World creation in Terraria brings with it some of the highest anticipation of the entire game. A new world’s environment is unblemished and unknown, giving you a sense of discovery with every step you take, every nook you explore, and every block you place.
Since Terraria’s initial launch in 2011, there are also several more options available to choose from when creating your world, including additional difficulty options and the addition of the Crimson biome.
But one of the most important options for new worlds is also one that has been available since the beginning – the size. Most platforms Terraria is available on give you the choice of making Small, Medium, or Large worlds, but does one of these truly give you the best experience?
While there isn’t a “best” world size in Terraria, some sizes will have advantages over the others. Small worlds are ideal for fast travel, farming bosses, and discovering key locations/biomes. Large worlds are more likely to have varied terrain, additional items and materials, and extra vertical space to create surface buildings without spawning the Wyvern.
While this answer will be sufficient for many getting started with their 1st or even 50th Terraria world, there’s actually a little more nuance than that when discussing the size of Terraria worlds. To dig into the finer details, however, we’ll need to start by answering a very important question.
How Big is a Terraria World?
Unlike many aspects of world generation, there is actually a concrete answer for how big a Terraria world is, and it depends on the size you select when creating it.
The table below covers the specific dimensions for Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large worlds, as well as the consoles they can be generated on.
|World Size||Accessible Map Size (tiles)*||Availability|
|Normal/Tiny**||1743 × 893||3DS, Mobile***|
|Expanded/Small**||4117 × 1117||All Consoles|
|Medium||6317 × 1717||All Consoles|
|Large||8317 × 2317||All Consoles****|
**The 3DS has less memory than a PC or newer consoles, so it uses smaller “Normal” and “Expanded” worlds. The same is true for older phones, which called these worlds “Tiny”.
***Tiny worlds could only be created on mobile devices prior to version 1.3 of Terraria.
****Mobile devices are only able to create Large worlds if they have 1.5 GB or more of RAM.
While this does mean Terraria’s worlds are not able to be effectively infinite like Minecraft’s, it does mean that a core element of your Terraria experience will be constant, whether you’re playing on an old generation console or a fully optimized gaming PC.
Now that you know how wide and tall each world is, it’s time to look at other factors that could influence the size of world you want.
What World Size Should You Choose in Terraria?
It’s now time to decide on what you want out of your Terraria experience. Whether you’re a first timer who is worried about being overwhelmed or a seasoned pro who needs to do something specific in their new world, there are several things a world’s size can influence.
From my years of experience playing this game, here are some quick pros and cons to each world size.
Why Should I Use a Small World in Terraria?
Small worlds are just under half the size of Large worlds, making them ideal for those who aren’t starting the game with access to items that can teleport you to different areas of the map, such as the Magic Conch, Demon Conch, or Ice Mirror.
This means that if you die while exploring, you’re probably not going to have to go super far to get back to where you were. It also means that if you need to farm a specific boss, such as the Wyvern, Moon Lord, or Wall of Flesh, you can reach their spawn points much more easily.
A Small world’s reduced size is also helpful for getting to key areas and resources of the map with less effort, as you won’t have to dig nearly as far to reach the Underground biomes, the Underworld, or the Jungle Temple. Naturally, this also makes map-wide wiring projects, such as connecting pumps or teleporters, far less time-consuming and costly.
These perks do come at a cost, however. Small worlds typically receive 25-50% of the chests, Life Crystals, and treasure rooms of a large world, often resulting in a small world having a lower density of loot to find.
Mini-Biomes such as Bee Hives and Marble Caves will be fewer and further between as well, though with the world being so much smaller, it does mean those that are created with the world will probably be much easier to locate.
Normal and Tiny worlds also make both of these tradeoffs much more prominent, as they spawn considerably fewer of the treasures and biomes they have access to, usually working out to be 1/3 or less of what you’re able to unearth in a Small world.
Why Should I Use a Large World in Terraria?
Large worlds are the domain of the builder, the explorer, and the treasure hunter. These are ideal environments for people who plan to play in the same world for a long time, want enough space for a group of people to explore on their own or together, and who want to be able to build taller buildings without incurring the wrath of the Wyvern in Hardmode.
Biomes also tend to be both more plentiful and robust in Large worlds, but that can be both a blessing and a curse. While this means specific environments tend to be bigger and there are more mini-biomes to harvest cool materials from, the Corruption, Crimson, and Hallow biomes have a LOT more room to spread, making it much harder to control them.
In my experience, those who have played at least a few hours of Terraria tend to prefer Large worlds over smaller ones if they don’t need to farm for specific gear. There’s simply more room to sprawl out, create multiple bases, and search for deposits of critical resources. Having up to 4 times the loot of Small Worlds is also a definite perk.
Yes, you’ll usually have to travel a lot further to get to specific biomes or boss summoning locations, but once you can teleport, that’s often a small price to pay for more creative flexibility and crafting materials.
Why Should I Use a Medium World in Terraria?
Medium worlds in Terraria are designed to be a reasonable middle ground between Small and Large worlds, and they generally do a very good job of achieving this goal.
Unfortunately, this strength is also a Medium world’s greatest weakness. Because it isn’t optimized for anything a Terraria player typically wants or needs to do, a Medium world isn’t going to be an ideal fit for most players.
Generally, the only reason I roll Medium worlds is if I want to be able to explore by myself without having to commit to the huge size a Large world brings to the table. Since I typically play Terraria with my friends and our Patrons, this isn’t usually a need that comes up.
Choose the Terraria Map Size that is Right for You
Now that you know there isn’t a best map size for all Terraria games, all that’s left is to decide on what you want to do in game. Once you have those details narrowed down, choosing the right map size will be super easy.
Just don’t pick Medium. Unless you really want to.
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Braden is a founder of Assorted Meeples and has been a gamer & writer with a vivid imagination all his life. Don’t believe us? Check out his excitement when meeting Goosebumps author R.L. Stine as a kid! An avid Magic: The Gathering spellslinger for over 15 years, you can always convince him to shuffle up for a game (or three!) of Commander.