ARK: Survival Evolved is probably one of the most frustrating as hell games I’ve ever played in my entire life. It is riddled with bugs and glitches, alpha tribes make it impossible to play on PvP and sometimes even PvE, admins on unofficial servers can be dicks to the worst of their abilities, and there’s nothing like having a dinosaur you spent legitimately HOURS, in some cases DAYS, raising just disappear without a trace, forever lost to the ether of the great server divide.
It’s also one of the most entertaining survival games I’ve played in a long time.
Over the course of the last 3 months I think, I’ve racked up nearly 600 hours of game time in this diddy of a prehistoric MMO. That’s a long damn time to be chasing dinos, let me tell you. It started out pretty rough – even killing a dodo for food while avoiding other dangerous carnivores proved to be perilous for the new beginner. I can imagine that’s why many people start – and then quit. If the alpha tribes on PvP don’t get you first, the rogue dilophosaurus will (did I spell that right?).
Your objective is obviously very similar to many other survival games – get basic tools, build a basic shelter, hunt, gather, survive, evolve. But unlike most other survival games, there are of course dinosaurs thrown into the mix – which comes with its own set of complications. I had the fortunate (and I use that word in the most sarcastic way possible) timing of starting to play the game the week after Troodons, herein known as Little Rats of Death, had been introduced. And therizinosauruses, which, to this day, continue to be the giant-chicken-sized thorn in my side. HOWEVER – I did prevail, and my tribemate and I have since built quite a comfortable base, amassed a decent number of dinosaurs, and gathered enough supplies to exist comfortably in the frustrating wilderness of death.
In spite of its many frustrations, the game is beautiful and I won’t lie – it’s super addicting. There were some days in my first month where I clocked a solid fourteen hours of play time – easily. No matter what your goal is in a world full of dinosaurs, there’s ALWAYS something you could be doing – hunting for a new tame, gathering meat, gathering supplies (such as wood, stone, thatch, oil, crystal, rock, berries,… anything really), crafting the multitude of things there are to be crafted, gathering eggs from your own dino egg slaughterhouse, hatching baby dinos in your massively over-airconditioned hatchery, or just beating your head against a wall because your first and favorite wolf disappeared without a trace only to die a few days later – because the game is a dick (thanks for that!). If nothing else, you’ll never be bored – that’s for sure.
I would recommend a couple of things to new players though – don’t get too attached to your dinosaurs. Something can, and will usually, go wrong. Other tips I have would probably be:
- Get a base, with a wall, as soon as you can manage it if you’d like to keep your dinosaurs at least moderately safe.
- Start with a dodo farm. You’ll thank me later.
- Upgrade to metal tools as soon as you can.
- Don’t be too proud to RUN. AWAY.
- If it looks small and harmless, it’ll probably rip your head off.
- Food is essential. Gather it, and gather plenty of it, early on.
- Don’t eat the black berries.
- READ. THE DAMN. WIKI.
- Resist the urge to throw your keyboard through a wall. It’s not worth it.
- Remember that it’s just a game. *woosah*
I’ll probably write significantly more about ARK: Survival Evolved as time goes on and I start blogging up again (oh yeah, hi folks! Long time, no see). But for now, I’m going to leave it at this:
This game frustrates the hell out of me. I have lost several dinosaurs to just blatantly stupid shit – both user error and server error alike. It’s annoying as hell when the server unexpectedly rolls back a couple of days and you lose two dinos and around 10k wood you spent gathering the day before. I hate it when I try to do something I’ve never done before, like explore a cave, only to find that I’m still woefully unprepared to do so. I dislike that my giant megalodon is an even bigger pansy.
But even still, in the end, I really love it. And I’ll most likely keep playing it. And hopefully, Studio Wildcard will continue to evolve and shape the game into something more stable, and even more challenging – hopefully without the disappearing dinosaurs in the end.