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About the product
- Tame, Train, & Ride Dinosaurs, in a living ecosystem!
- Manage Food, Water, Temperature, and weather!
- Harvest, Build Structures, Paint Items
- Plant, Farm, and Grow
- Build a Tribe, Explore, and Discover the mysteries of the ARK!
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This game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development.
As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing and starving on the shores of a mysterious island called ARK, you must hunt, harvest resources, craft items, grow crops, research technologies, and build shelters to withstand the elements. Use your cunning and resources to kill or tame the leviathan dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the land, and team up with or prey on hundreds of other players to survive, dominate... and escape, in this unique first-person action-adventure survival experience!
Dinosaurs and creatures -- over 35 currently -- can be tamed using a challenging capture-&-affinity process, involving weakening a feral creature to knock it unconscious, and then nursing it back to health with appropriate food. Once tamed, you can issue commands to your Pet, which it may follow depending on how well you’ve tamed and trained it. Pets, which can continue to level-up and consume food, can also carry Inventory and Equipment such as Armor, carry prey back to your settlement depending on their strength, and larger pets can be ridden and directly controlled! Fly a Pterodactyl over the snow-capped mountains, lift allies over enemy walls, race through the jungle with a pack of Raptors, tromp through an enemy base along a gigantic brontosaurus, or chase down prey on the back of a raging T-Rex! Take part in a dynamic ecosystem life-cycle with its own predator & prey hierarchies, where you are just one creature among many species struggling for dominance and survival.
You must eat and drink to survive, with different kinds of plants & meat having different nutritional properties, including human meat. Ensuring a supply of fresh water to your home and inventory is a pressing concern. All physical actions come at a cost of food and water, long-distance travel is fraught with subsistence peril! Inventory weight makes you move slower, and the day/night cycle along with randomized weather patterns add another layer of challenge by altering the temperature of the environment, causing you to hunger or thirst more quickly. Build a fire or shelter, and craft a large variety of customizable clothing & armors, to help protect yourself against locational damage & extreme temperatures using the dynamic indoor/outdoor insulation calculation system!
By chopping down forests full of trees and mining metal and other precious resources, you can craft the parts to build massive multi-leveled structures composed of complex snap-linked parts, including ramps, beams, pillars, windows, doors, gates, remote gates, trapdoors, water pipes, faucets, generators, wires and all manner of electrical devices, and ladders among many other types. Structures have a load system to fall apart if enough support has been destroyed, so reinforcing your buildings is important. All structures and items can be painted to customize the look of your home, as well as placing dynamically per-pixel paintable signs, textual billboards, and other decorative objects. Shelter reduces the extremes of weather and provides security for yourself and your stash! Weapons, clothing & armor gear can also be painted to express your own visual style.
Pick seeds from the wild vegetation around you, plant them in plots that you lay down, water them and nurture them with fertilizer (everything poops after consuming calories, which can then be composted, and some fertilizer is better than others). Tend to your crops and they will grow to produce delicious and rare fruits, which can also be used to cook a plethora of logical recipes and make useful tonics! Explore to find the rarest of plant seeds that have the most powerful properties! Vegetarians & vegans can flourish, and it will be possible to master and conquer the ARK in a non-violent manner!
By bringing sufficient rare sacrificial items to special Summon locations, you can capture the attention of the one of the ARK’s god-like mythical creatures, who will arrive for battle. These gargantuan monstrosities provide an end-game goal for the most experienced groups of players and their armies of pets, and will yield extremely valuable progression items if they are defeated.
Create a Tribe and add your friends to it, and all your Pets can be commanded by and allied to anyone in your Tribe. Your Tribe will also be able to respawn at any of your home spawn points. Promote members to Tribe Admins to reduce the burden of management. Distribute key items and pass-codes to provide access your shared village!
All items are crafted from Blueprints that have variable statistics and qualities, and require corresponding resources. More remote and harsh locales across the ARK tend to have better resources, including the tallest mountains, darkest caves, and depths of the ocean! Level-Up your player character by gaining experience through performance actions, Level-Up your Pets, and learn new "Engrams" to be able to craft Items from memory without the use of blueprints, even if you die! Customize the underlying physical look of your character with hair, eye, and skin tones, along with an array of body proportion modifiers.
Everything you craft has durability and will wear-out from extended use if not repaired, and when you leave the game, your character remains sleeping in the persistent world. Your inventory physically exists in boxes or on your character in the world. Everything can be looted & stolen, so to achieve security you must build-up, team-up, or have pets to guard your stash. Death is permanent, and you can even knock out, capture, and force-feed other players to use them for your own purposes, such as extracting their blood to for transfusions, harvesting their fecal matter to use as fertilizer, or using them as food for your carnivorous pets!
The mysterious ARK is a formidable and imposing environment, composed of many natural and unnatural structures, above-ground, below-ground, and underwater. By fully exploring its secrets, you’ll find the most exotic procedurally randomized creatures and rare blueprints. Also to be found are Explorer Notes that are dynamically updated into the game, written by previous human denizens of the ARK from across the millennia, creatively detailing the creatures and backstory of the ARK and its creatures. Fully develop your in-game ARK-map through exploration, write custom points of interest onto it, and craft a Compass or GPS coordinates to aid exploring with other players, whom you can communicate with via proximity text & voice chat, or long-distance radio. Construct & draw in-game signs for other players to help them or lead them astray... And yet.. how do you ultimately challenge the Creators and Conquer the ARK? A definitive end-game is planned.
On the 100+ player servers, your character, everything you built, and your pets, stay in-game even when you leave. You can even physically travel your character and items between the network of ARK's by accessing the Obelisks and uploading (or downloading) your data from the Steam Economy! A galaxy of ARKs, each slightly different than the previous, to leave your mark on and conquer, one at a time -- special official ARKs will be unveiled on
the World-map for limited times in singular themed events with corresponding limited-run items!
Steam account required for game activation and installation
|PC Minimum System Requirements:||PC Recommended System Requirements:|
Top customer reviews
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The first major hurdle is to find a decent server. The obvious go-to would be an Official server, though I ended up finding an unofficial server with just a dozen or so people on regularly, a PvE server where every neighbor is friendly (because they're forced to be by threat of admin's banhammer). Many unofficial servers take advantage of changing game settings, making it extremely easy or extremely difficult to level up, tame animals, grow crops, etcetera. The good ones usually have it in their title or on a Steam Group page. Some unofficial servers are there solely to acquire souped up animals that are hundreds or even thousands of levels high and then upload them to download into another unofficial server and grief. A decent server will have these animal uploads/downloads disabled, although it will mean missing out on your animals if you try to bring them from another server.
Even this process of animal transferring is time-consuming and requires gameplay interaction. The private server I started on was going to be shut down, so I gathered all my animals on an exodus to the nearest obelisk. A few died along the way to wild animal attacks. They were all laden with my materials and loot, then everything and everyone uploaded one by one.
Finding my new server, I downloaded only the biggest and most versatile animals --- the tyrannosaurs, the flyers, etcetera --- to seek out a new home. Then I could return to the obelisk and retrieve the weaker animals to take safely home.
The social construct of life on the ARK is very interesting as the gameplay seems to change significantly with levels.
As a new, low-level player, you're essentially a poor man/woman, punching bushes to put together stone tools to carve out a little thatch or wood hovel.
You subsist on berries and the occasional meat you can scrounge off killing an animal like a dodo with ease. Roaming dilophosaurs are a risk and an opportunity, quick and easy to tame but can easily blind you and kill you if you're not agile enough. A wild raptor means almost certain death.
You gaze longingly at pteranodons, wishing you could knock them with your slingshot before they take off or die from catastrophic head injury. The player on the spinosaurus with the frilly pink and green saddle blows by and you just gaze in awe, and reflect on how ugly a saddle you will make when you get a spino of your own.
You ask them for some spare meat to finish taming your dilophosaurus. They dump 500 boxes full of meat on you like it ain't nothing but a thang.
As you level up and tame animals, your every day existence gradually becomes less survivalism and more maintenance. You tend not to notice dilophosaurs much anymore as you breeze past on a parasaur or trudge past on a triceratops. You can build with stone, but wood is more cost-efficient and easy to gather in numbers. Raptors are a pain, but only insofar as you wanting to knock one out without killing it so you can tame it.
Your new enemy is the carnotaurus and the tyrannosaur, unless you live near a river mouth in which case the spinosaur can be the biggest jerk. The giant eagle-like argentavis is your newest flying mount and you love it. Scrap meat and eggs are put in a preserving bin with sparkpowder, to keep it for another day or so.
You set up some small plots to grow berries and start plotting how best to build animal pens and sort them out in pretty rows and columns, only to have a wandering random dilophosaur bump into one of your animals and send them all shrieking and tearing it apart, before happily plodding down and just staring at you as you rage over the mess of animals all around you. The flailing of wild dying animals has broken your rudimentary irrigation pipes for your berry farm.
As you level up, you start to amass tamed pets. Your latest crown is a tamed tyrannosaurus rex. It's giant head sways and glares down at you as you run past it, re-filling its feeding trough with fresh raw meat. It's not hungry and won't be for another hour, so half the meat spoils. It's unclear if its grateful.
Your house is now several stories and built of stone. You start dividing your supplies into separate storage cabinets, maybe even naming the cabinets based on the supplies. You have an electrical generator so now you can run a refrigerator and an air conditioner. Raw meat in full stacks can last for a week or more, and the spoiled meat lasts even longer. You value spoiled meat more than fresh meat so you can mash it with narcoberries to make narcotics (for taming animals, and occasionally to numb the pain).
You're regularly trading with other people and your forges never stop burning as you cook up metal ingots from raw metal and gasoline from oil and hide. Your first guns are sloppy, nearly useless novelties of the life you knew before the ARK. You're starting to extend to the sea as you ride wacky prehistoric dolphins and giant megalodons.
You've figured out the wild dolphins by now; they are pure evil. They don't attack you, and you can tame them in a friendly manner without having to attack them, but they are pure evil. You jump into the water and the wild ones flock to you. They just stick their noses against you. You realize you can't get past them. They pile onto you, clicking and chittering, as you slowly start to drown. You're saved at the last moment as a wild megalodon agitates your own tamed animals, and everyone scatters.
You're a farmer now; you can live without ever eating meat ever again, growing citronal (lemons), savoroot (potatoes), rockarrot (carrots), and longrass (maize) to feed you and your herbivores, though berries last longer and can be gathered in large amounts with your stegosaurus's tail swing. You tend to keep animals together male and female so they can lay eggs. The eggs are good for eating, but can be cooked with other materials into kibble, which can be used to tame animals much faster than normal meat or leaves. You scrounge up as many eggs as you can for a pittance of kibble. Getting ahold of enough rex eggs for kibble will require trading with those bigger than you.
You follow your animals around for their poop. You need as much of it as you can get to compost for fertilizer. The plants need poo. You need poo.
As you level up, survival is no longer an issue; your human urge to conquer drives you to expand. You wall off an entire section of the beach-head you've established in order to keep random wild animals from coming in and messing up your meticulous animal formations, though you still have to leave openings for other people to go through. They still get in, but at least it looks nice.
You contemplate replacing your stone pipes and walls with metal, but decide to save it all to build metal bunkers on the platform saddles for your brontosaurus or plesiosaur. A mobile base of solid steel. You'll use it once, then get tired and scrap it for more tranquilizer bullets.
Your refrigerator is packed with eggs. Hundreds of eggs. Thousands. You've tamed two or more of every animal type and have no further use for kibble other than vanity tames; you won't even look at an animal lower than level 85. You haven't bothered expanding your farm because you no longer eat vegetables or meat, you subsist solely on eggs. Every hour or so you scour the ground around your animals for eggs. A scorpion's egg can tame a giant frog or a tyrannosaurus rex. With its bright red and blue, you would've considered it a crown jewel two dozen levels ago. Now you eat them as soon as they drop. Sometimes you eat not because you're hungry but because you have 200+ scorpion eggs in your refrigerator and can't handle any more.
Rex eggs were worth their weight in gold once. Now you're trading them off just for mass quantities of small commodities. Thatch used to be almost useless to you, something easy to get to pad your wood structures. Now you need 600 strips of thatch and no time to spend leveling half a small forest for it. Sparkpowder is now the most valuable commodity you never have enough of. You have several preserving bins, loaded with hundreds of sparkpowders, oil, and cooked meat, to mass-produce jerky. It's still not enough. It's never enough.
You're cooking up kibble to clear space in your refrigerators. Soon you're cooking up kibble just to waste time, in case six months from now a newly added dinosaur eats Spino Kibble, thus making your huge stash of Spino Eggs finally pay off for something other than taming megalodons.
Someone idly mentions they've spotted a wild quetzalcoaltus, relatively high level. You speed off in seconds, ready to claim another extinct digital soul for your horrid farm, flying in on your own quetzal flying fortress, loaded with half a ton of narcotics, tranquilizer dart/bullets, and kibble. Everyone sees you drifting over in your flying fortress and knows it's you. The quetzal is one of the hardest tames; it never stops flying, and has to be secured once it drops. You knock one out of the sky on your own and build a thatch prison around it's unconscious body from which no other animal can penetrate; not because thatch is strong but because you've loaded an electrical generator onto your own quetzal's platform and attached an automatic turret to it which fires off like a gattling cannon at any wild animal that gets within twenty meters of it.
You want to build a nice cabin by the side of a river on a mountain, just to sleep peacefully at night, because all you hear in your dreadfortress is the incessant honking, squawking, chittering, jibbering, jabbering, snortling, chortling, hissing, pissing, wailing, quailing, snarking, and farting of all your animals packed around. Step up to the pile of dilophosaurs you can't bring yourself to disown, they coo and gurgle like babies. Dash to your frontline of raptors, as they all chutter nonstop, like a dozen Beavis and Buttheads.
You've caught, inherited, or raised every single one of these maddening beasts and they all depend on you. They will never stop making noise and you will never let them go. You are the slave; they depend utterly on you, and while you know the limitations imposed by the gameplay mechanics mean they will drop dead of starvation, you treat them like they would go feral and eat you if you went a single day without petting each and every one of them. Even the dodos will never forgive this; the Dodorex made sure you'd never abuse them last Halloween.
A new update comes out; a new animal is available to tame.
You speed off in seconds, ready to claim another.
Over a year later, after playing more than 3300 hours on it, my mood has shifted on the game.
It's a great experience and everything in my positive review still applies, but playing for as long as I have I've gotten a firm grasp on everything I love and hate in the game, as well as some genuine problems with it.
Going in to the game new is just like I posted in my positive review. The main problem with the game is a significant lack of "endgame" content, and in proper dino balancing. As a server admin said, "This game is pretty much decided once you have a trex and a ptera"
It was a wise idea for them to add servers that wiped every 30 days, because after a period of 30 days (longer if you're playing solo), you've basically done everything. The building system is utter garbage, a horrible mess of arbitrary restrictions and invisible boundaries and crooked snap-to positions, with the materials needed for just 1 wall piece being pretty costly without a tribe of people to work with you. Even if you have animals to harvest all the necessary materials, building a huge sprawling beautiful fort is a titanic ordeal.
When it comes to technological advancements in the engrams, the pacing is completely broken. You spend virtually the entire game playthrough using stone furnaces to forge metal and a small stone mortar to mash up paste or powders or a pot over a campfire for cooking recipes. The Industrial Cooker is unlocked at lvl 80, the Industrial Forge at lvl 85. By that point, you've basically reached "endgame" status, and there's only 1 or 2 more engrams to learn after lvl 85. You're essentially done, and you've only just unlocked the means to start mass-producing material for creativity.
Every playthrough I've done, with every tribe I've worked with (or gone solo), once we've reached lvl 85, we've either not needed tons of material or we've already set up a room with fifty or more stone forges to cook up enough metal for a big metal base.
As well, the pacing and balance in terms of dino releases is horrible as well. The popular ones are gotten out of the way early, coming out wiht the game itself like the Rex, Raptor, Bronto, etcetera. As they go along, they add in stuff like Terror Birds, Archaepteryxes, Megaloceros, Megalosaurus, etcetera.
The later a dinosaur was added to a game, the more needlessly complicated it becomes to use or tame. For example, the Terror Bird and the Raptor. Both are essentially identical in terms of size, HP, attack, speed, and use. There is very little that one has over the other as an advantage. Yet because the Raptor came out first, it is one of the easiest things to tame; a new player can get lucky and knock out a Raptor with their fists, then carve up some dodos and feed it meat and tame it. A Terror Bird of identical level requires almost 10 times as many narcotics to keep unconscious, making it out of reach for its target audience (a player in need of a small, fast mount).
This makes it one of a class of dinosaurs that becomes a novelty. Basically, there's little use for a Terror Bird amongst a smallish new tribe, and by the time that tribe grows strong enough and gets enough narcotics to want to tame a Terror Bird, they no longer have need of it. It becomes a novelty tame for big and powerful tribes to add to their animal collection, standing around making noise and laying eggs.
Other animals require entirely arbitrary amounts of narcotics to keep down, random food items from mushrooms to bug repellant to chitin. All this is essentially for pure novelty, as as mentioned above, once you have a Rex and a pteranodon, you don't need anything else.
For me personally, I've figured out my own cycle with this game; I spend about a month doing the actual "survival game" experience, then I've settled down and built a sizeable base, after which time I tame two of every animal of high level, breed some, fight some, then start to get bored and wait for the server to be wiped or find another server and start the cycle again.
After 3300 hours, I'm starting to get sick of little things in the game itself, from the in-game font to seeing the same typos in the same places a year and a half later, or the constant meta-game of collecting, sorting, organizing, and storing infinite amounts of hide, fiber, chitin, wood, stone, thatch, metal, cementing paste, etcetera.
And they add very little else aside from new dinosaurs and the occasional new item set that proves to be a useless novelty, like the night vision glasses or the industrial grinder. They don't fix the same issues until pressured for months to do so, and barely add anything to actually expand the endgame (the last one being the two new caves).
The inconsistent pattern of dino release makes me genuinely sad that I got to spend thousands of hours with things like the Trike and Raptor and even Mosasaur, but will likely never fully experience the Megalosaur or Basilosaurus. That could just be the nature of an Early Access game, but given how long I was able to extend my playtime, it's indicative of how there's just nothing to do after a few months in this game except wipe and start over again.
As for the Devs, they've made themselves notorious for their unreliablility. Between late 2015 to late 2016, almost every deadline they've set for a new update release has ended up being late by a day or longer, with certain advertised features being promised for months, and then quietly pushed back another month again and again. The Dynamic-length bridge has been promised as "coming next update" for months before being relegated to the "will come eventually" pile.
Other people will rage and complain about the paid DLC thing for an Early Access game. Given that they lost a lawsuit and lost money, I don't blame them for using that as a means of recouping some losses.
What I do have a problem with is how they conduct themselves in terms of their update scheduling. Adding on the paid DLC means an extra source of income, but also another set of bugs and troubleshooting to deal with. Additionally, they chose to take on the fan-map "TheCenter" and make it a free official DLC.
They chose to pile on what they handle, and have seemingly done nothing in terms of communication with the fanbase in terms of expectations. The Halloween 2016 event "Fear Evolved 2" turned out to be a complete disaster as they promised things like werewolves, vampires, and tameable Titanboas, only to have none of those, only bringing back the same things from Halloween 2015 plus two extra Skeleton skins. On top of that, the Fear Evolved 2 event was not applied to "TheCenter". People can defend that by saying "TheCenter" is a custom map, but the Devs chose to own it, even setting up tons of Official servers set on TheCenter.
The history of ARK's development is a history of exactly this kind of behavior. I don't think it's laziness because they are clearly working nonstop on this game (even when it first came out in EA, it was as polished and detailed as a AAA game) but this lack of communication with the fanbase and the constant false promises has become a significant problem that has already affected its rating on Steam.
Secondly if you are into easy games this isnt for you. Like mmorpg of long ago this game is harsh if you die. You must find your body and get stuff back within 15 minutes. The map DOES NOT show you on it so you have to rely on memory and landmarks. I will admit the first day I owned it I thought Id likely not play much.
Day 5 now, LOVE the game. I appreciate the harsh realism it immerses you in for a survival game. I am glad its not a mindless run from one map spot to the next all guided. If you want to be challenged and even sometimes frustrated this game is for you.
Last thing, I am playing on a PVE server and if you aren't an experienced survival game player I would recommend you start with that before trying PVP. On a PVP server you can be killed and your items looted by another player EVEN IF YOU AREN'T ONLINE. The game is persistent and live even when you are logged off.
All in all I rank this a very well spent $18.
It's possible to play with just friends and even solo, though the latter is just you and no one else which sort of defeats the purpose of an MMO.
The premise has been beaten to death, and the playerbase for this game can be pretty toxic.
If you enjoy sandbox survival games and like the idea of taming dinos as well, this game will be right up your alley!
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