The Survivor of survivors : ARK difficulty redefined?


Ever thought how tough ARK:Survival Evolved really was? Like, come on, you’re only a human, and you’re living beside thousands of dinos and other prehistoric creatures (and a few mythical as well!). Most people’s reaction while playing ARK is “So many creatures! How am I supposed to survive? And other unfriendly humans too!” Although the community of ARK:Survival Evolved is one of the best in the world, out of most other survival games (*ahem* Rust *ahem*), surviving in ARK is difficult, mainly because the environment poses a greater threat than the other humans inhabiting the place. Farming enough stuff for building a decent base is one hell of a chore, as this also entails “taming” the environment, shaping it to one’s advantage.  Trying and doing this on an official server is even worse, where the amount of resources collected and the time taken to do anything is much longer. One Steam user and ARK veteran, Ayan “Ancell” Biswas, has successfully achieved what others thought was impossible, and successfully carved a big base (like the ones you generally get to see in trailers and in dev gameplay videos) in a matter of 10 days.

The game tends to be so difficult at times that people generally stay off the official servers and play on modded servers, where mods are introduced to reduce the difficulty of the game. The environment is more threatening than other players, hence PvE or PvP does not really matter much (until some clans reach endgame, when they unlock the means to fight back against the environment). Considering that people have tough times on modded servers with a huge multipliers that reduce the time taken to craft items, gather resources, and tame dinos, it is next to impossible, and is a huge grind to play on official servers, where there are no mods to help you. (Human mods exist, but they come very occasionally) The best solution for this? Most users recommend customizing stuff, and using admin commands in single player, or to quit the game altogether. It is among such crazy and troubled times that heroes like Ancell rise, showing the path for future players of the game.

Ancell is one of my friends, and he’s a long time MMO veteran. Starting with WoW, there is hardly any MMO he hasn’t played. He also had the benefit of an early start in the game, starting within the second month of early access. Since then he has spent a total of 445 hrs (at the time of writing) in the game, which means that he has quite some knowledge about how to work out stuff on the Island, Scorched Earth, or The Center (they are the maps provided by the game).  He had played with a lot of clans, and ultimately decided to take up the challenge of building a substantial base on the official server within a matter of 10 days.

Needless to say, it’s a very difficult job, and quite impossible for the likes of some ARK players. The challenge was made more difficult by the fact that he decided to start this challenge solo. He began as any normal player would do, spawning in a relative safe area in the South of the Island, and started collecting stuff, and leveling up his character. Occasional dilo attacks and dodos roaming nearby provided enough meat for his sustenance, accompanied by a thatch shelter. From his beach base, he leveled up his character every day, until he unlocked every wood shelter, taking roughly 2 days. On the 3rd day, he found a quiet corner in the forest, and started building a small base around it. Occasional attacks by carnivores meant that he had to rebuild the base, but he was not unnerved. He continued to level up his character, expanding his base, and building up defenses here and there. Within the 5th day, he had a solid base with tall wooden walls , with a shelter consisting of most basic crafting stations.

The real challenge was to turn the hostile environment into a favorable one, which involved taming the might creatures and assembling a fighting force for fighting back. Taming smaller dinos was easy, but taming is a daunting task on official servers, and takes hours of work for a single creature. A whole day of grind meant that he could successfully tame easier stuff, though taming involved something like 2 hrs for a level 17 Trike, which was enormous. With the help of Tranq arrows, he was successful in taming a Ptero, which became his main instrument in farming metal from the mountains. The mountains are dangerous, but hide enormous amounts of metal, which is pretty rare in the plains. Metal tools and reinforced walls meant that the occasional raids from other clans had to stop, which also helped him tame a level 34 Raptor on his 7th day, where he was assisted by three other players starting with similar objectives as him – to make a stand on the official servers. Many hands make light work , or so they say.  Work from the 7th day hastened a lot, as tons of metal and wood were farmed, as well as tons of berries were foraged from the bushes to fuel the base.

Within the 8th day, the crew had a sizeable base with sizeable dino army. Small dinos and creatures were tamed to farm eggs for kibble (kibble is dino food, used to level up dinos or to tame dinos) to level up the existing dinos and to tame bigger creatures. And hence began the quest for the mighty T-Rex. Taming a T-Rex requires steely nerves from clans having as many members as 20-25 members, but this small band of 4 adventurers were not to be subdued so easily. Having levelled up their character to near maximum levels, they had access to guns and high tier armor. After quite a fight where the T-Rex was damaged to half of its health, it was put to sleep with Tranq Arrows. Large amount of kibble meant that the Rex was their personal vehicle within 3 hours. (Yeah, 3 hours , with kibble, considering that kibble nearly doubles up the taming speed). Within another day, the farm was ready, with an automatic watering system powered by electricity was set up. This provided materials for kibble, and sustenance for the clan. High tier crafting stations powered by electricity were set up shortly afterwards. Plant X turrets meant that not clans can so much as walk close to their walls.

It is on the 10th day that Ancell offered to give me a tour through the base, and I was quite amazed by his patience – he had persevered where very few others have. He had managed to build a fully functioning high tier base within a matter of 10 days! That also on an official server! He told me that the main mantra of his success was patience, a huge amount of patience – which meant that he did not break down on repeatedly dying in the beginning, when his character was of a low level, and did not have enough engrams (they are technical knowledge engraved in the body of a human inhabiting the ARK) – and also his experience with playing MMOs which meant he had the strength to go on, where most others would have quit. The people who joined his clan later on, from the 7th day, were also an invaluable asset – they hastened the process of building the base. Ancell tells me that it’s time to farm enough elemental for the tek tier stuff now, the most high tech stuff in the game, in the hands of a powerful few in all servers, which is possible only by destroying the “Ultimate Lifeforms” of the ARK, at the Obelisks.  The clan is also planning to raid nearby bases, especially of the clans that had hindered Ancell’s early days of progress.

We hope that Ancell’s victories inspire more players to populate the official servers at all time, so that people can have more fun “surviving”. It’s “Survival Evolved” after all, ain’t it?

A few snaps taken by me in Ancell’s base (kindly ignore the chat) :