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What are your thoughts on Ark?


barnacles
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Hi All,

So I've recently got into Ark and put in around 27 hours (I know, WAAAYYYY less then pretty much of 99% here) :) but wanted to simply stop by to say hello and to just see what motivates you all to play this game. My son is into dinosaurs so we love playing it together but the survival aspect is something that really draws me.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the Ark community thinks :)

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You will find a lot of people who have thousands of hours but will tell you the game is terrible and the devs are evil.

In my opinion, the game has so many possibilities and potential, and it seems like a lot of passion and love went into making it.  It is also a game where you can customize your experience in so many ways to make it what you want it to be.

But that is not to say that Ark is without problems: some of which are technology related and some from the culture that has evolved around it.  If you could not tell by looking at these forums, there are many issues with server stability and bugs: some of which have deprived players from thousands of hours of progress.  Official PvP has devolved into two primary play experiences: living in a rathole for as long as you can before you get wiped and all progress lost, or lucking into a mega-tribe.  The PvE experience also has its issues: many maps have large swaths of territory pillared out just for the sake of it, and servers with breeder bases and dupers that routinely crash the server or reduce the framerate to make it unplayable for periods of time.  Worth noting: some people love the state of the game as it is: they like the playstyle of wiping other players off the map just for kicks.  For new players, you have to prepare yourself to invest hours into grinding, taming and raising, only to have everything wiped by a far more advanced tribe while you are logged out - likely more than once until you learn how to best stay hidden.

If you are doing single-player or only playing with friends, it can best stay fresh by avoiding server commands, overpowered mods and cheats: keeping the game raw and challenging will help keep the game interesting.  Some players get use to cheating and godmodes and the game will lose its excitement where there is no risk, and therefore no satisfaction.

So in one person's opinion, Ark can have a lot of depth, was made with love, can be a lot of fun for thousands of hours but is a hot-stinkin' mess of bugs, exploits, griefers and hackers.

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28 minutes ago, barnacles said:

The "tutorial" part is somewhat tough! 

Shoot, that's probably the only reason I kept playing the game. Downloaded it one night and dead, dead, starved, dead, drowned, dead, cold, starved, dead.

I thought... this game's got to get easier at some point and kept playing. That first hump is a tough one to get over. And this was back in the day when more than half of those really annoying dinos (*cough Icthyornis, Pegomastax) weren't even in the game let alone on the beach.

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I'm not sure how much you've read on the Wikis or if you even play PVE. But the more important thing to understand at first is the decay timers:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/346110/discussions/0/483367798520472151/

Alot of new people learn this the hard way and lose a lot of hard earned stuff and dinos.

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26 minutes ago, Joebl0w13 said:

I'm not sure how much you've read on the Wikis or if you even play PVE. But the more important thing to understand at first is the decay timers:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/346110/discussions/0/483367798520472151/

Alot of new people learn this the hard way and lose a lot of hard earned stuff and dinos.

Ah, this is a great point! I continually forget about these, even now!

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I like the survival aspect, to be able to just barely get by on nothing but wits an skill, dashed in with some luck. After thats finally overcome, the ability to tame new creatures is very nice. Finally the lore. From just trying to get by to trying to figure out what exactly is all of this thats going on, thats where it goes from playing the game for the fun of it, to sticking around after you have gotten a handle of things. 

Don't get me wrong, I still love exploring and whatnot, but to give you an idea of what I mean by this, I have gotten through the island, scorched earth, and aberration {for the most part, kinda waiting for some things to be fixed before finishing it} but I have not gotten through any of the "non story line" maps such as the center, crystal isles, and so forth. Yeah, its fun at first, heck starting on any map gives you that first "got to stay alive" vibe, but after a certain point in time that vibe falls off and it goes right into the grind. And that is where the game looses its flair and I need another reason to keep going.....Multiple boss fights is one, tek stuff is sorta cool, but trying to figure out what happened, why are we on this Ark, and what happens to the main villain of this story makes me push a bit harder. 

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13 hours ago, wizard03 said:

I like the survival aspect, to be able to just barely get by on nothing but wits an skill, dashed in with some luck. After thats finally overcome, the ability to tame new creatures is very nice. Finally the lore. From just trying to get by to trying to figure out what exactly is all of this thats going on, thats where it goes from playing the game for the fun of it, to sticking around after you have gotten a handle of things. 

Don't get me wrong, I still love exploring and whatnot, but to give you an idea of what I mean by this, I have gotten through the island, scorched earth, and aberration {for the most part, kinda waiting for some things to be fixed before finishing it} but I have not gotten through any of the "non story line" maps such as the center, crystal isles, and so forth. Yeah, its fun at first, heck starting on any map gives you that first "got to stay alive" vibe, but after a certain point in time that vibe falls off and it goes right into the grind. And that is where the game looses its flair and I need another reason to keep going.....Multiple boss fights is one, tek stuff is sorta cool, but trying to figure out what happened, why are we on this Ark, and what happens to the main villain of this story makes me push a bit harder. 

Yeah, I hear you.

How does the "grind" feel to you in general though?

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10 hours ago, barnacles said:

Yeah, I hear you. How does the "grind" feel to you in general though?

Well, it depends....Sometimes its not too bad. Scorched earth is a perfect example. Hell of all the maps, id say its the best one by far with an equal amount of grind, to fun ratio.

I do the boss fights with wyverns and a yuty instead of rex's, so that means I gotta get that first egg, then after that I gotta see if I can nip a high level or two. Run em to the dune's, kill a couple worms for levels, then go and find the rest of the eggs needed to make a boss fighting army. {or at least a mated set to breed} While in the midst of all of the raising babies, killing worms, and leveling the wyverns up I can go look for a phoenix during the super heats, tame up mantis with the horns, or hit supply drops for chainsaws or such.

However on the island, lets say you get an army of rex's together and you start looking for a saddle BP.....If you get super lucky and find a god tier saddle BP, your going to spend literally months grinding for hide. I decided to go with a theri army cause I wanted to be able to use one army to deal with all three boss's, got super lucky and found an ascendent saddle BP for them, but I was going to need HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of hide to get them all set up. O.O After trying to do it legit and figuring out which ways to harvest hide as fast as possible, I come up with about 15,000 hide if I circled the island with a mosa chomping on anything other than sharks n fish......plesiosaurs, other mosa's, squids, n basils seemed to pay out the best and faster than other methods I attempted. However between stopping to heal, real life, and other factor's, I estimated that it would take me nearly an entire month of grinding for hide and hide alone. And I was also having a difficult time finding metal as it seemed that 70% of the nodes I had hit had not returned.......If it wasn't one resource denying me, it was another.

While I get that this game is supposed to be a tad bit difficult and take time to do thing, spending an entire month doing the exact same thing over and over again really does suck. x.x

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21 hours ago, barnacles said:

Yeah, I hear you.

How does the "grind" feel to you in general though?

Hmmm, it depends on where you play. On Official PVP, there ain't no grinding, you are gonna get base wiped (many times) long before you get to having to REALLY grind. Best experience I had here was on small tribes, but that went well pear shaped over a year ago with dudes popping in on a Lvl 450 mana and .... Oh well start again. Official PVE I never got much past a "{walk / swim / avoid the HUGE base at spawn} to try and find a place to build" stage. My view, worse toxic than PVP. On unofficial there are servers (of both kinds) that are pretty cool but you are at the mercy of the guy(s) running that server. And maybe they get bored, or can't afford the infrastructure any more, or whatever, and the server is gone. (I am a culprit here - I ran a cluster of servers that had a fair population of guys - but I am sat in South Africa, and repeated brown outs cooked my gateway - and I couldn't run the things for several weeks = dead server). Solo is a brilliant way to play and you can go a long way there - but the catch is that at a moment you get to be God in your game (because you now have a wyvern or giga or whatever), and then there is very little left except grind - and then it ain't fun no more. No motivation.

In short - my recommendation to "play through" the game is to run your own server. You choose if you want it public or not (IMO public is pretty cool cause you get random dudes to interact with). And you are not subject to other guys giving up hosting. And you can invite your mates to play along. And if you get to a boss fight that is maybe gonna waste you, you can save the game, have a go, and "rollback" if its a fail. Probably cheating - but not in the same league as GFI "reallyBadAddRexToWinWith" that single player often comes to.

From a different angle - it also depends on what you want of the game. I have done Alpha Manticor on scorched earth with wild tamed wyverns. On the Island I get wasted by the Alpha spider (supposed to be the easiest island boss) with wild tames (cross bred for equivalent babies - but no mutating "breeding" scheme). So again it depends on where / how you want to play.

Edited by DirkInSA
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On 11/30/2021 at 8:18 PM, maxplanck58 said:

If you are doing single-player or only playing with friends, it can best stay fresh by avoiding server commands, overpowered mods and cheats: keeping the game raw and challenging will help keep the game interesting.  Some players get use to cheating and godmodes and the game will lose its excitement where there is no risk, and therefore no satisfaction.

And most important this by @maxplank58 .... don't go the GFI "reallyBadAddRexToWinWith" route - or the game will quickly sour and you will have wasted your money

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@barnacles & son, welcome!

Ark is a sum of several experiences in my life, kinda nostalgic to me. I love Dinosaurs, am a fan of Transformers G1 and Beast wars, Dinoriders, Dragons and games with age progression (think age of empires 2 or rise of nations). So Ark hits a lot of boxes in my criterias. I also love open world & sandbox games.

I played Official PvP (both in large tribes and small groups alike), Official PvE, Official PvP with no offline raiding and finally I discovered the epicness of private server with friends and sometimes solo even, now I don't even think of going back to public servers.

There is a bit of background, to me it is clear that the game became so much more once I removed myself from public servers. Don't get me wrong, Official was all fun, but my time, my schedule is very limited when it comes to a game like Ark, so to fully explore and experience all of its maps and content, I had to step down from open servers and focus on the pve side privately, which I stick to this day and I rather not go back to the origins.

Ark did become the one game to rule them all for a long time in my case, I spent less on games in general because I was so invested in Ark, this was a positive thing for sure. I did a lot of creative things, and with breeding becoming a thing I went crazy. lol. When I look back, the game is not only expansive, its a journey and being able to share that with your son, just as I did with my daughter, is really awesome... Just keep those daily-weekly hours in check, the game is grindy, especially if you like big projects, start small and try to build efficiently, the rest falls in place as it goes.

If I have 2 grudges with Ark, I would have to say it would be player character design, Ark is on the goofy side, the other grudge is that animal skins look like plastic, but hey it's a dinosaur so I like it. :D


Cheers!

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I played ark from day one and back then it had much promise because it was in early access you always thought the bugs would be fixed which sadly isnt the case,

server instability is horendous and devs seem to ignore what people want , I wont be buying Ark 2 because of this, my main gripe is the devs when early access started they were involved everyday with its fan base but now they just simply ignore us.

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On 12/2/2021 at 12:03 AM, wizard03 said:

Well, it depends....Sometimes its not too bad. Scorched earth is a perfect example. Hell of all the maps, id say its the best one by far with an equal amount of grind, to fun ratio.

I do the boss fights with wyverns and a yuty instead of rex's, so that means I gotta get that first egg, then after that I gotta see if I can nip a high level or two. Run em to the dune's, kill a couple worms for levels, then go and find the rest of the eggs needed to make a boss fighting army. {or at least a mated set to breed} While in the midst of all of the raising babies, killing worms, and leveling the wyverns up I can go look for a phoenix during the super heats, tame up mantis with the horns, or hit supply drops for chainsaws or such.

However on the island, lets say you get an army of rex's together and you start looking for a saddle BP.....If you get super lucky and find a god tier saddle BP, your going to spend literally months grinding for hide. I decided to go with a theri army cause I wanted to be able to use one army to deal with all three boss's, got super lucky and found an ascendent saddle BP for them, but I was going to need HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of hide to get them all set up. O.O After trying to do it legit and figuring out which ways to harvest hide as fast as possible, I come up with about 15,000 hide if I circled the island with a mosa chomping on anything other than sharks n fish......plesiosaurs, other mosa's, squids, n basils seemed to pay out the best and faster than other methods I attempted. However between stopping to heal, real life, and other factor's, I estimated that it would take me nearly an entire month of grinding for hide and hide alone. And I was also having a difficult time finding metal as it seemed that 70% of the nodes I had hit had not returned.......If it wasn't one resource denying me, it was another.

While I get that this game is supposed to be a tad bit difficult and take time to do thing, spending an entire month doing the exact same thing over and over again really does suck. x.x

Oh man! That is really off-putting to someone, like me, who is just starting out!

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5 hours ago, barnacles said:

Oh man! That is really off-putting to someone, like me, who is just starting out!

Oh heck, for some reason I thought you knew about this game already for the most part. x.x

Ok, first and foremost its not as bad as it sounds.....my ascendent saddle was a max level offline saddle. It reduces damage by 300% which is not found online official, its in single player or private servers only. If it wasn't a perfect saddle, the resource requirements would have been lower. Secondly, you don't have to do theri's, you can do megatheriums for an easier run at the broodmother and rex's for gigapithicus. However you got to get mutations rolling to do the dragon with rex's. We had a guy recently negotiate with another player online for some rex eggs that had insane stats. You might go the same route if your online, if not I can give you the settings for my custom "10 minute rex's" to ease the burden of getting the mutations out. Its sorta cheaty in the fact that you don't have to wait for a couple months to get the perfect stats, but you still have to be involved cause you got to figure out which baby is a keeper and finally to imprint the final product.

Lastly, there are many other things to do if you wish.....you got the winter biome, ocean biome, taming up different creatures to see what they are good for......trust me, while my previous post sounded bad, this game is addictive and reals you in hard. And like I said previously, scorched earth is a real treat. Just hang in there. :)

Edited by wizard03
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On 12/2/2021 at 12:50 PM, DirkInSA said:

And most important this by @maxplank58 .... don't go the GFI "reallyBadAddRexToWinWith" route - or the game will quickly sour and you will have wasted your money

Even with crazy boosted mating settings, the rex army I built for my island playthru with 10 health and 10 melee mutations took weeks to get.  I kick myself for letting the server subscription lapse, now its back to square one and I don't have the rex saddle bp I found on that playthru either.   

For fiddling around building stuff creative mode is fine, for playing the official bosses on official settings, build your army the way the game intended.  

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There's a serious disconnect between development and the community- the vanilla game is clearly balanced around players playing in large or very active tribes, but that's not a thing that usually actually happens.

I'm not a fan of the community in general really. I feel like the game has a lot of potential that's squandered by the usual minmax and "grind the fun out of the game" mindset that most players have.

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8 hours ago, Scheneighnay said:

There's a serious disconnect between development and the community- the vanilla game is clearly balanced around players playing in large or very active tribes, but that's not a thing that usually actually happens.

I'm not a fan of the community in general really. I feel like the game has a lot of potential that's squandered by the usual minmax and "grind the fun out of the game" mindset that most players have.

Don't get me wrong, I feel like there should be a bit of a grind to the game here n there, but it seems like more filler with the current state of things.....How do we keep people playing? Well lets do boss fights....Good idea, how do we go about it. Let add this new mechanic that takes weeks if not months of the same thing over and over again, and when they get done. They will have 1 thing to do a boss fight. They will need 10 thingNOT ENOUGH! We need 20! of those things.
x.x

If there was a way to speed things up for hide, baby raising, and such, it would be so much better of an experiance. I guess the egg incubator and maewing was indeed a step in the right direction. As for the hide however, kinda wish we could have gotten a new dino thats best harvested strictly for hide. Granted the ovis can be op, but as for official settings, yadda yadda, its still a huge struggle.

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