If you‘ve been wondering whether the cool new Nordic-themed ARK: Survival Evolved expansion Fjordur will remain free or not – I‘ve got you covered. As an ARK expert who has clocked over 800 hours in the game, let me provide the insider details on Fjordur and what makes it a must-play map!
Fjordur is free and here to stay
The most important thing to know upfront – Fjordur is completely free! It joins Ragnarok, The Center, and Lost Island as official free DLC expansions for ARK. The studio behind ARK, Studio Wildcard, has confirmed Fjordur will remain a freely available map just like past expansions. So get ready to enjoy this icy new Nordic world at no extra cost!
Diving into the details of Fjordur
As ARK‘s largest free expansion to date, Fjordur introduces an entirely new Nordic styled map measuring a mammoth 144 sq km in size. That makes it nearly equal to ARK‘s original The Island map at 144 sq km. By comparison, here are the sizes of some other ARK maps:
|144 sq km
|153 sq km
|81 sq km
|144 sq km
In addition to its massive scale, Fjordur introduces exotic new creatures like:
- Ice Wyverns – frost breathing dragons
- Ferox – strange goblin like mammals
- Andrewsarchus – giant woolly mammals
- Desmodus – massive vampire bats
There are also variants of familiar creatures like mammoths, dire wolves, and yutyrannus uniquely adapted to the freezing climate.
Beautiful frozen landscapes
The landscapes across Fjordur‘s five major regions create a breathtaking Norse world. You‘ll traverse windswept tundras, steep snowy mountains, thick redwood forests, and gloomy ice caves. Along the way you‘ll uncover viking ruins, castles, and shipwrecks.
With both frigid and temperate zones, Fjordur strikes a balance between inhospitable ice sheets and more habitable green valleys.
Massive underwater biome
Fjordur doesn‘t just offer an expansive land based map. It also introduces a vast underwater biome complete with caves, giant jellyfish, and angler fish. You can explore sunken viking ruins while fending off schools of piranhas.
And you‘ll be able to tame or breed ocean creatures like plesiosaurs and megalodons. Just watch out for the massive whales that spawn in deeper waters!
Arena for boss battles
Once you gather the required artifacts and materials, you can ascend to Valguero Arena. This end-game location allows you to summon ARK‘s fearsome bosses for epic battles. Defeating the various difficulty levels of bosses lets you unlock new engrams and items.
How Fjordur stacks up to past ARK expansions
Fjordur continues ARK‘s tradition of releasing high quality free expansions. Here‘s how it compares to past DLC in terms of size and reception:
Based on critic and player reviews so far, Fjordur looks like another hit expansion for ARK. The world design, creatures, and features provide tons of great new content.
Optimizing your PC for the best Fjordur performance
Now while the Fjordur expansion itself is free, you‘ll need a copy of the base ARK: Survival Evolved game to play it. And fair warning – ARK is notoriously demanding on hardware and poorly optimized.
To enjoy Fjordur at 60 FPS on high settings, you‘ll realistically need hardware like:
- RTX 3070 or Radeon RX 6800 GPU
- Core i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU
- 16GB RAM
- SSD storage
With graphics set to Epic, getting a stable 60 FPS at 2560×1440 resolution requires an even more powerful rig like:
- RTX 3090 or RX 6900 XT
- Core i9 or Ryzen 9
- 32GB RAM
And 4K resolution at max settings is only viable with cutting edge setups costing $3000+. My advice is to aim for 60 FPS at 1440p resolution unless you have an unlimited budget. But customize quality settings to balance visuals and performance based on your system.
The exciting future of ARK
With Fjordur receiving strong reviews from both critics and players, ARK‘s future continues to look bright 7 years after initial early access release. Some signs of the game‘s ongoing popularity:
- Over 25,000 Steam reviews and 92% positive rating
- Peak player count of 157,191 on Steam in March 2022
- Consistently in Steam‘s top 10 played games by concurrency
- Sold over 20 million copies across all platforms
And the developers at Studio Wildcard show no signs of slowing down support for ARK anytime soon. The community remains excited for future free expansions,mods, and overall evolution of the game.
Is ARK worth playing in 2023? My verdict
For new players wondering if ARK is still worth getting into after so many years, I‘d say absolutely. The core survival/crafting gameplay loop remains as addicting as ever. And content expansions like Fjordur breathe new life into the experience.
Sure, ARK still has its share of bugs and performance problems. But if you have friends to team up with or enjoy challenging survival games, ARK offers an incredible value. Hundreds if not thousands of hours of adventure await in this prehistoric world.
So in summary: yes, ARK remains a must-play game in 2023. Grab it on sale or when it‘s offered free, optimize your settings, and enjoy all the new experiences Fjordur provides!