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This guide will help you understand the types of mods for ARK.

There are several types of mods for ARK:Survival Evolved and if you aim to have a modded experience for your server, it is best to understand what they are.

Normal Mods:
These mods can change many features within the game or add new items, structures and even creatures. These are stack able mods that can work with others; though in some cases there can be compatibility issues so please read the mod pages for that information. They may also require to be at the start or above a certain mod in the list.
Examples: Echo's RP Decor - Saddles Emporium

Map Mods:
These mods physically change the entire map so it looks and feels completely different from the official maps. These are often pretty large files and only one can be in use at a time.
Examples: ISO: Crystal Isles - Shigo Islands

Total Conversions:
These mods are complete overhauls, they change everything about the core game, from gameplay to how mechanics work. Normally not stack-able with other Total Conversion mods.
Examples: Survival Plus

These mods can be subdivided into the following categories:

Overhaul
Mods in this group change most of the existing content in the game/server. They require vanilla worlds(fresh worlds) and a fresh save. Will not work with existing saved worlds. Mods will not stack! (Unless specified otherwise by the mod developer!)

Dirty
If a mod is in this group, some of the existing content has been changed such as an existing item, dinosaur or structure. It may work on an existing save but will likely require a fresh vanilla world/save. Mods may or may not stack!

Clean
Existing content has not been changed at all. This is usually completely new added files that do not even touch the core game files and can be stacked perfectly fine.

A very helpful tip to manage your mods: Know your mod developers, join their personal discords to receive update information about that mod. Some mod developers might abandon projects or re-release, making your previous mod obsolete. An out-of-date mod will have a high chance of breaking in future updates to the game.

Other Useful Information
Overhaul mods can't be stacked with over overhaul mods and are VERY unlikely to work well with dirty mods (Unless both mod developers/authors say so). If you want other mods to work with the overhauls, you'd want to stack clean mods with them.

To figure out if your mod is any of those categories, reading the description or discussion section of the mod can help. Head over to their discord if they have one and ask there for a more clear answer if you're unsure.
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