Underwater elven ruins are small structures that spawn underwater in the great sea, Belegaer, as well as in the lakes of some of the Middle-earth islands. These were once parts of the fair elven lands, but now have been submerged in water.
They are made of a variety of Elven brick, and spawn on the ocean floor. For this reason, players searching for them are recommended to bring a boat, potions of water breathing, and a lot of patience.
These ruins are hard to see from the surface other than a faint glimpse of light, due to the glowstone that also makes up the structure (which happens to be located under the chest). The chance of finding one is also fairly rare. As these structures have such great treasures, this is a great way for a survival player to get loot.
Underwater Elven ruins contain a single stone chest (before Public Beta 25 update wood chest) in the center, which contains gold, silver, coins, (and sometimes even mithril items) and other treasures of the deep. If you are so lucky to find a mithril sword, you could try to use the unsmeltery to get a mithril ingot. Don't try it on mithril daggers, they probably won't yield any material when unsmelted.
One technique for searching for these structures is to search at night or with an night-vision potion of some sort to better see the glowing structure. Spotting these during the day is hard because of the overwhelming sunlight.
When a player finds one, a good technique is the custom fast travel point technique. I usually make a custom fast travel point above the structure, then fast travel to it. It will bring you to the sea floor right next to the ruin. This lessens the chance of drowning during the long trip down and back up.
Another way is to bring some buckets, and right click them when you run out of air. Then, when you reach the bottom, you right click on the ground to empty them again. Or place some torches next to you, which refreshes your air at once (probably a vanilla bug). Or place a sign on a pillar, which creates a permanent air bubble.
As all lotr mounts can swim, it's also a good idea, to bring a mount (or a boat or barrel), which saves you the swimming. In addition to making you quicker, you can access your inventory, look on the map, type chat messages, and so on, without sinking to the sea floor.
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