Ark: Aberrations. First day in pictures

Ark bought out it’s new DLC,  Aberrations today and I am super excited about getting to play in a new world. One thing that is universal across all the different DLC’s is that all the maps are gorgeous and this one is already showing itself as a stunner.

    We made a new server and decided instead of transferring our leveled toons over, we’d start again with fresh characters for now and explore the map as we level. It’ll be a bit slower as we’re all little again but it should be fun.

One thing that is really refreshing and a big change from WoW, is just how easy it was to not learn too much in advance. I didn’t see any of the massive datamining that you see in the lead up to a WoW expac so most of the new dinos/items are still a surprise. Having said that, I do have a bit of a vague idea of the overarching lore behind this map. Apparently it’s the result of one of the 3 obelisks that support the world breaking, and the ensuing chaos that the power (radiation?) running free has caused on the Ark.

Because it’s an official DLC, it should have more of the lore boxes that tell the story bit by bit dotted around for me to find, so I can’t wait to piece the puzzle of this place together.

Being only little, we didn’t stray too far from the easier starting area for the first night though there were lots of deaths as we tourist’ed around a bit at the start. Almost all the familiar dinos are slightly different with glowy markings their Island counterparts don’t have.

I’m utterly in-love with the mushrooms and already have way way too many screenshots of them. Their glow fades in and out and they seem to release little glowy spores at times.

I can’t wait to dive in over the weekend and do quite a bit of levelling and exploring.

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Wyverns! Dragons of Ark

Each map for Ark has some map-specific dinos and for Scorched Earth, it’s Wyverns. Huge and dangerous dragons, and ever since I saw one flying over the desert, I’ve wanted one.  Unlike other dinos, Wyverns can’t be tamed (or bred), the only way to get one is to steal it from the nest in their spawning grounds, which immediately aggros all the other Wyverns into the area. They’re faster than all other flying mounts and with the fire, lightening and poison breath, they’re also super deadly.

We ended up popping back to the Island and taming another Giga to make killing off the waves of Wyverns easier and then we were able to find a few high level eggs to take and hatch. Though, we did learn the hard way not to take eggs across servers, as they reset their data to Level 1 on hatching. Luckily we had collected a few high-level eggs but I was really disappointed when I realised one had dropped all the way down to a level 1 hatchling.

We didn’t have air-conditioners on S.E to auto-regulate the temperature, so we had to do it the manual way, and heat the eggs with tons of torches to get them hot enough to hatch.

You have to feed them on Wyvern Milk when they are growing, which comes from knocking out female wyverns and collecting it from their inventory. I utterly love that the milk comes in little bottles!

These guys are so cute (in an utterly ugly way) when they’re little. Their heads are much too big for their bodies, but then they start growing,

and growing,

and they are huge when fully grown.

These guys are so fast! I thought they’d be similar to Quetzal’s which are huge sooo slow birds from the Island, but these dragons are super zoomy. I’m looking forward to being able to fly around this huge map a little quicker.

The ones we first hatched are Fire Wyverns so they have the flame breath which looks awesome.

Chilling in the fridge waiting for the next hatching weekend is a poison and a lightning egg, I can’t wait to see them grow up.

So much Ark, so little Blog

Eek, I have a blog I’ve been neglecting badly. There’s been so much Ark playing going on that I really haven’t taken much of a break to write about it.

We’ve been busy progressing slowly through the last ground cave on The Island which is a death filled pit of super strong dinos you need to face on foot as no dino fits through the entrance and building up our dino army to have a go at the end bosses of Ark.

Gorgeous but deadly cave

But.. we decided one of the weekends not too far back to take a bit of a break and go have a look at the Scorched Earth map for a little change. And… the quick look turned into a couple of weeks so far, because a change is as a good as a holiday and there’s so much to do; building up a base and exploring the caves that we just haven’t really got back to the Island.

Dec’s hosting the Scorched Earth server on his PC, while I have The Island on mine so it means we can have both up at once and hop back and forth between the two if we want to pick up supplies from our well stocked Island map. Each map is so gorgeous that I honestly have a hard time picking which one I like the most but Scorched Earth wins out over the Island just a little.

Sand dunes for days in the deep desert.

Stunning electrical storms

I’m pretty sure when we get to Ragnarok I’ll say the same thing. In lore though, Scorched Earth follows on from the Island as the original Ark inhabitants who were on the Island map found a way off there and onto S.E. The little explorer notes dotted around the maps pick up the tale of them working their way through the desert and finding more about the purpose of the Arks and the role the 3 obelisks play. I’ll talk about that more another day when I’ve found all the notes because I’m trying not to spoil it too much by reading ahead and instead I’m letting the notes fill in the lore for me.

A new map means a new base and I love our desert home. It started super small but we really needed more room so a few extensions went on.

I talked Dec into letting me try out a building mod called Structures + which is amazing because it lets you pick items back up when you’ve placed them instead of just destroying them and you having to make more. I tend to misclick a lot when I’m building so being able to pick up a badly placed walls means a lot less going to have to dig up sand and wood to make new building pieces and it’s way quicker if you don’t like a design, you can just pick up all the pieces and replace them.

Scorched Earth has 3 caves and we’ve worked out way through 2 of them so far.

Just enough space left on the shelf for the last cave artifact!

I brought my beloved Baryonyx over to help go through the caves and it was so fun. The desert caves are super gorgeous inside.

Ooh a hint to what the Obelisk’s are for.

The 3rd cave can only be done on foot as the entrance is very small so I was really nervous going in there but we got through it to the end but then on the way out I misjudged a jump and fell to my death and then Dec died as he was left alone to try to get out through the respawns and we lost all our gear as there was no way we were able to make it back through to collect our items before they despawned. We’ll need to build armor and weapons back up a bit and then go back for a 2nd try.

One of the strats for that cave is to take a baby dino to the cave and get it inside while it’s still very little and then raise it up in the cave. I’m not sure how I feel about that as it means the dino will then be trapped forever and die unless we go back and feed it regularly. I think I might just take some building materials and build bridges over the jump I messed up. I am however considering that idea for the snow cave on the Island because that is one hell of a hard cave.

Scorched Earth has Wyverns! I want one so much, I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to fly through the Air on a dragon (well.. ignoring that I do it in WoW all the time lol). You can’t tame a Wyvern, only steal their eggs and raise a baby dragon for yourself.

There are 3 different types of Wyverns; Fire (they breath flames as attack), Poison (they spit acid) and Lightning (they shoot bolts of lightning). Our Giga is pretty much the only thing strong enough to take on a Wyvern so of course we brought him over and our method for finding an egg is to lure the Wvyerns out, one by one, from the Lava pit they live in and pick them off so the coast is clear for us to go look for eggs.

So far we’ve found 1 high level egg, so we snuck it back over to the Island where we have power and fridges to keep the egg from spoiling and hopefully over the course of this week we’ll find another decent level egg and then the weekend will be baby dragon raising. Fingers crossed!

Sssh, don’t judge me by the contents of my backpack, just look at that gorgeous egg!

Ok, massive Ark digest over. Thanks for sticking with me, hopefully I haven’t bored you too senseless 🙂

Enjoy your games!

Random Tuesday Mutterings

Random Tuesday Mutterings is the perfect place to put the random assortment of what-nots I’ve got up to in games this week.

Wowsers it’s been way too long since I’ve written a random Tuesday post.

Let’s see, all my games times have been cut down a bit because I took a good look at myself and realised that a year ago, I ran a half marathon (20km/13.1miles) and now I’m struggling to run even a kilometre. So I’m back to getting up early before work and heading out on a run; at the moment it’s a very slow, short run but hopefully if I stick to it long enough I’ll be back to being able to get  in a 5km run in the mornings. The running in the mornings has meant I’m super tired by night and instead of playing as late as I usually do, I’ve been in bed hours before. RIP game time.

Having said that though, there’s still been gaming going on.

I realised while running through The Dreamgrove yesterday that I’ve filled in all the appearances in the little pond for my Resto Weapon. My favourite is still the Owl; I really need to see what I have to do to unlock the other tints before Legion ends.

I’m finding as much as I hate the resto druid spell changes, I’m loving the boomy spell changes. Celestial Alignment is gorgeous, putting a blue starry pool below my feet that trails behind me when I run.

Ok.. Argus players – tell me how those greater invasions work. I turned up to one tonight (it had globes of blood around you had to kill as stage 1) and I was the only one there despite going into the portal right behind 2 other people. I decided to bum around and kill off the 8 globes while waiting for other people and ended up getting all 8 done and it went to the next stage. A mage turned up not long after and together we filled the stage 2 bar and got up to the 3rd stage, still only the 2 of us. We decided to kill the end boss together, we were taking about 20% off his health each time before we’d both be dead so it was a slow process but we ended up 2 manning it. So lucky that when you die, the end boss’ health doesn’t reset.  So tell me, all those other ppl clicking the portal before me – where did they go? Why did no one turn up in the one I was in? In all the others I’ve done there were people and it was fast and easy.

As always, there’s also been a lot of Ark time. Best thing in Ark this week was clearing Swamp cave, the 2nd hardest land cave. Yay for my beautiful Baryonyx’s as they could just squeeze into the cave and made it a lot easier to get through.

Max level wild dinos in the game are 150, but in the Swamp cave they can spawn up to level 400,  so it’s pretty challenging. Add to that, the cave is full of poisonous gas so you have to wear oxygen tanks and masks at all times or you die to the gas, and one of the mobs in the cave spits acid at you that instantly destroys all your gear if it hits you, including your oxygen tank. First time through we took 10 sets of gear each and luckily only ended up needing 3.

The loot in the cave is amazing though and now we make a point of clearing it each day. Nerve-wracking each time we go in, but worth it for the best quality saddles and armor patterns that come out of the loot boxes.

To make it even more spooky, Megalania’s are little lizards that hang from the ceiling, and we had a  moment when we spotted one on the ceiling ahead of us, and then looked up and behind us to realise we had passed under about 4 others. Thankfully they don’t seem to aggro onto the Baryonyx’s but I’m still a lot more careful to check the ceiling as well as the floor for mobs. 

The Artifact shelf is starting to fill up now. Only 3 Artifacts to go and they’re all from really hard caves. Snow Cave where you can’t take dinos and 2 underwater caves. We haven’t started taming the dinos we need for the underwater ones so they’ll be a while away yet.

And that was my week.  How was yours?

 

 

Day 624: Holy Heck that’s a lot of Rex’s

We’re still working towards building a dino army to be able to attempt the first boss of the Island map, and Rexs are going to form a large part, so this weekend was a Rex breeding weekend.

We started out with 13 Rex eggs but there was a slight misclick when I went to place 2 of the eggs; ‘e’ is the keybind that pretty much does every action and ‘o’ is the keybind to drop items from your inventory.. muscle memory failed me at a critical time and I clicked ‘e’ over not1 but 2 eggs instead of ‘o’ and ended up eating them /sigh. At least we still had 11 un-nibbled on eggs, and 1 egg hatched twins so we have a good start to Rex army.

Babies get hatched in the breeding room so they’re all in the one place as you have to run between them adding food manually to their inventory until they get to 10% then they can eat automatically from a food trough as long as you keep it stocked with food.

To give you an idea of size – that’s a full grown rex leg showing through the door at the back.

Once they got close to not being able to fit out the door, they got booted out into the paddock with the adults. Normally I keep the server on over the whole weekend but we’ve found that if there’s no toon active in an area it goes into stasis and the dinos stop eating, which is fine for adults who need very little food if not active, but disastrous for  babies. The first time we raised a baby we nearly lost it when we logged in the next morning and the server automatically adjusted the food levels and it was nearly dead from starvation. Lesson learnt and the server got turned off overnight.

It was awesome watching them grow up slowly over the course of 2 real days, by the end of their growing stage, I was walking through a sea of Rex legs every time I went outside. 

The plan is to have about 25 Rex’s in the final boss group and the new additions bring our total Rex count to 18, so another weekend of breeding is ahead. I think we need to come up with a new place to store them all first though, the front yard is getting a little crowded.

Battle for Azeroth- missed it’s mark?

For the very first time in a long long while I watched the next expansion’s trailer and I wasn’t excited, far far from it in fact. Feeling utterly saddened as I watched Alliance and Horde battle each other on the outskirts of Lordaron, I wondered if this is an expansion I even want to pay for. Not really what I would have ever expected myself to feel on a Blizzcon morning.

As someone who loves playing both factions and who has eagerly watched the story bring us closer and closer to the other side, working alongside and eventually with – I have just as many horde followers that I can take as bodyguards as I do Alliance members, seeing us now at out and out war with each other is not what I was expecting or wanting.

A constant theme I’m hearing from the people I play with and on podcasts I listen to is a desire for cross-faction content, the ability to group with our friends regardless of their faction and with the way the expansions have been going, this didn’t seem like a mere flight of fancy until now.

Maybe after this expansion we will end up closer again, after all we all live on the one planet and when Azeroth is eventually in danger again it doesn’t make sense to not be working with each other, but that does mean sitting through 2 years of division and having to listen to each side qualify why they are better than the other and deserve the spoils of war.

I’m hoping my reaction will change in time, but for now I’m turning off Blizzcon news because it’s just not exciting knowing all the changes that might be great are tempered by the overarching story that I just do not like the sound of.

Photo courtesy of Polygon

Caves in Ark

A lot of this weekend was spent exploring caves in Ark.

Caves in Ark are where you can find the best loot items but oh boy are they hard and slightly scary places. Some caves are full of lava and really boiling hot, and some are freezing cold with tiny little paths over really high drops so they’re challenging places to survive even without the dinos that spawn inside.

The caves are full of bats and snakes and spiders and all sorts of nasty little dinos intent on killing you. But there’s a really good reason to go into each of them outside of the the loot chance of really good saddles for the dinos or best quality armor and weapons. Each cave has a specific Artifact (I just can’t get away from Artifacts!) you can collect from inside it and you need the Artifacts to be able to access the end bosses but.. even more exciting than that, collecting all the artifacts gives an achievement and opens up a new hairstyle. Even outside of WoW I’m chasing achievements.

The first couple of times I tried going into some of the caves I died a horrible death to either the climate or contracting rabies from the bats. It took leveling up some points into fortitude which helps your toon withstand extreme temperatures and doing a spot of cooking to make antidotes to the diseases and some extra soups and medical brews to give back health quickly to make the caves a bit easier. But mostly, it took taming the right sort of dinosaur to come along with us.

Baryonyxs!

Skinny little crocodile-like dinos they fit into most of the caves, are strong and fast both on land and in water, and they have a stun attack they can use when underwater, which is handy as a couple of the caves are almost completely underwater. This is by far my new favourite dino.. move over Raptor Army, Baryonx’s is where it’s at.

I’m so glad I got over my fear of going into the caves and decided to go back because all the caves are really interesting and each one has been really different inside.

 

Even with the Baronyx’s to help with the mobs, some of the paths were so narrow I was sure I was going to fall to my death at times as I tried to wind my way down them. But amazingly I didn’t die in any of the caves we went into over the weekend, and managed to complete quite a few of the caves.

I made a shelf to show off all the Artifacts we’ve collected. They each glow and light the whole area up at night.

5 caves down! 7  left to do including one where no dino is going to fit, that’s going to be a little scary for sure.

Day 303: A bit of colour and a lot of breeding in Ark

Something I learnt this weekend is, when running your own server, just how valuable back ups are. I’ve been in the habit of making a back up each night of the server and I was so grateful Friday night for that. My server got shutdown unexpectedly and the save file got corrupted. When I logged back in, it was to find my toon in the starting area with no house or gear and the tribe log saying it was Day 1. It scared the heck out of me! Luckily the most recent save was only about 2 hours earlier so we didn’t end up losing too much progress and could restore really easily.

I’m now 405 hours into Ark and I finally feel like I’ve got a better handle on the game. There’s a lot less screaming and crying as there was and I’m not quite as scared about everything now. As you level up, each level grants a point to spend in different stats. Now I’m sitting at level 92, I’ve got enough points into health and damage that I don’t feel anywhere near as squishy which is great and I’ve been venturing out a lot more into the world on my own.

This weekend I wanted to give breeding a go. I started on Friday night with a Sabercat and a Direbear. The babies were so adorable and so tiny! The sever crash in one way was really good because I mistimed when the bear was due to give birth and the babies only last a few minutes without food before dying, so I wasn’t there and unfortunately the baby bear died. The restore save was just before the bear was born, so I got to have a 2nd go at being there to feed it.

We did boost the server rates a bit to make the times a little more reasonable. Official rates are horribly low, so to breed something like a Rex on official takes over 4 days (real time!), so we bumped up maturation rates to happen 3 times as quickly. Even so, the Saber and Bear still took quite a while to grow up fully.

I had been storing fertilized eggs all week so figured a whole weekend should be enough time to get some of them hatched. I started with 1 dodo egg, 1 Pterodon , 4 Raptors and  a Rex egg. To incubate the eggs you need to drop them in between air-conditioners and the game auto–regulates their temperatures.

Look at the size of the Rex egg! The Pterodon egg is hiding behind it but it’s about the size of the black Raptor eggs.

The baby Pterodon was just so cute. I  forget to take photos of the raptors but out of 4 raptor eggs we ended up with 6 baby raptors! You can get twins and triplets in Ark, so I ended up with a few more raptors than I was planning.

I had to build a raptor pet after all the babies grew up because inside the house suddenly got really cramped with them all in there.

The Rex really wasn’t that little even as a baby! He ended up coming out exactly the same pattern as his mum so they make a nice matched pair.

 

Next weekend I want to try to get a few more Rex’s and Pterodon’s hatched. The Pterodon came out with really good stats so hopefully I’ll get lucky and get more like it. The Rex came out pretty average in stats but he’s still going to be higher level than the ones we have now which is good, he’ll be nice and strong to stomp through the forest on.

I finally got around to painting the rest of the storage boxes. I love how they came out and it’s so nice and bright going to get supplies now.   

Dec let me know that I could also paint my armor so I now I feel like a superhero when I run around in my gold and purple armor. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all, it’s really bright and shiny  in game.

And the best thing so far in game was finding out that if you make and use a toilet, you get extra experience every time you poop on it.  Everything in Ark poops; it normally just falls out of you with a small text on  your screen telling you when you or your mount has defecated.

You can even pick the little poos up and put them into either a dung beetle or a compost bin and it will turn into a fertilizer packet. But today we decided to be civilized and built ourselves a toilet.

I didn’t know how to time being at the toilet when your toon is ready to poop,  but Dec pointed out that your food icon, which is normally blue, turns white when you are able to poo and if you go to the toilet at that time and sit down on it, you will actually get a small experience boost which lasts for 116 secs. This is absolutely awesome and I’ve been running my toon back and forth to the loo all afternoon. You can even flush the toilet and it splashes up and washes away your poo (which will sit there if you don’t flush it /blush). Flushing adds a fertilizer packet directly into your inventory.

This game is so fascinating.

Random Tuesday Mutterings

Random Tuesday Mutterings is the perfect place to put the random assortment of what-nots I’ve got up to in my games each week.

I’ve been sitting at 19/20 completed Black Rook Rumbles for ages because normally I only ever see that WQ up around 1am, so while I finished the other 3 a long time ago, getting 20 Black Rooks was taking forever. But this morning it was up at a relatively reasonable hour.. 7.30am! I logged in straight away hoping it would be relatively deserted and it was.

I’m so glad I’m Alliance for this achievement mount because the Alliance Horse is really quite pretty (ignoring the skulls hanging off the saddle) and I much prefer horse mounts over the wolf that Horde always gets.

I took another step in Ark and decided to further build my raptor army by breeding the ones I had.

Once the females mating bar filled up, she drops a fertilized egg instead of the normal types of egg. I haven’t looked into just what I have to do to actually have the egg hatch yet but luckily you can store them in the fridge, you can craft and power, and it keeps them fertile for up to 7 days real-time. I let all 4 females mate so there are 4 eggs chilling away in the fridge waiting for the weekend when I have time to have a look at the egg layers breeding side of Ark. I can’t wait to see what colours I get.

I made a few random dyes by throwing a mix of berries into the cooking pot to see what I would get. The colours came out ranging from whites, golds and a few pinks and purples. Very pretty, so I went on a bit of a painting frenzy on some of the storage boxes.

I like how they turned out so if Dec doesn’t have a fit at the rainbow boxes when he logs in tomorrow, I might paint the rest of them.

Frogs with saddles. These guys jump so high and attack by flicking their super long tongues out. It’s hard to take them seriously when I see them, they just make me laugh so much. I wish they could wear the party hats.  

And that was my week in games.  How was yours?

 

 

The Raptor Fiasco of 2017

My Raptor Army is growing!

Though not without some difficulties along the way. Let me tell you the story of the Great Raptor Fiasco. For background, Raptors are fast, vicious little creatures that even now are slightly terrifying to meet in the wild.

So our story starts when I saw 2 raptors roaming around the base tonight and peeped at them through my spyglass to see one was level 10  and one was level 110! Max level is 150, so I was happy to see a such a high level one. The higher the level the stronger they are once tamed and Raptors are apparently very useful to take into Caves as protection as they can slip through places larger dinos can’t.

I got super excited about the 110 and grabbed the biggest bird we have and flew over and  picked up that unsuspecting raptor and dropped her into one of the pens we made to tame animals in. Taming pens are built with gaps left in the walls so we can shoot dinos we drop in there with tranquilizers but they can’t get out. But.. I quickly found out, the pen wasn’t built with skinny little raptors in mind and while most of the openings were too small for her to squeeze out of, one was just big enough for a very mad 110 raptor to escape and chase me. Which immediately annoyed my other dinos in the area and 3 Stegosaurus and  2 T-Rexs came rushing to my defense and started killing the raptor, which I wasn’t pleased about. I managed to fly my bird back into the mosh pit of fighting dinos and picked up the very bloody near death Raptor and used the whistle command to put all the dinos in the area on passive so they wouldn’t attack anything while I hovered the bird in mid-air dangling the raptor below and thought about where would be safe. I ended up dropping the raptor into the breeding pen which had a small doorway in it that the raptor couldn’t fit through. Luckily it was empty at the time, so it made a suitable temporary home.

Once I finally knocked it out, I went out to go get meat for it to eat while it was knocked out, only to find its level 10 mate had got rather upset about me taking its lady and was now attacking a completely passive Steggo. The Steggo had apparently calmly been taking the raptor attack for a while as it was covered in blood,  so I whistled every single dino onto attack mode (I might have panicked a little). Every dino we owned ran to the one spot, if they were inside and couldn’t get there, they all bunched up on the wall closest to where the Raptor was. It was a mess.

It was a rather large job moving all the dinos back into their various pens and houses when I noticed  2 Steggos were missing. I looked around the house but no Stegosaurus. I looked at the tribe log but there were no Steggo deaths recorded. I finally I wandered over to the cliff edge and peered over and there they were.. far down below, neck deep in Piranha infested water and still on passive so unable to defend themselves. /sigh

I grabbed a T-Rex, in case there were any other dangerous dinos in my way, and held my fingers crossed the Steggos would still be alive when I got there as I ran (well briskly walked as T-Rex’s are slow) down the hill and around the cliff into the water. Luckily they were still swimming and I could lead them safely home.

And that was the great Raptor Fiasco. The very next thing I did, was build a pen that was raptor-escape proof!