Current game version: 0.13.3.11
In Barotrauma, The Abyss is the void of primarily empty water beneath the surface ice where the majority of the game takes place, and it manifests beneath the navigable tunnels and chasms that make up the relatively branched interior of each passageway or mission. In previous versions, The Abyss had a relatively fixed starting depth of ~1600m depending on level size and continued all the way to the bottom of each level. As of 0.11.0.7 (Uncharted Depths) There is no longer a general average abyssal depth, as the mission starting depth varies from level to level and only gets further down as submarines progress through the campaign. Factors to consider when navigating each passageway are the starting depth and passage length, as well as level design. As a general rule, passing into the abyss occurs at ~700m-1100m below a mission's Start Depth, however this number can vary greatly, as longer more horizontal passageways tend to have shallower Abyssal depths, where passageways that contain many vertical chasms tend to have deeper Abyssal depths.
While none of the native inhabitants of The Abyss produce any items themselves, large floating islands containing caves and rare minerals can be periodically found here, though the difficulty of their acquisition renders them out of reach for all but the most heavily armed subs, staffed with an equally skilled crew.
It is strongly recommended to avoid The Abyss entirely whenever possible, and some passages will briefly take the sub down into its blackened depths, likely without any crew ever taking notice. However, if a mission or passageway does require prolonged exposure to the abyss, large amounts of nuclear ordinance, redundant stacks of supplies, and the ability to keep calm under pressure are absolutely required.
Depths beneath 3500m are considered "Crush Depth". At this depth and below, any submarine without hull upgrades will begin to constantly take damage, and may, at any moment, implode from the overwhelming pressure of Europa's ocean. An implosion will instantly kill or maim all or most of the crew, as well as instantly destroy almost every component aboard the sub, rendering escape or recovery exceedingly unlikely. Prior to departing through passages of this depth, the campaign map will provide a warning alerting the captain that the passage's start depth (regardless of the chosen mission) is dangerously close to the submarine's maximum crush rating. Deep Diver-class submarines are rated for 20% deeper crush depth when compared to a submarine with identical hull upgrades.
It is possible for a player to realize when their submarine is approaching crush depth, as all of the external lights will begin to flicker and then finally shatter as they edge closer and closer to their sub's limit.
In addition to the potential hazards presented to the player's submarine, the basic Diving Suit only provides pressure protection up to 4000m, and a diver will suffer the same catastrophic pressure failure as their submarine if they choose to disembark beyond this depth without an Upgraded Suit.
While there is a seafloor at the bottom of every level, there is presently no reason whatsoever to bring a sub down that far as it exists well below crush depth, in addition to being at the bottom of The Abyss.
Rarely does a mission force players to surpass abyssal depths, let alone crush depths, however it is entirely possible for both to occur.
Despite having no smaller forms of life to prey upon, the denizens of The Abyss are among the largest and most terrifying creatures that Europa's oceans have to offer. First and foremost is the monstrous Charybdis - a betentacled leviathan the size of a small submarine. This creature comes equipped with unusual speed for its size, a great, spear-like tail, and a cavernous crimson maw filled with iron-hard teeth. These creatures resemble a bottlenose dolphin on sonar and have exceptional eyesight and hearing - they are best navigated around whenever possible.
Greater still than the mighty Charybdis is the utterly apocalyptic Endworm - a gargantuan species of polychaete worm sheathed in a nigh-impenetrable stone-like armor, and able to outswim any other organism living in the Oceans of Europa. At almost twice the length of a WH4-L3 Humpback, these impossibly massive creatures will circle their victim at range before B-lining at breakneck speed towards the submarine, grabbing hold using their huge granite-like mandibles, and slamming it with cataclysmic force into a rockface. This titan of the deep is so massive that its roars will ping across the sonar screen well before the sub is within engagement range, and they are to be avoided at any cost.
Fortunately, each of these beasts is less-than common, allowing most submarine crews to pass through The Abyss relatively unmolested, assuming they're quick about it.
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