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Rio4201

Why choose official vs unofficial?

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Why choose official vs unofficial?

Seems like lately all I see is "Don't play official, play unofficial."  Folks, there's a reason why players choose official servers.  i'm going to go off of "MY" reasoning for choosing official first, but I think it'll hold true to why many others also choose official servers over unofficial servers.

 

First, a bit of background:

My wife and I started on private unofficial servers, we eventually went from players to server admins/hosts/owners, running a cluster for awhile.  We had the goodies, the full and real S+, stackit mods, auto engram, 5x rates, you name it. So yeah, we've been on the polished side of Ark, enjoyed the Eco mods, enjoyed the experience of building with better snap points, more structures, and refined controls. Even had a pve/pvp setup so we had controlled pvp, it was a blast. However, after a few months of that, interests started waning on our servers, our friends were too busy with real life, work/college/kids/etc etc, and the activity fell off, and so did my interest in financing the servers with only 1 or 2 people logging in every few weeks.  Don't get me wrong, when your working 40 hours a week, being able to shut off or change decay timers, set things right so we can work and play, yeah it was nice, but wasn't worth the monthly expenses.

This of course lead to us going to see what "official" was like; which shockingly was a much much different beast than what we were used to. 

Having spent thousands of hours in ARK official at this point I'd like to just quickly bullet point why I choose official over unofficial:

  • Studio support. Wildcard has a semi-reliable customer service team/enforcement team.
  • Official posed more of a challenge.
  • Official wasn't controlled by private 3rd party server lease/owners. (we've seen our fair share of @#$@'ed up admins from private server clusters)
  • Official servers aren't constantly down like unofficial servers due to frequent patching and the need for private owners to update them.
  • Official offers a much larger and more interesting community of players from all over the country/world. Unofficial usually involves a handful of friends in a closed network.
  • Official means there's a certain amount of responsibility and commitment by Wildcard to maintain their servers and CoC enforcement.

Now these are just a few of the bigger reasons why official is that much more interesting to me. But it goes beyond that, when a company hosts their game servers there's a sense of community there, a sense that they are going to take care of those servers and that when it happens on official, it IS official.  That's why I never got into WoW emulators, I trust official servers, I don't trust something that doesn't have an official stamp of approval on it. There's a certain amount of expectation that comes with being on an official server, we expect that the company or it's support staff are going to enforce rules / CoC / ToS, we expect that there will be an attempt to be fair and no bias will be introduced into any administrative actions that need to be taken. We expect that things will be handled as swiftly as possible when issues do arise.   

 

Eventually it all boils down to a sense of reliability and responsibility versus some 13 year old setting up a small linux based server in his basement for his buddies and no telling how responsible or reliable this person is gonna be while running the server.

 

Every time I see "you should go play unofficial" I cringe, because that's really poorly thought out advice.  To me that says, "Hey, go invest thousands of hours on a private server that could ultimately be administrated by just about anyone, hope they don't one day disagree with something you say or do, hope they are honest, legitimate, and being fair on the server, hope that they won't abuse their admin power because they have NOONE to answer to, and hope they keep the server up for more than 2 weeks before asking you for real life money to pay for it."  

Personally, I'd rather someone say "Go play singleplayer" at least then they don't have to worry about any of that nonsense above.  

 

 

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Just now, Joebl0w13 said:

Most people would say officials are a pretty terrible way to experience this game. 

I think in some instances you are right, but there's always a good and bad to both sides.   Official rates, official issues, they suck, private servers, having the game put in a state of super easy mode, extortion by server admins for real life cash, losing thousands of hours of work because the admins decided they were no longer interested, not such a great experience.   Guess it really depends on what you are looking for, i'll take a sense of security over vanity mods and what not any day, but i'm one side of a coin in that.

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1 minute ago, Rio4201 said:

losing thousands of hours of work because the admins decided they were no longer interested,

The rest of that stuff doesn't matter too much, you can just leave and go to another server. This one though, that's the big fear most people have of unofficials.

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I've invested a few thousand hours into official (PvE - xbox). There are definite pros and cons for each, and every pro and con won't relate to everyone's experience in the game. 

In my experience, the pros of official are -

The server is going to be there. I've had friends go onto unofficial that came back as the server shut down. 

The rates promote the gameplay. I've played on an unofficial for a few days, but the crazy harvest / xp / tame rates bored me as I felt no accomplishment with what I'd achieved in game. 

I've made several friends that I keep in contact with outside of Ark. I met them through being friendly and helpful on the server. I recently took an 8 month break from the game and was astonished at the reception I got when I logged back into the server. 

There are cons of course - 

Anyone can join the server, and not everyone is respectful. I've seen randoms pillar as close as they can to people's builds for no reason other than to cause mischief. 

Lag. Lag lag lag lag lag. Lag. 

You need the time to invest, or moderate your time accordingly knowing that your not going to alpha ascend quickly. Cryopods and the new QoL changes have really helped in this matter, especially for those who like to earn money from going to work... 

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Being a server owner myself. I say, I prefer my unofficial, basically my world, my rules, and yes its boosted because I don’t have 2 days to waste taming a rex just to have it killed within 30 minutes of gameplay. I expect respectful gamers, cyber bully’s get’s kicked / ban depending. Pillar spammers gets delft with. Help new comers to the game, provide live support for lost dino’s, etc… Official server lags a lot, support has a long wait period, has lots of toxicity players. 

My 2 cents ;)

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Rather than a long post explaining my reasons & raising questions about implicit bias, I will just say this:

Official meets your needs; it meets none of mine.

Further, in my estimation (and others may value things differently) the problems with unofficial are potential issues that may affect my experience. The issues with official servers would inevitably  do so.

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Unofficial require some careful searching until you find a good one. Usually those from big streamers or modders (like the eco's servers) are pretty reliable, well maintained and with a great community.

If you are running the show, the big secret is: do not cave to the requests of your player base. Usually the most annoying ones are those who ask for auto-stuff, high rates, etc.. because they are just plain lazy. They are the ones that will kill your server. They will max out everything real fast and leave.

Also, don't give special (P2W) treatment to donors. The good donors are the ones that give you money to keep the servers because they want to contribute to the community and not because they want something in return.

I admin a server that is on since 2016 always kept by community donors and is paid until 2020. Usually we launch a donor request near the end of the server lease and get another year paid in 1 or 2 days.

Just set clear rules and enforce them. Keep toxic ppl away with zero tolerance and you will be good.

 

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If I were to play on a unofficial it would probably be a PVP with slightly boosted rates just for the lawls.

Or I would play on a boosted PVE just to build cool stuff since there would be more available spaces on the maps.
Although Creative mode has filled this void for me to tinker with building so no need for a server unless I wanted the social aspect to show others what i make.

I wouldn't play them for the long term, breeding and such.

Edited by Demerus

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I only care for PvP

 

PvP on official is an absolute travesty. Both times I've played with a small tribe and both times a Chinese/Russian tribe wants to go meshing and destroys everything you've worked hard for with no consequences and all you can do is sit there. Meanwhile on unofficial I've made videos and got a mesher banned from the server and my base restored within a day. By an admin who was at war with us.

Pillar spammers never get dealt with on PvE or PvP. Meanwhile on unofficial these people have their buildings wiped and they effectively leave the server.

Super rates might take some of the accomplishment out but it also means you can recover fast if you get foundation wiped by the top tribe. Instead of wasting months of work, I wasted weeks.

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I've just put too much time on official...12k hours between 2 accounts it's hard to leave  all my work behind..and I won't join official I will live out my days in legacy till the final legacy server gets wiped then I'll reek havoc apon the official network xD

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There is no arguing the appeal of playing with random people and getting a very fluid and varied experience on official servers.  But with that comes the high probability of cheaters, exploiters, and buttheads.  That's just the nature of online gaming.  And Ark being a persistent online game it is very susceptible.  I play on a few unofficial Nitrado servers and enjoy the heck out of it.  The only downtime I see is caused by the poor patch implementations of the developer.  I love to build and tackle the game challenges.  The thought of putting hours into a sweet structure just to have some jerk transfer in and lay waste to it in minutes with duped equipment and tames makes official completely unappealing to me.  I also don't have the time to play by official rates.  I have a life to live and cannot be babysitting Ark at those rates.

Play what makes the game most enjoyable for you.  Which ever mode you choose, just recognize there are pros and cons

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Quote : @Rio4201“ Hey, go invest thousands of hours on a private server that could ultimately be administrated by just about anyone, hope they don't one day disagree with something you say or do, hope they are honest,legitimate, and being fair on the server, hope that they won't abuse their admin power because they have NOONE to answer to, and hope they keep the server up for more than 2 weeks before asking you for real lifemoney to pay for it."  End quote

 

@Rio4201 this part , represents all that I think about on Unofficial Servers in ANY game . Officials servers have definitely their challenges , but at least I know I can play in peace , and go to sleep wondering if the admin is forking me up , if my Dino’s/ pillars disappeared cause the admin overabused, if the “alpha tribe “ has some awesome stats and bp , cause they’ve payed the admin .... etc . 
 

to me it’s the main thing ... but that’s just me . 

Edited by Quilleute
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  • Studio support. Wildcard has a semi-reliable customer service team/enforcement team.

Support on the server i play on is ALOT better than what you get on official.

  • Official posed more of a challenge.

Rates on our server arent that much higher than official, it just a bit less of a grind.

  • Official wasn't controlled by private 3rd party server lease/owners. (we've seen our fair share of @#$@'ed up admins from private server clusters)

True, you need to find a good server

  • Official servers aren't constantly down like unofficial servers due to frequent patching and the need for private owners to update them.

?

The server i play on isnt down much, if i look at the forums, official is down more :P

  • Official offers a much larger and more interesting community of players from all over the country/world. Unofficial usually involves a handful of friends in a closed network.

You are right, official is more popukated, but there is players from all over the world on the unofficial i play on..

  • Official means there's a certain amount of responsibility and commitment by Wildcard to maintain their servers and CoC enforcement.

Again.. Nothing wrong with that on the server i play on.

For me the reason for choosing unofficial was the 8 days timer for you to lose all your dinos. raptor that XD

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On 1/15/2020 at 6:14 PM, MooseX said:

Being a server owner myself. I say, I prefer my unofficial, basically my world, my rules, and yes its boosted because I don’t have 2 days to waste taming a rex just to have it killed within 30 minutes of gameplay. I expect respectful gamers, cyber bully’s get’s kicked / ban depending. Pillar spammers gets delft with. Help new comers to the game, provide live support for lost dino’s, etc… Official server lags a lot, support has a long wait period, has lots of toxicity players. 

My 2 cents ;)

They lag due hundreds of times more stuff on the server compared to unofficials. Fill the server with same amount of huge megabases and thousands of pillars and unofficials will start to lag same way.

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14 minutes ago, Luewen said:

They lag due hundreds of times more stuff on the server compared to unofficials. Fill the server with same amount of huge megabases and thousands of pillars and unofficials will start to lag same way.

True, then poses the question if the server hardware is adequate for the task...

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The answer to that is simple. No, no it's not. Wildcard practically admits that a few thousand forum discussions ago and it all comes back to subscription based game play with better or servers or what we currently have.Lousy servers with limited gameplay. Yay for us.. (stares at host connection timeout AGAIN today)

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