Comparing Ark official servers vs Ark unofficial servers is almost a matter of opinion. Depending on your play style, either option could be viable.
For example, if you love experimenting with your Ark base or want to explore Ark’s range of creatures without threat, unofficial servers present this opportunity.
On the other hand, if you like a challenge and prefer to meticulously maintain your hoard of dinos, you may prefer the difficult survival aspect of official Ark servers.
I’ve played thousands of hours in Ark Survival Evolved. I’ve tried both official Ark servers and unofficial servers.
Although I now do prefer unofficial servers as they suit my current lifestyle, things weren’t always this way.
Why Choose Ark Official Servers
Starting with the official Ark servers, I will break down the pros and cons of each server type. It’s more about finding which one is best for you, not which one is best overall.
Official servers are hosted by and paid for by the developers, in this case, Studio Wildcard. As such they are not managed and have no admins. Depending on your gaming style that could be seen as a positive or a negative, both sides would have good arguments.
Benefits Of Not Having Admins
Not having admins to worry about can present various positive outcomes. As well as my own personal experience, I’ve researched the overall benefits that players find from not having admins:
- No chance of admin abuse
- Can’t be favouritism towards some tribes
- Only the official rules matter, potentially leading to more in game freedom
- No pay to win structure with donations
Downfalls Of Not Having Admins
While not having admins on the server can be a benefit, there are also some downfalls to this.
- No support if the game causes you to loose items or dinos
- Can’t call upon help with greifing or poor player conduct
- No one to monitor the server if there are issues
- Admins often clear up abandoned spikes and buildings quicker than built in scripts
So as you can see above, admins can be a great asset to a server. Should you pick the wrong server, you could end up wasting your time with admin abusers and other annoying issues.
The Pros of Official Ark Servers
- The threat / danger is worse, which makes the game much more exciting
- Taming and other rates are as the developers intended
- Risk vs reward
- Preparing for a cave or metal run poses more risk and takes longer to prepare for so feels like you’ve achieved something
- Higher feeling of anticipation and excitement
The Cons of Official Ark Servers
- If you’ve played the game multiple times, the grind can feel really boring
- Everything takes a long time, so if you have a busy schedule outside of gaming, it could mean your gameplay isn’t as exciting
- Trolling and toxicity can be quite common and cause people to leave servers
- Some animal tames can take a very long time, which is even harder when you start out and have nothing to protect your tame
The pros and cons of official Ark servers are somewhat intertwined. What may be considered an advantage for some players may be considered a disadvantage to others, depending on your play style. And that’s where unofficial servers come in.
The Differences Unofficial Ark Servers Can Offers
Unofficial and official Ark servers are very different and are aimed to suit different people and different gaming styles. For example, you may come across an unofficial server that offers 100x rates which are directed more towards players who want to access endgame content, faster.
On the other hand, there are plenty of unofficial servers that offer official rates (2x) or slightly above, but include mods that take the grind and monotony out of official servers.
Most unofficial servers tend to include mods like S+ which allow you to pick up and move an item or building piece (e.g. a stone wall) and replace it within X amount of time.
The Pros of Unofficial Ark Servers
- Increased rates mean you get more time to play the game
- Mods can make the game even better, removing annoying tasks from the base game
- There are options for server owners to customize their servers, e.g. include an auction house for greater gameplay
- If a player gets stuck or a glitch happens within the game, server admins are easier to get hold of and resolve issues
- There is often a greater sense of community on unofficial servers
- Players can rent unofficial servers through hosting companies and run them in any way they like
The Cons of Unofficial Ark Servers
- Time doesn’t have much consequence
- Cave runs and other adventures don’t pose as much risk
- Thrill and risk is limited in comparison to official servers
- If you don’t get on with a server owner, they can easily remove you from the server or cause you havok
How To Balance The Scales
By now you’ve probably worked out that this isn’t really a question of Ark being better on official or unofficial servers, it’s more about what works for you.
If you have a lot of time and want to experience the game as it was meant to be played, then I strongly suggest picking an official server. It’s a good place to start and it will show you the basic ropes of the game. This is a great opportunity for you to decide what you do and don’t like about the game.
If you have less time on your hands, perhaps a parent, or you’re at work a lot, then an unofficial server may present better options.
For me personally, I like to find the right balance. I enjoy playing Ark as it was initially intended, but I also enjoy the community aspect of it. My gaming time is few and far between, so I find having the safety net of admins to help out is really beneficial. If you relate to this gaming style it’s worth looking for one of the top unofficial Ark servers with standard rates.
Choosing an unofficial server with standard rates has a higher chance of giving you the best of both worlds.