Not every great video game needs fantasy and flashy storylines of the world almost ending; sometimes the story of leaving the city behind and taking the plunge into a new humble farm life is all players need to have a good time. Stardew Valley doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to be considered a great title; the mundane feel of everyday farm life is its main appeal.
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In the flurry of all the fun new things to do in this new life, one can find themselves a bit overwhelmed but don’t worry. Every new farmer eventually finds the routine that works best for them. But there are a few tasks and details that most dedicated fans would recommend newcomers to prioritize before it’s too late, and year 1 has already come to a close. Here are a few things every new player should do right away when starting Stardew Valley.
Updated January 8, 2024, by Christine Mendoza: While some video games come and go, it seems as if Stardew Valley is too beloved of a game to be laid to rest, despite being released back in 2016. The community behind the talented developer, Eric Barone (a.k.a. ConcernedApe), is a strong and active one; not only keeping current players immersed in this cozy farm life but also recruiting newcomers as well. Whether players are completely new to the world of Stardew Valley or are seasoned players looking for some tips for a new playthrough, a few new helpful entries have been added to make the first few weeks of their new farm life smooth sailing.
24 Save High-Quality Crops/Produce
Be Prepared for Any Season
There are a few occasions in which a gold star (or higher) crop or produce item will come in handy. Aside from the “Quality Crops Bundle” in the community center, there are also a few town events that call for a high-quality item to help with the player’s reputation with other residents; namely the luau and the Stardew Valley fair.
As soon as players finally grow/yield high-quality items from their farming efforts, it’s best to keep a few of them in a chest for when they’re needed at a moment’s notice. No need to worry about items rotting or dying from being out of season as they’ll remain in perfect condition when stored away.
23 Plan Layout Ahead Of Time
Avoid Days Of Rearranging
Although it’s possible to move buildings around after they’ve already been established, it’s a much better idea to plan things out to avoid having to shuffle everything around as an afterthought. During the early days, try and visualize what an ideal farm looks like; where will crops and sprinklers go as opposed to the livestock and other equipment? Don’t place structures anywhere thinking they can simply be “fixed” later.
Although building coops, barns, and other structures seem far out of reach during the first few weeks, it’s best to plan and know where everything will be placed ahead of time. This will help players avoid making their farmland a mess with no structure or organization.
Make Quick Work of Larger Obstacles
Early farming days can be quite tiring as the energy needed to clear land or get rid of unwanted boulders is rather high when the player first arrives in Stardew Valley. However, one of the best ways to stop the energy bar from depleting as quickly is upgrading equipment.
As soon as players find ore in the mines, it’s best to keep it until it can be smelted into bars for Clint (the blacksmith) to use to upgrade various equipment. Although the tool that’s being upgraded will be unavailable for use for the next few days (for Clint to work on it), it’ll be worth it in the end when even the largest stumps or boulders can be cleared without breaking a sweat.
21 Fish Everyday
Don’t Neglect The Waters
The fishing mini-game in Stardew Valley is rather notorious for being difficult. It can be rather discouraging to many players after the first few times a fish manages to wiggle its way to sweet escape but don’t lose hope. The fishing mechanic slowly becomes easier over time as the player ups their fishing skill and upgrades their fishing rod.
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Between the new rods, bait, and various types of tackle, fishing is bound to become a breeze and open doors for a great new source of income (especially for late nights) for new farmers. It’s important not to neglect fishing, as aside from making good money, there are many fish that need to be caught for the community center bundles as well.
20 Spend Early Days Working Near Home
Don’t Be Afraid To Call It A Day Early
The beginning of the game may feel a bit overwhelming. Upon arrival, the player is tasked with tending to the farmland; which mainly means clearing weeds and bushes, chopping down some trees, and just generally cleaning any trash or undesirables that might be present. In addition to the exciting new life as a farmer, the player also has a whole new town filled with stores, sights to see, and people to talk to.
However, Stardew Valley is all about being patient and knowing how to use each hour of the day. During the beginning stages (a.k.a. the first week or so), the player may notice how quickly their energy bar depletes. As the player progresses, the amount of energy needed to swing an ax or dig some soil will slowly decrease, allowing the player to accomplish much more in their day-to-day routine. It’s best to try and work close to home during the early stages. This way, the land can slowly get cleaned while still not risking the debuff that follows after passing out before getting to bed on time.
19 Explore The Mines
Don’t Neglect The Fight
It can be easy to get caught up in the relaxing (yet fulfilling) life of a farmer, tending to one’s beautiful crops and beloved animals every day with full dedication. It may even seem tempting to ignore the combat side of the game and focus solely on the farming aspect as that’s what Stardew Valley is primarily known for.
However, the mines are key to being able to progress even further, making for an even more lavish lifestyle on the farm. The mines are unlocked on the fifth day of Spring during Year One of the player’s journey, and it’s imperative that players take advantage of this right away. The mines are fairly difficult for new players, but just like everything else in Stardew Valley, it becomes easier with time, experience, and better equipment. There are a ton of useful items in the mines that can be sold or used in crafting new items, so even a few runs of the first few levels of the mines will make a world of a difference. Take things one step at a time; or rather one floor at a time.
18 Craft Sprinklers
Let Your Cops Take Care Of Themselves
One of the most tiring parts of the early farmer’s day-to-day routine is tending to crops. Before being able to harvest delicious fruits and vegetables, a dedicated farmer must make sure to water them every day, allowing them to sprout from seeds to bountiful crops. While the watering can is a trusty friend for the first few days, the moment the player is able to craft even a single sprinkler, they should take the opportunity to craft one as soon as possible.
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Watering even a single crop can take some time (and energy) out of the day, so of course being able to wake up every morning to have all crops already watered and taken care of for the day is key to keeping things efficient. Take into account the different types of sprinklers and plan a plot of land accordingly to maximize efficiency. The first rendition of the sprinkler takes the fewest materials to craft but only waters four adjacent tiles. Meanwhile, the quality sprinkler and iridium sprinkler are more difficult to craft but are worth the time and will help with tending to crops in the long run.
17 Memorize The Calendar
Making a habit of checking the Stardew Valley calendar every day is vital as it keeps track of all the most important dates to keep in mind. The player can eventually purchase a calendar (from Robin’s Carpenter Shop) as a piece of furniture they can have in their house for their convenience, but for the early stages of the game, there is a free calendar available for the public to use just outside of Pierre’s General Store.
A full year in the world of Stardew Valley only consists of the four seasons, separated into four calendar months, with twenty-eight days each “month”. Within each season are important town events that the player can attend and even participate in. These are the only ways to get fun cutscenes that fully allow the player to feel integrated into their new-found community. Aside from events, the calendar also displays all villagers’ birthdays, so players know when to start looking for gifts. Don’t forget to constantly check the calendar and memorize what events are happening in the upcoming week; after all, these events only happen once a year.
16 Craft A Chest (& Color Code Them)
Make Sure Everything Has Its Place
Pocket space is rare in the early days of Stardew Valley, but for those players who just can’t seem to hold all their valuables, a chest is the easiest resolution. Chests are craftable items that can hold up to thirty-six different items, allowing stackable items to stack all the way up to a whopping 999 in a single slot.
Items don’t decompose in chests, so there’s no need to worry about anything going rotten and ending up in the waste. These chests are fairly easy to craft, only needing fifty pieces of wood to create. In addition to this, players can place these chests just about anywhere on their property (away from villagers) and even choose from a plethora of colors to paint them as well. Coloring each chest (as well as adding a nearby sign just like this Reddit user did), can help further organize the player’s inventory.
15 Get Accustomed To The Map
Don’t Waste Time Getting Lost
Time is money, and travel/commute time can suck precious hours out of the day. Avoid wasting time trying to find the way around town; getting lost when tracking down citizens, store locations, or finding the best way back home after a long day can ruin the overall profit made.
Don’t just go about the day wandering about; instead, get accustomed to each important location. It’s best to make an effort to learn the map and where each building, shop, or NPC is for the sake of saving time going in the wrong direction or constantly bringing up the map. When starting out, make a point to find and plan out the best routes to each frequently visited location in order to keep things efficient right away.
14 Unlock The Minecart
Cut Down On Travel Time
The minecart is one of the most valuable assets, as it can maximize the amount of work done in the span of a regular workday. Although it is a good idea to work on all bundles at the community center, it’s most efficient to prioritize the “Boiler Room” bundle. (For the JojaMart route, this would be purchased for 15,000g.)
Unlocking the minecart essentially creates fast-travel points around town at the mines, bus stop, and the quarry. One of the most helpful things is the route the minecarts create between the mines and the bus stop near the farm. This quick shortcut home makes for longer days fighting through levels in the mines and grabbing monster loot, all without succumbing to exhaustion at the end of the day.
13 Find And Equip The Glow Ring
Ditch The Torches
The glow ring and the small glow ring are obtained via special monster drops, fishing treasure chests, or breaking barrels underground in the mines. Once found, it’s best to equip it right away. The mines are a dangerous place and are often dimly lit, so the glow will prove a useful aid.
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The glow ring emits light around the player’s avatar, making navigation through the mines much easier. Not only is the glow ring a helpful starter item, in the mines, but also it aids when farming or walking through the town at nighttime when there aren’t any other light sources around. The glow ring’s effects can be stacked with another glow ring, a small glow ring, or even an iridium band to create an even larger radius of light.
12 Repair The Bus Stop
Explore The Desert
The bus stop is another means of transportation in the game, but this time, it’s not merely a shortcut. Instead of allowing the player to get from one place to another in town quickly, repairing the bus stop means unlocking an entirely new area.
Repairing the bus stop involves purchasing every vault bundle, totaling a whopping 42,500g (40,000g for the JojaMark route) to get up and running. Of course, this can’t immediately be accomplished when beginning the game, but it is worth saving up for as soon as possible. A bus ride will take the player to the Calico Desert, where an entirely new set of sights, faces, environments, and profitable produce will be available.
11 Light A Path Home
Make Late Night Navigation Easy
At the beginning of the game, many players are surprised by how dark the town can get after sunset. Navigation is near impossible when just starting out as there’s no familiarity with the map, nor are there enough light sources around. A simple, yet genius, solution is to craft one’s very own light sources for themselves; but rather than carrying around a fire all night, it’s best to craft multiple lights and place them around areas that need illumination. Not only is the farmland free to be decorated but the areas near the farm or leading to it (such as the bus stop or the path north of the farmland) can also be illuminated with handy light sources.
While there are a plethora of fancy (and expensive) light sources that can eventually be crafted, the best bet for beginners is the simple torch, as it only needs a single wood and two sap to craft. Simply craft and place them on any frequented path, and finding the way home at night will become a breeze.
10 Watch TV Every Morning
Learn All The Best Tips & Tricks
Making the transition from city life to country life doesn’t mean saying goodbye to all pastimes. Taking a quick TV break isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s encouraged. Before each day of hard farm work begins, make sure to watch a bit of TV before heading out. Specific programs will help with various aspects of the game; from giving useful tips to new recipes. Those few extra seconds taken to check what’s on TV will pay off in the long run.
The weather report is especially useful for picking out the perfect day to upgrade the watering can as it’ll then be with the blacksmith for the next couple of days.
9 Invest And Build Scarecrows
Protect Your Precious Crops
Crops are a farmer’s bread and butter and unfortunately, crows just can’t keep their greedy beaks away. Ensuring all crops are flourishing and ready to be sold every morning means protecting them from nearby critters.
Don’t allow these pests to have their way. Invest in foraging and harvesting items to build a few scarecrows right away. This simple fix will ensure that there aren’t any missing or ruined crops every morning that, if left alone, would cost a hefty amount of lost profit.
8 Check The Bulletin Board Everyday For Quests
The beginning month of the game can feel a little hopeless at times with money being so tight. On top of caring for the crops every morning, it’s best to make a habit of always checking the bulletin board just outside of Pierre’s shop. There, the player will find the occasional listing written by other residents of the town, asking for help with miscellaneous tasks.
These little quests are a great way to busy oneself if in the beginning stages of simply waiting for crops to grow. Not only does it help the player get acquainted with the townsfolk, but most importantly, it’s a great way of making extra coins each day.
7 Prepare For Upcoming Seasons
Don’t Waste Your Seeds
Keeping track of the ever-changing weather is important for everyone, but for a farmer, it means their livelihood. Keep an eye on the calendar, don’t just keep a routine of tending to the garden and buying up the seeds in Pierre’s stock. Nothing is worse than buying up a fortune of expensive seeds to plant, just to have the weather change and for them to stop growing.
Each season within the game lasts 28 days. Make it a point to begin planning out if it’s possible to grow a crop within the appropriate time frame before the season ends and ruins the whole garden.
6 Make Friends And Gift Everyone
Although Stardew Valley is a game revolving around farm life, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for socializing. Half the game’s appeal is within the incredibly detailed and intricate stories each town resident has behind them. Make sure not to keep a one-track mind and only focus on the farm life; play the character and explore the town.
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Talking to each member of the town is fulfilling on its own but for those that are looking for even more profound relationships, gifts are a great way to show affection. Remember to gift all the townsfolk to get their friendship meters up; and who knows, maybe that friendship could flourish into something romantic as well.
5 Keep Some Grass On The Farm
Allow Your Animals To Graze
Once livestock is available to purchase, those animal friends will become valuable assets to the player’s farm. Along with companionship, these animals will bring new resources to sell for good coin. However, these animals, like any other living creature, need sustenance.
Make sure to leave a few patches of grass when clearing the plot of land for crops as these tall grass bushes can then be harvested for hay. Buying hay can be pricey and will ultimately dampen the overall profit that comes from the livestock. Using grass and saving up to build a silo will help with the costs of livestock maintenance in the long run.