In ARK Survival Evolved no matter if you play PvE or PvP, resources are what makes or breaks your progress. Not farming enough can be a bottleneck that prevents you from getting better tools, armor, or saddles. It basically gate-keeps the endgame for your – or rather the access to the endgame. But what are the most valuable resources in ARK, and how do you get them? Let’s find out!
Finding crystal early on can be a pain, because it is usually available on the peak of mountains. Without a good flyer, that can carry a lot, you are out of luck. Crystal is needed to build the fabricator. A huge step forward in progressing from primitive to industrial tier. Most players want to skip the primitive tier as quick as possible, to be able to farm and process other resources as efficient as possible. The industrial tier is the middle tier between primitive and Tek, so you will spend most of your time in the industrial preparing for boss fights.
As mentioned before Crystal can be found on mountain tops, and you want to use either a pickaxe or an Ankylosaurus to farm it. Crystal also has a rare chance to give you rare mushrooms when farmed. Ankylos have a weight reduction of 50% when carrying crystal. You can get crystal also by fighting Tek animals and farming city structures on Extinction. On Genesis 2 farming crystal at the right meteor phase is really worth it, when you have a Stryder and a dedicated storage connected to it.
Polymer is an industrial tier resource that used to be a pain to craft. It got a little better after organic polymer was introduced and also corrupted nodules on Extinction. Polymer is used in many higher tier saddles, armor and industrial structures. It can be either crafted from Obsidian and Cementing Paste in the Fabricator (you will then get the stable polymer) or you harvest certain creatures that give you Organic Polymer. Fighting and harvesting corrupted creatures on Extinction will give you corrupted nodules which can be used interchangeable with the stable polymer. Keep in mind that for Ghillie Suits you can use organic polymer only. The stable polymer does not work.
Creatures that will give you Organic Polymer are for example the Kairuku (penguin), The Karkinos and the Mantis. Some maps also have whales or dolphins stranded on the beaches that can give you Organic Polymer. Good maps are Aberration with its never ending supply of Karkinos to farm or Extinction for Nodules. Snails also produce Organic Polymer in their inventories, but need to be fed veggie cakes for surviving.
Cementing Paste used to be the main currency on official servers until further ways of obtaining it were implemented in the game. Cementing Paste is used in primitive but also the industrial tier in ARK. It is one of the resources that slowly carry over when progressing. You will always need Cementing Paste even when you are in the Tek Tier in the end.
There are a lot of ways to obtain Cementing Paste these days, and I am going to name a few popular ones. Killing and farming insects with the Beelzebufo will have the chance to get Cementing Paste. Beaver Dams are a popular way if obtaining it as well. On high population servers it might be harder because people won’t destroy the dams therefore preventing them from respawning filled again. Snails also produce Achatina Paste which looks the same as Cementing Paste and can be used as a substitute. You can also craft Cementing Paste in a mortar and pestle or the Chemistry Bench with chitin/keratin and Stone.
Cementing Paste is used in a few Saddle crafting blueprints like the Megatherium Saddle. You will need large quantities for crafting good saddles for defeating the Broodmother.
Obsidian does not have any substitutes and can also not be crafted. This is one of the things you simply have to farm. It is used directly in crafting recipes like for scissors and the mirror, but it is mainly used to craft the stable version of polymer as mentioned earlier. Of you don’t rely on it for polymer, it is not a resource you will farm in masses, but that will have you sigh in annoyance when it’s not there when you want to craft something, because you know you now have to go out and farm it yourself.
Obsidian can be found at similar spots as crystal and also in volcanic areas. It is a black any shiny rock and farming it will yield obsidian and normal stone. Find the black rocks and farm it with your Ankylo. The Doedicurus can farm Obsidian at some spots but at others it can’t. Your Ankylo is your best choice there.
If you have access to the Genesis 2 DLC then look out for the Obsidian / Gem phase of the meteors. You can farm great quantities during this phase with a Stryder and access to a dedicated storage.
Oil is yet another resource that is essential in the industrial phase of the game, because it is used together with hide to craft gasoline which powers your generators and provides for your electricity in your base. Oil can be farmed from oil rocks underwater and above the water – often in snow areas like on The Island. But since Scorched Earth we also have an oil pump which can be placed on oil veins on several maps. You can also go for an organic substitute that is produces by Basilosaurus and Tusoteuthis in their inventory over time. Killing the Basilosaurus also gives you large quantities of oil. Another way is to kill Tek animals or trilobites. While Tek animals almost always give you oil, trilobites only have a chance. If you have dung beetles for making fertilizer for your greenhouse then you have as well a steady supply of oil, because they passively create it while making the fertilizer in their inventory.
Like mentioned above, the main reason you want to have oil is to make gasoline. You just put oil and hide into a forge – here it doesn’t matter if it’s a primitive or an industrial forge, both work just fine.
While Chitin and Keratin don’t seem to be hard to come by in the early game – that is the first reason to underestimate how much of a struggle it can be to get enough of it in the late game. Chitin and Keratin are used in armor, saddle recipes, and for crafting important resources like Cementing Paste. In the late game you will find yourself always empty of Chitin. Well you did until Genesis 1.
Genesis 1 introduces the Megachelon to the game – A gigantic Turtle which you can even build houses on. When killing and farming the Megachelon, you get Shell Fragments. If you put these into a grinder – 1 fragment will turn into 50 chitin. This way you can produce thousands and thousands of Chitin without any issues. The only problem then is, how many chemistry benches to you want to run parallel crafting cementing paste?
Chitin can also be harvested en masse when using a Megatherium fighting Karkinos, but even that does not outperform the Megachelon / grinder method. Early game you want to hunt for insects, turtles and any kind of insect to get chitin and keratin. Sabertooth and Thylacoleo also drop Keratin but are a bad mass farming opportunity.
Hide probably has the same standing as Chitin and Keratin. You feel like you have tons of it until you have to craft a good blueprint and suddenly everything is gone. One rule I try to follow myself from the very start is – no matter how full my animal is and no matter how much space it costs early on, don’t drop the hide when farming meat because you will need it later, and then you will be upset because you don’t have it.
Hide is easy to farm and complicated to farm in the quantities you need for the endgame. Hide is mainly used for saddles in the endgame, and you will need ten- if not hundred thousands for decent saddles of a boss animal group. The best way to get it is by chainsawing animals after you killed them.
The most popular method is to have Ovis (Sheep) breed, imprint the offspring and let it gain levels and put them all into health. Then use the slaughter method while holding a sword. When then farmed with a chainsaw, you get absurd amounts of pelt, hide and mutton.
Silica Pearls are an Industrial Tier resource for mainly making Electronics which are an essential resource for anything driven by electric power. Other uses are for example in riot armor and a collection of platform saddles. Getting Silica Pearls early on can be a game changer because you can rush into the Industrial tier fairly quickly. While Silica Pearls used to be pretty hard to get by early on and required you to enter the cold snow biomes or even the deep sea to farm them, it got easier over time. Killing Tek animals can be a fairly easy way to get them as well as raising beaver dams.
When you want to farm them underwater, make sure to get an angler fish and bite them to farm them. Angler fish have a modified farming that will get you a lot of pearls in one go. If you are really, really early game, you can also kill trilobites for a chance of getting pearls.
Black Pearls are a late Industrial Tier and Tek Tier resource and also a pain to get. Black Pearls are almost exclusively farmable underwater in the deep sea or when killing trilobites with a Diplocaulus or when killing Eurypterids or even Tusos if you dare. Other popular sources are killing Deathworms in the Desert. Especially on Scorched Earth where you don’t have access to water – this is the way to go. Unlike being a Silica Pearl munching Anglerfish – it can’t farm Black Pearls from the Ocean floor.
Black Pearls are used in most Tek Structures and also to tame Tusos, so you will need a lot of them in order to build up or upgrade your base in the Tek Tier. Once you have advanced a little further, it would be reasonable to have a Black Pearl Gacha in your base for passive generating Black Pearls while feeding it resources you don’t need anymore. These recycling tames help a lot to keep your base uncluttered.
Now to the probably most valuable resource in ARK – Element. Element used to be only obtainable via Boss fights, but over time it became a craftable and farmable resource, making it a little less rare. It is used for anything that has to do with Tek. It’s not only a crafting resource but also needed to run Tek generators. Element can’t be transferred between servers, unless you have Element Dust which can but it is heavy, so it comes with the price of inconvenience. 1000 Element Dust crafts into 1 Element.
These days Tek structures and Element Dust are the main currency used on official servers to pay for dinos or other services. The probably easiest way to get Element is on Genesis 2 which has an Element Shard meteor phase and also an Element Dust phase. Together with a Stryder on a dedicated storage it can result in big amounts of Element at the end of the farming day. Not being able to transfer it tho, helps keeping it off other maps. If you want to know how to get Element for example on Fjordur, check this article.