Once you’ve made it through your first few minutes on the island without dying (congrats!), you’ll want to consider building a base. A well-designed base will protect you from the elements, keep your gathered resources and supplies secure, provide a place to keep your crafting, cooking and farming equipment, and – most importantly – protect you and your creatures from the island’s hostile forces.
Whenever you log out of ARK: Survival Evolved’s servers, your body remains exactly where you left it, susceptible to attack from predators and, if you’re on a PvP server, other players. As such, a secure base is an absolute must if you don’t want to log back on to discover that you’ve become a glum-faced corpse, stripped of your hard-earned spoils.
Building Your First Base
In order to build your first base, you’ll need to understand the basics of levelling and Engrams, resource gathering and crafting, and you should have assembled at least a couple of simple tools – ideally, a hatchet and pick. If you need a refresher on any of that, feel free to check out the earlier chapters in this guide.
Where To Build Your Base
When you’re ready to establish your first base, you’ll ideally want to find a spot that offers easy access to the game’s most frequently-used resources – namely Wood, Thatch, Fibre and Stone. As mentioned previously, the beaches where most players start aren’t the most resource-rich areas in the game – so, once you’re equipped for basic survival, you should consider moving inland a little, away from the often heavily-populated coast.
Additionally, you should attempt to establish your starter base close to a source of water, such as a river or stream. Not only will this make it easier to quench your thirst and combat extreme heat, it will prove invaluable when it comes to cooking and farming.
A Note On Pillars
Depending on the type of server you join, you might quickly discover that much of the island has already been claimed by other tribes, making it tough to set up a base of your own. Often, tribes will reserve land to prevent others from building nearby, usually by placing down foundations or pillars. Pillars, unlike foundations, don’t block valuable resources from spawning around them, so you’ll likely see them most.
If you’re struggling to find a spot to set up base, you’ve two options: either try a different server or consider moving further inland. The island’s beaches are generally its most populated area – largely because that’s where new players set up camp and never really move on. It shouldn’t take long to find somewhere to build once you move away from the ocean – just be sure to avoid swamps and the perilous north until you’re better prepared.
What To Build
When it comes to base building, you can be as practical, or as fanciful, as you please. All bases will share a number of core elements, of course – and you’ll have slightly different requirements depending on whether you play on a PvP server or PvE. Initially, however, all you’ll need to build is a place to keep you safe from the world outside – so four walls, a ceiling and a foundation to put it all on should suffice.
Currently, there are four tiers of building materials in ARK: Thatch, Wood, Stone and Metal, and each affords greater protection than the last. A thatch wall, for instance, offers 1,600 damage resistance, while its wood, stone and metal counterparts have 10,000.
In practical terms, almost anything can destroy a thatch structure, while wooden structures are sturdy enough to keep out most mid-sized creatures. Stone structures can withstand attack from everything but alpha predators (the glowing, super-tough raptor and T. rex variants), as well as bosses, the Giganotosaurus, ballista turrets, explosives and metal weapons. Finally, metal structures are impervious to everything but explosives. Things are slightly different on PvE servers, of course, where only wildlife can damage your base.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to level up before you can access the building Engrams required to start work on your base. The earliest available building Engrams come from the Thatch tier of structures, with the Thatch Foundation and Doorframe unlocking at Level 2, and the Thatch Door, Walls and Ceiling unlocking at Level 3.
You’ll need plenty of Thatch, Wood and Fibre to begin building – so consider gathering resources early on in order to level up and gain the required Engram Points as you work.
Putting It All Together
When you’ve gathered everything you need, it’s time to start building your base. Regardless of the material you’re using, you’ll always want to lay down a foundation first. You can snap up to four wall pieces to each foundation (or three walls, a doorframe and a door, if you prefer), and a roof piece then rests on your walls. Roof pieces will function as floors if you decide to build further levels above, and these in turn will support more walls. Thatch roofs are the exception here, however, and won’t support a second story.
Incidentally, if you ever want to flip an item that you’re trying to place, simply press “E”. Additionally, should you be unhappy with an item once it has been placed in the world, you can demolish it to recoup half of its original resource cost.
Once your base has a floor, a roof and completely enclosed sides, it will provide a degree of protection from the island’s extreme temperatures (as denoted by the small house icon that appears on your HUD while you’re standing inside).
On page two, how to defend your base from attack, furnish your base with useful items, and how to farm food.