ARK: Survival Evolved – A Newbie’s Guide to Surviving in Hardcore

Starting with basic hardcore mode mechanics, this guide will try to teach new players how to effectively survive in hardcore mode for long enough to find a good place to settle down.

Other ARK Guides:

What is Hardcore Mode?

To be short and sweet about it, hardcore mode in ARK: Survival Evolved is, at its very least, an official set of rules that disallows players from respawning with the same character after they die. I do believe, though (don’t quote me on this, citation needed), that hardcore mode also changes the amount of experience you get from actions and surviving in general, the damage creatures do to the player, the damage players do to creatures (both would be buffed), the rate at which hunger and thirst deteriorate, and the rate at which the player loses health when they are starving, dehydrated, hyperthermic, or hypothermic.

In Layman’s terms, of course, hardcore mode makes ARK: Survival Evolved a hell of a lot more difficult to survive in.

First Steps

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how to start surviving in hardcore ARK: Survival Evolved. Here are your baby steps.

  • Step #1: Gather a rock by pressing E on it and proceed to punch a tree with your bare fists until you have 10 thatch and 1 wood. 
  • Step #2: Craft a pickaxe. 
  • Step #3: As you most likely won’t have enough experience to level up after that short process, get a little bit of a headstart for resources by hitting a tree with your new pickaxe until it falls down, giving you wood and thatch to work with, and then proceeding to smack a boulder around with it for a good bit of flint. Just be careful it doesn’t overencumber you. You should also go around holding E on bushes to collect berries for food and fiber for clothes. 
  • Step #4: Assuming you did Step 3 enough, you should have seen some green text flash on the screen by now, notifying you that you’ve gained enough experience points to level up. This is where I stop babying you and tell you right now – the main things you need to level up are going to be weight, melee damage, and movement speed. Fortitude if you want to survive a scrap with something that you shouldn’t be fighting, but obviously it’s not a good idea to be fighting those things anyway seeing as if you die, you lose everything. 
  • Step #5: Your engrams are easy to go through. Don’t worry about learning any building structures or anything at the moment, just worry about getting melee weapons, tools, and armour that you can easily craft. Once you’re high enough in level that you’re just running around with, presumably, a set of leather armour, an obsidian spear, a bow, and arrows, you can start worrying about building structures. 
  • Step #6: You’re a nomad. Don’t settle anywhere until you know you’re ready to settle anywhere (except the north pole). Travel around the outskirts of the island primarily, looking for explorer notes and dossiers as they give you a 2x experience bonus for actions you perform for about 5-10 minutes after you open them, as well as giving you a load of experience to begin with. Grab as many of these as you can, smack some dodos and dilophosaurs around, and get your engrams. 

The reason this is so much safer than just settling down somewhere is the fact that other players in hardcore mode really don’t give a Building in caves is bad manners, and if players in hardcore mode see your base built in a cave, say goodbye to it. For that matter, if a player sees a thatch hut in hardcore mode, do you think they’re going to say, “I should leave this person alone!” ♥♥♥♥ no! They’re tearing down your walls and killing you to steal your 1 hide!

All jokes aside, though, nomadic is the best way to survive early on. You can get a lot of experience really fast, fly through the engram tree, and then settle down later without having to worry about logging off because you’re bored and getting killed in your sleep. Just choose a good place when you make that wood hut, you don’t want it to be too close to other tribes, as they like to be really aggressive to other people who build near them.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Written by Telainios.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13338 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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