There are three parts in a gate:
- Control Panel - Used to start an expedition
- Display Monitor - Visually shows the gate's name
- Totem - Shows the current strata themes
The Arcade features four active gates in rotation all the time and are open for exploration by knights. Gate themes are randomly generated and have different thematic levels. However, the random generation prevents two themes from occupying the same tier.
To open a gate, go to the Control Panel and use the ATTACK key [or come into contact with the console] to access the options. Interacting with a gate console opens the mission UI with the appropriate gate selected.
Tiers and Strata
Each gate contains three tiers of increasing difficulty separated by subtowns. Each tier is subdivided into two strata, each containing 3-5 floors populated with levels appropriate to the stratum's theme. Between these strata lies a Clockwork Terminal, a safe floor where you can change equipment, heal yourself, buy recipes from Basil, and access the Supply Depot.
Players can enter the gate at the start of a tier or by joining an existing adventuring party. All levels end with an elevator allowing knights to either descend to the next floor, or return to Haven, however the elevators leading to a subtown or terminal will descend automatically.
- Tier 1 - Depth 0-7
- Tier 2 - Depth 8-17
- Tier 3 - Depth 18-29
Aside from levels having multiple possible versions, the next depth's level changes in real time if there is more than one possible level for that depth. The current next level can be seen on the monitor at the lift to the next depth, and on the Gate Map of your current adventure, which is accessed from the Main Menu icon in the top left corner of the screen.
On the Gate Map, there is a line leading from your current level (marked with a red circle and a "person" icon) to the next location. Each possible level is divided by arrows pointing left or right, or a question mark. The arrows indicate which direction the levels at the next depth are rotating in. Question marks mean that depth's next level is constantly changing, so the next level cannot be determined, and the line which usually indicates what the next level will be becomes a branch pointing to all possible levels. With enough waiting, it is possible to take the most desirable route down, barring the randomized depths.
The interval at which depths can change the path varies or may be random, although most of the time it changes around every 5 (3 to 7) minutes. It is possible for the levels to move left/right and the line leading to the level to change at the same time, bypassing what should have been the "next" level entirely. Levels continue to rotate even as you play through your current one, so you may wait an elevator for the desired level to appear. The next level is not locked in until all party members step on the lift; the monitor may change while heat is being distributed, but the level has already been chosen.
Each individual depth usually takes the same amount of time to rotate one level. This mean that depths which have previously taken extended periods of time to rotate will probably take extended periods of time to rotate again. While as aforementioned, depths usually change every 3 to 7 minutes, the complete range of possibilities lies between about 1:45 and 20 minutes.
Additionally, the rate at which levels change appears to be dependent upon the direction of rotation of the current depth, and the direction of the next. There seems to be tendency towards longer wait times if both rotate the same direction, and a tendency towards shorter times if they rotate in opposite directions. This can be pictured as two overlapping gears(the two levels), from which the knight is about to drop from the top one to the bottom one(descending further into the clockworks). If they both rotate opposite directions, the knight will quickly pass over every possibility on the lower gear(shorter wait times). If they both rotate the same direction, then the closer they are to the same speed, the longer the knight will spend waiting for a specific level.
When a new gate is generated in the Arcade, it is randomly assigned a color and a symbol to give it a name. Below is a list of known colors and symbols.
There currently are 182 (= 13 colors * 14 symbols) possible combinations.
Clockwork depths have level icons that denote the type of level Knights will delve into. There are three things Knights should look for:
- Background color: This indicates the elemental theme of the depth and determines which status ailments will appear.
- Icon: This determines the map style and layout of the depth.
- Icon color: This tells Knights what kind of monsters lurk in the depth, and in turn which damage type to expect.
Each gate can have up to 6 different strata. These themes can be seen in the totem. There are 10 possible stratum themes.
- As of release 2013-10-16, knights no longer need to deposit minerals into dormant gates to create new ones.