ARK Beginner Guide - First Steps in ARK: SE Background

ARK Beginner Guide - First Steps in ARK: SE

January 24, 2023
10 minutes to read

ARK: Survival Evolved - the popular survival game par excellence. And what belongs to a good survival game? Of course, crafting, building, looting - ARK offers you all of that and more and we would like to give you some tips for the first steps in the game, a sort of ARK Beginner Guide.

Hunger and thirst

Covered only with underwear made of light fabric, unprotected and without any equipment, you are stranded on the island. The lack of clothing will make you hungry and thirsty more quickly, but there are sources you can help yourself to right from the start.

Berries, water and dodos

Berries are an excellent first source of food, but be aware of their side effects. Some berries will make you tired, others will make you thirsty, causing your water status to drop faster. Gathering berries is also good to start with, as you don't have to put yourself in much danger.

Dodos are a first welcome source of meat for you to strengthen yourself faster and more effectively. You only need your fists to slay a dodo and can farm raw meat and leather from it. Later, you'll use a campfire to roast the raw meat.

In the beginning, any shallow water is suitable, as well as the beach, so you can quickly refill your water bar. But be careful and don't go too deep into the water - dangerous creatures are waiting for you there.


Important items for the start

To be able to create the first important items like clothes, a base and much more, you need to collect some resources. Stones, which you can collect with your hands, and wood and straw, which you can knock off trees with your fists. However, limit yourself with this at first until you have a pickaxe, as you will suffer damage from hitting trees. You can easily harvest fibers and berries from bushes.


To craft items, furniture, weapons and everything else in ARK, you need so-called engrams, which are actually nothing more than blueprints. In order to unlock engrams, you need to collect engram points.

However, you only get engram points with each level-up after you have improved one of your attributes. After that, you will see the number of your points in the engram menu. Rare engrams can be found in airdrops and some are hidden in crates.

Be aware that you can't learn all engrams in the game though, so join a tribe and share them well among yourselves or choose wisely which ones you want to learn. Additionally, it's a good idea to save up for explicit engrams that you can only unlock once you reach a certain level.


First Axe and Pickaxe

You should craft your first axe and pickaxe soon to save your strength, take less damage, and farm resources more effectively. A stone axe mines more wood than straw, more stone than flint, and more leather than raw meat.

A pickaxe, on the other hand, mines more straw than wood, more flint than stone, more raw meat than leather, and metal from some stones. Additionally, you'll get more meat out of a dodo with a pickaxe.

An overview of important first engrams

Fabric clothing

  • Shirt: Can be made from level 3 and you only need 40 fiber for it.
  • Trousers: Can be made from level 3 and you need 50 fiber for it
  • Shoes: Can be made from level 3, requires 25 fiber and 6 leather
  • Hat: Craftable from level 3 and you only need 10 fiber to craft it
  • Gloves: Craftable from level 3 and you need 20 fiber and 4 leather


First weapons

  • Spear: Craftable from level 2, requires the following resources: 2 flint, 8 wood and 12 fiber - works well as a ranged weapon, can be picked up again, but can also break
  • Slingshot: Can be made from level 5 and needs the following resources: 1 leather, 5 wood and 20 fiber - is also a good first ranged weapon

ARK Taming Slingshot Screenshot

Thatch hut - first base

  • Can be made from level 3, for a sloping roof you need to reach level 5
  • A simple but spacious thatch hut is perfectly fine in the beginning - for this you need wood, fiber and straw
  • Build the base, place it and then build walls that automatically snap to the base, put a roof on it and place a door frame and a door as entrance


More engrams

  • Campfire: Can be made from level 2, the following resources are needed: 12 straw, 1 flint, 16 stone and 2 wood - provides warmth and can be used as first cooking place for raw meat
  • Sleeping bag: Can be made from level 3, requires the following resources: 25 leather and 15 fiber - serves as a one-time spawn point after your death
  • Crate and cupboard: Can be made from level 5 and level 15 respectively, you need the following resources for the crate: 25 wood, 20 straw and 10 fiber and for the cupboard these: 20 straw, 6 wood and 15 fiber
  • Water bag: Can be made from level 3, you need these resources: 4 leather and 12 fiber - the water bag is a one-time source of water for you on the way and has to be refilled afterwards, it is also a bit leaky
  • Narcosis: Can be made from level 6, you need the following ingredients: 5 narco berries and 1 rotten meat
  • Stone axe: Can be made from level 2 and up, you need these resources: 10 straw, 1 flint and 1 wood
  • Stone pickaxe: Can be made from level 1 and you need these resources: 10 straw, 1 stone and 1 wood

First base and dangers

Now, before you build your first base, you should choose a good place where you want to place it. The best place is near the beach, to be protected from aggressive dinosaurs and creatures. You should also take care to have a good availability of resources near you.

So the beach is a good place to start, since you'll have a lot of open space, few dangerous animals around, and the water will be a safe source for your thirst bar.

Landmarks for you

The water is also a good landmark for you, as are the obelisks on the island. The obelisks have three different colors: red, green and blue and they are always in the same place. Use them to guide yourself, for example, if you get lost on an exploration tour.

The thatch hut is a first start as a base from level 5. It should not be too big, but it should have enough space for a bed, a closet or chests and some room to move around.


Dangers you should watch out for

Especially in the beginning it is recommended to walk normally and sprint less, otherwise your stamina will suffer and fade quickly. This will also make you hungry and thirsty faster and, as we learned above, this is rather inconvenient, especially in the beginning.

If you want to attack your first dino, you will have to approach it very carefully and find out whether you are dealing with a carnivore or a herbivore. If the dino spots you and chases you, you should avoid running away from it, as it will most likely catch up with you. It is better to save yourself into the water and dive down.

Avoid Alpha Dinos

Alpha dinos are just too strong for you at the beginning and are not tameable for you with a low level. You can recognize Alpha Dinosaurs by their glowing red-orange color. If you encounter one of them and it hasn't spotted you yet, move very quickly in the other direction and avoid any interaction.


The first death - More to follow

ARK: SE is a survival game and therefore it is quite normal that you will die very often, especially in the beginning. You have to expect death by temperatures, hunger and thirst, aggressive creatures and other players at any time.

What happens when I die?

When you die in ARK, you lose any items you were carrying in your inventory at the time of death. After your spawn, you have about ten minutes to retrieve and collect your items. After that, they despawn and are lost forever.

But don't worry, your level and engrams will not be reset. So a good tip is to store very valuable items in chests or cabinets beforehand, so you don't have to carry them with you when you go on tour or tame dinosaurs.

However, starting at level 3, you have the option to craft a sleeping bag. This provides you with a unique spawn point and later on you can even craft a bed, which provides you with endless respawns.

Taming first dinos and exploring

Taming dinosaurs and other creatures is of course a core element of ARK. Tamed dinos and creatures can be used as gathering helpers, guard dogs, mounts, or battle beasts.

In order to use a tamed dinosaur as a mount, you'll have to make the appropriate saddle for it, which you'll then put on after successfully taming it. For the process to be successful, you'll need to pack enough food for the creature in question and enough weapons and anesthesia.

The favorite food

Each creature on the island has a favorite food, which is usually Kibble, made from certain favored eggs. However, for the beginning, any other food is enough to perform a successful taming.

Depending on the food, the level of the dino and the taming effectiveness, the duration of the taming of each creature will change. Always make sure that the anesthetized animal remains under anesthesia during the process. Get more taming tips in our ARK Taming Guide. You can also find more help on which dinos and creatures to start with here.


Preparation for an exploration tour

Before you just head out, dress appropriately for the temperature so you don't freeze for too long or the heat goes to your head. If you are cold for too long, your hunger will increase more quickly and you will need to eat more. If you get too hot, you can cool off in shallow water.

Depending on how long you want to explore, you may want to craft a campfire to warm yourself up and cook raw meat over the flame. Make sure that your tour doesn't go overnight or even start at night, because even a torch doesn't bring you much light and it can be broken quickly.

From level 8 you get the engram for a compass. This will help you find your way around and quickly find your base again. If you want to go before you can make a compass, you should explore your surroundings in detail first.

Fast leveling up

Join a tribe or create your own. This way you can collect experience points faster, because the more players, the more points you collect and from every single action of the other players you also grab XP points. Likewise, harvesting berries earns you XP points and incidentally, you get extra food.

In the beginning, it's especially good to kill small dinos like Dodos or Dilophosaurs, because you can gain some experience points that way. While you explore the island and keep crafting smaller items that require few resources, you can also gain points and get to know the game better at the same time.


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