As of December 2022, the maximum player level is 205: survivors start at level 1, 104 levels can be gained normally, 75 gained by defeating end-game bosses, 10 gained from collecting all Explorer Notes on every map, 5 acquired by levelling up a Chibi (a cosmetic event pet), and a total of 10 levels for collecting all Fjordur Runes. Once you have reached this limit, you will not be able to level up anymore.
On ARK: Survival Evolved Mobile, the maximum player level is 100, without the need to defeat Bosses.
Creatures can level up 88 times. Once your creature has reached this limit, they will not be able to level up anymore. Prior to Genesis: Part 2's release, this limit was 73 for most creatures, but this is no longer the case.
The max level for wild creatures and wild Tek creatures before taming is 150 and 180, respectively. After taming, the levels can be 224 or 269 respectively.
On official servers, Creatures have a hard-capped limit at level 450. Tameable creatures introduced in the Genesis DLCs, R-Creatures and X-Creatures, and Lost Island's Dinopithecus are the only exception, with 500 being their hard-cap. Creatures at their respective hard-caps and above will spontaneously disappear when the server resets (if not in a cryopod). Cryopodded creatures beyond their hard-cap may fail to de-pod.
There are five core methods of levelling: Harvesting, Crafting, Hunting, Explorer Notes, and Tribe Work.
- Harvest: Typically 'Harvesting' gains very small experience when picking by hand. Tools that give more resources when used give a little more exp.
- Crafting: is experience that is gained by making items or building structures. The more resources that are needed in an Engram to craft something, the more experience that is gained. Crafting is alternatively the Peaceful method of levelling and can compete with the Hunting method. However, gaining the materials by harvesting can make it very repetitive, whereas hunting sometimes calls for creative strategies.
- Hunting: is the experience gained by killing. The range of amount of experience received depends on what is slain. Ranging from non-dangerous creatures such as Dodo and Coel to dangerous creatures such as Titanosaurus to a Giga; the higher the level and the more dangerous the dinosaur, the greater the amount of XP received.
- Explorer Notes: Explore notes range from pots and chests to backpacks and tek boxes, but are usually found in ruins or in hard to reach spots. Explorer notes boost XP gain by 2x or 4x. This effect last for several minutes and the note itself gives a large amount of XP. 2x and 4x notes stack for a total of 8x XP, but collecting the same type of note (ex: collecting another 2x while having 2x boost) will add to the effect time instead of stacking. Collecting notes before doing other levelling activities can greatly increase XP gain.
- Tribe Work: is the bonus experience gained by nearby tribemates gaining experience from any method.
For further tips or advice see: Tips And Tricks#Levelling Up
If you don't feel confident to fight large groups of wild dinos or other creatures, then crafting is effectively a safe way to level up.
Note that this method will only level the player. The only exception is if a tribe-mate crafts things nearby and you are either riding a mount or carrying a small creature, then both you, the tribe-mate and the tamed creatures will benefit from the shared xp-gain.
Early game, you can gather large amounts of Fiber and craft Cloth Armor continuously, to build a couple of levels and whenever the Spear engram is unlocked then do the same. If you do a Note run, craft Cooking Pots as soon as you finish. Cooking Pots give a large amount of XP for their cost. Craft them until your XP boost runs out.
Mid-game, you will gain levels by crafting the general structures such as floor Foundation needed for a Shelter or Base. Another advice that may help since the Wooden Raft engram calls for large amount of resources, crafting it gives typically more experience compared to basic structures.
Late-game, the crafting method of levelling can become very tedious to players who don't prefer to build, so it is recommended to move onto the killing or hunting method.
There are many ways to gain experience and level up. One way to do this is hunting dinosaurs. At first, you may want to stick to easier herbivores, such as Diplodocus or Moschops. If you are willing to take on a Bronto you can gain quite a lot of XP, if you succeed in killing it. Two other dangerous herbivores that have good exp is the Triceratops and Therizino Until you get to that point, stay away from them.
Now, if you tame yourself a powerful dino, consider fighting larger carnivores, such as Rex and Carno. These dinosaurs will give you quite the amount of experience compared to smaller creatures like the Dilo and Raptor. Just make sure you're ready for the challenge, because these will not be easy until mid game.
Alphas and Brutes
Alpha Creatures should not be underestimated. These beasts will tear you apart in minutes, or even seconds. However, if you are powerful enough to take them down, they grant massive amounts of experience, and if you're lucky, some high quality drops. Especially in endgame, Alpha Creatures are the way to go. Do not fight them if you are not ready. You will most likely lose your dinosaur, your life and all of your items. The risk to take is your decision.
Dead Island (The Island)
The Dead Island can be just as dangerous as the Alpha Creatures. Carno, Raptor, Pulmonoscorpius, Sabertooth and Argentavis spawn in bulk. The occasional Rex also can be seen fighting large amounts of predators. Rarely, but possible, you will see Alphas here. It is suggested you go level up a little on the main island before traveling over here. Travelling to The Dead Island can be a challenge. You will most likely need a Wooden Raft. Craft one of those, place your dinosaur on the raft, and drive over. You can do this, or, for the medium-small creatures, you can use either an Argentavis or Quetzal to fly them over. Be wary as you're levelling, your bird may get attacked, use this plan at your own risk. However, if you use a Raft, be aware that there is a chance that your Raft can be attacked - and highly probable that it will be destroyed - by a Alpha Leedsichthys.
Swamp Cave (The Island)
The Swamp Cave is a relatively easy cave with the right gear. Refer to the Swamp Cave page for gear requirements, however, the true bare minimum for the cave is just the clothing and basic foodstuffs. A Megatherium of level 100 or greater without any post-tame levelling will make quick work of the cave, however, you will need a Cryopod to get it through a few tight areas. Before you start the cave, it is recommended to get both a 4x and 2x explorer note for maximum XP gain, get the 4x note last and immediately rush to the cave to maximize XP. 1 swamp cave run will give ~70,000 XP. With both notes, that increases to ~560,000 XP.
If you are making a new character and plan on running swamp cave to get to lvl 100 quickly, it is a very good idea to do the extinction note run referenced above instead of the island note run in order to save the notes on the island for the cave.
Killing Titanosaurs using a Thylacoleo is a strategy that requires less preparation than the swamp cave but is arguably more risky. It is recommended to do the Extinction note run first for new characters to Save the notes on the island for the strategy. Titanosaur give 80,000 - 112,000 XP when killed but have extremely high health, however, they are still susceptible to bleed effects. The Thylacoleo does a flat 5% health damage over 5 seconds with their bite (Gnashed Status effect). This can be used to dish out 11,500 damage per bite against . The Titanosuar has 230,000 HP regardless of level, which means that ~19 bites will put it at about 6,000 - 10,000 hp. Bite the tail of the Titanosaur to avoid its attacks, the Titanosaur has a short aggro, making it easy to run away, loose aggro, and bite the Titanosaur again. The goal is to get the titan below 12,000 HP. Use the Magnifying glass to check HP often to avoid accidentally killing the Titanosaur with bleed, which will not give XP. Once the Titan is below 12,000 HP wait a few minutes for it regenerate to 12,000. After it Regenerates, get 4x and 2x XP Explorer Notes to maximize XP gain. Bite the Titanosaur a final time to put it at extremely low health and then finish it off with a crossbow. This should grant upwards of 640,000 - 896,000 XP.
- Even a low level Thylacoleo (~25) works for this strategy, but a little bit of extra care must be taken to avoid damage.
- You can skip waiting for the Titanosaur to regenerate and just kill it after it is below 12,000 from the bleed, this will require about 200 arrows and more than 1 crossbow. However, there is a chance the notes will run out before it is killed.
Killing Baby Creatures
This method of levelling is one that sounds gruesome but is highly effective at earning a large amount of XP with little effort and no risk. Baby creatures when killed give an equal amount of XP as if you were to kill it fully grown. Giganotosaurus when killed gives large amounts of XP so a high level breeding group can supply you with eggs for easy levelling in addition with the other listed methods above. As of the release of Carcharodontosaurus, Carcharos are by far the best baby to kill, as they give 3000 xp, the highest of any breedable creature. The only creatures that give more xp than Carcharos are Bosses, Titanosaur, Alphas and Deathworms. Other types of creature babies such as Rexś and Spinos can also be used for this method as well. The addition of the egg incubator with Genesis:Part 2 will be a great asset to use when hatching eggs. The incubator can keep eggs ready to hatch for whenever they are needed just remember that once the eggs are ready to hatch they cannot be removed from the incubator.
Amount of received Experience can be increased with certain temporary bonuses:
|??? & HLN-A Special Explorer Notes||+400%|
|Velonasaur Stalk (Genesis: Part 2)||+50%|
|Broth of Enlightenment||+50%|
|Golden Hesperornis Egg||+10%|
|Golden Hesperornis Egg||+500% if creature is small|
Levels and Ascensions
You can level your survivor up to level 105 by default. Clearing the Tek Cave on The Island, defeating Manticore on Scorched Earth, Ragnarok or Valguero, defeating Rockwell at Aberration, beating Master Controller at Genesis, beating Rockwell Prime on Genesis Part 2, and levelling 1 Chibi-Pets gained from events will further increase the maximum level of the Survivor, as per stated below Character Levels. Each level gives you a skill point to both increase the attributes and a certain amount of Engram Points.
Chibi-Pets grants 1 extra level per every level it gains, up to a maximum of 5 extra levels. Collecting all Explorer Notes will grant you an additional 10 levels. Gamma variant of last bosses gives extra 5 level, Beta extra 10 and Alpha extra 15 (Non-cumulative on identical bosses). As of current, the maximum level obtainable is level 205 with all the above cleared at Alpha and Max level Chibi-Pets. Plus finding all runes on Fjordur. Without any of it, the maximum level obtainable is 105. In this table, "XP" is "Experience points" and "EP" is "Engram points".
|XP needed||XP total||EP gained||EP total||XP total||EP gained||EP total|
- As of patch 257: Pre-Ascension level is capped at 100. Ascension gives a maximum of 15 extra levels for your character (+5 for each tier of the Tek Cave Gamma, Beta, Alpha).
- As of patch 257: 3144 max engram points at level 100. 15 extra ascension levels gives you 1050 extra engram points.
- Patch 275 brought the level cap to 130. Aberration Rockwell boss unlocks an additional 15 levels similar to ascension. +5 for each Gamma, Beta, and Alpha.
- Patch 280.114 brought the level cap to 131 (without ascensions, at 101).
- Patch 281.107 brought the level cap to 132 (without ascensions, at 102).
- Patch 282.102 brought the level cap to 133 (without ascensions, at 103).
- Patch 283.101 brought the level cap to 134 (without ascensions, at 104).
- Patch 284.104 brought the level cap to 135 (without ascensions, at 105).
- Patch 304.1 brought the level cap to 140.
- Patch 306.41 brought the level cap to 155. Defeating Master Controller from Genesis Simulation unlocks an additional 15 levels similar to ascension. +5 for each Gamma, Beta, and Alpha.
- Patch 329.5 brought the level cap to 180. Defeating Rockwell Prime on Genesis unlocks an additional 15 levels similar to ascension. +5 for each Gamma, Beta, and Alpha as well as 10 level for collecting all Explorer Notes
- As of patch 346.11 level cap now stands at 190. Collecting 2x 100 Runes on Fjordur grants 5 max levels, for a total of 10.
- Patch 355.3 brought the level cap to 205. Defeating Manticore from Scorched Earth unlocks an additional 15 levels similar to ascension. +5 for each Gamma, Beta, and Alpha.
Creature levels are split between Wild Levels and Domestic Levels. The maximum level for wild creatures is 150 (dependent on the difficulty settings). Once tamed, creatures gain additional levels based on Taming Effectiveness. At 99.9% taming effectiveness, the creature gains ((level / 2) - 1) rounded up. This places the highest level for an unbred creature with no domestic levels at 224 if it was tamed at level 150. Most creatures will lose some taming effectiveness during taming, so some creatures have a lower maximum possible post tame level. Finally through breeding you can get creatures who are well above and beyond that number (the maximum level of any Dino on official servers has been capped at 450 as of July 2017). Each wild level results in a point being randomly assigned to one of the creatures stats.
You can level up a tamed creature 88 times past the original level it was tamed at (after Taming Effectiveness is applied), these are known as domestic levels. Each level, you gain a skill point to increase one of the attributes of your tamed creature. These levels are not displayed separately in-game, but are instead combined into one overall creature level.
In case you forgot at which level a creature was tamed, have a look in this creature's inventory at the XP bar. The number after the slash (/) corresponds to the XP total of the next level according to the following table.
|XP needed||XP total||XP needed||XP total|
* This number seems odd compared to the adjacent levels, but is correct in this table, it only reflects the in-game weirdness.
Currently a Dino can't have more than 22213960 XP.
From 60 levels the difficulty to continue levelling up is much higher.
|181.0||66 (+2)||40 (+2)|
|186.0||70 (+4)||44 (+4)|
|216.0||85 (+5)||55 (+5)|
|218.0||88 (+3)||58 (+3)|
|224.0||91 (+3)||61 (+3)|
|239.0||93 (+2)||63 (+2)|
|243.0||95 (+2)||65 (+2)|
|243.6||97 (+2)||67 (+2)|
|246.2||99 (+2)||69 (+2)|
|254.0||104 (+5)||71 (+2)|
Aberration expansion release
|280.114||131 (+1)||72 (+1)|
|281.107||132 (+1)||73 (+1)|
Genesis: Part 1 expansion release
|155 (+15)||73 / 88 (+15)|
Genesis: Part 2 expansion release
Fjordur expansion release
Scorched Earth Ascension added
- Lystrosaurus around your base helps boost XP for your creatures. Just make sure to pet them on a frequent basis, otherwise they won't provide the boost creature. When you walk up to it, you can press the use-key (E, , ) to pet it. It will then do a little dance or jump of joy. Once this is done, the XP boost will be active for about 5 minutes. A procoptodon can be used to carry a lystrosaurus in its pouch on hunting expeditions, which provides added safety and mobility.
- If you are levelling up a carnivore, bring lots of Raw Meat with you. Remote using meat on the dino when it is injured will help it heal much quicker.
- If you are levelling up a herbivore, bring some Sweet Veggie Cakes with you. Remote using them on the dino when it is injured well help it heal much quicker.
- Fighting Giganotosaurus or Titanosaur for levelling players and dinos is possible. As of v256 a tamed non-bred mate pair of Giganotosaurus with a saddle armor in excess of 90 armor, health in the 18k range and melee over 200% will reliably kill Titans on official in about 1 minute while taking between 0 and 5000 damage (varies based on how frequently the Titan runs from the player). If player XP is desired, all riders not getting the killing blow should back away and dismount their giga just prior to the player killing the Titan. Lower armor saddles, no mate boosting may also be possible, but risks enraging. Imprint bonus allows much lower saddle armor to be used while still preventing enrage.
- Using Mindwipe Tonic on your player will reset you back to level 1 while keeping your Experience, allowing you to level up all over again to your previous level. This does not work on creatures.
- The Broth of Enlightenment will multiply any Experience earned by 150% upon consumption. The effects last 20 minutes.
- When levelling any creature, try knocking trees down with melee attacks. For some reason, trees give a decent amount of experience when destroyed, even if the creature destroying them cannot actually harvest them.
Reach the maximum survivor level.
- Reaching the max player level will award the "Maximum Survivor" achievement.
- Reaching the max dinosaur level of any tamed creature will award the "Maximum Dinosaur" achievement.