Is It An MMO? #7 — ARK: Survival Evolved Is More MMO Than Tower of Fantasy, Blue Protocol, And Destiny 2

The action-adventure survival game differentiates itself from counterparts Rust and DayZ on several fronts.

Matthew D'Onofrio
By Matthew D'Onofrio, News Editor

ark Dilophosaurus

The characterization of a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO, is self-explanatory. Or is it? By definition, it means a large number of players on the same server — hundreds, thousands — and a big open world that continues to evolve. So does ARK: Survival Evolved, Studio Wildcard’s action-adventure survival game, fit the genre?

In case you weren’t aware, this title sees players stranded on an island that’s home to a diverse array of dinosaurs. They must craft tools and weapons, farm and harvest crops, and build shelters in order to stay alive. Players can even tame dinosaurs to aid them on their journey. But none of that stuff matters in this discussion. Here’s what does: they can also form tribes with their friends and come across other players.

ark pvp

Ark offers three types of servers: Single player, PVP, and PVE. In PVP, players can kill others and destroy their bases, while in PVE, they cannot harm others or destroy their bases. Most players prefer PVP, but some enjoy PVE and building big bases, taming all the dinosaurs, and leveling up. The game can be played in single player mode, but it is challenging due to powerful dinosaurs and bosses…so multiplayer is the way to go when it comes to Ark.

Usually, servers in the game host up to 100 players at a time. But technically, this number can get even larger, especially with private ones used by clans and guilds. In the “shared open-world MMORPG” Tower of Fantasy, up to 50 players may encounter one another along their adventures. So by that logic alone — since Ark’s limit is higher — this is undoubtedly an MMO, no?

ark dinosaur tamers

Another thing worth mentioning is that the game is similar to Rust and DayZ. Both are multiplayer survival games and do have persistent worlds but no one would call either of them an MMO. What differentiates Ark is its elements of progression through leveling and upgrading the character you control.

So yeah, I’d say the game is kind of like an MMO. Maybe Ark 2 will be even more so, though we don’t have enough details yet on that front. The reason why Ark is at least more MMO than games like Blue Protocol, an “online action RPG,” or Destiny 2, “an action MMO,” really comes down to numbers. Because you are out there fighting against or alongside a hundred players as opposed to just 30 or a measly 12.

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About the Author

Matthew D'Onofrio
Matthew D'Onofrio, News Editor

Matthew “dinofries” D'Onofrio is a writer, content creator, podcaster and — most importantly — a gamer. With such a strong passion for video games and a severe case of FOMO, it's no surprise he always has his finger on the pulse of the gaming world. On the rare occasion Matt's away from a screen, you'll find him strumming away on his acoustic guitar or taking care of his cat Totoro.

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