There is wrong, and then there is perilously wrong. The kind of wrong so dangerous that the odds of your heart finally recovering are as infinitesimal as learning literatue through osmosis. When we last left off in The perils of breeding pets in PixARK, the newest pachy egg had just hatched. After all that I learned in chapter one of our tale, all those tips and tricks for breeding babies in this voxel version of my favorite dino survival that I picked up, you’d think that I was prepared. That I was ready to raise some pets. Oh, how very wrong I was. I so was not. If I only knew what awaited me.
Still I held out hope that the worst of times were behind me, and that the best of times were just ahead. Alas, my journey through breeding in PixARK has been a comedy of errors and meat cubes. Surely in the battle of life, I had to come out a winner eventually?
The pressure was on: Mumsie and Scooter blessed me with twins again. Ravenous twins. And those pink pachys entrusted their darlings to my care. Definite pressure. As I start shoveling the berries into them, I realize they are eating a one a second. ONE BERRY EVERY SECOND! I don’t dare look away! Heaven forbid I sneeze. I scramble between the inventories, shoving as many berries as I can in order to get a breather. OK, up to 90 berries, that’s 90 seconds worth. Wait, no breather is possible, they are devouring those 800 in mere minutes. Suddenly the words one thousand slam into me, admonishing me for my doubts. And it hits me: That’s 1K for one. I have twins.
I frantically feed until I have a tiny window where I can run outside and gather again. I give praise for the mechanic that increases weight so fast, and soon I have four minute windows I can run outside and scour the area for more bushes. I keep expanding my search as the bushes take their sweet time respawning. I pick like a mad woman, sprinting between bushes and then racing home to stuff more berries in their mouths. I nearly starve myself repeatedly just to tend these little ones. It was a race against time, and I lost. Baby boy meat cubed in front of me. How?!
Then I notice the berries that dropped. He couldn’t have starved, he still had berries. I made sure he had berries. That is the moment I learned my next big lesson: Juveniles will only eat from the trough. In my haste I missed that they matured. I nearly lost all hope there, but baby girl still needed me. I continued the mad rush, this time emptying all my goods into the trough. At least we’re only feeding for one now, right? But bushes aren’t respawning fast enough, and my gathering experiences diminishing returns. In the end, she also succumbs to the call of the meat cube. I am done.
After a few-days break, I work up the courage to try again. I have loved and I have lost, but I have also learned. Oh, have I learned! I will have one thousand berries for each possible baby. I spend all afternoon procuring a stockpile of food. I tried to tame a trike to help me gather, but that was an ordeal in itself (and a story for another time); suffice it to say, I couldn’t get one in time so I was on my own. I gathered. Then I gathered some more. I had almost 2,800 berries pilled high in my trough. I tweaked the breeding spot to make it a super convenient, eye-level stage that gave me instant access to both baby and trough. This time, I am prepared. This time, I am ready. I am.
As I stare at the newly laid fertilized egg from Mom and Scooter (Mumsie was still on a post-partum break), I muse how each hatching has been twins. I wouldn’t put it past the RNG gods to give me triplets, so with 10 minutes to spare before the baby (babies?) came, I race out and gather more berries. I end with over 3,500. That has to tide the little one(s), but I am prepared to go out even more once they hit juvenile.
Hatching time arrives, and lo and behold there is only one little pink pachy! Be my, be my, be my little baby! My one and only baby. I’m not saying that song was going through my head, but this was a moment to sing about. I am overjoyed with my precious bundle, and start feeding it. No inventory swapping, no sprinting outside to pick — it’s a leisurely, peaceful experience. Ah yes, this is what breeding should be, savoring the new little life and envisioning adventures with your new little friend. Pachy reaches juvenile, and I set out to tame that blasted trike. After all, there’s three and a half hours before it matures. I keep gathering as I pass bushes, restocking the trough until it’s back over 3,500 berries.
Everything goes well. I keep dropping in to check on him (when am I going to notice that I haven’t named any of these babies?), and he is growing up fine. The trough is bursting with berries, so I finish up for the night. I finally got that trike!. I am excited at the prospect of finally having dino I raised waiting for me when I awake. Perhaps I should say hopeful instead because this is still on an ark and we know what that means. I try to temper my expectations; they are no longer great, just good. My heart has already been broken here many times, after all. It isn’t unlikely that I will wake up to some other catastrophe. At least I can feel confident that I will raise this dino to maturity.
I pop back in for one last look-see before bed. I walk in, and what am I greeted with but a meat cube. I blink. I stare. But, but, but…
Unlike ARK, apparently the baby’s appetite does not diminish helpfully when it hits the juvenile stage; it appears to continue to eat one berry every second. No, those 3.5K berries only lasted one hour. I estimate that I would need in excess of 13,500 berries to get a single berry-eating baby dino to maturity. I hope this math is way wrong. I pray it is off. But right now, I shuffle off to bed, dejected. My heart isn’t even broken; it was already in too many mat cube pieces as it was. I just added a few more slices and future scars.
My dear friends, if you take anything away from this story, know that breeding in PixARK is particularly punishing. It’s a meatgrinder to your heart, popping out meat cubes left and right instead of dinos. Your ARK skills won’t really help you much here. You must be more; you must do more. And you must be prepared to lose more. Word is Snail Games never wanted breeding in the game (I can believe that!), and even when it caved to player demands, it made sure they really had to work for it. Really, really work for it. No massive farms and dino breeding mills for PixARK.
Yet even so, I will persevere! I have loved, I have labored, and I have lost, but I will not give up. All will end well sometime. I will start anew. I will have my new trike. I will plant seeds and grow many berries. I will gather friends in the cause, and we shall prevail. We will plan. We will prepare. We will be ready.
Famous last words?