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“Horizon Zero Dawn” Essential Tips and Tricks

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima with her husband and young son.

Horizon Zero Dawn is an exciting open world roleplaying game by Guerilla Games set in a futuristic world in which men and machines roam. Players are charmed by the game's interesting and strong protagonist, the interesting take on a life in the future, and captivating story and gameplay.

With a plethora of side quests to keep players busy, an intricate world full of secrets, and an engaging combat and upgrade system, Horizon Zero Dawn quickly became the favourite roleplaying game of many.


Whether you are playing this great game for the first time or starting a brand new playthrough, there are many things in Aloy's adventure that are not completely obvious at first. Here are some essential beginner's tips and tricks for Horizon Zero Dawn to help you make the most of your playthrough.

1. Sell Your Valuables

The currency of the world we explore in Horizon Zero Dawn is Metal Shards, which you also use to craft items such as arrows. Because crafting is something you do constantly, it can quickly dwindle your Shards supplies.

Whenever you meet a merchant, be sure to sell off items from the Resources category to boost your supply of Shards. Only sell the ones which have the use "Sell to Merchants" and not "Trade to Merchants." If they say they can be traded, that means you need them to purchase specific items.

Metal Shards are useful for upgrading your Outfits and purchasing other useful items, so be sure to have a clearance every time you meet a merchant.

2. Invest in Stealth

If you have played games such as The Elder Scrolls V series, you may know that stealth is a useful and important skill in many games. Horizon Zero Dawn also has an emphasis on sneaking, using tall grass to hide from enemy machines and attack them with silence and swiftness.

Investing in sneak for Aloy is a good move. A sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy saves a lot of time and resources, and sometimes if you have a large group of enemies chasing you, hiding in grass can be a life-saver.

There are a couple of things you can do to make Aloy better at sneaking.

  1. Get sneak-related skills on the skill tree. When Aloy levels up, she gets one skill point. Some skills can be purchased with one point, and others need up to three. Purchase skills such as Attack from Above and Silent Running to make Aloy harder to hear and detect.
  2. Invest in an Outfit. Silent Hunter outfits, ranging from Light to Heavy, provide a varying amount of bonuses to stealth stats. As a good starter Outfit, you should get the Silent Hunter Medium, affordable at 200 Metal Shards and 2 Watcher Lens. This outfit makes a big difference to whether a hostile machine will see you or not.
  3. Hide in tall grass. At night, tall grass has a sort of sparkle to it, making it easier for you to see. Tall grass is almost always red and even small sections can hide Aloy if you crouch in it. Often, grass is located near an enemy's path (visible with Aloy's Focus) and is ideal for delivering a deadly sneak attack.
  4. Pay attention to the eye at the top of the screen. An open eye means Aloy is visible, and the lines coming off the eye show how much noise she is making. Purchasing skills can lessen these, but if Aloy is crouching inside tall grass, the eye should be closed with no noise at all, making her completely invisible to enemies.

3. Roll, Roll, Roll

Aloy can roll out of the way of oncoming attacks and it is a very useful feature to get into the habit of using. Aloy does not have a shield, so the only way to avoid oncoming attacks (which, if you are fighting a large machine, can be extremely deadly) is by rolling out of the way.

Good timing and practice can save a lot of health loss and frustrating deaths. Purchase the Dodge Prowess skill to make your rolls longer.

4. Use Your Focus

Aloy's Focus is unique in this game and it can sometimes be easy to forget to use it! The little device attached to our heroine's ear and has some handy functions, such as the following.

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  • It highlights nearby life forms, which includes both friendly and hostile machines and humans as well as animals, which is useful for hunting.
  • It can show the pathways of patrolling humans and machines.
  • It shows up tracks, which is essential for some quests.
  • It scans certain collectible items.
  • It also shows some machines' weak points, giving you the edge in battle.

The Focus is essential to the game and incredibly useful, so don't neglect it.

5. Hunt Animals as Much as Possible

Small animals are not hostile, but it is important to hunt them as much as you possibly can. Their parts can be used to upgrade your bags and for crafting other items such as Potions and Travel Kits. Use your Focus (or your ears and eyes!) to locate boars, foxes, fish, rabbits, and other animals and hunt them.

Upgrading your bags means you can carry more of the same items. It's good to increase the amount of arrows you can carry as soon as possible to save having to craft more in the middle of a battle.

6. Practice With Many Kinds of Weapons

I forgot all about the Tripcaster as soon as Aloy got it, but it proved to be a lifesaver in tough situations. Be sure to experiment with many kinds of weapons in Horizon Zero Dawn. There is more to battles than the spear and bow; for example, trapping monsters causes them to be immobilized for a short time, giving Aloy the chance to deal serious damage. Bombs can also be slung at enemies to deal elemental and status damage.

Be sure to experiment with upgrades as well. Your slinger and traps can have elemental features to them to give them an edge.

7. Buy Maps

When you come across a Merchant, check if they are selling maps. These maps show the approximate location for collectible items such as Metal Flowers, Ancient Vessels, and Vantages. It is a very useful feature and allows you to collect the items as you go, clearing parts of the World Map as you do so.

As you explore the world and collect these items, it also introduces other places such as Corrupted Zones and side quests, enriching your Horizon Zero Dawn experience.

8. Make Cauldrons a Priority

After the quest Womb of the Mountain, you will discover the ability to override machines. This is an excellent skill that allows you to get machines on your side for a limited time (though this time can be lengthened by unlocking the Combat Override skill). The overridden machines will attack other enemies, making your battle much easier.

There are four cauldrons in the main Horizon Zero Dawn game, and by getting through and completing them, you unlock the ability to override more machines. As soon as you discover a new one, explore it and override the core to get more overrides on your side.

For more information about Cauldrons and where to find them, check out the video below.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the many exciting open world adventures to be released in the gaming world in the last couple of years. Explore Aloy's futuristic universe, develop your combat skills, and enjoy the fantastic story. With these tips and tricks, you are sure to make the most of your game file and enjoy this engaging title to the max!

© 2018 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on June 03, 2019:

You're awesome, Jeremy. Thanks!

Jeremy Gill from Louisiana on May 31, 2019:

Great game, great article : )

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on August 20, 2018:

Thanks Liz :)

Liz Westwood from UK on August 20, 2018:

You right very helpful hubs for gamers.

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