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There are three ways to learn how to play the game. 1, The school of hard knocks where you learn what works and what gets you killed, and 2. You view all of the tutorials. before playing. I don't recommend 3 because having everything given to you by a friend in a private session doesn't teach you how to play the game.

For 1, I would recommend that you learn how things work in single player with the default settings. I would recommend that you view the in game guide  before getting started on "The Island." As us veterans of June of 2015 had no such guides, we learned the hard way how to play the game with default settings that were 0.25% of what they are now. Those were fun times of discoveries, heartbreaks, and accomplishments.

Now, if you want to get started without reading 2, don't read any further. Start up your first single player game and try to stay alive by learnign what works and what doesn't.


2. Ark, The Island. Walk through for first time players. All systems.

Start by reviewing the In Game Tutorial to learn how some of the basics of the game function. It will give you an idea how various icons in the game function.

Next, start a single player game to get familiar with how the game mechanics work using your, keyboard, mouse, or game controller. Otherwise, you are going to be killed constantly while trying to figure how things work while playing on the toxic public servers. The game does not pause while you are looking in your inventory leaving you vulnerable to a surprise attack by everything that wants to kill you. In single player mode, the game is frozen when you hit the Esc key. In on line mode, the game keeps running 24-7 where your character can be killed while all of your hard work gets destroyed.

All first time players will have a chance to modify their character as they wish. Regardless of how they craft them, all characters start with the same stats in the game.

Game Play Mechanics. Constantly running will make you tired as well as use up food and water faster. Extreme cold, heat, starvation, or dehydration will eventually kill you. If you spawn near a predator, run! Hide behind something or run by some herbivore, which it may take an interest in, allowing you to escape.

If you are killed, you will be reborn losing everything but your crafting skills. You have 15 minutes to reclaim your stuff from your dead body or bag if you were eaten. A Death Beacon will appear when you get in range of your body. No other players can see this but can still loot your stuff if they happen to find your dead body or bag.

Start playing your first single player game on “The Island” in South Zone One. Once you have spawned in;

1. Grab that rock in front of you, then go punch that driftwood log to get 1 wood and 10 thatch.

2. Go into crafting and craft the pick. Place it in hot bar 1.

3. Go hit one of those round boulder to the left with the pick to get flint. Use the pick on a tree to get more wood and thatch. Pick some bushes to get some berries and fiber.

4. As you will have leveled up by now, apply the level to health or weight. Select the hatchet and spears from the Engrams List and craft a hatchet. Place it in hot bar 2. A hatchet gathers mostly stone, wood, and hide, The pick gets mostly flint, thatch, or raw meat.

5. Craft at least three spears and place them in hot bar 3. Spears are good for defense against the spitters and compys. As spitters will flare their hood before spitting on you, jump to the side to dodge the blinding spit. If you are attacked by a compy gang, go backwards to keep them in front of you aiming the spear low to kill them all. Left mouse stabs with the spear, right mouse can be used to throw one. Walk over a spear to recover it. Note that spears can break without warning.

6. Place mejoberries in hot bar 0. Why? To prevent more important items being stolen from you by the Pegomastax which will sneak up and steal things from you. Stolen berries may passive tame them.

7. Craft a torch and place it in hot bar 6. You can still pick up stones and harvest bushes while using a torch for it’s light and keeping warm.

8. Go kill some Dodos for their meat and hide. Eat berries for food but save the Narcos for taming as they will put you to sleep. Likewise, the Stimms will give you energy and counteract poisonous bites but make you very thirsty. Save the purple ones for taming herbivores.

9. At the next level up, get the campfire, shirt and pants. Craft the clothes and put them on. Find a sheltered spot where your back is protected from surprise attacks and place the campfire down. Place some wood or thatch in it for fuel, raw meat to create cooked meat and light the fire. Use the fire and or torch to stay warm when it gets cold.

10. A Waterskin will store water for your use when you are away from a water source, but they will leak. You can refill them by standing in the water and press the use item key, or place in the hot bar and press that number. They can also be refilled when it rains.

11. As it is likely getting dark by now, use the torch for light and warmth as you go about gathering more materials for a shelter. You should have a level up soon to get thatch foundation and walls. A shelter will give you additional protection from the heat or cold. Plan on staying put during the night as it can get very dark out and you could easily walk off of a cliff or get ambushed by a predator.

12. On Level 4, get the slingshot for your first ranged weapon. On Level 5, the storage box. Place extra items in it so you are not being overburdened by their weight.

13. Get a sleeping bag but don't craft it for now. You need the hide to craft the Simple Bed which you will place on a foundation. This will give you a fixed place to be reborn if your character gets killed. Sleeping bags are a portable one time use item.

14. Supply drops may give you useful or higher quality items. Access them if you can safely do so.

15. There are going to be many more items then you will ever have engram points for selecting. Spend them on items that are most useful. At this stage of the game, mortise and pestle, narc, standing torch, bow and arrow, bola, tranc arrows, and the raft are top priority. The Bola is most useful for stopping an attacking raptor or for immobilizing a creature from a Parasaur size and smaller to kill or tame.

16. A raft will allow for fast transport for resources and safer locations. You can place structures on them and ferry your tames with you. Just watch out for swimming sarcos, which can attack your tames on the raft, alpha sharks, or Leeds, a giant fish that will attack your raft and destroy it.

17. Your first tames can be some dodos for an egg farm, spitters that you knock out with the slingshot and use as guard dogs, and a parasaur for transport and berry harvesting. Get low level ones for now, they are easier to tame. If you can find a Moschop that ask you to feed them something easy, such as a type of berry, passive tame it by placing that food in slot 0 and feeding it when prompted. It is good at gathering berries, thatch, fiber, wood, even raw meat. It doesn’t need a saddle. Your first flying tame should be a Pteradon. Wait until you can craft saddles for them before attempting a tame.

18. Explorer Notes are a good way to quickly level up your character and your tame. Wait until you have tamed a Pteradon before opening them. While riding on your Pteradon, you will both get the experience when you activate one. You will get double the bonus if you activate a second one while the XP timer is running.


You are now well on your way to being a survivor of the Ark. Play cautiously, be aware of your surroundings, and watch your six. And, always prepare for the unexpected.


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Well hello, my friend! Welcome to the ARK community, where all of us are friendly (mostly), supportive (kind of), and all-around great people (just kidding, the ARK community's not half bad.). My advice to you is don't quit. Starting out will be rough. You'll get jumped by packs of raptors that tear you and your newly tamed parasaur to shreds, starve to death, lose all your items. You'll have to grind for hours to get that one tame you need. But if you push through, you'll rise above and become the ultimate survivor, dominating the ARKs and beyond. And all along it, you'll have fun.

Good luck my friend, and Happy ARKing!

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