Building decay mechanics

Can someone explain to me how building decay works? I’ve read conflicting things, not to mention the discussions are usually dated. I’ve only played on a pve server with decay turned off, and admins are considering using decay as a means of clearing out non-active players’ structures. I’d just like to really understand what the decay mechanic entails.

It’s pretty simple really. Everything has a decay timer. Currently it’s set to 2 weeks for vacations and summer months. Using a repair hammer you can check the decay timer. A full base should show as 336 hours with the player standing on or close to the base. Everything connected to what you are standing on will share a timer.

Smaller items like map rooms and animal pens not placed on foundations or connecting the foundation platform to your base will have shorter timers.

Smaller builds can have shorter times as well. Torches standing on the ground outside your base can have very short times.

The timer ticks down as you are away from your base. Whether you are exploring the exiled lands or logged out both are considered as you being away from your base. Once you return to your base by logging in or coming back from a journey the timer starts over.

If the 336 hours runs out it enters abandoned state. The abandoned state is 48 hours. If the 48 hour abandoned timer runs out the server will auto delete or “blow up” your base. During abandoned state any other play has the ability to “blow up” your base. Essentially clearing the base before the server has a chance to.

Your best friend will be the repair hammer. Check all your structures and belongings with the repair hammer. Then make changes to your build wherever necessary.

I think that should pretty much sum it up, but I’m tired so if I missed anything hopefully someone else will cover it.

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Do you have to repair each individual piece every time?

The private server owners can set the maximum decay time to whatever they like.
There are separate settings for building decay and for thrall/pet decay(despawning).

The decay on buildings/placeables is calculated by the game up to the maximum allowed. Each piece/object has a weighting towards decay and the game calculates the decay based on many variables.
Eg:

  • chest placed on the ground isolated by itself will have a short decay time, such as 2 hours.

  • several fish traps placed close together in water might have a longer decay timer but still going to be low (Eg maybe 24 hours)

  • base of four foundations, walls, door, roof will have a higher timer than a single item but probably not enough complexity to reach the maximum timer of the official server (which is 7 days/168 hours during most of the year) but might reach something like 3-5 days decay timer

  • larger base of 6 x 8 foundations with roof, door will probably reach the 168 hour timer, add in workstations and decorations and these will increase the timer

  • fish traps placed close (Eg with 1-3 foundation distance) from a base should be recognised by the game as part of the larger base and the game should assign the base timer to them.

You can check the decay timer by equipping a repair hammer and looking at any object… a pop-up will appear on the screen with information about what you are looking at. You can also see the same information if you stare at an object and hold “tab” down (PC).

You refresh decay timers by being close to the object and the game renews the timer. Usually this is fast - Eg by the time you see your building come into render range and sprint to it, the game has recognised your presence near your building and renewed the timer. Sometimes though it is slow to do this and you have to wait for a minute.
A base which is all physically connected via snapping foundations, ceiling tiles etc to each other whilst you build will renew the timer across it all. But if you have build them separately and they don’t connect via snap
points you are probably going to have to stand close to each section to be sure it refreshes.
Large objects such as wheels of pain, animal pens and alters usually have low decay times if they are placed directly on the ground, even if with a few foundations of a larger base. Best to put these on a base of foundations or ceiling tile/pillars.

When a building decay timer has expired then it becomes abandoned in the game and anyone can click on it and gets an option to “demolish” the object. If the server is PvP or PvE-c then when the object is demolished then anyone can loot any bags that drop. If the server is PvE, then only the owner can not loot the bags.
The objects stay in an abandoned state for 24 hours, after which the next time a player goes near the objects/building will despawn in front of them. Items in chest, workstation etc that despawn will go into a lootbag that isn’t there for very long. Again, PvE server only the owners can loot those bags, on PvP or PvE-c anyone can loot the bags.

Thrall/pet decay is meant to be renewed by proximity as well … but I have my doubts about that … I suspect it’s still renewed by any owner logging in anywhere across the entire map.
We can’t tell at all if we have successfully renewed a thrall/pet timer … they have not put anything ingame to allow us to determine that.

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You would only repair pieces if you had damage from something, like a purge or a raid. In this case the repair hammer is suggested only to see the decay timer.

When you have damage you do have to repair each damaged piece individually.

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