Make no mistake that no matter how you look at it Ark: Survival Evolved is a difficult game. It's Minecraft for people who like to constantly feel like "oh f*** I could die". The game mirrors the popular survival game in a lot of ways and you can describe most of the differences as "It's harder in Ark".
As a side note, my first experience into this game was through the DLC "Scorched Earth" (that DLC that was controversial for being paid DLC in an Early Access game). Truth be told I don't know what's new between vanilla and this expansion besides the biome but you'll see the screenshots and video highlighted are in these servers!
Just going through my first spawn into the game. I spawn and immediately I need to find somewhere to warm up because it's really cold outside. I'm running around in the darkness (which is incredibly dark in the time of the dinosaurs) and finally find a campground. Turns out I can't use this campsite as it's owned by another player but the fire keeps me warm just long enough for me to realize I'm starving. I don't know how to make tools so I'm just running around collecting berries and eating them and BAM I'm blindsided by a Sabertooth and killed.
I didn't level up, I didn't even survive all that well and I respawned in a new location with none of my items! Yeah, it's a struggle.
Slowly, you learn you start the game by hitting trees with your bare hands (sound familiar?) and acquiring wood to make a pickaxe. Get a few more tools and before you know it you'll level up and be able to do more. You'll spend a lot of time dying before you get a survivable foothold in this game, but you'll progress all the same.
Eventually, you'll get proficient enough you'll be able to build big fortresses and guns and you'll laugh at the lesser players as they run from dinosaurs and poop their pants...literally. To get to that level, however, takes a lot of grinding! You'll need to be really dedicated to make any progress in this game.
One frustrating complaint I have with the game is being married to the server you're in. Your character only progresses within the server that they were created and cannot be transferred to another server. On PC there's like 50 and I have yet to find the server that I joined initially because I had no clue about that going in! I'm not saying it's something that needs to be fixed but maybe name servers something like "raspberry" as opposed to "PvEServer22001" and leave it on the player to remember where they were last. It wouldn't even be difficult to provide a track of your created characters and what servers they are in!
Another issue I witnessed was randomly getting kicked from the server. I would be like 4 minutes into my play session and all the sudden my progress is negated and I'm sent back to the main menu. I still have yet to figure out exactly why it was happening but summed it up to "early access". Definitely, something that would turn me away from a release purchase if it's still around at launch.
Stepping away from the gameplay, this game looks beautiful visually...
The areas are vast and the dinosaurs are numerous and if I wasn't so scared something will sneak up and kill me I'd take more time to enjoy it! This game really shines during bad weather (which you can see in the video above) in which the landscape changes drastically. Stuff will blow around, you'll run for shelter, it's a scary time!
Overall I'm satisfied (minus the random server dropping) with my experience and can't wait to see how this game looks upon its release. There's a lot of potential here already in this MMO survival game and I'm hoping it lives up to the impressive hype it's already built.