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ARK: Survival Evolved – Beginner’s Guide

ARK: Survival Evolved is an amazing deadly dinosaur-infested game that came out in 2015. If you haven’t played it yet it’s out now for free on the Epic Games Store. Thanks, Tim! As the name of the game suggests pretty much everything can and will try to kill you. From the moment you first land on the island, naked and shivering, you’ll need to act fast to survive. Build your camp, find food, fend off predators. There’s a lot to do and it can be a little bit daunting for a first-time survivor. That’s why we made this guide to help you stay alive in your prehistoric adventures a little longer. Well, we’re going to try anyway. You’ll probably still die.


Start In The South

After creating your character and choosing your server you’ll be asked to choose a location to begin your adventure. The island where you’re going to be landing in is chock full of deadly things. That means that your starting location can make all the difference between a successful first few hours and instant, repeated death. If you’re new to the game, you’ll want to begin your adventure on the south coast, where resources are plentiful and deadly predators are less of a concern.


Stock Up Your Materials First

The first few minutes of ARK: Survival Evolved play out like Minecraft. Once you awake on the beach, walk over to the shore and collect a few rocks. Then walk over to a tree and punch it until it falls down. Repeat about 4 or 5 times, and use the materials you’ve collected to build a pickaxe. V important. The pickaxe can be used to mine rocks which will give you flint. Once you have a nice stash of flint, then make an axe. As with any survival game tools are key to staying alive.

The five materials you need the most in this game are Thatch, Wood, Stone, Flint and Fiber. Thatch and wood are both collected from trees. Use the Pickaxe for more thatch and the Axe for more wood. The Pickaxe will also mine stone and small amounts of flint. While the Axe will net large amounts of flint and some stone. Fibre is picked up from the many bushes lining the beach and forest. When collecting fibre, hit the E button and continue to pick materials until the entire bush dismantles.


Dodo Birds Are Your First Prey

Raw Meat and Hide are the next two vital materials you’ll need to improve your living conditions on the ARK. In the earlier stages of ARK, you won’t have the necessary weapons to take on anything stronger than the Dodo. It’s defenceless and can be killed with a few punches. I guess there’s a reason why the Dodo bird died out. The Dodo will provide raw meat, which is a much better source of nutrition and healing than berries. The hide can be used for more sophisticated weapons like the slingshot. As well as helpful tools like the Waterskin. Or even save it for clothing to protect you from the elements.


You’ll Die But It’s Okay

Okay, I know this is a survival guide and the object of the game isn’t to die. But dying works a little bit differently in ARK: Survival Evolved than it does in let’s say real life. When you die in ARK, you’ll have the option to create a new character or continue on with your current one. Maintaining your accrued levels, skills, Engrams and privileges of course.

Once you die, you’ve around 20 minutes to return to your corpse and grab any items that you were carrying. If you’re too slow (or, worse, manage to lose your corpse in the undergrowth), your items will be gone forever. Early on, you’ll have to rely on the game’s random re-spawn feature and track down your possessions manually. Which can be a torturous endeavour. However, once you’ve crafted a Bed or Sleeping Bag, you can re-spawn there directly, making life considerably easier.


Engrams and Blueprints

To build an item in ARK, you’ll need an Engram or Blueprint variant. Engrams and Blueprints are recipes that can be turned into items once you’ve gathered the required resources. Blueprints are found at Beacon cargo drops, while Engrams are unlocked as you level up. Purchase them using the Engram Points that you earn each time you reach a new level.

There are currently not enough Engram Points in the game to learn everything there is to make. It’s therefore encouraged to divvy up the burden with your tribe members (which we’ll get to later).



  1. Thanks for this guide! I dipped my toe in for the first time tonight and was quickly overwhelmed. No tutorial, no tips, no nuthin. I appreciate your concise nuggets of wisdom, but I am also wondering how does one pick a proper server? Should you go for a full one, empty or half full?

    • Hi! Yeah ARK can definitely be quite overwhelming I’m glad you found some of these tips useful! As for choosing servers if it’s your first time you’ll probably want to play around in single-player for a while before joining a server. Once you’re ready though just go to Join Ark and you can either search for PVE or PVP. I’d recommend going to a server that’s a bit emptier because of lag issues. Once you hit 30 – 50 people it can get a bit laggy.

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