Players will first receive an Arkbreaker stash, which will include a starter pack of Volge gear, spikes that can provide a beneficial aura like a damage buff, stims that provide a number of benefits including instant healing, and some new-style grenades. Each day and week, players will also receive a stipend of batteries that will aid in calling down an Ark, so even free players will not be left out in the cold. Just be aware that if you are a player who has not paid for the new DLC, you can loot some of the new gear that comes with the DLC for trade or salvage, but you will not be able to equip the items.
There is a total of eight new missions with the DLC, two of them acting as a sort of Arkbreaker tutorial. The fully voice-acted cutscenes familiar to gamers are included in these new missions. After learning how to break an Ark, players hunt on the map for either a small or large Arkfall and get to work. The brilliant thing is that once the Ark shows up on the map, any player can join in the fight just as in a normal Arkfall. Any number of players can join in the interior boss fight as well, even if they did not purchase the DLC.
The developers explained their philosophy that "the arrival of new players should always be a positive experience," meaning that thanks in large part to the skill-based gameplay, a new player is never cut off from the fun. Don't worry about that phat loot, either. The loot is divided in generally the same way it is during a co-op mission. You don't need to be worried about players "stealing" your Arks because there are plenty of them to spare!
Players are advised to take on the Volge Warmaster inside the Ark in groups of 17 to 20, with a maximum of 24 players. If more than 24 players show up to go inside the Ark, the game splits them into new instances until everyone who wants to join can do so. Minor Arkfalls are smaller, maybe one- or two-room instances that require only one "battery," while major Arkfalls are larger and much more challenging, requiring four of the expensive batteries to bring down. Think of Arks as portable, tough, open dungeons with loot for all to enjoy. And no combat rating is required, so even newbies can jump into one of these Arkfalls!
What sort of loot is there to enjoy? There is the new Volge Thunderer pistol that fires a shot that clings onto others before exploding, a Volge sniper rifle that fires a slower projectile while doing much more damage, and a Volge assault rifle that burst-fires streams of death at the enemy for maximum damage. There are also 25 new weapons that act as improvements on old weapons with bonuses like increased reload speeds.
The Volge Warmaster, the boss you'll face inside the fallen Arks, has been with the game since E3 of 2011. Since then, the team has tweaked him into one deadly
boss with stronger and smarter AI. The Warmaster will target individual players, can adapt fighting styles to the individual player's location in the instance, and will grow stronger and more furious as the fight goes on. He is, according to the team, far more different than any enemy that players have faced before. You'll have only seven minutes to destroy him, though, else he'll run off and you'll lose your chance at any pieces of epic-tier loot. If you fall during the battle, you'll be out of the fight for 30 to 45 seconds but will be in a safe area with a chance to reload before getting back in.
The DLC is due to arrive on Tuesday the 10th of December and costs $9.99 US (free with the season pass).When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!