossier

Moschops Cibumutante, defines fear, as in fear-ful, since the slightest provocation sends it running. This dino's "special ability" is that it can eat just about anything and do just fine. This makes it particularly useful when domesticated and trained to eat specific materials - for example, teach it to focus on chewing a specific material, and that resource will become easier to harvest. Just remember that everything scares this breed of dino and it will flee without hesitation, so be cautious when taming it!



Dossier

Pachyrhinosaurus Mitisaura, an easy-to-train mount for new riders, its ability to produce a calming "scent" when in danger, helps keep survivors safe. The Pachyrhinosaurus can also reverse the effect of its scent cloud, making nearby creatures incredibly aggressive, which is sometimes useful in attacking other camps.



..but that's not all!



Patch 252 also introduces a vast redesign of the original caves on The Island!



Bringing them up to par visually



As well as introducing more gameplay elements to acquiring those artifacts!



Seasoned explorers will want to give these a whirl as it is an entirely new experience with much to be unravelled!



Along with the launch of Patch 252 comes even more content goodness:
  • ARK: Turkey Trial 2! New challenge and cosmetics! Earnable Emote! (this system also enables Mods to add more Emotes to the game!)
  • New Mechanic: Breeding Phase 3 with Random Mutations and Family Trees.
  • VFX Indicators for Whistle Commands: Move To, Attack, and Group-Selected Units.
  • Explorer Notes: Two new mythos Explorer Notes for each character
  • A huge increase in server performance
  • Whistle Ordering Groups! Create groups by class, or specific-dino! 
  • New Whistle Type: "Move To", Attack, and Group-Selected Units.
  • Extra Option to "stream" in "Far" map sublevels, for large memory and performance gains (but reduced visual quality & draw distance).

Turkey Trial 2



ARK's biomes are now host to savage, blood-thirsty mutant Super Turkeys. Players can hunt these brutal birds of prey, harvesting their wishbones and using them to craft an event-exclusive ornamental "Chieftain Headdress", or use their poultry-powered gains to summon the mighty DodoRex to do their bidding. This year's Turkey Trial will feature something all new - an event-specific "emote" for players to unlock, and will take place on all official ARK maps including Scorched Earth, The Center, and The Island!

Evolution Event Weekend!

To celebrate this festive period, and with the weekend coming early - as does the Evolution Event!

From Thursday the 24th of November at 12PM ET until Monday the 28th of November at 12PM ET the Official ARK Network will be affected by an Evolution Event! Survivors playing this weekend will get to experience the following bonuses:
  • 2x Harvesting Rate
  • 2x Taming Rate
  • 2x EXP Rate
So be sure to log in and enjoy the increased rates whilst you can!

Steam Autumn Sale

From November 23rd to the 29th, you can purchase ARK: Survival Evolved at 50% off and Scorched Earth at 25% off! Get it whilst it's hot ;)

http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110

http://store.steampowered.com/app/512540/

CrossARK Trading, Breeding and Strategizing forums!

With our recent announcement regarding CrossARK Transfers;

http://steamcommunity.com/games/346110/announcements/detail/603875242708384509

We've now opened up some new forums for players to be able to trade items, offer services such as painting, breeding and strategize with one another! Take a gander as there may be something that'll pique your interest ;)

CrossARK Item Trading and Dino Breeding Forum

CrossARK Strategizing Forum

Enjoy the patch everyone, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and an adventurous exploration!
ARK: Survival Evolved - Jat
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=768725889

Saddle up Survivors, as we’ve got a couple of important updates we’d like to inform you all of.

First of all, before we get into the nitty gritty of all the details of the upcoming changes, allow us to say this. Over the past few days, there have been a lot of hot-topics of discussion around the community. Some of these topics have not had an immediate response from the development team, this is not because we are choosing to ignore, but because we want to have time to deliberate and consider our options before responding, or taking action. We try to read all the feedback you provide, whether it’s positive, negative, or indifferent and take action where we deem it viable. ARK was launched into Early Access with the idea of creating a game together, and we are still sticking to that plan, every single day. Sometimes decisions are needed to be made that require a bit of thinking time, but we’ll make those choices. Other times, we’re going to do things you don’t quite agree with, or you’re going to suggest things that we don’t quite see as a viable option for the game - but we will take into consideration what you’re saying, and make compromises or reevaluate our plans where necessary. Today’s announcement will help shed some light on our thoughts, as well as the route we plan to take going forward.

Evolution Event: Cross ARK Transfers!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=780403428

As of Friday the 18th of November at 12PM ET we are going to be activating the following evolution event:
  • 2x Harvesting Rates
  • 2x Taming Rates
  • 2x EXP Rates
This will run until Monday the 21st of November 12PM ET.

We’ll also be introducing a new permanent change will be coming to your CrossARK Clusters:
Complete transfer of Items, Tames and Survivors through all MAPS on the Official ARK Network (separated by game mode).

Please note that this will not affect Player Dedicated Servers. This is just an Official Server change.

Previously, you were only able to transfer Survivors TO Scorched Earth servers, and everything FROM a Scorched Earth server. Now, you’ll be able to have absolute rights when transferring and can go from Island to Island, Center to Center, Scorched Earth to Scorched Earth, Island to Scorched Earth, Center to Scorched Earth, and Island to Center without any limitations, and the reverse of course. Please remember that these transfers are still based on the cluster (mode) you play on; PvE can only go to PvE, Hardcore can only go to Hardcore, Primitive can only go to Primitive etc.

When we first announced the ARK Transfer system with the Launch of Scorched Earth, we stated that it was something critical we wanted to experiment with in Early Access and to see how the game would progress once we introduced that new gameplay mechanic. Following what we’ve seen, and based on the feedback we have received, we would rather allow more freedom, where acceptable of course, than impose further limits.

Alongside this change, we are now going to introduce a new mechanic:

Once a Tame has been uploaded and downloaded onto an ARK, it will suffer a 12-hour cooldown until it can be transferred again. Transferred tames will also display on the HUD from which server they were last uploaded from (if you’re on a different Tribe, you will only see this indicator when the Tame is dead).

We want to provide the opportunity for tribes to scout each other across the ARK, as well as limit, -- to an extent -- tribes from storming in and then storming out immediately with their tames. By enabling the complete CrossARK transfers, it should also provide the chance for existing players to scope out new servers of the same type, meet up with friends, and find new opportunities or adventure, with no PvP server being unassailable or off-limits.

With all big changes, we understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I’m sure I’ve said that before, though keep in mind these changes may not be final. We want to see how things play out, whether this was the right move, how we can further improve the system. Something we’re considering down the line is introducing more limitations on what can be transferred, such as only Baby Tames or Eggs can be transferred, perhaps we limit Scorched Earth transfers to Scorched Earth base/raw materials only. Your feedback following today’s change will be critical as it enables us to continually develop and expand the game, as well as provide the opportunity to explore further options.

Update number two..

Stance on Exploiting

Let’s be clear about this, no one likes cheaters. We don’t like cheaters, you don’t like cheaters, your friends don’t like cheaters, cheaters don’t even like each other. We want to do everything we can to ensure that the ARK is a fair place for everyone to play with one another. It is why we worked to get a strong BattlEye system for ARK which is constantly receiving updates and will continue to do so because we want to stomp out cheats.

However, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to say that we have been lenient when taking action against people who are exploiting game bugs. Previously, we have felt that the bugs are on us and we have to do our best to resolve them and fix them, so we try not to punish survivors in this instance and make changes that will benefit the community as a whole, in the long-term, even if in the moment it seems a bit unfair. We’re going to change that up a little bit. Going forward, we will be taking a stricter approach when it comes to exploiting game bugs. If there is malicious intent, we will take action, be it destroying your tribe, structures, tames, and where necessary straight up removing you from the ARK and adding you to the global ban list and requesting a VAC ban. Consider this your warning to those of who you would rather exploit than report. Cases such as duping, or building under the map for instance, will result in such actions. Of course, it’ll be case by case, accidents happen, sometimes you’re curious - but it is pretty clear when there is indeed malicious intent and that’s where we’ll be taking action.

..but wait, there’s more!

Primitive Servers

Primitive Servers were something we introduced fairly on to the game at the request of the community, they hadn’t really been part of our game plan but it was clear that a lot of you wanted to experience this. Every now and then we introduce updates to the game which impact Primitive in a not so great way, primarily because that particular game mode isn’t quite set up to deal with the vast changes of the ARK. We’re going to make some adjustments to alleviate some of the current problems that exist and we’ll try and pay better attention going forward. Similarly to all changes, nothing is ever final and a lot of it is experimenting. A big concern that has been brought up is the power of some particular Scorched Earth dinos. Going way back when we introduced the Giga to the game, we made some changes to weaken it’s damage specifically on Primitive servers. We found that worked pretty well, so we’ll be taking a similar approach now.
  • Tamed Wyverns will deal 70% less damage and take 70% more damage.
  • Tamed Rock Golems will deal 70% less damage and take 20x more damage.
  • Alpha Wyverns will deal 67% less damage and take 67% more damage.

These changes are only going to be made effective on Primitive servers, and again we’ll be seeing how things go. For now, the other dinos (other than the Giga, Ptero and Argent) remain unaffected. For a complete and more filling Primitive experience, we really recommend you guys try out Primitive+ - which has some pretty cool updates on the way, stay tuned for tomorrow’s Crunch. ;)

So there’s quite a lot to take in, and you may not completely agree with all our changes, be it Primitive, Cross ARK transfers, or even a heavy-handed approach to exploiters, but we’ll see how things go and will make more adjustments if necessary!

Now for some great news. Very excited to share this! Lately, the team has been working pretty hard on tracking down this darn Dino Spawning in Bases issue that has been plaguing us for such a long time. and we think we’ve cracked it! Here’s a heat map of Dino Spawns that have taken place on an Official Server, indicating new wild spawn distance from bases & tames:


  • Blue = Dino Spawns
  • Red = Buildings
  • Green = Tames
Pretty nice eh? ;)
(The Areas where it still appears to overlap are underground Cave spawns!)


So as always folks, thank you again for your commitment and passion that you show towards the ARK. We really value each of you and are grateful to have such an active community. Your feedback has proven to be an absolute game changer, ARK itself has evolved so much from where it originally was, a lot of plans have changed and the scope of the game has gotten a lot bigger than what we first intended it would be thanks to being able to work with you. Hopefully, this is another step forward towards making the ARK as great as we know it can be!

All the best,

Wildcard Jat and the ARK: Survival Evolved Team

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=786124149
ARK: Survival Evolved

This month, we sent Ross Geller apologist James Davenport into the prehistoric techno world of Ark: Survival Evolved. He returned not with dino fossils, but with loads of exclusive information on the game's new Tek Tier, and where the Early Access-dwelling survival sandbox is heading in future.

Speaking of the future, Samuel spent a few hours with The Creative Assembly's Halo Wars 2 the follow-up to 2009's RTS slant on the enduring sci-fi universe. Elsewhere inside, Phil delivers his verdict on Battlefield 1 which might be the best multiplayer shooter of the year; while Tom Senior explores the origins of Company of Heroes on the tenth anniversary of its release.

Previews this month include The Signal from T lva, For Honor, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, and many more.

Issue 287 is on shelves now and available on all your digital devices from Google Play, and the App Store (they may be slow to update look for the laser-shooting dinos on the front). You can also order direct from My Favourite Magazines or purchase a subscription to save money, and receive monthly deliveries.

This month: 

  • James offers exclusive insights into Ark: Survival Evolved's new Tek Tier.
  • Samuel spends a few hours in The Creative Assembly's Halo Wars 2.
  • Tom Hatfield gathers the 20 best mods for some of the best-ever PC games.
  • Phil delivers his verdict on Battlefield 1.
  • Tom Senior explores how classic RTS Company of Heroes was made.
  • Battlefield 1, Shadow Warrior 2, FIFA 17, Civ 6, and more reviewed.
  • The Signal from Tölva, For Honor, Serial Cleaner, and more previewed.
  • Our monitor group test.
  • And much more!
...

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