I've got 1100 hours in ark. I used to run an ark server. Fuck Ark.
That said, fuck *vanilla* ark. With mods and the right balance, it can be very interesting. I will be the first to don a MAKE ARK GREAT AGAIN hat and rally for it's cause.
Ark has gone massively south of what it was, and there's a *lot* in the game that's useless to "winning" now. It's massively unoptimised. Most of the game breaking bugs (like falling through the map, dino's vanishing, etc) are *still* a big issue. I gave up on it when those cheeky fucks released paid DLC when the main game was like 50% polished, and unreleased from beta, then "released" it with many promised features unfinished (DX12 support, anyone?). Bases that turn into a 5fps laggy mess once they get to any decent size, and now retarded turret limits that means you can't defend them anyway. The list goes on.
Then ark server transfers. What's that? The other tribe is raping you with Wyverns? Pay for DLC, grind again on a different server, then you can bring one over, peasant. how about no, wildcard, fuck off, and go fuck yourself? Yes. I'm bitter.
If I was to get back into it, it'd probably be a creative PVE environment. That or a *no flyers* ark. Or flyers with little to no weight carry ability. The early-game ark without flyers makes the map feel so much bigger, you have to plan your mining/trade trips, tame bigger dinos to act as storage for trade convoys, then protect those convoys. Removes big tribe quetzl farming domination, makes scouting out in combat harder, all that jazz.
Literally totally transforms the game IMHO, and I've seen such few servers with it set.