Saying Atlas is just a skin of ARK is what is the complete joke. I get why people thought that, because in fact, that was the original intention…that it just be an ARK DCL, but there are so many differences. A few things are the same, and just reskinned, such as your basic tools and the Smithy.
Most people never learned the game and left because of the early bugs. At this point, the only problem with Atlas, are the same problems that all survival games have.
If you have a small group of say, 4 to 24 people, you might want to find a good unofficial server. But, with 24 hard core players that put in a lot of time, you can still be fairly successful in Atlas, on official.
As to what is different compared to ARK…many many things.
No flyers to ride.
Ships to build
Animals tame differently
An emphasis on exploration…need to get those discovery points to level up.
Different Crafting Stations
Making better gear is different than ARK.
In ARK, you just need to find a Blueprint. In Atlas, the Blueprints only have so many crafts available on them. Also, in addition, each level higher requires more types of resources to craft. By that, I mean this…in ARK, a higher level just requires more resources to make, usually. So instead of 10 ingots, it might need 25. In Atlas, there are at least 6 types of every resource. So for instance:
So, if you are making a common item, and it requires some wood, metal, and thatch, any one of those on these lists will do.
If, however, you are using a BP that is just above Common, you will need to have two types of each resource, in the amount required by the blueprint. So, for instance, the common might need 10 metal, but a Fine BP you find might require 2 x 15 Metal. You will need 15 of any two metals. That means 15 of each. But, it can be any two types.
The quality goes as thus:
- Common 1x resources
- Fine 2x resources
- Journeyman 3x resources
- Masterwork 4x resources
- Legendary 5x resources
- Mythical 6x resources + Mythos
Mythos is something you get by killing certain creatures, many of which are not at all easy to kill. Yeti, Cyclops, etc…
Many things have been added, and many things made better than they were. Honestly, for people who have not played, I would play on a vanilla PvE server for a while, and learn as much about the game as possible. Then go to a PvP server. Even if you played the game shortly after release…it has seen a lot of changes.