The Mantis and Smugglers Den
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Entrance to The Smugglers Den. Southern Foul Hills Location
Entrance to The Smugglers Den. Borealis City Location
The dungeon has 3 sections. First one is the entrance area (rather large one so there's plenty to do) is populated by different kinds of Den Mantises, their level range is between 90 to 120. Regardless of your level they will aggro you. This section is a maze, with corridors splitting, crossing over each other and leading in circles. Since Mantises populating this area drop some interesting items, there's nothing wrong if someone gets lost. Mantises respawn in 20 minutes, so a player or team can't really take a break in there.
Here is a map with locations of important mobs:
Here are the Mantises that you will find in this section:
Here is the loot drop from Mantises:
Adventurer HUD item
Trader Neck item
Soldier Multi-Slot item
Drops in QL 1-120
The other two sections mentioned before leads to Mantis Queen and to the Smugglers Den. Those are better suited for higher levels or teams. We'll take a stroll to Smugglers first, since they are between level 110 and 150. From the entrance we try to travel as straight north as possible, until coming into large cavern with several doors and bridge traveling overhead (remember this room, since we'll return to it on our way to Queen). Here we go through the left door and continue to travel northeast. You will notice white dots to the right side, those are the smugglers.
This area is populated by heavily populated by Den Smugglers, turrets, droids, forefathers, outcasts, frothers and more. Some mobs are more interesting than others. To skip those who are not of interest to you, it is good to bring along some crowd control profession, be that someone who can calm or fear. There are several rooms with lots of mobs places in there just to slow you down, so skipping those is a big help. Good example of this is first Smuggler room, filled with Smugglers and turrets.
Here are the mobs you will find in the Smugglers Den:
Second room is populated by some sort of dogs and there is a secret passage on the left, leading to the Clawfinger Forefather. It's one of bosses in this dungeon and he respawns 25 minutes after he is killed. He usually drops Spirit Focus and Notum Focus, sometimes both, the drop is not 100% so you may have to kill him more than once. Be aware he has a poison DoT (damage over time) nano he uses sometimes. He also drop 2 kinds of meele weapons.
Should we decide to go straight north at the second room, we'd turn left into the third room and come to the next crossroad. In forth room we can choose to go up the stairs to the main smuggler area or go to most west room. In there, among fellow Smugglers, droids and mechanical dogs, roams the Den Smuggler Pilot. Yet another boss, dropping a Small Titan Message Container and FA Super 90 Pannikin, which aren't 100% drop. The container is used to make the Bureaucrat coffee machines, for more details check this guide.
Up the stairs and across the third room upstairs we come to the main Smuggler outpost. It's mainly populated by Smugglers and a leet (everyone could use a pet). Smugglers drop DeCranum's Corona MK I/MK II Armor. While armor is outdated by today's standards, it was once top of the line selection. Unfortunately it has maintained it's stats and droprate.
Something you must be very aware of in this section is not to attack Ash Andersen, the chief smuggler. He's usually docile enough to talk to, but he's very protective of his minions (and hard to kill because of 1k reflect shield) so if you're fighting don't get near him. He tells about how he set up his operation with some deal under the table with Omni-Tek. He also explains about the pest problem in the den, the Mantises and their Queen.
Should you choose to check the room behind Ash, you'll find an exit to Borealis in there (one that doesn't involve dying that is) and Robin Raag, who gives out the quest for Nanotechnicians to kill Jack "Leg-Chooper" (we're working on the guide for this quest). The exit to the neutral town is a one way trip, you cannot turn back once you step into the teleporter. You will find yourself outside a building near the Jobe Whom-Pah in town. That concludes our second section of Smugglers Den.
The last section is the hardest one, for that we need to return back to the mantis cavern with the bridge. There we must jump on top of the east side of the bridge to continue our journey. It can be tricky for characters without decent Run Speed Skill, but those can't make the jump, can take a winding path across half of dungeon to get to this point. Once on top, we just continue east as far as possible. Be careful not to fall when crossing the second bridge and not to be killed by mantises below, which soon become level 180 as you make your way deeper into the hive. If you come to an acid trench, you can be sure you're on right path and close to your destination. You need to swim across it to the other side, you will receive 3 points of toxic substance damage per second while doing so.
Once you enter the main cavern, you'll be greeted by a level 180 Den Hive Guardians and Den Mantis Breeders (and a few other kind of Mantises). The breeders have a chance to drop the Mantis Egg and Mantis Scissors. They will respawn 30 minutes after being killed. At the far end of room, on a raised plateau, you'll see the Mantis Queen. As long as you don't start climbing that plateau, you don't have to fear her aggroing (if you don't attack her, that is). Be aware that the guardians may run a nano on you and blind you temporarily. If you have a mission from Des Morck, you need to target Den Mantis Queen now. But you can't do it across whole room, but closer by and a warning that she'll attack you probably isn't needed anymore.
The Mantis Queen is on a 75 minute respawn, and she is the main source of Mantis Egg, used to create the Virral Triumvirate Egg, for more details check this guide. Once she aggroes, she spawns a bunch of Mantis Babies. They are annoying, but with low AR mostly harmless. Killing them has no use, since she will just spawn more. If you really can't just ignore them, either calm them or fear them. The Mantis Queen herself, while having a large amount of health, isn't too bad. Level 205+ players can solo her, for lower visitors some healing is recommended. She also has bad habit of warping players to her, even if they didn't engage her. Beside the egg, she also drops the Queen Blade. For Enforcers without expansions it's one of best weapons out there and what's better, this weapon can even be upgraded to an enhanced version of it.
Smugglers Den can be and is a lot of fun, if you aren't after the best loot. Risk versus reward doesn't exactly pay out. Biggest problem, beside droprates, is remote location, so if you're visiting the dungeon with a team, consider bringing an Engineer along for warping service. With mobs' aggro range and occasional train, you'll be needing it. But all in all, it's a recommended destination for any group of friends looking for something different.
Information originally provided by Trgeorge. Additional information provided by Windguaerd.
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