Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer with a BS degree in Information and Communications Technology.
Don't Starve in a Nutshell
If you have ever played or are still playing this game, I know that you'll agree when I say that this is a difficult survival game where starving is the least of your problems.
Don't Starve is a survival video game created by a Canadian game company called Klei Entertainment. It was initially released in 2013 available for PC, console, cross-platform, and mobile. You'll play as a character, whether chosen or random, plunged into a strange, odd wilderness teeming with creatures, ridiculously unknown dangers, and mind-boggling surprises.
Sounds promising, and the promises live up to their expectations.
The Gist: Surviving Until You're Done
The basics of the game include:
- Choosing your desired character to plunge into the "constant," a randomly generated world.
- Scavenging and saving resources, and using them to craft structures and items.
- Foraging, farming, and hunting for food.
- Learning resilience and proactiveness from the game's four seasons.
- Overall preparing and surviving multiple tribulations.
Most may enjoy the first season, Autumn, and will instantly stop playing the game if they come to Winter or Summer because their characters would either die from freezing, overheating, sogginess, hunger, mob attacks, or even self-induced accidents. But I tell you this, these are nothing compared to a more heck of a load of other things in store for you. YouTube tutorials from other players and wiki articles may help you identify this stuff, and navigate through it.
But the real learning curve begins when you're playing, experiencing, and immersing in the game yourself. I am, however, going to help you survive the coming seasons inside Don't Starve: Reign of Giants. These tips apply to solo players, but some may apply to DST and these also vary on the character that you will use in the game. These guides are some strategies I've learned from reading and learning through other people's guides, tips, tricks, and articles. These are some of the guides I've also learned myself from playing the game.
How to Survive the Seasons?
Guides for Surviving the First Autumn (Day 1-20)
Autumn can be your first default season if you have not tweaked anything from the world settings. If not, there's a 50-50 chance of your game starting at Autumn or Spring.
The first Autumn may seem like a piece of cake to new players: not many mobs and monsters, plenty of resources, and no spawning of Autumn's Seasonal giant Bearger. But fret not, my good friend. I mean, sure, there can still be momentary rains here and there that'll leave you soggy, but that can be ignored for now. As soon as Day One starts, you have to forage a lot of food that you can grab and collect as many basic resources that you will need for your future material crafting and structure prototyping. You can collect food lying around like carrots, berries, and even birchnuts from fallen birch nut trees while most of the basic resources are twigs, grass, rocks, wood, and, most importantly, gold nuggets.
Explore the map as much as you can during day and dusk to locate your biomes, such as the Savanna, Mosaic, Grasslands, Forest, and Rockyland. You can also venture into the Desidious Forest to locate the Pig King to trade trinkets for gold nuggets. You can also go to the Marsh to collect reeds, tentacle spikes from defeated Tentacles, fish and frog legs from slain Merms, and Spider loot like Monster Meats, Silks, and Spider Glands.
In short, locate a suitable main base location. You can also look for set pieces, but watch out for traps. You also have to locate the Walrus Camps for the upcoming Winter and mark them on your map using traps or signs.
Try to quickly locate the "Things" as soon as possible as these will be used for your next world transportation. You can also look for Maxwell's Door and try out his Adventure Mode where five harsh challenges await you, typically recommended for experienced players ready to overcome five harshest possible challenges to, canonically, beat the game.
If you fail to locate these "Things," as well as its portal, that's okay since you can do that in the coming Seasons. For now, you have to build a Science Machine and an Alchemy Engine. If you have located and destroyed some (some, not all) Pig houses by using a hammer from your explorations, you can use that resource to prototype your next needed materials.
Quickly craft a Backpack or a Piggyback for more resource slots. Prototype a Regal Shovel and collect as many twig turfs, grass turfs, and berry bushes that you need to relocate near your base's location.
If you manage to locate a Beefalo herd, collect their poo, smash bone doodads to collect bones, and make Buckets-o-poop to fertilize your twig and grass turfs from your resource farm. Expand your food and resource farms, create an Ice Box, place down your Drying Racks, and position your Crock Pots.
Oh, and you need to craft Football Helmets or Log Suits for armor and a Spear for a weapon, or better a Ham Bat since periodic hound waves will come at you every eight to ten days with each increasing in numbers than the last. If you manage to slay these hounds, collect their loot for future usage.
Collect some Silk from spiders and try slaying a few Beefalo for meat, Beefalo fur, and a potential Beefalo Horn. Quickly craft a Beefalo Hat and a Thermal Stone, as these will be importantly used for Winter.
Remember that you only have at least 20 days to do all of these cumbersome, menial, yet important tasks. but it can also depend on how you modified your world generation options i.e. setting the length of the Seasons before you play or having a very long day.
If have nothing else to do, collect as many resources and store them inside your crafted chests and gather more food because Winter is coming.
Guides for Surviving Winter (Day 21-36)
As the white snow falls and as your in-game character shiver in the looming cold, Winter has come to freeze your noggin.
Winter is the next Season in Don't Starve, and it can be quite intimidating for most players. But if you have done your preparations during Autumn, this season can be and will be easy enough even for unexpected players. Winter begins as soon as Day 20 hits, and you'll notice that your character will seldom freeze come night time even before it comes. Equip your warm clothing and always have a heated Thermal Stone with you, especially if you want to venture out in the freezing temperatures. Because sooner or later, your character will suffer from constant hypothermia and you'll be there watching your health diminish every second you're not nearby any heat source.
The game's fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants suffer from Winter since they will never (or even rarely) grow back. Ponds for potential fish resources will also be frozen. Your whole map will be covered from falling snow and constant snowstorms limits your environmental visibility.
A good thing about this season is that food spoilage is slower than ever, but you also only have limited food sources on the list. Periodic hunting by following Suspicious Dirt Piles will often guarantee you meat. Importantly, a Winter Koalefant where its trunk is needed to craft a tier 3 warm clothing called Puffy Vest should you want/need one.
Pengulls will jump from the ocean if you travel near the sides of the biomes. They are neutral mobs. Attack one, and you'll be done for if not prepared since Pengulls share a mob mentality. They will walk toward their nesting grounds surrounded by small glaciers that you can mine for ice and will lay eggs that you can collect after Winter.
One more most important task during Winter is to always visit the Walrus Camps, where MacTusk and two Winter hounds reside. Slay MacTusks for a potential rare items like Walrus Tusk needed to craft a Walking Cane, an item with no durability, half the damage of a spear, and a percentage increase in speed. Or for a potential Tam O' Shanter, a tier 2 warm clothing with one of the highest Sanity gain bonus in the game. Hound waves will also be present, along with Blue hounds. Blue hounds, when killed, will lower your character's temperature and might have him/her frozen. Blue hounds could also potentially drop blue gems needed for magic and ancient crafting materials.
The days are shorter, while the dusks and nights will be longer in-game. You can craft a Tent to skip the days if you want to, but sleeping in these Tents will take time and Hunger from your character. Starvation is the least of the problems in the game, but if you do starve, your character's health will suffer from constant damage penalties.
You can prototype more materials, explore more locations, and prepare for Spring by building Lightning Rods near your base. Deerclops will also spawn near the character's proximity and will usually appear in the late days of the Winter.
Should you succeed in slaying Deerclops, the boss will drop eight meat and an Eyeball for your troubles. The Eyeball is an important material to create an Eyebrella, a headgear with 100% wetness resistance during Spring and delay overheating from Summer's heat. It also shields you from Lightning Strikes and a useful item if you're hunting charged Volt Goats.
You can construct a Prestihatitator and a Shadow Manipulator during this season to prototype certain magical and ancient items.
Guides for Surviving Spring (Day 37-56)
As the snow disappears, the grounds can now be seen. Vegetables, plants, and fruits grow again. Butterflies are roaming and pollinating flowers. There will be constant rains, wetness, thunder, and lightning. A rare case of frog rain may happen, and another seasonal giant will arrive.
Spring can be your first or third in-game season, depending on your world generation settings. Here, constant downpour and showers of rain will leave your character wet, soggy, and cold. Too much wetness will also make your items wet, draining your sanity in the process. The longer you stay without any wetness resistance, the more prone your character is to die from freezing. Wetness decreases your sanity at a faster rate, and insanity may cause you hallucinations to borderline being attacked by shadow creatures. Of course, you can use this as an advantage to farm nightmare fuel.
Fire from fire pits lasts shorter during rainy days, prompting you to stack up fuel for next long nights. And while standing near any heat source drains your wetness at a faster rate, any wetness resistance item, clothing, or headgear is still advised to be used and equipped at most times, especially if you ever had the chance to craft an Eyebrella from the slain Deerclops after Winter. Fire from fire pits lasts shorter during rainy days, prompting you to stack up fuel for next long nights.
Food and resources will be plenty. They will grow at a faster rate, and this means that food and resource farms would always be plentiful. Flowers will grow naturally and randomly on specific biomes. The bees, however, will be aggressive towards the player. Beefalos can also be in heat and will also be aggressive when nearby players. A herd of angry Beefalos can defend you from hound waves, but they can kill your character if they're in heat.
Lightning strikes can also occur, so some Lightning Rods placed around your base is advisable. A lightning strike can reduce the health and sanity of any character, briefly stunning them. WX78, a character in the game, gains a positive effect from getting hit by lightning strikes but will still suffer from sanity loss and will be damaged from the rains. When lightning hits a structure or a ground with any nearby flammable material, it will be lit up in flames. The fire can spread to nearby materials or structures, burning them into ashes or coal.
Store your Thermal Stone inside the Ice Box and leave it there until Summer arrives. You also need to mine rocks and collect nitre to construct Endothermic fire pits needed for the upcoming Summer.
Despite the ever-growing hound waves, there can also be a possibility of frog rain. Froggles from the frog rain can be intensely annoying if they land nearby your base. An attack on a Froggle will make all nearby Froggles to attack you, and it can be overwhelming. Heck, even by just standing near these hostile mobs will prompt to attack your character. Their attacks will stun-lock your character and will remove items from your inventory. One of the solutions I found when dealing with frog rains is to be near bee hives during when it happens. Bees during summer will be instantly turned to killer bees, and will attack anything near them. A bunch of swarms of these will take care of your frog rain problems, and you'll get to get free loot from the dead mobs as well.
One of the many tasks during Spring is to prepare for the upcoming Summer by storing food and resources, as well as building Ice Flingomatics near your base. You can also freely explore the map to look for the other "Things" as well as the Wooden Thing for your teleportation to the next world. You can also craft a Morning Star, an electrical weapon that deals bonus damage to wet enemies, provides light, and loses durability only when being held.
Another adversary that'll come during Spring is the gigantic Moose/Goose. She arrives in the late Spring, within the player's proximity. If left alone, Moose/Goose will lay an egg, usually near the player's base. In DST, she usually spawns in nests located in Forests and Grasslands biomes. The giant egg, if left alone for a day or two, will spawn Moslings. If you attack any of the Moslings, an aggressive Mama will spawn above the player. You can also hammer the giant egg while still having the Moslings spawned. Moose/Goose, despite her size, is a relatively easy boss to combat. Her Moslings, however, is tricky. Moslings will attack you by moving in a tornado-ish form. Lightning strikes will also be present during their attacks. If you do manage to slay the Mama Goose and her little demons, you'll be rewarded by a plentiful of meat and Down Feathers. Down Feathers in the game can be used to craft Luxury Fans, a survival item that'll reduce your character's temperature during Summer. Down Feathers can also be used to make Weather Pains, a weapon that can create mini-tornadoes as the attack.
Guides for Surviving Summer (Day 57-71)
The rains had gone away, the clouds had vanished, and the sun had risen too high to burn your character to crisps. Summer, the reverse Winter, of the game can be one of the most challenging and most despised Seasons in the game.
From preventing hypothermia to preventing hyperthermia, equip your Eyebrella to delay the overheating effect of the Summer. Overheating damages your character like freezing in Winter, slowly diminishing your health if not acted upon quickly. If you have not yet acquired the item, create any headgear or clothing that'll protect your character from the soaring heat. You can also eat leftover ice and Crock Pot recipes to lower your character's temperature. Construction of Endothermic fire pits is also needed. These fire pits will reduce the character's temperature but can't be used for cooking. Equip a cold Thermal Stone to further delay the process of overheating.
Place and turn your Ice Flingomatics on while casually monitoring their fuel gauge. For you see, a base left alone dried up too long in the heatwave would typically result in coals and ashes from the flames it came. And these are important because the days will be longer than usual while the dusks and nights are shorter.
Building Siesta Lean-tos and sleeping on them will help you skip the day, heal, and gain sanity with hunger as the penalty. Changing from Backpack to Piggyback is advisable since the former is flammable and the latter has more inventory slots, slows you down, and is non-flammable.
Plants will dry up, and their turfs can only be used if shoveled giving you twigs. Planted fruits and vegetables from farms can also dry up, giving you grass when harvested. Forest fires can occur in trees and plants that are close together. The cactus in the Desert biome, however, is useful yet prickly to gather. Cactuses will bloom flowers, and both can be cooked in Crock Pots for instant healing food items. Food will also spoil faster during Summer, even if they're inside an Ice Box. Flammable items left on the ground can also be set ablaze when left for too long, so be careful.
You can spend this Season to hunt Beefalos, Koalefants, and Volt Goats for food sources. You can also visit the Marsh biome for potential loot from fallen mobs. The caves and ruins will also be in Summer, and overheating can still occur there. In DST, however, overheating sogginess from Summer while in the caves or ruins is rare. But you do need to build a new base down there. You also need to defend yourself from the constant waves of Depth Worms. Red hounds are present during hound waves. They are easier to slay, but they will set anything on fire while potentially dropping Red Gems and other loot when killed.
And behold Summer's seasonal boss: the Dragonfly. Dragonfly also appears near the player's proximity. It will be neutral for most times, coughing up lava and burning up almost everything along the way. The giant will eat the remains of the burnt doodads. She will fly near the player's base and will stay neutral as long is not shown with any aggression. When attacked, she will enter an enraged mode that deals extra damage and fire damage to the player. She is also faster than the player, immune to fire damage, and overall pain in the bum. A lot of armor, weapons, Pan Flute, and healing items are needed to take her down. If defeated in solo mode, she drops meat and scales. Scales are used for an armor immune to fire damage and a chest that will never burn. In DST, a group must need strategies to defeat her for her extensive loot of meat, gems, scales, and more. She also spawns Lavaes in DST, burning players when in contact.
Guides for Surviving the Rest of the Seasons (Day 72 onwards)
You have survived the first difficult days of your initial Autumn and have withstood the harsh, cold Winter. You stayed dry during the soggy mess of Spring, and you were triumphant from the scalding heat of Summer.
Congratulations! You now have more food, resources, items, and experiences that you can use for the future. You can try exploring the caves for a more challenging take, or even the ruins if you really want to know what survival in "difficult mode" means. These parts are dark, hidden, and dangerous for inexperienced players. They do, however, serve a lot of new mobs to combat, items to use, biomes to explore, and structures to exploit.
Should you wish to stay on the overground, during the second Autumn, you can repeat the whole process of foraging food, collecting resources, and exploring the map. You can also fight Autumn's seasonal giant.
The Bearger appears somewhen during the second Autumn. The giant furball will rummage through your chests, Ice Boxes, and Bee Boxes for food. When eaten, effects from any food also affects the giant. He will be neutral for most times and can be sedated by using 10 stacks of honey or playing a Pan Flute. He will turn aggressive when you steal food from him in three consecutive moments. He will also be aggressive when attacked. His ground slam and basic attack will always have your weapon knocked off from your character's hands, so caution is needed. If defeated, he will drop meat and Thick Fur. Thick Fur is used for a Hibearnation Vest, a tier 3 warm clothing that reduces hunger-reduction by half, and an Insulated Pack, a backpack that significantly reduces food spoilage (as well as ice).
Don't Starve's DLCs and Machinations
Now that I think about it, I may have played other survival games as well. But none of them came close to what Don't Starve offers. You, in essence, will play into a game without initial tutorials all while diving into a new, unexplored, and randomly-generated world. It's the game saying "Here, have fun!" while you figure out the things you are going to do and ways that you have to do to "beat" the game. Resources are limited, so planning ahead on how to manage these resources will make you scratch your head. Every item and structure needs to be discovered to be used, and they have to be used with a purpose to not waste the resources spent on them. The mobs or creatures will vary from being small and cute to gigantic and dangerous enough to gnaw your face off or smack you down the dirt, each that can be exploited for crafting useful items. As the day and night cycles, seasonal changes, the environment changes with it offering new challenges that you have to live and survive through. The characters aren't one-dimensional, static caricatures that you'll have to control since each has its own weaknesses and strengths that you have to know of and get used to.
Don't Starve is a survival video game with three expansions and one for online, multiplayer mode. The DLC versions are Reign of Giants (ROG), Shipwrecked (SW), and Hamlet. The former is set in a tropical world. The latter is set in a place filled with anthropomorphic pigs with societal concepts, a huge chunk of land that seemingly floats above clouds. Each is built with random generated islands and biomes, new creatures and dangers, traditional and novel characters, as well as more items that you have to micromanage and juggle. The standalone multiplayer co-op version is called Don't Starve: Together is a base game made with more content, gets updated regularly, marketed with seasonal and special events, and created for friends that want to play together (or not).
These games will teach you to somehow think proactively, to prepare and plan for future problems that may come. It teaches you to micromanage, to save and spend resources well, and to exploit the environment in a very healthy and helpful way. These games may teach more, from their deep, captivating lore and Tim Burton-esque designs to the community that follows and plays it wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, this game will surely suffice your empty hours, days even, and something that you'll want to spend playing for time and time again.
Final Verdic from Someone who Loves Playing Games
I have been playing games throughout my lifetime, most that includes real-time strategy, multiplayer role-playing, puzzle-platformer, and rhythm genre. I even love playing indie games, games that are criminally underrated because of their fantastic narrative, graphics, and gameplay. And as much as I enjoy playing them, I also dwell on YouTube gaming channels to watch other people play video games.
Don't Starve is, what I believe, my very first survival video game that I have ever truly loved. I liked it to the point that you'll see me investing and spending hours and hours of progressively learning and all-around just having fun. And it isn't because I'm inherently new to the world, but because of its chaotic and humorous nature that works hand-in-hand.
This game is highly enjoyable, highly difficult, and highly recommended for players who wants neverending challenges on their hands. With the ways how Don't Starve executed itself almost perfectly, you'll never look at any survival video games the same way again. From top-notch lore to the overbearing yet enjoyable chaos it brings, this is one of the well-balanced games that needs more attention from the masses. Play this game with open arms and when you're ready, because this one will surely knock you off again, and again, and again. But remember that every time you've been tripped, remember to stand up and fight again, play again, learn again, and most importantly — have the most fun, again!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Darius Razzle Paciente