Stardew Valley guide: essential tips for mastering the farm

stardew valley fruit trees

Starting Stardew Valley for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Even though the cozy farm simulation does its best to relax, there is plenty to do. When you first arrive at your inherited farm, you have a lot of things to keep you busy and only a certain time in the day to do them.

Should you introduce yourself to all the villagers first or start cutting down some trees and debris to make room for your first 15 parsnips? After that, you will still be weighing the time between tons of tasks that drain your precious energy. Should you spend time planting crops, fishing, fighting monsters in the mines, or befriending the locals? It can be a bit overwhelming, so our Stardew Valley guide is packed with tips to help you run.

Here’s what you need to know before starting Stardew Valley, including what to do your first year and how to prioritize your spending.

If this isn’t your first time on the farm, we also have tips to help you decide what to do at the end of Stardew Valley.

Choose your farm type wisely

In update 1.1, Stardew Valley had several new farm maps added. You can still choose the original open country map from the game’s launch, but the others add support for those who prefer to fish or fight for farming. If you’re playing for the first time, the standard farm is a good, balanced option to help you figure out what your favorite hobbies are in the game.

The riverside farm, unsurprisingly, is largely water. This reduces arable land, but allows you to catch all the river and lake fish that you would otherwise have to walk to town to catch. Don’t forget the crab pots!

The forest estate offers foraging opportunities and comeback stumps to collect hardwood. The farm at the top of the hill adds a mining area, which is more convenient than going to the quarry. The Wild Farm spawns monsters at night, providing access to loot in your backyard, rather than walking to the mines.

Stardew Valley Menu

I really like Stardew Valley, but the controls were incredibly confusing for me at first. I felt like I wasn’t always watering / cutting / digging the square it was pointing to, and couldn’t figure out why. Then I discovered the “Always show tool trigger location” option in the settings menu, which shows a red outline around the tile it is targeting, and I immediately understood what was happening. If your mouse is pointing at one of the eight squares adjacent to your character, that is where you will hit. But if it’s farther away in any direction, you’ll hit the square directly in front of the direction your character is facing.

It doesn’t behave as you’d expect if you’re used to playing double-lever shooters or Terraria, which follows your mouse more precisely. Initially I assumed that if my mouse was in the upper left corner of the screen, it would be pointing to the upper left block adjacent to my character. Turning on “Always show tool hit location” was pretty much the only way I could tell where I was going wrong, and it goes a long way in teaching you how to more precisely control your farmer.

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You probably won’t need the feature once you’re comfortable with the controls, but it’s vital early in the game. And who knows, maybe the developer ConcernedApe will change it to be on by default, the same way it did with autorun.

Stardew valley tv

It’s easy to walk past your TV in the mornings, but it’s worth clicking through the various channels every time you wake up, especially since the game pauses as you read. The weather forecast is straightforward and tells you what to expect for the next day. While not immediately helpful information, you can potentially change what you might want to do that day if you know it will rain the next.

The Fortune Teller is another that may seem unimportant, but can really shape what you plan for the day. Fortune Teller’s “luck” that his day will directly influence certain in-game RNG events. Two important for that are the quality of the article and the mineral in the mines. Picking crops or doing similar activities on lucky days increases the likelihood that those items will be of higher quality and therefore sell for more.

Stardew Valley Blacksmith

It’s a natural urge to want to update your tools as soon as possible, and the shower head should be one of the first on your list to update first. You’ll quickly find that the larger your farm grows, the more time and energy you spend simply watering every morning, and sprinklers are slow to arrive. Upgrading your watering can will save you precious energy by allowing you to hold down the left mouse button and water multiple squares at once.

However, like all tools, the update takes two days, which means you will have a full day without the ability to water your plants. Fortunately, heaven can do that for you. Look at the weather report every day (do you think watching TV is important enough?) And wait until the forecast for the next day is rain. Then you can water your plants in the morning, give your watering can to Clint to update, let the rain water your crops the next day, and finally pick up your watering can at 9 a.m. the next day. In this way, your crops will not lose a single watering.

Build the greenhouse before your first winter

It can be easy to let the first spring go by without digging into Community Center updates. If so, you could miss out on buying the greenhouse during its first year. While there are other activities during the winter, like digging up worms to find a worrying amount of missing library books or delving into the mines, having the greenhouse available keeps the gold flowing for an otherwise fruitless season.

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For the necessary pantry packs, you will need one of several crops from each season along with five gold star rated crops each season. Don’t let spring and summer turn to fall without staying on track and stocking up on fertilizers to improve the quality of your harvest. You will also need some animal and craft products, so keep an eye out for upgrading your chicken coop or barn stardew valley as needed.

As an added tip, be sure to invest in seeds like blueberries, blueberries, and tomatoes that continually bear fruit without being replanted. Along with multiple sprinklers, you can explore the mines every winter day without wasting your energy watering and planting crops.

Don’t forget birthdays!

Talking to the villagers at least once a day will slowly increase their friendship with you, as will giving them the gifts they like. The fastest way to literally reach their hearts is to give a gift on their birthday. Be sure to check the calendar hanging outside Pierre’s store (or buy your own) so you don’t miss one. As of update 1.1, all NPCs now appreciate the quality of the gifts you give them, as long as it is something they “like” or “like”. Each quality level adds a multiplier to the friendship points you receive, along with the 8x bonus you already get for being a birthday present. It’s not just the thought that counts, so be sure to gift gold and iridium star items if you can!

Feel the need for speed

Later in the game, you will have accumulated an exhaustive list of tasks each day. Even if you’ve automated your farm with sprinklers, you might be heading to desert mines, delivering gifts to villagers, or any number of other tasks. There are several ways to get around the valley faster that you’ll want to unlock so you don’t waste the day just walking.

The initially broken mine cart system can be repaired by filling the boiler room packs with loot and ore from the mines. It will instantly take you to several key locations in the city. A horse is also faster than making it yourself, although getting the 100 hardwoods needed for a stable can take some time for anyone who doesn’t live on the forest farm map. As a last stimulus, the coffee increases your speed for about a minute and a half, including the speed of your horse. You can buy coffee for 300g at the Saloon, but growing it yourself is the best option. You can find coffee beans as a random selection in the travel cart. Turn the beans into a cup of coffee by putting them in a keg and then sell what you don’t drink for a profit.

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