Fully Automated Hoik Ectoplasm Grinder (~3000ecto/hr)

Discussion in 'Terraria Guides' started by DicemanX, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    I present to you a fully automated ectoplasm farm that is relatively easy to build and generates a very good rate of ectoplasm per hour without having to lift a finger throughout the farming process. First, the video of the farm in action:

    As you can see, the player no longer has to move to collect any items. Furthermore, since hoiks only deliver ectoplasm and coins from the spiky ball kill chamber, this farm automatically separates the desired drops from the annoying drops that tend to clog the inventory (diving helmets and banners). Although the ectoplasm drop rate is lower than my previous farm, this farm is superior because it doesn't require pausing for collection of drops, and saves more time by not having to dump useless drops from the inventory. It's also resource light - instead of requiring hundreds of traps, it only uses 8 spear traps and a handful of the very common spiky ball traps.

    Update: I slightly altered the autofarm to generate an even greater ectoplasm output (close to 5000 ectoplasm per hour). Here's an in-game screenshot of the updated farm:


    Updated Farm Schematic (with and without wires):



    Upon teleporting into the farm, the bird statue is automatically activated, and the summoned bird passes over pressure plates that turn on 1-second timers. The timers activate the spear trap battery. The pressure plates also spawn additional birds and one pressure plate actuates the blocks directly above the bird statue, so that all additional spawned birds will fly upwards. Once 6 birds spawn (the limit given the distance between them and the statue) they continuously pass over 6 pressure plates at the very top of the farm. Those pressure plates activate the shark and mimic statues, and actuate and de-actuate hoik teeth next to the mimic statue on the far left. This allows for the maximum spawn rate from the statues in this farm.

    The idea is to hoik sharks and mimics from their statues into the kill chamber, which contains lava and a spear trap battery. The statues are over 40 blocks from the kill chamber, which allows for up to 10 to spawn at a time (the cap). This is based on ZeroGravitas' testing here:

    The sharks are hoiked up automatically upon spawning, while the mimics are hoiked to the right from one of two statues on the far left because of very rapidly actuating hoik teeth (the actuation is controlled by a bird constantly passing over a pair of pressure plates to the immediate right of the player).

    Any time a shark or mimic is killed, there's a chance that a dungeon spirit will spawn. When it does, it moves towards the player through the spiky ball chamber, dropping ectoplasm when it dies. The ground below has a hoik system that moves the ectoplasm and coins towards the player. The item hoiking is based on ZeroGravitas' testing here:

    As you can tell, ZeroGravitas' ideas and discoveries were instrumental in constructing this farm. I suggest looking through his guides and trying out hoiks for yourself!

    Resources needed to construct this farm:

    1-2 Mimic Statues (the middle mimic statue increases ectoplasm rate slightly, but can be omitted)
    1 Shark Statue
    1 Bird Statue
    6-8 Spear Traps (I have 8, but 6 is good enough)
    20+ Spiky Ball Traps
    8 1-sec timers
    wires/switches/teleporters/pressure plates/blocks

    World download:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jsw31rbhifaiyg7/DicemanX Ultimate HUB world v6.0.wld?dl=0
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  2. Guydude

    Guydude Spazmatism

    Ectoplasm is now too easy to get. Spectre Gear nerf incoming. :p

    But in seriousness, this is amazing.
    Persecutor and DicemanX like this.
  3. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    Thanks! With all these farms they should just nerf everything because now everything is easy to get ;).

    Thanks as well! If the mechanic is patched, I hope that the devs introduce a suitable replacement in 1.3 - conveyor belts. Minecarts are already good to move players around, but we don't have anything for items and mobs. Still, I'd actually prefer hoiks since they are much more flexible and offer more possibilities than conveyor belts could offer!
    Markatory likes this.
  4. Markatory

    Markatory Pumpking

    This seems like a lot more trouble than it's worth, but very cool nonetheless! Maybe it's just cause I've already got all the ectoplasm I'll ever need, haha.
    Anyway, I love the design and everything, this is a really neat contraption!
  5. Jill

    Jill Official Terrarian


    I personally really enjoy dungeon adventuring myself, so farming Ectoplasm first-hand has never really been a hardship. But nonetheless, a genius idea and a superb resource for those in need of it!

    Out of curiousity, about how much Ectoplasm per hour does it produce, in your experience?

    Epic fail, it's in the thread title!!! And wow, that's very impressive.
  6. stupidjesse

    stupidjesse Official Terrarian

    gods among men!!!
  7. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    Thanks for the shameless plugs, as usual! :D Lol.

    I knew you could make good use of those shark movers, and you've thrown mimic into the mix too, good stuff! This setup does a really good job of illustrating all the ectoplasm pouring in and only uses the traps and statues you'd expect from a single world (just 8 spear traps), awesome!

    So is that 6 sharks per second there? (1s timers on 6 inputs, right?) Have you tried going any faster? I imagine it makes it a little more complicated, so saving that for the next version? BTW, looks like the sharks in the video weren't actually hitting their first lava trap (didn't seem to be on fire), the statue spawns them 1 tile above it's floor level.
    Jill likes this.
  8. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    Well I couldn't have done this without your suggestions so consider this your ideas coming to life :). I was really happy about reducing the spear trap requirement, although I really want to take a moment to try to optimize spear trap batteries at some point.

    Yes 6 sharks/sec for the time being, and I'll try speeding it up in the next version. I wanted to make the first version as simple as possible and actually something others can build, but the next version will focus on speeding up the spawns and adding regular spawns into the mix.

    The first lava trap was to actually block spawns there or necromancers teleporting there. If a necromancer spawns anywhere that could be big trouble since they could then teleport into the spiky ball chamber and die close to the player, potentially releasing a spirit too close to the player. I could also have replaced the dungeon walls with player placed walls to block spawns but opted for a bucket of lava.
  9. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu



    The farm is about 60% more efficient. The major improvement was wiring the mimic and shark statues to pressure plates that are continuously activated by 6 birds passing over them in quick succession. Additionally, the farm no longer even requires a switch to activate - it activates automatically upon teleporting, and a sequence of events summons an initial bird to turn on all the timers and then summons 6 more birds to pass over pressure plates.

    Here's the schematic showing the changes:


    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
    Markatory likes this.
  10. Markatory

    Markatory Pumpking

    Okay, we're now officially on "does not compute" territory. My brain got lost in that wiring. Still, that's amazing! I can't imagine why anyone would need more than 3000 ectoplasm an hour, but hey! I won't complain, this is a mighty fine piece of work. I'm getting very tempted to build this, just because it's so cool, haha.
  11. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    Thanks! Yeah that much ecto per hour is overkill, although when it comes to building wealth you can never get enough :). The wiring did increase in complexity, although it helps to break it up into two chunks: one is the bird engine that turns on all the timers and powers the spear trap battery, and the other is the 6 bird platform that powers all the statues. In the bird engine several of the pressure plates are connected back to the bird statue so that more birds can be summoned for the 6 bird platform.

    Still, building is the best way of figuring things out - you should definitely try it for yourself! I basically learn through trial and error, trying to add to the complexity incrementally until things work the way I want them too. Now I'll be trying to see if I can add regular mob spawns and add key mold and souls grinding to this farm to spice it up a little ;). Key molds will be easy to farm (I'll just need to add a hoik row for size 2 items, and add enough biome blocks nearby), but soul collection will be a bit trickier and regular mob spawns will probably be pretty rare. We'll see what awaits for version 3!
    Markatory likes this.
  12. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    Oh right. I just used a lava trap at the bottom of the shark hoik with my first designs, for a bonus 50+ damage while they're in transit (can't use piecing traps as they knock the sharks out of the hoik). Your lava with the mimic statue(s) is dual purpose then, getting them moving immediately too. I imagine you'll implement a safer player bunker for later designs, more like the old ecto-farm that will kill spirits that manage to get to you (with spikey ball cavities either side, or whatever).

    Is you "60%" output improvement an empirical result that you measured? My worry with continually activating all statue inputs (as the bird run will kind of do) is that you would probably be getting a lot of wasted activations producing 0.5s cooldowns that reduce output below what it might optimally be with very careful timing. But this will be hard demonstrate and harder to prove either way.
  13. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    Yeah. Well, you've probably seen a glimpse of my best effort with spear trap arrays (so far), and you could probably work out what I've done there (I used 10 traps,5 one second timers and a skeleton statue). Can't think of anything immediately better, although Nikojita Chem had an interestingly efficient setup activated by mine cart plates while travelling at exactly 15 tile/s...
  14. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    I suppose I could flood the shark statue a little more to actually deal some damage to the sharks, although they seem to be destroyed almost on contact with the grind box above. Won't hurt adding more lava. As for the bunker, it seems safe except at the very start when there's a slight chance a spirit will get through when the spiky balls build up. Haven't seen a spirit get through otherwise. Still, even if any get through they tend to slingshot right back into the spiky balls which should kill them as the spirits should be at low life by that point (another feature of the new version: the birds continuously activating the pressure plates are now far away from the player and cannot be destroyed by spirits).

    Purely empirical. I would teleport into the farm, drink a 4 min potion, and count the ectos I gathered after the potion expired. 5000ecto/hr is at the high end - the avg is closer to around 4700 or so. I debated making another video to show an average run, but I figured I'd wait until further optimizations and perhaps even include more features. Adding keymold farming (3 with hallowed or 4 with corruption/crimson) would be easy enough by adding another row of teeth in the spiky ball chamber, but soul collection gets more difficult if I want to make sure ectos die before the player box. Furthermore, natural spawns seem to be severely limited - I tried a few trial runs with a mob teleporter into the grinder box, but I would get few mobs teleporting in. Might still be worth adding, and perhaps even changing what to spawn in - dungeon mobs are a bit problematic because of the teleporting mages that can cause a spirit to spawn too close to the player.

    Do you mean that if a statue is activated, and no mob spawns, it still counts as an activation with 0.5sec cooldown? If so then that might have to be addressed, although that sounds like quite the task to optimize the activations.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  15. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    Yes, that's what I've observed "... blocked activations still trigger an input cooldown". Hence hard to optimise exactly.
    Or add a thin layer of lava on a solid shelf directly above the statue (in line with one of the teeth, of course).
  16. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    While working on modification to the farm, tried to go 100% crit and got this over 4 minutes:


    That's on pace for 6060 ectoplasm in 1 hour :).

    I also added corruption blocks to see what sort of souls output the farm would generate, and see if any key molds would drop.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
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  17. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    Heh, dungeon spirits drop souls too, how fitting (presuming those aren't all from necromancers).
  18. DicemanX

    DicemanX Brain of Cthulhu

    Indeed, they are drops from Dungeon Spirits. They drop key molds too (had 3 Frozen Key Molds drop so far).

    So I tried adding a teleporter for the dungeon mobs to spawn in, although the spawn rate seems greatly reduced for some reason. The statue mobs must be affecting the rate. The other thing is that at least one of the drops is a size 3 item (shadowbeam staff) so I'd have to create 3 rows of actuated teeth + 1 row of actuated regular blocks above them (I have 2 rows of teeth currently for key mold collection). This creates the added problem of mobs sneaking through to where the player is (specifically Paladins). I'll need to work on teleporter placement a bit more, because I'd like to be able to collect all mob drops via hoiks if I teleport them in.

    From further tests, it looks like I can reach about 6000ecto/hr on average if I wear 100% crit gear.
    ZeroGravitas likes this.
  19. stupidjesse

    stupidjesse Official Terrarian

    darn it!!! im almost done copying the first one and now you gone and changed it again!!!
  20. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas The Destroyer

    How sure are you that the statue mobs are interfering? Have you done a control test with those turned off? My feeling was that they didn't, but maybe they are just weighted a lower than regular spawns...?
    Yeah, things are going to start to get complicated... Is this a whole new kill zone for the regular spawns? You'd have to be careful about hoiking the spikey balls with too many teeth, right? So perhaps flame traps with a universal horizontal... If you want all the various loot. Maybe best to focus on just the ectoplasm still, make it REALLY good at that one thing. Have you tried hoiking mimics vertically yet? So you could maybe have Dungeons mobs come in from that side (instead)?....
    This is because it speeds up the shark & mimic grinding presumably (?), letting the statues spawn more (close to 12 per second limit you think?).