I have only been playing ARK for about three weeks, so obviously that entire time has been with the decay timers turned off. I honestly can't think of a worse state for this type of game to be in; it is catastrophic.
My first session was spent running around for 30 real time minutes just looking for somewhere to place my campfire due to all of the "too close to enemy foundation" messages. Everywhere I looked there was a player-made pillar. There were more pillars than trees in some areas.
The entire coastline was either filled with an unfinished 1x2 thatch hut or claimed with a pillar. I started raging. I left negative feedback on Steam and almost asked for a refund (I wasnt aware of the decay timer at the time). I was disgusted, but I wanted to play so badly that I kept on.
My first base was a ridiculously shaped group of boxes stacked on pillars due to the limited space bot claimed and the odd way the game calculated where I could build. Some spots were unavailable on the ground but could be built on via the second story. My base looked like a Dr. Seuss illustration.
Then the heartbreak started set in when I started exploring. I found so many wonderful and beautiful places for a base. Places that inspired me to build intricate towers and balconies incorporating the landscape. I watched videos how to do expert structures. Alas there literally was no place for me to build.
So I built a raft and started building this wonderful octogonal tower with balconies and pillars....until I hit the construction piece limit. I almost quit again.
Here we are now and I am overjoyed. I am so excited for the decay timers being turned off and so many wonderful landscapes becoming available. I play on the official 404 server and my name is Fekth. Come play with me Saturday, Sunday or Monday 7pm to 7am central.