December saw the release of the PC darling Stardew Valley for Playstation 4 and Xbox One. For those that have been living under a corn stalk for the past year, the hit game tasks you with making a farm you inherited from your grandfather vibrant again, all while charming the local villagers and exploring the landscape of the titular valley. The freshness from the release has worn off for most console players, but if you're a beginner looking to make the best of your first four seasons in Stardew Valley, here are a few tips to get you and your farm off to a hot start.
1. Make the most of spring
Your first season in Stardew Valley may be the most important. You'll want to make sure that you are devoting time to foraging, fishing, farming, and cleaning up your farmland every day – learn to diversify early on. Foraging and fishing are good ways to earn a little bit of cash while your farm is still small. In addition, you'll get an invaluable amount of raw materials from clearing the land on your farm, which can later be used for crafting. As for farming, that leads us to the next tip…
2. Know your cash crops
It's important to know which crops will bring in the biggest cash flow to your farm. Each of the three growing seasons (the only produce that can be harvested in winter are the foraging plants from Winter Seeds) have different cash crops, each with different profit margins and grow times. In spring, you'll want to grow potatoes (213 gold profit per crop) and cauliflower (190 gold profit per crop). Blueberries (880 gold profit) and hops (365 gold profit) are good during the summer, while cranberries (1101 gold profit) and pumpkins (440 gold profit) are good during the fall. All of the above can be purchased at Pierre's General Store. There are other crops that will bring in a bigger profit in some seasons, like strawberries and starfruit, but they can only be found at special times or in special locations. Strawberries can be bought during the Egg Festival in spring, while rhubarb and starfruit can be purchased in The Desert. There is also the rare seed crop that can be bought from the gypsy wagon in the forest – it brings in a whopping 2000 gold profit per crop. All of these figures assume that you aren't using fertilizer, but you should always…
3. Use fertilizer
While we're still on the subject of farming, make sure you use fertilizer. The two sap used to make fertilizer is nothing compared to the considerably larger profits you will make each harvest. It's a small detail, but an incredibly important one for making your farm successful quickly.
4. Repair the bridge at the beach
At the beginning of the game, there is an area that is inaccessible due to a broken bridge. Save up 300 wood to fix this bridge as soon as possible! On the other side of that bridge are a group of tide pools. You can forage this area for coral, sea urchins, and other goodies that sell for a nice chunk of change every few days.
5. Explore the mine, 5 floors at a time
The mine in Stardew Valley is a huge source of resources, from ores to artifacts to items dropped by the creatures that lurk around. There's a convenient elevator as well, letting you return the deepest floor you have explored. That said, the elevator only makes stops on every fifth floor. Make sure you venture down five floors every time you enter the mine. Otherwise, you're only wasting your time.
6. Don't forget the community center
It's easy to forget about the community center located north of the village square. Completing the item-based quests there opens up new features in the game, like the mine carts that can take you from the bus stop to the forge and the mine. Do these quests as soon as you can so you can experience all that the valley has to offer.
7. Keep a hoe on hand
Every now and then, you may come across some worms wiggling on the ground. These can be dug up with your hoe for extra goodies, from artifacts that be donated to the museum to raw materials like clay. These worms appear in every season but show up most frequently in winter. Make sure to carry your hoe with you whenever you're wandering around the valley to take advantage of the free stuff.
8. Donate to the museum
When you start your game, the museum in town is completely bare. Any artifact you find, whether it's from digging up worms in the ground or from exploring the mine, should be donated. Every few donations net you a nice gift from the curator.
9. Be Neighborly
There are a lot of villagers in Stardew Valley, each with their own unique personalities. Some quests can only be completed once you reach a certain level of friendship with a particular villager. Learn about what their favorite gifts are so you can become friends quickly, and maybe even start a romantic relationship that leads to marriage.
10. Check the message board
The message board located in front of Pierre's shop is a treasure trove of information. The calendar there informs you of villagers' birthdays as well as upcoming festivals. Villagers also periodically post quests that must be completed in two days for a nice reward and a boost to their friendship level. The quests are usually fairly easy to complete, so make sure you check the message board every day.
Stardew Valley is currently available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for $14.99. Stardew Valley: Collector's Edition will be available on April 11, 2017 for $29.99.
Are you a big Stardew Valley fan? Have any more tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to hit the Follow icon above!