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Ultimate guide The Cycle: Frontier - map, caches, keys, loot and more

 Everything newbies need to know about the new free multiplayer sci-fi shooter

The Cycle: Frontier is chronologically the last free looter shooter to be released on Steam today. According to the story, you go to the magnificent world of "Flortuna-3", where you must confront the fauna and competing miners, trying to collect as many precious materials as possible along the way.

Our guide is divided into 9 chapters, each of which contains many detailed tips, tricks, and tactics. We'll cover everything from what equipment to go on your first outings with, how to properly manage your stamina and use stealth, how to hunt, understand your armor, and ending with earning money fast and buying the best equipment. We've compiled just about everything you need to know to consider yourself a true The Cycle: Frontier expert.

Preparing for the first session

How The Cycle: Frontier works

If you have played Escape From Tarkov or Hunt: Showdown, you will be familiar with The Cycle: Frontier main cycle. Unlike traditional battle royales, in The Cycle you do not enter the game at the same time as the rest of the gamers and do not fight until only one player is left alive. Instead, the server is maintained throughout the day, and gamers can enter, complete their tasks, and evacuate whenever they want.

How The Cycle: Frontier works

In The Cycle, there is no common goal for every match. Instead, you set goals for yourself. Looking to collect metals and plastics so you can upgrade your gear when you get home? Would you like to hunt creatures to complete a quest for a specific faction? Or do you want to hunt and kill other players, taking valuable loot and equipment from them?

Key Takeaway: In The Cycle, you don't have to stay long, wait until you die or "win". Instead, you enter, reach whatever objectives you desire, and then evacuate using one of the two available evacuation points. Therefore, if you want to stay alive, after reaching your goals, be sure to evacuate.

What equipment to take?

A small list of what will come in handy while traveling on Fortuna-3:

  • Small backpack: the most important item. Needed to transport things, from ammunition and medicine to materials. A small backpack is inexpensive and allows you to store items up to 200 weight units.
  • Normal Shield: If the enemy weapon penetration rate exceeds the armor of your shield, then you will receive additional damage. Without a shield, you will die quickly, literally from any weapon.
  • Regular Helmet: It provides the same armor protection as a shield, but exclusively for the head. Headshots in The Cycle are realistically dangerous, so be sure to bring some kind of helmet with you.
  • The AR-55 Automatic Rifle is a weak but reliable assault rifle that has a longer range than any other white-colored weapon (with the exception of the sniper rifle, which is quite expensive, so I would not recommend new players to take it in the first matches).
  • (Optional) Secondary Weapon: The more you take into battle, the more you risk losing. But if you need extra firepower, you can put one more weapon in the secondary weapon slot. The K-28 (Pistol) is the cheapest but weakest option, while the PDW (Submachine Gun) and B9 Trench Gun (Shotgun) are much better in close combat.
  • 1 Weak Medkit: This Medkit lasts for an extended 9 seconds, but it fully restores your health. I would advise taking at least one for a match.
  • 3-5 Weak Stimpaks: Stimpaks are a faster health regeneration option. A weak stim takes only 3 seconds to apply, but only restores 15% health points. Use stims when you need to heal yourself urgently or replenish a small amount of health.
  • Ammo: There are five different types of ammo in The Cycle. Make sure you get the correct type for your weapon and choose the right amount.

Here's my advice on ammo for combat:

  • Light handgun ammo - 20-50 per fight
  • Light ammo for SMG - 200-300
  • Assault rifle, medium ammo - 250-350
  • Medium Ammo LMG - 250-350
  • Heavy Ammo DMR - 50
  • Sniper Heavy Ammo - 20
  • Shotgun ammo - 15-25
  • Special cartridges for the launcher - 10-20

Insure your equipment

If you are worried about the loss of a certain piece of equipment that you take with you to the match, you can insure this item against loss. There are two possible options:

  • Standard insurance: for K-marks. If you lose this item, you will receive most of the item's value in K-marks.
  • Emergency equipment insurance: for gold or special equipment tokens. If you lose this item, and no one picks it up for a certain period of time, then it will return to your apartment. If the item is picked up, you will receive most of the value in K-marks instead.

Standard insurance has few downsides and I would recommend using it whenever you have decent gear that would be disastrous to lose. Emergency equipment insurance is better because you have a chance to return the item; it also costs more (because gold and tokens are much more difficult to accumulate than K-marks), and the cost increases as the number of items you insure with this method increases.

What map to play?

From the very beginning of the game, two maps will be available to you: Bright Sands and Crescent Falls. Each time you try to enter a match, you can choose which of these two maps you want to land on. For beginners, I strongly recommend that you land exclusively on Bright Sands.

Bright Sands levels

Maps are divided into several regions by levels. The level indicates the degree of PvE threat and the quality of the potential loot. Bright Sands is split into levels 1-4, while Crescent Falls is split into levels 3-5. In terms of enemies encountered, each level adds:

  • Level 1: Connecting Rods, Rattlers, Explosive Pincers
  • Level 2: Enemies are more common
  • Tier 3: Heavy Rods, Adult Rattlers, Marauders
  • Level 4: Higher ratio of elite to common enemies
  • Level 5: Wild Marauders

It's also worth noting that the most powerful PvE enemies (Crushers) are exclusive to Crescent Falls and are found randomly regardless of region level. So, in short: Crescent Falls is a very dangerous place for new players. So newbies, play at Bright Sands for now.

Start the match with some kind of plan

There are no fixed goals in The Cycle. However, there are quests and faction quests that you can accept and complete (more on that later). Over time, you will be able to take on several faction quests at the same time. There may be too many of them, so don't try to complete everything in one match. It is best to draw up some kind of action plan, taking into account where in the map you will appear and where your extraction points are located.

For example, I have four active tasks:

  • Deliver 3 toxic glands.
  • Hunt down 5 connecting rods in the science campus.
  • Hide 5 Weak First Aid Kits in the Waterfall Lab stash.
  • Hunt down 15 creatures in the base camp.

I start the game in the extreme northeast of the map, next to the Lumberjack Camp (sawmill). And two possible evacuation points - in stone puddles and north of the excavation site.

Ideally, within seconds of landing, you should have a basic plan of what you want to achieve in this match. So, given the above, what is my game plan? I tell:

  1. I will go to the laboratory by the waterfall and leave there 5 pre-prepared weak first-aid kits.
  2. I'll go to the base camp and kill as many creatures as I can find. I probably won't be able to complete this task in one go, but I'll get you off to a good start.
  3. I'll go to the extraction point on the stone meadows. I know it's full of explosive pincers that can drop poison glands on death. So along the way, I will kill any explosive pincers I see to get iron, and only then I will evacuate.

Note that I didn't even try to go to the science campus to hunt 5 rods, because I knew that in this case I would have to deviate significantly from the route. There are no time limits in The Cycle, so you can technically stay in a match for over an hour, moving between interesting points and completing your tasks. But it's actually a bad idea. You'll soon run out of backpack space, run out of ammo, and increase your chances of being attacked and killed by another player who takes all your hard-won loot for themselves.

That is why you need to start the game with a clear plan: you will be able to focus on something specific, act more efficiently and reduce the likelihood of death.

Traveling and studying the map

Pay attention to your endurance. Your stamina bar is located at the bottom of the screen, above the health bar. Running, jumping and melee use stamina. If you run out of stamina, the character will begin to breathe heavily, and nearby enemies can hear it, realizing where you are. If you run out of stamina, you won't be able to run or attack, and will be slowed down for a short time. If this happens, stop and do nothing to restore stamina faster, or walk (you can squat), but then it will recover more slowly.

Be very careful with fall damage. In The Cycle, a small fall is enough to take damage, and the terrain on both maps has a lot of hills, so you can fall almost anywhere. Always take the longer, but safer path, and don't take risks or you'll take damage or even alert nearby enemies (both creatures and players) of your presence.

Take your time, especially when acting alone. The Cycle is a game that really rewards the patient. If you are crossing a region that is popular among players and do not want to draw attention to yourself, walk slowly, or bypass this region altogether. You are not limited in time. Likewise, if you're caught in a tense firefight and aren't sure exactly where the enemy is, don't rush. Wait a bit, the enemy may leave the shelter himself. If you need to move but don't want to give away your position, then duck. While squatting slows you down, it also cuts out any noise. Silence is golden in this game.

And don't ignore the storms. The storm is one of my favorite things about The Cycle, but there's no denying that it's dangerous as hell. Because of the thunder and wind, you will hardly hear anything. It's even harder to see anything in the pitch darkness that comes with every storm. But the main danger of all of the above is lightning, which follows the players and tries to hit them repeatedly, causing significant damage. Therefore, it is worth looking for shelter. When you become much more experienced, you can try to come out of hiding. But even then it will be more difficult.

Armor and weapon penetration

New players may get confused when looking at weapon stats in The Cycle. For example, you look at the Manticore Assault Rifle and see that it does 13 damage per shot - but is it really? Then why would you use it instead of the much cheaper AR-55 which also deals 13 damage per shot?

The answer is penetration. If Player A shoots at Player B, then Player A's weapon penetration value is compared to Player B's shield armor value to determine the damage dealt. If the penetration is greater, the shot deals additional damage. If the armor is higher, the shot deals less damage.

There are other things that determine how much damage you deal with a shot. For example, effective firing range, headshots, and so on. But the most important aspect to keep in mind is the penetration system. This may sound complicated, but it becomes very simple when you realize that you just have to look at the color of the gear in question:

  • If the color of the weapon matches the color of the defender's armor, then the shot deals 100% damage.
  • If the color of the weapon is better than the color of the defender's armor, then the shot deals more than 100% damage.
  • If the color of the weapon is worse than the color of the defender's armor, then the shot deals less than 100% damage.

So even if white and green weapons have similar damage stats, in reality green weapons will always deal more damage because they have higher penetration. Ultimately, the higher the rarity of a weapon, the more powerful it is, even if the damage stat doesn't reflect this.