ARK Survival Ascended imprinting

Image source: Studio Wildcard

Raising them right.

Like any good survival game, ARK: Survival Ascended features intricate mechanics that form its core gameplay loop. Arguably, one of the most complex to understand for beginners is imprinting, which is exactly why we’re here to break down what imprinting in ARK Survival Ascended does, what the various imprinting symbols mean, and how to fix a couple of pesky bugs that interrupt the process.

How to Imprint in ARK Survival Ascended & All Imprinting Symbols Explained

ark imprinting symbols
Image source: Studio Wildcard

Put simply, imprinting is a process that involves nurturing baby creatures to give them a boost in stats once they are fully grown. It is important to note that this can only be performed on bred creatures or babies found in the wild, and not on adult creatures tamed with conventional methods.

When you breed a creature in ARK: Survival Ascended or discover a baby in the wild, you can initiate the Imprinting process to kickstart the maturation process. Following this, a timer appears over the baby (pictured above), indicating the countdown to when the creature requires care. It will be one of three things. When the timer counts down you’ll know what type of care it needs because it’s denoted by different imprinting symbols above the dino. These can be a bit hard to understand. Each imprinting symbol means:

  1. Heart & Plate imprinting symbol: Dino wants something to eat (comfort food)
  2. Heart & Dino imprinting symbol: Dino wants a cuddle
  3. Arrow & Raptor imprinting symbol: Dino wants to walk.

Here’s how to perform each separate care task:

  • To feed them, you’ll need to give them the “comfort food” they’ve requested (see bug fix below)
  • To cuddle, simply press Y (Xbox controller) / E (PC) / Triangle (PlayStation)
  • To walk, set the behavior to the lowest and then Whistle One to walk the dino.

Fulfilling these care tasks enhances the Imprint on the creature and starts a countdown to another care interval. It is crucial to note that any imprinting done is permanent and won’t decrease.

Below are symbols indicating stats that can be enhanced through Imprinting:

  • Cross: Represents Health.
  • Lightning Bolt: Indicates Stamina.
  • Tank: Symbolizes Oxygen.
  • Meat Icon: Denotes Food.
  • Barbell: Represents Weight.
  • Fist: Signifies Damage.
  • Footprint: Stands for Speed.
  • Stars: Represents Torpidity.

Why Use Imprinting?

Imprinting in ARK: Survival Ascended provides a 20% increase in all stat values at full affinity, ecept stamina and oxygen. This stat bonus is applicable throughout and does not necessitate the player who completed the Imprinting to be the rider.

When ridden by the player who performed the Imprinting, the creature gets an additional damage and resistance bonus of 30%. This bonus is over and above the base stat bonus. In essence, Imprinted dinosaurs are stronger than any creature you can tame in the wild, making the process worthwhile, albeit time-consuming and demanding.

Note that imprinting a wild baby dino provides the general stat bonuses. That said, the riding bonus is not available, which is why it’s preferable to breed creatures you have tamed yourself rather than adopting wild baby dinos.

Here’s the full list of imprint bonuses:

  • 100% Imprint Affinity Bonus:
    • +30% damage output and resistance while riding the dinosaur.
  • 50% Imprint Affinity Bonus:
    • +10% to dinosaur’s base stats.
    • Additional +15% bonus to damage output and resistance.
  • Health Bonus Impact:
    • Increased time to deflect damage in combat, proportional to the dinosaur’s Health bonus.
    • Example: 20% Health bonus equals 20% more time to deflect incoming damage.
  • Damage Bonus Correlation:
    • Outbound damage boost equal to reduced incoming damage bonus from Imprinting.
    • Example: 10% bonus on reduced incoming damage results in a 10% increase in outbound damage.

Imprinting Bugs in ARK Survival Ascended & How to Fix

Issue 1: Imprinting Symbol Bug With Controller

Some players have reported a bug when using a controller that prevents the imprinting symbol of comfort food prompts. This problem is prevalent on both PC and Xbox platforms.

Solution PC: A recommended workaround is to position the baby on a slight incline or on a hatch-frame and view the baby from below. This reveals the comfort food symbol accurately.

Solution Xbox One: If you’re on Xbox One and encountering this issue, your best bet is to plug in a mouse and keyboard. This fixes it for many people for whatever reason. You’ll then see what “comfort food” the dino wants, and you can then scavenge for it, add it to your hotbar, and feed them by pressing “E.”

Issue 2: Problem with Imprinting Percentage

Another issue players sometimes face is that no matter what they set the Baby Mature Speed and the Baby Cuddle Interval setting to, the dino only gets 1% imprinted. On trying to adjust the BabyImprintAmountMultiplier in the Game.ini, the imprint percentage drops to zero.

Solution: Currently, this issue is under investigation by the dev team. It is recommended to revert any changes made in the Game.ini and await further updates regarding this problem.

So there you have it. Hopefully, this provided clarity on what imprinting does in ARK Survival Ascended and how to work through those annoying symbol bugs. For more on the game, check out our interactive map page that highlights where to find wild dinos (among lots of other POIs).