What is the purpose of exploring caves and ruins?


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So the only built in goal of the game, besides just surviving, is to collect Things and create a portal out of the world.

I imagine there are some good items and resources in the caves and ruins that would help you survive and become stronger, which in turn would make exploration of the surface to find the thing components easier, but I would also imagine the dangers of caves and ruins outweigh whatever unique benefits would be found down there.

Am I wrong on that? 

Also, can anyone please explain the difference, in crystal clear terms, of the difference between using Maxwell's Door, and using the portal from a completed Wooden Thing? 

Thanks so much in advance

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You aren't wrong, but it really doesn't take long to reach a stage where you have "beaten" the game, and the caves and ruins give you something else to do, and new challenges and scenery.

 

Maxwell's Door is the entry into Adventure Mode.

 

Using the Teleportato device takes you to a fresh survival world with the same creation settings as the current one.

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Yeah, that would have been cool, but because caves and ruins were bolted on several months after the games' release, they've always been a totally optional part of the gameplay.

 

If they changed the Teleportato device so that you couldn't jump worlds (in Survival mode) unless you had a Guardian's Horn in your inventory, the game would play out somewhat differently.

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Why would you want to use the Teleportato is my question.

 

Usually because you run out of certain non-renewable resources, and a fresh world gives you a fresh supply. Gears, thulecite, and Guardian horns are 3 example that come to mind. (Yes, I know gears are renewable, but endless chasing of tumbleweeds gets very old after a while).

 

Your existing world may not have a Pig King, or certain resources are a very long way from your base. It's just as easy to jump worlds as it is to recreate a large base.

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What items do the caves (not ruins) provide? This would likely incentivize me to go down there

 

Well bat wings for bat bats, beardlords which are the best sorce of beard hair, and rock lobsters so you can never worry about having to fight anything ever again.

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Also, if you have set certain things to "None" in your world generation settings (like spiders, berry bushes, or trees, for example), they will all still spawn in caves (which are completely unaffected by world gen options).

 

So if you have set some things to not spawn on the surface for extra challenge, you may be able to get them by going into the caves.

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I just prefer goal driven gameplay, but I guess DS has no goal really beyond surviving (and it seems like once you get past the first year, you can essentially go on forever). I consider collecting the teleportato pieces and completing adventure mode "winning", and caves and ruins don't really offer anything that outweighs the risk to assist in achieving those goals. 

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Caves and Ruins definitely aren't essential to surviving Don't Starve.  

I look at them as a way to extend interest in your current world by introducing new scenery, mobs, items, etc.  In addition to this, they offer new adventures, while not mandatory, adventures none the less.  

 

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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