ARK: Survival Evolved launched on Steam in "Early Access" in June of this year and has been one of the most popular games sold on the platform since its release. Currently, the game is #11 on Steam's top sellers list, among massive titles such as Rocket League and Grand Theft Auto V. Being an "Early Access" title, the game receives frequent updates and patches, and today it will receive one of the most hotly anticipated updates: DirectX 12 support is coming to the game, making it the first title available using Microsoft's latest API.
ARK: Survival Evolved is an online survival adventure RPG game set in a world filled with dinosaurs and mythical creatures such as dragons. The game is visually stunning, and it demands a significant amount of graphics horsepower. The developers behind the game have suggested that DX12 will improve performance on compatible computers by as much as 20 percent.
It's unclear what time the update will occur. The developer update simply stated "This Friday."
Along with the API update, the game is being offered for free this weekend on Steam. If you haven't had a chance to try the game out, this is a great opportunity to give it a whirl before committing. It's also a great chance for anyone interested in seeing what DX12 has to offer first-hand.
Throughout the free weekend, Studio Wildcard will launch hundreds of new official servers that will include an Extinction Event. This will only happen one time, according to the company. Through the weekend, new players can join these servers and try to locate random supply crates. Inside some of these crates will be coupons for 50 percent off the purchase of the game. Some lucky winners will receive free copies of ARK: Survival Evolved. The Extinction Event will conclude at 11:59pm EST on Monday with a "meteor strike" that will wipe out the servers. Studio Wildcard recommended only new players use these servers, but said that save data from these servers will be posted online for players to download and continue their progress in single player, or on a private unofficial server.
ARK is also running a competition this weekend. The game has a mode called "Survival of the Fittest," where 35 teams of two are pitted against each other in a survival game similar to The Hunger Games. Everyone starts the game in a circle facing each other, with supplies in the center. Players chose if they fight, or run off into the jungle and avoid the first battle. The competition this weekend is called "Survival of the Fittest: Unnatural Selection."
Teams of four will be pitted against hundreds of other players in an epic battle. The prize: the chance to ride atop a dragon, as well as win actual cash prizes. As the completion progresses, a ring of fire surrounding the arena will creep in, forcing players closer to each other. You won't be able to just hide in the forest and wait this one out.
The competition will run open preliminary matches from 6am EST on Saturday, August 29 and conclude Monday, August 31 at 11pm EST. Battles will run for two and one half hours each, and the winning teams of each battle will advance to the Pre-Championship matches that will start at 10am on September 1. The final 36 tribes will be put into a 144-player Championship match that will start at 2:30pm EST the same day. The championship match will be run over the course of four and a half hours, and will be streamed on SurvivetheARK's twitch channel.
During the championship match, the dragon will make its first appearance in the game, and players will have the chance to try and tame it and ride it. Studio Wildcard noted that the dragon will be used to cull players if they are found to not be killing each other at a sufficient pace.
The winner of the championship will be awarded with some significant prizes, with the first place team receiving $20,000 to be split four ways. The second place team will be awarded $10,000, and third place will share $4,000. Every player who manages to reach the championship match will also receive a $100 Steam gift card.