So, a few months ago, I made my very first Ark friend on the official forums. She ended up inviting me to join her on an official server. I was still playing in single player mode and this was also during holiday events, particularly Winter Wonderland when the entire map was covered in snow and temperatures dropped severely. This was not a good time to start a new character without fur armor as I would have frozen. This is a “PvPvE” (Player vs. Player vs. Environment) server. I’m really almost never into PvP type games or aspects of games, so that was a large part of my hesitation to join. However, this server pretty much had just made the snow biome the PvP area, although that wasn’t a set rule, just a general consensus, you could still fight people all over the map.

My new friend tried multiple times to convince me to join. One of the main tribe members was missing because he was having issues with his GPU and was waiting on the process of getting that replaced. Other tribe members were mostly inactive, so there were probably only a couple or few active. This meant that there we less people there to make sure all the tribe’s various creatures were fed, and then the tribe was getting raided by another. Eventually, I decided to go ahead and jump in.

She recommended I spawn in the north zone, but had also told me that many people die quickly by doing so because one of the spawn points actually puts people in one of her bases. So, new players are often killed by her creatures. So, I figured I’d spawn somewhere perhaps safer and in an area I had become familiar with, in the south. I figured we’d meet up eventually. I ended up, actually, making my way to the north and meeting up with her. I was impressed by the fact that I survived that trip, as the game is very dangerous for a new character. She invited me to the tribe in-game and then carried me with her Pteranodon over to the main pen. I was impressed by how many creatures were there.

This first day on the server was pretty eventful, too, as the tribe had just been raided and people were still attacking. So, even though I had just started a new character and had next to nothing, I still tried to fight off some attackers, which never turned out well for me, but that was to be expected.

Communication was difficult at first because I wasn’t aware of how to communicate within the game. I did eventually figure it out, how to talk to the tribe only, local only, and in the global chat. One thing I noticed right away was that many people use a microphone, which I don’t have hooked up to my PC. That, however, is going to change very soon as I’ve ordered a gaming headset so I can participate in the vocal chat app that my tribe uses (Discord).

Initially, I was offered a lot of things, armor, weapons, etc., but I declined because I wanted to work my way up and make things for myself. The tribe let me know about another base we had, where I could build. We call it “the Oasis,” but officially that part of the map is called “the Hidden Lake.” I found some damaged structures there, which I began to repair. I also found creatures I could use and started to help feed them. I hesitated using most of them because they belonged to others in the tribe, but I still used some and was very careful not to get them killed.

Eventually, my new friend left out a high level Rex for me so that I could help gather food for our creatures. At this time, there were still only a few groups of them I could feed since I didn’t have access to main parts of the base, because they are locked and accessible to only “admins” of the tribe. That Rex became my favorite creature on the server for a while. I gathered plenty of meat with him and killed some alpha dinos, which helped me level up very quickly.

Just as I had gotten a bit more comfortable with the server and leveled up, disaster began to strike. One time, some tribe members were trying to tame the over-powered Giganotosaurus. I tried to help as I had some tranquilizer arrows and a Mastercraft level crossbow, which I got from killing an alpha dino. Another tribe member knocked it out, but it eventually woke back up and then killed me. I unfortunately lost that awesome crossbow because your inventory drops as a bag upon death, similar to Minecraft, and I was unable to recover it. It also killed one of our Quetzals. That was very disappointing and we eventually gave up on trying to tame it.

Later, some tribe members were trying to tame a Quetzal and I managed to help and two of us finished taming it. This was my first experience with how very long it takes to tame a high level creature on an official server. This process took quite a few hours.

Another tribe had given us a Giga and Quetzal egg and we had bred our Quetzals for more, so we decided to hatch them. This is a very long process! After the egg hatches, you have to hand feed it by putting food in it’s limited, but expanding inventory for many hours. A Quetzal spends 18 ½ hours as a baby and a Giga is 28 hours. After that time, they continue to grow into juveniles, adolescents, and then adults, but at least once they’re a juvenile they can eat out of troughs. We decided to do this during the Valentine’s Day event which sped up this very long process. So, we hatched one Giga and 3 Quetzals. Unfortunately, that event didn’t last very long at all, maybe a day or two. Once it was over, the server had to restart to update. This was extremely unfortunate, because once we logged back on, we noticed that all of them had disappeared, except for the Quetzal I had claimed.

A few of us submitted support tickets and one of us finally got a reply that there was nothing that could be done for a creature that could not be seen. So, we were at a great loss and we were very upset about it. Quitting was definitely a thought for some of us, but we decided to keep playing. While this disaster was terrible, I did learn some things and my place in the tribe was upgraded to “admin.” This meant that I could use any of the tribe’s creatures, resources, gear, and have access everything that was locked up. It also means I could change various tribe options and invite new members to the tribe, but I haven’t done so.

We also realized that perhaps where we were raising those babies may not have been the best place. That’s because the floors are actually ceilings and creatures tend to render under or through them. So, we decided that next time we would raise them in our base that was built in the snow biome. It’s made of metal and the floors are foundations, which creatures don’t normally clip through.

So, here I am again helping the tribe raise some more babies. We hatched another Giga egg and 4 Quetzals this time along with a Bronto. We did recently finally tame a Giga, so we starting using it here to collect meat for the babies. Unfortunately the Giga is very temperamental and the slightest bit of fall damage causes it to rage and kill you. It’s been a day or two and still it’s going to take about a week for all of these creatures to reach adulthood.

So far my experience in the snow biome has been friendly. A while ago, I did make a raft and I sailed over here for some resources like oil and silica pearls. I didn’t run into anyone else. Since I’ve been here helping raise these babies, I’ve only run into two others that aren’t in my tribe. The first complimented the Pteranodon I was flying. The second asked if I had seen any high level wolves around, which I later found and told him about so that he could take away and tame. It was, pretty much, one tribe that was doing PVP here in this area, but that tribe was recently pretty much annihilated and very few are still playing here.

It has been cool getting to know my tribe members and getting some more Ark friends. I enjoy the co-op aspect of this, I enjoy helping out. It’s still fun to me, so that’s why I keep playing. I did, however, take a small break to play some Final Fantasy a couple of times, which made some of my tribe members think I was mad at them or done with this game. I explained to them that I wasn’t mad at all and just wanted to play another game for a little while.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit of my experience playing the game on an official server. I may post some more about this game and experience. I have been enjoying it and development continues, new patches are often released on a weekly basis and that’s been the case since I started playing this past summer. There are definitely things I don’t like about the game, like how long it takes to tame or raise babies on an official server or even how quickly the torpor depletes while taming some creatures. But, I also realize these things are in place for balancing. Still, there are things I’m waiting for, most especially DirectX 12 support, which will make the game able to utilize my dual-GPU video card. There’s also plenty that I enjoy, like the new beaver and various other aspects of the game.

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