Who hasn’t experienced that one time when you weren’t paying attention and a farming trip or an expedition in ARK ends with you kicking the virtual bucket and suddenly a vicious circle starts in which you try to get your inventory back, save your animals and bring the situation under control. In the end you’ve died a few times in the same place, lost a handful of animals you brought with you to help you and now you want to uninstall the game and never have to deal with it again.
I think every player has been in this situation at least once and quit the game in frustration to first calm down and go back to it with a fresh mind. Ultimately, however, we want these situations to become fewer and never happen again, so today we’re talking about how to prevent moments like these.
I want to get this point out of the way first, because even though bugs can lead to situations like this in the game, this reason is very often put forward in a fit of frustration. In a game like ARK, where there is a depth of play mechanics like this and the game engine has been pushed far beyond what it is actually capable of, then bugs cannot be prevented.
Part of the game experience is then to make good decisions to prevent the situations that can create bugs. If you know anything about software and game development, you know that there is no such thing as a bug-free game or bug-free software. And no matter how well you test, bugs can always come up.
If you are really in despair because of a bug, there is often nothing more to do than go through the official channels and report it and hope it gets fixed. In my years of experience with this channel and working with the community, I can tell you that in most cases where bugs were cited as the reason, the reason people died was not because of a bug but poor decision making.
Many games give the player the feeling of being overly strong and of being able to subjugate the environment with just a snap of the fingers. But this is not the case with ARK and the survival genre in general. These games do not take the players by the hand and guide them gently through the game, but the player’s self-assessment of their own abilities has a direct influence on the game.
Thinking you don’t have to deal with the importance of equipment because you have invested a few points in life and melee damage has cost many beginner players their life. If you’re still running around after several hours in the game and haven’t invested any time in crafting armour, even if it’s just basic cloth armour, then you’re underestimating the importance of armour. A significant factor in a game where survival is virtually the objective.
Most medium and large wild animals are stronger than you and any confrontations with them should be well considered. Back when I had my own community server and I was in charge of the admin work, a player came to me and said that a Bronto had attacked his base for no reason and killed all the animals and that he wanted me to spawn the animals back into the game or do a rollback of the server. Later it turned out that he had been boxing animals around his base out of boredom and thought that because he was a herbivore he would run away like the others.
So try to have a more realistic view of your ability and underestimate it rather than overestimate it and lose everything like in such a situation above.
3. Overestimate the value of primitive equipment
When you first start ARK, you start with nothing. No equipment, no animals, no base. Yet you have managed to build something from this situation. You have farmed, crafted, levelled and tamed. Even if you were to lose everything now, with your knowledge and experience now, you could do all these steps much faster.
In the early game, deaths are unavoidable. But risking everything because you want to get your primitive cloth armour back instead of just crafting a new one is often out of proportion. Rather avoid the 5-6 deaths by the dino that camps your lootbag and re-craft the things. This saves frustration. Don’t take anything with you that you don’t want to lose. One of my viewers once lost half an inventory of good blueprints because he didn’t bring them to base after lootdrop farming, thinking that since they don’t weigh anything he can do it later and then lost his loot in lava and couldn’t get it back. These are mistakes from which one hopefully learns.
4. Skipping early game
Due to the free offer of ARK some time ago, many new players have found their way to ARK. As you know, I play on a larger open cluster and can therefore experience live how new players find their way into the game.
In survival games there are often two or three game phases that a player goes through. Firstly, the early game in which they learn the basic game mechanics they need to know in order to survive and progress in the game. This includes learning to assess dangers, taking food and drink with you when you leave the base. Learning the weapons and tools and how to use them. Training the aim. Experiencing and being able to assess dino characteristics and AI. So roughly speaking, the early game teaches you the most basic game mechanics.
The second phase is the settler phase where basic needs are met and the desire to settle down and build up something to continue in the development of the game. ARK requires this, for example, if you want to switch from stone tools to metal tools. To make and set up all the structures for crafting requires a certain degree of settling. The animals needed for farming must then also be housed somewhere.
The third phase is the phase when you have progressed so far in development that there are neither dangers nor risks for the player. This is usually the point at which players stop playing. There is nothing more to do.
Now I often see new players skipping the early game by asking for items and animals that are then given to them by players in the third phase of the game.
Imagine you skip primary school and are put straight into secondary school and have to keep up. But you can neither read nor write nor do maths. That’s more or less how the gameplay of these players turns out. Skipping the early game makes you a worse player and the risk of losing everything due to wrong decisions is even more painful here, because you have done nothing for the tools, items and animals and therefore do not know how to replace them.
5. Unwillingness to learn
The next point is probably a general point that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with ARK itself but with the genre. Survival games rely on the player learning to get better by making mistakes. That is the challenge for many fans of the genre. Learning is tainted with such negativity that it is not understood that for many, learning is what makes the game fun and learning is the driving factor of the game.
In this case, the survival genre is probably not for you, because it expects you not only to develop your character, but also as a player and a human being – especially in multiplayer games – to learn how to deal with others.