Gamers have all expe­ri­enced the joy of a great game that keeps you want­i­ng more, so sit­ting in front of the TV or mon­i­tor for hours is quite com­mon. In recent years, games have eas­i­ly tripled the base amount of time spent play­ing. It can be six times that, if you con­sid­er the arti­fi­cial addi­tion of online mul­ti­play­er (like pop­u­lar FPS’s Bat­tle­field and Call of Duty). This means long hours of very lit­tle motion, which is extreme­ly harm­ful for the human body. 

This is espe­cial­ly true for the RPG sur­vival game, Ark. Not only does it incor­po­rate long hours of sit­ting to accom­plish the most sim­ple of tasks, but it’s also detri­men­tal to your sleep.

First off, play­ing on Ark offi­cial servers is the major­i­ty of the prob­lem. Rates for every­thing are way too low, mak­ing “the grind” a com­plete uphill bat­tle if you don’t have an entire tribe of peo­ple behind you. Being a solo play­er and try­ing their “mul­ti­play­er” ver­sion of the game, would be a total waste of time for any­one who actu­al­ly has a life. Aver­age play­ers who have kids, go to school, have jobs with gru­el­ing shifts; will nev­er be able to reach the “end game” and fight the boss­es. It’s just not pos­si­ble. 

How Ark is Harmful to Its Players & The Simple Ways to Fix it
Brood­moth­er boss

#1 Rea­son Ark Is Unhealthy

To even reach the end is a con­vo­lut­ed sys­tem that is enough to make you want to quit. You have to breed a lot and breed­ing is not fun on offi­cial time. It’s an extreme­ly long, bor­ing process of try­ing to get stats to trans­fer from both par­ents to one baby. Yet again, aver­age play­ers will not be able to breed cer­tain dinos because of their very lengthy rais­ing times. A Rex can’t even be com­plet­ed dur­ing a week­end. 

How Ark is Harmful to Its Players & The Simple Ways to Fix it
Incu­bat­ing Giga eggs. These take a lit­tle over 2 days to hatch. Cred­it to who­ev­er took this pic­ture, as there is no name.

Each time you hatch or give birth to a baby it needs to be fed for a cer­tain num­ber of hours before you can leave it alone, guar­an­tee­ing it will eat off of the feed­ing trough. Pret­ty cool mechan­ic, until you add an arbi­trary time to it. The rates for rais­ing on offi­cial servers are so slow if you haven’t seen them already, here are a few exam­ples:

Argen­tavis — Takes 2 days 9 hours 

  • Incu­ba­tion (time to hatch) — 2 hours 56 min­utes 
  • Baby (hand feed raw meat)  — 5 Hours 26 min­utes 
  • Juve­nile (eats off feed­ing trough) — 21 hours 47 min­utes 
  • Ado­les­cent (eats off trough) — 1 day (24 hours) 3 hours 13 min­utes 

Rex — Takes 4 days 1 hour 35 min­utes

  • Incu­ba­tion — 4 hours 59 min­utes 
  • Baby — 9 hours 15 min­utes 
  • Juve­nile — 1 day 13 hours 
  • Ado­les­cent — 1 day 22 hours 

Giga (Gigan­oto­saurus) — Takes 13 days 18 hours 34 min­utes

  • Incu­ba­tion — 2 day 1 hour 59 min­utes 
  • Baby — 1 day 4 hours 3 min­utes  
  • Juve­nile — 4 days 16 hours 14 min­utes 
  • Ado­les­cent — 5 Days 20 hours 35 min­utes 

It’s not just the days long rais­ing times, it’s the con­stant feed­ings as well. When try­ing to speed up the process of breed­ing, you decide to mass raise dinosaurs, it then becomes an every three hour ordeal to feed them. Since offi­cial serv­er rates are so low, it could still take you a few hours to obtain enough meat to keep them feed for a decent peri­od of time. This is espe­cial­ly true for play­ers who deal with over­loaded servers that con­stant­ly lag, blue­screen, and DC. It makes the sim­ple task of get­ting meat for your babies 5 times slow­er. Not even includ­ing the fact oth­er play­ers could also be rais­ing, which reduces the sup­ply of meat because then every­one is hunt­ing.  

It’s bad enough Wild­card is pre­tend­ing to make the game “hard­er” by includ­ing ridicu­lous breed­ing times, but then comes the real kick in the head. They added an Imprint mechan­ic, which has amaz­ing ben­e­fits, but is not real­ly worth the loss of sleep.   

How Ark is Harmful to Its Players & The Simple Ways to Fix it
Imprint per­cent­age is the bot­tom bar. This is my per­son­al light­ning wyvern, Aphrodite.

When a dino is born, a play­er claims it or “Imprints” on that baby. On offi­cial servers, only that per­son can imprint on that baby dur­ing the rais­ing process. I say “on offi­cial”, because on some ded­i­cat­ed unof­fi­cial servers, hosts allows all play­ers in your tribe to imprint on the baby for that one per­son, mak­ing it eas­i­er for… every­one to imprint. Imprints typ­i­cal­ly hap­pen every 3–4 hours, so when rais­ing a dinosaur that takes sev­er­al days, there will be many imprints when play­ing on offi­cial serv­er rates. Exam­ple:

Rex — Round­ing imprint time to 4 hours 

  • Rex­es get around 24 imprints total through­out their raise, here is how it breaks down:
    • Baby — 9 hours — 2 imprints dur­ing this stage each at 4.32% = 9% (game rounds up) 
    • Juve­nile — 1 day 13 hours — 9 imprints at 4.32% =47%
    • Ado­les­cent — 1 day 22 hours — 11 imprints at 4.32% = 93% 
    • Total at end of adult should be 93–97% (num­bers are wonky in this game) 

Of course, this is at the high­est imprint time inter­val. They do vary and are often only 3 and a half hours long. Imprints reduce the amount of dam­age and increas­es dam­age out­put (depend­ing on the per­cent­age of your imprint) as long as the per­son who imprint­ed is rid­ing it. Miss­ing imprints means your dino could suf­fer, but get­ting on 24 times every 3 to 4 hours is not fun either. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true for times when peo­ple need to sleep. Hav­ing a game mechan­ic that requires you to wake up from a dead sleep to take care of vir­tu­al babies is a real bum­mer.  

All of this just to attempt to reach boss­es that most aver­age play­ers will nev­er see. That’s why only a small frac­tion (maybe 2%) have even been to a boss bat­tle, small tribes or sin­gle play­ers will nev­er see end game. So, how do they fix it?

Fix­ing the Prob­lem

Raise the Rates

For the love of every­thing that is good in the world, give the offi­cial play­ers a break and per­ma­nent­ly raise the rates. Again! 

How Ark is Harmful to Its Players & The Simple Ways to Fix it

When I was play­ing on offi­cial servers, all I could think about was how long it was going to take me to get every­thing done. On the week­ends, I would was hop­ing the Wild­card gods would bless us with an Evo­lu­tion Event, so get­ting meat and mate­r­i­al was faster. I see no prob­lems with chang­ing rates for­gath­er­ing to 1.5 as it is fair. Not too much, but not too lit­tle. 

When it comes to the breed­ing… a lot needs to changed.

  1. Mat­ing inter­vals needs to short­ened so females only have hours between cooldowns (instead of day peri­ods)
  2. Incu­ba­tion times need to be cut in half. Wait­ing 2 days for a Giga to hatch is ridicu­lous.
  3. Mat­u­ra­tion also needs to speed up twice as fast. Tak­ing 11 damn days to raise a Giga is com­plete­ly unfair to a large major­i­ty of the play­er base. This would also free up for most of the play­er base (who might not have all the time in the world to spend star­ing at the inven­to­ry of a baby dinosaur) to raise things like a Rex, Yutyran­nus and Ther­izinosaurus on a week­end.
  4. Imprints can still be hours in between each oth­er, but scale it so each imprint gives a larg­er per­cent­age. Not only is this few­er imprints, but it makes the imprint seem worth more and less of a daunt­ing task.
  5. Egg health should be re-eval­u­at­ed. Tape­jara and Giga eggs lose a ton of health when not picked up imme­di­ate­ly. This is also true if an egg falls through the floor dur­ing the mat­ing process and can wind up tak­ing a decent amount of egg health. 
  6. Allow any­one in your tribe to imprint could make a huge dif­fer­ence. This makes it eas­i­er for play­ers who can’t be on all hours of the day, to actu­al­ly get imprints. 

So there you have it. Sim­ple ways Wild­card could make their play­ers want to stick around. We already have to deal with a lot from oth­er play­ers, so our devel­op­ment team should not be shit­ting on us too.