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Changing the Difficulty Level on an Existing ARK Server

So, you've been playing ARK: Survival Evolved, and you realize you never changed the difficulty level from the default when you started the game.The max level of all the dinos you can find is only 30, and you're loot from supply beacons is scaled down to match, with nothing but low level items and low level blueprints.

If you want to find higher level dinos to tame, and get better loot, you will need to change the difficulty level in the existing world your're playing in. Can you do this? Yes, you can! This guide will show you how to do that!

It's not a hard process. You just need to change two settings in the configs files that control the game, and then you run a command to remove all the wild dinos so the game will can respawn them at the new higher max level.

Change Settings in the GameUserSettings.ini Config File

The settings are found inside the file GameUserSettings.ini config file. Here at Nodecraft, that config file is normally found in /ShooterGame/Saved/Config/LinuxServer.

Open the file, and look for these two lines:


If one (or both) of those lines doesn't exist in your config file, you might need to add them in under the "server settings" section of the config file.

But first look through the whole file to see if they're there. They might not be in any particular order. You do not want to add the same config setting twice, it can cause issues. When you're editing the config file, you can press CTRL-F and a search box appears at the top of the file. Just type something like "diff" and every setting that contains that will high lighted in the config file.

Set DifficultyOffset to 1.0.

Why? it just makes all the following math a lot easier to do. Trust me on that. Normally it's set to 0.2, and requires an entire table to figure out what the resulting max level will be. Setting it to 1.0 will make all the results easier to figure out.

Set OverrideOfficialDifficulty to a value from 1.0 to 10.00.

With the DifficultyOffset from above set to 1.0, each point in OverrideOfficialDifficulty will increase the max level of the wild dinos by 30 levels, and the loot will also be +100% better. So OverrideOfficialDifficulty=3.0 would make max level dinos of 90 in your game, and loot would be potentially +300% higher quality level. A difficulty of 5.0 is the highest difficulty normally found on official servers, and can make creatures up to level 150 (and +500% loot quality).

Okay, so you've got the settings all set, so the next step is replacing all the existing dinos in the game. The current existing dinos were all capped at the previous max level, and would be slowly (oh so slowly) replaced as they are killed or tamed in the game, but there's a much quicker way to fix this.

Run the Command DestroyWildDinos

From inside the game, open the console by hitting the tilde key ~, which is usually located directly above the "TAB" key on most keyboards.

Single Player Games

In single player, you simply type in the console line that appears at the bottom of the screen:


That's all that's needed, you can skip down to the section "Congratulations!" below.

Multiplayer Servers

If you're playing on a multiplayer server, you first have to turn on cheats, which usually requires the admin password for the server to be entered.

Enter the command:

enableCheats  (Password)

The password entered must match the multiplayer server admin password, which is set by "ServerAdminPassword" in the "GameUserSettings.ini" config file.

Once you've proven you're an admin allowed to use cheats, enter the command below.

admincheat DestroyWildDinos


cheat DestroyWildDinos


This will remove all the wild untamed dinos from the server, and the game will immediately begin re-spawning them all over the game, at the increased max level set by the new difficulty level.

This entire process can be pretty intensive, so it's not uncommon to see some pretty heavy servery resource usage, lagging, and rubberbanding while it's replacing all the dinos. I'd recommend taking it easy until the process is finished, and it stabilizes.

Congratulations! You now have higher level dinos to tame, and better quality loot in your beacons! Be careful out there, things that were easy fights before can be much tougher now (but that was the entire point of doing this).

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