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I've been playing ARK on a locally hosted server with my wife.
We're pretty goal oriented and have spreadsheets with what we need to accomplish and how / when.

However, we've now:

  1. Constructed a three story house
  2. Created an animal pen large enough to house our herd
  3. Tamed 20 dodos, 2 triceratops, 2 dilos, 2 phiomas
  4. Constructed an archery tower surrounded by several spike walls with ammo to kill just about everything on the map
  5. Have 10 storage boxes filled with a thousand of each resource near enough
  6. Have a garden with 8 small plots

I'm now lvl 23, and she's lvl 18. And we're not sure what to do next.
As there are no real set goals as far as we can tell, and the aspects required to summon the broodmother require increasing levels up to 55 it looks like we'll be stuck grinding levels for a while.

It feels like we hit a curve in the game where we're too well off to really need to do anything, we're lacking goals.

What are we missing, is there some mid-game content we're not seeing?
What do people tend to do in ARK once they've built a small colony?
Is it just improbable to play ARK on a local server, is the idea of humans killing humans so ingrained in the game balance that we're missing out?

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  • we were speed leveling at that point (good method is to craft notes or kill stuff with your raptor if you can get a saddle for it somehow) Also I have no idea how you achieved all that still being under level 30, we have similar stuff and we are a group of 5 all over level 20 now. – RandomDisplayName Jun 25 '15 at 13:39
  • @RandomDisplayName Speed leveling is something we're trying to avoid. I've settled so far on building a massive structure someone in the center of the island, and using it as a base to build smaller spawn camps all across the island. – Reaces Jun 25 '15 at 13:42
  • I would suggest playing online once you're familiar with the game, the social interaction between players (if on a good server) can be very entertaining. – RandomDisplayName Jun 25 '15 at 13:45
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After some careful deliberation and laying out what we had accomplished, we decided that we did in fact omit a large part of the game.

Exploration!

It's kind of simple if you think about it, the island is huge, and while we did carve out a small safe corner of it, we had not yet explored even a fraction of the island.
So now we've set off on foot, following the shore from the western to the eastern border. Due to the crafting of arrows / food / temporary shelter and the fighting involved, we've discovered new species of dinosaur and leveled up quite a bit.

So if you're in doubt after the early game on what to do, and don't want to break the feel of such an immersive and fun game by power leveling or doing stuff just to get ahead in the game, try finding out whats past that high hill near you.

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    You can also explore some low level caves. – zozo May 3 '16 at 10:52
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  • Goal 1: Local ARK is like Jurassic Park Pokemon, gotta catch em all.

    Taming two of everything should keep you busy for quite some time.

  • Goal 2: Create bases in the harsher environments.

    Swamps, frost lands, caves, underwater caves, dangerous islands all pose their own unique challenges.

  • Goal 3: Explore the entire map (you already figured this one out)
  • Not a goal but you can fiddle with the server settings to make certain aspects of the game more challenging

    Harder dinos, more dinos, stricter food/water requirements, etc. This will change how you have to play to survive.

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