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Atlas servers brought down again — this time by giant whales and tanks

Hacker gets into administrator’s account, forces server rollback

Atlas - A player fires upon a ghostly vessel. Studio Wildcard / Grapeshot Games
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Atlas, the unfinished, early access, large-scale pirate MMO, suffered through a laggy, buggy, janky launch that rated an apology from maker Grapeshot Games. That was bad, but nothing as comically bad as what the game saw at the end of the week.

Some hacker got control of an administrative account and dumped a bunch of tanks, whales and combat aircraft into the world, enough to take the game offline Thursday morning and force a server rollback of about five hours the next day.

In a statement to the community posted Thursday afternoon, an Atlas community manager said that someone compromised the administrator’s Steam account to wreak havoc on the North America PvP network. “We have taken the appropriate steps to ensure this does not happen again,” the manager said.

Eurogamer has video clips from a livestream that was going as soon as the whales started spawning in their area. Later on, a World War II-era aircraft dive-bombs into a galleon, prompting a “What the hell was that?!” from the streamer. (In character, too!) Another giggle-strewn clip shows tanks from the same time period spawning on a beach and exploding once they reach the water. Good times.

Naturally, Atlas’s community — having put up with so much since the game was announced at The Game Awards 2018 and hustled out the door two weeks later, took a fresh opportunity to bust on Studio Wildcard’s network security, or lack thereof. (Grapeshot Games is a studio under Ark maker Studio Wildcard.)

They’re also peeved that the pirate company that appears to be behind the hackery has apparently suffered no consequences for it. But that was so yesterday; today they’re angry about elephants’ carrying capacity getting nerfed (and also a nerf to fire arrows. “These are all the kinds of things they fucked up in Ark, too,” said one player. “Like, they really haven’t learned any lessons.”)

Atlas is currently available for $29.99 on Steam. Despite the cornucopia of jank it’s been serving since it launched Dec. 22, the game is seeing average concurrent player figures around 33,000, peaking at almost double that at the end of December.

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