Ark: Survival Evolved - Dinos and Leveling Survival Game

This dropped on Early Access on Tuesday and sold over 100k units in 12 hours, catapulting it to the #1 best sellers spot in Steam. It had a messy launch - the dev team apparently didn’t think it would sell THAT well - and there are many negative Steam reviews as a result, which isn’t very fair to the game. It seems like the devs have been working around the clock to fix any immediate issues too as there have been something like 7 or 8 hotfixes and patches since release.

It’s a(nother) survival game, but it has dinosaurs and other prehistoric life (dodos, sabertooth tigers, etc) as its “enemies”. It shares a lot of similarities to Rust in terms of housing and player life - when you log off for the night your character goes to sleep, leaving you vulnerable to being attacked or looted. Buildings currently work in a snap-to system, so there isn’t a lot of room for customization or modifying the basic structures.

The big difference/selling point for me is that this game has leveling, which sets more of a goal. I would often find myself bored in survival games because I am not too keen on having to make my own fun - once I find a nice gun and a car, I’m not really sure what to do next (no interest in banditry…). This game gives you a path to follow - as you level, you gain “engram points”, which you then spend on blueprints for new items. At lower levels you have basic tribal weaponry and tools, but eventually you can get to guns if you have the right materials. Your level is persistent per server and doesn’t reset when you die (though you do lose your stuff). There’s also some sort of system where you can upload your character’s data and use it on other servers or something, but I’m not real clear on how it works. You gain experience through crafting and killing creatures and dinos (and maybe other players?), along with a constant increase rate of .1 every, like, ten seconds to fifteen seconds.

The other neat feature is that this game has a pet mechanic, where you can tame and even ride certain dinosaurs. Here’s a picture of me riding this pig-elephant creature while my pet dodo follows us.

The companion AI is a little clunky, though, and the pathfinding sometimes gets them lost. Taming them can be very time consuming too, depending on the type of creature or its level. There are currently 25ish creatures in the game, with an eventual goal of 70+ at release.

The story is set up like a mystery - you awaken on this mysterious island that is filled with extinct creatures and there are these big floating structures that are seeable from any point on the island. The island itself is huge - each server I’ve been on has had a population of 70 people and I have rarely met anyone outside of spawn areas. It apparently has several underground and underwater cave systems, which have rare materials and items you can find, but I have yet to discover any of them.

It is an incredibly system heavy game, and I can’t run it on “EPIC” graphics even with my 970. The dev team has stated that optimization and streamlining is #1 on their tasklist, as most of those negative reviews have been criticizing the framerate.

This is easily one of the most complete early access games I’ve ever played, but it still could use some polish. If you’re a dinosaur nut like me then it’s a no brainer, but I am not sure I can heartily recommend it to the masses just yet.

Oh, it also has pooping. Press Z to poop. Sometimes you just automatically poop too.

Ok, “Press Z to poop” is something I was not expecting…

If it were an Arma mod you’d then have to input the Konami code to wipe.

So at later levels you can unlock the ability to plant crops, and poop is what you use to fertilize them. All the dinosaurs poop too, with bigger ones making bigger… well, poops. I tried to use it as a source of fuel for a fire but it didn’t work.

It’s a really strange choice to have players poop too and can definitely break atmosphere and tension. One time I was laying in some bushes, waiting to ambush an approaching dinosaur and out of nowhere I hear a ridiculous farting sound along with big letters on my screen stating “YOU JUST DEFECATED”.

The other thing is you can, um, eat the poop and it makes you sick and you die. Again, really not much of a stylistic fit with the EPIC ADVENTURE meta-narrative that they’re pushing. Apparently the ability to capture other players and force feed them things is going to be implemented in the future, so you can probably guess what that may lead to…



I might get this once I get a refund on Lego Worlds.

10/10 goty

Been playing a little. Performance is rough but they are patching often multiple times a day. It seems very promising especially if it is anywhere near as moddable as stated.

No one else playing this? I’m addicted. Seems to be an even better survival game than 7 Days to Die which is high praise.

Don’t have time, I’m tired and all pooped out.

According to Steamspy, 351,000 people own this game.

At $24 each, that’s about $8,424,000 in revenue. Less Valve’s 30% cut and another 30% for taxes, and the devs will probably clear around $2 million this month.

Taxes would be less because they can deduct their costs.

Wow, this looks pretty cool, might have to snag it if it hits the sale.

Side note, Gordon, why didya ask for a refund on Lego Worlds, if you don’t mind me asking?

The gratuitous sex scene, I would imagine. I’ll never be able to put two Lego blocks together again without being reminded of that shudder.

Wait, does Lego Worlds have stuffed unicorns by any chance?

It should be no surprise that LEGO has a thriving rule 34 community.

I’m not really sure why I bought it in the first place, probably because of the Lego name. It’s a Minecraft clone, and after about 20 minutes in the game, I realized I’d rather be playing Minecraft.

I had to buy this, all the poop talk made me do it.

Oh man, I so just bought this. Can’t wait to try it out tonight.

The character models are (or can be?) weird, judging from a YouTube I just watched. I saw some really wacky-looking dudes with, for instance, incredibly thick necks and incredibly short arms.

In the YouTube I mentioned, the guy said he once came across a small hut and after going in, he was captured and “violated” by other players. Is that actually possible? How easy is it to avoid other players, or at least protect yourself against shenanigans?

Also: scorpion mounts? Is that wise?

Survival game players and their love of force-feeding others. I don’t get it.