Atlas is certainly better optimized than Ark Survival Evolved was at a similar age; however, much of that performance increase could be attributed to how much more powerful hardware has become; before the Covid 19 pandemic, it was possible to pick up fairly powerful GPU that was beyond anything on the market when Ark Survival Evolved released for less than £300.
As for raw performance data when using a 5700 XT, I can run Atlas at a stable 95fps/1080p on maxed settings on land and closer to 144fps/1080p when at sea, which is very playable and enjoyable, with even the most frantic engagements rarely causing the fps to drop below 65.
For me, the biggest performance gains I have encountered involved moving my installation of Atlas to a NvMe drive, loading times are now counted in second son even a highly modded install, and screen tearing and texture streaming issues are almost non-existent.
Atlas is a very pretty survival game; when played at maximum settings, like its sibling Ark Survival Evolved, it becomes considerably less attractive when hardware/performance limitations necessitate lowering visual quality to medium or even lower.
For those who are able to play Atlas the way it was meant to be played, it is one of the most visually stunning survival games on the market, and exploration is a game unto itself; I could happily sail around for hours discovering new islands points of interest.
Players can customize almost every aspect of their character’s appearance, which can result in some horrifying creations; that being said, for players who wish to create a unique character, Atlas has one of the best character creators in the genre, improving upon the one found in Ark Survival Evolved considerably.
The Atlas community is not a monolith and comprises multiple distinct groups of players, each with their own personalities and goals.
Roleplayers like to immersive themselves in the world and lore of their particular server; they are often friendly, not prone to unprovoked violence, and as a general rule, make great neighbours; if you can fit into their world, often roleplay servers will have additional rules and restrictions, such as naming conventions and limitations on the types of ships and bases players are allowed to construct.
In addition, most roleplay servers require players to remain in character (IC) and frown upon players engaging in out-of-character chat (OOC) in public chat channels.
Pvpers range from trolls who enjoy levelling the shack of new players and leaving racist messages on noticeboards to sporting individuals who enjoy the thrill of testing their mettle against others.
One of the most misunderstood groups in Atlas, most assume them all to be bloodthirsty trolls, when in reality, the vast majority of PvPers have a good sense of sportsmanship and fair play and will not attack small companies or solo players unless provoked, and will actively step in to protect smaller companies from aggressive larger companies when asked.
These players love building and often do not wish to engage in any other activity; they create some of the most magnificent structures and ships in the game and, as a general role, hang out on roleplay or PvE unofficial servers.
PvE / Causals
Wrongfully dismissed as carebears by the toxic elements of the PvP community, Pve players enjoy exploring, battling NPCs, and working with other players; as a rule, PvE players are more commonly found on the official PvE server or unofficial PvPvE servers, where PvP is limited to certain areas of the map.
Atlas is a survival video game developed and published by Grapeshot Games, it was released on 22 December 2018 and retails for $29.99.
Atlas is available on the following platforms: PC, XBox One, Xbox Series X|S.
Despite what some in the community may say, Grapeshot Games have continually updated Atlas since its launch in 2018; unfortunately, many of those updates seem to counter one another, as various project leads took the project in different directions.
While those who accuse Grapeshot Games of abandoning Atlas are wrong, I understand their frustration regarding Atlas and its future.
Over the past three years, we have seen the focus of Atlas shift from a large-scale piratical MMORPG to something very different, Atlas isn’t bad, but it’s not what we paid for.
Custom shipbuilding has been relegated to legacy mechanics, with all new ship types being modular in design; while I understand WHY this change had to occur to allow some semblance of balance in PvP, the new system is far less immersive and honestly far less enjoyable to partake in, and mainly consists of grinding gold and then buying a ship from a vendor.
In addition, the developers have danced back and forth between making Atlas more like Ark Survival Evolved by introducing new mounts and land-based mechanics and focusing on making the oceans more rewarding for players.
While they have succeeded somewhat in this regard, the constant swapping between priorities has resulted in development slowing to a crawl, with Atlas reciting small “monthly updates” roughly every three months, giving the appearance that Atlas is in a far worse state than it actually is.
Without question, Atlas is a very different game than the one we were sold back in 2018, but it’s not all bad news; Atlas is now far more friendly to solo players and small groups, and Grapeshot Games have introduced new ways for players to automate some of the more tedious elements of grinding resources, such as the introduction of trade winds, portals, dedicated resource gathering buildings and trade routes.
While we do not know how many people play Atlas on Xbox, we do know how many people play via Steam, and frankly, it’s not that many right now; with daily highs of just under 1500 players, it’s certainly not dead, but its struggling, especially when you consider three years ago the average daily peak ccu was 5k+, with highs of up to 11k players after the Steam winter sale in Jan 2020.
As things currently stand in 2023, Atlas only breaks 3k concurrent players at the start of a new season following a wipe. Unless Grapeshot Games can pull off a perfect full release soon, we are unlikely to see a major increase in players within the next 6-12 months.
Is It Possible For Atlas To Grow Again?
Certainly, DayZ was hovering at around 3k players at peak each day during the last weeks and months of early access, only to see those numbers multiply at full release, with DayZ now enjoying daily peaks of over 52k players and seasonal highs of over 61k concurrent players.
While not as impressive as DayZ’s revival, Conan Exiles saw its daily peak ccu jump from around 4k players to 12k players at peak on average following its release from early access.
The post-release success of Conan Exiles and DayZ set a precedent that cannot be easily ignored; leaving early access with a stable product can see a “dying” game become successful, the only question that remains is, can Grapeshot Games reach the finish line with a stable product?
I believe they can IF they decide on a roadmap and stick to it; swapping priorities every few months slows down development, confuses the community, and discourages potential players.
Atlas has come close to dying several times since 2018 and yet still receives updates in 2022.
While Atlas is a great game in principle, that alone would not keep players engaged throughout the long content droughts and prolonged PvP seasons that attract fewer returning players with each subsequent season.
The Atlas official servers are only alive due to crossplay support with the Xbox community, with the majority of official server players coming from that platform, ensuring that the official PvP and PvE servers remain viable.
Unlike the console community, most PC players prefer to spend their time on modified unofficial servers, which offer increased experience gain and a wide selection of quality-of-life improvements that make Atlas more palatable for small groups and solo players.
While individually, these communities are far smaller than the official servers, the vast majority of PC players prefer them as they allow for more frequent roleplay and pvp encounters due to players being able to replace lost ships and items quickly.
There are several unmodded boosted unofficial that allow crossplay between Xbox and PC; however, these are not as popular as modded servers with the PC community.
Nope, however, that could change once Atlas leaves Early Access.
Atlas is rated PEGI 16 and contains the following:
I enjoy playing Atlas, and if you can find the right unofficial server/company, it will be a very enjoyable experience; however, at this time, I cannot recommend anyone pays full price for Atlas, as Grapeshot Games have yet to prove they have the capability to stick to a roadmap.
Atlas often goes on sale for 66% off or greater during Steam sales, and I feel that is a great buy-in price; for those who understand, Atlas may never become all we, the community and Grapeshot Games themselves, had envisioned it to be.