An Anthropological Jaunt Through Ark: Survival Evolved

A tree fell in the distance, lumberjack style, and I knew I would have to investigate. A second tree fell as I approached, then a third. By the time the man in red armour turned and saw me, I had already resolved to die in whatever mundane or horrible fashion he deemed appropriate. Hours of DayZ and Rust had instilled in me an understanding of survival gaming’s harsh realities. Yet, for some reason, all that time spent respawning had never eroded my essential curiousity for the human beings who inhabit these deadly environments. I said hello to the man in red. He held his axe aloft for a moment and stood eerily still. “Hello,” he said. Then he did something entirely unexpected. He took me into his home.

Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] has been straddling the Steam bestsellers list for months since its release. Like the many survival games before it, the dinosaur infested island of Ark has been attracting PC gamers non-stop, as if they really were arriving to its pristine beaches by the boatload. And yet the response of the games media, outside of the YouTube dimension, has been kind of muted. You can understand why. It is another survival game.

But to ignore its popularity completely would be doing a disservice to the phenomenon. With this is mind, I have been tasked with exploring “The Island” and answering the question on everybody’s mind: Just who is playing this game? Is it the Rust crowd, graduating from mutated bears to megalodons? Or is it the Minecraft tribe, lusting for a world of lush, unsquare ferns? Perhaps it is a new conglomeration of peoples. We can only find out by talking to them. Which is how I found myself within the high-walled compound of the Nanaki tribe, staring down the barrel of a rudimentary single-shot rifle.

I backed off a step or two and the man in black armour lowered his gun. He was living with the man in red, who had taken me a few hundred yards from where he was chopping trees into a dino compound with a massive metal gate. Now I was alone with compound’s tamed animals and Red’s ornery tribemate, whom I expected at any moment to shoot me in the back of the head and strip me of my clothes and tools. Instead, he hopped onto the back of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and stomped around inside the compound. It is possible this was a show of strength.

When Red returned, he beckoned me to follow him to a corner of the camp. Standing fiercely by the tall wooden walls was a ferocious man-sized carnivore.

“You see this dinosaur?” said Red.

I looked at the razor-filled jaws.

“You see this raptor?”

He was going to feed me to the raptor.

“Well,” he said. “It’s yours.”

I knew it. I just knew… wait, what?

“You take it. Let me just unclaim it. There you go.”

I approached the dinosaur. On closer inspection, it was wearing glasses. Through a menu I claimed him for my own. His name, I discovered, was Raven. And just like that I owned one of the fastest animals in the game, and all without the necessary levelling up. Normally, it would take a thirty minute or hour-long taming ritual to attain this creature, feeding it endless raw steaks while also keeping it sedate with narcoberries or judicious punches to the head. Not for me, though. Luck and generosity had bestowed me Raven without having to endure the game’s most-disliked time sink (taming a Brontosaurus, for example, can take 4-6 hours, according to the wiki but this may have since been patched).

“Is there anything I can do?” I asked, guffawing at the Nanaki tribe’s hospitality. It was okay, said Red. Take him for a ride. Then on my way out, he called me back.

“Actually,” he said, “if you wanted to help you could collect some wood for us?”

And so began my brief stint as the Nanaki’s lumberjack. I collected wood and brought it back using Raven as a pack mule. I set up a cabin close to the compound, shrouded by rocks and trees, and placed a wooden crate outside it operating under the honour system. I set up standing torches, so that I could always find my home, hidden as it was in the brush nearby. Life was good, beside the Nanaki.

But one tribe does not an island make. There were others working the land, I had seen buildings dotted around on my forays into the overgrowth. Certainly, I had fallen in with a nice crowd. But what were the other tribes like? I had seen them nattering in the chat window and it all seemed innocuous enough, even friendly. Yet to meet them face-to-face was the real test. One day, I marked my home with a pin on my map, loaded Raven up, and without saying anything to Red or Black, I departed for a journey around the island.

Day One

I met a woman called Camillaheha, of the tribe Fantasia. She was feeding one of her tribes’ triceratops when I approached and showed no distress when she noticed Raven and I standing a few metres away. The wooden lodge her tribe had constructed on the beach in the Northeast was a homely place. I asked if she would mind taking a self-portrait (or “selfie”) with me and she was more than happy to oblige.

She welcomed me into her home, where I was shocked to find two male bodies slumped on the floor. For a moment I was worried. It seemed to have taken only a single day to discover the psychopathic personality type that so often inhabit survival games, enticing people into their houses, then murdering them. But my concern was misplaced.

“That’s what happens,” she told me, “when you log out.”

This is one of Ark’s tricks. Like Rust, your body has permanence in the environment. Even when you quit, you are still in the game, sleeping. So you have to make sure you are in a safe place before you log off to enjoy your Chicken Korma or whatever it is you eat.

On the one hand, I dislike features like this in games because they are a method of hijacking more time from the player than is necessarily desirable to give. Like a Facebook game, mugging you slice by slice of your time because of some decaying crops. On the other hand, it does fit the idea of surviving. After all, if you lived on an island populated with dangerous prehistoric creatures, you would probably not sleep under the stars every night, no matter how romantic it was.

Camillaheha steps over the bodies of her tribemates. When I go to leave she sends me on my way in the most neighbourly way imaginable: by giving me lots of presents. One of these is the blueprint to a compass, which I quickly craft and treasure for the rest of my trip. I add Fantasia to my mental list of friendly tribes.

Day Two

I found Bonny lying in the sun, stripped to her undies. I looked around for help, or for any sign of a house that might be hers, but to no avail. I dismounted Raven and tried to help. It was only when I was dragging Bonny’s unconscious body into the shade of some nearby trees that I realised how suspect this scene would look to an outsider, were anyone to encounter us at that exact moment. I stopped for a moment to consider the situation, then continued dragging her into the woods.

I didn’t know how to revive her, if she had not simply logged off. Her ‘Torpidity’ (the game’s meter for determining how close you are to passing out from heat, poison, blood loss or other effects) seemed to be completely full and judging by her health bar, she had been hurt somehow. I fashioned a thatch hut out of the plants and trees nearby and placed her inside. It would not protect against a determined player with an axe but perhaps it would keep her cool and out of sight of angry dinos. I left a box inside the cabin with a note, explaining her circumstances, then left. I hope Bonny is OK.

Day Four

Today I climbed to the summit of a mountain I have named ‘Red Peak’. It houses one of Ark’s three mysterious pillars – floating structures that rise into the sky with a beam of coloured light. These creations, being so alien and stark against the natural beauty of the world, bring Halo’s forerunner buildings to mind (in fact, the game’s subtitle “Survival Evolved” has a certain Halo musk to it too, don’t you think?).

I have learned that the base of the pillars are used to summon the Broodmother, a mythical creature that requires automated machine guns or many fearsomely equipped warriors to defeat. The requirements for this ritual are extensive (a warrior must retrieve six artifacts from various caves and several trophies from dangerous dinosaurs). The prize for defeating the fiend is nothing but respect. Warriors who are successful receive only a cloth flag with a symbol of the beast painted on in dye. It is not known if all the tribes of the island adhere to this ritual.

While inspecting the structure and taking some rock samples (the stone here is metal-rich) I am unnerved to see a disproportionately wide-shouldered man approach, riding a 15-foot tall carnosaur. He dismounts and we approach each other. His name is ‘i love you’.

It is unclear if all the members of his tribe, the Empire, are equally misshapen. But my own character, Blapchap, is also channelling Quasimodo (an effect of the game’s invitingly extremist character creator). i love you must appreciate our kindred physiques because, despite his strange demeanor, he is as non-aggressive as any of the other natives I have encountered. I ask him if he wants to be in a selfie.

“Uhhh, maybe later.”

He mounts his carnosaur (named Padawan) and disappears. I begin to take some notes about the encounter when he suddenly returns, his dinosaur rumbling up to me in a ferocious manner. I look up, expecting to be devoured. Suddenly, he stops, inches from my face.

“Do you want a better pickaxe?”

He is shouting down from his saddle.

“Uhh, if you have one spare, sure!”

He throws down a box with a metal pick inside and some surplus stone for good measure, then tells me he is off to meet a friend.

“Goodbye!”

Just when I think I have met a man rude enough to kill me, he turns around and gives me gifts. Ark, you are a strange survival game.

Day Six

I have reached the southwest of the island, where a gigantic wooden gatehouse looms over an idyllic inlet. It looks like a huge shipyard, and it is definitely the largest human-made building I have seen in the game. I can only imagine what creatures it houses. Halfway across a wooden bridge to the mainland (impressive in its own right) I met a man called Arggggggg. Like me, he rode a raptor. But unlike me, his body armour was darkest plate instead of basic cloth. I asked him if he was the one working on the bridge.

“Yes,” he said, “but there is a lot of work to go.”

He told me that he and three others in his tribe, Overlord, had built the giant gatehouse and that it was just the beginning of a project to make a dock of the inlet, so that they could capture and train sea animals. I praised their fortitude. Something so big could take a long time.

“Yes,” he said, “but you have to work in groups. Otherwise, it’s impossible.”

Arggggggg, in his expertise, had brought up an undeniable truth of the game. Buildings like the one he and the rest of Overlord had constructed were certainly impossible without teamwork. But even smaller structures are a difficult proposition without help. A basic wood cabin will take under an hour, if you start with nothing. But creations beyond that take so much time and effort, not counting the collection of food and water to keep you going through the hard work, that it really does force you to seek aid. As annoying as this may be to the average player with a lone wolf mindset, it is maybe one of the reasons there seems to be a lot less murder happening. People feel inclined to be neighbourly, at least to each others faces, simply because resource gathering is burning up most of their calories. In Ark, you simply do not have the time to be an asshole.

I hop back on Raven and say goodbye to Arggggggg.

“When you need help,” he says, “come back and see us.”

Day Seven

I scooted round the southern coast today, where there were many small individual huts and shacks. Many of them seemed abandoned. This is not too much of a surprise – the perceived wisdom of The Island insists that the South is more tame and less dangerous than the North, which is why many new players will start out there before they move inland.

I saw one man on my way though, waddling along on the back of a grumpy Ankylosaurus, which was smashing up rocks in a workmanlike silence. He was not talkative when I spoke to him. But he was not aggressive either. Perhaps most tellingly, he was not afraid. He just carried on doing what he was doing, as if I was not even there. My feeling that Ark is an environment with far less person-on-person violence than its contemporaries continues to grow. Unlike Rust, the default expectation I have found so far is that you will not be attacked.

Then again, I may just be getting lucky. Even one or two of the players I have stumbled across on my trip have admitted that there were “bad people” on the server. But if there are, I am not finding any of them. I feel perhaps the crime of “bad” players in Ark is more like petty crime, or vandalism. Things will be demolished, or go missing while you are logged off. But as for in-the-moment PvP, there just doesn’t seem to be any appetite for it.

Partially, this must come down to the time investment. If it takes the Nanaki and some buddies two hours to tame a Mammoth, they are not going to risk it in a brawl with some other faraway tribe over some resources they may or may not want. That, and the resources themselves are so plentiful it’s hilarious. It is a virgin land, with more trees, shrubs, berries and dinos than you could ever want. This also means that the futuristic supply crates which periodically beam down to the island are of limited value. They contain scraps, helpful only in small ways. There is no rush for them, no wild and violent scramble, like there is in Rust. Then again, is this a bad thing? Isn’t there a place for a survival game with a bit more natural friendliness?

In the chat window, people from different tribes talk back and forth. This window also serves as a kind of “lost and found”, as pets and tamed animals regularly wander off, chasing something, or go missing without warning.

“Anyone lose a ptera?” one player asks. “called razor. from the flintstones tribe.”

I feed Raven some raw Dodo meat and we speed off, along the beach.

Day Nine

I have finally made it back to the familiar lands of the East coast. I recognise the peninsula near the Nanaki settlement but in my absence one of the giant neighbouring pens has decayed or been demolished. This reveals one of the survivor’s real issues. People may not be nasty to you in person, but if you leave your building for long enough without logging in, anyone is allowed to demolish it, piece by piece, with the simple click of a button.

The Nanaki’s compound, luckily, is still intact. It even has a new sky pen for the tribe’s pteradons. But night is closing in and the torches I once lit to help me find my hidden lumber cabin have long gone out. I fumble around in the overgrowth with my torch until it is darker than the inside of an old boot. Animal noises come from the jungle, the leaves rustle with the wind. I am beginning to worry if griefers have demolished my home.

I have an idea. If I craft a sleeping bag and put it down here, I can use it to see where to go. You see, as well as acting as a spawn point, all your sleeping bags in Ark are mysteriously linked and allow you to fast travel between them. So when you use one, you get a map of where the others are. I can use this to find my cabin! I finish up crafting the hide bag and take a look at the map. As it turns out, I’m not far away at all. It is somewhere nearby, maybe only a few hundred metres away. Maybe —

stomp

What was that?

stomp stomp stomp

I can hear growling.

STOMP.

Yes that is definitely carnivorous growling.

STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP.

I scramble to leave the map screen just as a terrifying Tyrannosaur roars in my face. This is it. This is the end. I can’t believe I made it all the way back only to die two hundred yards from my door. I turn to the beast, hoping that he will only kill me and that Raven (beautiful Raven) will have the sense not to attack. I look up at the T Rex.

It is wearing glasses.

“Hello there!”

A man on the back of the T Rex peers down at me in the torchlight. He dismounts. It is a one of the Nanaki.

“Need help?”

I swear at him and breathe a quick sigh of relief, and then tell him about my troubles. I tell him I’ve just been around the island, but that his tribe have helped me in the past. I tell him they gave me this raptor. This precious raptor of mine.

“Oh! So they did!” he says, delighted. “Hello, Raven.”

And I tell him I’m lost. My cabin is around here somewhere but I can’t remember exactly where. Without asking anymore questions he says “follow me!” and dashes into the jungle. I follow him swiftly and within 60 seconds he has led me straight to the threshold of my old cabin. It is completely intact.

“Is this it?”

I laugh. It is the second time the Nanaki have helped me out, for no other reason than being good neighbours. I thank him and he dashes back of into the night with a “no problem” that seems to sum up the entirety of my time in Ark. Inside the cabin, all my gear is still there. No problem. The campfire outside it still working. No problem. Raven is settling in beside the flames. No problem.

Life is good, beside the Nanaki.

33 Comments

  1. frightlever says:

    I watched some of FRANKIEonPCin1080p’s Youtube videos about Ark – definitely not all peace and love, and pretty funny.

  2. MultiVaC says:

    For others who have played this game, is this experience relatively normal? If so, I’m suddenly pretty interested in the game. Could it actually be a non asshole-centric survival game?

    • Twitchity says:

      You know, even though the taming and building grinds sound interminable, it’s smart: the best way to stymie griefing is to make sure the payoff matrix is never in a griefer’s favor. Either they’ll have too much to lose because they’re on the far end of a sunk cost, or the cooperative players will have a much higher level of effectiveness because they were able to cooperatively tame dinos or build defenses or create weapons (or however the game works).

      Of course, *cooperative* griefers — hellooooo, Eve — can still cause a massive problem if they want to, so it’s not a complete panacea. But that’s more of a Warsaw Pact vs NATO situation, rather than a Hobbesian war of all against all.

      • Villephox says:

        “Of course, *cooperative* griefers — hellooooo, Eve — can still cause a massive problem if they want to”

        I think that appeals to me, though. One of the biggest reasons I shy away from these sorts of games is because of the crazy pvp. But at the same time, that’s always seemed kind of integral to the genre. So, allowing PKing to happen, but making it less beneficial, seems kind of neat. And it also seems like a really hard thing to pull off.

      • Aetylus says:

        I’d love it if someone did the same thing with MOBAs. Just create two version of the same game. One version that gives harsh penalties for unskilled play or feeding, and another version that gives harsh penalties for being rude. Then let people chose whether they want the hardcore competitive experience or the friendly relaxing experience. It seems like every MOBA tries to take the Eve crowd and the Ark crowd, smoosh them together and wonder why trouble ensues.

        • Pantalaimon says:

          Interesting idea, but I think the trouble is that the griefing does not always simply stem from players making mistakes or low skilled play. In theory at least, the matches are relatively balanced, no matter what people might like to think. So for every bad play their teammates make, they’re makings just as many, even if they don’t notice it. However, a lot of the griefing comes from nothing, just because people have a bad attitude. You can get abused whilst fairly singlehandedly leading your team to victory, just because, why not?

          I’m all for massive, massive penalties for bad behaviour and I don’t think any of the dota genre games go far enough in that respect. It’s surely much easier to track and penalise this stuff than tracking bad or low skilled play – the vast majority of stats you might find collected from these games don’t speak to skill. The interpretation of player rating is also pretty flimsy, you can find players playing amazingly at low ratings, and viceversa. Also, good behaviour itself contributes to being higher skilled, to being a stronger component of a team. I also don’t think that, although it might do something to segregate people out, low skill play should ever be punished if it could be tracked 100% accurately (which it can’t). People who are learning the ropes are doing just that, there is no moral judgement to be made about it.

          Final point – they’re by no means mutually exclusive. You can play well, play to win, and still have a great attitude. Ultimately, thats the thing that needs encouraging and promoting, as much as bad behaviour needs punishing (even more so). To relate this to the article and game above, it does seem like the developers of Ark have developed mechanics which foster cooperation and good behaviour BECAUSE it is tied in to ‘doing well at the game of Ark’ (whatever that eventually entails).

      • trooperwally says:

        I play on a PvE server so I can’t speak of experience of how people behave in PvE but the devs seem to have run the same logic as you. Consequently there doesn’t seem (to me) to be much to gain from random small scale PvP and griefing. Unlike DayZ the guns are really not that powerful and they are not easy to acquire – they are rare in drops (and you have to be high level to collect those drops), require lots of grinding to create and each round of ammo has to be crafted which itself requires quite a grind.

        To gain stuff worth having you’d have to raid someone’s base. If their base isn’t well defended then it’s probably for one of three reasons:

        1. they don’t have the stuff to defend it – consequently there’s not likely to be much stuff you want there
        2. they are offline – this is where griefing comes in and they need to find a sensible solution
        3. they are stupid and just didn’t think to built defences – their own fault you might say

        The other way griefing comes into the game is walling off caves. Caves are kind of end game content. You can’t get dinos in them and, since dinos are the main means of killing things, you need to stock up with potions, armour and guns to fight off the nasties that live in the caves. So naturally enough some tribes wall off the caves. Some do this because they feel they have a special right to the cave, some do it purely for griefing, some just don’t care about anyone else and some do it as a defensive measure. I’ve heard stories of tribes walling caves off only to grant access to anyone who they believe to be trustworthy but it’s still an unresolved issue in the game design I think. Particularly as the resources required to wall off a cave are quite a lot less than the resources needed to then flatten those walls.

        The other issue that seems to be pretty hot on some US servers is basically racism. There have been more than a few reddit threads talking in negative terms about tribes of Chinese players. The reddit threads generally talk of the Chinese as being aggressive and griefy and describe how the thread’s author wiped the Chinese off the server. I imagine there are probably threads on the Chinese equivalent of reddit with the whole situation reversed. It’s not a nice thought but I don’t think this is a game issue, it’s basically just the bad bits of humanity reflected in the game because it’s a sandbox.

        • badmothergamer says:

          They’ve nerfed the cave building. Anything built in a cave now takes 6x damage. Tribes are still building just outside the caves though.

        • Premium User Badge

          Phasma Felis says:

          Having translingual servers for a social-ish game does seem like a bad idea. People who can’t communicate are never going to get along well.

          (A bad idea where it can be easily avoided, at least. I would guess that in e.g. Europe, where you have a relatively higher density of different languages, things may be different. But it does seem odd to have a server that heavily mixes English speakers and Chinese speakers.)

  3. DarkMalice says:

    I (and some friends) built on a friendly server in not the most discreet of locations; a busy NW coastal area. As the days went by I started collecting stray naked men (and it was all men oddly enough) who had decided to nap on the beaches. Being the caring person I am, I made three holding … err, guest rooms, fitted with a trapdoor ceiling through which I could feed the guests (and if neccessary, knock them out to extract blood for testing of tropic disease). In case I was not online when they awoke, I slipped a note in their pocket, explaining they had been arrested for vagrancy.

    One such gentleman awoke to much confusion. I went through the procedure and of testing his blood, stuffing him full of berries and having tossing the female body of a tribemate in to keep him company. Whilst debating with the gentleman about his release date (roleplaying, this whole event wasn’t intended to deprive the guy of his enjoyment) another gent approached, distressed about dying on an island and potentially losing his giant eagle. I knocked him out while I released the first guest, who had the bad luck of getting stuck in the wall and needing to be slaughtered in order to respawn.

    Unfortunately, the other visitor died of thirst and was quite enraged at my perceived role in him losing his birdie. Consequently, I stood alone (rest of the tribe were asleep) battling half a dozen vengeful warriors riding Carnotaurs, ‘raptors and leaping sabre-toothed cats onto the rooftop. I came back while they were still ransacking the place and it ended amicably enough (you get used to starting over in these games). I think the birdman was still a little ruffled though.

    Although my favourite story is the guy who ran around on a scorpion, knocking people out with the venom, draining their blood and leaving thank you notes for the donation.

    I fucking love this game. The RPS server is really nice (I’m just a bit burned out after 330hrs).

    • eLBlaise says:

      I must say that is quite a story, the perfect thing to send me off to bed after 6 hours of ARK!

  4. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    This was great. I’m suddenly very interested in this game. I had no idea it rewarded coop play so well.

  5. hotmaildidntwork says:

    This game contains dinosaur glasses? Why was I not informed?!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    The more I read about the game, the more tempted I am to play it! If only I had more time…

  7. Robbah says:

    Such a well written piece! Wonderful to read this adventure diary

  8. Aunvre says:

    From someone with 151 hours in Ark, this is not a normal experience. Honestly, it sounds like you’re on a PvE server where it’s literally impossible to attack other players, or their homes, or their dinosaurs.
    On a PvEvP or PvP server, it is entirely different. 90% of encounters ended in one of us being dead – usually me. The other 10% could have just been them being too scared to attack me first.
    My recommendation: All new players should start on a PvE server. Learn the game, build a house, tame a few dino’s, and then find a tribe (generally in that order – tribes generally don’t accept players lower than 20 for fear of theft, griefing, or them losing interest and never showing up again). After this trial period, you can migrate into PvEvP… but expect to die a lot – it very possibly will happen. The developers need to make “base defense” a ton more dynamic. There are auto-turrets (yes… wall-mounted, automated, machineguns) but they require level 65 and crazy materials.

    TL;DR Start on PvE, after learning the game then try PvEvP/PvP and expect to die… a lot.

    • romanblade says:

      As someone with 104 hours in Ark. All of it in PvPvE Servers. It depends on the server. The one i play on now mostly has the entire server defending against raiders who raid everyone.

  9. badmothergamer says:

    As someone who has been following the message boards since release Brendan’s experience is not the norm based on what I’ve read. As Aunvre posted above, it’s possible he was on a PvE server but you should definitely expect close to the same level of PvP as you get in DayZ or Rust. Maybe slightly less for the reasons mentioned in the article, but I definitely would not expect to run around the island on a raptor for 7 days only meeting friendlies.

    The problem is most large tribes already have tons of resources by now, so players don’t feel a huge risk in losing their gear or even a single dino. And since they can respawn directly in their base, they can be re-equipped within minutes of death.

    For full disclosure, I don’t have any personal experience as all 122 of my hours in ARK have been in single player. This is strictly based on what I’ve read on the boards.

  10. Hedgeclipper says:

    Is that dinosaur in the header wearing a monocle?

  11. GWOP says:

    I didn’t intend to read the whole thing… ended up finishing it. Good read.

  12. jrodman says:

    Re: people who are not terrible.

    Somehow I suspect this is a property of the game being new, and that over time the population will become terrible. Counterexamples anyone?

  13. Sweetz says:

    I watched some edited/abridged videos of this and it looked cool. Then I watched some live streaming and through “dear God, why would anyone waste so much of their time playing this.”

    Hours upon hours of what is essentially menial labor to get access to bite size chunks of new content at a time. Perhaps all that work makes the end reward more satisfying…as long as you don’t think too hard about the time you’re investing vs entertainment value returned.

    It’s possible I’m just too old to understand the appeal of playing grind heavy survival/crafting games…but I now completely understand the phenomenon of people watching well produced videos of other people playing them. You get to see the cool bits without having to waste your own time clicking on virtual trees and bushes for hours.

  14. Solar says:

    Enjoyed that article. Thank you!

    • Pantalaimon says:

      Ark seems hugely promising and worth playing but I do hear things about the performance that make me hold back from trying it – is it fair to say that you need a recent (last 6 months? last year?) PC in order to play it at a reasonable framerate? My PC is 3 years old at this point, a 2500k @ 4ghz, with a 560ti. It still plays most things at around 60fps, but I wonder if it couldn’t handle Ark?

      Might be a game to look at when thinking of buying a new PC, though.

      • valczir says:

        FYI: I’m running on a variant of gentoo linux, so this information *may* not be relevant to you; that said, I fully expect them to have optimized the game much more for Windows than Linux, so it probably has _some_ value.

        I’m running on an aging AMD FX-8350 and GeForce GTX 660Ti. With medium settings, at first, the game ran at around 15 FPS; but someone mentioned to me that maxing out the view distance will increase performance by a ton. With a “View Distance” of “Ultra”, I’m averaging something around 40-50 FPS.

        I’ve also lowered sky detail and raise textures, etc, etc – general fiddling. For me, at least, it runs quite well, and it looks good with my current settings, to boot.

        • Pantalaimon says:

          Thanks for the reply. That’s an interesting fix you made. I wonder if that means there’s plenty of room for optimisation.

      • Michael Anson says:

        As a player since the beginning, I can confirm that they have made HUGE strides in optimization, to the point where your equipment actually will play a part in how well the game runs. Every week, they are releasing a new patch that seems to improve performance dramatically, from reducing load times to working on server modeling, to something like eight different rewrites of the PhysX-based code to optimize it (a recurring source of issues). The game also allows you to reduce the graphics settings dramatically, to the point where you could play the game at least somewhat meaningfully on a five year old toaster.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      Oops, that wasn’t meant to be a direct reply, sorry about that :)

  15. Blinken6 says:

    I have also only played on pve servers. I’m just too afraid to leave my body, and my stuff online all day, when I can only play a few hours at night. I really enjoyed this story, great article!
    Pve servers are so friendly! I’m really enjoying playing this game. So much so I rented my own server, now I just friends to join me lol.
    If you’re on the fence about this game, I’d say it’s totally worth it, (assuming you have a strong gpu).

  16. Emiryn says:

    Your experience with the PVP server was very different from the one My friends and I had. For the first few days we had very little issue, then we started noticing things going missing some of the non essential stuff we had set up outside the small base we had. then. a few of our dinos go missing. we first attributed it to an aggressive Carno or Dilo pack. since they were slightly away from our other animals. No big deal they could be replaced. yeah it sucked, but no big deal. That was until there were a few days when none of us could log in due to high population on the server. When we were finally able to log in… Our animals were all gone. the house was trashed and I had the delightful sounds of my character drowning… Not all PVP servers are as friendly. and there are some PVE servers where some players will also drag your body into the water or trash your stuff because you’ve been gone for more than the 18 day Grace period for your structures.