'#Ark Survival Evolved' has grown tremendously over the course of two years of being a Steam Early Access darling. But unlike any other titles in the program, Studio Wildcard’s title became immensely popular. Its player base continues to grow exponentially, with a promise of full-growth pool in the next months to come.

As 'Ark Survival Evolved' grew, so was its offensive players. More and more players were airing their frustrations on Steam, giving the title bad reviews. This even grew exponentially when the studio introduced a feature called "Cross Ark Transfer." The latter basically allows players to move onto different servers without losing progress.

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Apparently, however, this became one of the game’s Achilles’ Heels.

Studio Wildcard on player behavior

Studio Wildcard CEO and co-founder Doug Kennedy, community manager and technical liaison Cedric Burkes spoke with GameIndustry to discuss some details about 'Ark Survival Evolved.' Perhaps the most interesting one is their approach towards player behavior and their philosophy on it. The key is to let players play the title the way they want it to, although it comes with consequences, Burkes explained while referring to the Cross Ark Transfer feature, which became controversial in the community.

Burkes admitted that they foresaw the consequences of having such feature and that, in one way or another, it will result in the birth of mega-tribes. Surprisingly, there was a shift in the game’s PvP dynamic.

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So somehow, there was a benefit to introducing it. Kennedy, on the other hand, pointed out that in a game like theirs, there is always a winner and a loser. However, for him, it is better to let the players play the game and let them figure a way out of it.

Opportunities opened

The two iterated how the Cross Ark Transfer brought tons of opportunities that contributed to the overall development of 'Ark Survival Evolved.' Basically, players decided to take matters on their hand. They grouped up and went to dismantle the so-called mega-tribes, something that they bugged Studio Wildcard about. Interestingly, Burkes and his team saw it as a new game mechanic. A PvP system of sort eventually existed, as players try to fend off each other in-game.

For Burkes, what happened to 'Ark Survival Evolved' created a lot of experiences for the players to take with them. There was even a point on the game’s official site where players shared their experiences in taking out mega-tribes. Automatically, there was engagement as people were talking about the game themselves. Kennedy warns, though, that what happened to them might not always mean success to other studios or developers in the industry. “It’s a cautionary tale for other studios,” he said.