Stardew Valley Guide: Essential Tips for Mastering the Farm

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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.

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 cuts down on arable land, but allows you to catch all the river and lake fish that you would otherwise have to walk to town to attract. Don’t forget the crab pots!

The forest estate offers foraging opportunities and comeback stumps to collect stardew valley 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.

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.

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.

Watch tv every morning

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.

And finally the irregular shows, Queen of Sauce and Livin ‘Off The Land, can be incredibly important. Queen of Sauce will teach you a new cooking recipe once a week, which becomes more relevant once you have a kitchen to cook with. On the other hand, Livin ‘Off The Land has relevant information right out of the box, telling you things that you would otherwise only be able to learn from the game’s official wiki page, like which fish are only available to fish for one season and then are you can find the location and time of day.

Beware of worms

If you have sharp eyes, you may have already noticed the occasional wavy lines sticking out of the ground, and if you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, because these worms aren’t just decoration. If you hit them with your hoe, you will unearth an object. This is the only way to find lost library books, which can give you clues and secrets when you read them. Aside from books, you can unearth artifacts for the museum and the occasional (if you’re unlucky) pure clay.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see them as often or abundantly as in the image above; in fact, that screenshot is definitely the exception rather than the rule. But keep an eye out for movement in the dirt and you will start to see worms more often than you would have imagined. They seem to be more common when it rains and potentially on lucky days, so be sure to follow the advice above and always watch TV in the morning.

Go to bed

Let’s say I learned this the hard way so you don’t have to. Staying up after 1 a.m. is not a big deal as long as you don’t completely run out of energy, but you will wake up with slightly less energy the next day. But once the clock strikes 2 a.m., your Cinderella dress fades when you hit the ground and pass out on the ground, which is far worse than just going to sleep tired.

She will have less energy the next day and will be charged a percentage of her total gold for the expenses of whoever brought it home that night. Also, and I may be crazy and wrong about this as I couldn’t find anyone else to mention it, but I’m pretty sure I once lost an entire day after passing out in the woods. Either way, it is not worth the risk. It’s good to maximize your useful hours, but make sure you can get home in time for a real bed each night.

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 find yourself heading to desert mines, handing out 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.