Ark: Survival Evolved — Beginners Guide

In celebration of Ark’s physical release later this month, we jumped back into the world of dinosaurs to give you a foolproof beginners guide. This guide will help you give the best chance of survival for your character. This guide is being based off the PlayStation 4 version of the game and should be equally correct for the Xbox One version. We did not go into any of Scorched Earth for this guide and solely focused on surviving in the base game. So, if you want to astound your friends by being the best player around, just memorize some of these tips to be more ready for the strange social experiment that is Ark.

Brush up on Your Dinosaurs

Tip number one is to brush up on your dinosaur knowledge. That means that kid’s book that taught you which dinos were friendly or not is actually pretty valuable for survival in this game. By having a base knowledge of dinosaurs and their diets, you can kind of start to figure out what will try and eat you. Of course, most people know to keep away from a T-rex, but how many people know what depth a Megalodon hangs out in? There’s also a lot of creatures in the prehistoric era you may not think about trying to eat you like giant bugs.

Next, know what dinosaurs are friendly, these are the guys you will want to hang around. Generally, there is no size or weight class that determines whether the creature standing in front of you wants a midnight snack or not. There are even dinosaurs smaller than a Dodo bird that will chase you down in packs trying to devour your legs. Never let your guard down and always check out your environment from a distance when you find a new creature. Also, if it looks like it has sharp teeth then it probably isn’t your friend.

Also, please note that just because a dinosaur is peaceful it can still destroy you if provoked. Even some of the cutest dinos have more than enough strength to take you out quickly in the beginning. This means be cautious when punching around friendly dinos or you may just end up getting chased. While this may not prove much of a problem with the dodos, a trike isn’t something you want chasing you down anytime soon. Ark isn’t a forgiving game though and they won’t give up chasing you for quite a bit, so don’t think you can mess with the locals easily.

I’m Naked

And this isn’t the type of party you want that to happen at. When you start Ark, you will be able to make a character to look like you or a hideous monster from your dreams. Either way, you wake up nearly bald in an unfamiliar land with no supplies to keep you going. At this point, you will probably look around and wonder why this game isn’t giving you a better tutorial. Don’t sweat it though because we are going to help your cold shivering self-make some clothes to put on and gather some berries to eat ASAP.

First off, we are going to want to find a place to stay. Try to stay close to a water source so you won’t get dehydrated since we have no way to carry water with us yet. Next, we need to make sure that predators don’t regularly spawn around us so let’s pick an area with a bunch of prey animals that they will go after before us. Once that’s over with, let’s start punching some trees to get wood and thatch. We will also want to start picking berries from the tons of bushes stashed around us in order to get fiber that we can make clothing out of. This will also get you berries in the process, which will not give you a lot of food points unless you consume them in high amounts.

Once we have a good amount of items, you will probably notice that we’ve mysteriously leveled up a few times. This is because in Ark you get experience from pretty much everything that helps you survive or even surviving itself. You will have two parts to leveling up; the first is a point to your actual stats, these stats can increase your food, water, how long you can breathe underwater, fortitude, stamina, carry weight, and strength. The second part will let you put points into making items. It’s important that you choose a set of an item you want to focus on making. In the beginning, you will need to make a campfire and a thatched house, as well as some clothes and basic weapons.

Once you have the ability to build these, go into the menu and see if you have what you need to start the process. I would start with making a set of basic clothes for protection and some spears. Once that’s done, go for an ax to make gathering wood a little quicker and begin chopping down some trees. Once you have enough thatch, begin building your first house in the location you have selected and put out a campfire to cook meat on. Also, be sure to be able to make a bed that you can spawn back on if you get killed while hunting.

Taming and Maiming

As the title suggests, we are about to get into one of the fun parts of Ark, dealing with the dinos. Dinosaurs have quite a few purposes in the game that you can use to your advantage. Some dinos can be used as mounts to help you get around the map more efficiently. The other uses can be to get food or even to use as a defense. Different dinos have different uses and you will need to find out which ones will be the most useful to your play style. Be warned, though the taming process can be rough on your own and you may need to adjust your private game to meet what you can realistically take on by yourself.

First off, you may want to tame some smaller dinosaurs for breeding and meat. It’s best to start by taming and multiplying dodos for meat. Dodos are extremely easy to tame and only need berries that you can pick from the surrounding bushes. In order to start the taming process, you will have to knock the creature out and keep it sedated. This is where your club will come in handy. You will need to continually bonk your target until they go unconscious. Then you will need to load their inventory with either meat or berries and watch over them to the taming bar is full. If they start to wake up bonk them again or put narcaberries in their inventory as well to keep them knocked out.

Once you have leveled up some, you will be able to tame slightly bigger prey. For this, you will need to collect stashes of raw meat to feed to predators. Timing starts to become a process at this point as every dinosaur has a real time countdown timer that you will need to keep it sedated in order to tame it. These timers can easily go up to 8 hours of real time depending on the type and level of a dinosaur. In an offline game, this won’t be much of a problem if you can set up a base near your target, but online servers will change the way you play the game entirely.

Playing Online

PVP and PVE are the two types of online modes you can choose from. This is where most people spend their time in Ark due to its strange social structure. Here you can make tribes or join them and try to coexist with others as best as you can. This, of course, turns tricky as Ark doesn’t have in game voice chat that you can use effectively. That coupled with the fact that about 70 people can inhabit a server at once and you have a delicate social system that can topple at any moment.

To survive in these modes, make sure you hook up your keyboard so you can use the in game chat. While this isn’t as well communicated at voice chat, it will let other players know you are friendly. Also, be sure to learn the emote system to be able to greet others. If you want to play hostile it’s best to wait until you have yourself set up. Most servers have had players on them for quite some time and while the physical edition game out these players has probably been playing using the digital version for quite some time.

Also, make note that when you log out your body simply goes limp and falls down. This means that if you log out in the open other players can loot from you and kill you. This also means that your bases can be raided at any time and your items stolen. Always make sure to fortify your home and put locks on chests with important materials in them. You also will have to look out for diseased players and animals. Any player with a radioactive symbol above their head has the plague and can give it to you by simply getting close. Some tribes will use biological warfare on others by dropping in sick dinos.

Playing With Friends

If possible always try and play with a group of friends in Ark. When you play with a large group of friends, you can make your own tribe. This is a game where different schedules can even benefit you because when you guys can be on at different times, it helps keep track of what’s going on in the server. On top of that taming dinosaurs will go by much smoother if you have more people to switch out while taming them. More players also means it will be easier for your tribe to stock up on supplies to go on more adventures. If your tribe starts to include more members you can have a ranking system.

Ranking systems give players the chance to earn trust and work their way up in a tribe. This means that lower ranking members will have to spend some of their game time to collect meat or water for the tribe. As the player proves that they will help out around the fort, you can slowly raise them in rank until you take them on missions to tame bigger dinosaurs. You can also use this system to help you get into a tribe if you don’t have any friends to play with online. By joining a tribe, you will get benefits such as access to food and tools without having to struggle to collect them.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.
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