Icarus – Leveling Guide (1 – 25)

This is a guide meant for leveling up quickly and safely from 1 to 25 and providing some strategies for developing your Prospector’s Tech and Talents. This guide is a collection of knowledge from the various Beta Weekends, so keep this in mind as some things will have changed.

Guide to Level Up from 1 to 25

Level 1

  • Gather enough mats for pickaxe and axe. Make the tools, and get to a wall. Stay near the wall and gather mats until level 2, while looking for a cave with a wall that can be broken with a pickaxe. Once a cave is found, do not break the wall low, and only make the hole big enough when you can jump over into the cave. This is your bear & wolf trap, seeing how this is the only way to survive a lvl 50+ bear/wolf at level 1… Some caves do not have walls.
  • Get berries, but do not eat the whole stack unless Hunger is really low. Do not eat the stack because water is low. All caves have water in them (from what I have seen so far). Just eat one at a time for the buff it gives.

Level 2

  • Unlock bow, arrow, and knife. Hunt animals until level 3.
  • Cook up the meat and eat up to fill hunger and provide buff. Combine with berries for best effect.
  • Gather Oxite and put it in your O2 slot on your character screen. It will slowly fill up your O2 meter.


  • Unlock bedroll, camp fire, and torch. Stay in the cave and mine metal ore until level 3.
  • You may have to eat more berries to keep hunger meter up.

Level 3

  • Get the level 2 option that you didn’t get. Hunt animals, chop trees, or gather metals until level 5.
  • Build camp fires and use them as storage for the things you are gathering. Keep one campfire strictly for food making, that you turn on to cook food.

Level 4

  • Get the oxidizer and build it in the cave. Put some oxite in it to fill up the bladder.
  • Keep levelling up…

Level 5

  • Whatever you decide below, take the bone arrow tech! It will make hunting much easier, and you will see the one shot kills to the head while sneaking. Regular arrows do 135 head damage while sneaking, and do not crit as often, but the bone arrows hit harder and crit more (so it seems) and will one shot kill deer.
  • Take the points from level 4 and 5 (4 points) and spend them on wood building (do not take thatch for beta 2…). Wood: beam, floor, wall, door.
  • Build a 3 x 3 hut or 4 x 2 (easier to roof – not as many mats, and easier to repair), use floor for the ceiling, and do not make windows yet. This will “seal” your house, and anything you put in it won’t be exposed… This will level you up by gathering wood and building the building to about level 7 or 8.
  • After the building is done, move your camp fires with all you loot inside.
  • Keep levelling until level 15. You can update the hut by buying and replacing the floor ceilings with the roof/ramp.


  • Important note: if you are caving, rather than building a wood hut, be aware that on day 7 or 10 (not sure which), the caves re-spawn for new metal nodes. If you have built anything inside they will be destroyed, this includes your bedroll…. (this respawn may change in the future)
  • Stay in cave while levelling until level 15. Do not spend your points on Wood buildings. Wait for stone building instead.

Level 10

  • Get your workbench up. Spend 1 point on the Longbow. Use bone arrows on the longbow.
  • Get your stone furnace up and start smelting iron only.
  • Get your anvil up and make the iron pick first. If you have iron nodes still ready to be mined, use the iron pick instead of stone pick. The yield on the iron pick is higher than the stone one (and the same goes for all the rest of the tools and tiers – the higher the more they gather). Get the rest of the tools up to iron.
  • Get your Herbalist bench and Fireplace up. Spend the points on Flour and Flatbread. Use your sickle on wheat fields to gather way more than by hand. You should NOT gather wheat with anything but the sickle. Start transforming the wheat into flour. Each flour made will give you 100 XP. Each field of wheat will be about 10,000 XP worth! (as of Beta 2 and subject to change)
  • Get the Waterskin and Oxygen Bladder, use the waterskin in the Herbalist bench to make flatbread dough. This will give you much better health/stamina boosts.
  • Should be buffing yourself when cave exploring for metals with food: flatbread, cooked meat, berries/fish (berries are easier to come by, and do not take cooking time), but your choice.
  • Keep levelling to 15, hunt, gather, mine, cook, and process mats.

Level 15

  • Start building stone hut (3 x 3) or 4 x 2 (easier to roof – not as many mats). Move all your gear/benches into the stone building.
  • At this point it should be much easier to survive.
  • Focus on metals (iron and copper in a 4:1 ratio) by searching caves. There are many caves along the walls. You just need to walk along the walls to find them. Some are open entrance, and some are walled off. Again, after sleeping 7 – 10 nights, the caves re-spawn all the nodes (this may or may not change in the future).

Level 20 – 25

  • Unlock and get steel tools asap. You will need to unlock a bunch of things as prerequisites, but by now, you should have a feel for the game mechanics and the Tech Tree.
  • Unlock guns and amo. Use guns: the hunting rifle/bolt action is used for hunting anything that hasn’t seen you. The shotgun is used for bears charging you or getting the drop on you.

Managing Water, Food, Oxygen Edit


Water is an essential attribute. By the end of the 1st day on Icarus, your water level will be low.

Sources of water (currently known):

  • Lakes, streams, waterfalls, forest caves (unconfirmed if all biome caves have water), berries (low, but saves your life if you eat enough of them), water collector, cooking snow/ice in a campfire/stove with a container (waterskin, canteen, thermos)
  • However you play, plan to get water from any of the above sources, towards the end of day 1 or any Prospect on Icarus. When you set up a more permanent base of operations on Icarus keep in mind to have a water source nearby
  • Water storage: water can be stored temporarily in waterskins, but these leak and will empty out (currently) at the same time you get thirsty. The best water storage, so far are the canteen and the thermos. The thermos holds more water than the canteen, but has a higher cost to make from a resources perspective. The water collector is both a means to store as well as to get water, but the only requirement for it is that it be placed outside in a biome that gets water rain (it cant be in a cave or inside a house, or covered by a roof of some kind)
  • Advanced drinks: in Tech Tier 3 you can start making beer and other drinks. I am sure there will be more recipes, so will leave it here for now.
  • Waterborne diseases: drinking water from a natural source (cave/lake) can sometimes debuff your Stamina/HP and other attributes. These can be countered with medicine.


  • Food is plentiful (from the five betas we have seen) in the forest, arctic, and desert.
  • Food comes from different sources, and has a huge impact on gameplay. Different foods give you different stat bonuses to mainly Stamina and Health, but not limited to those.
  • Basic foods: berries (bushes with red berries), fish (lakes and steams), game meat (roaming animals/predators). All of these foods can be either eaten raw (berries/fish) or cooked at a campfire at early Prospector levels.
  • Medium foods: (currently available) flat bread and bread. These foods require Tech Tree levels above 10. With the Tech Tree changes from Beta to Beta, it is hard to pinpoint where they are or will be in the future.
  • Gathering and preparing the breads: there are patches/fields of wheat on Icarus in the forest biome that you can find and gather from. The best yield is to use a sickle, and the higher level the better the yield. (rule of thumb: a bone sickle will gather less than a steel one). Once gathered, you need a preping station to make the dough. Once the dough is prepared you can use a campfire (as of Beta 5) to cook your dough into the final type of bread. These types of breads not only take longer to spoil, than cooked meat, but also provide higher buffs, so it is worthwhile to have these in preparation for long trips/missions away from your base.
  • Advanced foods: these are mostly preped using Tech Tree tier 3, such as glassworks bench. Making Berry Jam is simple enough, but storage is currently unbalanced (you can’t stack Berry Jam), but you can stack empty jars to make the Berry Jam… I am sure there will be other foods available so I will leave it here.
  • Consuming certain raw foods that should be cooked will debuff you until the timer runs out, or you consume medicine.


  • By the end of day 1 on a new prospect on Icarus, your oxygen will be low.
  • How to get oxygen early on: you can gather the (3) blue stone pellets off the ground by hand, before you have a pickaxe, or with a pickaxe you can break the blue boulders. Once gathered, the blue stones can be consumed, by right-clicking on the stack, or by placing some or all of the stack in you O2 slot in your suit (top left hand corner when looking at your armor screen).
  • Once you get an oxygenator Tier 1 Tech, you can add oxygen stones (blue) to the machine and over time, the bladder will get bigger and you can click on the bladder to fill up your own O2 suit. The machines that you build for oxygen must be inside a protected structure (currently): caves, buildings.
  • As you get higher into the Tech Tree you will see other more advanced and efficient machines to make and store oxygen for you.
  • Efficient ways to carry Oxygen. The oxygen tank is (currently) the most efficient way to store and carry the oxygen with you on your travels across Icarus, but there are less resource intensive means like the oxygen bladder.
  • Although not part of the Oxygen management, it is closely related: breathing cave air or exerting yourself in a cave by jumping/running can trigger the pneumonia debuff (without the Dehumidifier). Again, this is a debuff that will lower your stats and to such an extent that you cannot jump/move. This can put you into some difficult situations in caves where you are literally stuck from accessing food/water/oxygen, and has the potential to kill you by depriving you of the basic needs for survival. Carrying medicine with you for Pneumonia will save not only your life, but in the long run time (no debuffs = more stamina = more productivity)

General Notes and Favourite Talent Tree Edit

  • Make different characters and experiment with different combat weapons (knife, spear, bow, crossbow, etc)
  • For each character, experiment with different talent tree combinations.
  • One of my personal favourite Talent Tree is Survival/Resources: Skilled Picker (1), Rock Star (3), Oxygen Thief (3), Metal Miner (3), Exotic Power (1), Waste Not (3), Lucky Strike (1). This leaves enough points to level 25 to also get to the Peerless Lumberjack (1). This talent tree is massive to gathering mats, levelling, and generally more fun when cave diving, or chopping trees (especially when the 1% hit and you break the whole tree in one hit). NOTE: Seasoned Logsman (1) was bugged at the time this guide was written and was not getting as many logs as you would by hand picking off the ground. This was a huge loss to the number of wood gathered, so be aware!
  • Now that death does not destroy all you gear, you can run to the body where you died (likely by a bear) and get your loot back! Thanks devs for listening to the community and implementing dead body run.
  • In Beta 6 & 7, I created a new Prospector (lvl 30) and changed the Talent points to the right side of the Resources (mostly for gathering stone & ores in abundance and quickly – 1 shot hit), and then the rest of the points in the Combat/Knife right side of the tree all the way to the bottom. This allowed me to run quickly with the knife, added damage & crit, and less wear on the knife. I was not interested in throwing my metal knives, so did not spend any points on the left side of the tree. This combination of knife/miner was really good for both early game as well as late (lvl 20 – 30). This was and is by far my favourite Talent spec.

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