Don’t Starve came out in early 2013 though it had been in beta for quite some time before that. It is still currently being updated. The game is mostly sandbox, without much of a story other than the fact that a mysterious man named Maxwell has somehow (In Wilson’s case by having him build a machine) got you to a dangerous island where you will have to brave the elements, gather resources, fight monsters, and most importantly, not starve.
Don’t Starve is rather addicting. It feels like minecraft but with more of a focus on survival than building. Every day is a constant struggle to stay alive as you are attacked by spiders, hounds, and the various other creatures that roam the landscape. You need to find sources of food and plenty of things to burn for a fire at night. If it turns to night and you don’t have a light source then you will be attacked by what is called the Grue.
Don’t Starve gives the player hunger, sanity, and health to keep track of. Hunger depletes over time and must be replenished by eating food. If you reach zero hunger then your health will start depleting and you will die after a time. You do not need to drink anything. Sanity depletes during dusk and nighttime, when close to monsters, when eating certain kinds of food, when taking damage, and when it’s raining. Sanity can be replenished by eating food, wearing certain types of clothing, picking flowers, standing next to befriended pigs, and sleeping. If your sanity gets too low then hallucinations will gain physical form and attempt to kill you. Health is depleted when you take damage, whether that be from getting hit by a monster, the hunger bar depleting, standing in fire, or eating certain kinds of food. When the health bar reaches zero, your character dies. If you do not have some means of respawning, then the world you were playing on gets deleted.
How to make sure that doesn’t happen? It takes practice, and patience. You have to learn to be careful. This is not a game where you can systematically slay everything you come into contact with and just keep walking like nothing happened. You will be killed many times if you attempt to do that.
The first step to staying alive in Don’t Starve is building a base. This will be where you spend your nights (try not to wander too far from it unless you’re prepared to do so). For this you will need gold, rocks, and wood to start with. I recommend finding two flint as soon as possible so that you can craft a pickaxe quickly. Then you can use that to break open boulders. Try to find the tall one that is laced with gold. It will drop gold, flint, and rocks, all three are precious resources you will need in the early days. It is perfectly alright if you don’t have enough resources to start a base after the first day. I usually spend the first day picking a lot of grass and twigs as well as berries and carrots if they are available. Then when I find boulders I break them apart. Towards the end of the day or even at dusk I craft an axe and cut down a few trees so that I can make a campfire. Try to make your campfire next to trees so that you can keep working through the night. Don’t put the fire too close to the trees though because the fire can spread.
Once you have twelve rocks, you want to make a firepit at the location you choose for your base. Then not to far from it, craft a science machine. If you have six more gold and the logs and rocks to make enough planks and cut stone, it is a good idea to go ahead and make an alchemy machine. While not necessary, it will provide access to improved farms, which are much more efficient than basic farms, as well as a lot of other important crafting recipes. Constructing a lightning rod is important to protect your base from lightning strikes. As soon as possible though you’re going to want to cut down a lot of trees in order to have enough logs to make plenty of planks as well as get a lot of pine cones. Take the pine cones and plant them however you want as long as they are all really close together. Then wait a day or so for them to grow into small trees. Once there, light them on fire using a torch. Once they have burned you can chop them down to get charcoal. You can use the charcoal, twigs, and cut stone to make crock pots, which are absolutely essential. You should make several of them. The great thing about crock pots is that you can combine four food items (refer to the wiki for recipes) and they can turn into something that will give you a lot more hunger and health than the individual items would have. The best thing about crock pots though, is that until you pull the food out of the crock pot, it will not spoil. It also halves the spoilage of the ingredients, allowing you to create ready to eat food using some spoiled or stale ingredients.
Once you have some crock pots, it’s a good idea to get silk. Seek out a spider nest and keep tabs on it. You don’t need to put traps down or anything, that is never efficient. Just wait until the den is level 3 and make sure you have a log suit equipped. Move onto the webbing and 3 spiders will come out. Wait until they get close and make them follow you off of the webbing. If you fight them off of the webbing then no warrior spiders will spawn. Kite the spiders and you should be able to kill them without taking any damage. Repeat this two more times and you will have cleared the nest. Then destroy the nest and it will drop a lot of silk and spider eggs. Pick up all of the loot and then replant the spider eggs for a renewable source of silk.
You’re also going to need to prepare for the winter. Killing a few beefalo is definitely a good idea so that you can get enough resources to make a winter or beefalo hat at least. These will keep you from freezing for a time in winter. Crafting a heat stone is also a good idea.
A few tips. Always carry a torch. Always carry food in your backpack so that if you get killed, monsters like spiders will not eat the food. Be careful when fighting what appears to be a lone spider or frog, as attacking it will aggro every other creature of the same species and you can end up fighting a swarm. It can be better to drop a trap. Try to learn animal attack times, so that you can effectively kite. Kiting is what will allow you to kill things. If you’re wearing a backpack, which is recommended, then carry a log suit inside the backpack. That way you get the advantages of both. Try to use your firepit as much as you can versus campfires because they are much more efficient. If you need health badly, fishing can provide with an easy way to make fishsticks in a crockpot which will give you 40 health. Get a birdcage so that you can feed it dragon fruit to get dragon fruit seeds, so that you always have a supply of them. If you can somehow get ahold of a walrus tooth, a walking cane is an amazing tool. Never wander around in a swamp without armor on. Don’t try to stunlock Tallbirds, it won’t work. Feeding a pig four monster meat will turn it into a werepig. During the transformation you attack it and kill it before it can actually do anything. This is a relatively safe way to get both meat and pig skin. Fighting regular pigs is very hard since they attempt to kite the player, making it impossible to kite. Walk on roads or trails when you can, they will greatly increase your movement speed.
These are just some of the basics, but they are a good start. If you have questions about any items, refer to the Don’t Starve Wiki, it is very informative and incredibly helpful. Good luck, and remember, Don’t Starve!
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