posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 01:19 PM
So a little while ago I bought my first Survival game, Ark. I've been going back and forth on whether to get the game since it had kinda a "meh"
score on steam, but It was on sale and it was my buddies birthday so I bought us both a copy. We logged in and created Characters. I created a
fairly normal cave-man-esque guy of normal stature, my friend created a monstrosity that looked like the lovechild of Brock Lesner and the Hulk.
We spawned naked and afraid on the beach, at night, hundreds of yards away from each other. Of course, we didn't have any sort of reference point
or landmarks to locate each other by, so we just ran like idiots up and down the beach looking for each other. The beaches are relatively safe, most
of the dangerous animals are inland and further north, but at level 1 even crappy dilophosaurs can and will eat you frequently. We eventually found
each other and started the process of harvesting things to start building our base. It has a typical tiered system of unlocks (called "engrams")
that unlock your ability to craft weapons and items. So we started harvesting Thatch, fiber, and wood to make our "thatch hut" to protect us from
aggroing dinosaurs. Little did we know that the dinosaurs would be the least of our problems.
This game has a number of different play types. There's Player Vs Player, Player Vs Environment, a mode that resets the whole server every month,
and some others i haven't tried yet. We were playing on a player vs player server, which meant that everything can kill you. Like idiots, we
built our thatch house on a cliff with a great view of the beach and easy access to the water. Little did we know that we had set up house in,
essentially, "The hood." Because the "south" has less dangerous dinosaurs the newbies tend to congregate there, and newbies are mostly
assholes. You get a lot of low level people just trying to obliterate your house and steal your stuff. One time I woke up in somebody's cage,
fortunately I was starving and almost dead when I logged in, so my guy died and I respawned. Another time I logged in and a higher level tribe had
killed me, obliterated everything we'd made, and then had the balls to build their base right above where ours used to be.
At this point, we decided to take our chances with the dinosaurs up north. We spawned up north, found a likely section of beach bordered by thick
forests, then struck out into the forest. I found a nice secluded spot surrounded by tall trees and rocks to start building our small wooden house.
This actually worked. We haven't been griefed since we found our new spot at all. Now, dealing with the dinosaurs has been a bit concerning.
One night (in game night) I logged into the game and awoke in my little 10x10 hut, and immediately heard something stomping around outside. Night
time is ****ing dark in this game, and without a torch (or cheating with gamma) you can't see crap in the middle of the night. So I started blindly
walking around trying to find my fire to get some light and whatever was outside must have heard me and started attacking my house. As it's
attacking, I see a label pop up that says "Carnotaurus- Level 90." Well great. So I end up spending a terror-filled night huddling in the dark
as a carno continuously ripped up the walls of my hut trying to get at me. He'd stop, then walk away, and i'd think "maybe he's gone" only
for him to come thundering back at full speed and charge my walls. Finally he went away... either distracted, or bored, and I had found my motivation
to rapidly improve my base.
Now to talk about the nitty gritty of this game, the dinosaurs. There is an amazing number of dinosaurs that can be ridden and a number of them that
can be tamed but not ridden. Each dinosaur has its own strengths that fill a specific role. Anklysaurs use their tails to smash rocks to get stone,
iron, and flint from them, T-rex's are kings of gathering meat and dealing damage, raptors are extremely fast but deal less damage, so a pack of
raptors is usually the best idea if you're attacking something. You can even tame plesiasaurs and megalodons if you want to build a base in the
water. Even if you're a low level you can make things easier on yourself by taming a pack of dilophosaurs or Compys to act as your bodyguards while
I don't know if I just watched too much "Jurassic park" or "Land of the Lost" but this game almost feels nostalgic when I play it. It's gotten
some low scores, mostly resulting from personal dynamics in the game. Some servers are utterly dominated by one or two tribes and jealously defend
areas they deem "Theirs." Some of them will premptively destroy up-and-coming tribes before they can get too many dinosaurs. Many people find it
frustrating to have all your work obliterated by a greifer while you're logged off (your character's body just goes limp and unconscious when you
log off) but I find playing the game to be pretty satisfying, especially with a friend. In closing, Ark is definitely worth buying if you're into
survival games or dinosaurs in general, but be ready to have a bit of a learning curve, be discreet, and get you some dinosaurs.