The vanilla experience of Ark: Survival Evolved gets old fast. The same animals with the same abilities appear in the same places over and over. One of the best parts of Ark is the workshop where community members make excellent mods. There are hundreds of quality mods, from Additional Creatures that adds new tames, to Immersive Flight that changes how flying works in the game. It’s very difficult to narrow it down to just the ten best mods, but here are ten of the best Ark: Survival Evolved mods for 2020.
Accessories Plus is a great quality of life mod. It adds many accessories for the game including: backpacks to increase weight limit; quivers to increase stamina and stealth; carts for horses and deer; glider suits; good night vision goggles; and a bionic eye that provides target information. The weight limit adjustment can be a little buggy at times. The eye insert is unlocked around level 80 and may also be buggy on dedicated servers.
Awesome Spyglass makes the spyglass useful. It is an overlay instead of a tool that can be activated. It adds outlines to animals indicating their hostility or if they are already tamed. If you put the crosshair over a wild animal, you will see the best food for taming, the health, the torpor, hunger, and what kind of taming method is needed. Outlines turn red when hostile enemies target you. Friendlies are outlined in green while neutral parties are white. Animals running away will turn yellow. It feels a little too easy at times and there are many that do not remain constantly active. While it may make the game too easy in a vanilla setting, it may be very useful for servers or solo games with a lot of modded dinos. This is functionally similar to the occular implant seen in Accessories Plus. It is available earlier during gameplay and, last we checked, not bugged.
Flying mounts were not always locked to one speed. In their prime, they could whip across the map at lag-inducing speeds. They were nerfed to a single speed after the amount of lag, crashing, and bugs high speed flyers caused. Classic Flyers reverses that nerf and lets players increase the speed stat of their beloved flyers.
A staple mechanic for survival games is inventory loss upon death. It is to lightly punish dying without ruining the entire game. There are a lot of inventory keeping mods available. Death Recovery Mod places a gravestone that when activated recovers your inventory for you. It will not work if something has taken your items. Sure you could use something like Death Inventory Keeper which just automatically keeps your inventory, but why not shame yourself with the panicked sprint to the gravestone instead? Plus, for PvP purposes, the inventory stays where it is until collected or it despawns, giving enemies a chance to take your items, no matter how short that time is.
Dino Storage V2 is similar to vanilla Ark’s cryopod, but improved. Like cryopods, tames can be securely stored inside a small compartment, similar to Pokeballs. The soul traps, as they are called in Dino Storage V2, display more information while the tame is stored, as well as let the animal restore health, breed timers drop, and do not add torpor upon release. They also don’t need to be recharged. The mod adds a soul gun to quickly grab tames, a soul finder for missing tames, and a storage box with customizable appearance and settings. The storage container can also automatically trap any babies born within a certain range.
Eco’s RP Decor is one of many from Eco. The mod maker has several excellent decor mods including Eco’s Terrariums, Eco’s Aberration Decor, Eco’s Tek Decor. They also have an Empires series that adds different decor, saddles, and tools based on historical cultures. So far that series has Vikings, Tokugawa, Babylonian, Inca, Roman, and Khmer. We recommend any and all of Eco’s mods because of their quality and the frequent updates. Eco’s RP Decor is more flexible than the Empires series. It pairs well with vanilla or any other decor mods. The mod adds decor such as a variety of beds, sofas, storage, chairs, wall hangings, and more. The crafting table is part of the decor and shaped like a writing desk.
Gone are the days of pumping potential tames full of tranq arrows and filling their inventory of meat or berries. Instead of forcibly knocking out your potential tame and shoving it with food until it submits, you can actually befriend them. Immersive Taming adds craftable baits that can be thrown to animals from your hotbar. Baits can be put on arrows and shot at more hostile enemies to let them get to know you from a distance. It has a journal for quick reference and to edit settings. It works with all modded dinos, provided you edit the baits needed in the journal.
The taming process goes through stages:
- At 25% you can pet the tame.
- At 35% you can hand feed it as well as pet it.
- At 45% the animal will follow you around.
- At 55% the animal will request care.
- At 65% it will sometimes drop gifts after care.
- At 75% animals of the same species will no longer attack you.
- At 85% it will protect your tribe in battle (be careful of friendly fire here).
These are the default percentages and it can be changed in the journal. Taking damage from you before 25% will cause the taming to reset. After you will have to comfort it before taming can progress.
Animals tamed with Immersive Taming will always gain the maximum amount of levels. The mod can be configured to add an imprint to the taming process, but should you accidentally harm the dino during the taming process, the imprint will reset.
Saddle Emporium adds various saddles for some tames: horses, spino, rex, trike, and more. They range from mostly decorative, to armor, to ones that increase weight limits. If you like the utility of one but the appearance of another, the crafting table also has skins of all the saddles so you can equip the appearance of your ideal saddle onto the one you want to use for the best of both worlds.
We combined these two because Super Structures (SS) is a branch of Structures Plus (S+) that has now surpassed it. Structures Plus was the go-to for many players for a long time. The creator went on hiatus for a couple years and Ark officially added many of the elements from Structure Plus to the game. When the mod maker returned and updated the mod, many of the core elements that made the mod so popular and necessary were removed. This is where Super Structures comes in. Structures Plus is a great mod for many people, but it removed the ability to pick up placed structures, combined all the tools into one buggy, unusable mess. Future updates may bring Structure Plus back to its glory.
Super Structures is an offshoot from Structures Plus. Nearly identical in all but name, the mod is what Structures Plus was before the latest updates. There are more snap points, better structures, better placement, egg collectors, a nanny to raise babies for you, and much more. Structures Plus has most of the same items but the functionality has been reduced. Both are useable and valuable, but the changes to the Structures Plus makes Super Structures better.
The Hunted is a massive mod that changes the entire purpose of the game. The mod adds a layer of realistic difficulty that, when paired with Immersive Taming, makes Ark an enjoyable if challenging survival game. The mod weakens the player: reducing health, weight limits, stamina, and hunger meters. You will need more food and to really work to avoid the wild, hostile animals running around. The only way to tame animals is to steal eggs or lure hatchlings and juveniles away from their parents. Tamable creatures will always be level one (unless changed in the files, which can be done to ease some of the difficulty). While this sounds unfair, it emphasizes protecting your tames and the imprint bonuses. The mod adds multiple other things such as new items that have different effects. Your health and stamina regeneration is significantly slower and crafting takes longer. As difficult as it sounds, the emphasis on raising and protecting your tames and the possible risk makes the changes thrilling and enjoyable. It is stackable with most mods, provided they do not override vanilla dino spawns. It pairs very well with Immersive Taming.