There are many places to explore in Terraria. Not only are there various environments in the game, but there are also many items to collect and monsters to fight all across the world, which is randomly generated so every new world created will be different.
There are interesting things on the surface and a multitude of things to encounter underground. The game’s quote, "Shut Up And Dig Gaiden", seems to emphasize one of the key concept of the game which is mining. The whole purpose of mining in this game is to explore (the quote is actually a reference to another game Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, the text may change over future updates).
Players could also look for Floating Islands which are small masses of land above the surface. They cannot be seen from the ground in most cases, except perhaps at very high resolutions, and require special means of finding it, or stumbling upon it by coincidence.
This guide is to aid beginners in what to expect and what to prepare for when exploring the strange and exotic land and may also provide finer information for those more experienced with the game. There are also references to other guides.
Always keep some healing items at hand. This is the most important thing to keep in mind if you don't want to spawn all the way back to your spawn location. You can pick up mushrooms in the Forest or find healing potions among loot. Without these, your exploration will be short-lived. Also, once you do have potions, be careful not to allow lesser healing items such as mushrooms to be used first; When pressing the H key on your keyboard, the game will begin counting through your inventory, from top-left to top-right then wrapping back to the second row, proceeding like so until it encounters some variety of healing item which is then consumed. Because of Potion Sickness, this can be disastrous if it encounters mushrooms or a Lesser Healing Potion before a Healing Potion.
The essential items that most players should carry are: weapons, armor, healing items, a Pickaxe, an Axe, a Hammer, and torches (for beginners). Later on, the Meteor Hamaxe and Molten Hamaxe perform the functions of both Axes and Hammers, allowing two hotbar slots to be folded into one.
An even more compact tool, the Drax, was added in 1.1. It functions as a drill, and an axe, two in one.
Keep in mind that different monsters live in different environments (biomes).
For surface exploration, you must have some healing potions ready for monsters that might be too strong to fight. Carry some wood or platforms in case you fall into a pit. You may need to build a stairway to get out. Always carry the essential equipment (refer above). An excellent weapon for early players is a Bow, as it can prevent you from getting into close encounters that may injure you. Even the most basic of bow can use the highest tier of Arrows, possibly allowing for improved damage even before the bow itself can be replaced. Although, you must actually aim with the bow, making it harder to master.
If there is a cave, enter it and you’ll most likely find pots or chests that contain loot. In addition, you may take the chest with you to your home by breaking it with a pickaxe or the blocks below it. If you are having problems removing the chest make sure it is empty.
If you think you went too far and want a fast way of travel back to your house just save and exit your world. When you re-enter, you will end up at your spawn point. Later on, the Magic Mirror can be used to teleport back to the spawn point without the struggle of exiting and re-entering.
You can look for Fallen Stars along the surface at night to increase your mana count. They also tend to land on top of structures, so that is a nice place to look. Be cautious while searching though, as Zombies and Demon Eyeballs spawn during the night and can be fatal if you're not prepared. Along with this, be sure to place light sources periodically along places you have already explored, as it provides a little more safety during the nighttime when more dangerous monsters spawn. It also allows you to see approaching dangers.
One of the first things you should do is to explore the Underground (most of the time, players do spend a lot of time digging). It is still as dangerous as the surface, though most of the things required early in the game are mainly contained underground. Players should look for ore deposits, pots, and chests to find and loot.
First of all, you need the necessary equipment; a weapon, a Pickaxe, a Hammer and a fair amount of Torches. An Axe is not a must, but if you do encounter a deposit of Glowing Mushrooms, you will need it to harvest the large ones (Glowing Mushrooms are required in healing potion crafting, and so should be prioritized). You could also carry platforms that you might need to build a ladder back up the hole you dug into. Instead of platforms, you can use ropes or blocks to make a staircase back up; However, platforms and ropes have the advantage that they will not block movement from below or the sides. Alternatively, if you have any form of Grappling Hook, you can use it to scale the hole and find your way back up. Always place torches for light and also for marking areas where you have previously explored. Torches will not burn up over time, and can be used to permanently illuminate an area once visited. Mining Helmets are very useful if you prefer not planting torches, since it lights your way while you dig, but this becomes less viable once a full set of armor is available due to losing set bonuses, especially those that emit their own light.
If you happen to enter a cavern, explore it because it may run deep into the ground and potentially be filled with chests or pots. After you have explored that cavern and lit it with torches, look for a nearby adjacent cavern and tunnel to it. This will greatly speed up exploration and increase your loot discovery. Be careful, however, as some caverns are very big and you might fall to your death. This can be avoided by equipping a Lucky Horseshoe or any of its variants (As well as balloons with horseshoes).
Do not just dig downwards (Unless you're tunneling to the Underworld), but try digging sideways as well since there are hundreds of caverns and ore veins underground. This could help you find very big ore deposits that you might have missed. You may find the Underworld, but it may take a while (Identifiable by its large amounts of lava, demons, and the fire-veined background).
You may encounter a deep pool of water in your way. You could take a risk and jump in to see what's inside. It may contain pots or chests too, even ore deposits on the walls of the pool. Always remember that you have limited amount of breathing and you'll drown if you don't resurface soon enough. There are tricks to getting through water, even for avoiding touching it (this goes for lava too). These tips can be found on the water page.
Sometimes, making a very long shaft is good for travel. You might want to just fall into it and end up in a pool of water (to break your fall, these are not necessarily hellevators). You might alternatively want to make a shaft that has platforms. Be careful when making one for a monster can fall into the pit with you and inflict damage. You can avoid this by making the only entrance closed and with a light source.
Most useful items in exploration are Rocket Boots, Cloud in a Bottle, Magic Mirror, Hermes Boots, Aglet or, better, an Anklet of the Wind, a Shadow Armor set, Spelunker Potions and any form of Grappling Devices
Things to explore from here onward are for interest and are not places you have to visit. However, the Dungeon is the exception. Every player will want to visit the dungeon because of the rewards tucked inside. Also, there are items only found in dungeons that cannot be found anywhere else. To reach the dungeon, you will need to get past some of the biomes mentioned below.
The sky-islands always contain a chest in a room with a chance of rare and unique items. They are unreachable by simple grappling or jumping. The methods to find these floating islands by pure coincidence, more information can be found on their page.
If you happen to encounter these islands, the things you will need are lots of blocks. You can make a stacked stair to reach the top. If you have any form of Grappling Hook, you can simply build a single column of blocks all the way up to the island, using the Hook to scale it.
Sky Islands have been recorded on a small map to generate mostly in between 220-450ft in the air, medium at 431-650ft, and large 450-950ft. If you come across a sky island, the best way to explore the sky for another one is to make a Sky Bridge going straight off the side of the island across the sky.
As of 1.1 there is a new threat to high altitude travelers. The Wyvern miniboss is able to spawn by triggering Hard Mode after defeating the Wall of Flesh and is most easily defeated if you have a ranged weapon that pierces enemies.
As of 1.2, Floating Island chests, now Skyware Chests, are unlocked. There is no need to bring a Golden Key.
The unique thing about this zone is that they contain rocks called Ebonstone. These are indestructible unless a Nightmare Pickaxe or better is used. These rocks tend to cover the walls in the corrupted biomes. Corruption can spread and there are items that helps it spread further or stop it from spreading like the Clentaminator.
In this biome the caves are always a deep cavern in which you might fall quite a long way down. Take precautions when going into these. Any accessory that negates fall damage like Wings or the Lucky Horseshoe and its variants are recommended.
If you are looking for the Shadow Orbs, you may want to carry a hammer to break them for loot or summoning bosses. Unfortunately, some of the orbs are locked away by Ebonstone surrounding it so you will need a Nightmare Pickaxe, or better. Purification Powder, which can be purchased from the Dryad, can turn Ebonstone into regular Stone. Explosives are also able to destroy the ebonstone.
Apart from the high monster spawn rates, thorns can grow from the ground instead of trees. They injure players and can be easily destroyed with any tool. Saplings planted in the Corruption make an exploding animation if they corrupt before reaching adulthood.
Note: With the 1.1 update, defeating the Wall of Flesh causes the Corruption to become significantly more difficult.
This is an alternate version of the Corruption and has a 50% chance to spawn in your world instead of the Corruption. The terrain is different, being blood red instead of purple and deep chasms are rare. Overall, it's essentially the Corruption's counterpart.
Like the Corruption, it also spreads to certain blocks and has items to assist or prevent its growing.
The Shadow Orbs have been replaced with Pulsating Hearts, which are essentially the same, though they drop different items upon destruction and spawn a different boss from their Corruption counterparts.
The Desert is a biome comprised mostly of sand and cacti, which damaged players on contact before the 1.1 update. Before 1.0.6, the damage cacti caused to players would also cause knockback. Vultures and Antlions will spawn here along with Mummies after the Wall of Flesh has been defeated.
The large amount of sand is useful if you’re looking to making glass. It may also be used for decorative purposes or as ammunition for the Sandgun. After the Wall of Flesh's defeat, Deserts can also Corrupt or become Hallowed, spawning Dark or Light Mummies, respectively. The cacti can also be harvested with an axe to craft Cactus Armor, which is both useful for beginners and easy to obtain
Oceans are found on the easternmost and westernmost parts of the map and stretch all the way to the edge of your world.
Oceans are deep and may require you to have special gear to cross it. Simpler but more laborious method is to build a bridge to get across. Usually within the deepest part of the ocean there is a chest which contains various items, one of those items is usually Flippers. Flippers help you swim in the ocean. This allows you to resurface since it allows the player to swim toward the surface by jumping. Another way is to get a Gills Potion that allows you to breath underwater. The Diving Helmet, which increases the time you can stay under water significantly, can be found by killing Sharks, but beginning players should not attempt this - Sharks deal dangerous amounts of damage and can easily tear apart an unprepared player in a short amount of time. The sharks also drop Shark Fins, which are used later to craft hardmode weapons like the Megashark.
These are similar to forest except they are frequently covered in shallow waters, giving the impression of swamps or flooded jungles. This biome also exists underground and is considered to be a separate environment to the surface.
On rare occasions, you will encounter a shrine on the surface and underground. These are very small and always contain a chest to loot, frequently containing items which cannot be found elsewhere. They have been seen floating in the sky.
This layer of underground is slightly different to that of the other layers. The Underworld is the only place where Hellstone can be found. Hellstone can burn the player, as can Hellstone bricks. This damage can be prevented by equipping either an Obsidian Skull, or Obsidian Horseshoe and Obsidian Shield. However, caution still must be taken as when Hellstone is mined, a small amount of lava spawn in its place. Thus, it is suggested that you mine the hellstone from a platform above the ore itself.
This place is mainly to collect ores and materials but also there are pots and chests to find. It is strongly advised to carry decent amount of healing items as some of the monsters can attack through walls and do a fair amount of damage. Only the Obsidian Skin Potion will protect a player from lava damage.
Shadow Chests were added to newly-generated maps in 1.0.6. They contain rare and powerful items such as Sunfury and the Flamelash, but are locked and can only be unlocked using a Shadow Key, which is only obtainable in the Dungeon.
Randomly at night-time or after breaking a Shadow Orb, a Meteor may land on the surface somewhere, leaving a large hole surrounded by many pieces of Meteorite Ore, typically 250 or more. However, meteors will land on whatever surface they encounter first from the top of the map, which can be frustrating if the player has gone to the effort of creating a skybridge. Meteors can also land in the ocean, creating their own challenge to harvest. The Meteor biome can also be formed artificially - Any area with 50 pieces of Meteorite ore in the environment is considered to be a Meteor biome. In any meteor biome, natural or artificial, Meteor Heads spawn endlessly. These enemies can set the player on fire if they make contact, so be cautious when mining the site. However, these small mobs are slow and minions can be used to kill them quickly.
Since meteor ores are considered hot, they will hurt the player on contact. Equipping an Obsidian Skull or any other obsidian related accessories (Obsidian Horseshoe / Obsidian Shield), or using an Obsidian Skin Potion will negate this damage. A Cobalt Shield is also a very useful item to employ when harvesting Meteorite Ore.
The Dungeon is the home to many monsters, and traps, which can be harvested along with the wires by a pickaxe/wire cutter and used for home protecting. It is one of the few pre-generated buildings, others including Jungle Shrines, houses in the Underworld, and the shrines in sky islands. The dungeon is located at the near-edge of the world on the opposite side of the Jungle. This place contains rare loot and strong monsters to fight. Before entering, you must fight the boss Skeletron via the Old Man. After defeating Skeletron, you may proceed into the dungeon and search for loot. Attempting to gain access to the Dungeon without killing Skeletron will cause one or more Dungeon Guardians to spawn. The Dungeon Guardian has 9999 HP, is large and fast-moving, and will inflict 1000 damage if it touches the player, rendering the dungeon effectively-inaccessible until Skeletron is dead. Even if you do manage to kill the Dungeon Guardian, more will spawn and access to the Dungeon is still impossible until Skeletron is defeated.
The dungeon is not very straightforward, as it is a two dimensional maze. You can easily walk around in circles if you do not think of where you’re going. The general trend is to go down but there are side passages that lead you to the next ‘maze’.
There are some novelty items that you can take with you, such as books and lanterns. These are decorative but Water Candles can be found infrequently.
The Hallow is a new biome that is created once you have defeated the Wall of Flesh in the Underworld. It is an anti-Corruption biome and can be spread by planting Hallowed Seeds or using a Clentaminator with Blue Solution and is most effective when used to counter the spreading of Corruption.
Gastropods spawn as well but only at night. They do more damage than Pixies or Unicorns.
The snow biome was added with the 1.1.1 update, which came out the 15th of December. It was a holiday update, which also introduced presents.
The snow biome is only a small part of the map, with nothing special, except for the snow blocks, and snow on the trees. However, it is considered the safest biome as snow is immune to both Hallow and Corruption spreading. But do note that powerful mobs will still spawn in this area and attack.
There's also the first weather effect in Terraria; dropping snowflakes. But at the height of 150-300 feet (75-150 blocks) over ground, the snowfall stops.
The higher up you travel, the less snowflakes appear.
All maps generated during the Holiday Season (December 1st to December 31st) will contain this biome, and there is a one-third chance a map generated during any other time of the year will contain it. (As of 1.2 every world will contain it)
Things that players should read when exploring