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This could be you, riding a dino.
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ARK: Survival Evolved is a Survival Sandbox game developed by Studio Wildcard using Unreal Engine 4.

You wake up naked, cold, and hungry on the shores of a strange island called ARK. There's some kind of diamond-shaped implant embedded into your left arm; you have no idea how it got there or why it's there at all. Surrounded by dinosaurs and other long-extinct creatures — some of which would like very much to have a delicious human for lunch — you must find a way to gather food and water, create items, develop new technology, and build shelters to survive while not ending up within one of their stomachs. However, if you're crafty enough, you may just be able to make weapons that can kill these beasts— or even manage to tame them so that they can protect you from danger and/or allow you to ride on their backs for quicker transportation. You're not the only one stuck here, though— there are several other people here in the same situation as you. You can either team up with them for easier survival... or just knock them out and take their stuff. And if you look hard enough, you could potentially find the secrets behind this mysterious island...

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In other words, basically DayZ, but with dinosaurs. As a survivor, you must, well, survive. Eventually, you need to take that survival to the next level, and dominate. The vast majority animals that inhabit the different maps are fictional versions of actual, extinct animals with full scientific names and dossiers describing their traits and potential uses if tamed. Obviously, taming the animals is one of the main features behind the game, and it often involves knocking them out with arrows laced in tranquilizing narcotics and feeding them as they lie helpless on the ground. After which, they become your ever loyal companion.

The game was released for Steam Early Access on 2nd June 2015, and the full version was released on 29 August 2017 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as Steam. Several DLC expansion packs like The Center, Scorched Earth, Ragnarok, and Aberration have been released, another expansion pack called Extinction has been announced, as well as a spinoff called ARK: Survival of the Fittest. Another spinoff called ARK Park is being developed by Snail Games and Peacock Studio. A Mine Craft-inspired voxel-based spinoff called Pix ARK by Snail Games USA was released in Early Access. Both base Ark and PixARK have been announced for the Nintendo Switch.

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    Animals Inhabiting the ARK. 
NOTE: These scientific names are not factual. While most of Ark's creatures correspond to real-life animals, they have fictional species names and unique appearances to make them better suited to video games. Some are relatively similar to the real-life versions, some differ drastically, some are fusions of more than one animal, and some of these animals are purely fictional, having never existed at all and being invented solely for the game. Ark is a great way to introduce yourself to the scientific side of prehistoric animals, so if you see one you're interested in, hop on the internet and do some research!

ARK: Survival Evolved provides examples of:

  • Adventure-Friendly World: Higher-quality items and item blueprints can only be found by actively pursuing supply beacons in the overworld, item drop containers in cave systems, or predator drops, thus forcing the player to explore dangerous areas. Many materials also require players to search mountains (crystal, obsidian, metal), oceans (oil, pearls), caves, or the frozen regions (most of the above). Above all, the mysterious Element is initially only acquired from boss drops, forcing players to seek out, summon, and battle the bosses if they want advanced Tek gear.
    • Scorched Earth's lore indicates that the obelisks monitor human communities for complacency and deploy large-scale creature attacks against them, actively forcing humans to scatter and explore instead of settling long-term.
  • Alluring Anglerfish: The Angler which is large and has three bioluminescent stalks instead of one.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The animals found on the island come in a variety of colors. Blue mammoths are apparently a thing.
  • Animal Gender-Bender:
  • Animal Jingoism: As per Dinosaur Media, Triceratops is described as having a hostile animosity with Tyrannosaurus.
  • Animals Not to Scale:
    • A lot of animals have been made bigger than in real life so they can be used as mounts. The Dilophosaurus is notably unusually small because it's based on the Jurassic Park version.
    • Some of the larger carnivores have a more exaggerated size for both dramatic effect and the fact that video game camera views make things appear smaller than they really are. The Tyrannosaurus is about twice the size of the real animal. The Giganotosaurus, however, is stupidly huge — it's twice as big as the Tyrannosaurus and the player barely stands as tall as its foot, making it roughly sauropod-sized. (To compare, the real animal was about 13 feet tall at the hips.)
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Dodorex dossier simply contains a picture of the beast among several regular Dodos. However, it being shredded with claw marks and covered in blood suggest that that the one who originally made the entry wasn't able to survive to provide further info.
  • Art Evolution: Post-release, the devs have begun redesigning the models of most of the creatures, leading to this.
    • Most mammals, such as the Dire Wolf, Dire Bear, and Procoptodon, are being modified to look more like their extant relatives.
    • The Dinosaurs are receiving sleeker models that make them look less monstrous.
  • Artificial Stupidity: This applies to AI controlled animals. For example:
    • They can easily be lured to fall from a cliff using a flying mount.
    • When you are shooting them from a higher place unreachable to them, they still try their best to reach you, resulting in them just standing below you, allowing you to shoot them as a sitting duck.
    • Their attacking pattern is very predictable. It basically amounts to running towards you from the same direction. If you possess a mount with a knockback effect in its attack, you can simply kill most creatures by attacking them, which knocks them away, wait for them to return and repeat the process. AI controlled creatures never attempt to flank and surround other creatures and simply always go forward.
    • It is also a common occurrence for creatures to get themselves stuck in trees or rocks. You can easily exploit this by killing them for their meat and hide.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Although the developers actually spent time researching the animals before designing them, they then stylized them for aesthetic's sake. While many animals display the usual inaccuracies (like lack of feathers), it's also worth pointing out that all of the animals on the island are fictional separate species of their genus, according to the dossiers, although more general inconsistencies remain — for instance, no real-life raptors would have had largely scaly skin with large feathers on their forearms, heads and tails like the ones in the game, regardless of genus.
    • Some Dino Dossier errors, like Therizinosaurus's dossier describing it as a carnivore, or the possibility that Brontosaurus is misidentified, are hinted to be mistakes by Helena in-universe.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism:
    • Moschops and Megatherium are depicted as omnivores, despite being herbivores in reality.
    • Arthropleura, Purlovia, and Tapejara are depicted as carnivores. The dossier for Purlovia even lampshades this.
  • Attack Animal: Technically any creature can be this, but players tend to tame small, fast predators specifically to safe guard bases.
    • Special mention goes to Troodons who are designed specifically to kill humans making them great at killing unsuspecting raiders.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Some of the larger species are many times bigger than their real world counterparts. In particular the Giganotosaurus, Brontosaurus, and upcoming Titanosaurus are near Kaiju size. The boss monsters like the Dragon and Megapithecus are similarly enormous.
  • Base on Wheels: The Brontosaurus and to a lesser extent, Paraceratherium, can function as a walking base via platform saddles if not used as an assault platform, able to house all the essentials like generators, walls, beds, and crafting stations. The Mosasaurus and Plesiosaurus can function as a marine version of this with their platform saddles. The Titanosaurus is an even greater example, basically a base built atop a Kaiju, but is a temporary tame unless on mods or edited server rules.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Giant bats infest the caverns of the island. Very dangerous, but can be tamed if one uses bug spray. They're noted for their ability to shred through armor quickly.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Direbear.
  • Bear Trap: These can be crafted once you hit level 28 and have created a Smithy, with large versions following shortly at level 31.
  • The Beastmaster: Just by feeding an unconscious creature its food of choice (whether or not you were the one that knocked it out), you can get it to fight by your side when it awakens.
  • Bee Afraid: The giant bees.
  • Berserk Button: Stealing eggs is this for the wild dinosaurs (and other egg-laying creatures) on the island. Even species that normally run away after being attacked will fight anyone daring to steal one of their eggs.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Giant scorpions, Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus, Kentrosaurus, and the armadillo-like Doedicurus. The Ankylosaurus and Doedicurus can actually break rocks with theirs, and the Scorpion's pack a venom that doubles as a tranquilizer!
  • Beneath the Earth: In the vein of Jules Verne, The Center gives us a massive underground biome complete with its own ocean. The entrances are well-hidden, but one you get in, it's much harder to get out.
    • Most of the Aberration expansion is underground — the sun has turned into a deadly radiation source that will kill you in seconds, as a result pretty much all the life forms that remained had to crawl underground.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The island is also home to many giant bugs, some of which are actually bigger than the actual prehistoric animals they are based on. The Meganeura dossier actually points this out as the way these creatures diffuse oxygen should've limited their size yet they seem to have been able to advance beyond this restraint. Further notes in the dossier go on to speculate if there might be more oxygen in the air which may explain the bugs' growth.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The Gigantopithecus (A large ape which is believed by some to be the inspiration for bigfoot). Speaking of Yeti, the Yeti variant in the Snow Cave
  • Blood-Stained Letter: The nearly shredded dossier entry for the Dodorex is ominously covered in blood.
  • Bloody Murder: The Arthropleura has acidic blood.
  • Bonus Boss: The gigantic floating obelisks in the corners of the map are used to summon one of these.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Players with patience and good aim can tame a relatively large amount of Dimorphodon relatively quickly as they are small and found in most areas. Use of a few simple commands can employ them as a Zerg Rush mob of flying piranha that both enemy players and dinosaurs have extreme difficulty fighting due to their high speed and tiny hitbox. A flock of seven or so decently leveled Dimorphodon can easily shred through even super predators with few to no casualties.
    • Surprisingly, Pulmonoscorpius become this for high-level tribes. Most large tribes have several of them for their eggs, which are made into Rex kibble, but they also make excellent warriors. A swarm can take down most targets in seconds and anything that survives extended combat runs the risk of being rendered helpless by their venom.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Giganotosaurus is a Brontosaurus-sized theropod that can destroy stone structures and goes berserk if it takes too much damage.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: A few types.
    • Getting the Bionic Rex skin on Xbox requires getting the dossiers on every released animal. Its only effect is turning your Rex into an awesome animal mecha.
    • The Giga can be seen as this in single player or on PvE servers. It really does nothing that a Rex can't already do, but is admittedly a much more impressive mount.
    • The Titano is similarly mostly useless outside of PvP, but it is cool just to point at it and say "that's my pet." More so since unlike the Giga most servers only allow so many to exist at one time, tamed or not.
  • Breakable Weapons: Spears are highly breakable. Sometimes it takes only one poke to a dino to break it. Amusingly, they never break when thrown.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Swamp and Snow Caves. The former have poisonous air, so players actually take damage constantly inside them (not to mention large populations of insanely high-level scorpions and spiders). The latter is so cold that players will take damage upon entering any bodies of water inside and it's got yetis (really they're just albino Gigantopithecus).
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: A large, waterlogged swamp snakes through the island's river system populated by crocodiles, Big Creepy-Crawlies, piranhas, Titanoboa (giant snakes), Beelzebufo (giant frogs), and leeches. Unique plants (some poisonous) also abound in the biome, encouraging players to enter and collect necessary ingredients for various recipes.
  • Bug Buzz: Titanomyrma soldiers emit a hornet-like droning noise. Meganeura dragonflies also do this though they're less likely to attack the player.
  • Butt-Monkey: When a dossier depicts an animal getting brutally attacked, that animal is usually a Raptor.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The games "advanced crops" are "savoroot", "rockarrot", "longrass", and "citronal". These are just potatoes, carrots, corn, and lemons respectively.
  • Character Customization: A rather impressive one that allows for manipulation of almost all bodily proportions. Naturally, most people decide to use this to make their characters look like freaks of nature. Unfortunately, it does not allow much control over facial features, such as the shape of the eyes, nose or haircut.
    • This has changed a bit since recent updates with the addition of scissors into the game. Players may now cut their hair along with other survivors as well as dyeing. Interestingly as well player character models will have their hair constantly grow while they're alive, meaning that it's now very normal for low-level characters or those without access to a tribe to look like the sterotypical hobo with large scraggly beards and unwashed hair down to their shoulders.
  • Character Level: Every living being has one. It determines the stats of the organism.
  • Cloning Blues: The notes in Extinction heavily imply that the population of the Arks, including the humans, are all clones with artificial memories created by advanced futuristic human technology. This accounts for the game's respawn mechanic, and explains how different people from seemingly vastly different eras of history could all end up on the Arks.
  • Combining Mecha: With the right module and against the King Alpha Titan, you can combine 4 Meks into the MegaMek.
  • Competitive Balance: Because you are free to distribute your stats and those of your tamed dinosaurs after leveling up, you can easily create the standard videogame character builds. Also, most of the dinos themselves fit the standard character builds.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: A mild example. AI controlled creatures don't take any fall damage. This is probably done to compensate for their Artificial Stupidity, as they tend to throw themselves from cliffs when chasing players on flying mounts. If it weren't for their immunity to fall damage, players would easily exploit this, allowing them to easily harvest lots of hide and meat. However, this is also a rare example in which players benefit from the computer being a cheating bastard, as this also applies to AI controlled tamed creatures belonging to the player.
  • Continuing Is Painful: When you die, you lose everything in your inventory, unless you can return to the dead body of your past life and recover it all before it decomposes.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Arthropleura (well, actually it's a millipede, but close enough). The island's species has evolved into a savage carrion-eating monster with acidic blood capable of dissolving metal! Worse still, they can spit it at opponents.
  • Death Mountain: The best places to mine for metal are the mountains. Expect to see sabertooth cats, Argentavis (a giant relative of the Andean Condor) and, if you are unlucky, the dreaded Giganotosaurus while you're up there.
  • Death World:
    • In the northeast corner of the original map is the infamous "Death Island", an island which spawns exclusively high-level carnivores including many T-Rexes. As the name suggests, it's a very poor location to establish a base unless you're extremely well-equipped.
    • The ARKs in general, especially the Scorched Earth and Center, are not nice places to live, with (as the explorer notes often point out) an absurd and unnaturally high predator-to-prey ratio.
    • Aberration ramps this up to 11. All the Arks are artificially created Death Worlds, but Aberration is what happens when one breaks. The results are horrifying. The air is chocked with toxic spores of various types, the surface is a burning hellscape during the day and a freezing death trap at night, the lower levels are full of radiation, and the local wild life has mutated into unnatural monsters much more deadly then anything native to the other Arks.
    • The upcoming Extinction expansion features an Earth that has been contaminated with Element that turned its wildlife even more vicious than the one in Aberration, with several large dinosaur species having been possessed by an Element-powered hive mind that renders them untamable and makes them attack in coordinated groups. There are electromagnetic storms that block GPS signals, mechanical creatures that want your carcass, and mountain-sized Titans roaming the maps at leisure.
  • Dem Bones: The Fear Evolved event features skeletal dinos.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: One of the main features of the game, if not the main feature, is taming dinos as well as other prehistoric animals. Nearly every animal can be tamed and each has its own usage to a player or a tribe. They can be kept as pets and the bigger ones can be outfitted with saddles so that they can be used as mounts.
  • Dumb Dodo Bird: Dodos are found all over the island. As you may have guessed, they're very easy to kill.
  • Early Game Hell: Starting off in Ark is extremely painful. Surviving long enough to get even a basic thatch shelter up is actually quite difficult alone and you have almost no way of defending yourself from the more dangerous creatures. However, the difficulty drops sharply once a player gets their first combat-capable pet (generally a Raptor) which can fend off threats much easier than a player can until ranged weapons become available. This trope is averted if you encounter a helpful high level player, who is willing to provide you with the helpful necessities to give you a stable start, such as metal tools, materials to build a basic shelter or even some low level dinos. If you are really lucky, you might even get invited into a well established tribe, essentially allowing you to skip the entire Early Game Hell.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One of the main draws of the game along with prehistoric mammals, giant bugs, and many other prehistoric beasties.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Mesopithecus (a genus of monkey similar to modern macaques). They're not very common and surprisingly hard to tame, but it's worth having a companion that can steal items, alert you of predators, and, yes, throw poop.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The Kairuku, a large and very friendly prehistoric penguin.
  • Experience Points: You gain these when you do anything. Picking up berries? Gain experience points! You also gain a very small trickle of experience points simply for being alive.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The dossier for Moschops indicates this.
  • Eye of Horus Means Egypt: Raia's Explorers Notes are separated from the other notes with this.
  • Fantastic Flora: "Plant Species X", a strange plant that can be grown in one's garden with the bonus function of being a biological defense turret.
  • Feathered Fiend:
    • Argentavis, a massive flying bird that thinks you'll make a yummy snack, and Utahraptor, who'll sneak out of the darkness when you're unaware to take you on. Both are tamable and ridable, allowing you to pull this on others. And there's also Troodon, Microraptor (inaccurately portrayed as vicious pack hunters), terror birds, and Yutyrannus. Therizinosaurus is a herbivore, but also very aggressive.
    • On the opposite spectrum, we have dodos and Hesperornis. Gallimimus and Oviraptor, both described as skittish, also have some feathers.
    • Icthyornis is also one, as when it spots you it will continually steal things from you. If you tame one, it'll catch fish and bring them to you instead.
    • Dodos by themselves are pretty much the furthest from being feathered fiends. The Dodorex on the other hand is a complete monster that breathes fire and can destroy metal structures.
  • Filk Song: Apex Predator courtesy of Jt Machinma and Dan Bull.
  • Floating Continent: The DLC map "the Center" has the namesake one floating over a Megalodon-filled lake and ringed by a vast swamp. It is accessible, but you'll need a Pteranodon, Argentavis, or Quetzalcoatlus to get there.
  • Fluffy Tamer: You can name your animals, bonus points for taming a Giganotosaurus and naming it Fluffy.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Gallimimus, Procoptodon and female Megaloceros all fall under this.
    • Ichthyosaurus and Manta are the aquatic version of this.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: Though technically dolphin-like reptiles, Ichthyosaurus are these as they have a curious friendly attitude towards humans akin to the trope. In fact, taming one is quite easy as they don't need to be knocked out first. They can be tamed by simply feeding them directly by hand enough times. They have also been reported to bump drowning survivors towards safety, even if they are untamed and the drowning survivor is a stranger to them. According to the devs, this is intended behavior.
  • Full-Boar Action: While technically an entelodont, Daeodon qualifies as this due to being ill-tempered and armed with ferocious teeth akin to tusks.
  • Gang Up on the Human: It's an extremely risky proposition to try and distract a pursuing carnivore by luring it near another carnivore, as 9 times out of 10 the two will usually aggro against you instead of fighting each other. In fact, with a few notable exceptions such as the T-Rex, most carnivores will never attack each other at all. This is also true of neutral herbivores that turn hostile when approached, such as the Therizinosaurus.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Mosasaur dossier states that the animal has an oxygen stat unlike most other aquatic reptiles in the game (in other words, it needs to come to the surface every so often or take damage). In-game, however, it doesn't like the Ichthyosaur and Plesiosaur.
    • The dossier for Giganotosaurus states that is slow. In-game, however, it is one of the fastest animals on the island.
    • The dossier describes Carnotaurus as being faster than T. rex, but in-game it's the opposite.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Diplodocus is definitely this due to its stupidity and over-trusting nature. It's so friendly that it will nuzzle you unexpectedly and send you flying through the air, and its tendency to follow you can be mistaken for aggression.
    • The dossier for Basilosaurus states that it is this way towards humans.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Grappling Hook ammo can turn a Crossbow into one.
  • Giant Flyer: What else but the Quetzalcoatlus? Very hard to tame as wild specimens never land on the ground, but when finally tamed, they make great flying bases.
  • Giant Spider: Large cave-dwelling ones of the fictional genus Araneomorphus. They spit webs, but can be tamed. There is also the Broodmother.
  • Giant Squid: Tusoteuthis are of the malevolent variety thanks to their life-and-stamina-leeching attacks and getaway ink clouds.
  • G.I.F.T.: Lack of player conduct enforcement has caused this to rear its ugly head on many of official servers. Even on unofficial servers, whether PvP is turned on or off, if the moderators are not very active, or worse, are complicit, people tend to go in this direction.
    • A notable instance in PvP is "offline raiding", where an assailant waits until the dead of the night when nobody is online to wreak havoc. ORP (Offline Raiding Prevention/Protection) servers have since been released, but only a handful.
    • PvE is not spared either — mysterious walls spring up around spawn points, trapping newcomers as player-built structures can't be damaged by other players.
    • On some unofficial servers, mods will use their admin rights to give themselves high-level equipment and tames when the average research level is still low. This effectively allows them to lord over 'civilian' players.
    • Another aggravating occurrence in PvE servers is when players who've established themselves in an area place pillars or foundations around an area without actually building anything off them. Because other players not in their tribe cannot build within a certain radius of each pillar/foundation, entire areas end up being blocked for player development. Especially unfair when coastal areas in the south, areas that are known to be the best places for newbies to spawn, are the exact places that are blocked off.
    • On some official PvP servers, the Alpha Tribe (the most powerful tribe on the server) will use the above tactics to aggressively monopolize and dominate the server, crushing anyone not allied with them and pushing all other tribes off the server. The typical end goal is to turn the server into the tribe's home base, from which they can safely launch raids on other servers for supplies or low-risk PvP.
  • Golem: Besides dealing with dinosaurs and mutated spiders, you also have to contend with Rock Elementals, legendary creatures that are described as reminiscent of the mythical golems of folklore.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper:
    • Any animal with "territorial" or "short-tempered" listed as their temperament.
    • Giganotosaurus, which has "angry" listed as its temperament.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted. Most of the herbivores in the game will fight back when attacked. Therizinosaurus and Titanomyrma, which are described as herbivores, are also stated to be aggressive.
  • Hit Points: Every living thing has one. It can increase if you choose to increase the stat during level up.
  • Honorable Elephant: The mammoths, whose tusks split into two points, giving it a four-tusked look. Phiomia also belongs to this trope, as it is a distant ancestor of the modern elephant. However, it is anything but honorable as it flees at the first sign of danger.
  • Horse of a Different Color: See Domesticated Dinosaurs.
  • Hot Bar: It also acts as your item storage.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: You can eat human meat, including your own. If you die and go back to your corpse before it decomposes, you can harvest meat from it.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • The crossbow. It not only works as a powerful ranged weapon but is one of the best weapons to use for knocking out animals for taming and it can be used underwater.
    • Creatures that fill this role are the Megalodon, Argentavis, Sarcosuchus, and Carnotaurus.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Tek Rifle is capable of doing absurd amounts of damage to any and everything in the game, even metal structures, and requires beating the Ultimate Life Forms to make. Similarly, the Tek Saddles feature head mounted versions of this gun.
    • Some creatures that count for this are Tyrannosaurus, Spinosaurus, Brontosaurus, Plesiosaur, and Mosasaurus.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has an in-game day and night cycle that will affect vision and sometimes what comes out to roam.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. Punching things will injure you.
  • Island Base: Several large islands are popular base building spots due to resources or being easily defendable. Cragg's Island in the southwest offers several highland locations for fortress building. Dead Island in the northeast is full of carnivores but has a cave built into it. In contrast, the South Haven has only herbivores and a large crevice that ideal for base building.
  • Island of Mystery:
    • The main setting which is a mysterious island with a number of different environmental biomes that are seamlessly connected to one another and inhabited by various prehistoric creatures.
    • Notable also on the island are the huge prominent light emitting floating obelisks found throughout various regions. These along with various other things such as the devices embedded in the players' hand, the mysterious artifacts, and the dossiers for boss creatures which are written in an unknown language suggest that the island maybe a Fantastic Nature Reserve created by aliens.
    • Adding further to the island's mystery are explorer notes which suggest previous human inhabitants of the island all came from not only different places but also different time periods as well.
  • Joke Character: Some of the animals are completely useless in terms of fighting abilities, but are fully tameable. These include:
    • The Dodo. It has virtually no offensive abilities, walks very slowly and basically exists to provide players with an easy source of meat and hide. You can tame it, but if you look for a combat related pet, you need to look elsewhere, as sending a tamed dodo into battle will always result in a dead dodo. However, female dodos can potentially be very useful as their eggs can be used to produce kibble (dodo egg), an item used to effectively and quickly tame Pteranodon, Ichthyosaurus and Mesopithecus.
    • Phiomia. Looking like a combination between a warthog and an elephant, its saddle is the first one players can unlock, but it does not offer anything useful as a mount. Especially compared to other rideable creatures. The only use this create has in long term gameplay is its excrement, which can be used to fertilize your garden.
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: The player can do this with the giant short-faced kangaroo Procoptodon, which is described as having a dry pouch unlike those of other marsupials.
  • Kaiju: Given how drastically the size was increased for them compared to the real life animals, both the Giganotosaurus and Titanosaurus can easily count, alongside the similarly enormous Dodorex and Dragon bosses.
    • The Titans introduced in the final DLC, Extinction, are legit Kaiju monsters over twice the size of the already insanely large Titanosaurus. The Final Boss of the series, the King Titan, is over three times the size of the regular Titans and is basically an Expy of Godzilla.
  • Killer Gorilla: The Megapithecus boss monster is pretty much a giant, pale furred, scarred, very angry King Kong. Gigantopithecus mainly subverts this, unless you invade its territory.
  • Killer Rabbit: Many of the game's smaller animals can be surprisingly dangerous. Most notably the Compsognathus, whose behaviors is inspired by The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • King Mook: The Alphas are bigger, faster, and stronger than the regular dinos, and it will take considerably more effort to kill them (an Alpha Raptor is considerably stronger than a regular T-Rex; shudder at what an Alpha T-Rex is like). They can also buff nearby members of the same species.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The "Scorched Earth" DLC is more fantasy-based than the rest of the game, with only one dinosaur species (that's also completely made up) and the rest either inspired by animals that are still alive or a mythical creature that doesn't exist (ex. sandworms, manticores, and wyverns).
  • Leaked Experience: One advantage of being in a tribe. Only applies if you're within a certain range of your tribesmen.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The DLC map, The Center has one to the north. It's got tons of charcoal, but carnivores are everywhere on the lookout for their next meal.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Carnotaurus; a trait based on scientific evidence that it may have been the fastest large carnivorous dinosaur.
    • Spinosaurus is the late game version being physically massive, extremely tough, surprisingly nimble both on land and in water, and very deadly fighters. They are also one of the toughest things in the game to tame, much harder then a Rex, as they're incredibly resistant to torpor effects.
    • Tyrannosaurus certainly has the speed and strength to be this trope, but its large turning rate prevents it from being an effective Lightning Bruiser.
    • Giganotosaurus, contrary to what the dossier states.
    • The Megalodon is this for aquatic creatures. While not as fast as Ichthyosaurus it can still reach a respectable swimming speed during sprint, has lots of health and has a powerful bite. Elasmosaurus takes this trope a step further, by being almost as fast as the Ichthyosaurus and easily capable of shredding through enemy megalodons.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: There is a very long loading screen when you first try to enter a game; even if you're playing the PC version and have a top-of-the-line CPU, an SSD and tons of RAM, the game will still take quite a while to load. Other than that, it has an almost seamless gameplay.
  • Lost Woods: The Redwood Forests, located in the center region of the island.
  • Made of Explodium: Mined boulders and rocks explode spectacularly albeit harmlessly.
  • Mama Bear: Dinos do not like their eggs being stolen. Even the normally peaceable Dodos will turn on you.
  • The Marvelous Deer: Megaloceros.
  • Megalodon: Infests most of the game's non-river waters. Can be ridden.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most of the game's big herbivores like Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Brontosaurus. Useful as harvesters and pack animals due to their powerful gathering attacks, but very slow too.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Meks are robotic battlesuits that a human can enter to pilot. It carries a strong base arsenal of Tek Sword and Tek Rifle, but it can be further augmented to generate a force field, use rocket pods and have a siege cannon to bombard with.
  • Min-Maxing: One can literally max out the melee damage stat which will allow you to hit dinos hard. Also, there are more Engrams than a single person can buy with the maximum Engram points.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: For some unknown reason, Tyrannosaurus and Ankylosaurus are quite common in the frigid Arctic biome.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • The Triceratops in the game are stated in the dossier to be a hybrid of Triceratops and the less famous Styracosaurus.
    • The Manta dossier suggests that the creature may be a mix breed of two different types of ray as it's capable of swimming into the island's rivers and shallows, as well as through the open ocean.
    • The jellyfish are described in the dossier to have features found in numerous jellyfish species.
    • The Dodorex is a dodo crossed with a T. rex. That breathes fire.
    • Scorched Earth has the Morellatops, a cross between ceratopsians and the iguanodontid Morelladon, with added water-storing humps like a camel, and the "Jerboa", which has the body of the namesake rodent but the head of a fennec fox.
  • Morton's Fork: On Aberration walk around with a light source to keep away swarms of Nameless and you are likely to be attacked by a swarm of Seekers, that are attracted to and receive a buff being near the light source, turn the light source off and be attacked by a never ending swarm of Nameless.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Mentioned in the Ovis dossier.
    Since arriving on the island, I have encountered dozens of fascinating creatures whose behavior has never been studied or documented... and also sheep.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Sarcosuchus are never a pleasant encounter if one goes to a lake or the coasts. There's also the Kaprosuchus which drains stamina with its attacks.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. All creatures — including the player character — eliminate regularly. Feces can be used as fertilizer to help grow crops, or fermented by a compost bin or a dung beetle into a superior fertilizer.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Dodorex dossier contains no info at all of the creature. Instead, it provides an entry that has claw marks and blood covered all over it.
  • One-Gender Race: The Dung Beetle, Araneomorphus, and Onychonycteris, as well as all untamable animals, all have their gender listed as "N/A," though this could be due to devs having not implemented gender for them yet.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Several types of dragon are present in the game:
    • The actual dragon in the game is an insanely massive (dwarfing even the Brontosaurus) western-style monster that breathes fire and can be tamed for a short period of time.
    • Several additional creatures, classified under the genus Draconis, are disguised by having four limbs arranged wyvern-style instead of the original dragon's six.
      • Wyverns — Draconis vipera — appear in the Scorched Earth, Ragnarok and Extinction DLCs. They resemble smaller versions of the dragons without front legs and come in lightning, acid, fire, ice and forest variations variations. They can only be tamed by stealing an egg from their nests and raising the chick (assuming the angry parent doesn't kill you first).
      • Rock drakes — Draconis obscurum — are from the Aberration DLC, and live primarily Beneath the Earth.
      • The managarmr — Draconis auragelus — is a dragon from the Apocalypse map, has a vaguely mammalian head and breathes ice.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Griffins — Gryphon magnificum — appear in the Ragnarok map. They are difficult to tame, but if this is done they can be ridden as flying mounts.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: A giant manticore is the boss of Scorched Earth. This one has no humanoid face, but it has horns, dragon wings, a scorpion tail, and the ability to hurl spines from its body.
  • Palm Tree Panic: All players spawn at the beach with some choosing to stay there as dangerous carnivores are not as common, making it relatively safer than the island's interior.
  • Panthera Awesome: Sabertooth cats are found in the northern parts of the island.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: On the west coast of the Island, just south of the snowy biome, is a short peninsula nicknamed "the Mosh Pit", where predators continuously spawn and attack each other. A player with a flying mount can safely rest on the tall rock outcrop and either join the fray outright, pick off stragglers, or lure/carry one out for taming. Death Island/Carnivore Island/Carnotaur Island in the northeast works much the same way.
  • Picky Eater: Compies can only be tamed by being fed Raw Prime Meat. Ordinary raw meat, or anything cooked, won't work.
  • Piñata Enemy: The Phiomia. This might possibly be the only creature more worth dead than tamed, as it's harmless, easy to bring down, but drops loads of meat or hide, depending on what tool is used for harvesting it.
  • Piranha Problem: Schools of giant piranhas lurk in the rivers. One is easy enough to overcome, but the whole group can be a major threat. The dossier states that they can be tameable however so far they can't be unless through a cheat.
  • Plasma Cannon: Roast dinosaurs with plasma bolts from your trusty Tek Rifle. The rather misnamed Tek Railgun is also a big gun that fires plasma bolts.
  • Poisonous Person: The Dilophosaurus spits venom, the Pulmonoscorpius has a toxic sting, the Troodon has a neurotoxic bite, and the Megalania has a hemotoxic bite.
  • Power Armor: The Tek Armor set gets you armor that augments its user's punches, a helmet with a sensor suite, increased running speed and also has a Jet Pack
  • Predators Are Mean: The overwhelming majority of the island's carnivores are vicious killers, indiscriminately attacking any animal they meet until they or their prey are slain. If the latter occurs, they switch to the nearest target in their sight — players included.
  • Ptero Soarer:
    • The Pteranodon is oversized, has a weird crest, has bat-like wingsnote , and most of all, has teeth on its beak, although this is Hand Waved as it's a fictional species of Pteranodon. However, the dossier also not only mistakenly refers to it as a dinosaur (though they fixed it in an update and correctly call it a pterosaur) but associates it with a Caulkicephalus skull (Perhaps there's been a misidentification In-Universe?).
    • On the plus side the smaller Dimorphodon looks fairly accurate, being even tempered and correctly covered in pycnofibres. On the other hand tamed individuals of this insectivorous species can be employed as flying Killer Rabbit. They also have feathers for some reason.
    • The Quetzalcoatlus is mistakenly stated to be a bird in the dossier. It's also shown to be albatross-like in its flight as it never stops to land (ironic given it's one of the most terrestrial of pterosaurs). They're also capable of picking up animals as big as a mammoth and carrying entire houses on their backs (Despite its size, the real animal would be completely unable carry large weights).
    • The ARK Tapejara is a carnivore (the real animal ate fruit) that combines features from close relatives Tupanodactylus and Tupuxuara (which are once thought to be the same animal as Tapejara). Also the crest is a sensory organ for improving its aerodynamics.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: Electric eels (referred as Electrophorus note ) are found in the waters of the island. Their shocks can be used to stun large marine animals into submission for taming purposes.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender:
    • You can choose to design your avatar, but the stats remains the same.
    • Averted for the animals as getting a male and a female can allow you to breed them as well as give the "mate boosted" stat which improves their damage and resistances.
  • Raptor Attack:
    • The Utahraptor has pronated handsnote  and is mostly scaled, save for its arms, head, neck, and tail. It also looks more like an oversized Deinonychus when the real Utahraptor was rather bulky and had fairly short legs. Hand Waved as it's a fictional species of Utahraptor.
    • Microraptor is somewhat better designed, but is portrayed as a pack-hunting Killer Rabbit and has brownish plumagenote .
    • The Troodon's feather arrangement is inaccurate and they give it a powerful neurotoxic bite. Its intelligence is played up; here it is said to be only second to humans in brains on the island. The skull in the dossier also seems to be that of Dromaeosaurus, not Troodon.
    • The Deinonychus mostly averts this, being nicely feathered (albeit the face and underside being bare and the wings ending at the wrist) and properly using its claws as hooks. However, it is larger than in real life.
  • The Reveal: The final DLC, Extinction, indicates the true purpose of the Arks: created by a dying future human race both to preserve Earth life and to evolve through Darwinian selection an army powerful enough to retake post-apocalyptic Earth from Element. Which accounts for the absurd predator-to-prey ratio and general Death World nature of all the Arks.
  • Respawn Point: If you managed to set up a nice comfy sleeping area, it can serve as your respawn point. Sleeping bags will respawn you just once while beds will work indefinitely, albeit with a cooldown timer.
  • Rhino Rampage: The Woolly Rhino. And to a lesser extent, Paraceratherium.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Jerboas from the Scorched Earth DLC. The Dossier author acknowledges this.
    Scientifically speaking, Renopila Amplexus is an adorable little fuzzball and I just want to hug it forever.
    • The Dodos also count, being completely docile and doing nothing except wandering around in small groups making chirping noises.
    • All four of the light-emitting shoulder pets in Aberration count as cute in some way, from the boggle-eyed and overly affectionate Bulbdog to the prancing Shinehorn.
  • Roaming Enemy: All dinos roam around, and a hostile one might even roam all the way to your house.
  • Rock Monster: The Scorched Earth DLC has Rock Elementals, lumbering brutes that feed on mineral matter. They spend most of their time disguised among the desert boulders until a player has the misfortune of enraging it with their attempts to use a pick or axe on one.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • A lot of the prehistoric animals have been extremely stylized at the expense of accuracy.
    • Almost all of the tameable creatures on the island would be impossible to tame in real life, due to their low intelligence, slow breeding rates, antisocial tendencies and/or ferocious nature. A good example would be the giant scorpion. But no one complains, as it is just awesome to ride a giant scorpion into battle.
    • Building a small house on the back of a Quetzalcoatlus and it still being able to fly certainly falls under the Rule of Cool.
    • The Scorched Earth DLC. Why else would a game that sold itself as a dinosaur survival have Rock Monsters, dragons, and several non-prehistoric animals as ordinary encounters in the desert?
  • Rule of Fun: The stylization is sometimes done for gameplay purposes as well such as the Pachyrhinosaurus' nasal ridge releasing pacifying chemicals and the pheromones emitted by Oviraptor that give mated dinosaurs the ability to produce more eggs.
  • Sand Worm: Untamable Death Worms (Khorkoi arrakis) are among the most dangerous creatures a player can encounter in the Scorched Earth DLC, striking from underground. Worse still, they come in two sizes — big and very big.
  • Savage Setpiece: The big herbivores are as docile as can be as long as you leave them alone. But when attacked, they can fight back ferociously.
  • Savage Wolves: Dire wolves; aggressive pack-hunting predators that roam the game's freezing arctic biome.
  • Scary Scorpions: Giant scorpions with torpor-raising attacks are among the many Big Creepy-Crawlies. Unlike most of the bugs, they can be tamed and ridden. Eurypterids (aka sea scorpions) also appear in the ocean.
  • Scenery Porn: The game looks absolutely stunning, especially at night (in-game). Of course, the insanely good graphic means that any old computer will have trouble running the game.
  • Schizo Tech: Some of the guns that are accessible later on are a blend of modern weapons and the sort one would expect in the Wild West.
  • Screen Shake: Any of the really big dinos will cause the ground (and you) to shake.
  • Sea Monster: Many of the popular prehistoric ones like Megalodon, Elasmosaurus, Liopleurodonnote , Mosasaurus, and Dunkleosteus. There's also the giant squid Tusoteuthis.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The game has a surprising number of obscure prehistoric animals.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The setting of Scorched Earth.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun is the most damaging basic weapon class, both in terms of per-shot damage and damage-to-resource cost per bullet. It only takes a handful of shots to bring down even a T-Rex. The drawback is that it only works at close range, and the high resource cost of manufacturing bullets in general.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Various notes in the dossier of the Liopleurodon reference Charlie the Unicorn. Even its species name Liopleurodon magicus is a reference to the YouTube video.
    • The game's Dilophosaurus are obviously based on the (in)famous Jurassic Park incarnation. As are the Compsognathus and Troodon.
    • The Leedsichthys dossier describes an albino specimen so rare that men and women have been driven mad with obsession in hunting them, "as if all evil were visibly personified and made practically assailable in this one creature".
    • The dossier for Moschops lists its temperament as "cowardly".
    • Scorched Earth's Death Worms hit two birds with one stone in their scientific name, Khorkoi arrakis.
    • When you reach the Tek tier, you can equip special saddles onto megalodons. It turns them into frickin' sharks with frickin' lasers attached to their frickin' heads. The reveal trailer for this even has a guy who looks like Dr. Evil appear, complete with the "One million dollars!" pose.
    • Ark Park made references to the Jurassic Park franchise.
      • The train scene from Jurassic World along with the iconic gateway to the park.
      • A Dino Ride Pen referencing to the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo.
      • The Raptors are the first to rampage mirroring their roles in the first film.
      • The Giganotosaurus scene mirrors the exact scene with the Indominus Rex who had Giganotosaurus genes, among others.
    • To tame a Hyenodon, you have to pet it without letting it see you.
    • The Jerboa is a blend of rabbit and rodent traits with long black-tipped ears, prominent cheeks, lateral back stripes, and a long squiggly tail. Color it yellow, and it's Pikachu.
  • Shown Their Work: While the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals are obviously not anatomically-correct, the creators have shown they actually did research on them. For example:
    • Liopleurodon is portrayed as a more realistic 25 feet long rather than 25 meters as inspired by Walking with Dinosaurs.
    • Spinosaurus is portrayed as semi-aquatic, and it has short legs according to 2014 discoveries.
    • Tyrannosaurus slow turning rate is pretty accurate how such a creature would move in real life, as T. rex's weight and physique would not allow it to take very sharp turns, as it would fall in doing so.
    • The full name of a Raptor in this game is Utahraptor as opposed to the more popular Velociraptor, which is correct, as the former is indeed man-sized, while the latter is closer to the size of a large chicken. Other dinosaur-related media, like Jurassic Park, tend to call the man-sized ones Velociraptor.
    • Stegosaurus is portrayed with a fairly long neck, according to "Sophie" which is the most-complete Stegosaurus known to date.
    • The Elasmosaurus are refreshingly portrayed with rigid necks, as opposed to overly-flexible necks like in most depictions.
  • Slaying Mantis: Giant mantises are among the Big Creepy-Crawlies unique to Scorched Earth. Asides from being dangerous predators, they are intelligent (especially by insect standards) and have hands on their forearms, which allows players who domesticate them have their mount use weapons and tools. They also jump like grasshoppers.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The snow biome, which has mammoths, dire wolves, Megaloceros (giant deer), sabertooth cats, and penguins. Expect to see a dinosaur though now and then. Players can brave the freezing temperatures to retrieve resources that are usually found underwater.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Pulmonoscorpius is misspelled in-game as "Pulminoscorpius".
    • Titanoboa is referred to in-game as "Titanboa".
    • Arthropleura is misspelled in its dossier as Arthropluera.
    • When it was first implemented in the game, the eggs of Giganotosaurus were labelled "Gigantasaur Egg".
  • Stock Dinosaurs: These are present, but the game mostly averts this. See Seldom-Seen Species.
  • Stomach of Holding: Tamed dinos can hold a surprising amount of things without it being visible.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Triceratops are relatively common, entirely passive towards players as long as you don't attack them, and are particularly easy to aggro against hostile carnivores. Low level players being harassed by major carnivores can lure them near wild Triceratops and hide behind the trike, which usually results in the two fighting and giving you a chance to help kill the predator or escape. This can also be done with Stegosaurus, but they're somewhat less common. Brontosaurus are somewhat less useful in this regard, as they're so huge that anything much smaller than a T. rex will just ignore them, and vice versa.
    • Also a common tactic for newer, less established players on PvE servers is to launch a flare skyward when getting overwhelmed by wildlife. This tends to draw nearby players and their mounts to the battle who are often more then willing to butcher the offending creatures.
  • Tech Tree: Certain engrams can only be unlocked when you have its prerequisite.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Anything that burns will eventually run out. Played straight with flares as they only light up for a few minutes.
  • Thirsty Desert: The Scorched Earth DLC. Asides from having several unique creatures and biomes of its own, water goes from being a convenience to the most precious resource in the game and storms (of the sand and lightning type) are the only weather you'll get asides the blistering sun.
  • Threatening Shark: The aforementioned Megalodon. Which you can domesticate and ride.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The dossier for Diplodocus indicates that the animal never fights back, and will even try to make friends with its attackers, often getting itself killed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Any creature that has had an upgrade through the new TLC updates.
  • Toothy Bird:
    • The Hesperornis and Icthyornis, as per the real animals. Pelagornis, too.
    • The Pteranodon, Gallimimus, and electric eels are portrayed with teeth, unlike their real-life counterparts.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The game takes place on the titular ARK, a tropical island full of dinosaurs and other giant beasts.
  • Turtle Power: The Carbonemys, a surprisingly formidable Mighty Glacier despite being one of the most common animals in the game.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Or rather Tyrannosaurus dominum. Present in normal and albino versions. One of the nastiest non-boss monsters.
  • Under the Sea: Head to the bottom of the oceans to search for underwater caverns, oil, or silica pearls! Just watch for Megalodons (and your oxygen levels) though.
  • Underground Level: The island's caverns are the place to find crystals and powerful boss-summoning artifacts. Populated by giant spiders, big bats, Titanoboa (a giant snake), cave-dwelling scorpions, and Megalania (a giant lizard related to the Komodo dragon).
  • Undying Loyalty: Tamed animals. Once you tame an animal, there is nothing you can do to make them abandon you. You can even beat them to death, without them even trying to prevent it.
    • The Giganotosaurus subverts this trope, as when it gets angry enough, it could turn on its owner, albeit only for a brief time.
    • The Dragon also subverts this trope, as it's only loyal to the player for a few seconds.
    • The Lystrosaurus embodies this trope as stated and depicted in its dossier.
    • The Titanosaur also subverts it by having a countdown timer like the dragon.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Giganotosaurus takes this tropes and runs with it. As they take damage they get angrier, stronger, and harder to kill culminating with their eyes lighting up as they enter a berserk frenzy.
  • Vague Age: The player character always appears middle-aged, regardless of customizations.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Tamed dinos generally help a lot in terms of gameplay. Working with other humans also accelerates growth in the form of shared EXP.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can force feed unconscious living beings. Force feeding an unconscious player is apparently a thing.
    • Logged out players are basically unconscious, and their bodies sometimes float in midair. Naturally, many will make them float high off of the ground. When they victim logs back in, they will fall to their death.
    • Unconscious players can also be drowned.
  • Voice Grunting: No legitimate language can be heard, it's either grunts from dinos or grunts and whistles from humans. Averted when a player uses the ingame push-to-talk function, in which case the mouth of the character moves, to make it look like the character is talking.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: On the DLC map, The Center, the western side of the map has bottomless waterfalls that falling off results in instant death.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly:
    • Well, not wizards but you do. You need water too.
    • All tamed animals require food as well.
  • Wolverine Claws: Therizinosaurus, and to a lesser extent Megatherium and Chalicotherium.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: What usually happens when players are new to the game. Bonus points for dying of hunger or thirst.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Many simple things have to be learned in order to be crafted.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • A very effective PVE tactic against apex predators. Often a pack of several Raptors will be more effective than a single T-Rex (not to mention a whole lot easier to tame), due to being able to land multiple hits at once and being several targets rather than a single target.
    • Dimorphodon, Megapiranha, Titanomyrma, Compsognathus, Onychonycteris, Microraptor, and giant bees prefer this attack style.
    • Killing anything in the swamp will likely cause Meganuera to employ this attack style as well, as they are carrion feeders, who do not like to be disturbed during their meals.
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