Stardew Valley beginner's tips for the ambitious farmer without a clue
There's a lot to get the hang of in Stardew Valley and anyone who either hasn't played Harvest Moon in ages or ever has a tough time dealing with all of the game's nuances and features.
Below are some tips for players who are new to Stardew Valley who want to have an easier time with the game. You don't have to take my advice, but it certainly won't hurt!
None of the tips here contain any real content spoilers, so don't worry if you want your experience with the game to be mostly pure. The journey and experience is the whole point of the game, enjoy it while it lasts.
Give gifts wisely
You can only give each villager 1 gift per day for a total of 2 gifts per week. Be careful you don't give anyone you want to like you something they hate, otherwise it's a wasted gift opportunity that week.
The above all said, it's a good idea to carry fruit or flowers around. Most villagers like them (there are exceptions) and it's an easy method to build most relationships.
Each month is 28 days
Plan your crops and tool upgrades accordingly! Super important.
Make sure you shake trees while you're running around
Field Snacks aren't the best Energy replenishing food, but 45 energy isn't much to sneeze at and they are easy to make. Shake trees while you're running around for an extra chance of Acorns, Pinecones, and Maple Seeds -- all three being the ingredients to Field Snacks.
The sooner you clean up your farm, the better
It takes a long time to get your farm all cleaned up, but you should try to get at least a fourth of it free of trees, rocks, and other debris in Spring of the first year. This way you have more room to work with during the Summer and can start working on your permanent farm layout.
Become the dumpster diver
Linus isn't the only one who can rummage through trash, you know. You can too, if you're brave enough.
You can dig through each villager's trash can once a day for a chance of food. Be careful no one sees you, though. It's more than a little awkward.
New players should read the books at the library after they find them
The Lost Books you come find aren't just for decoration. Often they have advice new players wouldn't be able to find otherwise, and it's a good idea to keep up with them.
Plant round crops in 3x3 plots for a chance of one huge crop
Melons, pumpkins, cauliflower all have a chance to merge into one huge piece of produce if you plant 9 seeds together in a square 3x3 section of plot.
This huge produce sells for much more. Plant longer rows that are 3 tiles tall and a multiple of 3 long for more chances of this rare occurrence.
Plant flowers near your bees for flavored honey
Wild Honey is nice, but you can get way more money for your bee-buck by simply planting flowers near your Bee House.
Different flowers flavor your honey differently, and hence each type has a different price. Fairy Rose-flavored honey is the most valuable.
Your spouse will get jealous after marriage
This is something that's a surprise to newlywed farmers. If you give a gift to another single villager, your spouse may think you're trying to sneak around on them.
Take time to forage
Foraging may seem like a waste of time, but it's well-worth it. You find things you can sell, cook, and give to villagers. Always keep an eye open.
Watch TV everyday
The television is a valuable source of information in Stardew Valley. Each program has a use:
- Weather Forecast - Tells you tomorrow's weather, great for planning when to have your tools upgraded
- Fortune Teller - The better your luck, the better yields you'll get when foraging, fishing, and mining. I'm not sure about farming yields.
- Queen of Sauce - Learn to recipes to cook. You'll remember any recipes you learn before you upgrade your house, so watch whenever it's on and not a re-run.
- Livin' Off the Land - Gives general advice and mid-season foraging changes, such as Salmonberry season in Spring
Buy that second backpack ASAP
You need that extra storage space. It's well-worth the 2000g at Pierre's shop.
Chests are your best friends for general storage
You should get your first chest made during your first or second day in the game, and don't be surprised if you end up making more. These babies only take 50 wood to make and hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff for such measly crafting requirements.
Make sure you have some animals before the first Winter
True to Harvest Moon and other farming RPGs, Winter is a quiet time in Stardew Valley. Mine, fish, make friends...
You can do more in Winter and be better prepared for Spring by having animals before the cold month hits. This way you have some steady income outside of mining, fishing, and their Artisan Goods.
You might want to make good use of Crab Pots
Catching fish that are worth very little can do a lot more for you than be a light trickle of income. You can also use them to craft two very useful items: Quality Fertilizer and Sashimi.
You only need one of any type of fish (including crustaceans) and two sap to make Quality Fertilizer once you unlock it, which gives you plants a 30% chance to be of silver star quality an 60% chance to be of gold star quality.
Sashimi can be made after you've upgraded your house and befriend Linus, after which he'll send you the recipe. Sashimi only requires 1 fish and recovers 75 energy and 30 health.
Setting up 5 or 6 Crab Pots in the river south of your farm will net you a few fish a day, whether you fish or not. It's a cheap and easy shortcut to having a steady influx of fish to make use of, especially if you don't like fishing.
Visit the traveling cart on Fridays and Sundays
The traveling cart isn't around much, but boy is it worth the peruse if you're on the market for rare items.
You can find the traveling cart on the mentioned days in the forest south of your farm. Walk along the top left of the forest and you will eventually stumble upon the cart. Make sure you have plenty of money, though!
You can sell produce at Pierre's shop and fish at Willy's for money today instead of tomorrow
You don't have to toss your produce and fish in the bin at your house. If you want money now to throw at seeds or upgrades, you can sell them at the shops in town. Pierre will by produce and Willy will buy fish, both for the same price as if you put them in the shipping bin.
Keep on top of bundles..
You have a totally new responsibility on your hands once you can get into the Community Center and start putting together bundles. Each bundle you put together gives some sort of reward, and once you've completed a set the town gets an improvement.
Make sure you keep up with bundles and deposit requested items when you can. Sometimes you never know when you'll get another one.
.. unless you buy a JojaMart Membership
You can skip the bundle hassle if you buy a JojaMart Membership for 5000g. Instead of collecting items, you buy the town's improvements directly.
This obviously is not meant to be the fun way to deal with city improvements and will seriously affect how you play the game considering the effort required to fulfill the bundle requirements.
Doing the bundles is meant to be a fun part of the game, but if you're lazy and just don't care you can just buy the Membership.
Making friends is easier when you fulfill requests
Always check the post board in front of Pierre's shop if there's an exclamation point. Requests not only land you money, but often increase your relationship with the villager who posted the request.
If you see a patch of dirt with three worms, whack it with your hoe
You want to fill the Library with artifacts and books for those sweet rewards and helpful literature pointing towards secrets, right? You better keep your eyes peeled for spots of dirt around town with three wriggling worms sprouting out.
Always keep your hoe on hand when walking around Pelican Town in case you come across these spots. They're the only way to get Lost Books and a big source of artifacts -- though sometimes all you get is ore or clay.
Save on Hay by pushing your animals outside
You don't have to grow or buy Hay to feed your livestock. Build a fence outside their building and have grass in their outdoor enclosure so they can eat. Just don't leave them out in bad weather.
There's pretty much no reason not to use fertilizer
Just like in real life, fertilizer in Stardew Valley can be a big help to your crops' growth rate or yields.
You unlock the Basic Fertilizer recipe very early on, which only requires 2 Sap to craft. Quality Fertilizer, Basic Retaining Soil, and Quality Retaining Soil are similarly easy to craft. As soon as you're able, start using fertilizer on your crops. You won't be sorry.