So since I've begun my treasure map validation service, I've found that some players don't really understand the ins and outs of decoding treasure maps. This guide is just the basics of treasure map decoding, specifically the different things that can happen when you double click a tattered treasure map.
First, let's get one thing straight:
There are two types of "treasure maps" you may come across. There are "a treasure map" and "a tattered treasure map"
There is one major, important difference between these. The "a treasure map" ones HAVE ALREADY BEEN DECODED. If your character was the one who decoded it, then no worries, go dig it up at your leisure. However, if you weren't the one who decoded it, you might as well trash barrel it. Only the character who decoded the map can dig up the treasure. Only "a tattered treasure map" has not been decoded.
Next, let's get onto what happens when you double click a tattered treasure map. There are a couple possibilities here. If you decode it, you will see something like this:
And, at the top left of your screen, the map will open, and you'll see something like this:
Or, if you fail to decode the map, you'll see something like this:
There's one additional item to include with this. If you simply get the message above your head as shown, that means your character HAS the ability to decode that map, but was simply unsuccessful at this attempt. If your character has 0 cartography, that means the map you're attempting to decode is a level 1. However, if, in addition to the message above your head, you see this message in the bottom left of your play screen:
This means that the map you're attempting to decode is a higher level map than your cartography skill level allows you to decode. For a character with 0 cartography, that means the map is higher than level 1. This information can be useful to sort out the more valuable maps in your possession and, if you use a service like mine, can save you some money on having me ID maps that you could have ID'd yourself.
I hope you found this guide helpful. Please feel free to suggest changes or additions.
Happy Treasure Hunting!