Engine Version and Plugins

Hi guys, I’m new to ARK but have some UE4 experience.

As I understand it,
ARK modding doesn’t give me C++ source access, and is limited to a modified 4.5 era version of UE4.?

Sorry if this has been asked before -
If I download vanilla 4.5 from the launcher and write a 4.5 compatible plugin, can I add it to my ARK mod?
That’s mainly for gameplay features - 4.5 was pre-blueprint nativisation so it’d just be nicer to do it in C++.

I’m also interested in render proxies, massive lods, including some features that came after 4.5
I saw a lot of threads about draw distances and think there are some tricks you can pull that I’d like to try.
Does anybody have experience with the replication model in ARK ? or are there any resources?