Ark: Survival Evolved - Dinos and Leveling Survival Game


My excursions to the surface finally paid off last night.

I was waiting at the surface for night to start and raced out (on my rock drake) as soon as the fires stopped. (speaking of that, it is really annoying that the 90% day/10% day cycle seems to be the predominate cycle). At first there were not beacon’s visible, but there is a spot behind the purple obelisk where they come down. When I got there, a red drop was already on the ground.

Thus the normal procedure of cloaking, getting in position, hop off, grab the loot, hop back on, and running for high ground, all in less that 4 seconds. As Grem can testify, you really can’t delay on the surface otherwise you will get swarmed by reaper kings.

Because of how dangerous that is, I don’t look at the loot. I just hit the loot all and check once I’m reasonably safe. This time though, I got a mastercraft spino saddle BP that has about 86 armor, woohoo!

The crafting requirements are not terrible (for me at this stage of the game anway). 650 cementing paste (got thousands thanks to my snails), just over 5k hide (I toss hundreds of hide each night), 3400 fiber (make from thatch in the grinder and I get xp from it to boot!), and 350 silca pearls.

The pearls maybe a problem from some, but I live right on a death lake in the swamp that has quite a few pearls (along with anglers, crabs, electric eels, baryonyx, sarcos, and the evilest of evils, jelly fish.) I tamed a 140 or 150 angler awhile ago, so I can go out (with a large number of bodyguards) and harvest a ton whenever I need some.

In other adventures, I’ve found the Artifact of the Stalker that is waaaay south in the radiation zone. You pretty much need a rock drake to get in and out safely and in a decent amount of time. At first I was totally lost trying to figure out how to get to the artifact, but then I found a quick short cut once you are in the cave which saves a ton of time.

Next I need to find the entrance to the swamp cave so I can gather the artifact that is there.


Nice on the BP will have to start farming some pearls.


@Kelan @barstein @Grembel @Skipper

FYI, I’ve changed the server startup to automatically update mods. So if there ever is a mod update, just restart the servers and it will be taken care of.


Thanks Ragan


Good deal. I haven’t logged into the control panel for those two for a while. Is there a quick and easy process if there is a Steam update to ARK as well?

Been thinking about adding the all-in-one update on the Island server to be a nightly script running at around 4AM EST that will shut down, check mods and update, check Ark on steam and update, then restart the server.

I didn’t realize just how many updates happen or I would have done that initially.


Didn’t want you guys to think I disappeared. I’m training a buddy on the Island server. We just takes our first Rex!


Well done!

I am a little distracted myself the past few weeks. I need to log on and feed my little buddies!


So, those of you who have played The Island already, there is a volcano up north. Down near the bottom there appears to be some sort of device, like a landing or teleport pad. You can’t get anywhere near it due to the heat. What the heck is that thing?

EDIT: Whoa … nevermind. It’s the Tek Cave and end of the game. No wonder it’s down there.


My Ark time has been down lately as well. I still hop on to feed the dinos and do a surface beacon run.

Speaking of that, if you can make it to the surface exit that is in the south/rad zone, the surface beacons are great. If you go to the surface in the other two (green or swamp zones), there is only one beacon down at a time and usually it is blue. The southern surface has usually three purple or higher beacons coming down. The downside is there a lot more reaper kings.

I did snag a 155 drake egg, so I think I’ll make a small house/enclosed dino pen there and use the 155 drake as surface beacon gather. Then I can just fast travel to the house, gather loot until daytime, and leave it there until I’ve accumulated enough to justify a trip to pick it all up.


And last night when I was doing another surface beacon loot run, I found another exit to the red obelisk area (from my previous post).

This exit is in the green zone, so it is absolutely safer than traveling all the way through the rad zone. It is over by the big broken bridge/suggested starter area that has no water.

I found it on accident last night when I getting a beacon. After I landed, I saw a paracer and had one of those “huh?” moments. After a little bit of exploring I figured out where it came out in the underground.


Ragan, any tips for two noobs doing their first attempt at cave runs on the Island? Dino choices that can make it through, weapons, etc? We found this write up, but no tips on level needed, things to take for combat, etc.

Personal opinion incoming, and I tiered them rather than specific ordering:

Tier 1
Snow Cave: A pain in the ass because you’re dealing with extreme cold & level 200-300+ wolves, yetis and bats. You can’t get much more than a swarm of dimorphs in to help you.

Tier 2
The Caverns of Lost Hope: Requires a really strong water tame. Full of mosas and squids to wreck your day.Swamp Cave: Requires very specific gear (scuba/ghillie combo and a high level frog). With this gear it’s possible. Without it, it’s a nightmare of high level scorpions, spiders, meganeura swarms, and poison damage over time. Upper South Cave: Actually the only cave I haven’t done on the island but I hear it’s challenging.

Tier 3
South East Cave: High Temperatures, easy to get lost, lava pits, and standard cave enemies. Bring some grappling hooks for safety, good weapons, and a way to deal with the heat.
North East Cave: Lot of bats and ledges. Very easy to fall to your death here. Grappling hooks and parachutes simplify it a lot.
Caverns of Lost Faith: Not exceptionally challenging (Can be done on a high level megalodon), but really requires a water dino to be safe. Jellyfish are the real danger in here.

Tier 4
Central Cave: Pretty basic and straight forward cave crawl with standard cave mobs. Just watch out for arthrolopluera who will destroy your armor with their spit and can hit you even on a mount.
Lower South Cave: Same as above.
North West Cave: The only real threats here are not paying attention and falling to your death and getting lost. There are a few bats and spiders. Bring some grappling hooks and be prepared to kill some bugs to make it a cake walk, but the hooks aren’t required. It’s possible to get the artifact without ever going over a gap.


In this case, my advice will not be very good because by the time the new Island caves were added, I was playing on the Center map for a long time. My server cluster had the Center, Island, & Scorched Earth.

I had spent several months breeding up a super rex army to do boss fights. Once I got my army breed, imprinted and leveled, I transferred them over to the Island, because the Center boss fights were broke at the time. Then my friend and I started our boss farming. We killed the gamma & beta broodmother, gamma, beta, & alpha megapithicus, & the beta dragon.

(hang on, I’m getting to my point)

Killing the beta dragon gave us access to the tek transmitter, which is a portal obelisk. You can upload and download characters/dinos/gear with it, provided your server settings allow it. My servers also used the S+ mod, so we could make the S+ tek transmitter. And like all S+ items, you can pick up the S+ tek transmitter.

(Now my point)

We placed S+ tek transmitters in nearly all the Island caves we cared about. Which I think was just the swamp cave (I was farming for better rex & therizin saddle blueprints) and the northern ice cave. Then we would upload whatever dinos we wanted into a tek transmitter at our Island base, travel to the cave, then download the dino inside the cave.

I used the northern ice cave as my leveling spot for dinos. Once you are past the very narrow part, you can ride a rex around in there. It can be a tight fit in spots, but it is doable. I downloaded a thyalco for the swamp cave.

For the water caves, I recommend a mated pair of basilosaurus. They are immune to the jellyfish stun & squid grapple. I think they are immune to the electric eel debuff.

The short version is you have to be creative and figure out any way to bring the biggest possible dino into the cave. Even if you have to bring eggs into the cave and hatch\raise the dino inside the cave.


Okay that makes a ton of sense. It’s thinking outside of the box to make the caves easier. I was looking at it straight, which meant small dinos and how on earth do you live through the things, etc. We do have some that will work for the smaller caves, but this is still great advice.

So many things farmed just to plan all this out. ARK must be alien for “farm a lot.”

I’m assuming you guys heard about the exploit that caused that recent patch. Reddit had a good thread on it. Someone fessed up to what all it did. One of these is the main thread link, one is to a commenter who was the one that finally turned this in.

This guy, an exploiter, talks about it:

Then this guy, the one who told the devs about it, comments as well:


One of many reasons why I will never play on an official server. Of all my 4050 hours I’ve spent in Ark, I’ve been on an official server for probably 60 seconds because I wanted to test something, I think it was to determine if I had a mod mismatch with my server.

When I spawned in, someone had placed spike walls at the spawn location, so I couldn’t move or do anything. Pretty much sums up officials.


Ragan your summary pretty much describes ANY online PvP game for me. You have legit players, legit players who suck, and players that cheat. If it were only the former two, I’d have no issue. But when you bring the latter one in, it just ruins a lot of the experience for others.

I have yet to try PvP for ARK though.


Updates from the Island. The server is now auto-updating per the other two QT3 servers. It also has a few additional mods (spoil bin, dino bars, stargate.) We are up to 3 active players, and I think all of us are 70+ now. I just made a huge mistake attacking an alpha Rex with our two best dinos. Yay!

Questions for you guys:

I understand getting the highest level dino possible when taming. I also understand checking stats before tame and how those correlate to stats via Dododex or similar. I’ve also incubated and hatched a few dinos now. BUT, I’ve just started using Nanny for more consistent imprinting.

  • Does imprinting affect the base dino? In other words, can I take a newly imprinted (once adult) and the stats gained count toward genetic info passed to new eggs/babies?

  • Besides a perfect tame on a high level dino or a perfect imprint, how do you guys select a stat and max it out via breeding?

I’m looking for examples of how you guys went about something like @Grembel and the Spinos he has. They are massive tanks. What’s the progression (generally) in getting to that point?


Ragan is the master but its just a matter of getting a couple high level dinos and breeding your desired traits into the line.

So I say get a female with huge hps and a male with nice attack. you then breed them until you get new dinos with both stats. Just kill off the dinos that dont have the stats you want.


No, the imprinting stat bonus is not passed on. When a baby is hatched (with 0% imprinting) or a wild dino is tamed, whatever their stats are, those are the ones that can possibly be passed to the next generation.

Not all max level dinos are worth taming, unfortunately, it is not possible to know that before you tame them. As Grem said, you a pair or more of dinos and start breeding them. And yes, if you really want a monster uber dino, you will do extensive inbreeding.

As I’ve mentioned, I keep a spreadsheet of all the dino stats I am breeding. For each stat, I find the max stat out of the entire herd and highlight it in the spreadsheet. Then when I breed, I find all the possible combinations that could give me a baby with all the highest stats. If the highest stats are spread across more than two dinos, I breed some of them until I get a baby that has highest stats, then add the baby back into the breeding herd.

Also, you need to be an opportunistic tamer. As you travel around, whip out the spyglass and check out the levels of random dinos. If you have the time and energy, tame anything that is even moderately high level. Occasionally you will find a lower level dino that is min/maxed, i.e. one stat is pumped really high while the rest are really low. I’ve tamed non-max level (130/135 stuff with max 150) that had a useful stat.

If you find one that has a better stat that you want, you add it into your breeding herd. Or if you get a mutation in a stat you want. It will take time though, but once you get a male dino with all the max stats you want, you’re almost there. Now you just use that male and breed him with all your females. Eventually the RNG will smile on you and you will get several max stat females.

Once you have a max stat male and 3 to 5 females, you can go have fun with the rest of your herd. I generally take them out and fight a giga or titan. If they win, I find another one, and another, until they lose. Why? Because at that point you could easily have a herd of 30+ dinos. Don’t be afraid to cull the herd when you get a breeder dino you no longer need.

Those are my ramblings on how I handle breeding. I’ve feed so many of dino babies with the meat from another dino baby that didn’t quite measure up. Another person I played used the same process as I did. We started calling each other Dr. Moreau for all the dinos we killed that just didn’t quite meet expectations.


Morbidly funny. But thanks to you both. It’s building up tamed stock that takes so much damned time.

Current game breeding stock is limited. I just killed off our awesome Theriz high level female because I’m an idiot. But thats ARK. Highs and lows, all mixed together.

BTW, we’ve run into a Structures Plus bug. It seems something got hosed on wiring currently. You can’t pick up wires once placed. Or at least we cannot. Not sure if this is a mod incompatibility or a bug.


Happy post-valentines event. Here’s hoping you guys got some ridiculously colored tames in. The tribe got several, here are some highlights.

Based on the advice above, I’ve begun breeding some of our high level argents to get a more pristine stock. We still have a lot of wild tamed ones that just really need to be culled. I have exactly one breeding pair above 225, but working on another female that we picked up in the 150 range with decent melee.

Thanks for the advice @Grembel and @Ragan.