OPINION: Ark Scorched Earth is Terrible for Gamers
Let me preface this by saying I am indifferent about Ark: Survival Evolved. When I first played the game, I sat down with some friends to see what it was all about. I saw the appeal, but it never really hooked me like many other games have. That being said, I definitely don’t hate the game. I’m of the opinion that while I personally wouldn’t sink time into the game, I definitely see why others could. I also respect the direction the developers took the game in during that time frame. That opinion has changed.
Ark: Scorched Earth was released a few weeks ago. I was pretty excited to see new content being released. Not for my sake, but so fans got more of what they loved. That is until I saw the specifics regarding the expansion’s release. You see, Ark is currently in Early Access. This means it is an unfinished game that requires payment to essentially beta test. When I saw Scorched Earth on social media, I immediately thought that Ark had finally made it out of Early Access. That is not the case. Ark is still in Early Access. So while the game remains unfinished, Studio Wildcard pulled resources from finishing the base game. Instead, the developers placed resources behind a paid expansion. Although there is content being added to the game, there are also resources being taken away from the base game. This means we are buying content that shouldn’t even exist yet.
Now, I am perfectly ok with DLC, certain microtransactions, and expansions in games. This increases revenue as well as grants more content for fans. After all, the gaming industry is an industry where people are trying to gain a profit. That being said, finished products needs to be released before paid expansions are even mentioned. Sure, Studio Wilcard has said that they needed to release the expansion in order to test whether different Arks are working correctly with. I argue that testing could have been done with a free release of the new Ark, or through a beta test rather than a paid release. Not only is this a blatant slap in the face for Ark fans, but it also sets a precedent for other Early Access developers. Early Access has already been burdened with developers not finishing their games, putting little effort into a game in order to make a quick buck, as well as copyright infringement, now what is stopping these developers from releasing massive amounts of DLC for their unfinished games?
I’m not telling anyone what to do, but if we want this type of shady business practices to stop, we need to vote with our wallets. I urge fellow gamers to not buy Scorched Earth. This goes for any other Early Access DLCs. Early Access is in desperate need of more monitoring from Valve and other distributors. This may fix the current mess that is Early Access. Great games can come out of Early Access, but with the massive amount of cons, abandoned projects, and shady companies that currently inhabit the storefront, the negative connotations associated with Early Access will make people unwilling to try it.