Okay, ARK: Survival Evoled. But actually Survival didn't evolve much in this game. The game is basically exactly what other survival games with the same direction are. Namely Rust and Day Z. These games are built around Multiplayer and while you can also play same solo, you won't enjoy them much, because they simply are designed to be fun with other players. On the other hand however these games have also PvP 24h/day and because people are dicks you can be sure someone will bash your head open with a wooden club just because you dare to have spawned on the server.
So of course I avoid multiplayer. I know these games. I know that people will murder you simply for the fact that you exist, not because they want something from you (you don't have anything to begin with). ARK is not different than other games, the only thing why it is "evolved" is because it features prehistorical creatures that you can tame and command. That's pretty much the big and only difference to other games in the same genre.
I don't know if I would liek ARK because I NEVER reached the content that would make the game actually fun. I get murdered at every corner of the game. The game simply HATES you for nothing. Like I said again, this game is intended for multiplayer sessions and you notice this. It is badly balanced for singleplayer. Really terrible. The developers solution to this is, that you have different multiplicators that allow you to adjust different stuff, for example how fast you level up or how strong dinosaurs are compared to players. So if you play solo, you want of course max anythign that benefits you. But then you still would have a hard time, so hear me out.
In ARK you start with nothign,w hich is true for every other game in the genre. Sometimes you start with rudimentary equipemtn to help you gather your first basic resources to craft your REAL tools but in ARK you have nothing. Unliek Rusrt you don't walk around naked at least (have some dignity) but even in udnerwear you are pretty much unprotected from the hazards of this world. Your first step would be to gather resources to craft basic tools, like in any other game like this. You can punch trees to get wood, which does hurt you btw, then collect soem stones on the ground, craft a pickaxe and start collecting flintstone from the rocks, With this you can craft an axe that makes collecting wood much easier and without hurting yourself in the process. There are a lot of bushes on the world that you can colect for a random collection of berries and some fiber. Fiber is basically needed for everything, for tools, for buildings, clothes, everything. It's the most needed ressource int he game and the one that you can except to get the least of it. This alone shows how fucked up the balancing int his game is. Basically, eevrytime you stark colelcting from a bush, the game gives you randomly either berries or fiber. You cannot influence this, you have to grab as many bushes as you can to get a decent amount of fiber. You will however end up with waaaay more berries than fiber and you also neeed waaaay less berries than you have.
"But Vampire, berries can be eaten and are good to fill your hunger."
Nope, not in this game. You either eat TONS of them to get you full and even if you do it, your hunger fills over time, so at the point you would be full, you have "lost" a decent amount again. Berries are only useful for taming dinosaurs. And you won't tame one in the first... 2 hours into the game. Even if you do, dinosaurs that you can tame at that point eat only a small amount of berries.
Anyway, you will have too many berries, you will keep them but they will spil over time which basically means the game removes them from yor inventory. This means that you don't have to clean it up yourself, which is the only reason why you will keep the berries: because you don't have to throw them out yourself. Ince you have enough fiber to craft some clothes that you terribly need at that point (you freeze all the time, freezing decreases hunger faster, which means berries are even less useful). You want to eventually build a hut, even if it is asmall one. And you want to fill it wit a bed. Since Minecraft beds have been the safe haven for survival games, you die, you respawn there. No more random spawning in hostile territory. It's the same in ARK but with a twist. If you died and resapwned at your bed, you cannot respawn there again for several minutes, so good luck not dying out there again.
You don't want to die anyway in this game because if you do, you loose your entire inventory. And it isn't that it is dropped ont he ground like in Minecraft or other games, where shitty players would pick it up and take it for themself, nope, it disappears entirely. So the second thing you want is a chest. Actually, you want this even before you hve a bed because you want to stash everything, literally EVERYTHING when you go out to explore except your most basic tools that you need to collect stuff or defend yourself. Maybe you even should put your clothes off because you loose them as well and getting clothes back is annoying as hell because they are made up mostly of fier which, again, is the most annoying ressource to colect.
Not let's get to the dinosaur part, the selling point of this game. Are the dinosaurs good? This is true, I would say. The dinosaurs, actually every living creature int he game, has its own behaviour, if they are hungry they search for food, if they meet a partner, htey breed and so on. Carnivores will hunt herbivores, herbivres will try to flee or, if they are strong enough, will fight back. They actually managed to capture this good enough. However, the interaction between the player and these creatures couldn't be weirder. Of course you cannot truly they how dinosaurs would react to humans because humans never existed in the first place back then but it's very irritating. Simply said, carnivores will ignore EVERYTHING as long as you are around, even if it would be an easier prey for them. I don't have to say this but real predators never do this. If they see a weaker target, they will go for it and not the stronger one. Why? Because it is better to have a smaller but guarented meal than a bigger meal that you maybe cannot catch or kill. So actually they should ignore YOU instead of the small Dodo next to them that casually walks buy to eat some berries. But no, they go for you because its the smartest thing to attack soemthign with a big pointy stick that most liekly will poke them to death. That is, if you can kill them, most liekely note. Carnivores int his game are so damn overpowered, its not fun at all. Want to know how bullshit it is? A small sabertooth managed to kill a big trike. You know, these big dinosaurs with the three horns. This is such a bullshit, that thing should have either trampeled the sabertooth to death or impaled it with its horns. Nope, it attacked but then ran away because the sabertooth did more damage.
Needless to say that I would have been his next meal if I didn't kill the weakened beast.
While we're at it, tough luck if creatures like sabertooth spawn next to your home. Because then you are fucked. Happened to me multiple times, I had a scorpion, a sabertooth and other stuff. Some smaller creatures are easy to kill, but scorpions and sabertooths are the bane of my existence, they will even try to destroy your home if they know you are in there (and they know this, even if they didn't see you go in).
I tried to tame friendly dinosaurs to protect me, but liek I said before, this does not help ypu because the ehrbivores are simply not fit for battle. Exception might be the giant brontos because... well, they are giant, they kill anythign they can step on. But I cannot tame these at the moment because they rather would kill me in the process.
Anyway, the game throws a lot at you that wants to kill you and there are little chances to avoid these. if you go in other zones you only meet other ways too die. Want to know what happened on my first session? I died ecause I walked into water. WATER! Nope, you can swim, that wasn't what killed me. But appearantly every water source in this game, even the small puddles that you can find everywhere, inhabit piranhas that start to attack you once you enter the water. You can quickly go in and out but if you strart to swim, they will come for you. Needless to say that they fully ignore dinosaurs that currently try to escape from you to the water.
Now about taming. taming is as fucked up as the rest of the game. There are two ways to tame creatures but this depends ont he creature itself, you cannot decide how you tame it. Basically there is a violent and non-violent game. Violent is the most basic way and it is what it says on the tin. You have to bash on the head of animals with a club until it is knocked out. Violant creatures will defend themself, most herbivores, unless they are really big or strong, will run away. If you knock them out, you can feed them with stuff (berries, meat, flowers). This will raise the taming progress of the animal. Once it reaches 10% the animal will follow you and you can give it commands. You have to feed it however regulary, but this can be simply done by adding food to their inventory and they will it it themself whenver they are hungry.
Knocked out animals will eventually wake up again unless you bash them again multiple times with your club. This may KILL the creature if you do it too often. It is needless to say, if you slap it all the time, it takes longer to tame it. Also, if it wakes up in the process, you loose all yor progress of taming, even if you manage to knock it out again immediatly.
Be also aware, if you allow tamed creatures to wander around, they most likely will end up as a snack for a predator. Happened to ALL my creatures so far.
Non-violent taming is simply feeding them with food while they walk around. However, they will also loose faster taming progress, so this is the most terrible way to tame a creature.
So, to end up the rant, the game is, at what is is at the moment, a pretty bad balanced game. And don't get me started on the smart idea of adding dlc before the game was even finished. Up until now they added two new dlc maps, a spin off game, everything unfinished and still in development. On of these is even a paid dlc. This means they have to DIVIDE their development time on four different things at once, which means it will take more time to flesh out the core aspects of the game. The game needs some harsh balancing work but this will most liekely not happen.
Currently I see multiple problems:
1. It's grindy as hell. Even for your starting items you need tons of ressources. Stuff you can hardly collect yourself alone. Again, this shows how the game is balanced for Multiplayer, multiple people can collect a lot more and can divide the crafting process between them. fear how it will be on the later crafting recipes. It can only get worse.
2. The strength differance between predators and prey is too big. Predators are simply too powerful and can kill anything on sight without having to fear that they die soon. Also, if the game tries to simulate real animal behaviour, they really need to adjust predators behavior. It cannot be that they prefer to hunt the player simply because he is the player. Also, a predator that has succesfully hunted another animal before shouldn't attack shortly after another animal because he can. Predators hunt when they are hungy not because it's funny.
3. Better balancing for singleplayer. The game needs adjustment that make it easier for singleplayers to be as successful as multiplayer sessions. I can understand on multiplayer severs you don't want to form "lone wolves" but if you have a singleplayer option (and this game has one), you need to balance the game around them as well. They could say that you need less resources in singleplayer to craft your stuff tools but in return you cannot take singleplayer characters to multiplayer worlds. Instead they have this weird multiplicator system that you don't want to mess with as new player because you don't know what it affecs in the game.
4. Death penality too big. Even if you have a home with everything you need, death does not change. In Minecraft, once you have a home you feel a direct impact on the way you play the game. You have a point to return to and to manage your stuff. I don't get the same feeling here, if I die I loose. The only reason I spawn at my house is because it is there and I know where I am but I still end up with nothing and have to craft my tools again.
5. Inventory and menus are a disaster. This game features the ugliest UI I've ever seen. While it has sorting options, they are very basic and even if you use them you make hardly out where anything is. It's so hard to find that one tool you need to craft right now. I doubt this will even change because this is stuff that developers are too lazy to adjust.
6. Game is too much balanced around Multiplayer. You notice this at every little thing in the game. Crafting even one item needs more resources than you can collect at one step. You always have to fell three treees, colelct three bushes and mine three rocks if you want to build a SINGLE item. And for the next item you have to do the same. Predators are, like I said before, too strong. Of course that wouldn't be a problem if you fight them as a group. Taming dinsosaurs is easier because on player can guard a knocked out creature while another collects the needed food to tame it. And of course the bosses are designed to be killed by big groups of players.
Despite all this I think that the game can be enjoyable once you reach a certain point where you don't have to fear death at every step, where you have some decent tamed creatures and your own home with farm plots and defenses. But getting there is so grindy, so hard and so unfun, I cannot say this is a good game at this point.