We’ve got important and exciting news to share! First of all, we’ve finally completed our game for the console disc retail submission! It was a very long and arduous process, our boss fight or so to say, and your feedback throughout this process has been highly valuable. It was a very tight deadline to make the ship date, and the team has been intensively grinding through singleplayer-oriented refinements for the posterity of the disc-based version. All that aside, we were able to resolve many issues, as well as considerably improve the game through various changes and implementation of new techniques and it’s now time to move onto refocus our development efforts on the live game, as well as address some key topics within the community:
Will the Official Servers be wiping?
Short answer: No — but read the long answer!
We had previously released a statement a year ago informing players that our Official Servers would not be wiping on the retail launch of the game. We’ve thought long and hard about the decision, taking into consideration the various points brought up by the community, the internal members of the team, as well as the general discussion that has taken place on the internet through various press/media outlets and will be sticking to our initial decision. It is clear that some group of players are for the wipe for, and some are against it, all for legitimate reasons; and we took it all into account.
We ultimately decided that we would not wipe and we would rather pay the cost to launch an additional new PvP and PvE Server Cluster network (alongside but separate from the current PvP and PvE Legacy Cluster), where players will get to have a fresh experience on the ARK; across all four maps with no influence from any of the previous servers. At that time we’ll be rolling out the new server code and infrastructure necessary to prevent critical issues such as server crashing exploits, duping, and DDoSing, so they will not affect the batch of new servers (as well as the legacy ones, going forward).
Our current set of Official Servers will be rebranded as “Legacy” and indicated as such on all platforms. We will also be taking steps to remove some of our ‘ghost town’ servers, where the player population has remained near-zero for an extended duration of time. We’ll take a look at the statistics and will be repurposing 10% of the lowest count servers across all platforms. Once we know which servers these are; we’ll preserve the save files and upload them, so if you so wish to use them, you can. Players will also have time to move through Cross-ARK to a different secure Legacy server. Every three months we will be taking a review of the Legacy Officials to see what the numbers are like and may consider repurposing more ‘ghost towns’, however, the goal will be to preserve any place with human activity.
To be clear, if you’re playing on a Legacy Server you will not be able to transfer to the new Official servers and Legacy servers will still receive total and complete support (just like the New Officials) in regards to Game Updates and future ARK Expansions, so you can expect to see future DLC servers added to the Legacy Cluster.
Ragnarok: Console debut and development
The new official release date for the Ragnarok Free DLC on consoles will be on the 8th of August when ARK launches for retail release. The team spent time discussing when would be the best time to release the map, for both technical reasons, as well as the experience itself, and this was the chosen date.
We understand that some may find this news frustrating as you’ve waited a long time for the map, however after conferring for quite a while on the topic, we believe this is the best decision for the map’s arrival on console as;
First of all, it allows the Ragnarok Developers to get the latest version of the Dev Kit and incorporate our latest changes to the game, which will have a significant impact on the console experience concerning performance, visual fidelity, and stability. Secondly, by focusing our technical workforce on the other aspects of the game (in addition to Ragnarok) such as server stability, crash exploits, duping, DDoS, we will be able to ensure a much smoother experience for when the map is available. Finally, with our recent decision in regards to whether there will be a wipe or not, this seems like the smartest decision, to avoid this awkward situation of where servers that have only just been online for a couple of weeks become legacy.
The new date will also result in the map debut on console will be much farther ahead in its development than the map that was initially released on PC as the Ragnarok Developers have carried out a significant number of bug fixes, QOL changes on the map, and more! We will be doing a PC patch soon to upgrade to the latest version of the map (which is available in the Steam Workshop for Unofficial Servers!) so that you guys will also be able to enjoy their improvements!
PlayStation 4 Update!
It’s happening! Yes, we’re serious. We’re currently working on the latest PS4 patch with Abstraction at the moment, and while it’ll be tough, we should be set to release it this Friday (probably going to be a late evening patch). We’ll keep you posted how that goes! Thank you guys for being so patient with us over the past few weeks, we understand how frustrating it is not to receive updates, but now we are wrapped up with certification and this tight deadline, we’ll be able to go back to our standard development pipeline and therefore include you with our updates
Console PC-Hosted Servers
Yup, you heard it. As of the 8th of August, we will finally have support for PC hosted dedicated servers on console. We won’t be renting or hosting them ourselves, it isn’t a commercial venture for us, but we will be doing the technical work needed to get this underway. Initially, they will be available via Nitrado! (It’ll come to other third party hosts once we go through this initial technical-iteration phase, as we want to ensure its stability).
These servers will be available on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and if you haven’t realised, here’s why this is so awesome:
- No need for a second console to host private servers!
- Complete access to all of ARKs custom server config settings, which will let players change the rules on their custom ARKs
- The option to create cross ARK Clusters for the ultimate ARK Experience — allowing travel across four Maps
- Create a backup of server save files, allowing players to try something new without the fear of losing data
- The servers will result in higher performance due to better optimisation
- Player servers will now be able to support a larger pool of players, up to 100 concurrent users!
- At a later date, these will also be Play Anywhere compatible!
For those of you wondering about repurposed console Legacy Official Servers, you will be able to take the save file and set up an Unofficial Server using this.
Nitrado will be contacting those who show interest in console servers on the 8th of August via email, you can notify them here: http://nitra.do/arkconsole
Let them know if you are keen, so they can properly estimate demand!
Oh modders, how we love you so much, we hope you can forgive us for the delay and understand as developers yourselves our reason for doing so. Fortunately, we come bearing good news! Jeremy is prepping the latest version of the Dev Kit right now (literally!) and we will have it available to download later today via GitHub, and soon after that via the Unreal Launcher when we are confident in its stability. You’ll be able to keep up with the latest information on the Unreal Forums in regards to any relevant/cool changes!
That should be what we wanted to discuss for today. Hopefully, it helps clear the air with what’s been going on and the direction we’re heading in. We’re looking forward to a fun ARK launch with everyone in the weeks ahead!
All the best,