ARK: Survival Evolved - essential tips for starting survival

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| ARK: Survival Evolved
ARK: Survival Evolved - essential tips for starting survival

Here is your first tip - Don't die!

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Dinosaurs like killing stuff. I mean, I've never actually met one, but from all the popular media I've consumed, that seems to be the most likely truth of the situation.

And as such, they're difficult to live around. Or, survive around. Especially in a survival game. That's what this is.

ARK: Survival Evolved will task you with living, which will be pretty difficult when you're sharing the island with dinosaurs. But don't worry, we've got a few nice tips that will definitely make things much easier for you…

There are so many things to keep you busy in this game, all the while you're trying to NOT die, which inevitably might happen (especially if you're at the very start). One of the things you can also try doing later on, when you're more comfortable with the game, is learning to tame Equus, an extremely helpful zebra-horse-kinda-dinosaur that you can ride. It'll come in handy more than you think! 

I will survive! (or so I hope)

But let's get back on topic - the main reason you are here is to learn how to better survive and get accustomed to all the ARK Survival Evolved tips for beginners we've got in store for you. So whether it's finding useful items that will help you prosper and live a rather chill prehistoric life, or learning how to obtain better dinosaurs for your collection, we've covered them all. 

In our guide you will find all the basics you need, but keep one thing in mind: the more you play, the easier it gets. When you start with nothing, making steps in the right direction is key, so once you've got that figured out, thriving in ARK Survival Evolved is going to come naturally. 

So let's check out all the ARK Survival Evolved beginner tips, shall we?


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Hunter gatherer

Have you ever played a survival game before? It's this novel concept where you go around collecting things, in order to build other things, to make collecting and building things easier. That's a progression curve, my friends.

ARK: Survival Evolved is no different, here you'll be collecting wood, stone, thatch and a whole bunch of other ingredients for your crafting recipes and to make survival just that little bit easier.

Your search will start on the ground where you can grab a stone by tapping the right side of the screen, and you can punch fallen trees - or still-standing trees - in order to collect wood.

Don't punch trees forever

Unlike in Minecraft and some other survival games, here punching stuff isn't necessarily a good idea. Have you ever actually tried to punch a tree? Well, I haven't, but I take it on good authority that it doesn't end well.

In ARK, punching trees and rocks will make you take damage. Not a lot, but enough to discourage the idea. Of course, the way to get around that is crafting.

Pop into your inventory (that bag icon in the top left, or you can scroll from the left of the screen to access a quick menu) and go to the crafting menu, where, with some wood and stone, you can get a pickaxe crafting to make gathering much more painless - literally.


Now that you know how to craft, it's time to craft a whole lot. Back in the inventory, go to the Engrams menu, where you'll be able to learn new abilities.

Now, you won't have any points immediately, but as you explore, gathering, kill small creatures and craft new items, you'll earn points you can use to craft new Engrams, giving you access to, well, more things to craft.

Weapons at first, then the essential building blocks for making somewhere to live, like a floor, walls and roof. After that, you'll get sleeping bags which can act as a respawn point and more. Getting Engrams and increasing what you can craft is essential for progress.

Dangerous territory

If you've just started the game and you see a big dinosaur, what do you do? You run. You just, run away, get the hell out of there.

Big angry carnivores won't let you get away easily. Sure, you could possibly take some of them down if you strafe around them and avoid their attacks, but it's a difficult game.

If you enter a dangerous area the game will tell you so, and if you're not prepared for a challenge, you shouldn't be in there. Make sure to steer clear until you've got the proper equipment.

Literally keep hitting things until they fall into the ground

What do you do when collecting wood? Hit wooden stuff until it falls through the floor. Moss? Hit mossy rocks until they fall through the floor.

Heck, even combat. See a dodo? Small angry dinosaur? Just hit it until it dies, and then continue hitting it to collect its meat, at which point it will fall through the floor.

Getting feathers from dodos and hides from small dinosaurs can be just as important as wood and stone for crafting. Plus, it's funny to see stuff just fall through the floor.

Locate key blueprint zones

You might have noticed some areas with a beautiful white beacon glowing in the distance - don't worry, they are nothing to be scared of. This is where you can find the beacons underneath where you will discover loot crates that offer interesting (and useful) blueprints as well as other materials that you'll need in order to survive.

You should locate these and check them out right away because it's a major step toward your end-game plan, but you never know what you might find inside. Make sure to always keep an eye out for them!

Shiny dinos are a no-no

If you're relatively new to the game, you might notice something interesting - some of the dinosaurs have a reddish glow to them. Well, these are not some sort of fairytale dinosaur that has epic loot, but the complete opposite. These dinosaurs are extremely dangerous and will not give you a fun time at all.

They tend to follow you and attack you on sight, so if you happen to run into one, try to run faster. They cannot be tamed either, so don't try your luck trying to catch one of those shiny pokesaurs - at least, we strongly advise against it.

Breeding takes time and patience

If you want to acquire a stronger dinosaur, it's no easy feat. You will have the ability to get very strong ones by breeding your already strong dinosaurs, with a chance for the offspring to inherit superior stats from both parents. This is not something you can easily do, and you will need to prepare yourself because it's quite a long wait.

The breeding process takes time, and you can only breed 2 dinosaurs of the same species (obviously). They also need to be male and female, and not be spayed or neutered. You should practice this with any dinosaurs that you catch because it's something that you will require to master the more you play the game.

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Dave Aubrey
Dave Aubrey
Dave is the Guides Editor at Pocket Gamer. Specialises in Nintendo, complains about them for a living.