Never trust an internet mob. They almost never mean what they say.

Ark: Survival Evolved, the sci-fi dinosaur-hunting mutliplayer game for Xbox One and PC, has seen steady growth in both its total number of players and the average amount of time people are spending on the game, as first reported by GitHyp and as confirmed by data from Steam Spy. Studio Wildcard, which produces the game, is seeing this continued success despite taking heat for its decision to release the $20 Scorched Earth desert-world expansion while the core Ark game is still part of the Steam Early Access program for incomplete games. Thousands of angry fans slammed Ark with negative user reviews, and it looked like Ark had lost its biggest supporters. But that isn’t the case.

On September 1, the Thursday that Scorched Earth debuted, Ark had a peak of 42,000 simultaneous online players. Two weeks later, that concurrent-player mark for Thursday, September 15 was 52,000. Additionally, the average time spent playing Ark on September 1 was 19 minutes and 17 seconds. That time has steadily climbed to 20:06 on September 15.

So the base game is bringing in more players, and those people are putting more time into the game. On top of that, gamers who are giving Scorched Earth a chance are enjoying it. The expansion has nearly 2,000 reviews and the majority of that response is “very positive,” according to Steam.

It is starting to look like Wildcard’s Early Access DLC experiment is paying off. Last week, the developer explained to fans that it wanted to launch the first expansion before going to the retail 1.0 release in order to test out how new content would link back into standard game in the real world. And while the online hordes were screaming, some other fans embraced this idea and validated the studio’s choice.

Get more stories like this on TwitterFacebook