Out of the box, Ark is setup, or balanced, more for medium to large-sized tribes. Small tribes or single players may well find that many areas of the island are simply way too dangerous for them. This would, of course, mean that smaller tribes or single players could be shut out of many of the game's cooler features and regions. But that dosen't have to be the case.
There has been a lot of effort put into making this game very easy to customize. Now, before you start thinking, 'modding is beyond me' or 'I don't want to learn to mod', keep in mind I said customize. This simply means adjusting a few things in the game's two configuration files. And this doesn't have to be hard at all. In fact, it can be very quick and easy to set up your single player game or server to make things more balanced to your play style.
Do you find Ark too easy? If you have a large tribe, or a decent-sized tribe, with all of the tech in the game you might actually start to find the game too easy. Again, with a simple adjusting of these settings, you can amp things up a few notches.
Along with a series of quick configuration tools I have created I also have information on the locations of the configuration files and a complete list of settings. That's down near the bottom of the page.
There are a few ways that you can increase your survivability by adjusting the various settings. First off, you can adjust your healing rate, your damage resistance and your damage output. This is also true for Tamed and Wild Dinos. You can adjust thier damage resistance, healing rates, and damage output. And before I forget, this also applies to structures.
To adjust these settings quickly and easily, I have created a tool that allows you to click a few items, change a few numbers, and get the code for the settings file. My tool also includes detailed instructions on how to install the code quickly and easily. You'll also find that each item has a fairly detailed explanation, which includes what it is and what it does. You can find this here:
Character & Dino Stats Customization Tool
Another way to go is to adjust the points you get per level up. Normally you get 1 + button click per level up. That isn't something that you can change, but you can change what it does for you. For example, instead of getting 10 points on your weight or health, you can have it give you 20, 30 or 50. You can adjust this as you see fit. This will mean that you can amp up your character stats much faster (or if you want things tougher, adjust the other way and make your stats go up slower).
Here is where you can find another of my custom tools, which allows quick and easy generation of the code to change these settings:
Yet another way is to implement a custom leveling system. Say you want more levels or to level faster or slower. You can even control the number of Engram Points that you get per level. Of course all of this applies to Dinos as well, though they do not get Engram points. It is also possible to simply adjust the levels for players if you don't want to touch the Dino leveling system.
Here is a tool that will allow you to generate your custom code for adjusting these settings:
Custom Character & Dino Levels Tool
Another way to fine tune Ark is by adjusting which Dinos Spawn. You can shut off certain Dino types and swap out particular Dino Types.
Dino Spawn swapping and disabling is where I'll start. With these features you can stop a Dino type from spawning. For example, you can prevent Alpha Raptors from spawning by disabling them. Of course this will create lower Dino diversity in certain regions, but you also have the option of swapping out the spawn instead. By swapping it out for a Dodo, for example, Ark will start spawning Dodos in place of Alpha Raptors.
Dino Spawn Configuration Tool
Another very handy way to help you balance Ark for you playstyle is to adjust the resources. You can adjust them up or down and increase or decrease the respawn radius. For example, by default you'll get 1 Metal a swing with a pick in the event you'd get metal. You can amp this up so that you'll get say 5 or 10. Be careful not to adjust too far. There are special Dinos that harvest very fast or harvest larger amounts than normal. The adjustment will affect them as well.
There are also the 'no respawn' zones around buildings, players and dinos. Basically what this means is that nothing will respawn within a certain distance. This can be adjusted both up and down. For example, if you build a mining outpost close to metal and obsidian deposits, this could easily cause those deposits to no longer respawn as your building is too close. These settings can be tweaked to fix that problem. Or, if you want to increase the radius, you can do so. This will force people to build even further away from these resources.
There is also the respawn timer, which affects how long a resource takes to respawn. These, too, can be adjusted, making resources respawn faster or slower.
Here is a tool that will help you generate the code to adjust these values:
Custom Harvest Amounts & Spoiling Time Tool
Lets address Single Player & Non-Dedicated Sessions first. In your games list in steam find Ark. Then right click on it and you should get an option that says Properties. Click that, then click the tab Local Files. Then click Browse Local Files.
Here is what I get under Windows. Yours will be similar regardless of OS.
From this location you want to navigate to:
Not quite there yet though. The last part of the location is OS specific. Here are the folder names you are looking for depending on your OS:
While there may be slight variances I'm sure you can see that it won't be hard to find what you are looking for. The only two files in here that you should be editing are:
To find the configuration files for these dedicated servers the first thing you need to do is open the directory you have installed your server into. From this location you are looking for one of the following file paths:
As with Single Player and Non-Dedicated Sessions you are looking for the following two files:
If you prefer to pick and choose settings, or are looking for settings not configured by the tools I have listed above, please see this page:
Dedicated Server Settings - Ark: Survival Evolved