Aberration, the paid DLC expansion for Ark: Survival Evolved that arrived this week on PC and consoles, includes a lot of weird, new stuff such as invisible flying lizards and a Reaper Queen that can impregnate the player with baby reapers. It also has a new type of mushroom that causes beautiful, dizzying hallucinations.
Like all the other cool stuff in Ark, though, the fungi will kill you if you aren't properly prepared. Passing through the green spores emitted by Red Mushrooms might seem like a smart idea, and for a few seconds it certainly looks like one as the world melts into a pool of bright colours and pulsating shapes. For a moment you might even feel like your avatar is breathing as one with the game's entire, life-filled world.
Then a few more seconds go by and you potentially end up dead, since side effects also include uncontrollable changes in direction, forgetfulness, trouble breathing, and bouts of endless defecation. If you're playing the new Aberration area and begin experiencing any of these symptoms you should tell your doctor immediately and/or get the hell out of whatever circle of psychedelic fungi death you unwittingly stumbled into.
If it isn't already too late. One player reported travelling through the expansion's damaged ARK (the game's term for biospheres floating out in space) when they suddenly and unexpectedly started tripping. Brian Deter, the player in question, didn't think he saw any Red Mushrooms around at the time, but it didn't matter: He was already dead.
"While I was exploring the new map I ran into this spot where I started hallucinating, and the timer kept refreshing rather than running out," he said in an email. "The first time I died I figured I just didn't notice the mushrooms. The second time I was paying careful attention and didn't touch any mushrooms, but still died. The third time, since I play on my own private server, I used God mode to recover my gear, and then used the infinite stats to take the video."
At one point, Deter said he tried to look underneath the terrain while on his server, thinking he'd find evidence of the Red Mushrooms after all, but still nothing turned up. He isn't alone, either; other players have reported similar phantom Red Mushroom spots across the new area.
There are ways to try and defend yourself against the hallucinogenic effects. Aggeravic Mushrooms, better known simply as Brown Mushrooms, can be eaten ahead of time to give the player a poison immunity buff. If you're travelling around the expansion with a lot of stuff you might want to do just that, especially if there are potentially glitched areas out there such as the one Deter experienced.
And if you do get caught in an endless loop of mind-altering and literally heart-stopping visions, well, at least your death was a pretty one.