If you are a video game player, you have probably heard of the newest video game obsession; Ark Survival Evolved. This little game pulls together almost everything that gamers love. Survival, building mechanics, and dinosaurs. That’s right…DINOSAURS RAWR!!!
I’ve been obsessed with this game almost since its release; it’s pretty fucking fun! The character creation isn’t quite simple, but there aren’t so many choices that it takes me three hours to make a character either. I’ve been naming my characters with last names such as Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen since I started playing (A little nod to another obsession of mine, Game of Thrones).
So, what’s the game about? There are no quests…nothing so simple as that. You wake up on a beach, naked and alone, scratching a strange implant inside your wrist. If you’re lucky there will be nothing around other than rocks and trees. Not lucky? Well, there might be a raptor or a giant crocodile (Sarcosuchus) eating your face as soon as you spawn into the world. Your first thing is to find a safe space to create a shack to live in. Each level you achieve gives you points to buy “engrams”, recipes that let you build anything from buildings to armor and weapons.
Of course, you can also tame dinosaurs. A great and powerful thing that can take 10 minutes to tame…or ten hours OF REAL LIFE TIME! This depends on a number of things…the type of dinosaur, the type of food you are feeding it, and the type of server you are on. Once you tame a dino you should probably build a saddle for the ones that are rideable, as this helps make other aspects of the game easier. Some dinos gather materials much faster than their human masters (if you’re looking for a dino for stone, a doedicurus is the way to go!)
Once you get the hang of taming dinos it becomes hard to not become involved in Pokemon like obsession (gotta catch em all!). You’ll find bigger and brighter dinosaurs, and you’ll begin to wonder how you ever LIVED without a Mammoth!
For some, myself included, building is the greatest part of the game. I really love getting involved in intricate housing options, and I even build houses using random house plans I find online. Once I even created a castle designed after Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany.
It was a beautiful piece of real estate that took months to design and build, along with tens of thousands of stones in the game.
The game creators also put out a number of activities during “holidays”. Of course, these holidays are mostly U.S. holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. But, there are some fun things to be had from these events. I saved during the entire Halloween event to get a witch hat skin that my character still wears with love!
There’s also a great number of “mods” for the game. No matter what kinds of things you want in the game, increased dinosaur levels, glass metal objects, or spiral staircases, there’s an app for that…oops, I mean mod. My current favorite is the mod called Primitive Plus (a mod that doesn’t allow metal buildings or things like rifles)
There are two types of servers for the game. You can play on an Official Ark Server, or you can play on a server that another player has made; these are called unofficial servers. Both have positive and negative effects. Official servers tend to have a lot of players, there are no mods on them, but they are also a great way to get involved in the original aspects of the game. Unofficial servers tend to have more friendly people (in my opinion), multipliers can make taming and gathering much faster, but because they are moderated by a person that person has to keep the server up.
Of course, no game is perfect. The shaky camera can be turned down on the game, but there is no way to get it out entirely, making it hard for some to play. Even I have days where I cannot handle the shaking and I feel an upset stomach from it. Also, the game is technically not finished, so sometimes there are lots of updates, which can take long amounts of time and servers can be offline for days at a time while waiting for the moderator to update it. There’s also glitches and unfinished content in the game that isn’t yet developed.
But, overall, if you are looking for a fun way to spend a few hours of your time. I would recommend playing on the solo version for a while to get a feel for the game before joining a server. But, ask your gaming friends…chances are one or more of them has a server that you can play on!