Posted in Gaming

ARK: Up and Away

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Finally tamed a flier!

Posted in Ark, Gaming

An ARK Weekend: The Amazing Treehouse Base

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This was what East 1 used to look like. We will never see this again…

This weekend IRL saw rain bands from Hurricane Joaquin cause monumental flooding across my state in South Carolina. Though my neighborhood is fairly unscathed, it was an official State of Emergency in my city, and there were evacuations and curfews in place. Schools are out today (though work is still in).

Luckily, we didn’t lose power around my place, so I spent much of the weekend holed up away from the rain (ironically) playing ARK… with a spatter of FFXIV and Cities Skylines here and there. A few weeks back, Syn and I re-rolled a brand new second personal server, so that we can play even if the rest of the zombie-hunting troop isn’t around.

The New Base

We started as usual by rolling characters at East 1, since it’s at the top of the area list. I no longer recommend East 1 as a starting area, but we’ll get to that later. Syn and I started building our new little hut on the top of an outcropping that overlooked the ocean. This worked well, because it gave us a good vantage point, while keeping one side of the base sheltered away from roaming dinos.

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We were doing well. We caught a few different dinos including Lucky the Para, and Syn’s Carry On and Matching Set, the two Phiomia that have served as her beasts of burden whenever she’s out gathering stuff.

She also caught a Para she named Umbrella (a play on the name Parasaur/parasol) and another Happy… but sadly Umbrella and Happy met a terrible early fate. I only got one screen of them.

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RIP poor parasol. So this was our dino zoo when we left it two weekends ago.

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We were feeling pretty good at that point, so we started moving further inland by building an additional small outpost so that we had a place of refuge as we explore the more dangerous forest land. It’s a really good thing that we did.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Last week, ARK had an amazing update that added swamp and snow biomes and lots of awesome ridable creatures, such as dire wolves and frog-things. I remember vaguely reading that the new biome update messed up some folks’ bases on the official servers. Seeing that ARK rarely calls for a restart despite all the incredible patches they put out, this came as a surprise to some people.

I didn’t think much of it until this weekend when Syn and I decided to log in and pick up where we left off. It was night time when we arrived at our little inland outpost. Immediately, I could tell something wasn’t right.

I noted that our supply cache was floating a bit off the ground, and the world sounded very different. That’s when we saw a Beelzebufo (henceforth known as a frog) hopping around just outside of our light’s radius. That’s when I realized… oh crud.

East 1 was one of the areas that had been transformed into a swamp biome! 

The next morning, we searched everywhere for our original base. We knew it was on the coast, but everything, including the coast line had been transformed. And the swamp with huge titanboas and crocodile-looking Sarcos is a pretty dangerous place for low level characters.

Finally, we found some of our old dinos milling around in the swamp, so we were able to rescue them. But still no sign of our base.

That’s when I looked up.

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Treehouse base!!

Because we’d built our base on higher ground, and now that area was flattened and lowered to be a swamp, our base was hovering amazingly in the trees!

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Everything is still there, we just can’t access it yet. So we literally only had what was in our packs, what little we put at the outpost (which is now too dangerous to stay at), and our train of dinos.

Suddenly, we were homeless with dinos to care for in a hostile land. I felt like a virtual refugee.

Since there was still time left in the day, we headed south, as far away from the marsh as we could. Riding and herding our dinos, we eventually found a nice little inlet on a pennensula that we decided to make our new home.

And thus, we began to build again.

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I have a lot more to write about the weekend in Ark, but it’s probably a good idea not to be too long winded.

So… to be continued! 

Posted in Gaming

ARK: My First Trike

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Finally caught my first Trike in ARK tonight. Named him Zento. 🙂

Here’s Zento and my other dino, Spots.

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I have a long story about what happened in ARK today, but I’ll save that for a full-length blog next week.

Posted in Ark, Gaming

ARK: Meet the Flintstones

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Now that I’m shaking off the effects of Blaugust (I have the rest of this month’s posts queued to go on my other blog), I hope to get back to posting here more regularly. So, let’s start with last night’s ARK session.

The tribe wanted to restart the island and try a different starting location, so I learned how to wipe the server and we all started from scratch. This time, instead of naming the tribe myself (Ooga Booga), I took suggestions. And, well we became…

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Though, most of us didn’t follow canon naming conventions. Just Mr. Barney Rubble pictured above. XD

This time, we were armed with more information about what to do and how to progress. We made our home between some hills and piranha-infested waters. I think we had more deaths to piranha than anything else last night. In fact, Syn (known as Rawr in this game) was on a mission of vengeance to make piranha an endangered species before the night was over.

I conducted impromptu animal taming lessons for the tribe, which resulted in a flock of tamed dodos outside our house. Over the course of the night, they obtained different names as tribe members learned they could rename other people’s pets.

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We got lucky to set up camp near a consistent supply drop area. The first box gave us building materials that got our little house off to a good start. Help from the tribe built up the rest of it. Good enough base for now.

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My ultimate goal of the night was to recapture my Para mount, Happy. I managed to tame one Para, but at a good distance away from the base. As I was leading her back to the camp, I heard the sound of battle music. Next thing I knew poor Happy was chow for a Carno.

This was the first time I’d run up against this kind of dino. It was big, mean and very aggressive, charging at me with its horn. I seriously thought I was dead, but somehow I managed to kill it with my spear… just a little life left to me. Looting it provided me with a ton of hides (which we needed for a bed), and the rest which I used to prepare a Para saddle for my next mount opportunity.

This happened sooner than I expected, when I caught a Para up against a cliff. I managed to tame it, take it home and saddle it up. Yes! Happy has returned!

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One of the things I want to note is the amazing speed at which this development team is pumping out patches. This week alone has seen at least 3 patches that I know of, including two new dinos (not taking into account last week’s new creature addition). Updating the server takes a while, and there’s no way I’m even near experiencing any of this new content, but I’m not complaining at all.

We’ll see how this new tribe progresses, though it’ll probably be slowly since we have to gather together around work and other things.

Posted in Gaming

ARK: Welcome to Camp Ooga Booga

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You can write on signs in this game. I just discovered this… no joke!

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Happy and I have been working hard to build a wall to prevent the trikes from tromping through camp at their leisure.

I really love the dino gates… they remind me of the gate from Jurassic Park!

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Still learning so much about this game and really enjoying it. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to make some trank arrows for the trike that’s stuck out on that tree near our camp.

Posted in Ark, Gaming

ARK: Everyone Do the Dinosaur

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I’ve been keeping my eye on ARK: Survival Evolved for a while after hearing about how awesome the game is supposed to be. Since I’ve been playing other survival type games (7D2D, H1Z1, Salt), ARK wasn’t really something I was in a rush to pick up, though I thought the idea of a survival with dinosaurs was pretty cool. I was a bit of a dinosaur nerd when I was in elementary school, and I was surprised just how many dinosaurs I could still remember.

A little bit ago, one of my Zombie hunting troop caught wind of ARK and excitedly sent me some info on it. Ever since then, the game has been on our collective radars. It wasn’t until it went on sale this weekend that we really bought into it.

So, I spent most of Saturday afternoon working to install and set up an ARK private dedicated server, just like I have with games like 7D2D. It’s not a 24/7 server, but something I turn on when we want to play that gives us our own customized environment to play in. I did some reading about server settings and highly modified our server to be much more casual friendly. I was impressed by the number of server settings available to customize, and was happy to balance out a server that was much less grindy than I’ve heard other servers can be.

I will note that setting up a server is not an easy thing to do. I had to fight with port forwarding issues and had a lot of failed starts. I eventually managed to get it to work somehow.

I will also note that ARK is not a very optimized game, being in early access. I had to immediately knock down some video settings to get it to run on my machine. I’m also having login crashes from time to time that restart my graphics driver even after a driver update.

That Tribe

I mentioned on another post that we quickly formed a tribe, which I named Ooga Booga (I dunno, first thing that popped into my mind at the word “tribe”), which functions as a shared guild in this game. I am very impressed with the tribe functionality in ARK.

It’s easy to invite someone, promote someone, and mess with all sorts of tribe settings, even this early in alpha. Tribe members automatically get access to shared buildings, storage and dinosaurs. They also earn a little experience when they’re in proximity to other tribe members who are doing things – even picking berries or crafting!

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This makes ARK a much stronger social structure than other survival games I’ve played – H1Z1 should really take a good long look at this system.

Crafting and Building

Crafting and building is usually my favorite thing to do in survival games just because I like the downtime of making awesome things for my friends to experiment with. Both systems are very easy to do in ARK. As you level up, you earn points to unlock Engrams, which are recipes you can use to craft everything from clothing to weapons.

I was surprised when Syn picked up the building stuff before me, and started laboring away at building our first little thatch hut. We’re working on upgrading it to wood at the moment, but I find the building system easy and pretty fun (considering we have boosted harvesting on our server to make building less annoying).

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Taming Dinos

This was the part of the game I was most excited about. I wanted to learn all about taming and raising dinosaurs! Again, I’ve modified the server to make this less of a hassle than it would be on a normal server. But, I find that taming the dinosaur isn’t as difficult as actually keeping the tamed dino alive!

This is the story of Happy, my first tame. I chose to tame a dodo in order to try things out and learn about taming.

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I used this most excellent video to teach me how to tame, btw:

So, anyhow, I tamed Happy and all was good.

Then I decided to try something a bit more challenging and tamed a pair of Dilos. I then decided to see what happened if my little group of dinos were set to protect me against the big wide world. So along the way back to camp, I engaged in battle with other Dilos. That’s how I learned, with anguish, that you can accidentally kill your own tamed dinos in the heat of the battle if you’re not careful where you swing your spear.

I lost Happy and I lost one of the Dilos, so I was down to one. Upset about losing my very first tame, I brought the remaining level 3 Dilo home, named him Watch Dog, and set him to watch over our beachfront, which he did dutifully.

Dino-MOUNT!

Having a bit of experience with taming, I decided to try for a mount. I lucked out and found a Parasaur who was stuck between two trees and couldn’t run. So I quickly tamed her and named her Happy (yeah, I know).

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Once tamed, I very carefully brought her back home, left her as unagressive, and set her next to the shack while I set out attempting to harvest enough hides to make a saddle. While doing this, I discovered my first supply drop!

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So, I snagged the supply drop, and set up a fire to camp there for the night. The next day, I saw another supply drop across the bay, and decided to investigate.

Sadly, I met my first raptor, which I killed, followed by a group of ants that killed me. I swear I’ve had more deaths to insects in this game.

I did manage to run back and get my stuff off my body in time, then snag what was in the supply chest. At that point, I was getting a little overconfident in myself.

Aywren vs. Trike

I saw a level 4 Trike and thought it was sure to be an easy tame. I really, really want a Triceratops mount as they’re one of my favorite dinos, next to Brontosaurus and Stegosaurus. So, I attempted to tame it… and it took me out without much effort.

This time, I ran back and couldn’t find my body… so I’d just lost all the hides I had been collecting for my saddle. And I had almost been done! Naked and defeated, I started on a trek back to home base when I discovered a Trike egg on the beach.

Oh! I thought. Maybe I can hatch this or something? (Note: You can’t yet. Maybe a future feature?)

Smart me. What do I do? Pick it up.

Suddenly, I had a raging female Trike on my tail.

Oh, crap!

I run down the beach, racing for the safety of the house. Only… the house doesn’t provide any safety. That female Trike is pissed and she’s ramming the building to get to me. Rather than see the house torn up, I run out of the house only to see the Trike now mauling my Happy, who is set to be non-aggressive, and is not fighting back.

I try to intercept, but it’s too late. Happy is slain and the Trike turns on me, and promptly deals me a death blow.

So I respawn on the bed without thinking. In the house. And the angry female Trike is still at the door.

Ooooh crap! Now she’s attacking Watch Dog, I realized in horror.

Only, Watch Dog is set to defend himself, and somehow, the Trike had health low enough that the Dilo took her down. Wow!

I gave Watch Dog a big helping of raw meat for that.

Finally A Mount

I’d lost my Happy. I lost all my hides. Aside from Watch Dog and a few levels, I was now empty handed of anything I’d earned that day.

So, I went out to tame yet another Parasaur. After chasing one down forever, I tamed Happy #3.

I was a little concerned that this Happy is only a level 1 dino. But I took him back home and was sure to let him defend himself if attacked. I then managed to gather all the hides needed for a saddle, and finally had my first mount!

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Later that night, my tribe logged in again and I departed upon them the wisdom and folly of taming dinos. We now have a new dodo named Fred, and a Phiomia named Tame (name pending). We found a Philmia saddle in a supply drop, so we now have two dino mounts to ride.

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My current project is building a fence around our settlement to keep out the wandering dinos and keep our pets safer.

And no more Trike Eggs.

 

Posted in Gaming

Ark: The First Night of Ooga Booga

Oops. Looks like Ark was on sale at Steam and my zombie hunting troop decided to play with dinos for a change in pace. Took most the day to figure out how to get the private server to work properly, but it was worth it.

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Syn even figured out how to build us a nice little beach shack pretty quickly.

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I find it strange that when you log out of the game, your body still remains in world, interactable. Just kinda… flopped over.

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I have a feeling our little Ooga Booga tribe is going to have some fun! 🙂