Ark's First Expansion Out Now, Includes Dragons, 50+ New Items, and More

You'll start your journey in Scorched Earth naked in the desert.

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Following a teaser earlier this week, Studio Wildcard today announced Ark: Survival Evolved's first expansion pack. It's called Scorched Earth and is available right now on PC through Steam Early Access and on Xbox One via the console's Game Preview program.

The desert-themed expansion adds new sandy biomes, creatures like the Wyvern, and new gameplay systems. Like in the base game, you start out by waking up naked and stranded, but this time, you find yourself in a desert. In Scorched Earth, players must find shelter and gather resources to survive. Players can move back and forth between Scorched Earth and the main game, bringing items from one world to the other.

Scorched Earth is described as a "completely finished [and] polished" expansion pack. It sells for $20 on PC and Xbox One and requires the base game, which is marked down 40 percent this week on PC and Xbox One.

"All of us at Wildcard are tremendously excited to see how these new features alter the dynamics of the long-term ARK 'metagame,'" Studio Wildcard lead designer and co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz said in a statement. "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!"

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Scorched Earth's new map features seven desert-themed biomes, including dunes, high desert, mountains, canyons, badlands, oasis, and a dragon trench. Each region as its own unique resources and ecosystems, too.

There are more than 50 new items included with Scorched Earth, including new outfits and structures, as well as new shelter in the form of tents. Also new to the game are whips, boomerangs, and flamethrowers, among other things.

As for the new creatures, Scorched Earth has all manner of beasts, including the camel-like Morellatops and the aforementioned Wyvern. There is also what's called a Death Worm featured in the expansion. Some of the new creatures can be tamed and ridden.

Scorched Earth also adds a new boss creature in the form of a deadly Manticore. Additionally, players will need to survive electrical storms and sand storms, and must also avoid heatstroke.

In other news about Ark, the Xbox One version is being updated today to include, among other things, a graphical improvement that will see the native resolution boosted to 720p. The UI will rise to 1080p. This update also adds the player-made Primitive+ mod, which itself has more than 100 new items. Additionally, the patch introduces two creatures, the Pelagornis and the Allosaurus, while it also brings fishing to the game with a fishing mechanic and a rod.

Despite not even being finished yet, Ark has sold more than 5.5 million copies across PC and Xbox One. Studio Wildcard plans to bring the game to PlayStation 4, but Sony does not allow in-development games on its platform, so the PlayStation crowd will have to wait.

In other news, Studio Wildcard recently announced that Ark's free version, Survival of the Fittest, was being folded back into the base game. It is no longer available as a standalone game.

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