ARK: Survival Evolved – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide (2021)

Surviving in ARK as a new player is quite hard, as there are many unique mechanics that aren't really explained in-game. This begginer-friendly guide aims to help you on your journey!

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If you are completely new to the world of ARK: Survival Evolved and have no idea how to play the game, then take a look at this guide that will help you understand what the user interface is, what items you will need to have, and what creatures you need to tame as soon as possible to get all the resources you need, so you can build your base and start crafting more intricate objects that will help you survive in later stages of the game as you progress.

User Interface


This is the inventory screen, on the left side you can see the items in your inventory slots and some sorting buttons at the top, there’s also a search bar which is very convenient after a lot of hours of farming so you can easily find what you are looking for.

In the middle you can see the You section which shows all of your equipped armor, some general stats and your attributes, (when you press F you open the inventory of your tame and you can see it on the right side next to You, it’s named Them) the plus icons show that you can increase one of the selected attributesHealth is pretty much self explanatory, Stamina as well, the more you have the more you can do actions like jumping, hitting, sprinting, etc.

  • Oxygen starts depleting the moment you go underwater so the more you increase it the longer you can dive and swim faster.
  • Food represents how hungry you are and by doing actions that consume Stamina or if you regenerate Health it will make it go down faster, some status effects like being Cold also play part in how fast your Food drops.
  • As with Food so Water is reduced the longer you move around and you need to replenish it by drinking water from a Tap or containers like Waterskin, being exposed to Heat drains your Water faster.
  • Weight measures how much you can carry, if your Weight goes over 85% then you will become Encumbered, you will start moving slower and will not be able to jump, and after it has reached the limit or surpassed it you will not be able to move at all.
  • Melee Damage is not only a statistic for the players but also the creatures.
    By increasing it you deal more damage and can gather more resources from trees, rocks, etc. It also gives you the chance to obtain rare drops.
  • Movement Speed represents how fast you can move and use less Stamina when you are trying to reach a location, keep in mind that the Weight also plays a part in Movement Speed and will slow you down the more you have.
  • Fortitude allows you to resist Weather Effects and Disease.
    It increases your Hyperthermic and Hypothermic insulation, decreases the chance to poop yourself from T-Rex roars and it also gives you higher resistance to effects that cause Torpidity such as Tranq Arrows or creatures that deal Torpidity damage.
  • Torpidity is a measure that shows how weary you are, if it goes over 50% you will pass out, this is also an Attribute for Creatures and it can be used to tame them as well.
    When you are unconscious other players can move you around, force-feed more narcotics to keep you sedated, steal your items or kill you. Players and other creatures can wake up only when the Torpidity level reaches 0.

On the bottom right corner you will also see some of your Attributes so you can give a quick look without having to open your Inventory screen all the time and also you will be able to see the active Status Effects for example Cold as you can see in the picture above.

You can get more details by pressing H.

And at the bottom you can see the hot bar which you can click and drag any items you want to use.


When you open the Inventory screen you will see that there’s also a tab named Crafting next to it, this is where you can craft everything you have learned from the Engrams.

The Engrams are the bread and butter of every Ark player and those are the ones that will distinguish you from the others, giving you a unique role in the tribe that you might be into.

There’s also Crafting Stations that will allow you to craft even better equipment and help you progress the game further.


This is where you will learn about everything you can craft in ARK: Survival Evolved.

Each time you level up you will earn Engram Points that you can spend and learn crafting recipes so you can make Weapons, Equipment, Clothing and Structures.

Unlike Blueprints that can be found around the world, Engrams are permanently unlocked and will stay on your character even after death and they do not have weight.

At the top right corner there’s a search bar to easily find what engrams you are looking for and a list of icons that shows you what engrams can be learned from each expansion of the game.

Next up: We’ll have the rest of the User Interface that goes more into depth of how the mechanics of the game work, but aren’t that essential for beginners.

Nevertheless here’s a rundown of what they do.

Tribe Manager

This is the Tribe Manager, here you can see and edit the members that you have invited into your tribe, you can create specific groups, edit their status and decide what rank each player will have.

On the right there’s a log that shows what each tribe member has achieved and you can change some settings depending on how you want the tribe to share things and creatures.

Tribes for PVE are very useful for progressing towards end game, fighting bosses and taming rare creatures.

Tribes for PVP are focused more on fighting other tribes, forming alliances and engage other players in battle.

Tame Groups

This is the Tame Group screen here you can create groups and classes for specific creatures you have tamed, for example Group 1 can consist only for tamed creatures suited for battle and Group 2 can have creatures that can help you farm.

In order to use the tame Tame Groups efficiently you have to invest some time and understand how it works.

When you want to add some creatures in a Tame Group you need to hold the interaction button (E on PC) and navigate through the radial menu where it says Modify Ordering Groups then you can easily find the options of each creature and decide in what group you want to add them.

When you have more than one Tame Group if you want to change the active group that will follow your commands you have to open the Tame Group screen and double click on the corresponding group, for example double clicking on Group 1 makes this one the active group, if you want to have Group 2 active you need to double click that one.

Another quick way to cycle Tame Groups is by using the numpad, when you select a certain group green arrows will appear on each of the creature that is in that group and when you press the numpad key for the group you have currently selected, it will select all the creatures you have tamed by default.

Taming List

The Taming List is a simple but very useful screen that shows you the progress of each creature you or your tribe are currently taming and allows you to track them.

Explorer Notes

This is the last screen of the User Interface and it’s called Explorer Notes, these are collectible items that are scattered around the world of each map that once found will give a piece of lore at the players, a 100 XP bonus and a buff that gives double XP for 10 minutes.

You should collect the Explorer Notes when you are riding a tamed creature because it will get the XP bonus as well and last but not least, if you find another one of these items the buff will be added and not reset.

Items & Engrams

A beginner in ARK: Survival Evolved is considered a player that is level 15 and below, after that level most players have grasped the concept on how to play what to craft and what they need to survive and progress the game on their own.

When you first spawn in the game the first thing you should start doing is to gather a few Berries from the bushes, Stones, Wood and Thatch.

You can collect Berries from bushes by pressing the interact button and Wood or Thatch by punching trees.

You can gather all kinds of Berries from the bushes and each one has different properties and you can also get some Seeds that will be useful in the future when you can make Crop Plots.

Stones can be gathered off the ground by pressing the interact button.

Wood, Thatch and Stone are the first resources you will need to craft your first items in the game, after that you wont need to pick them up or punch trees that often but if you feel like letting off some steam then by all means go ahead.

The first things you will need to learn how to craft are of course the obvious ones the Campfire, Stone Hatchet and Spear

The Campfire offers a source of light and warmth and a place to cook Meat.

The Stone Hatchet is used for chopping of trees and harvest Wood, Stone from rocks and skin animals for Hide.

The Stone Pick on the other hand is better suited for Thatch, Flint from rocks, and Meat from animals.

The Spear is going to be your first actual melee weapon but can also be thrown, remember to craft more than one because there’s gonna be a chance of losing it or breaking it quite fast.

At level 3 we recommend you to learn how to craft the Waterskin first in order to keep you hydrated for the journeys you are going to take at the beginning of the game.

Do not forget that the Waterskin leaks water, so when you hit level 26 you should immediately craft a Water Jar.

After that you could unlock the Cloth Armor or you could save some Engrams and learn the Hide Armor once you reach level 15.

The Cloth Armor provides almost no armor but it’s good enough for protection against Heat.

For levels 4 and 5 we recommend unlocking the Hide Sleeping Bag first which works as a one time respawn point, but make sure to craft a couple of those because when you place it and create your respawn point once you’re back it will be gone, so keeping a few as a back up won’t hurt.

Carrying a sleeping bag with you on your adventures is a great way of making a quick respawn point when you are about to tame some difficult creatures or raid a base in PvP etc.

After that you should unlock the Thatch Structures to keep you safe from the weather outside and some creatures that might try to eat you.

Then you can learn how to make a Storage Box to keep some stuff that you don’t have to take with you, and a Slingshot that will allow you to knock out animals and tame them.

The slingshot can also knock out players in PvP but it’s a bit hard to place a hit on them as it is very slow.

Next up is levels 6, 7 and 8.

First you can learn how to make the Mortar and Pestle which allows you to craft a bunch of things but the most important ones are in the same section and they are the Sparkpowder and Narcotic.

The Sparkpowder can be used on anything that can use burning fuel and for the later stages of the game it is the only one that can keep the Preserving Bin running.

The Narcotic can be used to force feed creatures that are in the taming process and in the future it can be used to craft Tranquilizer ammunition in order to knock down creatures and players faster.

The Blood Extraction Syringe can be used to extract blood from yourself or other players sacrificing 25 HP and creates Blood Packs which can be used to restore 30 HP in 2 seconds, it’s a quick way to restore health when you are in a pinch outside and adventuring.

Now if you ask the question about why not just use food to heal, this only works when you are hungry so if you are full you will not need to eat therefore you will not get Health back, but if you are hungry and need to heal you can eat some food and use a Blood Pack together as well.

Next we have the Simple Bed which is one of the most important items of the game as it will create a permanent spawn point for you and a fast travel point, but you drop all your items if you decide to fast travel, you can also lay down on the bed, all those actions can be done by holding down the interaction button.

The Standing Torch is another essential item that will help you see at night and can work as a Light and Heat source very useful for when you don’t want to have a torch in your hand.

The Spyglass is a tool that can not only be used for scouting but also providing information for possible tameable creatures from afar without having to run next to every one of them, very useful when trying to tame aggressive creatures and flying creatures.

It can also be used to see the owner of the structures and give commands for your tames to attack something or someone from afar.

The Wooden Club is a great tool for knocking out small creatures fast in order to tame a lot of them and is also feared in PvP if someone decides to spend a good amount of points in Melee Damage, even if a player has put a lot of points in Fortitude there’s a good chance that they will get knocked in one hit.

The effect is better if you hit the target’s head and it can be used to farm Kairuku that yield a bigger amount of Organic Polymer.

Lastly we have the Cooking Pot which can be used to craft food and dyes.

You can also craft Kibble which is a food for creatures and it allows you to tame them a lot faster.

For levels 9 and 10 you can learn the Bola that is used to immobilize small and medium sized creatures for 30 seconds so you can tame them easier, but can also work on players, for them it’s 25 seconds though, players and creatures can still attack you when they are caught by the Bola.

The Parasaur Saddle is the first saddle you will unlock and offers you the first creature that can be mounted allowing you to traverse the map a lot faster.

The Parasaur also has the ability to detect enemies from afar giving you a visual queue on your screen as to where they are.

Then we have the Small Crop Plot which will help you plant the seeds you pick up from bushes without having to run around outside your base and farm them.

You will need to water them with a water source like a Waterskin or a Tap, the Stone Irrigation Pipe Tap unlocks at later levels and will be immensely helpful for them, it will be the best option until you unlock the Metal Irrigation Pipe Tap which is the best solution but is in way later levels.

The Crop Plots also require Fertilizer which can be made from a Compost Bin and Dung Beetles, more information about them will be mentioned below in the creatures section.

The Crop Plots have 3 different sizes, Small, Medium and Large.

The Bow and Stone Arrow are the most important and most used tools for ranged attacks for beginners and allow you to fight from a distance without getting hurt.

You can make Tranq Arrows at later levels that will help you knock out creatures for easier taming.

The Carbonemys Saddle is optional but if you learn it you can use it to tame the Carbonemys which can be used as an early game distraction and damage soaker for taming more dangerous creatures, it can also be used to move a lot of items around especially in water since its movement speed while swimming is a little faster.

For Level 11 to 14 you will learn all the Wooden Structure Engrams which are much better than the flimsy Thatch Structres and provide a lot of other options allowing you to create bigger and more complex bases.

The Stimulant is optional but if you decide to learn it it can help you reduce Torpor when you have used all of your stamina, taking damage by creatures or players that inflict Torpor on you or on your tame, you can also use it on your tribemate.

The Wooden Shield is again option and is the first item that you can use to defend yourself from direct attacks in front of you.

Cementing Paste is one of the most important ones that will help you craft more advanced items in later stages like the Water JarVarious SaddlesWeapons, Workbenches etc.

The Ichtyosaurus Saddle is one of the first saddles that can be equipped by a fish creature and is great for traversing in the sea quickly.

Lastly at level 15 every available Engram is going to be useful so we recommend to learn all of them.

Starting with Gunpowder which will essentially be the base for every ammunition of the weapons you are going to learn afterwards.

By learning the Gunpowder Engram it will allow you to learn how to craft the Flare Gun which can be used to reveal your position to other players or light up a dark area around you.

The Hide Armor is the next set of armors, useful for colder environments or adventure at night which is colder than the day, the Hide Armor also provides moderate defense so it is recommended to use those ones when you are planning to go fight some creatures.

This level tier also unlocks the Large Wooden Wall this one saves you the effort of having to stack too many walls in case you decide to build a tall house or make walls around your base, also there are a few Wooden Structure Engrams on the next levels, that we recommend you learn as well, such as the Large Storage BoxDinosaur GatewayDinosaur GateWooden Double Door and Wooden Double Door Frame, Feeding Trough.

The Compost Bin is a great way to start making Fertilizer by placing Feces inside, which can then be used on your crops until you find and tame a Phiomia, those creatures can be fed berries and provide you with large amounts of Feces.

The best way to acquire Fertilizer however is to tame a few Dung Beetles that can be fed with the Feces the Phiomia creates.

And last but not least, in order to keep your crops irrigated without having to worry about them all the time, you can learn at level 17 the Stone Irrigation Pipes that will help you water your crops non stop.

The Best Dinosaurs to Tame for Your Progress

One of the main features ARK: Survival Evolved has is to capture and tame the living Creatures that roam the lands, each one has different attributes and utilities, most of them at the beginning are easy to tame, but at later stages of the game you will have to observe and learn how each one behaves and find out their patterns in order to come up with smart ways to make them yours.

In this section we will show you what are the best top 10 early Creatures for beginners.

The levels for taming the Creatures you will encounter in ARK: Survival Evolved are varied and will surpass level 15 in order to get the Saddle Engrams so keep that in mind.

Useful tools for Taming are the Spyglass, Bola, SlingshotNarcotic to keep them sedated if you need to, the Bow and Tranq Arrows that you unlock at level 21 and of course BerriesRaw Meat and Raw Fish Meat.

The best and fastest way to complete the taming process though is by feeding them with Kibble.

  • While on a mounted tame press F to bring up its inventory.
  • Mountable tames can attack by using Left Click.
  • The secondary ability can be used with Right Click.
  • Some mountable creatures also have a tertiary ability which can be used by pressing C.
  • Some creatures but also yourself deal and are affected by status effects, you can see them if you press H.


Parasaur, Ark: Survival Evolved
Parasaur, Ark: Survival Evolved

Parasaur will probably be one of the first ever mountable tames that you will use, they have decent Movement Speed and Carry Weight it deals very little damage but it’s really good for traversing around and having it with you when you gather resources away from your base.

They are passive and easy to tame, they are very useful for bases and having them around in general because of their ability to detect enemies or other players from afar, when they aren’t mounted they give you an audio and visual indication but when you are riding one you can simply use it and show it only visually, perfect for beginners to avoid unnecessary danger.

The Parasaur also has a another ability that scares small and medium sized creatures away with the C button.


Moschops, Ark: Survival Evolved
Moschops, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Moschops is one of the most important tames for early players in the game solely for the purpose of its Thatch and Berry harvesting abilities, it can also gather Fiber and Wood which all of that can be done autonomously without having to mount them and do it yourself.

They are passive cowardly creatures and run away from attacks, the only way to make them fight is if you are riding it dealing a decent amount of damage.


Carbonemys, Ark: Survival Evolved
Carbonemys, Ark: Survival Evolved

This is one of the easiest creatures to tame in the game and one that will allow you to tame other more powerful creatures.

Since the Carbonemys has a lot of base Health it can become a diversion for aggressive tames but also act as a Turret Soaker for PvP.

You can also use it as a decent Transport near water sources since it can swim faster than walking.


Triceratops, Ark: Survival Evolved
Triceratops, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Triceratops aka Trike is also one of the most important and best early game creatures that can be tamed fairly easily even with a Slingshot, they offer excellent harvesting abilities with the primary resource being Thatch and after that they can also collect a decent amount of BerriesFiber and Wood.

The Trike is a very reliable mount for traveling around safely while harvesting resources and is very competent in fights, it also has a secondary attack which charges and rams onto enemies.

Another useful thing the trike can do is be a really good Turret Soaker mostly for PvP as the front of its head acts as a shield and reduces damage by a lot, and last but not least if you tame 2 or 3 of them you can put them as guardians for your base since they are able to fend off a lot of small and medium sized creatures.


Stegosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved
Stegosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Stegosaurus is a step up from the Trike it has three Back Plate Modes that can be switched with C and each one is useful for each resource, Sharpened Plate for Berries, Heavy Plate for Thatch and Hardened Plate for Wood.

If you right click at a small creature or a player the Stego will immobilize them with its tail keeping them in place allowing you to dismount and do whatever you want to them, but beware the longer you keep the tail on them the more Stamina it will drain, also note that it is a bit hard to hit them so you will need to practice it a bit.

The Stego is also a very good Transport, it has a good Carry Weight and it will not let other creatures dismount you.

Like the Trike, Stego can be used as a Turret Soaker for PvP and is very useful as a War Mount as well.


Phiomia, Ark: Survival Evolved
Phiomia, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Phiomia is one of the most important creatures that will help any player who is interested in farming and having their own Gardening area.

The main reason you will need this creature is to feed it with Stimberries which will make it drop a large amount of Feces that can be either put into a Compost Bin, or feed them to Dung Beetles to convert them to Fertilizer.

The Phiomia is also a decent Wood and Thatch gatherer but there are other better tames that can be used for that early in the game.


Raptor, Ark: Survival Evolved
Raptor, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Raptor is one of the most offensive early creatures a player can tame, they are quick on their feet and use fast attacks but also have a secondary attack that can leap onto their target, lock them into place and attack them with the left click.

When the Raptor is in the pack of 3 or more, the Alpha meaning the highest level one will have the ability to give a Buff to all of them by using the C button, this will increase their Damage, Health but the one that is mounted will have extra benefits like Stamina and Carry Weight.

You can also use some weapons while riding a Raptor like a Pike or Assault Rifles.

Raptors are very fast creatures and efficient Hunters for Meat and Hide.


Pteranodon, Ark: Survival Evolved
Pteranodon, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Pteranodon is probably going to become your first flying tame and is going to be your best friend at exploring the maps and areas with ease without having to worry much about predators, you should keep an eye on the Stamina though because it keeps depleting as long as you’re airborne and if you are too high when the Stamina goes out it will force land.

You can try feeding it Stimberries or Stimulants while flying but it’s not very efficient.

The main purpose of this creature is Scouting for areas that have precious minerals, rare tames, points of interest etc.

It doesn’t have a good amount of Carry Weight but it’s decent enough to carry a few items with you.

When you level up a Pteranodon make sure to focus on Carry Weight and Stamina for traversing the maps or Health, Melee Damage and Stamina for war.

Pressing space will make the Pteranodon fly and when you are close to the ground pressing it again will make it land.

You can perform an air-roll while flying by pressing C.

To better adjust the direction you want to go in case you need to pick a tamed creature or a player you can press X which works like a break.

The Pteranodon can carry small creatures and drop them in a pen for you to tame them much easier.

As you progress the game you will eventually tame better Flyers, the Pteranodon though is the fastest one.

Seasoned players can tame a lot of them and use them as an air force against other players in PvP.


Icthyosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved
Icthyosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Icthyosaurus is a water only creature and one of the first ones that can be tamed fairly early in the game.

It’s mostly used for scouting and traveling quickly through the sea and rivers, it also provides security since it doesn’t cause other sea predators to attack you when when mounted.

You can use weapons while riding it so a Crossbow is perfect for this one, and another thing to remember is that you can easily farm Black Pearls from Eucypterids.


Ankylosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved
Ankylosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved

Lastly we have the Ankylosaurus, one of the later tames that can be mounted these creatures can help you immensely with your Mineral farming expeditions as they are one of the most efficient gatherers in Ark, it can help you mine Metal, Crystal, Obsidian, Flint and Stone, they also have 85% reduction in weight for Metal making them ideal for stacking up as much as you can.

The Ankylo can also farm Oil, Wood and Thatch, His Left Click attack can clear areas really fast and his Right Click bite attack can gather Berries from bushes.

You can also use it as a tank but since it is a very precious gatherer it’s best to use other more expendable creatures like Carbonemys or Trikes.

Tip: The Ankylo can be picked by an Argentavis and taken near Mineral deposits to farm everything you need more efficiently.

Other Beginner-Friendly Dinosaurs to Further Assist Your ARK Journey


Dodo, Ark: Survival Evolved
Dodo, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Dodo are simple to tame creatures that can provide you with a good amount of Raw Meat and Hide, in later stages of the game it can be used as a walking bomb.

The Juvenile Dodos can also yield a good amount of Raw Prime Meat.


Lystrosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved
Lystrosaurus, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Lystrosaurus is going to be the best friend for your tames, it gives a 5 minute passive bonus to experience for all your tamed creatures in an area and it’s multiplied by 1.35.


Dilophosaur, Ark: Survival Evolved
Dilophosoaur, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Dilophosaurs are also a good early and easy to tame creatures that will help you around when exploring, those are the ones that you take with you and give commands to attack your enemies without having yourself hurt, just be careful when you are planning to tame them because they have a spitting attack that impairs your vision.

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle, Ark: Survival Evolved
Dung Beetle, Ark: Survival Evolved

One of the most important small creatures to have around in your base, the Dung Beetle works great in cooperation with Phiomia, its preferred food is Feces which upon consumption will be converted into Fertilizer and Oil, very useful for people who want to plant crops.


Icthyornis, Ark: Survival Evolved
Icthyornis, Ark: Survival Evolved

The Icthyornis is a very useful creature for catching fish since you can command it to hunt and retrieve, they also have a chance to bring Prime Fish Meat from fish that normally wouldn’t drop it.

The downside Ichtyornis has is that it is difficult to tame so patience is key.


Hesperornis, Ark: Survival Evolved
Hesperornis, Ark: Survival Evolved

Hesperornis are the best way to farm Organic Polymer in the game since it spoils really fast (30 minutes) and you need to have a base nearby with the required benches to craft whatever you need.

They can also lay Golden Hesperornis Eggs that give 500% experience boost to small creatures and 10% boost to big creatures, and the normal Hesperornis Eggs that can be placed in a Cooking Pot to produce Oil in case you need to.

The Hesperornis are great fishers as well, they will insta-kill any fish, and eat them since the only food they consume is fish.

Tip: Best way to gather Organic Polymer is with Wooden Club or the Sword.


Castoroides, Ark: Survival Evolved
Castoroides, Ark: Survival Evolved

Coming in last is the Castoroides, the reason it’s on this list and not the top 10 one is because this cute fellow can be mounted at level 61, a long way to reach which by then you will certainly not be a new player anymore.

This creature can also gather wood in wandering mode although making any tamed creature wander around is a bit risky.

The Castoroides reduce the weight of Wood, Thatch, Fiber and Stone by 50% making it ideal as a companion with Stone gathering creatures.

They can run fast but swim even faster and dive in deep waters as well, and last but not least once saddled they become a moving work bench allowing you to craft anywhere you go.

Lastly as with Ankylosaurus the Castoroides can also be carried by an Argentavis and be taken next to trees to farm them, making your life much easier, the Saddle Engram for the Argentavis is available right at the next level.

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Been a gamer since birth. I don't have a certain taste in genres, so I try every type of video game I stumble across, from racing games, to RPGs, to shooters - anything that clicks in me I play it, and if i become obsessed with it, I'll also write about it .


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