2. Floating Islands
Power Type: Arcane / Draconic / Forgotten / Hydro / Law /
Physical / Shadow / Tactical
Minimum Rank: Archduke/Archduchess
Minimum Recommended Traps: Event Horizon Trap / Storm Wrought Ballista Trap (better: Dragon Slayer Cannon) / Infinite Labyrinth Trap / Queso Fount Trap or School of Sharks / Ember Prison Core Trap / Smoldering Stone Sentinel or Sandstorm MonstroBot / Temporal Turbine (better: Chrome Temporal Turbine) / Gouging Geyserite Trap or Sphynx Wrath
Objectives: Get the S.T.I.N.G.E.R. Trap, Thought Obliterator Trap, Circlet of Pursuing Trap, and Slumbering Boulder Trap
Recommended Area Progression Plan: Where Should I Go Next?
Once you have looted an Oculus from Ful’Mina, repaired it, and found the four Warden Stones, you may buy a Dirigible and Flight License from Moussu Picchu’s cartographer and set off to the Floating Islands!
Note on traps needed:
You benefit from having strong traps for each of the 8 power types, since that way you are not restricted in which Islands you can pick. However, technically you could get through the area with a single strong trap if you always pick Islands of one specific power type. Since that would be somewhat limiting and immensely increase the time spent in the area though, it is recommended that you have strong traps for multiple power types. Also, there is one Paragon mouse for each power type, and these are the bosses. All bosses can drop the necessary loot you need. However, if you want to catch all the mice and fill in all the silhouettes, you better come prepared with some powerful traps! And even with those, you should expect a catch rate of approx. 70%.
The Launch Pad
You start on the Launch Pad, which is your base for exploring the skies. Here, you hunt for Cloud Curd which you can exchange in the Cheese Shop for Cloud Cheesecake. This type of cheese is used on the Islands you explore. You can use basic cheeses there as well, but Cloud Cheesecake will result in more loot overall.
Since the mice on the Launch Pad are vulnerable to all 8 power types used in this area, pick your most powerful one to hunt with.
Tip: If you use SB+ (or Empowered SB+), you will sometimes encounter the Cloud Miner, who drops greater quantities of Cloud Curd. Since you have 75 hunts max on any Island, and you return to the Launch Pad after, you don’t need more than 75 Cloud Cheesecake. However, as you will learn later, you’ll probably need less.
The Launch Pad HUD (HUD stands for Heads Up Display) can be a little intimidating at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. Just have a look at the 5 things I have highlighted here. The rest doesn’t have to interest you yet.
1 is your cheeses. You can’t get Sky Pirate Swiss Cheese yet, but you can collect Cloud Curd and then use it to buy Cloud Cheesecake.
2 is your Work shop. Here you can upgrade your Oculus, once you have the ressources needed. Since you only have one option for now, the first upgrade, and each new upgrade only unlocks once you get the next better one, you don’t have to worry about the order in which you go about things here. It’s linear.
By the way, the first upgrade makes it possible for Cloud Curd to be found on the Islands you explore. That means less (and later ideally no) time spent gathering Cloud Curd on the Launch Pad!
Tip: Even though it seems like you aren’t able to take a look at your work shop when you are exploring an Island, there is still a way! Click on your parked dirigible floating up and down next to the Island to access the work shop!
3 is a nice new feature: the trap library! Click on it and it will memorize whichever setup (complete with cheese, base, and charm) you are using right now, and from now on until you change it, this will be your standard trap setup that you will automatically revert to whenever you come back to the Launch Pad from having explored an Island! You can also have it memorize setups for each individual Island! That’s pretty cool!
4 is your flight log, which will display a summary of all the things you acquired and achieved on the last Island you visited.
5 is your Sky Map! Click on it and the journey to your first Island can begin!
The Sky Map
The Sky Map, once opened, generates a random distribution of Shrines and Ore and Glass formations. There are always 8 Islands to choose from, one for each power type used in the area. If you don’t like the map that was generated for you, you can use a Cyclone Stone to cycle to a new map. Chances are you won’t have that option in the beginning though.
Click on any power type and it highlights the path you are going to be taking on the Island. Don’t worry, you have to confirm after you click, so there is no danger in playing around a little.
If you have trouble “reading” the map, think of the power type icon as the starting place, “tile 0”, and the one immediately adjacent to it is “tile 1”. For example, for the Law Island, that would be the Shrine of Frost (lowest green stone). The tiles count from bottom to top for the horizontal power types at the bottom, and from left to right for the vertical power types on the left.
Now, if you were looking for a lot of Sky Glass, you would take the Law Island, because it has a Shrine, an empty terrain, and two Sky Glass formations! That’s more Sky Glass than any other Island. Next to it is the Physical Island, and this one would be the only one with two Sky Ore formations.
However, a good strategy for beginners is to try and hit multiple Islands as fast as possible. You want to clear Wardens to be able to reach High Altitude Islands, which contain more loot! So the best thing to do is pick an Island with a Shrine, to make sure a Warden is present, and make sure the Shrine is at the very beginning of the Island, if at all possible! Why? Because a Shrine terrain gives you a bonus on advancing for as long as you are on the Island, but it only gets activated once you hit the one Shrine terrain out of the four terrains. So if it’s at the very end, it won’t get activated until you have progressed there. If it’s at the very beginning, it’ll be activated right from the start!
Because of this, from this map you would want to pick either the Law or Forgotten Island. And since the Forgotten Island has more stuff, it is the better choice.
Exploring an Island
Once you have picked an Island, you will travel there instantaneously. You will probably have to change your trap setup, so don’t forget that!
The mice of all Islands have a chance to drop 1 Sky Glass and 1 Sky Ore. This number will be doubled once you hit a Sky Glass or Sky Ore formation (provided the Island has one). You have 75 hunts max on the Island, but you don’t really want to stick around for that long. For every catch you advance towards the Warden that is 40 steps away (10 for each of the 4 tiles). If you start on a Shrine tile, you immediately get 2 steps for each catch (shown in blue with Bottled Wind activated and in green without Wind)! Also, the Warden progresses towards you from the other side (shown in red) for each mouse you failed to catch.
This shouldn’t worry you. It just means the two of you will face off when you meet, wherever that’ll be. The quicker you get there, the faster you can go back and explore the next Island. You will notice you can’t run out of hunts before you inevitably meet the Warden.
Once you do, there are a few things to note. There is a retreat button that gets activated once you encounter the Warden. If it proves too strong for you, you may leave. However, I hope you’ll be able to catch it, because that’s the whole point of you being there!
Also, the Warden is not bound by the power type of the Island, but is vulnerable to all 8 of them. So depending on your traps, and which Island you are on, you may want to think about switching to a stronger trap! The Warden also doesn’t need Cloud Cheesecake to be attracted, so you can switch to any regular store bought cheese.
Tip: Since Empowered Brie or Empowered SB+ provides your trap with more power, this might be a good way to use it!
A quick word about Bottled Wind! You may have already seen the bottle with the word “active” below it in the picture I provided above. If you hunt with an active bottle, you get a +1 bonus on Sky Glass and Sky Ore drops, and you also advance an additional step (so 2 steps in regular terrain and 3 steps after you land on a Shrine). However, the Warden doesn’t drop anything that Bottled Wind can add to, so unless you want to keep progressing multiple steps when catching it, you can deactivate and preserve your wind.
Tip: Early Farming Strategy & Goals
After you catch the Warden, the retreat button changes to “depart”. You can now leave the Island or keep hunting for more loot. The decision early on is influenced by one key question: do you have a stash of Cloud Cheesecake or not?
If you do, be it through donations, buying it from the Marketplace, or having built up more than necessary prior to your first Island, my advice would be to leave right away. You get more loot on other Islands as well, and your goal is to progress to High Altitude Islands as fast as possible.
The only reason to stay would be for the Treasure Trove you get when you reach the end of all 40 steps. If you are close, you may wanna put in an extra one or two hunts to get there. Low Altitude Island Troves contain 20k gold, 5 Cloud Curd, and a specialty item, for example a Cyclone Stone.
However, if you don’t have a stash of Cloud Cheesecake that’ll get you through the next half a dozen or so Islands, you should prioritize upgrading your Occulus to level 2, which takes 35 each Sky Ore and Sky Glass. If you happen to be on an Island with a Sky Glass and/or Sky Ore formation, hanging around until you hit that 35 threshold would probably be beneficial. That way, you will acquire the ability to loot some Cloud Curd on those Islands that have a Curd tile on the Sky Map. (Remember: the earlier a tile, the earlier you unlock the bonus while actually on the Island, and therefore the more you can gather!)
The next upgrades that will be useful in order to gather more Curd on Islands rather than on the Launch Pad are level 4 and 6 (and eventually 9).
Once you get back to the Launch Pad, get more Cloud Cheesecake if you need to, then set off to your second Island. You’ll notice the map will now only contain three Shrines, since you already caught one Warden. Once you have defeated 4 Wardens, your dirigible can ascend to the High Altitude Islands. They work similarly, except that the Shrines are now defended by Paragons, from which you can loot High Altitude-only crafting materials. Also, the base rate for Sky Ore and Sky Glass on these Islands is 2, not 1, so when you get to Sky Glass or Sky Ore formations on the Islands, this gets doubled to 4.
Everything that has been said about Wardens goes for Paragons as well, except that they ARE bound to the Island’s power type, so you need to stick to it as well.
High Altitude Treasure Troves provide 100k gold, 20 Cloud Curd, and multiple of one specialty item, for example 4 Cyclone Stones (so essentially, High Altitude Treasure Troves are stuffed with 4 times more loot than Low Altitude Treasure Troves).
After you’ve caught a Paragon, the High Altitude Islands are out of reach for you once more. You will have to defeat the 4 Wardens again first before your next visit!
Sky Pirates & Richard the Rich
As you upgrade your oculus, you populate the Sky Map with more specialty tiles, until eventually there are no more empty tiles left. This helps in collecting more Sky Glass and Sky Ore, since every additional tile doubles what you can loot: on a Low Altitude Island, regularly you loot 1 Ore, but an Ore tile makes that 2, and two Ore tiles make that 4, and so on.
Unlocking level 4, Loot Caches, results in double of any loot that’s available (once you hit that tile), and level 9 can double that again if you manage to find an Island that has two Loot Cache tiles! And this does even more: a two Loot Cache tile Island is the only place where you will be able to find Richard the Rich. He is not necessary for progression, but can trop Treasure Troves as loot, so he will speed up your journey by providing you with extra resources.
Level 5 unlocks the three lower tier Sky Pirates, and level 8 unlocks the possibility to encounter the three upper tier ones. In order to attract the Sky Pirates, you’ll need to use Sky Pirate Swiss Cheese, which you can buy from the shops in exchange for Corsair’s Curd. You can loot Corsair’s Curd on Islands with a Sky Pirate tile, and once you have enough Sky Pirate Swiss Cheese, you can use it on a Sky Pirate tile Island as soon as you hit that tile to attract the three lower tier Sky Pirates. They are not bound to the Island’s power type, so you should use your most powerful trap when you go for them. To attract the three upper tier Sky Pirates, you’ll need to hunt on and Island with two Sky Pirate tiles.
The Sky Pirates drop Seals that can be used to buy the much sought after Sky Pirate treasure maps. Looting pirate treasure is always a worthwhile endeavour!