The best laid plans of Sarcosuchus and men
During my first day in Ark: Survival Evolved, I went through the typical newbie paces. I chopped some wood, I punched some birds, I pooped out several large, round turds, and I experienced some Early Access glitches. My goal for day two was to actually accomplish something: tame a dinosaur, build a home, meet other players, perhaps even make myself some trousers so I'm not wandering around in my boxers all the time.
I accomplished one of these things! Here's why I didn't accomplish anything else.
Welcome to the neighbor-thud
Meeting people isn't hard in ARK. There's tons of busy servers, and death is so common that spawn points are usually littered with other players. Most times I joined a server, I found myself immediately face-to-face with someone, at which point they'd punch me in the face. Like this person did. She punched me in the face.
A little lie-down
Being punched unconscious after meeting another person happened to me five times, which also happens to be the exact number of other players I've met in ARK. Two punched me and then killed me, two punched me and then had their pet dinosaurs kill me, and one was at least nice enough to punch me and then simply let me lie there in the dirt until I recovered. All things considered, that's an act of kindness.
Too many cooks
I don't mind being killed by other players. I'm actually grateful it happens so promptly—it means I don't lose anything by dying because I haven't had enough time to collect anything before dying. Still, I am trying to accomplish something today, so I decide to retreat to the relative safety of single-player for a while. I would really, really like to make myself a pair of pants.
You are likely to be eaten by a raptor.
As it turns out, single-player isn't much of a picnic either. I spawn into my own private world just as night falls, which doesn't give me enough time to gather the resources to craft a torch. As I stumble around in the dark around for a half-hour, I'm killed repeatedly by various dinosaurs. It feels a lot like multiplayer, only I can't see anything. The screenshots I took are all pitch black, so here's a picture of some bird monster about to kill me the next morning.
Let them eat me
That's right: sunrise doesn't bring much solace, either. I seem to be suffering from some dinosaur curse. On my first day I met plenty of neutral 'saurs, but today I'm killed by a huge Carno, a small Dilophosaurus, a couple Raptors, an Argentavis, a Megalodon, and at one point I respawn three times in the path of the same single Sarcosuchus, which is like an alligator but way bigger. I know I'm at the bottom of the food chain but it'd be nice if I wasn't the only restaurant in town.
Eventually, I do begin to make a little progress. I survive for a while and gather resources, enough to make a hat, then a shirt, and finally, some actual pants. I even successfully square off with a Dilophosaurus! As satisfying as it is to do some killing of my own for a change, what I really want to do is make friends with a creature. As I'm still a low-level loser, the only creature I feel comfortable attempting to tame is a Dodo bird.
Spare the rod, spoil the 'saur
Making friends with animals in ARK works much the same way as it does in real life. Pummel the creature into unconsciousness, and then stuff berries or meat inside it, and ten minutes later, you've got a loyal pal! I bash a Dodo in the face, and put some berries into its unconscious body. It eventually gains consciousness and waddles away. A little confused, I punch it again, but it dies.
Can't beat me love
Something seems to be going wrong. I try several more Dodos, with the same results. Although their info screen says they're tamable, there is no actual "taming bar" shown once I've beaten them savagely to sleep and stuffed berries in them. I punch and I punch and these stupid birds still won't love me! Eventually, I dig around in some forums and find that a rare bug disables taming in local games. It even happens when I subdue a Dilo. There should be a taming bar in the menu, but there isn't. Looks like my private game won't result in any dino-friends.
I log out to verify my game files, as one forum member suggested as a solution, and log back in to find this. Isn't this a nice view of some rocks? For some reason, rejoining my game freezes my camera here, though my actual body is elsewhere. I know this because as I try to move, the camera remains still but an oxygen meter appears and then begins to deplete. Wherever my body is, it's drowning. Oh well, I guess it's nice to not actually be present for one of my deaths.
Wrong! Upon dying, ARK is nice enough to teleport me to stare helplessly at my submerged corpse. Forever, as it turns out: it won't even let me respawn. Since players, dinos, and the game itself seem to be aligned against me, I decide to stop here for the time being. I sure hope if I'm ever actually abducted by aliens and dropped on some jungle planet to battle prehistoric monsters, it'll at least be a planet that isn't in Early Access.