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Copper hunting ideas


lOgAnmalONE
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Has anyone had better luck panning for copper nuggets in the lakes and ponds versus searching for copper across the world? I've found 2 nuggets on the surface so far within the last 36 days. it could take me many weeks or months at this pace to get 18 more.  Any suggestions? 

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Pick up every loose stone you see. Every single one. In fact, go out of your way to do so. If you don't need them it's okay to drop them and let them despawn. But pick them up off of the ground.

This forces you to actually look at every single stone, instead of glancing across a bunch from afar and going "nah, doesn't look like anything is here". And additionally, it creates zones where you can be sure you already looked. Because copper is stealthy. Lots of people, including myself, have roamed far and wide in search of copper - and when we finally found enough and returned home, on just a slightly different path, we found multiple copper deposits very near our base.

So I've just started eradicating loose stones with great prejudice. When I go fetch some reeds, I pick up every stone I see along the way. When I go get some more clay, I pick up every stone I see along the way. When I hunt for meat, I pick up every stone I see along the way. It adds up, in time.

Of course, you can stop if you want once you have your first 40 nuggets.

 

Edited by Streetwind
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If you do this, immediately mark on your map when you find copper, and leave a marker (put a block that doesn't blend in with the environment, so not a dirt block), because you'll need to dig down wherever you find copper nuggets on the surface to get to the copper ore deposits once you have a pickaxe and hammer. If you haven't got a map because you're in the mode where it isn't available, make your markers big and noticeable, and try to remember where they are relative to your base. Good cheap materials for markers are the cobblestone from ruins, hay bales (cut grass with your knife, then craft six of it in a 2x3 to make a hay bale), and gravel in grassy areas or grass in gravel areas. Another thing you can do is dig down to stone and use the hole as your marker, which is what I like to do, but doesn't work as well if you don't have a map to remind you where your pits are. Hope this helps!

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I have found that each group of bits tend to be part of a greater cluster on the map, you just need to explore more, and keep an eye out for that tell tale orange.

I would also generally say that exploring is far better than panning as you can expand your starting seed supply, especially the rare ones. This makes growing large amounts of flax very easy later on, and once you find the copper bits on the surface you also get the deposit below to exploit later whereas panning only gives the nuggets. Exploring also gives you a chance to find the coveted limestone/chalk and a place to settle. Just don't wait too long or winter will preclude farming.

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I will point out though that panning has a decent chance to give you some other useful stuff, and there's no reason you can't do both--spending your nights panning is a solid way to avoid drifters too since they're terrible in water. Carry a stack of gravel and a pan in your inventory while you explore if you plan to be out after dark, and keep any bony soil you find. Bony soil has a chance to drop either copper spearheads or lamellar, which you can melt down, but it's a little lower on the earlygame survival stuff like clay, nuggets, and flint, so it's probably less pressing to pan it right away, but in general running through three blocks of bony soil will take about an in-game hour and a half tops so it's not much of an issue. It also drops bones as the common junk drop instead of rocks, which I feel like are less useful but since you should feel free to drop either into the water and walk away to save inventory it really doesn't matter. 

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How urgent do I need to find and start using copper and will I die during the winter if I don't find copper soon?  Is it alright for me to stay in the flint age for an in-game year or two until I gain mastery of all the things I'm doing?

I don't want want searching for copper to be my primary focus while playing the game, else it will turn into a burden and I'll lose interest. I'd like to play the game and enjoy it regardless if I find the rest of the 38 copper pieces or not.  

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Here's what moving to the copper age gives you that you absolutely need copper for:
-Chests
-Buckets to help with farming
-Doors that are actually convenient to use
-Swords and decent armor, so you can survive wolves and drifters
-Barrels for preserving food and making leather
-Shelves for crocks
-A better bed
-Troughs to let you cultivate animals

Of these, exploring far out enough to find a furniture trader will get you chests, barrels (although you can't make leather without a bucket to fill them, or preserve food without halite harvested by pickaxe), and nicer beds. Finding a commodities trader is another path to copper, since commodities traders will (eventually) sell copper nugget. Survival goods traders will (eventually) sell pickaxes, which will cut your total nugget need down to 20, since you'll only need a hammer. Breaking loot vessels can help, with ore vessels dropping copper and tool vessels giving you whole copper or even bronze tools!

Talking about surviving the winter, all you really need is a supply of food, a fire with firewood, and a small room. Food can be cultivated from seeds with a stone hoe and any soil. Vegetables store for a whole year, and oiled crocks are well within your reach if you kill raccoons and foxes for fat. A fire and firewood are easy to keep going with nothing but stone axes, and can be easily located in a dirt hut, or a house made of ruins cobblestone, which you can harvest barehanded. You'll need to spend a LOT of time preparing--fill a storage vessel with oiled crocks of stew, stack peat or firewood to the sky, and prepare for a kind of boring winter (since going mining is out of the picture without copper, farming and hunting are practically useless, and going exploring will probably see you freeze to death). 

But don't panic! In an in-game year of play, you'll come across 38 nuggets without intentionally looking for them, as long as you keep your eyes open. ESPECIALLY if you're looking for traders. Don't worry about breaking every rock within a thousand blocks of your base, but keep an eye out for the orange and blue-green of copper as you go. You'll be fine, and honestly a stone age year sounds like a really interesting challenge! Do what makes you happy, and if it starts feeling like a chore, consider making a world with far more surface copper using the advanced world generation setting. But don't rush to abandon your world, play out the year and see how you feel with winter setting in.

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13 hours ago, Brynn Bernstein said:

I will point out though that panning has a decent chance to give you some other useful stuff, and there's no reason you can't do both--spending your nights panning is a solid way to avoid drifters too since they're terrible in water. Carry a stack of gravel and a pan in your inventory while you explore if you plan to be out after dark, and keep any bony soil you find. Bony soil has a chance to drop either copper spearheads or lamellar, which you can melt down, but it's a little lower on the earlygame survival stuff like clay, nuggets, and flint, so it's probably less pressing to pan it right away, but in general running through three blocks of bony soil will take about an in-game hour and a half tops so it's not much of an issue. It also drops bones as the common junk drop instead of rocks, which I feel like are less useful but since you should feel free to drop either into the water and walk away to save inventory it really doesn't matter. 

It is not a good chance to get things you need early on (getting anything copper or bronze that you can melt down and isn't a nugget has a chance of < 0.3%), and with inventory space being quite limited early on, I would prefer not to carry bony soil or sand/gravel around along with the pan. I would also say it is generally better to keep exploring at night except for maybe wooded hills/mountains as surface drifters are not a big threat unless you stop moving and are swarmed. Panning is okay for getting copper nuggets, but exploring is still better IMO, as you'll get low risk surface deposits to mine as well as more seeds to start with.

 

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1 hour ago, Silent Shadow said:

It is not a good chance to get things you need early on (getting anything copper or bronze that you can melt down and isn't a nugget has a chance of < 0.3%), and with inventory space being quite limited early on, I would prefer not to carry bony soil or sand/gravel around along with the pan. I would also say it is generally better to keep exploring at night except for maybe wooded hills/mountains as surface drifters are not a big threat unless you stop moving and are swarmed. Panning is okay for getting copper nuggets, but exploring is still better IMO, as you'll get low risk surface deposits to mine as well as more seeds to start with.

? Exploring during the night is the worst not only because of drifters, but also because... you simply can't see a lot.

If you want to explore an area, it's better to see as much and as far as possible. Not only to find stuff because you can see it, but also to be able to find the best path to run away if you run into a wolf, or simply just to get a better idea of what the area looks like.

And it's easy to build a little drifter-proof area for panning all night long, with some baskets or vessels to store stuff like gravel, sand and boney soil and what you get out of it. It can even be part of your base when you don't have a bucket yet, if you plan it carefully.

 

Finding surface deposits by spotting the stones on the ground is normally something that happens while you run around during the day, exploring and doing other stuff. You just have to get used to what they look like (especially tin can be hard to spot in some stone types) and keep checking the stones wherever you find them along your way. Then mark the spot somehow (map and/or a hole in the ground or a certain block or formation of holes or blocks) and come back later once you got a pickaxe (from a ruin, a trader or made one yourself).

 

14 hours ago, lOganmalONE said:

How urgent do I need to find and start using copper and will I die during the winter if I don't find copper soon?  Is it alright for me to stay in the flint age for an in-game year or two until I gain mastery of all the things I'm doing?

 

There are certain things you can't get or do without metal (though some things can be found in ruins or bought from traders, as well as metal tools and metal itself), but they are not necessary for survival. To get through the first winter or more without dying or dying too often, you just need something against freezing and starving.

So building a small safe and closed base/room with a fireplace and some torches and storing some fuel (firewood, sticks, peat, rotten food, etc.) is important. Repairing your clothes (grow flax for fibers and maybe buy some yarn/linen) or buying/finding better and additional clothes also helps a lot to not freeze to death.

To avoid starving, you could just try to be really active during winter to hunt and find food (crops are easier to find in the snow directly or on the map), but it's best to have a good amount of food stored. So start growing crops as soon as you got some seeds and try to get some meat. How much you'll need depends on what you do and your settings, like hunger rate and how long the winter is, so it's hard to tell.

Store food in vessels underground (aka cellar, but something like three vessels buried in soil can be enough), always check how long it'll still be fresh, cook things for more saturation if possible instead of eating it raw, store cooked food in crocks and seal them with fat or wax if possible and if you won't eat the food before it would spoil when unsealed.

No metal needed for all of this.

The next cause of "death" during winter might be boredom. ;D Okay, not really, but.... back to the first topic: Building a room around a little pond of at least a single block of water will give you the opportunity to do a lot of panning during long, dark, cold winter nights...

 

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5 hours ago, junawood said:

? Exploring during the night is the worst not only because of drifters, but also because... you simply can't see a lot.

If you want to explore an area, it's better to see as much and as far as possible. Not only to find stuff because you can see it, but also to be able to find the best path to run away if you run into a wolf, or simply just to get a better idea of what the area looks like.

And it's easy to build a little drifter-proof area for panning all night long, with some baskets or vessels to store stuff like gravel, sand and boney soil and what you get out of it. It can even be part of your base when you don't have a bucket yet, if you plan it carefully.

Torches are enough for me to see at night and long LOS is not that useful because you cannot see if a pile of rocks has copper nuggets or not unless you are somewhat close, so exploring at night is not really a handicap in that regard. There is a lot of terrain where long LOS will not help you due to short sight lines. The worst that darkness can do is to hide some plants from you, but you'll still find plenty. The map works in light or dark and will show you the location of traders, ruins, and stone types to investigate in addition to a good path forward. The only terrain that is dangerous to explore at night are wooded hills and very thick woods as you cannot run away from wolves easily, but in other terrain you just need to keep in mind where the nearby ponds are, which the map will reveal to you far in advance of what you can see. 

If you are playing as a blackguard then staying still for the night will strain your food reserves. Also keep in mind that you are using up the valuable growing period before winter so there is a pressure to quickly explore for seeds and to find your permanent base/home before there is no time left to grow the bulk of your winter food.

There is also the problem that panning is rather boring (for me anyway, to each their own.)

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I'm on my second run, after taking a save to autumn and deciding to start fresh with what I'd learned. Copper to me is a pretty high priority just to get a saw and start making planks - it's more a huge QoL upgrade than a necessity for survival. Panning sand is much faster and more reliable than picking up rocks, and both games I got copper spearheads while panning, too. My priorities are:

  1. Bags
  2. Storage pot
  3. Cookware
  4. Fenced crops
  5. Cellar
  6. Pan for 40 copper
  7. Mine 1000 copper for anvil and saw

So, I'm panning for copper by probably day 5 or 6, and it will take 1.5-3 days, getting other minerals and gear, too. This second run, I had my cookware on the first night and my cellar on day two, so food was never an issue, but there was some lucky RNG in the mix.

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