What a complicated ecosystem it is

  • This is the best thing about Ark. Better than riding a Tyrannosaur (probably everyone’s chief initial motivation for playing), and better than the strange and wonderful transition it makes from prehistoric survival to Cheap ARK Items something more overtly sci-fi as you progress through higher levels and engrams (‘Who’s that guy in the shiny silver exoskeleton?’ You’ll wonder, hunched over a campfire, making a cap out of a Dodo’s hide).

     

    Anecdote generation capacity, we’ll call it. It’s as if you’re caught up in a Frank Zappa retelling of Robinson Crusoe, and just as you reach the precipice of some grand self-directed objective like building a home or taming a carnivorous dino, the wild’s own narrative tramples all over yours. Resources lost, progress vapourised. Ark’s ecosystem always wins.

     

    What a complicated ecosystem it is, too. The dinosaurs aren’t a carefully deployed jump-scare device, they’re absolutely abundant. Generally, the more vicious and high-level dinos hang out towards the centre of each map, while low-level pests and friendly herbivores populate the periphery. Buzzing, flying, crawling, and swimming in among them all are the insects, sea creatures, prehistoric birds, and mammals. Everywhere you go, there they are. Stomping around, defecating, and eating each other.