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How to Level Up Fast in ARK: Survival Evolved

Humans and dinosaurs in Ark Survival Evolved

There are many ways to level up in ARK: Survival Evolved. The fastest methods change depending on what level your character is currently at. We’ll run you through the best methods how to level up fast in ARK: Survival Evolved. 

The Basics of Leveling

Ark Survival Evolved level up screen
The player’s inventory and stats screen (Credit: Ark: Survival Evolved Wiki)

Before you get started with trying to level up fast in ARK: Survival Evolved, make sure you’re aware of every way how you can level up. Just about everything you do in Ark will give you XP, with the main ways being: 

  • Crafting – creating items from unlocked Engrams
  • Harvesting – gathering materials from the wild to be used in crafting or as food
  • Hunting – killing creatures found around the map
  • Working together – you’ll gain bonus XP when a nearby tribe-mate completes any task
  • Explorer Notes – these are XP multiplying items found across every map

Crafting and hunting are the most efficient ways to gain XP quickly, so we’ll be primarily covering these methods of leveling.

Levels 1-15: Setting Up For Success

Using a crafted Bow in Ark
Using a Bow to hunt a dinosaur (Credit: GamesRadar)

You’ll level up quickly in the early stages of Ark simply by playing the game. There are many ways to get through this early stage of the game without the need for a specific method. 

The best thing you can do to increase your leveling potential at this early stage of the game is to set up your character for success in the mid-levels. This means creating weaponry such as the spear and bow, crafting a set of cloth armor, and building a basic shelter out of thatch. 

Once you’ve set up your character with some basic survival equipment, you can begin to hunt herbivores such as the dodo to let you cover more ground and gain XP faster.

Levels 16-24: Crafting Rafts and Hunting Safely

Ark survival evolved wooden raft
Riding a wooden raft (Credit: Xyberviri)

Once you hit level 16, you can unlock the Engram for a wooden raft. Repeatedly crafting these rafts is by far the fastest way to safely level throughout the early/mid stages of the game. Each raft will give you 375 XP.

To craft a wooden raft, you’ll need 250 Wood, 125 Fiber, and 75 Hide. This is certainly a high amount of materials for such an early-game build, but you can gather them fairly quickly if you have a tamed dino to ride around on. The dilophosaurus is the perfect choice for this task.

If you don’t have the patience for repeatedly crafting rafts, you may want to start carrying out some safe hunts. Riding a dino is vital for this, so tame a dilophosaurus before heading into battle. At this early stage, you’re going to want to stick to hunting herbivores such as the stegosaurus. 

A Stegosaurus in Ark Survival Evolved
A stegosaurus (Credit: Ark: Survival Evolved Wiki)

Levels 25-105 – Killing Baby Dinos

Once you’ve hit level 25, you’ll have access to stronger weaponry such as the Crossbow and Pike. This will open up the first of the mid-to-late game farming methods – killing baby dinos. You’ll have to put your morals aside for this one, sorry. 

A raptor and baby raptors in Ark Survival Evolved
A Raptor next to its offspring (Credit: Ark: Survival Evolved Wiki)

Set out on your chosen dinosaur and search for stronger dinos to tame. You’ll need to tame multiple of the same species for this method, so get to taming just about anything you can. The larger your dino army, the better.

Once you have two dinos of the same species with opposite sexes, you can now begin breeding. Gather both dinosaurs and set their behaviors to either wandering or mating, then create a makeshift breeding pen from walls of your choice and take them inside. This pen will keep them within range and speed up the process.

Inside a large breeding pen in Ark Survival Evolved
Inside a large breeding pen (Credit: greywind)

Depending on the species of dinosaur, the female will either lay an egg or fall pregnant when breeding is complete. Once this happens, you’ll have to go through certain steps to care for the unborn dino.

Live Birth Species

Species that have live births (breeding without eggs) will go through a period of gestation, where the mother is pregnant with the unborn dino. Caring for a gestating dinosaur is easy – simply feed the mother double the amount of food she would normally consume for as long as she is pregnant.

At the end of the pregnancy, the baby will be born and will die without proper attention. Make sure you’re around when the pregnancy ends so you can kill the baby before it dies of other causes. This will net you a huge chunk of XP.

Egg Species

A dino egg in Ark Survival Evolved
A dinosaur egg (Credit: GamersDecide)

Most species of dinosaurs will lay eggs after breeding. Each egg has an incubation period, a time in which you’ll have to keep the egg at a certain temperature for it to be able to hatch. Egg temperature can be controlled by placing Standing Torches or Air Conditioners near to the egg.

Once an egg is hatched, you simply need to kill the baby dino to receive a huge chunk of XP. You can repeat this as many times as you like with as many pairs of dinosaurs as you can manage.

The Best Species For Baby Dino Farming

You can use the levels gained from this method to unlock better gear and tame stronger dinosaurs. Stronger dinosaurs will typically give out more XP when killed, so be sure to always try to scale up your breeding operation by taming stronger species. 

The best species for baby farming is the giganotosaurus, so consider breeding this species your ultimate goal when it comes to improving on this method. 

Level 105+ – Defeating End-Game Bosses

THe Dragon Boss from Ark Survival Evolved
The Island’s Dragon boss (Credit: Ark: Survival Evolved Wiki)

Once you hit level 105, you’ll stop gaining XP from activities such as hunting and crafting, and are instead forced to complete specific tasks if you want to progress any further. 

The fastest (and most fun) way to do this is by defeating the final bosses of various maps. The bosses can be found in the following locations: 

  • The Island – Tek Cave 
  • Aberration – Rockwell Arena 
  • Genesis Part 1 – System Root 
  • Genesis Part 2 – Rockwell’s Innards 

Defeating all of these bosses will raise your character by an additional 60 levels.

On the way to higher levels, you will need help from your trustworthy companions. There are many dinos to be tamed and here guides for just a few of them:

How to Tame Gacha in ARK: Survival Evolved | How to Tame Carbonemys in ARK: Survival Evolved | How to Tame Triceratops in ARK: Survival Evolved

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Based in England, Jack is a Guides Writer at Gamezo. When he's not writing on games, he's playing just about every platformer and metroidvania under the sun.