Ark’s third DLC, Extinction, is finally here! It was announced a few months ago, during the summer, for November 6th. Studio Wildcard kept to that date, however it was supposed to be released in the morning and got delayed until late evening/early night time. It feels really good that the wait is finally over. Now I only wonder what’s next for Studio Wildcard. Does Ark have a future after Extinction? Who knows, but this is supposed to be the last DLC for the game included in the season pass. What a long journey it has been since Ark was released in Early Access. I’ve been there since near the beginning and I’ve been able to watch and experience the game grow so much! It has become my favorite game, which I’ve clocked over 2800 hours!

Before release, Studio Wildcard gave us some teasers including creature reveals and a trailer. They also created Tek versions of some creatures already in the game. These rare Tek versions are now a permanent part of the game. They also gave us some more explorer notes to find. One of the most significant pieces of the first trailer showed a huge creature known as a titan. There are apparently multiple of them in this DLC. They can be tamed or defeated, but after being tamed, they will despawn after some time. This mechanic is similar to the titanosaur, which is now dwarfed by titans.

More information was revealed during this year’s Extra Life charity stream in which Wildcard raised about $70,000 to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. They revealed more about the ice titan we saw in the trailer. They also showed off new orbital supply drops, which land on the map and start a process of waves of corrupted creatures coming to destroy it. There are a few difficulties for these with the harder ones giving better loot. Once all the waves are defeated, a player can open it up and receive lots of goodies.

Another interesting mechanic is something like a Pokeball in which you can store your creatures. This helps servers deal with a limited number of creatures, which is set to improve server stability. You can put a creature in a cryopod and release it by throwing it. You can store these cryopods in a refrigerator, especially one created just for this purpose.

Taxidermy has been introduced. You can kill a creature and use a special tool on it to collect it’s dermis. Then you can stick that on a taxidermy display table. There are a few sizes of these tables and creatures are scaled to fit on them. You can select one of many poses that the creature has. It’s an interesting concept.

Along with the Tek creatures released for the game, including a Tek raptor, stegosaurus, parasaur, and quetzal, two new Tek creatures are in the game. One is called an enforcer and can teleport. The other is pretty much an observer. You can acquire blueprints to build these two by killing them and then crafting them in a particular crafting station.

The DLC is also full of a variety of biomes, but the entire map is of Earth. This DLC is the “beginning and end” of the whole Ark story. There is an abandoned city on the map, which is the recommended spawn area for players. Other biomes can be found including an icy one encircled within a dome. This is what is called a proto-Ark.

It’s all very interesting and I’m excited to dive into Ark once again! Who knows what the future holds for the game and Studio Wildcard, but the game has been released for current gen consoles, the Xbox One and PS4. It has also been announced for the Switch. Console Ark players are going to have to wait for the release of Extinction while Studio Wildcard works on that version some more to get it better suited to console gaming.

*Update 6/4/19*
My thoughts and feelings on Extinction have been fully realized by now and I feel that it is time to update this post. At the beginning, I was very eagerly excited for Extinction. I played a lot of Ark and enjoyed the other DLC, so I was definitely looking forward to more. However, Extinction kind of just fell flat with me. It didn't capture my interest the same way that Ark (w/out DLC), and Scorched Earth did. I think I liked Aberration better, but even then I was beginning to lose interest in the game as a whole. I really enjoyed Ark and following along with its development over the years. I regularly participated in the official forums, played on an official server, and played much of it on my own. I also found some really great YouTube channels to watch and follow. Oh and I also found my favorite mods to use. But, unfortunately, I began to feel that Extinction just wasn't for me. In a way it's kind of difficult to say why I'm not really into this DLC, which is difficult to describe. It is kind of scary outside of Sanctuary, because of meteor showers which could wreck your base or kill you. Plus, there's the corrupted creatures which are extremely aggressive and dangerous. There are a few different interesting biomes like the forest, desert, and snowy areas. The desert was much like having a mini version of Scorched Earth, however it was inhabited by some new creatures and technologies. Since different creatures inhabited different biomes (which I think were larger than any biome in the base game), it was kind of difficult to transport creatures you've tamed. However, there were various stations around where you could upload your creature in one area and download them in another.

The main reason for my dislike of this DLC is much more easy to explain and understand. It's the required multiplayer aspect. In the base game some things were some what unforgiving to the single player, but you could easily enough change some settings to (for example) make taming go by more quickly. There were also some really good and helpful mods that made things even more fun, easy, and enjoyable. However, Extinction added some things that pretty much require a group effort and may even be extremely difficult for a group to do. One of these is the Orbital Supply Drops. A cache would drop on the ground from outer space. Players can find one and activate it while in the area. A shield will encapsulate the cache and the beginning of waves of corrupted creatures would begin to attack the cache and any players nearby. Eventually, with enjoy damage taken, the shield will go down and be ineffective. Waves of corrupted creatures will continue to come until all waves are defeated, or a player dies. I think if you try this on your own it will be over if you die, but if you try it out in a group, it may still be active even if one player dies. If successful, the OSD will spew out all kinds of goodies, like a Tech Replicator. However, this is very difficult to achieve. I never tried it myself. I watched Sl1pg8r try it alone and fail. At one point I did join a friend's local server, but I was much too afraid to leave the Sanctuary area.

Boss fights aren't new to Ark. In the base game, some of them were doable for a single person. I believe I successfully defeated the spider queen alone and with a group of creatures, but these bosses got more difficult. Once the end-game was released I quickly realized that one could not really win the end boss battle alone, even with other tamed creatures. I only succeeded this by cheating, which is what I also had to do for later bosses such as the ones in Scorched Earth and Aberration. Extinction adds some more bosses. They are giants you can actually tame temporarily if you successfully beat them. However, I've watched a few different groups tackle these boss fights with very little success (and a whole lot of death and respawning).

So, sadly, I realized again the huge aspects of a game that pretty much required multiple online players and not being very fun for the single solo gamer, which is what I am used to. If you love Ark and love playing in multiplayer, maybe this DLC is for you. But, if you like how easy it was to do things on your own in the base game (even with mods) and you like playing solo (like me), then this DLC may not be for you.

Honestly at this point, I'm completely burned out on Ark. I'm not even sure if I care enough about it anymore to be interested in new DLC or other content. I really enjoyed the base game (even with mods). Perhaps if they go back to that formula where more things were more easily done alone then that could potentially recapture my interest.


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