When you set up a single-player server on ARK, there are a few sections of settings to go through before you even spawn on the island. These manage many aspects of the game, including creature levels, character experience, and whether structures take damage.
While you can change your single-player settings at any time, it’s good to start with a good setup that will offer you an enjoyable experience on the map you’ve selected.
How Do I Choose the Best ARK Settings for Single Player?
Choosing settings for a single-player session of ARK is all about personal preference and time management. Think about the kind of experience you want to have before you start adjusting settings and moving sliders around.
The settings you adjust for your server are less about graphics and how the game looks and more about how the world functions. Each game can feel very different if you run multiple sessions with different settings.
Best Single Player Settings in ARK Survival
When you log onto ARK, there are three categories of settings to choose from as you set up your server. General, Advanced, and Engram settings are a little different and affect your world in different ways. Choose the appropriate tab to adjust the settings.
The difficulty level is a measure of what level dinosaurs can spawn at. You’ll see higher-level dinosaurs and have more challenging encounters as you increase the difficulty.
However, as you increase your level and become stronger, you’ll want to have more brutal foes to face. I always increase it over the 0.2 default settings to at least 1.0.
Dino, player, and structure damage settings measure how much damage different things do. If you want to deal more damage, turn player damage up. If you want to take less damage from wild creatures, turn dino damage down. I prefer to keep these settings at the default of 1.0.
Player, dino, and structure resistance settings adjust your durability. However, it might not work quite the way you’d anticipate. The lower the number on the slider, the less health a player, structure, or dinosaur loses.
Therefore, higher numbers mean you lose more health, not become more durable. I like to turn this up just a bit for myself to take more damage, especially when I’m wearing high-level gear. I prefer to turn it down to about 0.8 on structures and dinosaurs to give them a shot at withstanding attacks from wild creatures.
Your XP multiplier measures how much experience you gain for each action you take. I always turn this up to at least 1.5. Since engrams unlock at different levels, it helps cut down the grind to get better engrams if you’re gaining experience a little more quickly.
Your taming speed is a measure of how quickly you tame dinosaurs. The default rate of 1.0 is relatively low and will require a lot of time to tame, especially if you aren’t using the optimal kibble for each creature. I turn mine up to 4.0 or 5.0 before I start doing any taming.
The structure damage repair cooldown is how long the structure will wait to repair after taking damage. Lower the number if you want to have your buildings healed more quickly. I generally leave it at default for single-player ARK games.
The dino turret damage measures how much damage the dinosaurs take from the turrets. Since you’re on single-player, decide whether to turn it up or down based on how much of a threat non-tamed creatures are when they attack your bases.
The dino harvesting damage measures how much damage dinosaurs do when they’re harvesting. If you increase this scale, they gather more quickly and get resources faster. This is another I leave on the default setting.
The dino harvesting amount measures how much a dinosaur will get when it harvests a creature or resource. Decide how much you want before turning it up. If you change it to 3.0, you’ll get three times the amount of resources you would at the default of 1.0.
The character drain settings adjust how quickly each attribute is used to keep your character or creatures healthy and functional. For example, an increase in food drain means that food will be used more quickly. Decreasing it means that food is used more slowly. Turning these sliders up increases the game’s difficulty while turning them down decreases it.
Personally, I prefer to use less food, water, and stamina than the vanilla settings. I often turn them down to 0.5. Other people who prefer more character micromanagement might like the experience better if they increase the sliders instead.
Health recovery measures how fast you or creatures regain health once you’re damaged. The default feels a little slow, so I like to increase mine to 1.2.
Player harvesting damage is how fast you harvest items. I prefer building or roaming to harvesting, so I increase mine to 1.5.
Dino count is a measure of how many dinosaurs spawn on the server. Adjust it to your liking. Many people prefer to run it as high as 3.0, while others like to increase it to 1.2.
Non-dedicated host tether distance is unimportant in single-player games. It measures how far another player can get to you before they’re teleported back to your location. Lowering it can help lag and other issues on busy servers.
Many of the following settings are self-explanatory or unnecessary for someone playing in a single player world. Here are some of the more important ones to consider.
Disable loot crates will stop drops from falling from the sky in light beams. That can make the game look more realistic, but you might miss out on some valuable items or blueprints. I prefer to leave them on, even if I don’t always like how they look in screenshots.
PVE Mode makes it impossible for one player to damage another. They won’t be able to harm other tribes’ structures and such as well. However, you don’t have to turn this on unless you leave your server open to other players.
If it is connected to the Internet and other players, you might want to turn it on to ensure that all your hard work isn’t demolished when you’re offline. Disabling friendly fire is another setting that only matters when other players are on.
Hardcore mode is an available game mode that I wouldn’t recommend for single-player sessions. It can make the stakes higher, but you don’t only lose your levels when you die. You relinquish ownership of everything you’ve tamed or built. Without another player to reinvite you to the original tribe, they’ll be lost to you.
Use Singleplayer Settings makes the game save every fifteen minutes and doesn’t require particular prefixes to be used before using cheat commands. It’s a great thing to enable for single-player servers.
No downloads is a way to block other items, players, and dinosaurs from joining your server via the transfer system.
I recommend enabling Use Corpse Locator because it makes it much easier to find your body once you die. Since ARK often brings death to players without much warning, it’s nice to know you can get your items back when needed.
Checking Allow Flyer Speed Leveling is also fantastic if you’re not trying to play a hardcore game. Some of the maps are large, and many of the flyers are very slow at default levels.
The next tab over offers various other settings that are more designed for experienced players. You can always change these later, if necessary. Remember that your decisions aren’t set in stone if you later want to try something you haven’t enabled in the past.
The PVE Timer and System Time settings are ones you can ignore. They involve changing the world from PVE to PVP at certain times. The tribal settings are also largely unnecessary in single-player games.
Allow Cave Building PVE is a way to build structures in caves. It’s disabled by default. Since I don’t set up bases in caves, I leave it disabled. However, if you’re going to do deep cave exploration – like in Valguero, you can go deep into a particular cave and meet many unique creatures – consider turning it on. You may want to build little waypoints to rest and craft the necessary gear.
However, consider leaving Enable Extra Structure Prevention Volumes off. Since you’re the only one on the server, you don’t want to restrict where you can build, and this setting will prevent you from building in certain areas with lots of resources.
Always disable PVE Decay settings for both structures and dinosaurs unless you have a specific reason for leaving them on. These will slowly make you lose access to your structures and dinosaurs when you’re offline. You can lose them entirely if you’re offline too long. However, you can adjust the timer settings for them if you prefer to leave them on.
Allow Flyer Carry PVE is a way to enable your flying tames to carry other dinosaurs as needed. I prefer to turn it on for transport purposes. Force allow cave flyers is another one I like to turn on because it means you can still fly in caves. Some people find it a little glitchy, though.
Prevent diseases and non-permanent diseases should be toggled on or off depending on how you feel about getting ill in ARK. If you’re stuck in the swamps and being poisoned repeatedly by red leeches, you can turn prevent diseases on to help you finish your mission there. However, you are disabling part of the game that way, and there are ways around it. I like the challenge, so I leave diseases as is.
Many other settings are sliders that you can adjust at your preference. I like to turn down the poop interval because 1.0 feels high to me, and 0.5 still provides plenty of fertilizer. If you aren’t used to playing on your server, try a few activities and see how they feel before adjusting the sliders.
You might want to turn up your egg hatch speed to 2.0 and your mature speed to 3.0 – but many people prefer to leave them at 1.0 if they have enough time to manage it.
Some people prefer to change the night time speed slider because it can be challenging to see at night. I like the light sources and the difficulty of working at night, so I leave it vanilla – but it’s an entirely personal preference.
Wild and tamed dino stats per level are another thing you adjust according to your preference. I get attached to my tames, so I turn up how much health they get per level to 3.0. I also turn up their food so they can store more. I often also increase the speed of my dinosaurs simply because vanilla speeds seem too slow.
Check out the creatures on your server, and then adjust as necessary. You can also change the add per level and stats affinity based on your preferences.
Your player stats per level and experience multipliers determine how fast you gain experience and how much you level up with each level. If you want to be stronger faster, increase your experience and adjust your stats accordingly.
Custom recipes are a part of the cooking system in ARK. I don’t use them, but I always enable them in case I ever get a desire to do so. If you prefer to use them, determine whether you want the effectiveness to increase so that you get better stats from what you make.
The engram settings are straightforward. If there are some items you don’t want in your game, turn them off, and they won’t appear available. However, since you’re the only one on the server, there’s no need to do this unless you want to prevent yourself from getting a specific item.