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Is Genesis 1 ARK Free? A Detailed Look

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Let‘s get straight to answering the key question on everyone‘s mind – no, ARK‘s Genesis Part 1 expansion is not free and must be purchased separately from the base game. As a paid DLC pack, Genesis 1 currently costs $19.99 on Steam, Xbox and PlayStation. But read on for expert tips on getting it discounted or even free!

Introducing ARK‘s Ambitious Genesis Expansions

ARK: Survival Evolved took the gaming world by storm when it launched in 2017, dropping players on a mysterious prehistoric island filled with dinosaurs and danger. Since then, Studio Wildcard has expanded the game into an ambitious sandbox with multiple paid expansions and millions of survivors adventuring for glory.

The latest and most ambitious additions are the Genesis Parts 1 and 2 – futuristic and sci-fi themed expansions offering new creatures, maps, items and bosses. For context, here‘s a quick recap of ARK‘s DLC journey so far:

  • ARK Base Game – Free since 2018, over 26 million copies sold
  • Scorched Earth – desert-themed expansion with dragons
  • Aberration – subterranean mushroom biome, zip-lines
  • Extinction – post-apocalyptic city, titans, meks
  • Genesis Part 1 – sci-fi biomes, missions and orbital map
  • Genesis Part 2 – larger interstellar scale maps and space whales

The Premium Pricing around ARK‘s Genesis Expansions

Given the huge success of ARK‘s core game, there was understandably high anticipation for the Genesis content drops. However, Studio Wildcard surprised fans by making both Genesis 1 and 2 paid premium expansions rather than free updates.

Here‘s an overview of how ARK‘s DLC and pricing currently works:

  • ARK Base Game: Free to play on all platforms
  • Scorched/Aberration/Extinction: $19.99 each or included in Ark Explorer‘s Edition
  • Genesis Season Pass (Part 1 + 2): $34.99
  • Free Map DLCs: Valguero, Ragnarok, The Center

So in summary, the two ambitious Genesis releases come at a premium. But for ARK devotees, the cost may be worth it for brand new worlds to explore and dominate. Let‘s take a closer look at what exactly Genesis 1 offers.

Inside Genesis Part 1: Biomes, Bosses and Bionic Dinosaurs

Genesis Part 1 acts as a futuristic expansion to ARK‘s core primitive survival formula. Across 5 distinct mini maps, it introduces a range of exotic biomes and high-tech twists:

  • Bog – lush swampland with giant insects and fungi
  • Arctic – frozen wasteland with souped-up penguins
  • Ocean – underwater caves and holographic whales
  • Volcanic – rocky caverns with lava flows
  • Lunar – low gravity barren moon landscape

Beyond this, Genesis also brings powerful missions that play out like story episodes, with boss fights against giant titans. Over 25 new futuristic creatures have been added, including the raptor-like Magmasaur, Tek-augmentated Stegosaurus, and shapeshifting Chibi pets.

For collectors and completionists, Genesis 1 ticks all the boxes for must-have ARK content. But how exactly can you get it without paying full price?

Hacks for Getting Genesis 1 for Free or Cheap

As a passionate ARK player myself, I know not everyone can afford to splurge on every expansion immediately. Here are some insider tips and tricks I‘ve used to get Genesis for zero or low cost:

Wait for Sales

Like most games, ARK‘s DLCs frequently go on sale for 25-50% off during seasonal Steam sales or PSN/Xbox offers. It just takes patience to catch that discount window!

Snag Bundle Deals

ARK loves offering special bundles – keep an eye out for combo packs like Explorer‘s Edition that can include Genesis 1 heavily discounted.

Redeem Free Gift Copies

Existing owners can gift Genesis 1 to friends for free! This community sharing can grant you free access if you‘re lucky.

Try Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox‘s subscription includes DLC access for games you own. With the $1 trial, you can play Genesis 1 for a month essentially free!

Wait For Possible Future Free Periods

ARK has offered free limited time events for DLCs before. There‘s a chance Genesis 1 could get an open free weekend in the future.

Weighing Up Free Alternatives Like Ragnarok and Valguero

If you don‘t want to buy or wait for sales on Genesis 1, are the free DLC maps worth trying instead? Let‘s compare some key factors:

Genesis 1 Ragnarok Valguero
Size 5 Small Maps 64 sq km 80 sq km
Theme Futuristic Sci-Fi Fantasy Vikings Aberration Surface
New Dinos 25+ Wyverns, Griffins Deinonychus, Velos
Boss Fights Yes Yes No

The free maps provide welcome new terrain and challenges, while letting you save money. However they can‘t quite match the diversity and features Genesis 1 offers.

Ultimately it comes down to your budget and priorities as an ARK player:

  • Casual players should start with a free map to sample new content
  • Collectors will want to obtain Genesis for the new creatures
  • PvP fans can stick to the Island or other core maps
  • PvE explorers should try for deals on Genesis 1 to experience the variety

The Verdict: Genesis 1 Requires Purchase (For Now)

Genesis Part 1 remains a premium expansion, demanding around $20 to unlock its futuristic realms. But for diehard ARK survivors seeking more worlds and wonders to uncover, it may be worth the investment – or patience to grab at a discount.

The free DLC maps do provide exciting budget options for more casual players. But for experiencing ARK‘s full vision and content scope, look to Genesis 1 as the ambitious next step in the journey. Just be ready to pay the price of admission rather than entering freely.