The Island: Cave Guides

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Bort
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The Island: Cave Guides

Post by Bort » Sat Oct 30, 2021 1:29 pm

Greetings! I am frequently asked what about what preparations each particular cave requires, so I thought I'd collect all the information here. This ended up being a rather long guide, so if you are already familiar with cave exploration, scroll down until you see the map of the island to get a breakdown of each individual cave.

There are four reasons to explore caves:
  1. To collect Artifacts
  2. To collect Explorer notes and Dossiers
  3. Loot Crates
  4. To tame creatures only found in caves
Collecting artifacts is the primary purpose to venture into caves, as they are required to summon bosses later in the game (though they also make decorative trophies that you can display in your base).

Collecting explorer notes is mostly the goal of completionist players, and often a large portion of each cave can be bypassed if you are not interested in collecting notes. With the exception of the underwater caves and the last couple terrestrial caves, the vast majority of loot crates in caves are laughably poor quality. The disparity between risking your life to reach a loot crate and the quality of loot contained within is usually not worth it (ie, risking a grappling hook jump over a pit of lava, to obtain a ramshackle crossbow or compass blueprint). Underwater caves, however, have elevated gear quality.

Lastly, certain tamable species are only found in caves, such as Dung Beetles and Megalania.

=========Mounts=========
My favorite mount for the majority of the caves is the Baryonyx, as it has the following traits:
  • Reasonable Health
  • Reasonable Damage
  • Fits through most tight spaces
  • Traverses both land and water (Infinite oxygen)
  • Stuns most aquatic creatures with it's alternate attack
  • Capable jumping distance for the few caves that require you to jump over a gap
  • Heals passively at respectable rate when raw fish is in it's inventory
I recommend breeding Baryonyx until you surpass level ~180, and breeding a small army. Having multiple baryonyx that can follow you in a pack will allow you to travel the ocean depths as well as the Caverns of Lost Faith (the easier of the two underwater caves).

Other dinos you will need to complete all of the caves:
  • Megatherium (Giant Sloth)
  • Basilosaurus (Whales) or Tusoteuthis (Squid) or, for the daring, Ichthyosaurus (Dolphin)
  • Yutryannus
  • Otters (For carrying more than 1 artifact, and insulation)
  • Direwolf (Optional) After clearing out enemies, press the crouch button while riding them to reveal nearby explorer notes.
  • Rexes? (I think these are required for the final cave, haven't done it yet)
  • More? Not sure what the final caves all require, yet. Will update this thread once I've completed them.
High quality saddles will be extremely important to succeed in the caves. Saddles act as armor for your mount, and if you have a team of dinos set to follow you, you'll want to make sure they have saddles as well. The primitive saddles you learn from engrams are better than nothing, but to succeed in the harder caves or without a small team of dinos following you, you'll want to acquire blueprints for higher level saddles.

Based on my research and the math I was available to find regarding saddles, the following chart shows how much damage a dino* receives based on the armor value of it's saddle. (*The math is different for player armor, this chart is only for tamed dinos)
Image
What this chart shows is that if an enemy attack would deal 100 damage to your dino, the dino would only take ~50 damage if it's saddle has an armor of 25 (Primitive quality), or only 25 damage if the armor value is 75 (approximately Mastercraft quality). More armor is always better, but the gains are less significant with higher ascendant level gear.

The blueprints for each species' saddles are found in different places. If you are hunting for a specific saddle blueprint I recommend doing a ctrl+F on the following pages to see where to find them:
=========General Advice For All Caves=========
I have the following advice for all caves:
  • Bring a sleeping bag to place at the mouth of the cave (more than one if you expect to die a lot).
  • In caves that require grappling hooks, bring more than you think you'll need. A single stack of 10 is plenty, unless you plan on being extremely liberal with their use.
  • If your mount is less than level 180, or you only have primitive saddles, bring additional mounts with you. You can benefit from having a pack follow you (only for the Upper and Lower south caves), or keeping some in cryopods in your pocket. When your mount reaches 50% health, swap it out for a fresh one.
  • When using Baryonyx as your mount, always bring 2 or 3 stacks of raw fish meat with you and place them in the Bary's inventory at the start of the expedition. This will continuously regenerate its health as it eats the fish.
  • Otters will help you collect additional artifacts. A player can only carry a single artifact at a time, and they can not be put in the inventory of your tamed dinos. This means that 1 cave run = 1 artifact. However, Otters let you break this rule. An otter can carry as many artifacts as their weight capacity permits, just drop the Otter on the ground (press the F key twice) and put the artifacts in its inventory, then put the otter back on your shoulders. Otters also provide a small insulation bonus that may aid with extreme temperatures. (Note that if you die, there is almost zero chance that you will return to your body in time to save the otter from certain death).
  • Bring plenty of torches (~10) or a few Night Vision Goggles
  • Bring an accurate long range gun for pulling distant enemies (not a shotgun). It seems as though if multiple enemy species are huddled in a group, you are usually able to fire a single shot, and only the species that was hit should aggro, resulting in a less dangerous fight. You should only use the gun for this initial pull- let your mount do the fighting.
  • Park your argentavis in the entry of the cave by your sleeping bag and keep spare supplies on it such as an additional mount in a cryopod, torches, and armor if the cave has extreme temperatures. If you die, you'll need the means to return to your body. *WARNING* The central cave is the only cave that does not have a safe entrance to park your flier in- enemies spawn very near the entrance. Underwater caves obviously don't have a place for your flier to rest, either.

=========Cave Order=========
Here is my personal ranking of cave difficulties from easiest to hardest. My list differs from most of the lists I've seen out there, as I value picking up all the explorer notes in each cave if I'm going to bother gearing up to go spelunking. If you don't care about the notes, the Lower South Cave is generally regarded as the easiest, as the artifact is very near the entrance and you can skip 80% of the cave. I also prefer the caves with wide open spaces so enemies are easier to spot from a distance. I find swarms of bats suddenly attacking you in a bottleneck to be a greater threat than jumping a small gap over a lava pit, so I have ranked the caves with these considerations in mind.
Image

Difficulty (1-10): 1
Armor Required: Normal
Mount: Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: No
Environmental Hazards: None In particular
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: This is the only terrestrial cave that doesn't have an entrance long enough to safely park your argentavis inside, so make sure to cryo it up before entering. There is a small body of water inside, but there are paths that flank it on the sides so you don't need to enter it. Tons of dung beetles in here, and the bottlenecks aren't quite as narrow as other similar caves. Biggest threat is probably Arthropluera (giant centipedes) which have an acid spit that can destroy your armor, but usually* your baryonyx will block the spit and prevent it from hitting you. Keep backup baryonyx stowed in cryo storage in case your primary mount is taking too much damage. There are no ledges or pits in this cave, so it is safe to have an opposite sex bary follow your main mount to provide a mate boost buff and extra damage if you are a beginner (Make sure you know your whistles)

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Baryonyx (2-3)
  • Stacks of Fish Meat in Baryonyx Inventory (2-3)
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)
  • Torches (5-10)
  • Alternatively, Night Vision Goggles (2-3). It's possible for Arthropluera to break these with spit, so make sure you have some torches as backup.
  • Direwolf in cryo storage (Optional) Useful if you need help finding explorer notes, their 'crouch' action reveals nearby notes.

Difficulty (1-10): 2
Armor Required: Normal
Mount: Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: None for artifact run, minimum 2 to collect explorer notes.
Environmental Hazards: Fall damage
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: Most lists I've seen don't rank this is as one of the easiest caves, but I think it is, because the entire cave consists of one large spherical cavern. A spiraling pathway works its way down the sides of the cave, with the artifact at the bottom. Your biggest danger here is losing your footing and falling to the bottom- even if you survive the fall you will have likely aggravated many enemies on your way down that you will be too weak to fight off. If this happens, be prepared to immediately deploy your backup mount from cryo stasis. Having an accurate long range gun (pistol, rifle) will make pulling enemies to you a lot safer. There are some small jumps to make, but they are relatively easy on the way down, slightly harder on the way back up. Hopefully on your way up you've cleared the cave of enemies so even if you miss a jump there won't be anything to fight you when you land.

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Baronyx (2-3)
  • Stacks of Fish Meat in Baronyx Inventory (2-3)
  • Grappling Hooks (2-10)
  • Long Range Gun (Pistol, rifle) w/ 50 ammo.
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)
  • Torches (5-10)
  • Alternatively, Night Vision Goggles (1-2)
  • Direwolf in cryo storage (Optional) Useful if you need help finding explorer notes, their 'crouch' action reveals nearby notes.

Cave #3: The Lava Cave
Image
Difficulty (1-10): 3
Armor Required: Cloth or Ghillie (Extreme Heat)
Mount: Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: Minimum of 2
Environmental Hazards: Lava pits
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: A step up in difficulty from the North East Cave, due to it's winding nature making it easier to get lost. Also, there are multiple jumps that need to be made over lava pits, and if you die in lava it's possible that your body won't be recoverable. Note that the baryonyx has 3 different jumping distances based on whether you are standing, walking or running. I recommend walking-jumps for the gaps you'll need to cross.

Upon reaching your first intersection and seeing the first enemies in this cave, keep in mind that the artifact and all explorer notes are on the right branch of this intersection. The left half is entirely skippable. To reach the artifact, keep to the right at all intersections. Once you see the artifact in the distance, there will be some pools of lava between you and it. It is recommended NOT to try to jump these lava pits with your mount. Instead, make sure to clear the entire area of enemies by shooting them from a distance, then use your grappling hooks to reach the artifact. Make sure you set your baryonyx to passive for this phase- if it gets aggravated it may run into lava.

After getting the artifact, you will need to take a slightly different path to reach the exit, as some of the jumps you made to get there are not jumpable in this direction (or, you can cryo your baryonyx and use a grappling hook to take the same path). However, taking the alternate path to the exit will take you past the explorer notes.

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Cloth or Ghillie Armor (for extreme heat)
  • Baronyx (2-3)
  • Stacks of Fish Meat in Baronyx Inventory (2-3)
  • Grappling Hooks (2-10)
  • Long Range Gun (Pistol, rifle) w/ 50 ammo.
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)
  • Torches (5-10)
  • Alternatively, Night Vision Goggles (1-2)
  • Direwolf in cryo storage (Optional) Useful if you need help finding explorer notes, their 'crouch' action reveals nearby notes.

Difficulty (1-10): 4
Armor Required: Normal
Mount: Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: None. Can be used to bypass swimming sections, to reach explorer notes.
Environmental Hazards: Crossing small bodies of water (don't need to submerge)
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: if all you want is the artifact, then this is the easiest cave. Stick to the left and you'll reach it and be able to skip 80% of the cave. If you want to acquire the explorer notes however, you will need to cross some water with sarcos and piranhas, and the cave is large enough to get lost in.

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Baronyx (2-3)
  • Stacks of Fish Meat in Baronyx Inventory (2-3)
  • Long Range Gun (Pistol, rifle) w/ 50 ammo.
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)
  • Torches (5-10)
  • Alternatively, Night Vision Goggles (1-2)
  • Direwolf in cryo storage (Optional) Useful if you need help finding explorer notes, their 'crouch' action reveals nearby notes.


Difficulty (1-10): 5
Armor Required: Fur for on land, Scuba for swimming
Mount: Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: Optional, for shortcut to artifact. Mandatory for explorer notes.
Environmental Hazards: Underwater tunnels
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: This cave has extreme cold conditions, so make sure to bring fur armor. There are also underwater passages which will require you to wear scuba gear. A baryonyx will handle the underwater threats easily with its alternate attack.

It is possible to bypass the swimming sections of the cave and grapple to the artifact, though it is kind of a hidden secret path that would be difficult for someone to find on their first run. A wolf will help locate explorer notes, though be warned that it will also detect some notes that are outside the cave on the surface and that might be confusing.

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Fur Armor
  • Scuba Gear
  • Baronyx (2-3)
  • Stacks of Fish Meat in Baronyx Inventory (2-3)
  • Grappling Hooks (2-10)
  • Long Range Gun (Pistol, rifle) w/ 50 ammo.
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)
  • Torches (5-10)
  • Alternatively, Night Vision Goggles (1-2)
  • Direwolf in cryos torage (Optional) Useful if you need help finding explorer notes, their 'crouch' action reveals nearby notes.

Difficulty (1-10): 5
Armor Required: Fur for extreme cold
Mount: None (really!)
Grappling Hooks Needed?: Minimum 1
Environmental Hazards: Bottomless pits
Notes/Dossiers: 0
Bort's Thoughts: This cave is relatively easy, but I'm ranking it higher because it is the only cave that you do on foot, which makes it scarier for a beginner. The passages in the cave are too small to even fit wolves through- and while there are some rooms large enough to briefly deploy a dino for a single fight, it really isn't worth it. Bring a high quality shotgun and plenty of ammo and you will be fine.

The artifact is mostly to the right of the entrance, as soon as you see the throbbing holographic effect start following it. Taking literally every right turn will lead you to a jumping/grappling puzzle over bottomless pits that is best avoided. You should be able to reach the artifact from above, and drop down practically on top of it, but it will require at least one grappling hook to return from the direction you came. Make sure to clear the room of threats before attempting to grab the artifact, as there are bottomless pits below. You can not recover your body if you fall in one of these pits.

There are no explorer notes to find, so you don't need to explore all the other passages (unless you want to)

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Fur Armor (High quality preferred, as you wont be on a mount to protect you)
  • Grappling Hooks (2-10)
  • Long Range Gun (Pistol, rifle) w/ 50 ammo
  • Shotgun w/ 100 ammo
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)

Cave #7: The Swamp Cave
Image
Difficulty (1-10): 5
Armor Required: Ghillie (Extreme Heat)
Mount: Megatherium
Grappling Hooks Needed?: None
Environmental Hazards: Poisonous atmosphere, leeches
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: A decently leveled megatherium will be invincible in this cave. While it's possible to just bring a single megatherium, I prefer to bring 2 of opposite sex and set the one I'm not riding to aggressive. The aggressive mega will easily clear a room, and it's helpful since many of the enemies are small and hard to see (leeches, meganeura). Your megas and your self will acquire leeches over time, which mostly won't pose a serious threat, but you can remove them by holding the interact key on your mega and select "remove leeches".

There are some passages where the ceiling is too low to fit your megatherium through- My strategy is to cryopod one of my two megas, and deploy it on the far side of these passages, then return to the one behind me and cryopod that one. In this manner I always have at least one mega deployed that can fight for me if a swarm approaches.

You will need to wear a gas mask immediately upon entering the cave. Keep in mind that an Arthropluera can break your gas mask with it's spit attack, leaving you gasping for air and not enough time to escape the cave, so keep a backup set (or two). USUALLY you are safe from these attacks when on the back of a megatherium.

Gear checklist:
  • Sleeping Bag (1, more if you think you'll die repeatedly)
  • Megatherium (2, of opposite sex)
  • Gas Masks (2-3)
  • Ghillie armor (extreme heat)
  • Shotgun w/ 100 ammo (in case you get jumped when moving through bottlenecks)
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)

Difficulty (1-10): 6
Armor Required: Scuba
Mount: Baryonyx Squad(6-12)
Grappling Hooks Needed?: None
Environmental Hazards: Underwater, Jellyfish
Notes/Dossiers: 3
Bort's Thoughts: This cave is one of the best places to farm high level gear in the game. Underwater caves have a different loot table than other locations, meaning that a blue loot crate in this cave can yield higher rarity loot than red crates on the mainland.

I recommend taking a squad of Baryonyx with you and using your whistles to send them in to attack threats, while you stay safe in the distance. Your primary threat in here are jellyfish, but also look out for level 300+ Mosasaursus.

There are some terrestrial passages, but no enemies spawn in these areas.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Never attack the passive creatures (Salmon, ammonites). At the time of this writing, this cave is entirely populated with passive creatures, making it a breeze to farm high level gear in under 5 minutes, using only a single speed-boosted Baryonyx (or dolphin). If you kill any of the passive creatures, they will likely respawn as something more dangerous.

Gear checklist:
  • Baryonyx (6-12, depending on how strong they are)
  • Fish meat for each baryonyx
  • Scuba Gear
  • Medical Brew (~5)
  • Torches (optional) Some of the terrestrial paths are darkly lit, but if you fall off the path you won't be in danger
  • Otter (Put some fish meat in it so you dont forget about it's hunger)

Difficulty (1-10): 9
Armor Required: Scuba
Mount: HIGH LEVEL Basilosaurus or Tusoteuthis, accompanying health-boosted Baryonyx
Grappling Hooks Needed?: ?
Environmental Hazards: Underwater, Large Swarms, Alphas, Jellyfish
Notes/Dossiers:
Bort's Thoughts: This cave comes with a huge spike in difficulty from the previous caves. The swarms of enemies are huge, and they are very high levels. There are also multiple alpha dinos such as sharks and squids that can spawn inside. I have died multiple times inside this cave, even when I brought an army of 20 baryonyx and 10 spinos with me.

I will update this entry when I have successfully completed this cave, but my plan is to take a high leveled, imprinted, mate boosted Basilosaurus and a pair of mate-boosted baryonyx who have spent all of their points spent on health. The bary's sole purpose is to stun most of the enemies I encounter.

Will report back if it works.


Cave #10: The Snow Cave
Image
Difficulty (1-10): 9
Armor Required: Fur (Extreme cold)
Mount: ?
Grappling Hooks Needed?: ?
Environmental Hazards: Burrowed Pulrovia
Notes/Dossiers: 0
Bort's Thoughts: I have only attempted this cave once, and retreated with my tail between my legs. The enemies are very strong, and there is a constant threat of burrowed pulrovias pouncing on you, dismounting you, and killing you.

It is recommended to bring a Yutyrannus, whose roar can scare the pulrovia out of their burrows, but I don't know what else is required to complete the cave.


Cave #11: The Tek Cave
Image
Difficulty (1-10): 10
Armor Required: ?
Mount: ?
Grappling Hooks Needed?: ?
Environmental Hazards: ?
Notes/Dossiers: 4
Bort's Thoughts: Haven't attempted this cave yet, but it leads to the final boss. Killing the previous 3 bosses and bringing their heads as tribute is required to gain access to this cave.

I expect it to be exceptionally difficult, but don't know the details yet.

<eVa>Verman
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Re: The Island: Cave Guides

Post by <eVa>Verman » Sat Oct 30, 2021 11:15 pm

Umm, WOW.
What a piece of work. This should be in a published book.
Wonder how things will be in ARK 2

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Re: The Island: Cave Guides

Post by Flash » Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:41 pm

Nice Bort!

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