ARK: Survival Evolved: Part 4
And in my homestead one morning, I discovered that all of my furniture was permanently glued to the floor. If I wanted to move my bed from one corner to another or add a crafting table to a corner, I’d have to destroy it, lose most of the resources I spent making it, and just make a new one. Certain that I was missing some simple solution, I went searching Ark’s community wikis—there’s no in-game tutorials, so all useful information is maintained by players—only to find that people have been begging for this feature since 2015.
Instead of implementing this essential feature that games in this genre figured out seven years ago, Ark is full of cameras, cake, and wardrums you can bang on like bongos by pressing the number keys on the keyboard. It's hard to excuse something with missing or broken basic mechanics just because it's stuffed full of so much other stuff that just doesn't matter.
It’s easier for me to understand Ark less as a game than as a platform that hosts anything players can think of. As a game, Ark is more frustrating than great. But as a platform, it’s ambitious. Ark supports a huge community of modders who make it more focused and more refined.
Ark games also run on a deep menu of options. Most people won’t run their own servers, but if you do, you can change almost everything. Taming animals can be instant, resources can be plentiful, and all of the grind can be eliminated. You can even restrict certain technologies.
The ability to mod and customize everything, and the way that freedom has been embraced by the community, is Ark's biggest strength, and the primary reason I can recommend it. Right now, there are Ark servers are running Primitive Plus, an officially supported mod that keeps technology limited to the pre-metal age. Huge tribes ride high-level dinosaurs into battle with stone-tipped spears. Fighters dressed in leather and fur follow a charging triceratops as it charges through a wall, and a band of raptor-riding marauders raid deep into enemy territory.
Refined, large-scale prehistoric warfare is what I want from Ark, not the janky version full of bugs that includes tyrannosaurs with laser beams attached to their heads. But thanks to Ark’s community, I get to have both, and more. Primitive-tech-only servers, a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds-style battle royale mode, and a boisterous role-playing community are just three examples of the way Ark’s players are using the game as a base for more interesting things. The long community-involved development cycle might have produced a bloated game full of mismatched features, but it has also built a population of players ready to take it upon themselves to make Ark into something better. Fighters dressed in leather and fur follow a charging triceratops as it charges through a wall, and a band of raptor-riding marauders raid deep into enemy territory.