Boy, for being an Early Access game, ARK: Survival Evolved sure does have a lot of mods. As a community-driven and community-supported game, there’s a wide selection of user-made content to pick up in the Steam Workshop. Looking for some tools to make your trip to prehistory a little easier? Or just looking for a change of pace? Let this list of the best ARK: Survival Evolved mods be your guide.
(Note: this list excludes total conversion mods, which will appear as a separate list at a later date).
It may not exactly fit the primitive survival theme of ARK, but then again, why strive for realism in a game about taming dinosaurs? This jetpack mod is a great way to explore the beauty of the island. And the best part? You’ll look like you’re rocketing away in a cloud of electric farts every time.
If you find yourself getting frustrated with having excess crafted items and nothing to do with them, this mod might be up your alley. The Shopping Mod adds a currency system to the game and allows you to buy base items you need as well as sell the ones you don’t. Admins can even set the prices so as to supervise their in-game economy. This is perfect if you’re level boosting and crafting multiple items.
In ARK: Survival Evolved, your character’s inventory is not retained after death—every time you die, you wind up naked and afraid on a beach and are forced to start all over. If you’re quick you can retrieve your inventory by finding the remains of your body, however it decays quickly and the predator that killed you may be lingering nearby. If you find the constant need to rebuild your tools each time you die exhausting, the Noob Starter Kit is a great option. It spawns a Metal Axe, Metal Pick, 10 Spears, Crossbow, 50 Tranq arrows and a set of Flak Armour every time you respawn. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the game without suffering through the first twenty levels, and thus is appropriately named.
To take the edge off of killing and taming dinosaurs, eliminate the guesswork with this mod that adds hovering Health and Torpor Bars. With it you can see how close the dinosaur is to passing out and how much health they’ve lost, allowing you to gauge if they are nearing death or can take a few more hits. This can mean the difference between killing and taming a dinosaur, making this mod a must have.
Sure, being human is great and all but the real star of ARK is the dinosaurs. The Play As Dino mod works exactly as suggested, swapping out the homo sapiens for a selection of over 40 playable dinosaurs. There’s even a breeding and hatching system for babies! And as the mod text also boasts, “Or play multiplayer and eat your friends!” and frankly as far as videogames are concerned I’ve yet to see a better endorsement.
Look at the above picture, now look back at me. Here’s the new thing you like, the Rideable Alpha Dodo mod. It may not be practical, but it’s hysterical. Fire it up to make tameable and rideable Alpha Dodos a thing of the past in the present.
This simple HUD mod adds color and a circular theme to the status icons in the right of the screen, heightening their visibility and increasing the chance that they’ll catch your eye in the nick of time.
There are a lot of good mods in the Steam Workshop that will allow you to adjust the size of your item stacks, so you could pick just about any of them and be okay, so long as the mod is still supported. Among those still available is Ultra Stacks, which allows the player to hold up to 10,000 of any particular item in a single slot, making inventory management a cinch.
There are a lot of mountainous regions in ARK that are frankly a PITA to climb up and down for resources. If you have a homebase near a high altitude region, this is a great way to cut down on travel time while also preventing any smashed-my-face-into-a-peak related fatalities from using the parachute.
I advocate for this single mod when really, all of the modder Eco’s work should be explored in your ARK file. This one adds more vivid colors to plants and vegetation (about 100 new species in all) and a few decorative items to help you build a beautiful garden. Their other work includes terrariums, trees, and decor for camping, gardening, and shoppes, among other things. Check them out if you want your ARK game to look much better than ARK.
There’s really no better way to talk about this mod than to refer directly to its Steam Workshop page description:
“This mod releases rafts into the wild where they can roam free, and start a family with rafts all around the world. Rafts are a timid species that flee when in danger and thus the only way to domesticate the wild raft is to give it sawdust. They are able to be build upon once you saddle the raft.
Note there is no plan to make this work on Scorched Earth it would be inhumane for rafts to suffer the arid landscape of Scorched Earth they need open ocean to live out their lives to their fullest potential.”
If that didn’t win you over, I really don’t know how to help you.
Unfortunate name aside, this mod, and its companion Pimp My Home: Building Parts, are great if you like to turn crafting and sandbox games into a Sims file. With the help of over 80 new decorating items, plus 50 new building items, you can make your homebase go from primitive, to prime real estate, using new paneling, staircases, windows, carpeting, furniture, and more. It’s a great way to kill the time if you’re in single player mode. Or if you’re just single.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.