ARK: Survival Evolved is just over a year old and has brought many happy hours of surviving, killing, and taming to dinosaur enthusiasts across the globe. During my own adventures on The Island, Scorched Earth, and the Center I’ve grown used to having to rebuild a base from scratch. Knowing the key dinosaurs to tame as soon as possible to start building a permanent base just makes life easier all around and so I decided to share the top builder binos with you.
Veterans and novices new to the world of Ark can benefit from this menagerie of creatures and have them on their team. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks, but during my experience, I’ve found them to be fine building companions in a hostile world of dinosaurs.
Recent updates have made the mammoth less than ideal for a building companion, but back in the day, they were the go-to mounts for any survivalist who was into big scale building. They’re decent mounts in terms of power, weight, and even speed if you choose to travel around on one. They’re one of the most well-rounded mounts survivalists can tame early one, being able to craft the Mammoth Saddle at level forty.
Mammoths are good at collecting a decent amount of wood, berries, and even a bit of thatch if necessary. They have a wide AOE and knockback attack which makes them ideal for close combat situations and their base speed combined with high weight means you’ll be able to carry a lot of supplies when on the move.
Mammoths can be found walking around in herds in the snow biome. Their base speed makes them quick, but riding on a fast mount does makes it relatively safer to take one down with ease instead of having to run around on foot. When starting out, I found the most effective way to get the most out of a mammoth to tame two or three at once. They’re more effective and powerful in herds and getting the mate boost is beneficial in a battle situation.
The only downside is having to constantly go into their inventory to get rid of berries when harvesting wood gets old after a while, but the mammoth is still a good all around mount if you’re just starting out and want to get to building straight away.
One of my personal favorites, I’m guilty of overlooking the megaloceros when it first came out. Who wants a darn reindeer for a mount, right? Still, eventually, I got around to taming one and was surprised it had a use. Thatch is one of the most abundant and probably cheapest materials survivalists have access to in the beginning. Thatch is used abundantly in many crafting recipes, including wood and stone which makes it a valuable resource to have on hand. Burning it is also ideal if you don’t want to deal with any charcoal since thatch doesn’t leave anything behind.
Megaloceros is ideal for collecting thatch since it doesn’t require a lot of inventory management. It can run through a thick batch of trees, attacking them with a few antler attacks, and just collect nothing but thatch. Since thatch has such a low weight, it’s easy to stock up on with this reindeer. The only reason I ever had to come back to base was to deposit wood I collected on my reindeer into a storage box before zooming out to grab more.
The only drawback is megaloceros is fast and unlike other dinosaurs on this list, doesn’t stand and fight. It runs away the moment it’s attacked or sees one of its own kind being chased. They are easy to trap with a bola, though, which makes them immobile for at least a minute. Giving a survivalist enough time to knock it out or it can be picked up with an argentavis and dropped into a taming pen.
Megaloceros is fast, powerful, and fairly easy to obtain with an argentavis to pick it up or a bola to stop it in its tracks. This reindeer is able to leap a fair distance too, so it’s great for running away from a fight when necessary. Even in a fight, I’ve found the higher level ones do a fair amount of damage with a few head whacks, or at least attack enough to knock back predators so I can make a quick escape. They deserve a spot on any dinosaur building team or just as a quick mount to get around on foot.
Stone builders know this one pretty well, but for new survivalists, this adorable roly-poly armadillo is the king of gathering stone. The doedicurus is able to gather stone with a swipe of its spiked tail without the hectic inventory management involved with throwing out mountains of berries. While it can’t gather metal or flint like the ankylosaurus, the doedicurus is a must have for survivors making the jump from wood to stone.
The doedicurus is probably one of the most fun mounts to have since it has an ability where it can roll up into a ball and roll away at a fast speed. Access to this ability is only possible if it has a saddle on and player on its back. When in this state the doedicurus takes reduced damage, travels faster, and can deal damage to wild creatures. When it’s on all fours it’s relatively slow, so there’s not much of a chance of it being able to get away or killing survivalists who decide to try and tame one for their building team.
The only drawback for the doedicurus is its low weight capacity and response when it reaches low health. I’ve had a few difficulties taming a doedicurus using only a crossbow and tranq arrows until the addition of tranq darts were finally added in last year. When a wild doedicurus takes too much damage, it rolls up into a ball and won’t come back out until it’s regained some of its health. The downside to this is if you’re like me and trying to tame one, you’ve essentially wasted quite a few narcotics and tranq arrows trying to grab one.
The low weight capacity on the doedicurus also means it won’t be able to gather to huge amounts of stone right off the bat. Pouring all its points into weight does eliminate this issue, but it takes time to get a low level one to a decent weight capacity. Even so, its rolling ability does mean it’s able to travel quickly so all that heavy stone can be dumped into a storage box or vault for later use.
The doedicurus is built more for defense and building rather than being used as a ground mount. They do travel through the water pretty quickly, but I wouldn’t go diving with one anytime soon. Their slow speed makes them relatively easy to catch and ability to gather large amounts of stone ideal for upgrading from wood or to stone.
The beaver changed the world of Ark: Survival of Evolved for the better. While it can be a pain to tame without kibble, it’s worthwhile to grab even a low-level one. The beaver is ideal for collecting wood due to its special power to make wood only a tenth of the weight in its inventory. Similar to the Megaloceros in gathering, the beaver can run through a copse of trees while attacking to gather several hundred pieces of wood at once.
My favorite part about this creature is once it has a saddle on its back it’s basically a mobile smithy. Other materials like stone and metal have a smaller weight when in the beaver’s inventory, so it can carry everything needed to make repairs on the fly without having to head back to base for a repair. Players who prefer “all terrain mounts” will probably prefer the beaver for its speed on land and in water. It also has a decent attack damage too, but when needed it can make a fast escape by either heading into the water or getting up on land to escape would-be predators.
The only drawback to the beaver which is similar to the mammoth is how it gathers berries when gathering wood. Ideally, I prefer to harvest wood in the swamp biome since I don’t have to deal with this inventory management issue all the time. The disadvantage to this is with the addition of the kaprosuchus if this dinosaur attacks it can pull the player off the back of the beaver and possibly kill them. The swamp is also one of the most challenging biomes to survive in and with the titanboas lurking around, there’s always the risk of your mount passing out from the buildup of torpor.
Higher level beavers won’t face much of a problem surviving in the swamp, but players with a lower level one should keep their mounts close to home if they just want to focus on building. Still, they’re an excellent builder dino and were a needed addition to the world of Ark: Survival Evolved.
I debated about adding this one to the list, but since we’re talking building dinos, I had to add it. Personally, I love the look of this particular creature and its abilities. Similar to the beaver in almost every regard, the thorny dragon has a few facets that make it a little better.
First off, the thorny dragon is a mobile smithy once it has a saddle on its back. Wood and other materials have a reduced weight in its inventory, so it’s perfect for building and gathering materials on a large scale. Another aspect is it has a long range attack where it shoots spikes or darts from its tail. When these mini missiles hit the target, they deal torpor damage. So technically it could be used to knock out other creatures.
Unlike the beaver, though, when gathering wood, the thorny dragon doesn’t collect berries. Instead, it only collects wood since it’s a carnivore, so there’s not a lot of inventory management to account for when gathering. The only disadvantage to this mount is it can only be found in Ark: Survival Evolved’s DLC Scorched Earth. The thorny dragon can technically be transferred to the main world of Ark, but only if the server has it enabled. Players who don’t have the DLC are pretty much out of luck unless a friend is willing to give them one for free or to trade for one a server.
The Therizinosaurus is similar to the beaver since it also basically changed the world of Ark, however, whether it’s for bad or worse it’s up to other players. I, personally, adore this creature for its odd fluffiness and massive claws. Even though it can be a pain to grab one since they’re hostile to players and tamed dinosaurs, I have to admit as far as gathering dinosaurs go it’s basically an all-access pass.
The first thing about the therizinosaur is while it’s a pain to grab one, these creatures are insanely powerful. Their base speed alone makes it hard to get away from them, even when on another therizinosaur. They deal plenty of attack damage with quick swipes that can easily take out even powerful dinosaurs like the T-Rex with just a few hits. Even when I’m on my own T-Rex I try to avoid the wild therizinosaurs I see wandering about since just a mid-level group of 2-3 of them is basically a death sentence for my guy.
Even with the anger management issues of this creature aside, it’s basically the herbivore version of a bear. The therizinosaur can use its same swipe attacks to gather wood at a quick rate without the issue of having to grab berries. The other gathering mechanic it has looks like it’s ‘tickling’ its large claws which can be used to gather fiber from plants. When berries do need to be gathered, the therizinosaur does a bite attack that can be used to gather a decent amount for quick crafting or just to fill a hunger meter.
Just like the beaver, the therizinosaur has a special ability that makes it one of the most valuable gathering dinos in the world of Ark. The therizinosaur can have its gathering rates leveled up, which is power and delicate gathering. Power gathering determines how much wood it can pick up in one swipe while delicate gathering focuses on the amount of fiber it can obtain using its tickle attack. This means even for the lower level creatures; they can gather a huge amount of wood.
The only drawback with this glorified turkey is its dismal weight capacity. Whenever I get my hand on one of these birds I usually end up just pumping weight on it since I use it to primarily gather wood. They do have enough weight where they can be an excellent ground mount since with their fast speed and high gathering rates, you’ll probably never need to worry about throwing up a quick starter base in the future. The best part is the therizinosaur is part of the main game, so it’s accessible to everyone.
Building in Ark: Survival Evolved is addictive to me and I’ve used each of these building creatures extensively. During my time I’ve found a combination of each one yields the best results for large-scale building projects. I usually pair a therizinosaur with two or more beavers to carry large amounts of wood or with a doedicurus to bring back the stone. Either way, they’re the cream of the crop when building in Ark.Related: ARK: Survival Evolved, Article, Early Access, MMO, Survival