ARK Dev’s Respond to Flyer Nerf Outrage

This past weekend saw Studio Wildcard release one of their most highly anticipated ARK: Survival Evolved patches of the year which added a number of new creatures as well as the ability to build Underwater Bases. What this patch also brought to the table was the game-changing “flyer nerf” which saw all the mountable in-game flying creatures take a major hit in functionality (check out the summarising article here).

Needless to say, this “flyer nerf” caused no small amount of controversy in the ARK community with many players taking to the forums to express their hatred of the changes. While the developers have been hard at work making adjustments to the flyers, there was little to no real news from the team as to the actual motivations behind the move (nor any news on how far their balancing would go in terms of making flyers worth taming post-nerf). Thankfully, Studio Wildcard’s Senior Gameplay Designer finally has some news for us (though it may not be what some gamers were hoping to hear).


The full post, which was released on the official SurviveTheArk page, can be found here but, for the players just looking for a breakdown here is the TL: DR:

Reasons for changes and Community Outrage:

  • Studio Wildcard saw flyers as creatures with no distinct roles due to the ability to just pump speed across the board – “The game had become largely “get a flier, rule the world”, and this started as early as a Pteranodon.”
  • Flier speed trivialised both PVP and PVE experiences as players could simply fly over all obstacles
  • The developers believed it was a change that “had to be done” and stand by their method of broad-based changes followed by incremental buffs
  • They appreciate players feeling they could express their outrage saying: “even just raw anger and frustration are fine to express, and we want you to. It lets us know what the general feeling and climate is, even if it doesn’t help us move towards a solution for the problem.
  • The ultimate goal: Re-balance both PVP and PVE by giving flyers distinct roles

Preferred Designated Roles for post-nerf flyers:

  • Ptero – Fast, sprinting scout, with low hp/stamina, but quicker stamina recovery. Fastest flier in the game (except for wild wyverns).
  • Argent – Tanky fighter, can scrap well and take some hits, high stamina/carry weight compared to all other fliers (except Quetz), while still maintaining some agility.
  • Moth – “beginner” mount, lowest stats across the board for explicit travel or fighting, but a powerful special attack for specialised use.
  • Pelagornis – Versatility flier with generally low stats, but unique functionality, and other special abilities to offset its lack of direct stat power.
  • Quetz – Sky Bronto. Slow, extreme stamina, extreme weight capacity, good for prolonged sieges or for moving massive quantities of things to and fro. High health pool, but extremely poor manoeuvrability and very vulnerable.
  • Tapejara – Tactical flier. Between the Argent and Ptero for overall stats, but with multi-mount support and latching abilities, it can carry well-armed players in and out of the battlefield or to remote locations.
  • Wyvern – Lord of the skies. Low stamina, moderate move speed, poor agility, but extreme power and versatility.


In lieu of these changes, the developers also released the full breakdown (courtesy of a spreadsheet) of all the Live Flyer values, what players can expect in the next patch as well as a summary of what was changed.

As well as showing what the new values are, and how they differ from the current rates, the table introduces the concept of “Rider Extra Max Speed Multiplier” which is a variable dealing with the bonus speed tamed creatures receive when ridden (an example is the Pteranadon whose multiplier will go from 0.75 to 1.08 – a 33 percent increase post-patch).  

This is not the end of the road in terms of changes with the developers assuring fans that though  “the “New Values” will be in your patch tomorrow [05 March 2017] (*Wildcard Times are subject to change or horrible inaccuracies).”, they will be continuing to work on the values in order to bring them more in line with both their own expectations as well as the community’s: “This is not the final pass! We’re going to be iterating on this internally and want your input as we go forwards. I’ll try to do more of this stuff when we bring out large balance changes in the future and do them beforehand, not after. It’s a process, so it doesn’t just end here.”


Now that the waters have settled, creatures have received incremental buffs, and Studio Wildcard has made their intentions clear, what do you feel the new meta will look like and which land creatures do you believe need some work to make them more viable in this ‘new’ ARK? Personally, I believe the Bronto needs some adjustments (perhaps a tail-whip that dismounts players) in order to warrant the long taming time and general cumbersome nature.  

  • PsyKo

    I think this was too much of a big change for fans of the convenience of fliers. I liked how easy it was to move around the map and carry things and anky harvest, but PVP was just a matter of who could pick players off their mounts quicker.
    Things needed to change, but Wildcard have inadvertently made the game a lot more painful in terms of Quality of Life on the Ark. Who wants to take a 45 minute ride to collect something after they have had nearly two years of 5 minute trips?

    • PsyKo

      Thank God for Classic Fliers and Private Servers <3

      • Matthew Holliday

        classic flyers with the new ankylo etc changes is going to feel so OP for gathering, lol.
        cant wait to dive back in

    • I was upset at first, but realized I could take quick land dinos to resource locations and have a lot more fun doing it – it was less hazardous than I thought it would be. It would turn a 5 min trip into maybe a 10 to 15 min, but not 45 like using the nerfed flyer would. lol

    • Matthew Holliday

      they have somewhat addressed using quetzals to transport materials with the recent ankylo changes atleast.
      “* Certain creatures now have special weight reductions for specific resources similar to the Beaver.
      – Mammoth reduces weight of wood by 75%
      – Ankylo reduces weight of raw metal by 75%
      – Doed reduces weight of stone by 75%”

      also, yay, mammoths are usefull again.

  • Takashi Smith

    Tbh I was more upset with the knock all flyers to ground level. Including the bird that never landed until you knock it out of the sky. The Quezt, the fact that it is a quick kill in a bad local made you not want to bother afterwards. Feel sorry for those who bothered to breed them.

    As for the tapa and wryvyn I don’t honestly have time to hatch an egg and baby sit one worth while. Sure I could join a tribe or merge but since wildcard hasn’t fixed the issue of tribes Dino stealing after you join I started to solo only.

    Btw I didn’t ever pump speed into anything outrageous pter was for omg lag death have to get back to my stuff or Dino before something wild ate them. I did weight and health. Slow flying is fine the landing in pitch black nope and the slow glide down that could also cause lag double no.

    Also since wildcard doesn’t seem to honestly care about resource blocking (video and screen shots sent in) I don’t understand how they thought I or anyone could get a ground mount over behemoth gates up a mountain with spike reinforcements. Again tribes reported they are still here a year after the first report went in.

    • Matthew Holliday

      Tapejaras are a must have when it comes to building anything that has any kind of height,

  • Lee David Brinkley

    They’re focused on making the game TOO difficult. A game should be tough. I get that. But with all the new deadly dinos and the fact that they’re always in groups of many different kinds and have spectacular abilities while I have my pike, it’s TOO difficult.

    I’m losing interest because the deck is stacked against us in the extreme.

  • LazyJones

    I think, this all is just pure bullsh#t. They want to FORCE ppl to change their playstile, and try something completely different. But guess what: we tried that way, and didn’t liked it. That’s why we used flyers. I hate the slow ground dinos, the ridiculous ground bugs, the not-existing visibility, the small, annoying, and truly OP ground critters (like Troodons and Pegomastaxes), unlimited waves of hostile carnivores, and the crappy AI, that couldn’t even follow anyone on ground. I won’t go play just to lose so hard-earned things, like my purple pistol, and the 400 ammos, that i can never replace now – bcause the iron bars on top hills, far-far away…
    Wildcard already lost propably more, than tenthousand players, YET they cannot accept the fact: They just screwed it up. Badly.

  • Cody Griffith

    You guys made tamed wyverns slower than wild wyverns? Wtf how does that make sense please explain!!!!!!!!?!

  • Android App

    All the things they discuss and they only mention PvE twice and saying they both need rebalancing, this was only done because PvP players kept complaining over being picked up.

    This is not an issue on PvE so please let us run our servers the way we want, haven’t gone onto the game or our server since this update and wont be till its sorted and we shouldn’t need mods to play the game the way it was.

  • Carl Durand

    After having the patch just hit xbox one, and read the previous responses. The fact that new comers struggled with this game just like i did, and still do at times is immaterial.
    I can tell you now after less than 30 minutes, first off you cant gain food on a ptera faster than you burn it. So if a ptera was your first tame your screwed. When it comes to having just put down a wyvern egg as i have done, i can no longer get milk. A) to slow B) no stamina to even out manouvre before being forced to land. It was the first opportunity i had to hatch a wyvern egg it was hatched the morning off the update (but before update hit). and consequently now its going to die because i cant get milk, i got picked killed and trolled numerous times running in solo and 4/5 man tribes. it still stings but nothing near as much as this nerf after having paid for this game three times, once PC and twice on Xbox one two gamer tags (so i can alternate for several differing reasons) one of which is NOT in-siding. i have never done it and i can’t stand when people do it, if you have to be that greasy you need to do it to get anywhere your as bad as the crappy trolls. Needless to say this game is dead to me (unless they fix what they just broke) so the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.

  • Kie de Boehmler

    this was the dumbest mistake thus far. i can take the day where the game constantly bluescreened the ps4 every 5 mins but this, this is a pinnacle progression to the game mechanics. especially solo play
    your first flight is a ptera swift, agile, light, and a ok pester when attack is juiced. this gave you the speed to fly past a argie jump off shoot it with a tranq get back on and do it again till down.
    sweet i got my argie!! woot woot! metal runs i can begin with out have 6 pteras flying over my head and running into me every 3 seconds. now that i have a fast argie from the xp metal runs its time to catch a quetzel. got that sweet now its time for metal on metal on metal. got bored at island and center ok lets try scorched ohh man wyvern sweet let me get my speed tank argie for this. EGG, check, milk check, bird not dead, check.

    see the progression. if it wasnt for each one i wouldnt have been able to play singleplayer as SINGLEPLAYER. i nearly lost my strongest argie who now has 20.k health in one scar run. orginally had 213 speed now its a basic roasted chicken waiting to be eaten by the might fire wyvern. god forbid yall made electric or even poison ALHPAS!!! singleplay and pve is the only thing keeping your game going as pvp is become a huge shit storm of alphas tribes that wont a new soul even have a breath.
    Think bout taking the tethering off single player and bring back flyers speeds so that my friends and i can enjoy the game together without the political issue of alphas, metal, wyven eggs, milk, and now tek gear.
    We were an alpha tribe of 30 members and it dwindled to 5 in less than 3 months and after that we gave up over the reiteration of constant metal farming battles.

  • Belle Vegas

    Yeah guys, this is bad. If anyone has stopped by an official PVE there are land claims and walls everywhere, and make traversing on foot near impossible. You may have to go far to find meat for babies on a busy weekend, and I’m supposed to do this on a land mount now? Instead of fixing the imbalance issues like a baby dino eats about 4 adult brontos a day, and an Allo can stick half its body through my walls, they’ve taken prob the funnest part of Ark away from us, Flying!
    I really thought the devs were bone heads after dropping the SUPER TURKEY on us, that would agro and decimate entire yards of dinos, then the pego and troodon were dropped on us because I guess they figured the black screening, disappearing dinos, and clipping wasn’t trolling the players enough.
    Only have so much patience devs, after 5 minutes of this garbage my son and I turned it off and back to GTA we go. Glad my cars are still fast!