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).
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.