ARK Log: Day 1

ark-survival-evolved-1920x1080-09There is a new survival game out called ARK: Survival Evolved. It’s currently in Alpha, but is the MOST polished Alpha I’ve ever played.

The concept is that you are a hungry, thirsty, naked (or nearly) human deposited on an island filled with (mostly) horrible dinosaurs just waiting to eat you. You have no food. No water. No tools. No shelter. It’s up to you to figure out how to survive and evolve from the life of a simple caveman to a high-tech dino killing machine. Beyond the survival aspect, there are lots of other fun things like construction, dinosaur breeding and taming, etc.

There are a few little glitches here and there, but this game is simply fantastic. For the past year or so we’ve been playing zombie-based games like 7 Days to Die, Dead Island, State of Decay, and possibly a few more. In between the zombie games we’ve played Elder Scrolls Online and Lord of the Rings Online. We are hooked on ARK, obsessed in fact, and can’t wait to get home, eat supper, and play every night!

First Impressions

My husband and I bought this game on sale through Steam. We paid $17.99 each for the early access Alpha. It was in incredibly long download and we were nervous about being able to play the game on our machines. The reason for this is that some games play great on our laptops, others don’t. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme nor reason to it. But, we figured that at $18 a pop, we couldn’t even get pizza, bread sticks, soda, and a movie, so what the hell.

That next morning hubby left for work and when I got out of bed I immediately ran to the computer to try it out. Character creation is complete shit currently. But, since most of the game is played in 1st person, it’s not a huge concern. I did find it strange, looking over at my husband’s screen, and seeing my character in all of her fugly glory, though. And it was weird seeing my husband’s hulking, muscle-bound character, too. This is something that will definitely change so it didn’t spoil my game play.

So… I chose a public server (PVE) and chose a spawn location. All of the spawn point are on the outside edge of the island. I thought that was strange. We’ll leave that thought for another blog post or if I have energy, later on in this one. You could chose from three fairly large areas in each of the directions, North, South, East, and West.

I chose East 2, I think, for my first location. I landed on a sandy beach. I could see turtles and trilobites, dodos, and triceratops. I had no idea if these animals would aggro me on site, so I did the stupid thing and ran. Running in this game, in my opinion, isn’t helpful. You can never simply run to a safe area. If you aren’t being killed currently, the area is safe. If you are erring on the safe side and run away from what you think you might kill you, you will definitely die. It’s kind of a rule of thumb to go by.

So I ran a little ways and then I saw this cute little dinosaur that approached me and I was like, awe! And then these frills popped out from behind his ears and my screen went black and green. What??? A second later I see in big red letters “Bett has been killed by a Dilo.” Ouch. That kind of hurt. It didn’t look dangerous. Oh well. Let’s try again.

So, I respawn the same character in a location near to where I did the first time but a little south. I land on another sandy beach. I see the same types of animals. I decide that maybe they weren’t out to kill me after all. So I adventure a little bit, within reason and I see that someone has built a few structures nearby. I assume they are unfriendly so I avoid their bases. I follow the beach up to a shallow inlet and it starts to get dark. Yikes! I stuff myself inside a shrub and crouch. It’s pitch black and all I can hear are footsteps around me. I’m waiting to be eaten. Or worse. But what actually happens is that a Trike lumbers over to me and I get stuck inside his body. As daybreak approaches I realize that my crouching character is being dragged along everywhere he walks. I decide that this is a good way to explore without attracting the notice of predators. He plods along. Plods along. Doesn’t make much progress. I get bored and decide to climb out of the belly of this beast. Wrong. I’m stuck. Really bad idea to press mouse buttons at level 1 when stuck inside a Trike. Instant death. Respawn.

Oh it’s so pretty in this new location. There is a narrow stream running inland. I think I’ll follow it. Oh, look, dragonflies! They’re so pretty. Dead.


Well this looks different. Mangroves. I must be near a swamp. Dead.


Mangroves here too? Dead.


More mangr—- Dead.


Holy crap that’s the biggest— Dead.


Snow. What’s that weird icon on my lower left screen? I wonder what that means. Oh look! Sea creatures. Wait… the only way to get south is to get into the water. Hopefully I can find a shallow spot. (Swam to other side. Character begins to moan. Screen flashes red) What the heck is killing me? Dead.


Oh god, not another frilled dinosaur. Fuck. Dead.


Goddamn it, it’s dark again. I’ll just sit here for the night and wait till I can see before I move. (time lapses) Red letters across the screen “You are STARVING. Find food fast.” What? Food? Where do I find food. (Runs around punching things. A few berries somehow end up in my inventory. I eat them. But it’s not enough apparently.) Dead.


How the fuck do you eat in this game? Black and green screen. Dead.


Mangroves. Fuck this shit. I’m fucking irritated.

Closes game. Starts new character. Chooses new server.

My character lands on a sandy beach and I get smart really fast and manage to make it to a series of boulders which I wedge myself into for safety. I see a man in a loin cloth walking towards me. I think I’m about to make a friend.

Then he starts punching me. Dead.


How in the fuck did someone kill me when I’m on a PVE server. Did I choose PVP by accident? No, there’s no way because I HATE PVP and would never have clicked on anything that said that. Oh look, there’s a server-wide chat. Wait, that’s the name of the guy that just killed me. And he’s complaining about someone killing him every time he respawns. WTF? Isn’t that what he did to me? Oh god, now there’s people hyper-whining back and forth about how their tribe got wiped out by a tribe they had an alliance with for no good reason. Lot’s of snarky comments. Drama. Well, this server isn’t for me.


Restart. Choose single-player.

Ahhhh. No more trolling in chat. No more butt plugs camping my corpse. No more spawning into an enclosure of dinosaurs, unable to get out.

It’s safe to say that the first hour or so I played ARK, I wasn’t getting the most out of the game. I waited until my husband came home for back-up, assuming that between the two of us, we’d be able to survive for more than a few minutes.

Hubby came home, all excited about the game. We decided to spawn in several locations to find the perfect spot for our base camp. This is kind of how that went.

Spawn on a sandy beach.

Hubby: So where do you want to go?

Me: Well, let’s try to get over to that other beach. How about we cross through the center of this land mass. I can’t tell if it’s an island or not.

One minute later – DEAD.

Wow, that was quick. Wanna try a new location?

Sure. How about that one on the southern coast.


Five minutes later. DEAD.

I don’t have to go through it all again. I’ll give a brief synopsis instead. Hubby and I weren’t capable of getting to a safe location for roughly an hour. We spawned and died so many times we can’t even remember how many. Eventually we got to the point we could harvest berries to stave off starvation and craft some rudimentary stone tools/weapons.

Then we decided that using my husband’s computer to host a non-dedicated session for the both of us was causing too much lag. We saw an advertisement for a private server through Nitrado and I bought it the next day.

The server took forever to go live and in the meanwhile hubby and I played one final night with him hosting.

Once our server was live, we couldn’t figure out how to move our saved game there, and had to start from scratch again.

But, it’s fun so we weren’t super irritated about it.

To be continued…


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