The last time I played ARK: Survival Evolved was right when the game released on steam as an early access game. While many people had performance issues it ran pretty well on my machine, and I happily set up a dedicated server for a few friends. Of course after a few weekends of playing I got completely burnt out, which is usually the case for me and early access games. I let it go for a while, updates happened, and then yesterday I decided to play and see what had changed.
First of all, there’s a lot more server customization than there was last time I played. I decided to play around with these settings not necessarily to make the game ‘easier’ but to make it less time intensive. I changed the experience bonus to 3x what it is at by default, along with the amount of resources you gather at one time. I left encounter difficulty and damage alone, there was no need to change any of that.
There are now dedicated servers, and non-dedicated servers. Non-dedicated are easier to adjust. You basically just select all of the options at the login screen, login, and then friends can join you. There are a few ‘downsides’ to this type of server though. One, your friends are tethered to you. They spawn at you, they can’t walk beyond you. This can be frustrating. Also they can’t just log in and play whenever they want to, it’s all reliant on you playing with them. Hence why I decided to go with a dedicated server.
In order to adjust the settings on a dedicated server you need to adjust the server.ini file. There are TONS of options that can be adjusted. There’s a pretty good list of them here on the steam forums.
There are also mods that you can use in your game now. I haven’t looked into these at all yet, but I know the steam mod community is a large and amazing thing to witness. I can only assume that the ARK branch of this community is well represented and I’m sure I’ll start checking out the mods before too long.
They’ve also added a lot of new creature encounters to the game. While I was collecting supplies in the jungle I ran into some mosquito like creatures that ended up poisoning me so I died. There are also new water creatures, new dinosaur types, new crafted items – and of course the game is just as beautiful as always. I didn’t have any issues with performance even though I was running the server along with my game client, and I really think that for a game that I had not even heard of before the company has done a pretty incredible job.
Did you pick up ARK when it first came out? Are you still playing or would you prefer it to be out of early access first? Let me know in comments!
I still haven’t found a way to turn off friendly fire, so a word of caution when you’re playing with friends…