It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
I am going to share a story with you. At it’s core, it’s a tale of two games — the
ARK I left and the PixARK I went to. It’s a tale of hope and heartbreak, of great expectations and hard times. It’s my story of breeding voxel dinos and bunnies. And trust me, it’s filled with its share of wisdom and foolishness.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Once upon a time, way back in 2015, I discovered ARK: Survival Evolved right as it launched in early access. Oh, the joy! Who knew a survival game could capture my heart so? It had its bugs, but oh man was it ever fun, hunting and — more importantly — taming and breeding dinos while building freely on the island. As the years wore on, WildCard was starting to sour me on all it touched (you can delve into that elsewhere). However, there was no where else to turn for this particular combo; I couldn’t get this experience anywhere else.
Then in 2017, along came a little sibling. Welcome to the world, PixARK. Could this be my answer? PixARK was the mechanics of big brother ARK in the stylings of (mom?) Minecraft. And importantly, it was not created by WildCard. I must check it out!
Unfortunately, I was not a great fan of cutesy or blocky, so PixARK didn’t have natural appeal to me. When I discovered that it also did not have breeding, one of my favorite aspects of ARK, my heart fell and my interest plummeted with it. I wandered away.
Luckily, love is not always at first sight. Fast forward to 2019: I’m too disappointed to play or support WildCard, but my heart longs for all my baby dinos. I miss all their cute little critter faces. I hadn’t thought of PixARK in quite a while, but it busted back into my sights with a launch that, get this, included breeding! Excuse me, I can haz baby dinos nao?! Words cannot adequately express how excited I was to be able to play the dino survival I enjoyed so much again, with the aspects I loved most, from a studio that was not WildCard. I dived in!
And that is where the joy and the utter devastation of my week began.
Hello again, PixARK. Our second meeting went much better. This time around, thanks to other games, my affinity for cutesy had increased. I’d even grown more accustomed to giant blocks. The prospects for a better relationship this time around were looking up. I was riding high on hopes. In our first few moments I happily rediscovering there were tameable bunnies. Bunnies! Be still my heart. Those tamable turkeys are pretty cute too. Oh wow, I don’t remember taming being this easy! Just follow the bunny with some berries and BAM! Oh, look, there’s another turkey or 10. Bam. Bam. Bam. Oh look at this, I have a whole swarm of turkeys and bunnies. Aren’t they adorable? Aren’t they so much fun following me around? It’s a bunch of baby bunnies and a ton of turkeys. Aw man, my cute meter is just ready to explode off the charts. Yes, things were going well.
Famous last words.
What was that?! No, not a sarco! Come, come my flock of cute and cuddly critters, come to safety and we’ll… wait, no! NO! Don’t go after the sarco! Are you kidding me? You are crunchy and taste good to crocodiles! No do not chase after it… is it running? Does it fear this killer turkeys? Oh no, it’s just eating on the go. Well that first dream was shattered. OK, even bunnies and turkeys are set to aggressive when first tamed. Check. Filing that tidbit away.
Let the babies begin!
Does our hero give up? Of course not! What kind of story would that be? We need triumph in the face of adversity. I cried my tears for my little flock, and then I set to work. All relationships take work, and I was happy to be with PixARK. I wouldn’t give up so easily this time. This survival game held the promise of the things I needed for a fulfilling experience on an ark. I began taming more, but this time, I changed the aggression level. See, I learned. I also built a safe little haven for encouraging some bunny snuggling and caring for resulting babies that did not allow for sarco intrusions. I had my training from years of ARK. I was prepared. I was ready. And I was giddy with excitement.
The bunnies did as bunnies do, and a baby bunny appeared! Wait, WHERE IS IT?! I can’t find it anywhere as I stand behind bunny momma. Apparently bunnies give birth through the nose because my carefully positioned plans placing me behind mom in readiness to receive my little bundle of blocky joy was incorrect: It went in front of mom right into the corner of the wall. Oh heavens MJ, remember you can pick the bunnies up. I nab momma and place her on my head (where all picked-up dinos go, of course) and see for the first time that teeny tiny block of adorableness sitting on the ground. It is so glorious and… dead. Wait, what?! Aw, come on! Baby bunny died in mere seconds; those seconds of hesitation before grabbing momma doomed the offspring. In front of me there only sat a ginormous cube of flesh to harvest. Wow, kinda amazing how that teeny critter could have such a huge meat block, but OK.
I pull myself together and I decide I’ll try to breed the pink pachy next. After all, that will drop an egg, and eggs give you whole minutes to pick them up before they expire. I plan. I prepare. I am ready again.
It’s the moment of truth. I’ve made an even better breeding area, and I’ve got saddles on the pachys to move them quickly if need be. I settle Mumsie and Scooter into a secluded corner, and they take a shine to each other immediately. I turn to give them some privacy and am soon rewarded with a little snort, telling me there’s an egg to grab. It’s situated well, so I leave it. I watch carefully. Fifteen minutes, huh? I go grab more berries. I pace the floor like an expectant parent. And finally, it happens — it hatches!
Oh, for the love of pachys: It’s twins. Good gracious! I scramble to claim both and get berries into their inventories. Whew, I made it. Wow, they can only hold three berries right now. Holy cow that’s nothing. At least the weight increases quickly. Good, good, now I can put five in each. Swapping between inventories is stressful, but we’ve got this. We just… WHAT?! Baby pachy one just explodes into a meat cube. Shoot, I’ve got to keep eating myself and drinking before I die and… ack, baby pachy two now explodes. Nooooooooo, I wail. My heart breaks in two and each half explodes into meat cubes.
How can this be? I call out to my comrades on the server. Please, I’ve lost all my little ones, can you share some advice? The words return to me: They eat 1k berries in 10 minutes. I blink. Are they serious? One thousand berries in that first 10 minutes? That is a pretty ravenous baby. Hyperbole much? Still, I must be better prepared. I mourn, then I move on. I must have dino babies! I amass over 800 berries. Surely I was prepared. Surely I was ready.
I was not.
Stay tuned to our next Survivalist column for the thrilling conclusion!