This guide is not the fastest, nor the most efficient guide, however, its the fastest efficient guide you will find online.
It is a balance between speed and efficiency that will set you off on firm footing, allowing you to begin your true adventures in Ark Survival Evolved.
This guide is based on The Island map as it is the most user-friendly for new players.
Tree Punching Time.
All survival games begin the same way, its time to punch some trees, I suggest for The Island you spawn at South 1, you will spawn near a few Dodo, driftwood and an abundance of berries, first things first punch the driftwood & collect stones on the beach till you have enough thatch and wood to make a stone pickaxe, craft immediately, by now you should be level 2, learn stone axe and campfire, a campfire is basic wood storage, heat source, and a way to prepare more filling food.
Fibre is good for you.
Armed with your new tools its time to gather as many berries and fibre bushes as you can, you want to get around 500 fibre, feel free to use your stone pickaxe on every tree you pass, you are after thatch here for the next step, and it helps break up the boredom of berry picking a little.
By the time you have 500 fibre, you should be level 3 or 4.
Eat or discard all berries except Narcoberries(black) Stimberries (white), and Mejoberries (purple), these will all be very useful later in this guide.
I see your point.
Learn the Engram for Spear and then set about gathering enough wood, and flint to produce 20 of them, while this sounds a lot it will come in very handy throughout this guide.
Using your spears set about hunting the slow, defenceless critters near you, I would focus on Dodos and low-level Dilophosaurus, but it’s also a good idea to kill any Trilobite you see, they are a great source of chitin which will be useful after this guides conclusion.
Once you are level 5 and have a nice amount of hides( I recommend 80-100) move onto the next step.
For this step, you need to learn thatch foundations, thatch walls and thatch ceilings as well as the storage box, first make a box and toss in all your heavy resources before setting off to gather wood and thatch, you can also continue harvesting fibre along the way as you will need a lot of it.
Continue placing all your wood, thatch, stone and fibre into chests, if you run out of room make a second chest, all this gathering is a good source of trickle XP and will set you up with a nice starter base.
A Home of your Own.
Its time to build your base, I suggest you create 29 thatch walls, 12 that ceiling and 12 thatch foundations, build a basic box house leaving a 2×1 thatch wall missing to allow entrance into the box, later we will invest engram points into doorframe and door, but for now we need the points.
The most basic design that works well is a 4×3 foundation block. It allows you enough room for basic craft stations and storage as well as enough room for your Parasaur that is soon to join the tribe!
An optional step at this point is crafting a mortar and pestle and learn narcotics recipe, dump all your rotten meat and Narcoberries into the mortar and pestle and craft as many narcotics as you can, they give decent XP for this level and are very useful for the next step.
Its time to learn Wooden Club, Bola and Parasaur Saddle, South 1 always has a few Parasaur around, mostly close to the spawn point, craft all 3 of the new recipes, pick up some Narcotics (best) or Narcoberries as well as the Mejoberries you have been saving and find yourself a Parasaur around level 15-25, its quick and easy and that’s what we are after at this point.
Throw your bola at the Parasaur and then once it is caught beat it unconscious with your club, now all that’s left is to place the narcotics and Mejoberries into its inventory, if it starts to wake up (purple bar decreasing) press e on the narcotics one at a time in its inventory to keep it sleeping.
While it is taming pick every fibre and berry bush you can see, as well as harvest flint, fibre and anything else you can get within sight of your sleepy dino, no point wasting this time, which on standard rates is 10-15 minutes
Once it’s tamed, slap on a saddle and ride around on your new mount, it’s slow, weak and sounds stupid, but it has a very handy sentry turret function and active radar scan.
Berry Good Start.
Ride around on your Parasaur and harvest any remaining berry bushes, Parasaur while being pretty poor at gathering do it far faster than by hand and you can get a few stacks of berries by the time you reach level 10.
Shooting for the Stars.
Now you are level 10 make a bow and as many arrows as you can and then go out and kill anything that was previously too fast for you, parasaurs and low threat predators are a good option, I would not take on trikes or true predators just yet, also you can fight from on top your Parasaur, if it has decent health this is a great option for tanking Carbonemysa, they provide a lot of meat, hide and keratin, as well as providing decent XP.
If you kept a good pace and followed this guide, you will have a playtime of around 1 hour.
Next, you should continue to grind XP and gather resources to unlock engrams for clothing, wooden building parts, spark powder.
How you proceed from here is up to you, some favour aggressive play, which focuses on crafting weaponry, taming aggressive dinosaurs and hunting other players/dinosaurs, while some prefer passive play, building up a nice base, taming utility dinosaurs and becoming resource self-sufficient, both provide decent XP and offer their own form of enjoyment.
Whichever path you take you will need to tame dinosaurs to help you with resource collection, as even on boosted servers the grind can be punishing.
Character Build Guide.
I suggest putting your first two attribute points into crafting skill, and the next eight into weight, this will allow you to collect more resources per trip, which is vital until you start getting load-bearing tames, on this note low-level parasaurs are great at early game load-bearing, most being able to carry roughly 500kg.
Official vs Unofficial.
Unless you are part of a large tribe, official servers are a punishing grind best avoided, boosted servers allow you to jump into the fun much sooner, and large servers exist for both pve and pvp playstyles, official servers require a massive time investment for endgame tames, with some tames requiring multi day time investments, impossible for small tribes or solo players.