The opposite of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon
, the Noob Cave is the first place where players actually begin Dungeon Crawling
Will always have the easiest enemies
to fight (that is, if there are
any), with the toughest thing being a King Mook
, itself being more comparable to a lesser knight, anyways. Chances are it's the Warmup Boss
. Some games have you start out unarmed, and expect you to find a weapon while exploring the Noob Cave. Keep an eye out for tutorials
. If you didn't get any before going in, you'll find one here.
Frequently, particularly in MMORPGs
, the Noob Cave will either force you to leave or not let you return (You Can't Go Home Again
). The idea is to prevent a single advanced player from rapidly killing all the Mooks
before the newbies can get to them... or getting owned
by other players, although PvP
is normally off if any player can get to this area. Alternatively, the game may simply make it not worth staying in the area through better drops and/or monsters that don't give experience after a certain point.
It may surprise players by being involved in the Infinity+1 Sword
or being the entrance to the Bonus Dungeon
. The designers obviously thought it clever to put the hardest challenge here, Where It All Began
In some games, it may come in the form of a Mini-Dungeon
Beware: when you want to go home, home may not be there
open/close all folders
- Many The Legend of Zelda games begin the adventure proper in a sort of Noob Cave. Sometimes it's an actual cave, other times it's a forest or a building, or even a tree:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has Hyrule Castle, crawling with guards, simple puzzles, and a ball-and-chain-wielding mini-boss. You get your sword as soon as you enter, and you can find the boomerang on your way out.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has the Kokiri training grounds where you get your first sword. Helpful signs show you how to pick up rocks, climb through small holes, control the camera, and avoid rolling boulders.
- The sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, starts out with Link underground and stuck in the form of a Deku Scrub. Your new fairy, Tatl, teaches you the basics by bossing you around (fairies are too small to open doors on their own). Later you get to navigate the canals to the observatory, which is a more formal and dangerous starter dungeon.
- The Legend of Zelda Oracle games had the ridiculously easy "Hero's Cave" where you find the sword. It was transformed into a Bonus Dungeon if Oracle of Ages is beaten first. Also in Ages, the Maku Path serves this purpose two times in a row. In the present, it's a straight line with a few press-switch-to-open-door puzzles. When you go to the past, you're introduced to the slightly more complicated collect-a-key-to-open-a-door-in-another-room puzzles.
- The Forest of Fairies in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and some time later the shockingly difficult navigation around the Forsaken Fortress without your weapon until the end where you fight a Boblokin as a Warmup Boss. Your journey here when you have the Master Sword is actually much easier.
- The first Lantern Cavern in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, located on the way to the Forest Temple. Followed by the sewers underneath the castle, though the latter has more dangerous enemies that are capable of damaging Wolf Link in the water, where he cannot fight back.
- In both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, there is a cave that precedes the entrance to the central dungeon, respectively the Temple of the Ocean King and the Tower of Spirits. The early rooms of these dungeons themselves count as well.
- The waterfall cave in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which you have to traverse to free your Loftwing.
- The secret back-entrance to the Sanctuary in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Finding the way into it from the graveyard is also your first puzzle.
- The First Cave in Cave Story is where you go after You Wake Up in a Room to find your first weapon. If you hold on to it, you can go back there to get the best weapon in the game.
- The River of Heavens in Ōkami.
Beat Em Ups
- Subverted completely with Mortal Kombat. Noob's Dorfen in Mortal Kombat 3 is literally a Noob Cave, in that it's a cave like area, where you fight a character called Noob Saibot. But it's a hidden area where the requirements to get to it are difficult. And despite the implications of the name, Noob himself actually has a very tough AI, in which you would have probably needed to mildly mastered the game already before being able to defeat him.
- Metroid Prime starts in a derelict spaceship before moving on to the planet Tallon IV. Thanks to your partially complete equipment (which you lose on your way out), it's the easiest level in the game.
- Almost all the first levels in each campaign in Left 4 Dead. Tanks usually don't appear in the first levels and witches are never there either, allowing new players to get a feel for the game. And they better learn quickly since the second level will start ramping up the challenges.
- Doom-engine games usually have a very simple first level, with a name that evokes feelings of having just arrived: Doom E1M1 is 'Hangar', Doom II MAP01 is 'Entryway', Heretic E1M1 is 'The Docks'...
- Blacklight Retribution has the Proving Grounds servers for player level 10 and under to play in. Good for playing against other noobs learning the game as well, rather than straight into the high-level shark tank.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 introduces the Bootcamp playlist, restricted to players levels 1-10. It's a good way to unlock Create-a-Class without getting murdered in the public playlists.
- E.Ψ.Ǝ.: Divine Cybermancy starts you off waking up in a cave, with maybe ten enemies between you and the exit. On the way you're forced to take advantage of your various abilities, you're taught how to hack and you're automatically guaranteed to level up at least once. And if you know where the secret exit is, you can skip all but one of the enemies. Although doing so also skips the levelup...
Hack And Slash
- Diablo II's very first mission is the Den of Evil, which has you clearing out a cave of zombies because they might attack the Rogue Encampment. Emphasis on might because the cave is full of low-level zombies, fallen that can be one-shotted with ease and the weaksauce wannabe-giants that get killed with one hit once you reach level three, and then you meet up with a single rogue laying waste to twenty or so of them on top of evil amazon-chick reincarnated-and-then-re-killed-by-the-sentry corpses in the Cold Plains in the very next mission. Oh, and said sentry is just the guard to keep the difficult monsters from chasing you into the non-noob part of the first act. Yeah, way to spread your resources, Akara. Totally a Chessmaster when it comes to defending your peeps. *headdesk*
- Diablo III's Noob Cave, meanwhile, is the old Tristram Cathedral, the main dungeon from the very first game, which you take two trips through — one to rescue Diablo regular Deckard Cain, and the other to find and destroy the Skeleton King, which has been resurrected by the power of the Fallen Star that fell on said cathedral, and which you have been tasked with getting to the bottom of.
- Dynasty Warriors usually has the Yellow Turbans Rebellion (a catch-all stage representing the year-long conflict) be the first battle that the players take on; very few starting officers fight a different army for the first battle (if it's not them, it's usually Dong Zhuo, who has Lu Bu). One notable exception is the Jin kingdom in 7, as their story starts over fifty years after the Yellow Turbans Rebellion.
- The Beginner's Cave in the Apple ][ Eamon computer games. The game checked your abilities: if they were above the standard starting level it denied you entrance, so effectively you could only go through once.
- Planets Veldin, Aranos, Veldin again, and Kerwan in Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank 2, Ratchet & Clank 3, and Ratchet & Clank Future respectively. The latter three all have bits that could be tricky for a first-time player, but apart from that, they fit the trope perfectly. You return to some of these places later in the game and they are much harder. Veldin in '[Ratchet & Clank'' was home to the game's final boss!
- Level 1 of Prince of Persia is somewhat like this, in that you can just run and jump to get the sword so you can fight off the average Mook that stands between you and the level exit (though Sequence Breaking makes even that one fight unnecessary). The most difficult part about the first level is to not fall into spiked pits, but playing cautiously can prevent that.
- Tomb Raider 1's first level is, quite literally, "Caves". It has mostly weak enemies (bats and snipe-able wolves) and easy puzzles. It's not exactly a walk in the park, of course, but it's a lot easier than the first levels of the next three Tomb Raider games.
- Plok starts off with the relatively easy (and thanks to Warp Zones, mostly skippable) Cotton Island levels, which take place before the fleas take over Plok's island.
- The first sector of Jumper is a series of rooms that teach player the basics of jumping. Finishing this sector with 0 deaths isn't much challenge.
- Wario Land 4 has the Hall of Hieroglyphs that explains the basic controls of the game through... well... hieroglyphs in the background.
- Knuckles Chaotix has a training world called Isolated Island where you can basically do whatever you want to get used to the controls. On a related note, Sonic Heroes also has a training world (Sea Gate), which has the same purpose.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, Ariel's world is the easiest and is recommended for new players.
- blur multiplayer has a race playlist that can only be joined by anyone rank 10 or less. The only problem is, you don't get kicked out once you move past rank 10, so if you never leave, you can keep playing that playlist until rank 50.
Real Time Strategy
- Pikmin 2 has the Emergence Cave, which only has the weakest enemies, as well as no bosses or hazards. It is also where you first get Purple Pikmin and has only 2 floors.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon had the Tiny Woods which had only three floors, and was an extremely feature-limited version of the rest of the dungeons in the game. You were also unable to recruit new members there. The sequel had Beach Cave, which was equally short and happened to be one of the best places for finding useful items such as Stun Seeds.
- In the Roguelike Dungeon Crawl, the first level of the dungeon might, in case of unlucky map generating rolls, a death trap. Causes of death have included at least orcs in a small room with only secret doors.
- In ADOM, there's a few candidates. You have the straightest example, the Village Dungeon, which is fairly short, full of easy monsters, and has a healer about halfway through. Then there's the Druid Dungeon, which is tougher than the Village Dungeon and has a nasty boss at the bottom. Those two are mutually exclusive. There's also the Puppy Cave, which sounds innocuous but is actually part of a brutal sidequest. Finally, there's the Small Cave, a one-level dungeon that leads to a hidden town and enforces this trope by scaling to double your current level. A level one character will find it tricky but manageable, while a level ten character will get shredded by monsters he can't hope to scratch.
- Angband and most of its variants feature only a single dungeon that becomes progressively more difficult as the player progresses. The first levels are very similar to the typical noob cave - they feature only small insects, worms, rodents and the occasional enemy adventurer. In variants with multiple dungeons, the game typically begins near a fairly shallow and safe one.
- Notably averted by Nethack, where what sounds like a strong contender (the "Gnomish Mines"? How hard can it be?) turns out to be the start of things going very rapidly downhill (hence the Gnome With The Wand Of Death).
- The Temple of Fiends from Final Fantasy I does double-duty as both the Noob Cave and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the latter of which is the Temple of Fiends from 2000 years ago.
- In Final Fantasy III the very first scene you see is your character falling through a hole into a cave, complete with a boss fight at the end of it.
- Final Fantasy IV has the Mist Cave as its initial dungeon; it's only one floor and relatively simple to traverse. Also, the Pirate Cave from Final Fantasy V and Narshe Mines in Final Fantasy VI count.
- Final Fantasy VIII has the Fire Cavern. You can select how much time you're given, but in order to get the best Seed rank in the beginning, you have to get as close to 0:00 as possible. Between 0:00 and 0:07, specifically.
- Final Fantasy XI has the Zeruhn Mines, literally right next to Bastok Mines.
- Final Fantasy VII has two in the beginning of the game - the Sector 1 and Sector 5 reactors. Though they vary somewhat (Sector 5's reactor has a simple timed button press puzzle, and you're on a timed exit from the Sector 1 reactor that's impossible to accidentally mess up), the two dungeons are actually identical after a certain point, and both bosses are pretty simple.
- In Fallout, the player takes control after stepping out of their Vault's entrance, and finds themself in a cave populated only by rats, which they must navigate to reach the greater game. Initially the player is unable to re-enter the Vault, but later in the game they must come back and pass through this first cave in order to return to their Vault and progress through the plot.
- Temple of Trials in Fallout 2 is the Noob Cave. Vault 101 and the Super Duper Mart fill this role in Fallout 3.
- The cave beneath Springvale School in Fallout 3 can also qualify, as it's more immediately accessible to newbie players, and it has the giant ants.
- The former can be a Scrappy Level for some characters, particularly those not being played for melee.
- Vault 101 seems more of this, since this is where you learn gaming basics, and during your last moments in the vault there are enemies to fight.
- Even if the Temple of Trials is technically the Noob Cave for Fallout 2, it's still notorious for ending with a really difficult fight for a Level 1 character (that isn't specialising in melee).
- Fallout: New Vegas has the Goodsprings Schoolhouse, filled with large mantis.
- In Arcanum the crash site where the game begins is a mountain valley inhabited by weak wolves, boars and small goblin-like creatures, obviously to grind up a level before leaving.
- There is also a small cave, for those who take the time to explore the valley.
- The Golden Sun series has one in each game: the Sol Sanctum in the original and Kandorean Temple in the sequel. The Sol Sanctum can't be revisited, while Kandorean Temple has nothing of worth for high-level characters besides a single Djinni needed for 100% Completion.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has the forest in the start of the game as the noob forest. The enemies are pretty weak (including the boss) and the puzzles are incredibly simple to solve. You also have two characters that join you as a Guest Star Party Member and they are so powerful that they rarely attack unless you're in trouble. They'll will also let you borrow their Djinn and they have enough to allow you to use a tier 3 and tier 4 summon ability right off the bat to teach you how using Djinn work. Once you completed the area, you're on your own and you don't get to keep the Djinn you borrowed.
- While Tanglewood doesn't come back as a bonus dungeon thanks to the Point of No Return, it does turn out to be an Innocuously Important Episode. Namely, it sets up the concept of supernatural darkness that empowers monsters, and using light to dispel that darkness, which comes back in the Grave Eclipse.
- The training course in the first town of the game is also a noob cave where you go through several obstacles while using several Pysnergy spells to advance and it's followed up by a warm up boss fight. Luckily, this section is only necessary once, for the pass to Konpa Gate.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Arena has the Imperial Prison.
- Daggerfall has Privateer's Hold.
- Morrowind has two examples. Addamasartus is a smallish smuggler's cave literally across the bridge from the starting town of Seyda Neen. It has a few really low level baddies, some slaves to free, and some low end loot. In terms of the main quest, Arkngthand is the first "dungeon" that the player is required to visit. It too has some low level baddies, modest loot, and a Warmup Boss in Boss Crito.
- Oblivion has the Imperial City Subterrane. Oblivion also has a dungeon (Vilverin) right across the river from where you come out of prison. You may need to revisit it several times, but it's described by the game's strategy guide as a "Baby's First Dungeon".
- Skyrim has Helgen, specifically the keep and tunnels, where the player learns all the game basics and fights their first enemies. Several dungeons around Helgen and Riverwood also handle the player with kid gloves as well.
- Considering its prominence, both visually (as you near Riverwood) and promotionally in pre-release demos, plus its appearance in both an early available side quest and one of the first main quests as well, Bleak Falls Barrow seems to be what Bethesda are treating as Skyrim's first 'real' dungeon.
- The game properly begins in one of these in The Last Remnant. The Ruins of Robelia Castle and The Gaslin Caves may also counts as this is where a lot of the gameplay is explained and they're the earliest and easiest missions.
- The first cave in Dragon Quest I had no monsters in it. And in every subsequent game, the first cave is usually full of smiling blue Slimes. Most of said first caves don't even have a boss, and they're usually just connecting tunnels out of the hometown.
- Spring of Bravery in Dragon Quest II downplays the trope, as its layout is pretty simple and has only one level. But the encounters are pretty tough for your level, especially the big cobras that can poison you, and you have only one character with no magic whatsoever so you have to rely on items to heal and cure poison; even then, you can only carry a few items including your equipment.
- In the Avernum games, there will be a first-level dungeon full of goblins, and you will go through it, or else get flattened by a slime or giant lizard elsewhere.
- Albion has one on the spaceship Toronto right at the beginning in the form of a less frequently visited area of the ship that you're not supposed to go to. There are no enemies, only puzzles and seemingly harmless cleaning robots. (Much later, you will find that these are actually Killer Cleaning Robots of Doom that could each flatten a battalion of demons, but at this point they don't attack.) This dungeon is optional and easy enough to miss.
- There is also the Hunter Clan's supply cellar that holds some decent loot and money to get you started. The strongest monsters in the cave are a Skrinn 2 and a Krondir, both of which are regular enemies outside the city walls, but at this level, even a few of the lesser Skrinn can be dangerous.
- The Heroes' Guild is the Noob Cave in Fable II. Full of beetles and not much else.
- In Planescape: Torment, the protagonist Wakes Up At The Morgue, and then has to leave, which is complicated by the fact that the morgue in question is staffed by members of a Cult that find his immortality blasphemous. This being Planescape: Torment, however, the player is given ample opportunity to escape with only one "casualty" (and that was a zombie, so it hardly counts), or (if you have a decent charisma score) to simply walk up to the front door and kindly ask the doorkeeper to open it for you.
- Most of the Wizardry games start out with a "Noob Cave." The early games (I-V) usually had the "noob cave" as the first level of the dungeon. Wizardry VI took it to another level with a "noob castle" that you had to keep coming back to throughout the game, and Wizardry 8 forced you through a "noob monastery" which started out easy but increased the difficulty geometrically the longer you hung around in it, to discourage Level Grinding. Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant was the only one to have an optional "noob cave", although it was highly encouraged to help build player levels before heading further into the game.
- Eden Prime in Mass Effect 1; Lazarus Station in Mass Effect 2. Both have their game's respective tutorials, the temporary squadmates (Richard L. Jenkins and that Wilson guy) who are killed and then replaced (with Ashley and Miranda) within 15 minutes of gameplay, and a few not particularly strong enemies (weak geth and LOKI mechs). While you start off with all your basic weapons in ME1, in ME2 you're equipped with a heavy pistol you conveniently find next to your bed and a grenade launcher you steal off a dead guy halfway through the stage.
- Averted in Mass Effect 3, however. Vancouver is largely cutscenes, and what action there is is so heavily structured, it's basically just a controller tutorial instead of a proper mission (one battle actually ends when you run out of ammo; you can literally just shoot the ground until you run out and get on with it). The next mission, Mars, doesn't qualify either, thanks to a very sudden Difficulty Spike resulting from the introduction of Cerberus's incredibly tactical enemies.
- Chateau (de) Irenicus in Baldurs Gate 2, the dungeon you start the game in and must escape from. Known for being so reviled by long-time players that a mod was eventually made just to let people skip it. On an unrelated note, Noob Cave or not, it's easily the thematically darkest dungeon in the whole game, including "Hell".
- The Undead Asylum And Undead Burg from Dark Souls are relatively simple, non-hazardous affairs, with mostly basic foes and the occasional Boss In Mooks Clothing to help show you just what skills you're going to need to survive.
- Most Pokémon games have one of these. They tend to be full of Zubat and Geodude, or Roggenrola and Woobat in Gen V, along with Hiker trainers and possibly villainous team grunts. Often, there are areas that you will need to return to later, once you can use Surf, Strength or Rock Smash.
- Wild ARMs 1 has one per character: a set of ruins for Jack, a library for Cecilia, and a literal cave for Rudy.
- Bowser's Castle in Super Mario RPG doubles as a Noob Cave and the first section of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Xenoblade has Tephra Cave, which interestingly doubles as both this and a Bonus Dungeon, in that a second, MUCH tougher portion opens up in the last fifth of the game. It's completely optional but involved in a fair few late-game sidequests.
- Reptid Cave in The Last Story. It's explored again near the end of the game, in Chapter 39.
- Tales of Phantasia's first "dungeon" is a small forest with non-threatening enemies. The first proper dungeon thereafter is bigger but also relatively non-threatening.
- The first dungeon in Last Scenario is an abandoned copper mine populated with enemies that are lucky to deal even 1 hitpoint of damage to Hilbert... and a griffin that can be nasty if you don't bring antidotes along.
- Seiken Densetsu 3: The Cave of Waterfalls.
- Legend of Mana: Domina, the first town you open, is home to two Noob Cave missions, one in Melkiv Caverns (a literal cave where the boss at the end is a Giant Enemy Crab) and the other in Luon Highway (Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the enemy is a human-sized mantis).
- Dawn of Mana: The Prologue, a combination beginner cave/tutorial, taking place in the woods near home. Keldy comes back to it near the end to chase after the Big Bad.
- The Imperial Capital Sewers fill this role in Tales of Vesperia.
- Breath of Death VII begins in a cave where the only enemies are two dumb trolls and their only marginally dangerous leader.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The B series of modules for Basic Dungeons & Dragons was designed to be all introductory adventures.
- The granddaddy of all adventure modules: B2: The Keep On The Borderlands, is laid out as a series of Noob Caves ringing a box canyon. From left to right, each cave is populated with successively harder humanoid opponents.
- Another example would be the granddaddy's sister, "B3: Palace of the Silver Princess", a novice scenario in which a fairy-tale castle (which is nearly all underground passages for some reason) has had its residents Taken for Granite and been invaded by monsters. The first few rooms' descriptions actually talk the Dungeon Master through the process of running a game, much like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. You Can't Go Home Again in this one, because if you finish the scenario, the statues un-petrify and it goes back to being a peaceful community where there's no call for adventurers.
- Their predecessor, the module B1 In Search of the Unknown. It featured a set of fully described rooms, with the DM choosing a monster and treasure for each room.
- The N (for "novice") series of modules were created to provide low level Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventures for beginning characters.
- N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God had the PCs going up against an evil cult.
- N4 Treasure Hunt. The module starts with the PCs washed ashore on an island with no money, weapons or other equipment.
- The Casual multiplayer mode in Gears of War 3, which is basically straight-up team deathmatch catered to new players of the series. To that end any player that has an achievement from either the 2 previous games or the third game's beta is not allowed in.
- Ace Attorney:
- Phoenix Wright's very first case can be considered a noob cave. There's only one witness, you have only 3 pieces of evidence to use, and the witness has so many obvious contradictions that pressing him is not even needed.
- The first cases of the later games also tend to be simpler than those that follow; since there's no investigation phase and the basic mechanics of the court system are explained in-game just in case someone's jumping into the series for the first time. That said, the first cases of part II, part III and especially part IV are much, much, much harder than the first case of the first game.
- Miles Edgeworth's game, Ace Attorney Investigations, also follows the trope. In the first case you play, there's only two rooms to examine, there's only one person to cross examine, and most of the contradictions are easy to spot.
- Averted in the second Miles game. The creator stated he wanted it to have the feel of a final case, and it shows. Despite being short, it contains several witnesses, two Logic Chess segments (though the first is an easy tutorial), numerous Red Herrings, more than a few plot twists and a Disc One Final Boss.