Ark Adventures: You Are Now Entering Drop Cat City

My Ark Survival adventures continue with the tale of Roslyn, the spinosaurus my friends and I tamed during our first few hours playing our latest playthrough of the game. Need to catch up on part 1 of our epic dinosaur quest? Just go here to learn about my absolute lack of survival skills in a survival game! (Part One)

Over the next 24 hours that we had Roslyn, we went on several fun adventures: monching sharks, piranhas, raptors, regular dinosaur survival things.

For a while, she was the only dinosaur that we ran around fighting with because she was so strong. But because the map for Ark is so large, we had to get birds so we could fly around and collect essential resources to advance our playing. One of the easier “birds” to take is the Pteranodon, these reptilian flying creatures that are passive and like to land on the beach where we were building our temporary base of operations.

Since they’re passive, taming them pretty much came down to sharpening our arrows, waiting for one to land and wobble around in the sand, and then shoot it in the face. (Shooting it in the face is a lot less violent than you would think… headshots just give critical hits, so it will go unconscious faster)

Once passed out, you tame the pteras, like all other carnivores, by force-feeding them meat and making them like you.

On that note, the taming system on Ark is bizarre when you look at it from that perspective. It’s like an extreme form of induced Stockholm syndrome; you literally shoot it with tranquilizers, wait for its food bar to go down, give it some food, wait for it to eat enough that it likes you. And then the newly tamed dinosaur is magically domesticated, will let you put a saddle on it… which is so far from reality it’s comical.

BUT we suspend our disbelief because the game is fun.

Anyway, with a couple of birds, we’re able to fly from our cozy beach shack and venture deeper into the island.

Drop Cat City

One of the more dangerous zones in Ark Survival, or at least in the map that we’re playing, is the Redwood Forest. Okay, the swamps are arguably more dangerous, but just the mention of the swamps in Ark brings flashbacks of the PTSD-inducing horror show from when I first started playing this game.

And while PTSD might be an exaggeration, the stress response my body & brain go through whenever I’m in the area is NOT. But that’s a series of events to recount another day. Right now we’re talking about the Redwoods, which didn’t exist in the game back when I first started playing.

There’s a mixture of both passive herbivores such as diplodocus (they are like a mini brontosaurus), doedicarus, and these big deer things, as well as aggressive carnivores such as packs of raptors, carnotaurus (like small t-rex), and yes… drop cats.

Shortly before I was in the Redwoods, I had tamed an Argentavis which are my 2nd favourite bird species in the game. They are gorgeous, MASSIVE birbs, kind of like eagles but much larger. In reality they are considered to be one of the largest flying birds that ever existed on Earth.

One of the cool things about argies in Ark is that they can pick up a bunch of dinosaurs which you can then kill in your claws while riding the bird, or drop them somewhere that they’re safer to tame or kill with other tamed dinosaurs or weapons. They’re just so versatile and convenient; use ’em as a pack animal, a combat companion, or to explore!

In this specific instance, I was out hunting for a doedicarus, which are these cute mammalian creatures with spiky tails that are good for harvesting rock. Since we use a lot of rock in the game to build structures such as foundations and walls, it’s important to have a high-level doedicarus, or at least a mid-level one, to more efficiently gather rock to craft with. And they’re cute enough that I say you should have one anyway. (We like to tame blue ones and call them blueberries)

Regardless, I was out hunting near the Redwoods, and I spotted a cute little doedi just beyond the beach and inside the thick Redwood trees.

I swoop in, going AWE CUTE (and happy that it’s a decent level) and IMMEDIATELY a cat launches from the tree above the doedi, knocking me off my bird, and locking me in this intense fight where I can do nothing but try and punch the cat while it quickly mauls me to death.

Did I forget to mention that, other than the FREAKIN DROP CATS, the Redwoods aren’t actually that bad? But drop cats are such an extreme threat for the fact that they can knock you off your bird and eat you alive before you can even attack that the Redwoods immediately shoots up to the top of my NOPE list.

Okay, so by the time I get my death screen, I’m panicking. My bird is on passive, which means it’s going to sit there and let the drop cat monch on it without fighting back. Passive works great when you’re not expecting a fight, or when you’re trying to avoid one, because when your bird gets into combat, they swarm all over the place, up and down and all around, and it can get really difficult to re-mount them and fly off when they’re moving like that. It can get very annoying when your bird gets hit by something and then flies off in a frenzy trying to claw a raptor to death (which is also switching targets to attack you instead because the bird isn’t always in reach… which also happens to make it difficult to re-mount the bird to get AWAY from said raptor).

Or worse, when it gets trapped into a swarm of flying insects that the bird then proceeds to fly around in circles, leaving you to helplessly watch as it slowly ascends into the sky, with you trapped on the ground…

Me on my mighty argentavis, staring down an evil drop cat, which is clinging to a nearby tree… (can you spot it? little bugger is hiding there pretty good)

ANYWAY, my bird was out there facing a drop cat on its own and who knew what else, my gear is on a bag on the floor of that that god-forsaken forest, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to get there in time to recover either. But I take one of the pteras that we tamed and fly in that direction with my fingers crossed.

So there’s this funny thing about Ark. Dinos have stamina, just like humans, which limit their ability to sprint around, attack, and other such strenuous tasks. For flying creatures, this also limits their ability to fly. It’s easy to recover it: all you have to do is chill for about 10-20s and it will regenerate. For birds, this means you need to land before your stamina runs out, or else your bird goes into exhaustion mode and nose-dives toward the nearest place that it can land, and where and when is completely out of your control at that point.

And me being in panic mode, wanting to recover my other bird as soon as possible, I’m not looking at my stamina at all. So that’s exactly what happens: I begin to nose dive just a little ways away from where my other bird is being clawed by a cat and probably a couple of raptors.

Did I forget to mention that the Redwoods is right on the edge of the swamp? (SO yeah, some of that PTSD stuff is relevant right about here)

The spot my bird chooses to land, to recover its stamina, is RIGHT IN FRONT OF A TITANOBOA.

I’m sure titanoboa doesn’t need much explanation, but they are these freaky snakes, BIG SNAKES, that also deal torpor damage when they attack. In other words, when they hit you or your dinos, they’ll put you to sleep. And then you lay there, helpless, while it eats you alive. (Not too dissimilar from the drop cat, that throws you off of your saddle and eats you as you’re falling from the sky, now that I think of it…)

At this point, my panic flares up again. I ditch the bird and run away, trying to get it to follow me instead, but it can’t move because it doesn’t have any stamina.

I manage to get it to move before it’s completely demolished by the snake, but right about then, a bunch of things happen at about the same time: bugs (which also drain stamina when they attack) swarm the ptera. It can move, but very slowly, and it hasn’t recovered enough stamina to do anything. It’s also still being monched on by the snake from below. My other bird finally succumbs to its injuries and I get the death notification for the bird flash across the screen.

Unfortunately, dinos can’t be resurrected like humans can, so he’s gone for good.

At about this point, I kinda want to cry.

Then seconds later, the raptors, snakes, and bugs kill my ptera.

Leaving me stranded, in the middle of this mess, with no equipment, weapons, or a way out at all.

Within seconds I’m dead, too. And now I’m just angry.

So I come back with Roslyn for revenge.

At that point all of my gear has despawned, and there’s nothing I can do about the dead argentavis and pteranodon, but I at least feel a little better about being able to go full murderhobo on some stupid snakes and drop cats.

I’m just left to wonder why the hell I didn’t just bring her in the first place.

—Erynn

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