A brief guide on getting to Tek Tier in both vanilla Arks and on the Extinction DLC map.
Vanilla Tek Tier
Tek Tier is entered by crafting your first Tek Replicator, which is used to craft with Element in any capacity and requires the learning of Tekgrams. It costs, among other ingredients, 100 Element to build which is difficult to acquire outside of the Extinction and Genesis DLC maps, but still very possible.
Option One: Bosses
*Difficulty is in descending order; Bosses get harder as you scroll down. This list is my opinion and as such, is subjective, your experience may vary.*
Broodmother Lysrix– Island
The easiest boss of the four Island bosses is by far the Broodmother, able to be killed on Gamma difficulty with a single, decent Megatherium and a reasonably good saddle, the animals insect buff giving it enough to tank anything thrown at it. This applies to Beta as well, however it would be smart to bring veggie cakes and a very good saddle. Any of the Alpha-level bosses are given an Alpha Buff similar to the normal alpha dinos fought on the Ark and would likely kill a solo tame even with imprint and a godly saddle. For the Alpha Broodmother, it’s a good idea to breed and imprint around a dozen Megas with a Yutyrannus using a Courage Roar to increase their attack and defense. Even with the alpha buff however, the Spider is still a very easy and simple boss fight with the only real complication being her heavy hits, which is solved with good saddles and veggie cakes to heal. Bring good armor in case you accidentally dismount.
A marginally more difficult fight than the Broodmother, the Monkey’s only real difficulty spike is its increased beefiness. It operates fairly similarly to the Broodmother, smacking you with melee and ranged attacks and occasionally spawning in mobs, however the Megatheriums will likely not be enough to take it down at Alpha difficulty. The difficulty scaling for the Island bosses are pretty straightforward: Gamma = Very Easy, Beta = Easy, Alpha = Hard, so when fighting Alpha Monkey, I would suggest using upwards of a dozen, imprinted, max tame Rexes with 80~ saddles or an arrangement of dinos equivalent to that. Methods for fighting bosses other than the Spider vary a great deal and you can use a wide range of creatures, some methods include Woolly Rhinos, some include Theris, I advise testing out dinos you wish to fight with.
Most bosses can be fought on other maps and the Dragon is a prime example of one you shouldn’t fight on the island if you can avoid it. Not only is it insanely more difficult than the other two bosses, it has the added difficulty of being able to fly, do increased damage to carnivores, enflame the creatures you bring in and yourself, summon dimorphodons (which can attack your character directly, even while mounted) as well as having lava in and around the arena you fight it in. Unless you’re looking to fight the overseer, I would suggest fighting the Dragon on Ragnarok or Valguero where it is much, much less difficult. Dino formations are usually high level Rexes and a Yut, some people bring Daedons to heal, some people use a squad of Therizinos as they do not suffer from the Carnivore debuff against it, however they usually are not enough to kill the alpha Dragon unless they’re moderately mutated or very well-bred.
Overseer– Island Exclusive
The Overseer is a boss fought inside of the Tek Cave within the Volcano on the Island. It requires you to fight the same level bosses and collect their trophies before confronting it. Naturally it is more difficult to take on than most any other boss in Ark (not including the King Titan) and offers some of the more important Tekgrams as a reward, but little else. If you’re strictly fighting bosses for Element, you will get none from fighting the Overseer. (unless you happen to pick some up off the ground or harvest some dust from the Enforcers and Drones the Overseer summons.) The difficulty curve is similar to any other boss, getting proportionally harder as you fight through Gamma, Beta and Alpha, so if you’re curious about how hard the boss is, try fighting Gamma before doing any other difficulty. Methods are usually limited to Rexes for casual players but breeding super-dinos is always an option and can be very useful in this fight in particular.
The easiest way to farm bosses for Element is to fight the Trio on Valguero, the bosses there are significantly debuffed and can be taken on relatively easily as a solo.
When fighting alpha level bosses, always remember to bring very strong, very durable armor, a ranged weapon of some kind to deal with any mobs your Rexes can’t get to or to pull aggro, bring medbrews or custom food to heal with, make sure any herbivores have veggie cakes, (usually 20 each is more than enough for a boss fight regardless of what you’re using) if you’re using a Daedon, it’s much smarter to have someone riding it and actively healing what needs to be healed rather than leaving it on passive in the corner, if you’re a solo you can have the Daedon follow (on medium follow distance) something in the front of the pack and put it on passive flee, this will ensure that it is going to stay near the fight without ever pulling too much aggro. You will also want to make it ignore group whistles, as you will be using them to direct your attackers in the fight. If nobody is riding it, make sure it has a crap ton of cooked mutton or prime meat on it, as this gives it more food per bite than regular meat or berries and you will be draining through food rather quickly. Always try to bring a Yutyrannus, the level is inconsequential as you will not be attacking with it, only using its Courage Roar to buff your fighters. Roar repeatedly until you can no longer see the Green/Yellow Ring above affected creatures heads, make sure all fighters are buffed for the duration of the fight to ensure you get the most out of the Courage Roar.
When you’ve defeated a boss, make sure you get the killing blow with your dino, as there are issues with not getting your Element and Loot rewards if bosses are killed with a projectile or melee weapon. You are unable to harvest bodies of bosses so don’t worry about a random dino eating the loot, however you must remember to collect the loot from the body of the boss, it will not be transferred to your inventory automatically. You should also run around and collect the death bags from any slain tames, as the saddles needed to fight high-level bosses are usually quite expensive to make and they will not be given back to you once you are teleported outside of the arena. You will not be able to retrieve the bags after returning to the main island, and your arena time is reduced to 30 seconds once a boss is killed, so don’t dawdle.
Option Two: Tek Farms
The main idea is to have a decent amount of breeding Tek Dinos and simply harvest the babies when they hatch. (Every Tek Dino is Oviparous.) You can also let the dino grow to adulthood and then harvest them with a high % Chainsaw, this will net the highest dust yield but if you’re really in-need for more, you can level the dinos HP before death to get slightly more. I prefer raising Tek Rexes for this, as they can be dually useful as boss fighters, but Tek Stegos are also extremely useful especially if you’re playing PVP or are planning on fighting Rockwell at any point, they also yield slightly more Dust than a Tek Rex.
Using this method will also yield a high amount of Metal, Electronics and Oil, all very useful materials for your survival. This method is by far the slowest and most time-consuming, however the payout is reasonable if you’re not at the point where you can repeatedly fight bosses or simply don’t want to constantly farm Artifacts and Apex Trophies. You also have the option of just hunting for wild Tek dinos though this has never netted me any significant amount of dust proportional to the time I put into finding them.
DLC Tek Tier
Option One: Element Veins
Element Veinscome in three distinct variants, colloquially known as “10k, 25k and 50k” veins respective to their Health pool. Each is harder to purify than the last, spawning increasingly powerful Corrupted Dinos in waves whos remaining numbers can be monitored by inspecting the center of the Element Vein once activated and Claimed. It is important you claim the vein or OSD you are defending so both other players can’t harvest it* and so it doesn’t despawn if you leave too far from the area.*
10k Element Veins – Easy
Likely the first you will try and complete to get a replicator, these veins typically spawn medium-high level Dilos, Raptors, Carnos, Dimorphs, Pteras, Trikes, Stegos and Spinos. These are significantly easier and much more approachable to a new player, requiring little more than time and a decent Wyvern/Rex to finish purifying. Take your time, make sure to keep the center structure as healthy as possible (as its health is representative of how much element you will be able to theoretically harvest from it) and you should be more than fine. I recommend turning victim item harvesting off for whatever you’re using to fight unless you want to constantly throw away corrupted nodes and meat.
25k Element Veins – Medium
A 25k would be a little too much for a solo on a Wyvern or unmutated Rex, I advise getting a relatively decent Giga or team of Rexes to tank the damage from the Enraged creatures a 25k will inevitably spawn. Check the wiki for specifics on spawns, the article linked at the beginning of this section is incredibly comprehensive if you want a more in-depth explanation of Element Veins. I highly recommend you read over some of the important bits before attempting a vein for the first time.
50k Element Veins – Hard
The difficulty curve is exponential in the case of Element Veins, you can basically assume each one becomes twice as hard as the last. With the 50k, you will see a high number of Corrupted Wyverns, Enraged Rexes and nearly 8x the number of enemies in levels ranging well over 300. Defending these is simple with heavily bred Gigas however I wouldn’t feel very confident tackling them with less than 6 imprinted 150 tame Gigas and OP saddles. Do not let any Enraged creature hit the main vein or you will likely lose it, as they do an astronomical amount of damage to it. Be extremely prepared when handling these veins as they are not meant for inexperienced players.
*This is different depending on server settings and a number of other variables. You might not be able to prevent other players from vulturing your vein and your drops/veins may or may not despawn depending on your distance from them.
Option Two: Orbital Supply Drops (OSDs)
Orbital Dropsoffer significantly more in the way of custom blueprints and crafted Tek Equipment than Element, however they can yield a substantial amount if you’re luck is good or you take a Purple drop to the wave limit.
While not broken up into the same system as normal Airdrops color-wise, they generally work in the same way with Blue being the worst quality and subsequently the easiest to defend, Purple being the best quality while being monumentally difficult to defend.
Blue/Yellow – Easy – Low Loot Quality
Typically I would say practice on a Blue drop just to see how they function and, in general, to find out what to expect from more difficult drops, but don’t expect anything worthwhile unless you’re extremely lucky. These will still drop useful things like Cryopods and occasionally a good blueprint, but people only typically farm these for levels or because they’re desperate. Any Wyvern or Rex can easily handle these and prep isn’t as important as it is for Red and Purple drops. I still advise taking something reasonably strong, corrupted dinos are still quite tanky. A good tame to do these drops is the Enforcer, as their movement options are much better than most other tames as well as having a huge buff against Corrupted Dinos. These drops only have 6 rounds and will end after the sixth round is complete, it sometimes takes a few minutes for the Drop to allow you to open it so take that into account if you’re in a dangerous situation. These Drops will begin with a “Wave 0”, and will conclude when “Wave 5” is complete.
Red/Purple – Hard – High Loot Quality
Reds are usually what I farm solo, as they are reasonably less difficult than a Purple but still offer decent loot as well as experience. If you’re trying to level Gigas or Rexes for a boss, I recommend Red drops. These also only last six rounds and will end just as the Yellow and Blue Drops do. Purple drops however, will not end until you have met two requirements: You’ve completed the seventh wave (wave #8) and you end the OSD manually via the drop itself. The quality of Purple drops scale depending on how many waves you complete, capping at the fourteenth wave (completing waves 0-14, so 15) however you can do them indefinitely if you’re really interested in dying. The difficulty also scales with the waves, so later waves will be much more difficult than initial ones. I would recommend a half dozen very strong Gigas with very good saddles and maybe some in reserve in case you take one too many Wyvern flames.
Tips for Veins/OSDs
- Harvest Veins with a mantis wielding a decent, crafted Pickax and you will net a substantially larger amount than if you were to harvest it by hand.
- Do not harvest a vein with any other dino, Ankys and Doeds do not harvest anything from a vein and you will waste your time trying.
- You can and should harvest the smaller veins encircling the large center vein. Harvesting the center vein first will destroy all the other smaller veins.
- It’s usually smart to bring an Enforcer or Rock Drake to round up the stragglers stuck in awkward places or for emergency evacuation in case you bite off more than you can chew and need to ditch the vein/OSD. Having a mobile mount is important only if you’re using a larger, slow mount like a Giga or Rex squad.
- It is no longer viable to defend veins/OSDs using turret Velos, however they are still very much useful while mounted, especially against Enraged creatures.
- Generally, people turn off the Shield protecting OSDs, as they typically offer very little in the way of defense and make it difficult to attack groups of enemies all at once. I personally do the same, but there’s no other advantage to turning the shield off other than grouping. It’s incredibly unlikely you will be able to defend a drop with health remaining in the shield, regardless of whether you turn the it off or not. You cannot turn the shield on again after turning it off.
- Artificial Tek Creatures such as the Enforcer and Mek (not Tek Dinos) do increased damage against Corrupted Creatures, however if the server settings don’t prevent it, they will do a significant amount of damage to the vein and smaller nodes surrounding it as well, so chose wisely if you want to use one or not. Personally I advise against the Mek for Veins.
- If you bring a Mek to defend an OSD, it’s a good idea to bring a cheap Scout as well to heal it in-between waves.
- If you’re willing to expend the resources and risk a tame, you can put a Tek Shield and Generator on the back of a Quetzal wearing a platform saddle as well as Tek Turrets (which do increased damage to Corrupted creatures) to create a mobile shield that you’re unable to damage yourself. The Turrets will help you move the Quetz if it becomes too endangered or the Shield breaks. (Which it is likely to do on a 50k Vein or Red/Purple Drop.)
- If your server doesn’t specifically prohibit it, you can set up turret platforms by themselves next to the Drop/Vein you are attempting to defend. Remember that Corrupted Creatures can damage any kind of structure.
List will be added to as I remember/discover other tips.
Please let me know if you think there’s anything this guide is missing or if there are any tips you have that others can learn from in the comments, I try to keep all my guides up to date with patches and new DLC, even older ones, so if anything in this guide become obsolete or out of date (as I’m sure GenOne and GenTwo will do to Extinction) please let me know so I can change it. And If this guide helped you at all or you think others could use this information, please rate and favorite. If you don’t like it or think it’s fundamentally flawed, please let me know why, I like to try and take all of the community’s opinion into consideration when making Guides for newer players.
Stay alive out there.