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This question is only about the Central Cave. I was playing ARK game 2 or 3 years ago and on that epoche I farmed on the Central Cave and I remember that the enemies always respawned after 20-30 min that the cave is clean, now I'm playing again ARK on a different server but this time I see that the enemies doesn't respawn even after 1 hour has been past.

I just would like to know why now it doesn't respawn. Is there any official info about a respawn-time change or an experienced user who knows the exact time or any other way that I can ensure how much time I need to wait for the next cave reset, or maybe the "respawn timer" of the cave depends on the config of the server itself?

Another related question that must be clarified to solve this: I must ensure to kill ALL the enemies inside the cave for a respawn (the sarcos and fishes too inside the water)? I didn't needed to do this when I played ARK 2 or 3 years ago...

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  • What type of server are you playing on? Official, unoffical/dedicated, or single-player?
    – Angzuril
    Jan 27, 2017 at 18:14
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    It may have something to do with proximity too, having to go a certain distance away from yhe cave for the respawn to happen
    – Dpeif
    Jan 27, 2017 at 18:18
  • @Angzuril An unofficial server. Jan 27, 2017 at 18:28
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    @Dpeif Thankyou so much, that is the proper answer. It seems dureing these last years ARK devs. have increased the proximity area, you need to go far from the cave (a distance approx. to the volcano mountain, the nearest mountain from the central cave) then the enemies of the cave will respawn in less than 10 minutes. Jan 28, 2017 at 18:15

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Short Answer: Should be under an hour, but most likely too many other dinos exist for more to spawn where you want. Alternatively, players or structures are too close to the spawn location.

Long Answer: I don't have a concrete answer for how long do dinos take to spawn, and am not sure the developers have released detailed information*. Personal experience and other sources suggests less than an hour. I can summarize some relevant factors.

Note, with Single-Player or Non-Dedicated Multiplayer Servers it is a known issue that Dinos don't frequently spawn in caves.

On all servers are Server Settings that would impact dino spawns.

DinoCountMultiplier - Impacts total number of dinos spawned on the server

DinoSpawnWeightMultipliers - Impacts spawn rates of specific dinos, and capable of limiting them to a percentage of the total dinos. I don't believe percentage limiting is on by default.


The following are defined within Game.ini and could affect a specific location.

ConfigAddNPCSpawnEntriesContainer - Adds a specific type of dino to spawn list for a location

ConfigSubtractNPCSpawnEntriesContainer - Removes a specific type of dino to spawn list for a location

ConfigOverrideNPCSpawnEntriesContainer - Basically combines the two previous settings for a location

From the above we will look at issues in terms of likelihood.

First, if the server has spawned the maximum number of dinos, it will not be able to spawn additional ones for a new location. The server may despawn existing dinos to allow new spawns, but this not guaranteed. This could easily happen with default settings. Note that the sarcos and fish in the cave are taking up slots that could be used by other dinos.

Second, if the server has changed DinoSpawnWeightMultipliers and set a SpawnLimitPercentage within it to say, 0.10 for all dinos, then no dino can take up more than 10% of the global population. This means that you could max out the number of Titanoboas in the swamp, and they would be unable to spawn in the cave. Alternatively, the server may have reduced the rate of the specific creatures you are looking for.

The least likely option is that the server has used ConfigSubtractNPCSpawnEntriesContainer to prevent non-fish dinos from spawning in the cave. It could be done, but would have to be done intentionally by an administrator.

An alternative issue is that a player or structure is blocking the spawn location. (Credit to @Dpeif for mentioning this in the comments) From a developer comment on Steam forum:

Dinos have a radius around human made structures that they can not spawn in

I have not found a definitive answer on the range for spawn blocking, but there are many claims it is 75 meters, as this was the radius for buildings preventing resources from respawning.

A final possibility is that the server is having performance issues, due to having a large number of structures, dinos and players, relative to its hardware/performance capability. This is solely based on the developer response below.

*Relevant response from the developers Ark digest 25

Q: Also can you explain how the dinosaur spawning and persistence works?

A: Wild creature spawns/despawns can be randomized based on a number of factors, including server performance.

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  • This is a good answer which illustrates about some very interesting aspects/parameters of a server functionality, however and forgive me but it doesn't give a solution for the problem. I discovered It was just a proximity issue and so if you travel far away and return to the cave in 10 minutes all the enemies are respawned! (that is the time more or less: 10 minutes) if you explain/put this info for everyone with the same problem then I can accept your answer. Thanks for your help. Jan 28, 2017 at 18:20
  • @ElektroStudios Done. Feel free to edit in additional info.
    – Angzuril
    Jan 28, 2017 at 18:55

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