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.
#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.
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.
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!
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.
- Mating intervals needs to shortened so females only have hours between cooldowns (instead of day periods)
- Incubation times need to be cut in half. Waiting 2 days for a Giga to hatch is ridiculous.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.