Being new at ARK is not easy. ARK is one of the games that probably has one of the most steep learning curves out there. But how do you get better at the game without quitting in frustration like so many others do? I have some tips for you that help you get through the annoying few first hours of ARK where you die and respawn more often than you would like to admit.
1. Get To Know The Island
There are several maps out there now that offer a big variety of game styles. But one thing I would suggest to everyone who is just starting out is to start with the Island, the first map the game came with. The Island is a very reduced basic environment that helps you focus on the basics before getting distracted with all the extras that were added to the game that would entertain experienced players who grew tired of the basic survival play style.
The Island offers you enough content to master your first few hundred hours in the game and will give you a limited sandbox to try out things without being too overwhelmingly hard or challenging. Little tip: There are ARK Beginner Servers rebooting regularly as official Servers. Keep an eye on those and also on when the next wipe is. Here you can find other beginners or people who want to help you, without you having to face long-established and big tribes.
2. Get a Handle on the Basics
It might sound trivial, but knowing the basics is key in this game, because it will throw the weirdest situations at you in which you have to react in seconds and make decisions so you won’t lose tames or die. Don’t get me wrong, you will still die, even if you are an experienced player. I still die now and then even after 12k hours in this game, but there is a difference in dying 12 times during a while a complete play through or dying 12 times per hour.
The basics are for example things like: Bring food and water when you leave the base for a longer time, don’t jump into the water to escape a dino, especially not when not having stamina, be prepared for temperature challenges, bring weapons, wear armor as soon as you can craft it, don’t eat the black berries, watch your flyers’ stamina.. etc As trivial as it might sound, but those are the things going wrong for beginners very often. Once you have them learned them, try to remember them for the future and don’t get annoyed that something goes wrong but see it as a teaching moment for the future.
3. Learn How to Build
Building is probably your one and most important long term lifesaver in the long run. Having a somewhat safe base right from the start, knowing how to protect it from wildlife or hostile players is a big game changer to logging in the next day and not losing all your progress. I see many players just log in, tame dinos, run around and then die and not even having a spot to respawn. Making bedrolls, a bed, an enclosed spawning spot should be your top priority over everything. If you want to tame, having a pen or an enclosed area for those dinos as well, is just as well a priority.
Thatch will get destroyed easily so don’t even consider using it for anything but a temporary build. Wood is better but still can be damaged by most dinosaurs and easily broken by players. I would go for at least stone buildings as quick as possible or at least wood but replace it with stone as soon as you can. On PvE there is no big advantage using anything but stone later on other than different decay timers on different materials, but Stone for the most part is safe enough to be kept on PvE servers.
One thing important about metal as a resource is, that it can get very shiny in there especially depending on your game settings. You can put rugs down to counter this a little, but I personally try to avoid building in metal for that exact reason. But again this is from a PvE player, as a PvP player you should always choose safety before visuals.
4. Get To Know the Dinos
ARK is a dinosaur focussed Survival Game and knowing the surrounding animals can give you a greater chance of survival and even thriving than totally ignoring this fact. Knowing which dinos are passive or aggressive or even skittish will help you to not get killed or being too cautious around every creature – and there will be a lot.
There are tons of helpful dinosaurs around you wouldn’t want to miss out on helping you to defend and to farm for your tribe or being your chosen travel mount. Since the game is already well established, there are dinosaurs and non-dinosaur creatures for everything, and it is up to you to find the perfect setup for your play through. My suggestion is to go for farming animals like Ankylosaurus and Doedicurus first, if you can get your hands on a Therizinosaurus early on then you are basically set.
On a map with flyers enabled you should look for an early Pteranodon or Argentavis if you feel adventurous. While Pteranodons flee and should be restrained with a Bola, an Argentavis will try to attack you on sight.
Other maps have Wyverns and Griffins as flyers. Some have owls or different birds or other creatures. It is totally up to you which one to pick depending on your play style.
If you have a Therizinosaurus you will also have a decent mount to defend your base early on from players or predators. Getting something with more bite power on the other hand is never wrong. Once you feel confident, you can even go for a Carnotaurus, Allosaurus or even a Rex.
5. Stockpile Resources
Farming can be boring, but most annoying is not having the resources you need when trying to build something. Have dedicated farming days with your tribe mates – when you play on official plan them during Evo-Events because then the farming rates are raised. The more people farm the quicker you are done. Things you always want to have in your base: Wood, Metal, Stone, Flint, Hide, Pelt, Chitin, Thatch, Oil, Crystal, Obsidian, Silica Pearls. Later in the game, some endgame resources will also be added to the list, but for crafting the basics, this is enough. Having the right dinos like mentioned in point 4 is helping a ton.
While storage space can be an issue early on, you can use mortar and pestles and smithies as an easy space-saving storage. Avoid the small storage boxes. Switch to vaults as soon as you can and in the endgame dedicated storages are your best friends to stockpile crafting material.
6. Join or Form a Tribe
I talked about your tribe members earlier. Having a tribe – a clan or group you play with, makes the game easier, more enjoyable but also has some risks. I personally would always prefer the social component of this kind of game play. Finding a good tribe is not easy because the ARK community is aware of people having ill minded intentions when joining others – no matter of PvE or PvP. You will not have a good chance joining years old established PvE tribe as an unknown freshling just by how much you can destroy for that tribe—or you can join but only with a lot of restrictions. It’s best to either find other beginners – like on the beginner server or to bring your friends with you along and start together. I met the most wonderful people while playing ARK and the better you get at the game the more likely people want to tribe up with you.
Joining PvP tribes can be a long and tedious task. What PvP tribes usually look for are players who breed dinosaurs or farm, since PvP is for most of them only enjoyable when they can fight. They don’t want to do the PvE part of PvP tho, so this can be your entry ticket into one of the tribes. The joining rules are different from tribe to tribe and trying to contact them and telling them your strengths in the game instead of “Can I join?” will help getting chosen easier.
7. Get Techy
The industrial tier and later the Tek tier will improve your gameplay by a lot and will make annoying tasks a lot less annoying. Faster crafting, better tools and better survival through better armor and saddles are just some of the advantages that the higher tiers will bring. I often see people not wanting to make the step to more advanced tiers because they feel like they are not good enough at the primitive tier yet and want to rather play a bit more. This is of course up to you, but by how much work it is to actually get to the final challenge—to defeat a boss on the map, you want to progress, or otherwise you will give up in the middle.
Make your life easier to get rid of the annoying disadvantages of primitive survival to focus on progressing in the story and the game.
Exploration in this game is half the fun – at least for me. While exploration can be deadly, it helps you find the best resource spots, better base spots and overall improves your navigation throughout the map. Even tho I told you to get a flyer – sometimes it’s better exploring on the ground. You get to know the map much better when you don’t see it only from the tree tops, but you actually walked through the map on a walking ground mount. I love using faster tames for that like Iguanodons, Thylacoleo or even Shadowmanes (these are DLC animals and are not required to explore but in endgame they are a nice choice.)
9. Have Fun!
While the previous 8 tips all sounded like a lot of work and learning – this is probably the most important one. Have fun – the fun is what keeps you playing. Do silly things, tame silly dinos. That’s what ARK is also about. Enjoy your time with your friends within the game. Forcing yourself to be the best and then rage quitting once something goes wrong or in the worst case flaming your tribe mates or other people in the game will not only ruin their game but turn you into a bitter person. So enjoy the game, stop when you stop enjoying it and come back once you calmed down.
I hope this article helped you to find some helpful tips how to start into the game and also some peace of mind that perfection is not the key in ARK and can’t be achieved anyway. Feel free to look around on this site for more helpful articles or guides. If you’re looking for an active ARK community, check out our discord at https://discord.gg/TiiaAurora.