Whenever I start playing ARK, I go into a downward spiral of obsessive gaming. It’s really bad.
In part, this is due to how easy it is to fall into the do “just one more thing” mindset. In part, it is due to the frustrating amount of work it takes to actually protect your gear from raiders, hackers, and OP dragonriders bringing their beast from another server.
It really sucks.
It takes hours to build a decent base, tames dinos (several hours here), and collect enough junk to get yourself up to speed. Yet, it takes 15 minutes of being away from your junk at the wrong time and it can all be stolen (or in the case of dinos, killed).
I’ve been on both ends—usually the former.
Official servers are wrought with elite players that block off drops and caves with vaults, effectively constraining resources and limiting the speed at which other tribes can grow.
There are other ways to attain those resources, but it tends to require more work to reach the same level of abundance as you would had the caves not been blocked off.
Private servers are a gamble: you don’t know if the GM’s are corrupt or will play favorites, you don’t know if a GM will randomly decide to /destroyallwilddinos or /destroyall , and most of all you don’t know if the private server will simply decide to shut down because the owner decides not to pay associated fees for a month or seven.
I have, on several occasions, thought of bringing this game up and asking if anyone here was interested in having a private ARK server, but then ARK decided to roll-out a 60 GB update to which I put my foot down and said: nope.