March 20, 2016 - stardew valley, stardew-valley, guides

Stardew Valley Profession Guide

Recommended Professions

For a blind playthrough or for casual gameplay, the following professions are recommended:

This combination offers players the smoothest experience without locking them into hyper-specific strategies. The foraging and fishing professions focus on quality of life improvements in those aspect of gameplay. Farming can take full advantage of automation through sprinklers and artisan equipment. This leaves mining or fishing as the active way to play the game (where you'll spend most of your time and energy).

For advanced players or people interested in pushing certain strategies, I'd encourage different farming and fishing professions:

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LevelOptionOption
Level 5 Rancher - Animal products sell for 20% more. Tiller - Crops sell for 10% more.
Level 10 Coopmaster - Befriend coop animals faster; incubation time cut in half Shepard - Befriend barn animals faster; sheep produce wool faster Artisan - Artisan goods worth 40% more. Argiculturist - All crops grow 10% faster.
======= - **Farming:** Tiller/Agriculturist [or] Rancher/Coopmaster - **Fishing:** Trapper/Mariner >>>>>>> 82133ecaf0ea8982da62c0e2aaaa4453ba14031c

Agriculturist is incredibly good for people that are willing to plan their crop schedule more than the average player, it also pushes players away from vine/trellis crops. Agriculturist also plays better with Tiller than Artisan since you're not spending extra time processing your harvests (think quantity over quality here).

Animal farming has grown on me as I've played the game more. I used to think it was too expensive to be worth it but there are some things to consider:

Tier List

Before diving into the tier list, let's explain some of the thought process behind these rankings. The level five professions have a higher impact on the game since they come on much earlier than the level ten professions, so professions that increase the value of something at level five has much higher value than a similar profession at level ten. That said, increasing the value of an item isn't necessarily important in Stardew Valley as money is rather easy to come across as the game progresses -- and you'll likely hit a point where you can't spend the money you have (it's not unreasonable to have harvest days to be in the low-to-mid six figures in your second year). Also, professions that synergize with other professions are rated higher than completely static professions (and anti-synergistic professions are penalized slightly)

Keep in mind that multiplayer mode (and to a lesser an extent, which map you chose) has a minor impact on these rankings. Mainly, the fishing minigame is problematic in multiplayer, so crab pot fishing (already rated high) is even better.

S Tier

These profession choices are the best in the game and in most cases, the alternative choices don't compare remotely close to them. If Stardew Vally was a competitive game, the professions in this tier should be nerfed or redesigned.

Gatherer and Botanist are so strong for Gathering professions that I'm not sure you can justify looking at the other ones.

Botaninst (Foraging 10) -- Foraged items are always highest quality.

Botanist is arguably the best profession in the game and for a surprising reason -- it significantly increases your bag space. Everything you forage is iridium quality, so this also doubles the value of your foraged goods and this applies to everything you pick up, so it works in the forest, beach, mines, and even the farm. This makes wild seed farming a fairly reasonable strategy and significantly increases the value of the winter season.

The only way this profession is bad is if you actively go out of your way to not pick stuff up.

Miner (Mining 5) -- +1 ore per vein

Mining nodes yield between 1 and 3 ore, so this profession increases ore gathering by 33-100%. This allows you to upgrade your tools to iridium tools much quicker and gets you iridium sprinklers faster. This profession works well with Blacksmith if you ever end up with too much ore than you know what to do with.

This is an incredibly underrated profession. An argument can be made that it might be more efficient to buy your ore from Clint the Blacksmith but your money is better spent elsewhere (especially during the first year).

Gatherer (Foraging 5) -- Chance for double harvest of foraged items.

Gatherer impacts just about every aspect of the game (the Beach, the Mines, Truffles, Wild Seeds) and you receive double experience from foraging each time it procs. Since you have a 20% chance to double harvest a foraged item, it effectively increases the value of foraged items by 20%. There's pretty much no downside to this profession and it only gets better when you pick up Botanist at level 10.

A Tier

Professions in this tier are considered "good," they are staple professions that you should almost always use. From a game balance point of view, they are in a good place -- not problematically strong but reasonably powerful/effective.

Mariner (Fishing 10) -- Crab Pots no longer produce junk items.

This profession is probably the biggest mover on the list, it was originally rated pretty low but it skyrocketed up the list after experimenting with it. Losing easy access to junk items is scary until it's realized that you should have all the Refined Quartz you could ever need by hitting level 10 (and you've already transitioned to Iridium Sprinkers from Quality Sprinklers) and the 10% chance on Soggy Newspaper isn't worth the Cloth. Not only that, the expected profit from a Crab Pot goes from ~50g/d to 75+g/d.

Like the Botanist profession, Mariner is also a significant space safer -- removing five items from the Crab Pot's loot table (leaving 3 in freshwater and 7 in saltwater).

Another hidden benefit to this is that catching Lobster in saltwater is increased significantly after taking Mariner (each saltwater catch is 14% after Mariner and Lobster's catchrate before it is 3%).

Trapper (Fishing 5) -- Resources required to craft Crab Pots reduced.

This profession reduces the constructions costs to 2 Copper Bars and 25 Wood (from 3 Iron Bars and 40 Wood). I originally ranked this profession among the worst in the game (I always bought Crab Pots from Willy for 1,500g) until I decided to try it out. Reducing the cost from 3 bars to 2 bars is great already and replacing iron with copper is incredibly important for how you spend your time in the mines -- Copper Ore can be found on the same levels as Bug Meat, so it makes farming materials incredibly efficient.

There's a bit of a bottleneck on Copper Bars during the first few weeks on a new farm but once that clears up, Crab Pots can spiral out of control -- in a good way.

With a little bit of work, a Crab Pot ends up making unuseable shoreline tiles worth 75g per day (75g/d, 70g/d after accounting for Bait) and it still produces during the winter. For comparison, Ancient Fruit is worth ~57g/d.

Agriculturist (Farming 10) -- All crops grow 10% faster.

Agriculturist forces you to farm a little different than most people typically play but if you're willing to do it, the profession is incredibly strong (and can be abused). It should read "All crops grow one day faster," but Speed-Gro fertizer has the same effect (this stacks with it, so it expands the pool of crops you can grow with this strategy).

The most important thing to think about with this profession is that seasons are 28 days; this concept gets lost when people typically evaluate Agriculturist. This means at least one additional harvest for most crops but there are a few situations where this can be maximized: (1) Crops that grow in 4 days grow in 3 days instead (25% instead of 10%) so you can spam these shorter growing crops, (2) reducing 8 day growing crops to 7 so 4 harvests can occur in a season, and (3) stacking crops that have a 6 or 7 day growing time with Hyper Speed-Gro for more harvests:

Not to mention using Deluxe Speed-Gro with this profession allows you to plant crops up to the Friday of the end of the season.

Fighter (Combat 5) -- All attacks deal 10% more damage (+15 HP).

Fighter is the baseline profession for me, it gives you a little bit of everything you want from combat. A small boost to damage? ✅ A small boost to hit points? ✅

Neither of those boosts would be good enough by themselves but getting a little bit of everything is exactly what I want from a profession.

Artisan (Farming 10) -- Artisan goods (wine, cheese, oil, etc.) worth 40% more.

So here's the deal, this profession should be the first profession in the B tier but I don't want have to deal with the fallout of people on the Internet asking me "Why is the best profession in the game B tier?" I'm sure people will still complain about Artisan's ranking, but...

Artisan increases the value of processed goods by 40%. Is that good? I don't know, sure? The profession doesn't do anything -- it doesn't offer any quality of life or gameplay changes, it just gives you more gold (that you probably don't need by the time you've hit level 10 in farming). None of this considers the two most common artisan equipment is Preserves Jar and Kegs -- both are fairly expensive to make and you need to find space to put these things on your farm. This means less space for farming and more space for stuff... and because these things take a few days to process the goods, it probably means you need to have 2-4 Preserves Jars or Kegs for each vine crop you have.

All that said, Artisan is the most impactful "worth more" profession, every other profession that increases the value of a good category has to be compared with this profession,

B Tier

Professions in this tier are average. The difference in powerlevel between the "best" B-tier profession and the worst B-tier profession is neglible and mainly comes down to personal preference instead of the game's design.

Rancher (Farming 5) -- Animal products worth 20% more.

Rancher is better than Aristan. It comes online much sooner (when money matters) and affects a wider range of goods -- unlike the Tiller/Arisan combination, Rancher's 20% increase impacts the base animal product and the artisan good (e.g. Eggs _and Mayonnaise). It also impacts a wide range of items that can be found in other areas of the game, like Duck Feathers, Rabbit's Foot (neither of which are impacted by Artisan), and Cloth.

Geologist (Mining 5) -- Chance for gems to appear in pairs.

Geologist makes gift giving in the early game much easier and it'll marginally help with museum donations. In the end, more gems means more gold and this profession effectively reads "Gems are worth 50% more."

There are a lot of hidden things going on here... First the bad news and unlike Gatherer, if the gem is doubled you'll receive less experience from the node than you would if you didn't have Geologist. The good news is that Geologist also applies to geodes as well.

Blacksmith (Mining 10) -- Metal bars worth 50% more.

Blacksmith is another "more money" profession that shouldn't be this high on the list but it synergizes with Miner incredibly well (and the rest of the Mining professions are pretty bad). At some point, you'll have a stockpile of metal bars and you might be in a pinch where you need some extra money (like buying seeds on the first day of a season or finding some extra gold for the 25,000g tool upgrade) and Blacksmith allows you to sell less bars during those crunchtimes.

Shepherd (Farming 10) -- Befriend barn animals quicker. Sheep produce wool faster.

First to admit that Shepherd might be ranked too high on the list but I like that this profession allows sheep to produce Wool every day and that it increases the liklihood of producing Iridium-quality Wool from ~50% to ~75%. The biggest downside to the profession is that it's costly to benefit from it (you need a deluxe barn but thankfully it's reasonably obtainable around the time you get to level 10 in farming).

There's a lot going on with the math but it appears plausible that a Sheep farm with Rancher/Shepherd outperforms Artisan because of the double bonus of more Wool and higher quality Wool processed by the Loom.

Pirate (Fishing 10) -- Chance to find treasure doubled.

Pirate is a pure quality of life improvement/option for fishing. If you like fishing and you like catching treasure, this is great. If you don't, well... don't take it -- there's a reason this profession is ranked in the middle of the middle tier.

Brute (Combat 10) -- Deal 15% more damage.

Boring but effective. Nothing else to say here.

Forester (Foraging 5) -- Gain 25% more Wood when chopping

Reworked in Patch 1.4, instead of increasing the value of wood by 50%, 25% more wood is gathered from chopping trees. In terms of gold value, this was a slight nerf but in terms of game value, this change was a significant upgrade for the profession. Hardwood is somewhat rare and the Community Board quest requires gathering Hardwood from places other than just Cindersnap Forest.

Excavator (Mining 10) -- Chance to find geodes doubled.

Unlike Coal (more on that later), geodes are pretty rare. Excavator synergizes well with Geologist as you benefit from the 50% chance to gems/geodes to appear in pairs.

A case can be made for Geologist/Excavator over Miner/Blacksmith but I prefer Miner's consistenency over geode cracking randomness.

C Tier

The C in "C Tier" stands for "Combat!" Joking aside...

Professions in C Tier are slightly below average. The biggest differentiator between B and C tier is the lack of synergy with other synergies or effectiveness in the game.

Scout (Combat 5) -- Critical strike chance increased by 50%.

Scout was really bad before patch 1.5 introduced weapon forging. The effectiveness of this profession doesn't shine until you get an Aquamarine forged onto your weapon where you crit chance will go from ~2% to ~15% without Scout and ~3% to 28% with Scout.

Desperado (Combat 10) -- Cirtical strikes are deadlier.

Like Scout, Desperado got a pretty good boost from the 1.5 patch. The profession is an addative 2x increase to your critical damage so your typical 4x crit is 6x instead. 4x is already pretty good so seeing 6x instead is another "more" profession that isn't exciting to me.

Tiller (Farming 5) -- Crops worth 10% more.

Nothing exciting here -- Tiller pretty much means your crops sell for one quality higher. This is fine for the earliest parts of the game but falls off pretty quick (and the fact that it took five levels to get here isn't good). This profession doesn't synergize with Artisan at all as you actually lose the benefit of Tiller when you process crops so this profession tries it's hardest to railroad you into Agriculturist.

Coopmaster (Farming 10) -- Befriend coop animals quicker. Incubation time (for Incubator and Ostrich Incubator) cut in half.

Coopmaster effectly doubles the number of incubators you have and it's kind of fun to think that 4 incubators will out-hatch building and upgrading future coops. Unfortunately for this profession, it comes on at level 10 and the difference between 3 days and 6 days for a new chicken or duck doesn't make much of a difference at this point in the game (if this was a level 5 profession, my impression of Coopmaster would be totally different).

Lumberjack (Foraging 10) -- All trees have a chance to drop Hardwood

Nothing too special here, just offers a way to get extra hardwood. The algorithm to calculate how much Hardwood is dropped from a tree is technically uncapped, so I suppose it's possible to get an absurd amount of hardwood from a tree:


∑ 1 / (1 + n)
n = 1

Fisher (Fishing 5) -- Fish worth 25% more.

Fisher doesn't do anything. Sure, it makes fish worth more and fishing is pretty good for extra income but the minigame is incredibly time consuming in real time (for single player games) or criples in game time (for multiplayer games). The biggest problem is that a good portion of fish should be cooked into Sashimi for gifting or profit instead of selling the fish raw -- there's a slight window where you haven't upgraded your house and you could benefit from Fisher but the Crab Pot option is better.

Gemologist (Mining 10) -- Gems worth 30% more.

If you haven't read Geologist yet, go read that now because you're already a nice value boost from that profession. Gemologist synergizes fairly well with Geologist and gems (both from geodes and from foraging) benefit from the profession choice. My biggest gripe here is that it's yet another "more value" profession.

Tapper (Foraging 10) -- Syrups worth 25% more.

I desperately want Tapper to be good but it just doesn't pull it's weight. It's not fundamentally broken but that doesn't make it appealing either. I wish it would synergize with Forester in some way but the problem is that Forester actively encourages you to chop trees down while Tapper wants you to keep adult trees around.

Acrobat (Combat 10) -- Cooldown on special moves cut in half.

Along with Tapper, Acrobat could arguably be placed in the D tier. A lot of newer players don't even know weapons have a special move and a lot of the more advanced players know that special moves are exploitable -- both examples aren't ideal.

Acrobat's saving grace is with daggers but the situation where I'd want Acrobat is before I have a good weapon (particularly in the Mines before reaching level 90) -- being able to kill ghosts and shadows in 1/3 the number of attacks with the dagger's special attack and even then the cooldown is a minor inconvenience.

D Tier

Professions in this tier need help. I'd consider anything listed in this tier as broken and desparately needs a buff (or more commonly, a complete rework).

Defender (Combat 10) -- +25 HP.

The best defense is a good offense. Defender might save you some food but the profession's relative increase in hit points isn't much higher than what you already got from Fighter.

Side note: A quest reward shouldn't be worth a profession.. let alone a level 10 profession -- this is why Defender finds itself in the D tier.

Angler (Fishing 10) -- Fish worth 50% more.

Do you want a duplicate of your level 5 profession at level 10? If your answer is yes, then you'll love Angler. This profession finds itself at the top of the D Tier more because it's misleading than it's effect -- it only increases the value of fish by an additional 25%. To be absolutely clear, the combined effect of Fisher and Angler increases the value of fish by 50%, not 75%.

Prospector (Mining 10) -- Chance to find Coal doubled.

I'm probably being harsh on Prospector by placing it in the D Tier since it's not technically broken but it's really hard to feel short on coal unless you're spam crafting Preserves Jars and/or Bee Houses. The biggest problem with Prospector is that Coal isn't that difficult to farm at any point in the game, killing Dust Sprites with a Burgar's Ring while farming Iron Ore is the best way to get Coal and Iron Ore.

Luremaster (Fishing 10) -- Crab Pots no longer require Bait

Never take this profession. Bait is incredibly cheap (or incredibly easy to gather) so there's very little value in this profession. Not only that, but Luremaster fundamentally breaks the way fish is gathered from the Crab Pot and will result in accidentally picking up the Crab Pot more often than not.

Tracker (Gathering 10) -- Location of forageable items revealed.

To put Tracker in perspective, I forgot to rank it when I started the list. It's already a really bad profession (change your zoom settings to see more of the map instead), it has to compete with Botanist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As of patch 1.5, isn't Scout/Desperado better than Fighter/Brute?

Probably but that isn't the goal of the tier list. The intention of the tier list is to look at the impact of each profession as you play the game -- by the time you've completed Skull Cavern (for the extra 25 hit points), the Community Center (to unlock Ginger Island) and Ginger Island (to unlock weapon forging), you've practically beat the game and your profession choices don't really matter.

People really seem to like Geologist/Excavator, why do you prefer Miner/Blacksmith?

I touched up on it in their repective rankings but I'm happy to summarize here. Miner is a workhorse and it always felt bad whenever I'd break an ore node and receive one ore from it. Just about every useful crafting recipe requires copper or iron ore and the more ore I can farm, the happier I am. Don't get me wrong, it's nice that I can farm Bait from bugs when looking for Copper Ore or Coal from sprites when looking for Iron Ore but the extra ore is incredibly useful.

Don't get me wrong, smasing geodes is exciting... but I'm not a fan of randomness or Gacha games and the excitement/dopamine rush from geodes wore off pretty quickly for me.

I also stumbled across a tool called Stardew Predictor that tells you exactly what to expect from goede processing (among a lot of the other random things in the games). I wouldn't recommend using the tool all the time (or at all really) but it's something to keep in your backpocket if you're struggling to find that Ancient Seed or Prismatic Shard.

Why is Shepherd rated higher than Coopmaster even though Coopmaster is recommended?

From a profession standpoint, having sheep produce wool everyday does more than reducing the incubation time of incubators. Constantly hatching Ducks and selling them might be interesting gameplay for some but I'm more interested in keeping Golden Chickens around and using their eggs (Iridium-quality Golden Eggs don't require processing into Mayonnaise). I also like having the option of replacing my barn animals with Osterich.

What's left after talking about producing wool everday vs faster incubation periods is what makes more gold (and I don't really care about that). Each of these professions increase the odds of Iridium quality products by about 50% (56% -> 73%) but coop animals produce a wider range of goods. Coops are easier to get early in the game (and are better than Barns until Sheep and Pigs are available).

Pigs aren't considered in this answer because Botanist guarantees Truffles are Ididium quality.

Why isn't Tapper in the D Tier?

Just about every major patch helped emphasize tapping as something you should be doing:

In addition to the patch changes, tree farming is an energy/resource efficient way to expand your farm quickly in the early part of the game so you should have a bunch of Tappers anyways. Tapping works in every season, so there's little reason to not dedicate part of your farm to trees at this point.

You say "worth more" professions need to be reworked, why aren't they all D tier?

The fact is, not all "worth more" professions are created equal. Artisan provides insentive to process artisan goods and it does so in disproportionate ways -- artisan goods is already an incredibly wide range of products and it increases the value of those goods by 40% instead of the usual 25-30% you see with other professions. This is also why Rancher is weighted higher than Tiller and why Blacksmith (the only true 50% increase) is ranked higher than most of the others.

If it were my choice, I'd rework every profession that increased the value of products to do something more interesting than solely increase the value of a type of good. For example, Botanist effectively doubles the value of foraged items by guaranteeing foraged items are always the highest quality and I would absolutely love it if Angler did the same thing. Another example is Geologist, it effectly increases the value of gems by 50% while still leaving you the option to do other things with the gem, like gifting (I know you can find gems in other places besides mining nodes but this is still a useful way to think about the effectiveness of the profession).

Forester was reworked from wood being worth 50% more to increasing the quantity of wood gathered by 25%. I think Tapper would be slightly more useful if it reduced processing time of Tappers by at least 25% (makign it similar to Agriculturist). This type of change allows you to do more with the goods in question -- for Forester, being able to harvest Wood and Hardwood much faster and the proposed change for Tapper would allow for faster crafting of artisan equipment and fertilizers.

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