Ark Life

Ark can teach you a lot about life. Namely, man’s futile struggle against a hostile, uncaring universe.


Don’t do it… it’s a trap!

It all started when I returned to my base with a handful of Obsidian from a scouting expedition. Emboldened by my success, and reading about the usefulness of the Sabertooths (Saberteeth?) I spotted on the mountain, I took flight again to snag a pair.

Life 1

I made it to the mountain in one piece, and scout around. I spot a pack of four Sabertooths, land on a nearby rock, and tranq two but the others had already wandered off. While taming, I am stuffing my face with Cooked Meat, because the temperature of the mountain is below zero. During this process, I realize that I’m out of Raw Meat, rapidly losing health due to the weather (no Fur clothing, because no Fur from these dinos), and while I have plenty of arrows, my crossbow itself is about to break. Shit. In a frantic bit of survivalship, I manage to kill some dinos for meat, tame the Sabertooths, and make my way to the warmer beach. Then I begin the journey back to my home base.

Along the way, I have to go through the Swamp biome. I stick to the edge, between the Swamp and the ocean, to avoid the more dangerous swamp creatures. What I did not avoid was the seemingly endless amount of piranhas. Despite doing only 15-20 damage per hit, one tiger dies. I hop off my bird to try and assist the remaining tiger. One minute later, the piranhas eat the remaining tiger and, somehow, my flying mount. I embrace the darkness.

Life 2

Take a backup bird to fly back and get my dropped items. This time, I load up on a fresh crossbow and extra meat. Spot my corpse, pick up my items. In the distance, I notice a low-level Sacro (e.g. giant crocodile). Thinking this might be a worthwhile tame to assist with the piranhas, I land on a rock and start shooting tranqs. With the Sacro down, I hop off the rock to start feeding it meat.

That’s when its mate shows up and starts feeding on me. Turning around to try and escape on my bird, I notice that the bird has simply dematerialized. No death record, it’s just glitched out of the game. Cool. I die.

Life 3

Fuck it, Imma build a boat.

Tour length: 3 hours.

I spent the next few days collecting resources and constructing a boat and adding crafting stations and such to it. The goal was originally to boat up to the mountain, tame the Sabertooths, then boat them back. That’s when I realized that the snowy biome sounds more interesting, and hey, those penguins give you tons of Organic Polymer when you beat them with clubs. No, seriously, that’s how it works. Since I need a bunch of Polymer to craft advanced weaponry, let’s head North instead.

After a long time, I make it to the Snow biome. Club some seals, mine some frozen Oil, good times. Off in the distance, I see a Carno and some of hell boars. Huh, interesting. I craft some stuff for a bit, and then start to prepare to take my bird out to collect more resources. Except now there is a Carno and some hell boars, having aggro’d and swam out to greet me, clipping through the bottom of my boat killing my birds and my favorite mount. Fuck this.

Life 4

I ruthlessly murder every Carno and hell boar that I see. At one point, I got a little too zealous and fell off my rock perch, and the hell boars got their revenge.

Life 5

Let’s just avoid that area and get a little further North. What’s the worse thing that can happen?

This. This is the worst thing that can happen.


It should be noted that I am actively save scumming in Ark, e.g. backing up files. Why they just don’t add a Quick Save functionality to Single-Player Mode, I don’t know. Perhaps it goes against the general principle of Ark, or might give people the wrong impression when/if they try and go to public servers and lose all their stuff for real.

In any case, I don’t even feel the least bit bad for what I’m doing. I cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which “cheating myself” out of that last loss will result in more game time than rewinding it. Maybe if this was more of a roguelike with a definite end, like Don’t Starve (Adventure mode), or even Binding of Isaac, I can see less replay value overall. With Ark though, losing an entire boat worth of stuff along with some of my best tames? I would be more liable to quit altogether than start over. Or perhaps never to have set sail in the first place, which is kinda the same thing.

I guess we’ll see. I managed to craft a modern pistol and assault rifle with my (rewinded) resources, while avoiding the anti-boat whale area. If the novelty of Ark wears off after gaining such weaponry, perhaps I did “cheat” myself out of time. Then again, I still have projects that I want to complete, caves I want to explore, and map to uncover. I’m thinking it’s better overall to trade future game time of uncertain value for non-frustrating gameplay right now.

Especially because of all the bullshit Ark throws at you out of nowhere.

Posted on September 19, 2017, in Impressions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. How exactly does the file backup work? Does ARK store your ‘save’ game file someplace, and you just make a copy at the start of each play sessions, delete the current file if it goes poorly, and repeat?

    Also that boat video was awesome, and sort of why ARK is fun. I mean yea, losing that much stuff sucks, but it makes for a memorable moment.

    About the initial saber taming trip; did you have saddles on the new dinos? From what I remember, once you put a saddle on a tame, they get significantly stronger, to the point they can usually defend themselves against anything but an alpha or the larger dinos. In a pack, all set to defend, they should have been ok in that swamp.


    • Basically, you go into Ark’s Steam folder a few layers deep, and copy the Saved folder. I don’t even move the folder, just copy & paste – it creates a “Saved (Copy)” folder in the same directory, and you’re good to go. I’m assuming these files don’t exist when you’re playing on actual servers. When you want to roll back something, delete the original Saved folder and rename the copy to “Saved.” The downsides are having to alt-tab out of the game, and the folder sizes being 750MB-1GB+ in size. Everything is exactly where you left it, sometimes with the exception of wild dinos; they might be randomly placed somewhere else.

      The process is just onerous enough for me to not to (ab)use on a frequent basis, but I do make a point of making a save before doing anything extra risky, like heading into a cave, or after a long period of farming resources.

      As for the Sabertooths, no, I did not bring saddles with me at the time. The saddles do provide like 25 armor, but I’m not sure if they get bonuses beyond that. Given the manner of their/my death, it may or may not have helped – I have certainly gained a greater appreciation for the lowly piranha based on this, and later encounters when my Sarco about died because it couldn’t turn around fast enough.


      • Yea so now that I think about it, another big factor with tamed dinos is they level up, so a freshly tamed dino isn’t nearly as strong as one you have had for a while and pumped up the health and damage of. The saddle is a nice bonus on top, especially the rarer saddles.

        Also how you tame something is another big factor in terms of getting bonus levels. I think that’s based on not having the dino hit while down, and feeding it the right stuff. As I recall, kibble is the best for this, but can be a pain to make.


  2. Amazing reading. Thanks for the write-up, mate!


  3. I gotta say, the animation on whatever the hell that was that ate your boat was pretty darned awesome. Sea monster that just came up for a nom, then glided off into the deeps unconcerned and not giving a f–k, while everything else came by to scavenge its leavings.


  4. Such a great video – the misdirection with the flying beast is perfect. And the sharks. And your furious bowing when it’s all too late. Funny that despite the horror for you, that is the best ad for the game I’ve seen: an unpredictable and overwhelming world.


  5. I like to play it safe in ARK (bordering on paranoia) so my favourite way to tame dinos using a flyer. Really, I find flying to be the safest way to do anything but that’s besides the point. This is what I did to tame a pair of direwolves one time and it should work just as well on sabertooths:

    1. Tame an Argentavis. They can generally be found around mountains.
    2. On your bird, fly to an area where sabertooths spawn and set up a small house with windows and no roof somewhere relatively safe, like up on a rock that can’t be climbed by anything that wants to eat you. I believe a 1×1 sized house worked fine.
    3. Use your bird to grab a sabertooth and drop it into the house. Usually you’ll grab it in such a way that it can’t attack your bird but if it’s able to, just drop it and pick it up again. If your bird is running low on stamina, drop the cat, land somewhere safe to get the stamina back, and then pick it up again. It shouldn’t have gone too far.
    4. Tranq the cat through a window and start taming it.
    5. Once it’s tamed, use the bird to carry it and you back. You’ll probably have to take multiple rests to get stamina back, just try to do them in a relatively safe spot.
    6. Rinse and repeat if you want more than one. Like say if you want to build yourself a sabertooth army. >.>

    I ended up following the west coast all the way to the snowy area to get my direwolves but it looks like sabertooths might be easier for you to find. You might even be lucky enough to find one close enough to your base to be able to just carry it back there.


    • Yeah, the Argentavis changes quite a bit of the game around once you can ride them. The struggle is that the saddle is locked until level 62, so you are stuck with weird workarounds until then.


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