ARK: Survival Evolved – Building Up (PvE)

Beach Bob, No More

So you’ve made it off the beach and have tried your luck in the forests and jungles of the Ark, now you’ve encountered a whole new list of problems- but luckily they all come with fun solutions. The following is a guide and goal list of what you should be trying to do next on your adventure once you’re no longer bound to the beaches and starter areas.

Ideally, you’ll be over level 70 by the time you get to this stage of building, but if not, grind out a few more levels to make it to the engrams you’ll be needing. 

Here is a basic outline of what you should be looking to accomplish:

  • Permanently establish a base in a safe location – If you’ve read my previous guide you’ll know that this can be a little hard at first, but generally it’s a good idea to be in a high place.
  • Build up a small assortment of dinos to farm with – Every resource in the game can be obtained by hand, but things like Theris, Ankys, Doedics and Mammoths are extremely useful for farming and keeping your base safe.
  • Make the Metal-Tier crafting stations – This is where the world of ark takes a huge spin, things that were difficult to do before now seem menial in comparison, you’ll go from having just enough to get by to having so many resources you need to establish methods of sorting and storing it all.

If you can do everything on the list you will have more than established a permanent base that pretty much only another player or a titan could take down. 


Finding a suitable location is pretty much as simple as finding a reliable metal spawn and having an Argentavis. At this point, I’m going to assume you know a few things about the game and don’t need as much in-depth information.

At any rate, finding metal is critical to setting up a fob and beginning the workings of a more permanent settlement. Hop on a flier and head towards rough, rocky terrain or anywhere with outcroppings of gold-hued rocks like the ones pictured to the right. These rocks will give you a significantly higher amount of metal from being hit with a metal pickax than most other tools, consider them iron veins. Hitting them with an ax will only yield stone, and won’t usually produce flint to any significant degree. Metal is an extremely important resource at this step of the tech ladder and it should be your main goal to amass a pretty substantial amount, as you should be looking to build your first Industrial Forge, which is effectively 20 normal Refining Forge’s and can process metal and gasoline extremely fast. 

New Traps

Before even attempting to accrue all the required raw ore for the Indy Forge by hand, I’m going to show you how to build a trap similar to the 4-Gateway trap used for Argy. Keep in mind that trap can still be used for the same purpose as this one will be, however there are benefits to this particular design that will become apparent as we go along. 

Doorless Cage / Doorframe Cage

A Doorless Cage is a roofless building with walls made entirely of single-door-frames, the trap in the picture is a 3x3x2 with a 3×3 ramp. for something this size, it can be placed anywhere and can have more ramps from multiple sides if you wish, however a single ramp is all you need depending on how large your tame is. This kind of trap can be used to capture anything that can’t fly, leap high or is physically able to fit through the door frame. (Which is a small list of creatures.) The trap is reusable and pretty resilient to everything save for creatures which can heavily damage stone, and its best feature: Anyone can use it! Since it doesn’t rely on a cage and can’t trap humans, it’s pretty safe to build these wherever, without stepping on anyone’s toes. In the picture, I’ve captured a Theri and the only way it would be able to get out is server lag or smacking the walls a couple thousand times.

Anky (and Doedic)

There are some funny names people give these guys.

With your new traps built, the list of creatures you can capture is now much longer, one of the first names on that list should be Ankylosaurus. Being one of the only creatures able to harvest metal ore, the only other I know of being a monumentally harder tame, Anky’s are practically a must for any established base. Personally, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have one of these skittering around their dino pen, as they have a natural, passive weight reduction on metal ore and can harvest much, much more than you ever could with a pick. 

Taming an Anky (and also a Doedicurus if you want)

Since they’re both docile and take similar methods for taming, consider this a guide for both the Anky AND Doedicurus if you also want an animal that harvests stone. 

Being gentle herbivores, it’s a simple mater to check their levels by running up to them and looking, although unlike most other tames, Anky’s do not need to be very high levels, especially if they’re only for metal farming. Without going into detail, your goal on a vanilla server should just be to find an Anky over level 100, with that many levels they are pretty unlikely to suck. 

Getting their torpor up, however, would be pretty difficult without a cage- although it’s important to note that it’s still possible, the cage makes it loads easier. Anky’s travel and spawn in packs, so you’re very likely to find more than one at a time, which makes finding a good level all the more easy. If you’re on Ragnarok, they typically spawn near the volcano, on The Island, they’re somewhat common everywhere, especially on Herbivore Island to the southeast.

Anky’s can be carried and dropped into the cage by an Argy, which is typically how I tame my own, but can also be lead into the cage by attacking it and then kiting them up the ramp. Be warned Vanilla players: These animals take a very long time to tame and can be targeted by most carnivores, if you’re planning on taming one, even if it isn’t for breeding, I suggest you use kibble, or at the very least, vegetables. The veggies won’t have any effect on the time it takes to tame, but will help preserve levels better than berries. You will be standing over this thing for six and a half hours if you tame it on anything but kibble. You have been warned.

Mining with the Anky

There’s no two ways about it, mining with the Ankylosaurus is made a million times easier if you have another person to ride it while you fly around with an Argy. Just more incentive for you to play online with some friendly PvEr’s. That being said, even without two people, mining with the Anky is still a much better alternative than mining metal by hand, it can even be used to farm flint, stone, berries, wood and thatch, though it does not receive the same buff on its carry weight for any of those resources.

If you’re playing on Ragnarok, there is a cave literally called “Metal cave” where you can find tons of metal nodes, you will know it by the massive collection of metal nodes strewn about its entrance and within, however I usually do not have to collect nearly that much metal, and instead choose to mine in a small valley near the Slope of the Gods where there are a half-dozen or so Rich Metal Veins, which are the completely solid-gold rocks that are very shiny (pictured to the right) and distinct. I recommend this area for a solo, but duo’s and up may need more metal in their diets. 

Mining nodes, trees or stones can be done with its primary attack, its secondary attack being used to harvest from trees and bushes. This is a cheap option for just setting up your base when needing narcoberries for more taming, Anky’s aren’t amazing at harvesting berries. All of this can be applied to the Doedicurus, however, it cannot harvest berries, instead having a moderately quick “roll” ability that doesn’t have a whole bunch of use.


With metal out of the way, we get to play with Big Bird.

What are they used for

These are actually quite simple to tame, if you’re using a trap. They’re quite expensive to keep asleep, however and have a pretty high chance of waking up if you’re not constantly babying them. It will take a while for it to tame if you’re getting a strong one, but like the Anky, you don’t need to find one that’s a high level, unless you’re looking for a ridiculous farm dino.

Once tamed, they are extremely useful in collecting Wood and Fiber, they are one of the only creatures I know of that have a secondary leveling system built into them that specifically relates to harvesting. These levels can be found by holding the Use key over them and selecting “Harvesting Levels”. The Power Harvesting is their primary attack, the Delicate Harvesting is their “Tickle” attack, their secondary attack. One of their chief uses is for wood, but they can also harvest Rare Flowers and Mushrooms when hitting the proper resource veins. Putting points into Power Harvesting will yield more wood per swing, or any resource collected by its primary attack, and points into Delicate will yield more from its secondary attack. Having two, one majoring in each branch is preferable, but not necessary. 

Another use I like to put my Theris to is harvesting Hide, Fur and Meat from Beaver Dams. Or any other combat-intense farm run, like oil and crystal from the ice caves and chitin/keratin from bug caves. It’s very often used as both a combat mount during boss fights as well as an extremely useful soldier against the Dragon boss, since its not considered a carnivore. When its speed is leveled up, it can be a very useful roaming mount, though its lack of an ability to jump limits its usefulness outside of farming. Keep in mind that the extra levels do not effect their combat strength at all.

Setting Up

It’s always a race to the bridge.

Initially I like to establish a Forward Operating Base (Fob) in a prospective, new area with a few, light resources on me like hide and fiber, metal tools and a fast flier. I only bring with me what I need to harvest things, so I don’t risk much if a raptor pack comes roaming around.

The Spot and The Pad

Once I’ve found a suitable location, like the one pictured to the right, I make sure to go over the list of musts for a main base:

  • Access to Metal – You don’t need to be right 
    next to a bunch of metal nodes to have access 
    to it, you just need to have a spot within a reasonable distance from your turf so that 
    you’re not spending 90% of your farming time flying back and forth from your base.
  • Access to water – Crops are going to become more and more important to you, which warrant a guide of their own, and will require running water to power Water Taps in the future. Being close to a lake, river, ocean or Water Vein is almost as important as being close to metal.
  • Protection from Attack – The area in the image to the right is a rock pillar with vertical ledges on all sides, it doesn’t spawn any dinos on it naturally and has plenty of stone, wood and fiber to build with. You want to pay attention to and exploit natural designs like these for your benefit. 
  • A Big Footprint – Make sure the space you want to base in has enough room for all of your eventual buildings and various pens/animals.

All of the maps have intentionally designed areas meant for building bases, especially in Ragnarok, there are a number of indestructible buildings and caves that you can seek refuge in. Don’t be lazy and go with an ugly spot, you’ll regret it later. 

If you haven’t already, I recommend you craft yourself a set of Flak Armor, as it will help keep you warm in chilly regions and more obviously, it will help defend you against attacks. Flak is the cheapest armor to maintain for its durability and provided armor bonus, although if you’ve got a strong Argy, you can both harvest the Chitin needed for Chitin Armor and repair it in the bird’s inventory. Either way, get some armor, and then craft yourself a saddle for your new Anky. 

Wood Farming

The Theri is one of the best creatures you can use to harvest wood, I personally always get myself one of these guys because of their wide range of uses. But for the sake of your metal smelting, either grab yourself one of these and be prepared to sacrifice a lot of narcotics to it, or find some other ways of getting lots of wood fast.

You can also look out for beaver dams if you’re in need of wood, as they tend to spawn in groups and the Castroides that guard them are pretty weak, but useful for hide, meat and pelt. Their dens usually have either an abundance of wood or some rarer materials that you can find uses for later, Cementing Paste being something you’ll need to eventually make an Industrial Forge.

The Beavers themselves can be used for Wood Gathering as well and they get a weight buff for carrying wood, however I’ve always found them to be a little too slow for me and they’re not great for protection. If you have a few people to play with though, a group of these can actually be better than a lone man on a Theri.

As decent as a Theri is, it’s certainly not the king of Wood Farming. People might disagree with me, but my personal pick for a Pro wood farmer is the Woolly Mammoth. It has a weight Buff like the Castroides, however its typical carry weight is easily over 1.5k on a garbage tame and it gathers roughly 4x more than a Castroides per swing. It has high HP, Attack, Carry Weight, Defense, it’s a walking tank. And while it can’t gather Fiber like the Theri, it can gather enough berries to feed an army, so your food and Narcotic requirements will more than be met. Ultimately it’s up to you though, some people just stick to hitting trees with their Ax.

Wherever you chose to base, make sure its a place you like. Moving the entire contents of a base, alone, is an utter nightmare, you always forget something.

Your Base


Setting up is pretty much the same as starting out fresh, for me, you can always gather some materials and bring them over but I generally start making my main base very shortly after spawning and don’t typically have a bunch of resources at my disposal. Whether or not you do, design is somewhat important to getting to the Metal Tier. 

What’s Inside?

The layout of the base is important only if you’re working with a small space or you don’t have the resources to make something massive. Typically, I’ll begin with a 4×3 footprint and work up from there, adding new floors or buildings as I need them. Always remember to give yourself roof access from within the building.

Your main focus should be on setting up the basics and then getting yourself a Fabricator and Generator, most people prioritize these as they are needed to enter the Metal tier of building. It’s actually a fairly cheap crafting bench compared to the other crafting benches in this tier, and I’m usually able to get one up in about an hour on most servers, regardless of the harvest rates. You will need Gasoline to power it until you can craft a Generator, which uses the gasoline in a much more efficient way, powering multiple things at the same time instead of each of them using the gas individually, do not think of the Generator as a Feed Trough for machines, it consumes the same amount of fuel regardless of what’s hooked up to it. The genny requires another rare ingredient, Electronics, which can be made in the Fabricator with Silica Pearls and Metal, though these are also fairly cheap, and because you really only need around a dozen or so, I typically will just find a Tek Parasaur to kill and harvest Electronics from it. If, for some reason you can’t use Tek Dinos, you can harvest Silica from the Beaver dams, or alternatively, from the ocean near Rocky Outcrops. They will appear like sparkling, blue oysters. 

You can craft a fridge as well, it is useful for preserving food and other perishables, in S+ it will also store things like Organic Polymer, greatly increasing its spoil timer. It’s not required to get to the Indy Forge. 

The Indy Forge

The Industrial Forge is the most critical and important tool to reaching Tek-Tier, it can process Gas, Metal and Wood faster than anything else, giving you access to a bounty of resources. It’s a grind to get the materials for it, but the cost is more than worth it, making each subsequent metal farm more worth it than the last. 

Just remember these tips and you will have one in no time:

  • You can collect almost all of the required Cementing Paste from Beaver Dams.
  • You can substitute Organic Polymer for any recipe that requires Hard Polymer (this is not always the case in reverse).
  • In most public PvE servers, there will already be an Oil Pump somewhere on the map to collect tons of oil for free.
  • Anky’s can also harvest Crystal, though the rate doesn’t seem to be any higher than you harvesting it yourself. Still, it can be useful for carrying a lot more of it at a time.
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3011 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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