Since Ark: survival Evolved first launched on heavy steam Early accessibility on June 2, 2015, a player called Vör has clocked over 8,600 hrs of playtime. To placed that in its suitable context, there are 8,760 hrs in a year. We got to out to Vör come ask just how he can possibly have actually played this game for nearly half its existence.

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Like plenty of players, Vör is irritable at recent transforms to Ark. Deserve to Studio Wildcard success their community back?

“When Ark came out ns was in ~ a an especially low suggest with my health,” Vör tells us. He had been diagnosed v Crohn’s condition almost a year earlier: condition that provides your immune system attack your intestines, resulting in various knock-on symptoms.

“Crohn’s condition affects plenty of people, and also in various ways. Each has their own journey,” Vör explains. He suffered many of the more common effects: anxiety, joint pain, earlier pain, overproduction that stomach acids, and over all, severe lack of energy – “What would certainly be a an easy task for someone there is no Crohn’s would be hugely draining because that me,” that says.

It also gave that a form of psoriasis in between his legs. “My skin began literally fallout’s off, and also I got substantial crevices and also razor spicy sores, which supposed that i simply could not walk for over six months.”

Vör might not work, and spent many of his days bedbound. Surgeons removed some that his colon and put that on a course of immunosuppressant medicine to manage the inflammation in his gut – a necessary treatment, however one the made him more vulnerable come viruses and also germs.

The very first session


This was the horrible context in which Ark come in Vör’s life. He take it a possibility on it the very an initial day it was released into at an early stage Access. His very first session was fifty percent a job in the PvP mode, i m sorry did no take – “there to be trolls everywhere and also so much aggression and also competitiveness” – yet in its PvE game, he discovered an important, even essential, coping mechanism.

“Ark noted the appropriate level the distraction. I could focus on do the efforts to accomplish something in the game, instead of the pain ns was continually in.” the did pat other gamings on occasion, consisting of Evolve, but ultimately that was only Ark the “seemed to offer me what my brain needed.

“I can pick and choose the pace at which ns played, and the things I did. It was the perfect distraction indigenous the pains of the surgery and as such was a welcome relief, at first.”

Vör’s unique relationship with Ark started as a way to keep his mind off his pain, yet game mechanics, perhaps inevitably, took over.

“The much more I gamed in Ark, the much more I necessary to maintain what I had achieved,” Vör says. “The number of dinosaurs I had spiralled out of control. In ~ one suggest I had over 1,500, and they all required to be fed.” Vör states he fed them all, every single day, “which, all told, has actually taken up hours and hours of my time.” the his 8,600 hours, Vör approximates that that was actively playing for about 95% the it. “I wouldn’t ever risk being logged in because that a long time whilst being AFK. I worth my ascendant knife way too much for that.”

Vör’s commitment come the video game escalated again when developers Studio Wildcard nerfed stasis feeding, leading to him to spend yet much more time tending come his dinosaurs. “The video game was designed to expense me time, and also I had actually to think of brand-new ways to end up being even much more efficient come minimise the impact on my energy levels, as Crohn’s an illness is a fatigue-based illness.”

It can sound prefer a painful position to be in, and also indeed Vör explains it as “a important evil that started to ratchet out of control.” and yet, as soon as his health and wellness took a revolve for the worse, he necessary a distraction much more than ever.

Further health and wellness challenges


Not long after Ark an initial released, Vör visited sleep one night, and also woke increase struggling come breathe. The rushed come the hospital, where physicians told that he had actually suffered a voluntary pneumothorax – among his lungs had torn a hole, emptying virtually two litres of air into his chest cavity. The medical professionals performed one aspiration: lock pierced his chest v a needle to suck the end the air. It to be an emergency, for this reason there to be no sedation, and Vör was awake with the totality ordeal. It “has stayed with me as among my worst ever before memories,” that says.

When he got ago from the hospital, he when again dove right into Ark, to take it his mind turn off the pain. His wellness “seemed to level the end a little for a while. I regulated to get into a controllable routine wherein Ark would offer me a factor to it is in up at a details time that day. It ended up being something i knew I needed to rod with, and also putting my effort into this game would at some point prove to it is in a great form of treatment for me.”

A year later – summer 2016 – Vör’s lung broke down again. “Aspiration was rejected this time, as it appeared that other bigger was going on.” Scans revealed the diseased lung organization – he had actually been a heavy smoker – would reason the problem to recur, for this reason a bigger operation was required. Vör’s lung to be to be fused v his chest cavity for this reason it might not collapse. He had to live in agony for six weeks v a broke down lung while waiting for the operation, taking solid pain medication, not understanding whether he would certainly wake up every morning. Once again, Ark was his to escape in “one that the hardest times of mine life.”

The operation came – “the anaesthetist described that it would certainly be as painful together childbirth” – and, cruelly, failed; ~ Vör to be discharged that was found that the lung had not unify properly, and it collapsed yet again.

“I had actually to continue to be in hospital for another six days v a drain coming out of mine chest if the blend happened everywhere again. I got in shock, and as my left lung broke down further, I almost passed away. I could barely breath at all, and it was only thanks to my sister and best friend controlling to discover a doctor in time that ns was put ago onto a morphine drip, and also the physicians were able come re-inflate my lung and also save my life.”

The society side


When news the what Vör had been through spread on his server, people came to assist him. They would feed his dinosaurs for him for this reason he can go exploring, taming the odd biology now and also again. He might play at his very own pace. “I met some of the most amazing in-game girlfriend you could wish to meet.”

They set up a Mumble conversation room together. It to be Vör’sfirst endure of playing v a mic, and also it readjusted everything. “I could be open around what had actually happened, and I might ask for aid if I essential it.”

It restored his confidence outside of the game, too. “Living alone and through so lot pain for virtually two years supposed my fix was strong, however you execute not invest two years indoors without some mental collateral damage,” Vör explains. By chatting and playing Ark through people, in time, “my personality began to bloom again, as I obtained so lot love and encouragement from mine friends.”

During his recovery, this ar showed Vör a new side that Ark. They take it on bosses together, mutual knowledge and build advice, and also supported each various other through the darker next of online gaming: “Some guys determined to troll me even though they had actually heard around my lung operation. They come over come my basic on a quetzal, reduce all your rexes top top it, tried come block every my entrances, and also began abusing me in the worldwide chat.”

It was the an initial of countless such incidents, which to be made all the more painful due to the fact that “they yes, really did recognize what I had actually been through. They to be told numerous times, however they brought on and also bullied me all the same.”


Vör and also his girlfriend reported this incidents, only for Studio Wildcard to take it no action. The trolls “still come top top the server now, simply to taunt me and also prove that they room not banned.”

“This do me feel horrible,” Vör says. “My ‘happy place’, where I to be trying to recoup from a major operation, was struck by a group of heartless bullies. My friends were wonderful and defended me, yet I can not aid but feeling utterly let down by the devs and also community managers because, by not acting on the information, they welcomed that bullying on PvE was okay.”

Vör is additionally worried about Wildcard’s unavoidable decision come re-evaluate Ark’s servers. “The legacy server us all met top top is at threat of gift wiped, since the web traffic there has absolutely nose-dived.” Unlike various other players with less time invested, Vör does not feel able to begin fresh. “It was hard sufficient with mine Crohn’s condition to do every little thing at the begin of Ark the first time around.”

The new servers have likewise scattered Vör’s friends, who have “ended increase in pairs across different servers. Some have lost the Ark bug completely, and are logging right into Mumble just to speak ‘hi’.” due to the fact that not enough new servers have been do available, lock are complete to capacity, leading to long login times and players idling to save their spot once they room in.

The promise the technical assistance on the brand-new servers – one not extended to the legacy servers – has likewise drawn world away. “The an outcome of every this is that our impressive Ark community is lie in tatters, spread out over not sufficient servers with just our friendship maintaining us with each other in Mumble. That, in ~ least, is one thing the devs can not take far from us. Ns cannot begin to say thanks to my in-game friends enough for the fun and support that we have shared. Lock are very generous and funny, and also wonderfully kind, and also I truly perform not understand what ns would have actually done without them.”

Doing good


It is a bit of a tangent indigenous Vör’s story, yet I cannot say I know anyone who has played a game for 8,600 hours, for this reason I need to ask: how does such invest in a game adjust your relationship with it? are you play for the very same reasons any kind of more? Is that still fun?

“The location that you gain the funny from certainly shifts,” Vör says. “It really is simply a regime for me at the moment. Ns log in, feed my dinosaurs, farm the bits and also pieces I must keep my base ticking over, then I shot to aid other players because that a while. Before I understand it, hours have gone by.”

After so much time, it should be no surprised that Vör’s in-game power is godlike. In lieu of any kind of mechanical challenges to overcome – having actually overcome them every long earlier – helping rather has end up being Vör’s factor to play.

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“Going up to a Titan and eating it within a few seconds because someone didn’t desire it to was standing on their base provides me a huge sense that well-being. That is what I enjoy most about the game: helping people. Meeting a brand-new player, speak hello and helping out might last a lifetime, due to the fact that that never ever gets old or stops gift fun.”

At first, Vör observed Ark “as a method to exist temporarily till I was not poorly anymore, and was may be to obtain out the the house.” In time, however, “helping civilization helped me to feel human being again.”

(And that points out that, if Wildcard go through with a proposal to reset everyone’s progression to level one, he will certainly not have the ability to do any kind of of this. The assumed fills that “with utter contempt.”)



“Before I acquired so poorly i was a musician,” Vör says. “I play guitar, ns sang, I created my own songs, and I played blues harmonica. All of those things essential some serious lung power, but for 2 years ns was can not to carry out anything v my lung at all. Mine voice crate was damaged in the operation too, and also that has actually only just healed, a year later. I am maybe to sing a tune or 2 now and then mine voice gives way, but compared to where I was, I’ll take the for now.”

He quiet logs right into Ark for a pair of hrs a day, purely to maintain his work, yet he is thoroughly shed out, and also expects Studio Wildcard come wipe the heritage servers soon. So, he and also a friend have actually plans to set up a private server, carrying their progression with save papers they intend Wildcard come release. Vör will take a couple of weeks off during the transition – “I need that break sobadly” – prior to launching this server with decreased feeding rates and also structure timers “so we can play at our very own pace, there is no the press the official servers placed on us. The emphasis will it is in to have fun, without having actually to log in in every solitary day.”

Vör mentions the teething troubles of the new servers. Many have hit their dinosaur limit, so players can not tame any an ext pets, while others are experiencing near-unplayable lag. “It yes, really is a laughable state of work in numerous ways.” He says “people are signing approximately come and join” his exclusive server.


Vör is eating and sleeping better, despite he quiet tires easily. His left lung is stable, yet although he has actually not smoked due to the fact that his aspiration over 400 job ago, the damages he has already done has put his appropriate lung in ~ risk. “Despite progression being slower 보다 I would certainly like, that has definitely been made. It can sound tough to believe, however I take into consideration myself happy to be here and things could have to be a totality lot worse, so I try to keep smiling where I can.” that is looking front to the release of the save files and the start of his private server, as soon as “I will finally be able to enjoy the game again for the factor I dropped in love through it in the an initial place – to have actually a laugh with my friends.”