Choosing the best mods for an ARK server can feel a bit like groping blindly in the dark for a light switch. You know what you want is there, but you aren’t quite sure how to find it. There are thousands of mods in the Steam Workshop, and finding the right ones will help you make your server even more fun and immersive.
Modding ARK accomplishes a few things: it can make your world feel whole and interactive. It can make your buildings more exciting and give you the ability to decorate them to your taste. It can also fix problems in vanilla ARK or even reintroduce old features that Wildcard removed. Even if you want to run a completely normal server, there are a few mods that might make it better.
Best Mods for ARK
The best mods for Ark: Survival Evolved are different for everyone. Certain mods work better on specific maps. Others change or control niche aspects of the game which are only suitable for certain people.
These must have mods for ark are absolute essentials for any server. Consider adding them to give a quality-of-life boost to your players.
Structures Plus is one of the most widely used ARK mods and one you want to add to your server. It improves every aspect of building. It helps in adding continuous structure placement, stackable foundation, crop plots that snap, and hidden wires and pipes.
It also implements a variety of quality of life upgrades, including adding electricity to gas-powered structures, locking and pin-coded crafting stations, and silent structures.
If you’ve ever lost a tame, you know how frustrating it can be to find them before a hostile creature does. Dino Tracker gives you a convenient way to find your tames, no matter what map you play on.
It can even help you find other members of your tribe or alliance when they’re lost — which has come in handy for me more times than I can count.
When Wildcard nerfed flying dinosaurs, players were outraged. No longer were they able to level speed, which means that even a high-level pteranodon would fly relatively slowly.
Classic Flyers fixes that problem by rolling back the clock and returning the flying dinosaurs to the way they were when the game began. However, you can’t use this mod with other mods that change flyers, so be careful about which mods you combine with it.
Night in ARK is dark. Additional Lighting gives you more lighting options to help you keep working on your settlement until dawn. You can adjust the intensity and strength of the lights, change their heights when they’re mounted on the ceiling, and set them to turn on and off automatically.
It might surprise you to know that you will need vast quantities of spoiled meat at times in ARK. As much as it already goes bad and fills your inventory during travel, it’s not enough.
It’s an ingredient in Narcotic. You need Narcotic to tame. Ergo, you need the Meat Spoiler to make lots of sedatives for your future tames.
Some items you find yourself making over and over again. For me, it was bolas and grappling hooks. Parachutes also quickly disappeared. With Utilities Plus, you can create reusable versions.
eco’s RP Decor
Once you’ve built your different outposts, you’ll want to decorate them to make them feel like home. Eco’s RP Decor has a wide variety of furniture, including appliances, decorative food, torches, and flags.
There are even dinosaur head wall mounts to help you remember your wildest conquests.
eco’s Shoppe Decor
If you want to have a thriving market or even a little stall for other players to visit, consider eco’s Shoppe Decor. It puts in mailboxes, barber chairs, benches, plushies, tablecloths, padded seating, and more.
The mod even includes shelves and bookcases where you can display other things you’ve collected for your customers to browse.
Peachy Decor offers an excellent range of furniture to fill up any place you make. It focuses on the basics that you might need, including beds, tables, thrones, and dressers.
The mod author says that there’s basic furniture you can paint, ordinary furniture that is a little fancier, and then high-end furniture fit for keeps and castles.
Breeding is one of the most complex aspects of ARK. There are not many mods that change the breeding system, surprisingly. Probably because of how in-depth it already is.
Breeding Involved makes the babies created from your dinosaurs have better stats. This will make you have more dangerous dinosaurs in just a few generations. The mod author even says that you could create a dodo that could kill a t-rex.
ARK Additions: The Collection
ARK Additions: The Collection is a bundle of all the other creature packs released except the Indominus. If you’re looking to add more valuable creatures to your game, this mod is a serious contender.
Some of the animals you can tame from it are even more helpful than their vanilla variants.
Normal taming is done with a food stack and an open inventory. This mod aims to make it more realistic by helping players create a trusting friendship with the creatures they’re trying to tame.
For example, Immersive Taming includes petting, bait feeding, protecting the dinosaur, and killing its target. All of these can help boost the tame percentage.
This adds a challenging tame to your possibilities once you reach level 100 and receive its egg. While you’re raising the baby, it might even have a meltdown and attack you or your other tames — so it’s a longer and more complex process than taming other creatures.
For this effort, Domination Rex rewards you with a friend that comes with many bonuses, including heating and cooling.
Kraken’s Better Dinos
Kraken’s Better Dinos changes a lot of things about the vanilla dinosaurs in the game. For example, it buffs the Carnotaurus to have reduced rotation rates while charging, increased attack range, and lower footsteps volume.
It offers changes for almost every creature, which you can view in the linked document on the main mod page.
HG Stacking Mod
ARK is a game where you need to be able to cart around many resources simultaneously. With HG Stacking Mod, you can increase the amount you can hold and decrease the weight of your items.
Keep in mind that this needs to be high in the load order list for your mods and will remove everything made with it when you remove it — so be sure you want to effects before you add it to your server.
Moving across an ARK map can be a huge pain because the world’s size is so enormous. Even on the smallest maps, having to move your tribes’ assets is cumbersome and difficult.
Use Teleport Pad to make it a bit easier. It will teleport all the players and creatures in its radius and has customizable colors and labels.
Castles, Keeps, and Forts: Remastered
This building mod includes incredible pieces to build your own castles, homes, and other types of dwellings. The elements appear much more advanced than those that come with vanilla ARK.
For players who like to construct massive cities and settlements, Castles, Keeps, and Forts: Remastered is also beneficial because of its advanced building system.
Versatile Raft Mod
Whether you want to sail through ARK on a pirate ship or have a raft that moves quickly, Versatile Raft Mod has you covered. The ships are faster, more varied, and more customizable than the options in the base game.
Though it hasn’t been updated in years, it’s still a must-have on my servers.
With this mod, you can meet random people on your map and tame them to turn them into friends. You can use them as guards, turrets, or resource gatherers once they’re back home.
You can also use them in your home to manage things like cooking, campfires, and crop plots. All their utility makes them Human NPCs valuable additions to your game.
Simple Humans is another mod that adds human characters to your game. They aren’t voiced NPCs with backstories or complicated. Instead, they’re wild people who you can bring back to your base, tame, and breed if desired. They can equip clothing, use tools, ride creatures, and patrol a path.
While Ragnarok Plus is no longer being updated, it’s still a great mod to add to a Ragnarok server. It adds content from various maps, like Genesis and Aberration, including a custom cave biome.
Ragnarok is already one of the best maps on ARK, and this mod makes it an even more exciting and varied place to explore.
Wooden Hanging Bridge
Ragnarok has an area with a valley that is surrounded by high cliffs. They’re pretty lovely but complex to get around on unless you’re using flyers.
Wooden Hanging Bridge can add charming bridges and help facilitate passage around many areas of the map. While this mod would be great on any map, it’s particularly helpful to have on Ragnarok.
No Tek Suit
This mod is built for Genesis 2, where you spawn in with a Tek suit. Many players didn’t like automatically being forced to wear it, mainly because they always have it automatically if they respawn.
Use No Tek Suit to remove it from your character and go up against Genesis in a less high-powered way.
Genesis Ocean Cliffs More Resources
If you find the availability of resources on the ocean cliffs sparse, install this. Genesis Ocean Cliffs More Resources is a simple mod but can be a significant quality-of-life improvement for those near this area. It only adds a few obsidian and crystal nodes, but those can come in quite handy.
Genesis 2 Space Biome Indicator
Space biomes can be challenging to understand when you’re in Genesis 2, and knowing which one is available matters quite a bit.
Genesis 2 Space Biome Indicator not only tells you which biome is coming up while you’re warping but can also be set up to give notifications about available biomes. You can’t learn it until you reach level eight, though.
Installing ARK Mods
Installing ARK Mods might seem daunting at first, but don’t let that deter you. It’s not only easy but will also help you be more familiar with the server you’re running.
One essential part of adding mods to an ARK installation is making sure they’re kept up-to-date. If they aren’t, players with a different version may attempt to join and be blocked.
To add mods to ARK, you must be in control of your ARK server. Doing so requires access to the control panel.
Mods are identified by their mod ID number on Steam. You can find this in the URL of the page where people subscribe to the mod.
- Navigate to each mod you want to install on Steam. Copy the mod ID from the page URL and paste it into a new Notepad document.
- Don’t put spaces between mods. If you’re using mod 349312, mod 72285, and mod 934421, it will look like 349312,72285,934421
- Open the FTP File access location on your server’s control panel.
“ShooterGame/Saved/Config/WindowsServer/”, depending on the type of server you’re running.
- Open the GameUserSettings.ini file to edit it. Find “ActiveMods=”.
- Paste the mod IDs from your document after the equals sign.
- Save and close the file.
- Restart the server.
Some server hosts have GameUserSettings.ini fields where you can place the mod IDs without directly editing the file itself. This will usually be located along with other config files. If you choose to input the mod IDs here, you should not use spaces between the commas.
When players connect to a modded server, the game forces them to download the mods before logging in. People can also subscribe to the mods in Steam before getting on the server to download them before starting the game.
Consoles and Mobile
ARK mods don’t work on consoles or mobile, unfortunately. Though this could change in the future, servers download mods through Steam, which is made for PC versions of the game.
However, you can select the Primitive Plus mod option. It’s built into the game.
Do ARK Mods Cost Money?
ARK Mods are free to download both for server owners and users. You shouldn’t have to pay any more to play a modded game than you do to play the game without mods.
Making Mods for ARK
To make mods for ARK, you’ll have to use the ARK dev kit. It’s also helpful to have some knowledge of coding since it can be a complicated process. Once you’ve made a successful mod, you can upload it to the Steam workshop so that other people can try it.
Removing ARK Mods
To remove an ARK mod, edit the file to remove the mod IDs. Save the file and then restart the server.
Keep in mind that if you aren’t doing a complete server wipe, removing mods can damage aspects of your game. For example, if you remove a building mod, structures associated with it will disappear. Always back up your server before changing, adding, or deleting mods so that you can roll back if necessary.
You can use a mindwipe tonic to completely spec reset your characters, if necessary. The
admincheat DestroyWildDinos command can help if you want to maintain your tames but need new dinosaurs to spawn en masse in the wild.
Updating ARK Mods
When a mod is updated, both the server and people who want to access it must also update their mods. Otherwise, the versions won’t match, and it won’t work correctly.
The way you update your mods will depend on the type of server you’re running. You can create a scheduled task to check for updates and automatically install any available at certain intervals. Sometimes a server offers a direct button that connects to the Steam workshop to check for updates. You can also manually validate and check for updates when you restart the server from the control panel.
If you are subscribed to the mods through Steam, you’ll notice when things update from your pending and completed downloads. If you see an update in the queue, check to ensure that it has also been updated on the server.