ARK: Survival Evolved Gameplay: 10 Interesting Facts About This Awesome Game

Riding into battle on a raptor.
Riding into battle on a raptor.

Ever Dreamed About Riding Your Very Own Raptor Mount?

This summer brings a lot of hot novelties, and ARK: Survival Evolved is one of them. Currently in early access, ARK offers a unique take on the survival genre. Sure, it has a lot of the other things that commonly make survival games what they are: intuitive crafting, the need for food and shelter, limited resources and an immersive, sandboxy game world.

But guess what else it has...

ARK: Survival Evolved Announcement Trailer

10. Survival. With Dinosaurs. Not Your Average Survival Game.

I don't know what I was expecting, but it was not this.

When the game begins, your character wakes up on a beach, naked and starving. Things look pretty grim, don't they? Well, you find yourself thinking, they didn't really look all that grim until one of those emerged from behind a rock. Yeah, those dinosaurs.

The island where you ended up is full of them. They walk, run, fly, swim and hunt each other, and you have to fit somewhere in there. If you thought a zombie apocalypse is bad, wait until you have to face a triceratops armed with nothing but a spear. What a glorious, epic way to die... unless you emerge victorious from the fight, thrusting your weapon into the monster's flank, and suddenly you have meat to eat, skin to clothe yourself and bones to build a hut or something. Life is not so bad, after all.

9. Start With a Stone Axe, Progress Towards Advanced Technology

Oh hey, it's you again! Guess what? I have a new toy!

A mysterious chip is implanted into your character's arm. It serves as a constant reminder that you haven't gone back in time and that advanced technology does exist — you just don't have it yet. Or anymore, depending on your point of view. As your character progresses through the game, so does their “engram” or the knowledge they possess.

You start out with the Engram to make a stone pickaxe. This crude tool will serve you well in the beginning, but as you level up and unlock more crafting recipes, you will replace it with more sophisticated -and efficient- equipment.

You can go from stone-age grade items to modern, electricity-powered devices, and even progress beyond. There are a lot of equipment and tool combinations, literally hundreds, to discover.

8. The Environment Is Also a Threat

I knew it, I should have worn my favorite raincoat.

Hostile creatures are not the only threats that you will face as you also need to find or build a shelter from the weather. Cold temperatures will have an adverse effect on your health; conversely, on a hot, sunny day you will become dehydrated faster than normal.

You can eat berries you gather in the wild, but some of these can be poisonous. If you don't want to be knocked out cold by eating something that was not actually edible, you can also hunt dinos and carve raw meat from them, but doing so depletes another resource, your stamina, even faster.

Oh, and don't even mention chasing after your prey through the jungle on a hot day – there better be a source of fresh, drinkable water nearby!

7. Tame Creatures and Ride Them

“When I said we needed a packmule, I didn't mean I intended to move our entire house!”

Dinosaurs that roam in the wild are not just a good source of food (or a quick one-way ticket to the afterlife). They can also be tamed and turned into pets or trained so you can use them as a mount or a packmule.

To tame a creature, you must first knock it unconscious using any tool at your disposal (like blunt trauma to the head or a tranquilizer). Then you must feed it to restore it to health using appropriate food (meat for carnivorous dinos, berries for herbivores). This is not as easy as it sounds, however, as you must watch out for other predators during the taming process, not to mention the creature might recover too early.

Just like players and wild creatures, tamed dinos have levels. The higher level the creature originally was, and the faster was the taming process completed, the better stats your new companion will have. They also gain experience and level up with their master, becoming tougher, faster and more resistant in the process; however, if they die, they are lost forever.

You can't customize your pet or mount's looks – they're determined by their genetics. So, if you see that uniquely-looking dino in the wild, you'll want to tame it before it escapes or gets eaten!

6. Build Houses and Friendships to Survive Together

My soon-to-be home sweet home.

Assuming you want to survive on the island for more than a few days, you will need shelter, and a cave won't do for long, right? Eventually you will teach yourself how to make wood planks and turn them into houses.

Such a nice commodity is a house, however, that it will likely attract unwanted attention. You are not alone on the island, after all, and it's not about the dinos: there are other survivors, and they probably want to take over your new home if they don't have the skills or the patience to build one themselves.

Joining forces with other people will allow you to rest easier (and have someone with whom to share those long nights around a fire). Gather into communities, small or large, so you can protect each other from hostile players or large dinosaurs out for an easy meal.

A few houses progressively turn into a village, then become a city and players can even form entire factions that compete for resources, technology and respawn points.

5. Live in a Vast, Persistent World

I could swear I saw it around here last time...

The island you are standed on is living, breathing. It is a persistent world that continues to evolve even when you log out. Everything you create remains there when you are not playing; even your character stays in the game when you log out and other survivors may interact with them (not always in a good way – see below, and this is why you really need some friends you can count on!).

The explorable world is huge and is not limited to the land: the surrounding ocean is also a part of the map, and a massive underground cave system is also present. You may even learn to build underwater structures such as air-filled pockets that allow you to replenish your oxygen reserves when you're swimming!

Not only is the game's world big (according to the developers, the landmass alone is currently about 36 square kilometers – that's one big isle), but in a future update worlds should be procedurally generated, meaning no island is going to look the same.

4. A Survival Game With Actual Story and Endgame Content

I don't know what that column of light is yet, but I'm sure it's not there just to look pretty.

Survival games are sandboxes, and as such have little in the way of storyline, since you, the player, create your character's own story as you play. However, ARK actually has a real storyline, which you encounter in the form of in-game artifacts and quest items.

As you explore the island, deepen your knowledge and broaden your skills, you will begin to unravel the mystery behind the isle and its true purpose. How did you get there? What purpose does serve the mysterious chip on your arm? In time, those questions will find answers as you discover hints scattered throughout the game's world.

The game also boasts boss fights against giant monsters, which can be summoned by players in an attempt to defeat them to get powerful item drops, and dungeon-like challenges (including the aforementioned cave system which looks more like a dungeon than an inhabitable part of the world – you can live in there, but probably not for an extended period of time).

3. Encounters with Hostile Players Taken to a Whole New Level

I swear I just want to chat a little!

Player versus player hostilities are a challenge in ARK, especially since there is perma-death. When your character dies, the items remain on their corpse, but fortunately not all your progress is lost. Your statistics and unlocked engrams will persist through death.

In ARK, killing you for loot (or just plain enjoyment) is not the only thing hostile players can do. Capturing and enslaving, yes, enslaving, a player can provide benefits beyong that of killing them and looting their corpse.

Remember when we said your character will remain in game even when you log out? You can interact with a player character, and that includes dragging their sleeping or unconscious body somewhere. It can be shelter if you're nice, or it can be a prison if you're not.

After that it is easy to force the player to do your bidding in exchange for food and water, or you can force-feed them if they try to escape by starving to death and respawning somewhere else.

2. ARK Is Gorgeous!

Riding into the distance... and yes, the motion blur effect can be disabled.

Without the shadow of a doubt, ARK is a wonderful-looking game. Powered by Unreal Engine 4 and offering DirectX 12 support, the game is simply gorgeous on the highest settings, which leads us to our next point...

1. Oculus Rift Support! (and Gamepad Controls)

Flying with a VR headset on is promised to be a breathtaking experience.

The game comes with Oculus Rift support. It was actually made with virtual reality headsets in mind, and looks very immersive with such a headset on. Furthermore, ARK offers full controller support, and most of the game is in first person view to add to immersion.


What do you think of the game so far? Leave your impressions of the game in the comments below.

Want to take on more challenges? Check out our 5 Best Online Zombie Survival Games list. Are you more of a builder and less of a hunter? Try beating these 7 Minecraft Wonders of the World!

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