A Shadow Orb is a floating sphere that can sometimes be found below chasms in small empty spaces confined by Ebonstone. Shadow Orbs can be destroyed with hammers, Dynamite or bombs, which causes a random item drop and sometimes an event.
Upon destroying a Shadow Orb, one of the following messages will be displayed in the bottom-left corner of the screen (the three messages are cyclic — after the third orb, it resets to the first message):
- "A horrible chill goes down your spine..." — First orb broken.
- "Screams echo around you..." — Second orb broken.
- "Eater of Worlds has awoken!" — Third orb broken; the Eater of Worlds has spawned (you will hear a burrowing sound, similar to other Burrowing Monsters), and you have approximately 3-5 seconds until the Eater of Worlds first appears.
You may also see one of the two following messages some time after breaking a Shadow Orb:
- "A Meteorite has landed!" (50% chance of spawning the Night after the orb has been destroyed.)
- "A Goblin army is approaching from the east/west!" (Has a chance of occurring when you have met the other conditions of a goblin army attack
- Dynamite or Bombs can be used to destroy the surrounding Ebonstone effectively. Though this can be an expensive method, it is generally the first one to become available to players. It generally takes 2 to 3 sticks of Dynamite to get to the Shadow Orb, or 5-10 Bombs.
- If you have a Dryad, you can purchase Purification Powder, which turns Ebonstone blocks into ordinary Stone blocks, allowing you to mine through it and get to the Shadow Orb.
- If you have a Nightmare Pickaxe or better, you can simply mine the Ebonstone that surrounds the Orb. Using the Nightmare Pickaxe, it takes four hits to destroy one block. Using the Molten Pickaxe, it only takes two hits.
- The Eater of Worlds often attacks the player while in the confined underground space where they destroyed the Orb. It is wise to plan your escape into a larger open space prior to destroying an Orb, unless you want to fight the Eater of Worlds in a small confined area — which can be difficult.
- Flails, the Vilethorn, or Spears are extremely useful against the Eater of Worlds, which is convenient as you get 2 chances to get one before your 1st "3rd" shadow orb, and 3 chances every time after.
- Shadow Orbs can sometimes appear without any Ebonstone blocking access.
- While it is not mandatory to destroy shadow orbs to progress through the game, the player must do so if they wish to spawn the Goblin Army (needed for the Goblin Tinkerer) or have Meteorites land (for Meteorite Bars).
- An effective way to gather multiple orbs is to "Jump Worlds" and get multiple orbs with your character. This may be considered cheating, but it allows players that cannot find The Corruption, or have gotten all the Shadow Orbs in their world to get more.
- The Pulsating Hearts of the Crimson are known as the counterpart of the shadow orbs of the Corruption, in worlds that have the Crimson in place of the Corruption.
- Orb of Light drop was renamed to Shadow Orb.
- Fixed bug where Shadow Orbs could break on world creation.