Ark Community Maps – Which One Should You Play On?


POV, you just finished the content on The Island and you want to have a new ARK experience and play on a new map. It has to be one of the six free maps because you either don’t have the Season Passes or your friends don’t have them, but how to choose which map is worth playing on? Let’s have a look on all the community maps to get an insight what they are about without you having to install them and try them out yourself.





Size 140km² – 3.5x the Island
Biomes Moderate, Mountains, Forest, Redwood, Arctic, Desert, Jungle, Swamp, Volcano
Creatures Base creatures (compared to The Island), desert creatures, Griffin, Base Wyvern, Ice Wyvern, different Golems, Ice Worms
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive
Terrain easy accessible, moderate accessible, harder accessible

Ragnarok is, just like its name suggests a Nordic inspired map, but also contains deserts and jungle areas. It is a good allrounder map that caters towards people who are new to the game and people who want to have a challenge as well. It has a good variety of biomes that all come with their own challenges – mainly terrain and temperature.

Ragnarok has been a community favorite for years. The big desert part contains a lot of high value drops with some of the best loot in the whole game. For everyone who wanted to play Scorched Earth but did not want to commit to a complete desert map, Ragnarok is a good alternative.

Due to its size Ragnarok offers a large amount of base spots for even the biggest player groups. While a big map size can give you a lot of opportunity to explore a ton, it can on the other hand be overwhelming for beginners, especially when not having a flyer in the beginning.


The Center


Size 70km² – 1.75x The Island
Biomes Tropical, Underwater, Arctic, Swamp, Volcanic, Cave, Redwoods
Creatures Base creatures
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive
Terrain easy accessible all the way to hard accessible (only with flyer)

The Center is a strange map. Visually absolutely stunning with a gigantic Island floating in the sky, it was the first map that tested the boundaries of map design. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with unique creatures and also has no DLC creatures added to it, but gives a pretty solid experience to everyone who wants to learn the game but doesn’t want to be overwhelmed but fantasy and mythic creatures.

The Center offers spacious ruins that invite you to build your base in them in style, but it also offers oxygen filled bubbles at the ocean floor that allow base building inside and being hidden from the casual player.

One thing to mention about the Center is that it has an insane amount of rain and thunderstorms there. It is really a strong contrast to the almost always sunny, sometimes foggy The Island. If too much rain weather affects your mood too much, then you maybe want to look for a sunnier map.

The Center is good for taming high level creatures just as Ragnarok as well. The level spread is preferring higher level creatures over lower level ones. The Center is a very good map to explore, especially on foot and later with a flyer when you want to check out the flying island. The big amount of water surface also gives you many chances for water/ocean platform bases.




Size 60km² – 1.5x The Island
Biomes White Cliffs, Beach / River, Swamp, Arctic, Tundra, Redwoods, Aberration Cave
Creatures Base creatures, Aberration creatures, Fire Wyvern, Ice Wyvern, Deinonychus, Chalk Golem, Ice Golem, (tameable) Polar bears
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive, Liquid Element (important for modded gameplay)
Terrain easy to medium accessible

Valguero introduced Aberration creatures onto a free to play map when it was released. You can tame Karkinos and Light Pets in the Aberration Cave that has been added as a huge area under the actual map surface, giving that map itself way more horizontal space because you can experience the exploration in layers.

Valguero introduced a new biome – the White Cliffs or Chalk Cliffs which are a builders dream. A lot of very flat surface to build base structures on without having to make compromises to levelling out the terrain with construction below the base. It also introduced a new exclusive creature – the Deinonychus. One of the most important glass canon animals in the game.

Valguero offers the Broodmother spawning as a world boss in the redwood forest. It is a nerfed version that does not offer engrams upon defeat but can be used for farming a lot of chitin.


Crystal Isles


Size 150m² – 3.75x The Island
Biomes Only unique ones, check here
Creatures Base creatures, DLC-creatures, Griffin, Crystal Wyvern
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive, Element Farm
Terrain easy to medium accessible

Crystal Isles is a jack-of-all-trades. It is gigantic, has all artifacts available—almost laying on the ground. Has caves with pretty good loot, Crystal Wyverns are passive and tameable and overall the map has a very unique look to it.

Due to its size and uniqueness, Crystal Isles is a favorite of many players. The map super beginner-friendly even tho it doesn’t offer the typical ARK experience but creates a new concept that works within the ARK game mechanics.


Lost Island

Lost_Island_map (1)

Size 150m² – 3.75x The Island
Biomes Deep jungle, Redwood, snow, desert, tropical
Creatures Base creatures, DLC-Creatures, Sinomacrops, Dinopithecus, Amargasaurus
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive
Terrain easy to medium accessible

Lost Island gets the player back to a more primitive play style. Sinomacrops which replace the Jetpack. Dinopithecus that can disable Tek. Lost Island doesn’t want you to become too much endgame.

This perfectly fits those players who always hated the endgame Tek-Tier and rather followed a more primitive survival style.

Lost Island has a lot of very thick forest which you can hardly see through when sitting on a bigger dino. It has a big Snow Castle that would make an amazing Base spot and it offers exclusive creatures with unique taming methods. For everyone who liked the style of Ragnarok, you will also enjoy Lost Island.




Size 140m² – 3.5x The Island
Biomes unique biomes with extreme temperatures check here
Creatures Base creatures, DLC-Creatures, Andrewsarchus, Fjordhawk, Desmodus, Fenrir
Resource-Types Basic, Primitive, Element + Tek
Terrain easy to medium accessible

Of all community maps, Fjordur is probably the most complete ARK experience. It feels like taking the goal Wildcard had with The Island and putting it into a modern twist into a nordic / viking setting, successfully integrating Endgame and Element into it by providing the Mjöllnir Hammer Skin for the Tek Sword once you have defeated everything ARK has to offer.

Fjordur has different realms that are separate from each other and can either be entered via map direct teleporting or the portal room on the map itself. Each realm has its own boss that you can defeat—in fact there are 7 bosses alone on this map.

The map is not too hard and not too easy. It’s the perfect in the middle difficulty for experienced casual players or pro players who want play ARK in a chill way.

In conclusion, it is ultimately up to you to decide which map is best to start on in Ark as a beginner or right after their Island experience. Some may prefer to start on a smaller, more manageable map, while others may prefer to jump right into a larger, more challenging map. Ultimately, the best choice for the right map to play on will depend on  your personal preferences and expectations of your play through. I hope this article gave you an overview over the available community maps and what they have to offer to you as a player.



Tiia is a bilingual Content Creator for the game ARK: Survival Evolved. She has over 12k hours experience in the game and her main interest is the complex breeding mechanic in ARK.

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