10 Tips For Surviving Your First Days In Ark: Survival Evolved

In 2017, Studio Wildcard released their ‘Naked and Afraid’ simulator called Ark: Survival Evolved. In this survival action-adventure game with single-player and multiplayer modes, players can catch, tame, and make use of dinosaurs and other primeval creatures in order to survive in a world that is trying to kill them — and given that it’s receiving a serious next-gen upgrade, there’s never been a better time to dive in.

But it’s not all fun and dodos. In order to make it through your first few levels and nights in Ark, you need to make sure that you don’t get eaten, poisoned, drowned, too hot, too cold, too hungry, too thirsty, or too tired. Surviving is like caring for a baby that can… punch trees. Here are a few crucial tips for not dying immediately.

10 Watch Out For Dilos

When you first start out in Ark, most players begin with The Island. There are different zones, and your best bet is to go with one of the ones marked “easy.” But even the beach areas are dangerous when you’re level one. If you’re particularly unlucky, you’ll spawn just in time to come face to face with a dilophosaurus.

“Dilos” aren’t especially difficult to kill, but in the early days they’re one of your worst enemies because of their tendency to shriek at you and then spit acid. When you have no gear and all you can see is the green goo you’ve just been blinded by, chances are you’re about to immediately become a dilo’s breakfast.

9 Go Easy On The Punching

Before you can get the “engrams” to make any gear — which you can spend points on when you level up — you’re going to have to make use of what you’ve got; your hands. If at this point you happen to notice that there’s a weird implant built into your forearm, don’t worry! All will be revealed in time.

For now, put those hands to work and start picking up rocks, picking berries from the grass, and punching trees until you hit level two. Go easy on the trees, though. It might seem like an easy way to get resources and experience, but if you don’t take a breather you’ll pass out and/or die.

8 Start With A Pickaxe

The first time you level, you’re going to be prompted to open up your menu and choose how to spend your experience; this is how you learn how to make tools, saddles, and recipes. Once you have some stone, wood, and thatch (from all that punching and collecting you did at the beginning) the first thing you want to make is a stone pick. A hatchet can come afterward.

Picks are one of the most useful early game tools as they allow you to gather stone, flint, wood, thatch, and metal. You can also use them to get meat and hide from creatures you kill, as well as doubling as a rudimentary weapon. Keep in mind that they break, though; make a few.

7 Stay Close To The Beach

You’re going to have an urge to go off and explore new places once you’ve got some gear and maybe a pair of pants. Try to ignore that urge for the time being, and stay on the nice and relatively safe beach. Going up into the hills or the thick trees is a lot like the tall grass in Pokemon; it’s dangerous to go alone.

The beach is a nice starting point because a lot of the dinosaurs are passive or herbivorous, you have access to most of the early game resources you’ll need to progress, and until you can make a waterskin, it’s easy not to dehydrate if you can dip your toes in the sea. Stay and grind near the spawn point until you’ve leveled up a bit.

6 Try A Diet Of Berries

At level ten, you’ll be able to unlock an engram that lets you build plots for growing plants. This will be invaluable, especially if you have herbivorous tames that you’d rather not let wander and choose to use feeding troughs. But in the early days of the game, eating plants yourself is definitely your safest chance at survival.

That said, foraging is not an especially effective method of food collection. You’ll get enough berries to survive off of, but you’ll have to do a lot of searching. However, the fringe benefits make it worth your while. If you’re lucky, you can find vegetable seeds and fiber at the same time. Oh, and get a dung beetle!

5 Don’t Go Into The Water

Even at upper levels, the ocean is not your friend in ARK, and any body of water deep enough to hold a fish is still a danger zone. Like Gandhi in Sid Meier’s Civilization, piranhas will attack you as soon as look at you, and there’s nothing that you can do about it but not get your feet wet. Even wading through the shallows and be enough for them to eat you, or chew your armor to shreds.

The deeper ocean holds more dangers. Cnidaria will stun you and your tames, sending you to the depths where it will be nearly impossible to retrieve your gear. And we haven’t even got started on the megalodons or the mosasaurs. Eventually, though, you’ll have to venture in for oil.

4 If It Glows, RUN

It goes without saying that dinosaurs like utahraptors and t-rexes aren’t lining up to make friends with you. But if you spot a predator that’s giving off an orange aura (or a triceratops, but that’s another story) drop whatever you’re doing and start running. These so-called ‘alpha’ creatures are untameable and only have one mode: kill. They are significantly harder to injure, deal more damage, and move at a genuinely unnerving speed. They also make nearby predators more likely to try and take a bite of you. Once you’ve got some decent armor then the drops are worth trying to take them out — at a distance. That’s the keyword: distance.

3 Keep One Eye On Your Pockets And The Other On The Sky

Once you have something in your inventory there’s more for you to worry about than predators and starvation. The island also has its fair share of tricky thieves. If something small and furry jumps at you and then runs away, give chase; a pegomastax has just made off with your loot. Similarly, composagnathus might seem adorable if there’s just one of them, but once you’ve got a pack of three or more, they’re little ankle-biters.

The biggest threat to your belongings, however, comes from the sky. You will never know true frustration until an icthyornus has swooped out of the sky and snatched a whole stack of something valuable. Unlike pegomastax, icthyornuses eat whatever they take immediately — even if it’s a jar of water.

2 Make Yourself A Little Shack

Although a lot of predators can and will get at you through thatch or wood, you’ll feel a lot safer if you can spend your nights somewhere dry with a roaring campfire. Once you’ve got some practice hunting some of the non-aggressive creatures (dodos, lystrosauruses and coelacanths) night is a good time to do your cooking, too, while visibility is low. Making your first little shack is not only a rite of passage; it’s somewhere safe to keep your gear, and also a great way to grind experience.

1 Your First Dodo Will Be Your Best Friend

Call it hive mentality or their irresistible charm; there’s just something that everybody loves about dodos. When you’re still learning the ropes (especially taming mechanics) dodos are an excellent place to begin. Don’t call PETA, though, because the best way to get them down is a couple of punches to their retreating, feathery butts. Slip some berries into their inventory while they’re having a nap, and very soon you’ll have your very first tame and your very best friend.

If you don’t fancy a dodo and you’ve been lucky enough to find some rare flowers, why not try for a lystrosaurus? You hand-feed them while they’re awake, and once tamed they give an experience boost to everything around them.

NEXT: Top 10 Creatures To Tame First In Ark: Survival Evolved

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Lee is a writer, reader, roleplayer, gamer and all-around nerd that escaped from Scotland and wound up in Nova Scotia, Canada in 2014. From a humble beginning as a level 1 barista, they’ve risen through the ranks and multi-tasked their way through burger-flipping, freelance blogging and novel procrastination before finding their way to The Gamer. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lee spends their free time hunting for a shiny furret, hoarding apparel in Animal Crossing and closing the rift over Ferelden one more time while narrowly avoiding ninety nine side-quests.

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