By Bixyl Shuftan
One thing I should have known early on but didn't notice was that just as in real life, leather armor, as well as chittin armor, has the downside of making you overheat on a hot day. So you'll likely want to carry around some cloth clothes in addition to better protective ones to wear once it gets hot and you're not about to get into a fight.
The giant ants are the bigger threat to players and come in two varieties, drones and soldiers. Drones scurry about on the ground while the soldiers are winged. Both will attack a player if he/she strays near, and their bites will poison, lowering the stamina. An attack by just a few drones is easily dealt with an axe or pickaxe if that's the only threat, but an assault by a number of soldiers, often in combination with drones, can be a real problem. If an axe or pickaxe is your only weapon, you can quickly become tired from swinging it around, and a few bites will put you asleep, rendering you helpless as the bugs slowly eat you alive. Backing away with a spear, or even better a pike, seems to be the best method for dealing with their assaults. But being overwhelmed by a swarm of a dozen, especially in the dark, can really hurt you, if not kill you. Once dispatched, they can be harvested for chitin and meat. In one server I had a survivor in, it took a while to get resources from them. Maybe they are hard to harvest, or perhaps it was a "bug" in the system. Someone in chat thought that chopping at them when crouched makes harvesting slightly faster, but I haven't noticed a difference. Still, there are rewards from these killer insects once dispatched.
Speaking of bugs, one of my pet peeves in the game is how the quirky physics act on a dino once you've killed it. Dilo and dodo bodies can sometimes be hurled a good distance away once the killing blow is made. There have been times, especially at night, when I've had to give up looking for one of their corpses and move on. So if you're hunting at night, be sure after your killing blow (or last killing blow if you ran into a pack) switch to your torch immediately. On the plus side, the bug can work in your favor in the water as I've seen megaphirana jump out of the water near the shore, and just hang in the air. Often they're dead. Did my spear deliver the killing blow, or did the bug hurt them. I have yet to find out.
My first exploration into the game was in "The OC Official Server 160," which turned out to be a PvP server, not knowing what "OC" meant. After learning more about the game, I avoided the more populated eastern coast and settled into a couple spots in the west, eventually making a good-sized base made of stone walls. After I'd gotten it a decent size, I went to concentrate on a Player vs Environment server I found in case friends wanted to try that. But I would still log on briefly every day or two to make sure nothing decayed. Then one day, I logged in to fin out I'd been killed and had to respawn elsewhere. Heading back to the base site, I found it was gone with nothing left, and I mean *nothing.* Not even a single floor section, or even the campfire that was nearby.
Confused, I entered group chat, asking if there was a bug in the game erasing people's builds. I was told that there wasn't, that what happened was likely the Method of Operation of a particularly ruthless tribe using demo charges (apparently one can make those when they get high enough). They didn't just break in and raid, but would blow up a base *completely.*
A tribe could rebuild pretty quickly. Not so much a lone wolf like me. So I dropped off that server for a while. Nydia's advice of "STAY AWAY FROM PVP SERVERS, THE KIDDIES WILL KEEP KNOCKING YOU DOWN" seemed to be confirmed. But then one gaming review I came across described a PvP enabled server in which the players didn't have the stomach for it, instead greeting everyone hello and even giving newcomers a few things to help them out. Another reviewer got a much more hostile response. Half the people he encountered while knew knocked him out and stole what little he had on him. Different servers seem to have different casts of characters, it seems. Even in the PvP servers, my biggest problem were the dinos and bugs, not other players. But it took just one tribe of hostiles to take down hours of work on my base.
After Lomgren leveled up his best Pteranodon, or "pteras" as they've come to be called in the game, he began exploring around. Finding a good source of ore on a volcano in the middle of the island, with a little crystal and obsidian, he established a small mining base. Flying to it takes a ptera that's been leveled up in weight and stamina. Yours truly has been trying to overcome his nervousness of flying, often by flying over a river in case I accidentally press the "E" button, which for mounts is the mount/dismount action. But the view is spectacular.
After this happened three times, I came across a triceratops that had been knocked unconscious by a giant scorpion. Feeding that one berries, I tamed it after a bit more than half an hour. But as it was still a bit low on HP, it was still a bit vulnerable. Getting it to home base, we were attacked by giant ants, not a few but about a dozen. They killed the trike and went after me. Then I found a raptor that was so busy going after a herbivorous dino, it didn't notice me sneak up on it, and after a few tranquilizer arrows, it was down. It took over an hour, but I had finally tamed a raptor after three unsuccessful times! I then took it home, and going after a nearby "piggy" for meat, we were attacked by more bugs. We got all of them, but one of the flying soldier ants had bitten the raptor to death before I could get it.
So five taming attempts with nothing to show for it. Maybe some lone wolves are just meant to go about on foot.
In the past few days, I've been hearing about a few other creatures introduced. One is the gigantosaurus, a huge carnivorous beast described as having a rage makes it more difficult to tame than a T-Rex or Spinosaur, and if tamed can be difficult to control in a PvP fight. Then there's the dung beetle, which supposedly when tamed can be a source of fertilizer and oil. Then there are the "Alphas," which are dinosaurs that are much stronger than normal, and more difficult to take down, identified by the red cloud among them. They also can inflict more damage to buildings, including stone and metal. So far, all that I've heard about in game chat are carnivores, T-Rexes, carnies, raptors, etc.
To help you get around, here's a map of the various regions and underwater caves, created by "Felski." You can see a larger image of the map (here). For those starting out, here's a map of the starting locations (here). Having been to Craggs Island, it's appropriately named as not much grows there. I have yet to head to "Dead Island" as without a water or flying mount, you're shark bait, and once you get there, word has it the high level predators will make short work out of any player whom isn't also high level, unless he had plenty of help.