This week has been a busy one for ARK: Survival Evolved players with a complete overhaul of mountable flyers causing no small amount of community outrage due to its almost complete nullification of the current meta. In response to their community’s backlash, ARK’s Senior Gameplay Designer took to the forums explaining the need for a “re-balance” of mountable flyers to try and repair what has come to be seen as a “stale meta” through a number of broad-based nerfs that were the first step in “defin[ing] roles specific to each of the fliers”.
This post also revealed the developers desire to work on defining specific roles to all of their creatures, saying: “Our overall goal with this re-balance is to define roles specific to each of the fliers. This is a monumental task for land dinos, and that is why we didn’t do that now. There are like a hundred land dinos, and not many fliers, comparatively.”
In line with this, the latest update to hit survivors (V256.3) includes a number of key changes to land-dinosaurs, specifically resource collectors, as the developers try and re-balance a game that once relied on Quetzals as the main source of easy resource retrieval and collection. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of the patch:
- Flier Mk 2: Click here to see the changes to fliers!
- Ridable fliers (not the Moth) now have ground attacks
- Quetz’ idle stamina consumption reduced by 50 percent
- Certain creatures now have special weight reductions for specific resources similar to the Beaver.
- Mammoth reduces weight of wood by 75 percent
- Ankylo reduces weight of raw metal by 75 percent
- Doed reduces weight of stone by 75 percent
- Beaver and Thorny Dragon now adjusted to 50% reduction for resource-weight (they do a few) due to being a jack of all trades, as opposed to specialising.
The patch also fixes a number of issues with the new UI (also implemented with V256) as well as a change to meat consumption (there is now a 0.2s cooldown on meat consumption) that will have huge ramifications on taking meat-eating dinosaurs into battle so be sure to check out the full patch notes here.
I’m not going to touch on the changes to the flyers as a number of adjustments are expected as Studio Wildcard have repeatedly stated their intention of working on the balance issues over the next few weeks. Instead, I want to look at the buffs being made to some of ARK’s most useful creatures: the harvesters.
Mammoth: previously one of the best sources of wood collection (prior to the release of the Beaver), the Mammoth has long since faded into relative obscurity due to the difficulty in obtaining from the dangerous cold biome and the fact that Beavers did their job much quicker, were more agile and could carry almost the same amount with their built-in weight reduction on wood. With these buffs to its wood storage, and already having quite a formidable base weight, the Mammoth’s natural tankiness combined with its usefulness should see the woolly behemoth receive a boost in popularity as both a harvester and long-distance carrier.
- Gatherer: Excellent for gathering materials like Wood. (Level up Damage, Weight, and Stamina)
- Tank: Relatively high base health while suffering none of the size or speed issues that frequent the other large dinosaurs. (Level up Health and Damage)
- Transport: Surprisingly speedy for its size and carry capacity, can transport short distances quickly or larger distances with judicious sprinting. (Level up Weight, Stamina, and Speed)
- Damage: Tanky and with good AOE damage, the mammoth excels at dispatching numerous small foes. (Level up Damage and Health)
Ankylosaurus: the go-to creature for any tribe, the weight reduction of raw metal on these spiky mountain dwellers is a welcome change and should ease some of the teething problems associated with the flyer nerf as your harvester will be able to collect more resources before being forced to offload.
- Tank: Excellent tank due to its high HP. (Level up Health and Melee Damage)
- Transport: While slow, it has a very good base carrying capacity. Good for local transport. (Movement Speed, Stamina, and Weight)
- Gatherer: Excellent for collecting essential materials such as Metal, Crystal, and Flint. (Level up Melee Damage, Weight, and Stamina)
- Underwater miner: Despite being such a heavily built creature, Ankylosaurus is a surprisingly good swimmer and also capable of easily fending off sea predators with its tail club attack. Therefore, it can be used to gather Oil from the bottom of the sea. Leveling up Oxygen also makes it swim much faster. (Level up Oxygen and Stamina.)
Doedicurus: another vital tame in terms of base expansion, this rolling stone will indeed gather no moss as players will be able to load up even more stone before being forced to roll on back to base.
- Travel: Excellent ATVs due to their ability to roll at high speed and surprising agility in the water (Level Speed, Stamina, and some Oxygen).
- Gatherer: Amazing for gathering materials. Highly recommended for stone, sand, obsidian, metal and thatch, and not recommended for wood (Level Melee Damage and Weight).
- Tank: Decent tank with high HP and very good base damage and AOE. Can chase prey with the rolling ability (Level Health, Melee Damage, and Stamina slightly).
With these buffs to the primary-harvesters comes some changes to the Castoroides and Thorny Dragon (Scorched Earth’s own jack-of-all trades and alternative to the Beaver). Though these creatures will be able to carry fewer resources than their more specialised brethren, the ability to use them as mobile smithy’s still make these creatures viable harvesters in the field.
As Studio Wildcard continues trying to balance its game we should see a lot of changes coming to some of the older entries to the game (like the Doedicurus and Mammoth who were both present at the release of the title onto the Early Access program) who have perhaps had their usefulness reduced thanks to the introduction of new creatures/features.
What creature do you feel is next in line for some “re-balancing” and why?