A Beginner's Guide to Stardew Valley
Things I wish I knew when I started playing Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley throws you into the game, slowly teaching you how to play the game. There's a problem with how this is done because it introduces you to certain things too early (or too late).

This guide contains extremely minor spoilers.

Adjust your settings.

Zoom out as far as you can. You'll be able to see significantly more if you set the zoom to 75% and it also cleans up the graphics a little bit.

The settings screen has a few other nice options, like showing you where your tools will hit, so it's definitely worth taking a few minutes to check out.

The community center should be your top priority.

Most bundle rewards are worth significantly more than what it takes to complete them and collection rewards generally unlock new areas.

In addition to that, certain objects can only be done in a particular season and if you miss those objectives, you have to wait up to a year before you can complete them again.

Unlock in the following order:

  1. Boiler Room (minecart repair) - The mine gives you faster travel to the mines and blacksmith from the bus stop.
  2. Pantry Room (greenhouse) - Make sure you produce 5 gold quality parsnips in your first spring. Your goal is to complete this before the first winter.
  3. Vault (bus repair) - Priority should be 25,000, 5,000, 2,500, 10,000.
  4. Crafts Room (bridge repair) - This is the easiest room to unlock and each of the bundle rewards are better than the cost of putting it in. This unlocks the quarry and gives you a safer place than the mine to collect ore.

The other rewards are okay, just do them as it's convenient for you. Again, make sure to try to complete everything in the each season.

For more information, check out the community center guide (coming soon!).

Focus on mining.

The rewards you get from mining are some of the best in the game. The faster you get to the bottom of the mine, the better off you'll be.

Not only will you become a more experienced miner as you dig deeper, you'll start learning some combat skills. You also get rewards every 10 levels or so in the mines and a lot of those rewards help you out in combat (keep digging even if monsters are difficult to kill, you'll get a better weapon soon enough).

Forage for the food that you eat.

Your axe is one of the best tools you have at the beginning of the game. Chop down every tree that you see and save the seeds once you get your first level in foraging; field snacks provide a lot of energy for almost no cost (well, at least no gold cost).

Clear everything that you can. Foraging areas respawn everyday, so you basically lose resources everyday that you don't take (and every weed, stick, or rock that you leave decreases the chance of something better replacing it).

The area east of the beach (requires 300 wood to unlock) is a great place to make early money early in the game.

Note: Berries don't sell well, but they offer a lot of energy when consumed. You'll get better value from eating them than selling them.

Fishing supplements everything.

Fishing is great and gives you a consistent way of getting refined quartz once you get a recycling machine (crab pots on your farm give you a constant flow of trash materials).

Note: Don't craft your own crab pots unless you took the trapper profession, which I strongly recommend. You also get 3 crab pots by completing the crab pot bundle, which is pretty easy to do by foraging the beach and fighting in the mines.

Farm crops for objectives only.

It's really easy to get caught up in harvesting crops in Stardew Valley. If you plant too many crops (you will), your entire energy bar can be spent watering crops (not to mention most of your day). You're better off spending your energy in the mine and then forage when you don't have energy.

Seeds are also somewhat expensive early on, especially the ones that make you the most money. Early on, focus on QUANTITY over QUALITY; you'll level faster.

Upgrade your tools.

The priority should be the following:

  1. Pickaxe (up to copper)
  2. Axe (up to silver)
  3. Watering Can (up to gold?)

If you can get a silver axe by the end of spring, you can get morel from the secret area west of the forest. The watering can suggestion is optional. Quality and iridium sprinklers make the watering can obsolete, so if you've prioritized sprinklers you can skip the watering can.

Use fertilizer whenever you can.

Fertalizer is so cheap in the game that there's little reason not to use it (it's only two sap!). Silver quality goods are worth 25% more and gold quality goods are worth 50% more.

Build a silo before you build a coop.

Early in the game, you'll receive a quest to build a coop. Don't do that right away. Animals need hay and you should be able to produce hay before you have animals. Producing hay isn't hard, just use a sickle on the grass on your property and you'll get hay if you have a silo. Let me repeat that, if you have a silo.

Only clean up your farm when you need the space.

First of all, cleaning up your property takes up a lot of energy (and you don't have much energy when you start the game). Also, every time you cut grass without a silo means you lost a chance to get hay.

Save everything you can (in boxes).

Crops are worth more if you cook or preserve them. For example, tortillas are worth the same as gold quality corn. 

Hops + Sprinkers + Kegs offer some of the most lucrative, somewhat passive income in the game. Hops are produced every day and the keg will spit out pale ale every day or two. So you'll want 1-2 kegs for every hops you have (ideally, in your greenhouse).

Put mushrooms in your cave.

Mushrooms offer a slightly better income stream and better crafting options, especially if you don't spend a lot of time in the mines.

While the extra fruit is nice for completing the community center, you can buy the fruit from the vending cart on Fridays and Sundays in the forest. The deal breaker is that fruit obtained by trees cannot be placed in the seed maker; to make it painfully clear, an apple cannot be placed in the seed maker to make an apple sappling.

Corey Docken

Corey Docken

Corey has been playing video games all of his life. He learned how to use grid references playing The Legend of Zelda on NES and spent way too much running in front of a TV as a child. He loves the Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dark Souls, and Civilization series and is stil trying to get over the loss of Fable.

Published on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 2:58 AM.
Last updated on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 3:15 AM.