This Cauldron was the first time I tackled one without guides to help. I didn’t start playing Zero Dawn until after Forbidden West came out. It was a unique experience that pushed me as a puzzle solver.
While guides are starting to come out, I wanted to contribute one of my own to thank all the creators who helped me along the way.
Cauldron Theta is located in the South East corner of the Burning Shores map. It’s right by the second volcanic hot spot on the map. It’s off the beaten path, and you don’t encounter it throughout the story.
As a reward for completing Cauldron Theta, you get the override for the Bilegut.
What machines are in Cauldron Theta?
Billgut, Stingspawn, Leaplashers, and Burrowers.
And when I say Stingspan, I mean A LOT of them. But more on what that is in a bit.
You arrive at the location indicated on the map. But you quickly discover that that entrance is blocked.
- Find Entrance To Cauldron
Let me save you some time because it gives you a range, and I searched all over before finding it tucked away.
You’ll want to head to your left when facing the entrance you’ve found. Not too far away is a volcanic fissure. Using your focus, you can scan the cliffs to the North East of that fissure and see that there are handholds leading all the way down.
Once you get a way down, Aloy will spot the opening, and the icon for Cauldron Theta will shift to your current location.
- Make your way to the first set of puzzles.
You’ve got a series of passageways and a small chamber before you enter your first large one. One involves a jump with your glider (heads up, you’ll use this a fair bit throughout the Cauldron).
Another is a pathway. A drone will fly across, and you’ll see it drop its canister of Stillwater, causing a geyser to form as the lava meets the cool water. Shoot it down between the two platforms, then sail across the gap to the other side using your glider.
- Defeat the Machines and Unlock The Door
This took me far longer to figure out than I want to admit.
When you look up, you’ll see two sets of drones. Let’s call the side you entered South for this explanation.
The one closest to you is the second one you’ll use, so we’ll ignore that.
But before we can correctly tackle the puzzle, two Leaplashers, five Stingspawn, and two Burrowers must be defeated. There is no way to fully stealth this as the Stingspawn tend to stay together, and once you trigger one, you have them all on you very fast.
Once they are defeated, go around that central platform. You’ll see a drone carrying chill water containers from West to East. Along the route, you’ll want to do what you did early. Have the drone drop the canister, cause a geyser, and then use that momentum to shoot yourself up to the Northern wall’s topmost level.
There are two things. One is an uplink, and the other is a carton. Go ahead and override the link, and a bridge forms to that center platform.
From there, grab the carton and head for the platform. When you arrive, two more Leaplashers and five more Stingspawn will come and fight with you. Excellent work if you can get through the encounter without getting knocked down.
From there, you can use the second set of drones and canisters. You’re aiming for the doorway the quest marker indicates to the room’s northeast. Once up there, you’ll see that a pressure plate controls the locking mechanism. Something will have to be there so you can get through the door.
Head Southeast. If you haven’t already taken out this Burrower, you must do so now. There will be another uplink. Override that, and a bridge will connect from where you are to a platform on the far wall.
Cross that platform and turn a corner, but be warned, there are Stingspawn eggs here. Feel free to take them out before they hatch (some of the easiest XP you can get).
A third uplink will be found, making a bridge from where you are to the central platform. From there, drag the crate around the room to the pressure plate, and then you’re in!
Follow the path to a zip line which you’ll take down to the next area.
- Drive the hovercraft and explore the room.
Immediately, you’ll see an energy barrier blocking the path out of the room.
Using the Grapple feature, launch up onto the hovering platform. Minus a small circle in the middle, where you stand on this platform indicates where it goes. Steering toward the barrier will suggest that you need to disable the barrier. You have options. To the right of the central rock, there’s another landing platform, and it leads to a stash.
Or, a series of yellow lines directly to your left and behind you slightly (if you’re behind the barrier). Steer up to those lines and jump on. The hovercraft will stay where it is.
Climb up and find yourself on a cliff. To your left is a series of round things you can climb up and over to end up further up in the chamber. From there, you can reach the platforms that are crossing the room.
Timing is critical here. When it lines up, you must jump onto the platform, quickly cross over, and jump onto the handholds on the other side. Climb up from there and enter the next room.
- Reach The Override
You’ll enter between two platforms. Overhead, a drone flies through the room with yet more chill water.
With how the room is laid out, the key is to get a good angle with the drone’s height. Once you get the canister down, ride the geyser up to the lower platform. You can use the Grapple Function from there to reach the other platform and the waiting override. It will open a door that leads you further into the Cauldron.
- Make It Out of Stingspawn Alley
This is a hallway from hell.
At least, it is to me as someone who’s incredibly skittish regarding bugs. You are up on a higher platform, and you’ll see that there are A LOT of eggs. Some are active, some are not. I had trouble telling which was which. This was when I used explosive weapons to try and hit areas to cover my basis. The more you can stop the hatching, the less you’ll be overwhelmed.
There are two ways to go. To the left leads you to a small side room where you can raid the Stash. To the right is your exit. You’ll have to travel down that room, up a ramp, and through another room fighting Stingspawn the whole time.
At the end of the upper hall, you’ll see an override. You’ve done it; you survived the horror hall!
- Unlock The Barrier From The Previous Room
You’ll go down a long hallway before hitting a repelling point. Go down, and you’ll find yourself in a chamber. Look down toward the bottom, and you’ll see the override node.
Congratulations, you’ve just cleared the path to the core. You’ll be right by the lava room from earlier and can grapple back onto your hovercraft.
- Make for the core
You’ll scoot into the second lava room and have to make a turn and head to the end of the room. Remember that this craft will drift a bit while you change directions, so account for that.
You’ll arrive at a point where the craft can’t go any future. You half to go the rest of the way on foot.
When you arrive on a platform, Aloy makes a comment about how there’s a hole in the structure in front of you. Perhaps that leads to the core. To be honest, I stared at it and went “you’ve got to be kidding me.” But they aren’t. Another jump/glider combo will get you in.
Congratulations! You made it to the core of Cauldron Theta! That override is in the empty room, ready for you to take it.
- Defeat the Apex Bilegut
Oh, did I say the room was empty? Well, it is until it isn’t. When you attempt to override the core, it jumps in. ‘
Stingspawn comes with it. But if you defeat the Bilegut, you take them out too. By this time, I was running low on ammo and resources, so I had to get creative with how I took it down.
In the end, what saved me were the acid traps that I happened to have with me. I’d plant them throughout the room and trick the Bilegut into jumping on them. They’re very effective.
- Override the core and exit Cauldron Theta.
Congratulations! You’ve completed Cauldron Theta! All that there is left to do is to claim your well-earned override. Once you’ve done that, it will raise you out of the Cauldron and back into the Burning Shores.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the fastest gamer out there. This took me around 90 minutes from start to finish. But I’ve seen streamers manage it in under 20 minutes. Whatever pace you go, have fun with it.
Have you completed Cauldron Theta? What did you think? Are you excited to explore? Please share your thoughts with us on our Boss Rush Facebook Group or our Boss Rush Discord!
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