Spacegate Operations Handbook and Wildlife Guide

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This guide is designed to help you get the most out of your Spacegate access badge.

Basic design

The Spacegate is a zone in which you may spend up to 20 adventures per day exploring a "planet." Planets are procedurally-generated based on the 7 letters that comprise the planet's coordinates, although there are small variations in what adventures actually appear. Planets may have combats against various enemies, non-combats that advance one of three mini-quests that give a skillbook as a reward, non-combats that allow you to purchase an item from a friendly alien, and non-combats that allow you to obtain various items that can be traded in for pages of Spacegate Research, the currency used in this zone. Research can be spent at an NPC store or used to unlock the ability to receive free, once-per-day "vaccinations" that are actually 30-turn buffs. See the "Recommended planets" section below for more details on what objectives you might try to accomplish and where to go to do them.

A planet has seven alphabetical coordinates. The first coordinate dictates the difficulty level of the planet: planets that begin with A,B,C, etc. are easiest and planets beginning with X,Y, and Z are the most difficult. Difficulty level determines how strong monsters are -- higher difficulty planets have monsters that scale more aggressively to player stats, attack harder, possess a degree of immunity to stuns and damage, etc. Difficulty level also seems to control the number of rewards a player receives, particularly in adventures that give research items -- more difficult planets seem to give more rewards.

Difficulty level also dictates what environmental hazards are present on each planet. Hazards, which are fully disclosed to the player once a planet is selected, take two forms. First, certain hazards, like an irradiated planet or one with high gravity, must be mitigated by the player wearing a particular item of equipment-- e.g. the exo-leg braces are pants that mitigate high gravity, the rad cloak is a back item that mitigates an irradiated planet. Those items are distributed for free by an NPC shop in the zone, and simply exist to deny players the use of particular equipment slots on higher-difficulty planets. The second type of hazards consist of types of elemental damage that fire at the end of adventures, regardless of whether the adventure is a combat or non-combat. For example, a planet that has the hazard of "solar flares" will occasionally hit the player with hot damage at the end of an adventure. More difficult planets include a wider array of elements that can be triggered (although only one element type will ever fire after an adventure, regardless of difficulty) and the amount of damage is increased. These types of damage are little more than an annoyance: losing all your HP to one of these hazards at the end of an adventure does not nullify the results of the adventure, does not appear to affect drop rates, etc. They just require the player to clear beaten-up and heal up again before the next adventure.

The remaining coordinates dictate what types of adventures might be found in the zone. Zones have the following characteristics:

  • Presence of animal life: animal life can either be noted as hostile (resulting in one or more combats with various animal enemies) or benign (resulting in non-combats where you can poke an animal to gain alien toenails, that are converted into research pages, or harvest some alien meat, a good-quality, size 1 food that gives a beneficial effect.
  • Presence of plant life. Like aliens, plants can be hostile (resulting in combats against various plant monsters) or benign (resulting in choice non-combats in which plants can be studied for research pages or for edible alien plant bits that are functionally identical to alien meat.
  • Presence of alien life: aliens can be either friendly (gives a single non-combat that allows the player to purchase an item from the alien in exchange for meat) or hostile (results in combats against a hostile intelligent alien).
  • Presence of alien ruins: indicates that one of the adventures will be a non-combat that could possibly advance one of the skillbook mini-quests.
  • Nearly every planet will have one or more "rock hunting" non-combats that only produce rocks that can be exchanged for research pages. Rock adventures are the "default" adventure on a planet and will occur if a planet lacks enough features (alien, animal, plant life, spants, murderbots, ruins).

As mentioned, a planet's composition is determined by its coordinates. The formula by which this occurs is being studied, but it is clear that a given planet will give the same kinds of adventures (with minor amounts of variance) to different players. For example, if player X reports that planet ABCDEFG consists of 6 murderbot combats, 4 plant non-combats, an alien ruin adventure, 2 animal combats, and 7 rock adventures, player Y can be fairly certain that he or she will encounter nearly all of those same adventures upon visiting ABCDEFG. Players X and Y will likely encounter those adventures in a different sequence than each other, but all or nearly all of the same adventures will appear for both players over the full 20 turrns. (Adventure variance is not yet understood, but appears to be such that a small number of rock encounters might be substituted for alien life encounters or vice-versa, or having slightly more or slightly fewer murderbot or spant encounters than another player. So far, there is no evidence of alien ruin adventures varying among players on the same planet.)

Players are collaboratively spading what planets have what features. That spading is collected here. Please log your planets!

What's in the Zone

Your first use of the Access Badge unlocks the Secret Underground Spacegate Facility in the Big Mountains. That zone contains the following areas:

  • The Spacegate Terminal, which lets you select the planet you wish to adventure on, including setting the planet's difficulty level (see below) and indirectly choosing the types of encounters you will find. Once activated, the Terminal unlocks Through the Spacegate as an adventuring zone. You may spend up to 20 turns per day inside the Spacegate, and there is no apparent way to increase that number. Spacegate turns do not have to be completed sequentially -- you can leave the Spacegate and adventure in other places, change equipment, buff or heal up, etc.,then return without losing any of your remaining Spacegate turns. Spacegate turns cannot be carried over through rollover or ascension, so the number of turns available to you will never exceed 20 per ascension day. You can, however, spend your 20 turns, ascend, and have 20 new turns to spend.
  • Equipment Requisition dispenses both necessary and optional equipment for Spacegate adventuring. More difficult planets have hazards that can only be mitigated by wearing items dispensed from this machine, and you cannot adventure in the Spacegate without wearing the required items. The items do not have any relevance anywhere else the game -- they are essentially a mechanism that deprives you of the use of certain outfit slots when using the Spacegate. The machine also dispenses optional items: the geological, botanical, and zoological sample kits. These are off-hand items that increase the research yield of certain adventures inside the Spacegate. The Geological sample kit allows the alien gemstone to drop during the rock-gathering non-combats. Because these non-combats appear frequently and the gemstones produce huge amounts of research, the geology kit is an excellent default choice to use. The other sample kits will occasionally grant items like a complex alien zoological sample or fascinating alien plant sample after encountering the applicable adventure(s) with the right kit equipped, but these items give far less bonus research than the gemstones. This means that the geological kit is almost always the right choice. (Note that you can often choose to "leave" a non-combat, but doing so spends a turn and advances the Spacegate counter anyway. Thus, you cannot, for example, encounter an animal-based non-combat while having the geology kit equipped, choose to leave the non-combat, equip your zoology kit, and then return to the same non-combat.)
  • Spacegate R&D: Clicking on this area will automatically trade in all of your items that can be converted into Spacegate Research. None of the items that produce research have any other function in the game, but a few (including the gemstone) are tradeable. Unless you're engaged in mall-selling or display-casing your research-giving items, there is little reason not to make the R&D center your first stop after a day of Spacegating.
  • Spacegate Vaccination Machine: Needs to be permanently unlocked by spending 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 pages of research on it. Once unlocked, gives a free, once-per-day 30-turn buff of elemental resistance, a stat buff, or +30 monster level.
  • Spacegate Fabrication Facility (labeled as Exo-Tech Fabrication in-game): an NPC store where you can spend your accumulated research to purchase various consumables, equipment (including equipment accessories that give +adventures and +PVP fights at rollover), a skillbook that gives a permable yellow ray-equivalent skill, or a tattoo.
  • An elevator to the surface, which puts you back unceremoniously at The Big Mountains.

Recommended planets

Depending on what you want to accomplish, there is a planet -- probably many planets -- that can meet your needs. Here are some of them. (Note that where many planets provide the same number of relevant encounters, this list will usually identify the most difficult planet among that group, as the most difficult planet will result in the best research results as well. For easier planets, consult the chart.)

  • Ascension relevance: The Paradise Under a Strange Sun noncombat grants a hefty 1000 Moxie substats, TFHSXKK is a superb planet featuring both friendly plant and animal life, for maximum unused turns. Not always useful for speed play, but can offer a big pile of stats for those nursing their loss of the Chateau Mantegna.
  • Maximizing research (for purchases from the Fabrication area or to unlock the vaccines): The ideal planet for grinding out research will have nothing but rock-collecting adventures. Rocks yield a good amount of research on their own and if you've got a geological sample kit equipped -- and why don't you? -- you can pick up some lucrative gemstones as well. ZAAAUEN is as good as it gets with all 20 rock adventures, with Z-level (highest yield) rewards. Surviving the massive elemental damage is hardly a concern, with no combats, all you need is 1 HP to keep exploring.
  • Getting the Spant Armor outfit: The outfit consists of five pieces. Four are craftable parts -- spant backplate, spant shield, spants, spant shoulderpads -- that are made from spant chitin and spant tendons. The chitin and tendons drop from combat with Spant drones and Spant soldiers, they are also tradeable in the mall. Crafting all four items will require a total of 20 chitins and 20 tendons. The final item is the non-craftable non-tradeable Spant spear that drops from soldier combats. If you do not want to press your luck, some spooky jelly can help you force that spear from the Spant soldier, although you may have to use multiple jellies before encountering one. The spant soldier cannot be yellow rayed for the spear. Planet VVVVVVV (hard fights, 5 hazards) contains 10 rocks events, 4 spant drones, 5 spant soldiers. Planet CHALUPA (easy fights, 1 hazard) contains 10 rocks events, 3 spant drones, 6 spant soldiers
  • Skillbooks! There are three mini-quests that give a tradeable skillbook as a reward. The skills are small, passive boosts to +item%, +meat%, or +init, all of which are valuable to ascenders. The quests all follow the same general formula, with slight mechanical differences: obtain incremental amounts of fluency in an alien language by encountering a specific alien ruins non-combat adventure. When you feel you have sufficient fluency, find a second specific alien ruins non-combat adventure that tests that fluency. It is believed that the test is a simple random dice roll of 1-100, and if your fluency level exceeds the number rolled, you pass. Passing earns you a special item and resets your fluency in that language to zero. You then visit a third specific alien ruins non-combat where you turn in your item to receive the skillbook. Planets that have quest-advancing non-combats on them are noted as having "ALIEN RUINS DETECTED" in the terminal's description. A planet with ruins will only ever have one instance of one of the ruin non-combats. Quests can be repeated within an ascension to obtain multiple skillbooks.

  • Space Pirates: Gives Space Pirate Astrogation Handbook. Teaches the skill Quantum Movement, +20% init.
    • Obtain fluency by getting the Land Ho noncombat -- try ZZZZZZZ or ABCDEFG. Each instance of the non-combat gives +10% fluency. Fluency is lost on ascension.
    • Take the test in Half The Ship it Used to Be on ZINCAAA or AAAAAAN. If you pass, you receive a Space pirate treasure map. If you fail, you still receive +5% fluency boost, so it is optimal to start taking the test after only 2-3 Land Ho non-combats. (Note that the treasure map is tradeable, so it can be bought and sold in the mall, and it is not lost if you ascend with it in inventory.)
    • Go to Paradise Under a Strange Sun on ZINNIAS or ADCBACA to be able to use the map and obtain the book.

  • Procrastinators: Gives Non-Euclidean Finance. Teaches the skill 5-D Earning Potential, +20% meat.
    • Unlike the other quests, this quest has a prerequisite before you can start accumulating fluency. Collect Murderbot data cores in the Recovering the Satellite noncombat. (Note that these are quest items and will be lost if not used before ascending.) Some planets, such as THEAPES have several instances of this adventure, allowing you to collect 5 cores in a single day.
    • Convert data cores to language fluency in That's No Moonlith, it's a Monolith! on ZPQLMNO or CCCCCCC. Only one core can be converted per day, but each core gives +20% fluency.
    • Take the language test in I'm Afraid It's Terminal on ZYSKCNO or LEOPOLD. Pass and receive a Procrastinator locker key. (The key is a quest item and is lost upon ascension if not converted into the skillbook.) Failing the test gives no bonus fluency. Testing after 2-3 days of gaining fluency is optimal.
    • Take the locker key to Curses, a Hex on ZYGOTES to get the book.

  • Space Baby: Gives Peek-a-Boo!. Teaches the skill Object Quasi-Permanence, +10% items.
    • Obtain Space Baby children's books in Time Enough at Last on ZZZZZZV or ZIWTWNB or IJKLMNO. These books are tradeable, so you can also just purchase them in the Mall. Use them from your inventory to increase your fluency. Fluency does not persist through ascension.
    • Take the test at Mother May I on ZYGMUNT or BBBBBBD. Pass it and receive a Space Baby bawbaw. (Like the treasure map, the bawbaw is tradeable and can be kept through ascension.) No additional fluency is awarded upon failing the test. Testing after reading 3-4 books is optimal.
    • Go to Please Baby Baby Please on ZZZYZZZ or MELONIA for your book.
  • Buying alien junk: Several planets have an encounter with a friendly alien that offers to sell you one alien item in exchange for meat. Prices for each item vary by planet. The cheapest ones are:
Item Planet Price
Primitive alien salad (food, good, size 1) BICYCLE 10.6K
Primitive alien medicine (+500% max HP potion) OOOOOOO 10.4K
Primitive alien booze (good, size 5, extends 10 effects for 5 more turns) AAAAAAQ 11.9K
Primitive alien mask (hat, +2 adv. per day and changes your avatar to an alien) ZRSJMNM 123K
  • Rare items: Certain items drop rarely after certain combats. Maximum encounters with exotic plants can be found on HBMRGMA, maximum exotic animals on ZLSVLJL.

Hostile Intelligent Aliens

Hostile intelligent aliens have 10 possible appearances. Which planet has which appearance appears to be deterministic, as such going to the same planet repeatedly will always show the same hostile intelligent alien on that specific planet. There are extremely rare drops that can be dropped only on certain planets. It is possible that those are tied to which picture is used for that planet, or it might be some other mechanism

Item Item Description Known Locations (Alien image#)
Cavespear.gif
primitive alien spear
Muscle +20
+25 Hot Damage
Regenerate 2-4 HP and MP per adventure
QJYYPXQ (1), COMRADE (1)
Blowgun.gif
primitive alien blowgun
Moxie +20
+25 Sleaze Damage
Regenerate 2-4 HP and MP per adventure
DECEIVE (3)
Wumploincloth.gif
primitive alien loincloth
Combat Initiative +50%
+25 Stench Damage
Regenerate 2-4 HP and MP per adventure
ZDPZRRE (5), MANATEE (6), TLSLSKX (6)
Alientotem.gif
primitive alien totem
Damage Reduction: 25
Regenerate 2-4 HP and MP per adventure
+25 Spooky Damage
30 turn duration TT totem
ZDPZQGQ (8), ZPFLMNZ (8), ZDPZSCS (8), GRIMACE (8)
Aliennecklace.gif
primitive alien necklace
+5 Stat(s) Per Fight
+25 Cold Damage
Regenerate 2-4 HP and MP per adventure
RATFINK (10)
  • Alien# indicates which picture number those hostile aliens use. in the format of sgalienbX.gif where X is a variable
  • Note that locations are just places which the rares were allegedly dropped for some people. It has not yet been spaded whether it is the ideal place to farm them.
  • Like many other rare drops, these drops cannot be forced by the yellow ray mechanic and may not be affected by +item drop modifiers. (Drop rates and conditions require further spading.)

Collecting factoids

There are 11 different combats that can appear: a Hostile intelligent alien; 3 kinds of hostile animals (small hostile animal, large hostile animal, and the stunning exotic hostile animal); 3 kinds of hostile plants (the hostile plant, the large hostile plant and the exotic hostile plant); 2 kinds of "Space ants"-- the Spant drone and Spant soldier; and 2 kinds of Murderbots: the Murderbot drone and Murderbot soldier. Each of these categories are logged on the planet spading chart, so if you're fixin' for a fight, check out where to go.

To supercharge your farming, the following table identifies the best currently known planet for accomplishing two goals simultaneously. Select your primary and secondary farming goals, consult the table, and away you go!

Secondary Goal
Max research Intelligent aliens Exotic plant Exotic animal Spants Murderbots
Primary Goal Max research CCYSOND (20)
ZAAAUEN (20)
ZOOLOGY (8, 7)
ZNZIBAR (7+3, 7)
ZYXAAAA (8, 3) ZLSVLJL (13, 6) ZOMBIES (12, 8) ZZZZZZX (11, 7)
Intelligent aliens ZOOLOGY (7, 8)
ZNZIBAR (8, 7+3)
or QJYYPXQ (11, 8 but not a Z planet)
QJYYPXQ (11) RSZBSBM (6, 3) ZYZZYVA (7, 3) YYXAAAB (7, 5*) ZIWTWNB (7, 6)
MELINOE (6, 6)
Exotic plant EZHEART (6, 13) BAAAAAA (4, 7) EZHEART (6) none RACKIST (5, 6) HBMRGMA (5, 5)
Exotic animal ZLSVLJL (6, 13) ZYZZYVA (3, 7) none ZLSVLJL (6) ZAPZAPP (5, 9*) AAAAAAF (5, 5^)
Spants ZOMBIES (8, 12) LOLOLOL (8, 6) VICIOUS (9*, 2) VAVBVCV (9, 4) FUCKYOU (10*)
VVVVVVV (9)
VINEGAR (8*, 7^)
Murderbots ZZZZZZX (7^, 11) BEFORUS (7,5) TUJBQTK (9^, 2) AAAABBB (7, 3) MCSUSNP (9, 4*) HLUMDHT (10)

Key: (X, Y) = (number of primary goal adventures, number of secondary goal adventures). a+b = rock-based research adventures + plant/animal-based research adventures, *= spant drones only, ^= murderbot drones only

(There are errors in the table. In particular, at least, ZIWTWNB has no combat encounters at all. Someone should check it against the spreadsheet (and be sure the spreadsheet hasn't been messed up by someone sorting by 1 column only), and update it. I'll do it when/if I have the necessary free time. Spreadsheet is at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yi08XJNPbfBAIDTR2rNrBJTPnXCO6GME294zU3afdD8/edit The spreadsheet address should probably stay for reference.)

Other notable loot