Landing on the beach of an unknown land with no memory, we have to think quickly about whether to fill our stomachs or shelter overhead for shelter in the cold, dark night to offer. It's not made any easier by hearing the roar of a predatory dinosaur in the distance. This is the outline of the beginning of the game. There is no story too much, and we get the information about the world in little heaps from the notes we find. The enthusiasts will assemble everything, and the rest of the game is enough to play with.
Originally, players could only play on one map, The Island, even before the full version, but the developers are gradually adding new ones, both in free updates and through paid DLCs. At the moment there are 5 of them in total, you only have to pay for 2 of them. Each world has a unique look and biome. For example, Aberration is entirely underground and Ragnarok is a vast continent with colossal mountain ranges and an active volcano. Due to the variety of seats, everyone will find something for themselves. Personally, I prefer playing Ragnarok, where it's a bit easier to hide from nasty invaders, more on that in a moment.
The gameplay combines everything you can expect from a survival game. We have base building, hunting, the effect of temperature on the player, diseases, extensive crafting and even character development that allows partial specialization. There were also clans, called tribes, that often fought for supremacy. Don't expect a walk in the park here. This game is a monster that is not so easy to tame.
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The first few minutes are overwhelming, but I think everyone has that instinct to start building their first home. This was also the case for me. Operating the tool turned out to be simple and intuitive, but setting it up on uneven terrain is still a problem. Unfortunately, the mechanics in the "natural environment" are average and many of the newcomers I've seen just start off the beach because they can't handle the fundamentals in the wild. Due to the fact that you can only play solo or on dedicated servers, we can't avoid other players in network mode and even on PvE servers they can make life difficult for others. It is also not comforting that the first 2 levels of buildings are practically useless and are more for gaining experience and getting acquainted with this very important element of the game. The simplest of buildings can be destroyed with a spear, and wooden walls can easily fall before most dinosaurs. Because our body remains on the server after logging out, I would expect more security from the outside.
Unfortunately, the creators have also thought of high-level constructions, which not only do not offer sufficient defense, but also have strange statistics. Huge hangars built from massive doors next to each other instead of walls (because they're more durable) look weird, but that's standard across all servers. Could use a dedicated patch to improve this aspect which in my opinion has lagged far behind the growing competition. Due to the easily destructible structure, huge tribes that can guard their territory around the clock give it a great advantage.
A fairly simple and fairly rewarding element of Ark is taking care of our avatar's needs. We must satisfy our hunger and thirst and also keep the hero warm. Depending on the country we are in, we are dealing with variations in temperature in a certain area and until we have put on the right clothes, exploring the desert or snowy taiga will be beyond our capabilities. In addition, slow health regeneration significantly increases hunger and excessive heat increases thirst, so it's always worth stocking up on food and drink in case of a surprise.
And here I come to the best element (or rather elements) that still separates this title from the followers. Map exploration is essential to development, but the dangers and living world mean we always have stories worth telling around the adventure campfire. Let me start with the fact that even the same piece of land differs between servers due to the random generation of trees, rocks, debris and fauna. Even after 100 hours on the measuring device, I sometimes got lost. There are also many great views. You have to explore different corners of the map in search of resources. Each creature has a percentage chance of appearing in a given area, but while it's very easy to expect a specific species in some parts, never tread too hard, as dangerous predators pop up everywhere, often in herds. The start of the tour is a combination of quick-legged curiosity and looking around, as hungry beasts are just waiting for another snack. Still, don't expect to be in the spotlight all the time. Often the player goes unnoticed in this living organism. Animals not only exist, they also hunt, migrate for food and compete with each other for territory. You feel like you are in the interactive Jurassic Park.