Stardew Valley: Starting Out

"These are more like guidelines than actual rules. Play at your own pace, talk to villagers, explore the mines, unlock new areas, get married, and even farm some slime."
TheDesertWhale
Digital Artist & Graphic Designer

Starting Out

Inheriting your grandfather’s farm in Stardew Valley and being entrusted to return it to its former glory can sound a bit intimidating at first.

Where do you begin and what do you plan to do? Do you want to become a millionaire? Start a mayonnaise empire? These tips I’ve gathered over the 500+ hours I’ve played may be something to think about when you begin your adventure.

It may seem counter productive at first, but invest heavily in crops at the beginning of each month. It’s important to get them going as soon as possible as some crops take longer to grow than others, and some require you to plant them once and continue to produce throughout the month.

Some crops are more profitable than others, each month has a different set of seeds to choose from and it’s important to know which crops will net you the most profit, such as cauliflower in the summer or pumpkins in the fall. Plant your Cauliflower, Melon and Pumpkin in groups of 3×3. It’s a good thing.

Pumpkins!

TV Tips

Watch TV everyday, there are four channels that may appear each day on the television you are provided when you move into the farm:


  •  The weather report will tell you what the forecast will be like for the next day, it may be useful for you to know if it is going to rain or not so you can plan accordingly.

  •  The Fortune teller channel will tell you your luck for the day, important for things like drop chance or the ability to find treasure.

  •  Livin’ off the land airs every Monday and Thursday, it will offer tips related to farming, fishing, foraging etc. 

  • Finally The Queen of Sauce is a channel that will air a new cooking recipe every Sunday, with re-runs appearing later on.

 Be sure to get a calendar as well and keep an eye on it for special events and Birthdays!

The Stardew Valley starting screen and Logo
The starting screen

When It Comes To Vegetables

Try not to eat your produce; there are other ways to replenish your energy bar that don’t require you to eat your main source of income, but sometimes the best choice is to just go to sleep.

You can craft energy bars, purchase food at the bar and later on a spa will unlock that you can visit to restore your energy bar at no cost. Try not to pass out from exhaustion or stay up too late as you will wake up with a somewhat depleted energy bar to start the next day.

When it comes to planting your crops, always try to use fertilizer. It’s not always possible in the very beginning as some fishing is required to make your own, but making the effort is worth it. It will remain in the soil for the entire season and increases the chances of your produce being silver or gold star quality; which makes you more money!

Use the hoe on the worms! Sometimes when you are wandering around you will notice a group of wiggling pixels on the ground. Some people refer to them as worms, twigs or roots; Livin’ off the land refers to them as little brown stems. We’ll call them worms, when you see them make sure to use your hoe to unearth them as they have a chance to reveal ores, lost books, artifacts and more!

Fishing off the docks

Decide The Towns Fate

Make a choice between the Community Centre and JojaMart. After playing for a little while you will come across a boarded up community centre to the north of the town, the mayor will show you inside and ask if you will think about rebuilding it along with your new farm. 

It’s a lot of work and a lot of gathering but it is clearly the good option out of the two and a very good way of exploring the games mechanics and getting to try a little bit of everything. Siding with JojaMart will replace the community centre outright with a closed off warehouse, and all further upgrades will have to then be purchased directly from the Manager of JojaMart. 

Find time to upgrade your tools! Upgrades can only be done at the Blacksmith and take two days to complete which is noteworthy because you will have to spend two whole days without that particular tool, so plan accordingly. Your plants need to be watered everyday, so upgrading your watering can when you know it’s going to rain the next day is a great way to avoid lost produce.

 

Praise The Rains

Speaking of the rain, it increases your luck when mining or fishing so make sure to check the forecast. Keep an eye out for spots with bubbles in the water as they will increase the bite rate of the fish dramatically.

Planting flowers near your bee hives will change the flavor of the honey and some are worth way more than others.

Pet your Cat (or Dog) everyday, also don’t forget to give them water. There are no negatives if you choose not to do this or forget, but doing so gains you more points towards the evaluation of your farm later on.

Unlocking the greenhouse is one of the most important and rewarding upgrades in my opinion, it allows you to continue growing anything and everything year round, regardless of the season outside. There’s even room around the edges for you to plant a ring of fruit trees. This is always the first big upgrade I work towards, be sure to check out the community centre rewards.

Inside view of a productive greenhouse
A bustling greenhouse can bring steady produce

Chat Up The Townsfolk

When it comes to befriending the townspeople, going to the Saloon everyday is an easy way to catch up, as a lot of people from town gather there every night. Each villager has a friendship score represented by a ten heart meter, (Your spouse will have 12). 

Each heart represents 250 friendship points; you can view your relationships on the social tab of the game menu.

You can increase friendship by talking to them everyday, bonus points if they are in the middle of a special animation or cut-scene. Completing a delivery quest for them, giving them a gift that they are neutral with or love can get you a lot of points especially if you combine that with the Winter Star event or their Birthday. Keep an eye on that calendar!

Befriend the wizard who lives outside of town to gain access to his secret basement. Less creepy than it sounds, he owns a magic mirror that will allow you to change your appearance and the appearance of your cat/dog.

Visit Robin, the carpenter who runs the shop north of town. She sells a different rotation of furniture everyday and can upgrade the Farmhouse as well as construct new buildings on the farm. She can even build new cabins on your property so you can invite your friends to play together.

Play Your Own Way

These are more like guidelines than actual rules. Play at your own pace, talk to villagers, explore the mines, unlock new areas, get married, and even farm some slime. This is just the beginning; there is so much more to this game than meets the eye and we didn’t even scratch the surface.

You can find Stardew Valley on Steam for PC and a number of other platforms for consoles like the Switch and even on mobile.

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