It is possible to load the game w/o auto updating so that you can ONLY update when the server you play on updates and you get the messages that the client and server versions don't match. That way you won't miss play time because your client auto updated and the server owner/admin hasn't gotten back from their real life obligations.
Turn updates for Ark in Steam to only update when you log into the game. Here is how you do this.
Double click the Steam icon in your task bar to open the Steam window if it isn't up already.
In the main Steam window at the upper left click the game tab, it's the 3rd from the left. In the pull down window click the first option which should read "View Games Library." There will be a list of games you own and Ark: Survival Evolved should be near the top of the list since you've been playing it. Right click Ark and another drop down menu appears. The very last option should read "Properties". Click this and a new window pops up titled "Ark: Survival Evolved - Properties". Now, at the top of this window, there should be 5 tabs from the left, and the second tab should read "Updates". Click this tab and at the top it should read "Automatic updates". Right under these words is a drop down menu, and if you've never opened this before it should read, "Always keep this game up to date". Click the downward arrow on the right in this drop down menu and click the option "Only update this game when I launch it"
These steps stop Steam from auto updating Ark whenever you log onto Steam or an update become available, however; they do not stop Ark from being updated when you launch Ark via Steams browser or by right clicking the Steam icon in your task bar, for that you need the next step.
You need to navigate Ark's folders in Steam and find "shootergame.exe." For example on my computer, which runs Windows 8, it's at "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Binaries\Win64\ShooterGame.exe"
On Windows 8 you can right click the windows icon, on the bottom left by default, and click "File Explorer". The C:\ drive should be in "This PC" Icon. On Windows 7 you right click the Start Button and click "Open Window Explorer". If for some reason it's not in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common folder a search drives on your computer for "shootergame.exe". You can search in most windows on the upper right box after clicking "My Computer". If that doesn't work try clicking other large drives on your computer and searching again for shootergame.exe. It's on your computer some place.
Once you find shootergame.exe make a short cut for it by right clicking it and clicking the "Create shortcut" open. Drag this newly created short cut onto your desk top. Every time you want to play ARK have Steam loaded up and double click that shortcut.
This will stop Steam from ever updating your version of Ark so that you can play on the server you wish and not have to deal with updating until the server does.
Tips: If you're like me you forget the new way for several times and do a bonehead thing and use Steam to start your Ark and it tries to force an update all is not lost. If you're fast enough you can stop the update from downloading finishing and play just fine. As long as it doesn't finish the update your version won't change.
Ok so you used Steam to start updating and its downloading. Quickly close this updating Ark window but it won't stop Steam from updating Ark. You need to double click the Steam Icon in your task bar if your Steam window isn't already up. Now when the steam window pops up at the very bottom it will show "Downloading" and then the number of items in the queue. Double click this and then Steam changes to show all the game currently downloading.
At the upper right, under the options to resize, and close steam is a button labeled "= Pause". Click this and then under this should be the Ark symbol on the left with the "In Queue" on the right. Click the little X to stop the Ark download completely and then you can resume any other downloads you had running.
EDIT: Another tip from Doc Hussey to play an older version of Ark: You can add Ark to Steam as a non-Steam game and click this to play here is the way you do it. "Click on Games in the top bar, "Add a Non-Steam game to my Library", click browse, then navigate to the Ark folder is. Double click on shootergame.exe, add it to the library using the prompts, rename as appropriate, and boom."