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How to Change Difficulty Settings on ARK: Survival Ascended Servers

Last modified on Feb 20, 2024 in ark-survival-ascended

mc head By Nathan Young

Customizing your ARK: Survival Ascended server is primarily achieved through editing the settings. There are two main files containing important options, with one being for difficulties. This changes dinosaur levels and loot scales, meaning you can make it extremely easy or hard. It depends on how many challenges you want in-game. Unfortunately, players must manually add specific settings to their ASA server to change the difficulty. Due to this, some newcomers to the ARK: SA hosting scene may be unfamiliar with the exact process. With this in mind, we’ve created this Apex Hosting guide to show you how to change difficulty settings for your ARK: Survival Ascended server.

Custom Difficulty

Players looking to personalize their experience in ARK: SA can create custom difficulties, altering how you and others alike play the game. Whether you want an easier time slaying dinos or collecting loot, changing the difficulty comes in handy. Combining this with other options can make your dedicated server unique compared to different communities. Editing these settings is popular, as the majority of users want to control the default experience of ARK: Survival Ascended. Review the sections below to better understand this process. However, you need to purchase a server from us if you haven’t already started.

Accessing Config Files

Rather than searching for specific files in the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), we’ve made it easier for you to access. Everything you need for our purposes is conveniently located in the “Config Files” area of your main panel. The instructions below will guide you through the necessary steps to do this correctly.

  1. Head towards your Apex server panel, then click Config Files at the top left.
    Apex Hosting Config Files
  2. Afterward, select the ARK Server Configuration option.
    ARK Server Settings Apex Hosting
  3. If successful, you’ll see the GameUserSettings.ini file and its settings.


Changing Difficulty Settings

Remember, you need to manually enter difficulty settings to begin customizing them since the default file doesn’t have it. After doing this, these options will remain there until you decide to remove them. The steps below show you how to do this, as there’s a specific method.

  1. While inside the GameUserSettings.ini file, add new lines under [ServerSettings].
  2. Proceed to copy and paste the following into the editor:
  3. Continue to tweak these values to anything you want, then click Save at the top.
    ARK Server Difficulty Settings
  4. Afterward, click the Restart Now button when prompted to apply these changes.


Difficulty Settings Explained

Understanding the difficulty settings can be challenging, as it requires knowledge of the values and their impact in-game. Fortunately, we’ve created a chart to help you learn more about that. These change the maximum levels for creatures and loot scales, which are determined by what numbers you input. Besides this, it’s encouraged to execute the cheat DestroyWildDinos command after increasing the difficulty in ARK: Survival Ascended. This is required for newer dinos to spawn, as lower levels would remain in the world otherwise. Make sure to have admin permissions beforehand so everything works accordingly.

Max Creature LevelLoot RateOverride Official DifficultyDifficulty Offset (The Island)


ARK: SA Difficulty FAQ

Where are the ARK: Survival Ascended difficulty settings?

By default, the GameUserSettings.ini file doesn’t include the “DifficultyOffset” and “OverrideOfficialDifficulty” settings. Players must manually copy and paste that into the editor, at the top under “[ServerSettings]” to begin using them. Remember to click the Save button at the top, then restart the server to apply these changes.

Why can’t I find higher level dinosaurs and creatures?

This happens after changing the difficulty settings at higher levels and not executing the cheat DestroyWildDinos command with admin permissions. Remember, existing dinosaurs and creatures will remain as normal until they’re removed from in-game. Only afterward will their levels be higher! Accomplishing this means you have to open the console and run that command.

What happens if I adjust the difficulty settings too high?

If you set the “DifficultyOffset” or “OverrideOfficialDifficulty” options too high, then it may not work in-game and reset to default values. We encourage you to stick with our chat above in the Difficulty Settings Explained section, as these are safe numbers to use. However, feel free to experiment with them at your own risk.

Useful Links

ARK: Survival Ascended Server Hosting
How to Join ARK: SA Servers
Becoming Admin on ARK: SA Servers
How to Install Mods on ARK: SA Servers

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