The Clockworks is an enormous, complex machinery that is the primary make-up of the planet Cradle, spanning the entire planet below its surface.
This machinery is responsible for moving components around, allowing access to different levels. Levels are stacked together to form towers. These towers are always moving through the Clockworks. The levels composing each tower are connected by a system of elevators, which can be accessed via a gate if the tower moves near Haven. Players have access to four randomized gates in the Haven Arcade. Shorter seemingly permanent towers, or perhaps only small parts of large towers, are investigated via mission gates.
There are two major region types from which levels can be derived:
- When observing the Clockworks from far away, spheres are often seen either contained within giant gears or attached with chains to crane-like devices. These spheres are skydomes containing parts taken from other areas or worlds. Skydomes have their own biology, geology, and light sources. Some even have their own weather.
- The depths are otherwise full of Clockwork Tunnels.
Some of this movement can be witnessed by loading into the Haven Arcade or the gate's lobby and watching the depths below. Many other places such as the levels of the Royal Jelly Palace and Clockwork Tunnels offer glimpses as well. Viewing the gate map of the current expedition, which displays a generalization of this movement in real-time via icons, will help predict which levels are available and when for each depth.
As the player delves deeper into the Clockworks, the monsters encountered become stronger and many attack with a larger variety of abilities. The environments tend to be more hazardous. Players risk these dangers in order to obtain greater treasures found in deeper depths or to accomplish tasks assigned by Spiral HQ.
There are thirty depths accessible via each gate in the Haven Arcade, starting at the surface (depth 0) and descending to a Terminal above The Core at depth 29. Each depth can be considered a "floor," and is capable of holding multiple levels. Each level can reflect the influence of different stratum variations of status and monster themes.
Without appropriate star certification from Barrus in the Hall of Heroes, the player cannot host their own expeditions into deeper depths. While players of any rank can join any depth via invites, the Force Field at the entrance to subtowns will be pink and prevent entry into the town if the player lacks appropriate certification.
|Tiers and Exploration|
Note: "Starting Area," "Terminal," and "Access" refer to arcade gates. The rest of the table pertains to any location in the Clockworks. Star rating also applies to Lockdown.
The effectiveness of the player's equipment might be reduced depending on its star rating and usage in shallower depths of the Clockworks. Reductions include decreased attack and defense stats as well as decreased bonuses.
- Tier 1: equipment 2 star and higher will be reduced in effectiveness.
- Tier 2: equipment 4 star and higher will be reduced in effectiveness.
- Tier 3: equipment effectiveness is not reduced.
|Effects of Tier on Health Bonus|
The locations visited via arcade gates as well as missions are part of the Clockworks. They are simply different access points, though the destination can be very specific for missions. Missions often go straight to depths that must otherwise be reached by passing through preceding levels in lower ranked missions or arcade gates, and provide very consistent access to many levels that are otherwise transiently available in the arcade.
Mission levels often have special names, though the only difference between the mission and arcade version of levels seems to be room generation regarding randomness or guarantees. For example, randomly generated levels in mission floors will never have random Danger Rooms, Mysterious Rooms, or Scenario Rooms. Missions sometimes have guaranteed "scenarios" near the end of the last floor. For example, there is always a meteor in the 3-1 Mission: Alien Ooze and a glimpse of "Project R" in the 6-1 Mission: Plan of Attack, with the rest of the floor composed of randomly generated segments. The 5-2 Mission: Time Enough at Last has a special scenario room that is never found in arcade gates, even though the level map is not randomly generated. Thus missions can be considered special access to seemingly permanent towers or parts of towers, and as such are of special interest to Spiral HQ.
- release 2011-10-05: The Prize wheel spins after levels are completed.
- release 2011-11-16: Arsenal Stations are available for many levels.
- release 2012-05-09: Lighting effects for deeper depths are generally darker.
- release 2014-05-21: Several rank missions and levels were changed to involve The Artifact.
The purpose and origins of the Clockworks are deeply mysterious. Many NPC knights are dedicated to its study and can be found stationed in camps throughout the Clockworks. Some modules are left behind, containing information about their findings for anyone attempting to explore the area.
- Echo Stones found in the Sanctuary hint at the origins of the Clockworks and Cradle itself.
- The icons in an expedition's Gate Map tend to reveal vital information about an area or level. Some even have special descriptions, which add to the world's lore.
- Recon Modules left by the Alpha Squad are of special interest to Spiral HQ. Each describes an Alpha Squad member's perspective of the Clockworks.
- Material descriptions often mention the Clockworks or its denizens.
- Several NPCs hypothesize about the Clockworks. Of special note are the theories and observations of Feron and Vaelyn.
- Mission descriptions will often describe places as well as enemy motives in detail, though much of this is projection by Spiral HQ and may or may not be actually correct. As the player investigates, more is usually revealed.
- The Artifact is closely associated with the Clockworks.
- Significant explanations about the Clockworks are sometimes provided by Admin posts. For example.
- Fragments of information are sometimes provided by Admin posts. For example.