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It’s been around for 14 months already but today Studio Wildcard have unveiled the single biggest update in the history of ARK. And it all sounds rather damn exciting.

The first ARK: Survival Evolved expansion pack, Scorched Earth is available from today on both Xbox One Game Preview and Steam Early Access. An entirely new desert-themed ARK, it is filled with new biomes, creatures, gameplay mechanics, and challenges that will push players’ survival skills to the limit as you discover that water is even more precious and that the harsh weather conditions play havoc with your plans. Scorched Earth is a completely finished, polished new expansion pack, which retails for $19.99 on Steam PC/Mac/Linux/SteamOS and Xbox One, but you will of course need the main game to play it.

“All of us at Wildcard are tremendously excited to see how these new features alter the dynamics of the long-term ARK ‘metagame,’” said Studio Wildcard lead designer and co-founder, Jeremy Stieglitz. “While we’ve had Scorched Earth and future ARKs in the planning stages since the project’s inception, establishing its inter-ARK travel technology was the essential reason for making this content available to players right now. We encourage everyone to grab some trustworthy tribemates, don your safari hats, layer on the SPF-1000 sunscreen, and head into the great blazing desert!”

Scorched Earth Key Features Include:

  • Where’s the Water?: Players must re-learn what it means to survive and thrive in a harsh desert environment depleted of water resources.
  • Explore a New World: Scorched Earth is an entirely new map, composed of seven unique, desert themed biomes – dunes, high desert, mountains, canyons, badlands, oasis and the ever-dangerous dragon trench – each with their own aesthetics, resources and ecosystems, and littered with ruins, geysers, and intricate ancient cave systems.
  • Craft More Than 50 New Items: Discover new outfits and structures to protect from the heat, and new tools to help survive in the harsh environment. Carry temporary shelter with you using tents, employ whips, boomerangs and flamethrowers for ‘defense,’ wind turbines to generate clean power, and water wells and oil refineries to harvest scarce resources, among many new mechanics!
  • Tame New Creatures: The desert’s biomes are filled with fantastical new creatures, many of which can be tamed. Lead a caravan of the camel-like Morellatops, or rain fire down on your enemies from the back of a Wyvern. Just mind your step in the vast desert, or you might attract a Death Worm!
  • Conquer New Challenges: Prepare yourself for dangerous electrical storms, blinding sand storms, befuddling heat stroke, and unleash the power of the Obelisks to come face-to-face with ARK’s deadliest boss creature to date – the ferocious Manticore!
  • Travel Back to the Island: Take characters, favorite creatures and items from Scorched Earth back to the Island, standing out from the crowd and making your Island-dwelling friends jealous with all of the amazing new goodies and secrets you find in the Desert.

Additionally, the Xbox One version (yep, that’s the most important version in our eyes) receives update V739, bringing new Dinos, an official new mod ‘Primitive+’ and an HD resolution upgrade to full 720p with 1080p UIs.

The player-created ‘Primitive+’ is now an official part of ARK: Survival Evolved on Xbox One. It features more than 100 new items, weapons, structures, and survival mechanics oriented towards “primitive” style living — effectively doubling the amount of content within ARK In addition, as part of the v739 update, Studio Wildcard also has brought to life two new creatures, the versatile Pelagornis and the pack-minded Allosaurus, along with a new Fishing Rod and fishing mechanic, and a flurry of additional gameplay features!

Full details below.

  • Pelagornis (Species Pelagornis miocaenus): This creature is instantly recognizable from the more common Icthyornis by its size. With a wingspan rivaling Argentavis, it also possesses a beak filled with tooth-like projections for snagging fish and webbed feet for paddling upon the ocean surface. Because of its ability to fly, walk, and surface-swim, a tamed Pelagornis is one of the island’s most versatile mounts, though this comes at a cost. The same webbed feet that allow Pelagornis to serenely maneuver along the ocean’s surface prevent it from snatching prey from the ground, which may limit its appeal to some survivors.
  • Allosaurus (Species Allosaurus therotribus): Smaller but faster than Tyrannosaurus, larger but slower than Carnotaurus, Allosaurus is the island’s resident pack-hunting theropod. While most aggressive theropods are relatively solitary creatures, Allosaurus lives in groups of three. One Allosaurus is the Pack Leader, while the others are its mates or a beta male. The Allosaurus has evolved to hunt in packs. Its saw-shaped teeth leave its prey bleeding and maimed, making escape difficult. Once an Allosaurus slows a creature with its cutting bite, the rest of its pack quickly close in for the kill…

Additional Update v739 Content Includes:

  • New Item: Fishing Rod and Fishing Mechanic! Be a pro fisherman as you apply varied bait, cast the line, wait for a fish to become ensnared, and then succeed at a mini-game to reel the fish and claim copious rewards!
  • New Structure: Industrial Grinder that grinds items into a portion of their crafting resources, then converts resources into simpler resources
  • New Structure: Spiral Staircase (Stone/Wood/Metal)
  • New Mechanic: Optional Hitmarkers for ranged attacks (server can toggle them, as well as client if the server allows it)
  • Building Attack/Destruction TribeLogs

The ARK just becomes a more attractive proposition by the day!

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