Some Assembly Required: A trip around the world in Craftopia for materials and exploration’s sake


One of my favorite things to do in survival sandboxes is explore. Now, I admit that I don’t get to feed that need very often – some survivalboxes downright punish you for it – but mercifully this time around I was granted the opportunity and the means to let my feet run around the world.

Ostensibly I was doing that in Craftopia this week in order to gather up materials. What I actually was doing, though, was drowning in my wanderlust.

I will admit that this is kind of off of the beaten path (no pun intended) for this column, but I promise that I was roaming the wilds in order to get myself a bunch of materials. I started to notice that much of my mineral needs were running a bit thin after I put together the items I needed for the main quest line, and I figured a sojourn around the map to both clear out the fog of war and to find as many rocks to mine as possible would be a good idea.

Also, Craftopia put out an update that both changed the main quest, revamped how the new ages are opened, and also removed the walls that were sealing up some underground caves. So honestly, there were a lot of material needs I had to have and a lot of exploration to do.

I first made sure to check out the caverns that were nearest to me, which started off a bit labyrinthine but eventually ended up being a great source of minerals. I was surprised how much I was going to need copper, and these newly introduced caves were a fantastic source for it. However, none of them were particularly interesting. About the only variance that I experienced in the spelunking I did was that the second lower layer had a different puzzle to beat or platforming challenge to clear. At least these were rewarding; getting bags of old coins to sell is easy money.

With that curiosity slaked, it was time to now focus on my primary objective: open up the map. This was one of those activities that were spread out over the course of several days of play, with me simply picking a general cardinal direction, walking towards it, and very often steering myself off-course when I saw gobs of resources or interesting sights.

Over the course of my journey I was met with more than a few sights indeed. There were some castle ruins that I had just barely touched when I first started that I decided to run through. There was a poison swamp I had found. There was a lava location with some fiery enemies to slay. I even managed to stumble across a pre-made piece of automated machinery that was drilling into some stone bedrock and feeding the materials into a giant container via conveyor belt. And then I started to move further east towards a place known as Owatatsu Archipelago.

This was probably my favorite part of my wandering journey, and not just because it was extremely pretty, but it also had a few new resources for me. There was plenty of silver to harvest and wood to chop, but the sakura trees here also dropped cherry blossoms, which apparently could be used for some very specific furnishings. Further up the path, I saw what looked like a gazebo that was covered in a shield, and so I decided to make that my next general destination, all the while fighting lightning goblins, hunting deer, and banging my tools on as many resource nodes as my inventory would handle.

Once I made it to this shielded gazebo, I ended up a bit stuck initially, with no obvious way to break through. I was feeling a little bit crestfallen here, but then when I was about to make my way back, I found a new dungeon door to open.

Now it should be mentioned that, after this latest update, the previously required keys that drop from these instances to open up new ages have been removed; progressing forward in an age now requires bundles of materials much like Craftopia required before its seamless world update. So with that in mind, does that mean that the dungeons are useless? I decided that now was as good a time as any to find out.

The so-called Labyrinth of Torrents that I went to was probably one of the more engaging dungeons in this game yet, with three different areas that all had their own little bit of puzzling and combat to navigate. Nothing was particularly painful, all things considered, but there were a couple of unique mechanics that I had to deal with, such as fighting enemies while not being able to jump, taking on two really painful kraken monsters, battling sturdy alligators while avoiding the poisonous water, and navigating a maze of currents.

By the end of it all, I fought and defeated a Noble Frog boss. That’s a giant frog with a mage riding atop it who kept attacking me with water magic and bellyflops. It was a surprisingly tough fight, but once I got its patterns down and through the grace of my mana shield, I was able to defeat the giant magical frog. It was good to once again be reminded that Craftopia likes to keep it weird.

By the end of the dungeon, I had gotten more coin bags and some unique materials, so it wasn’t a complete waste of my time. As a matter of fact, I’m reasonably sure some of these materials that I got will be needed in order to progress the game forward into the next crafting tier.

However, that is going to have to be something to investigate for another time. Right now I am flush with victory, my inventory is absolutely full to bursting, and I’ve got a bunch of furniture to craft and a house to decorate. After all, that’s kind of what this column is meant for, right? So I might as well make use of both its intention and the goodies I’ve gathered up.

See? I told you I was wandering around aimlessly for a good reason.

MMO designers construct thrilling worlds, but MMO players also build some amazing content within them! Some Assembly Required highlights player-generated content, from events to housing to quest-creation systems. There’s creativity galore out there, and we travel the MMOverse to find and share it.
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