Don’t Starve – 10 Survival Tips

Don’t Starve is a rather complex and enjoyable experience, for the sort of people who like a challenge. I for one find it demanding to survive past a certain point, but that does not mean you cannot eventually complete the game and “Win”. In order to improve the chances of your survival in Don’t Starve I collected these 10 Tips. While useful they will not be “Game Breakers”, so there will be no special spoilers, only useful things to take into account as you are playing. Let’s jump right to ‘em!

Don't Starve

In a World where everything is against you a helping hand is always welcome!

10 Survival Tips to Don’t Starve

Your Beginnings - The first thing any survivor should do, gather everything and anything in the area, regardless of how useless it might look at the time. Grass, Twigs and Granite will allow you to produce numerous “Beginner” Tools and Equipment. You should also have a decent chance of finding Carrots, Berries and Seeds. Here is the catch, gathering absolutely every piece of food you see might seem like a good idea at first but you will quickly realise that later on this could work against you. Most plants that you can gather (Carrots, Flowers, Evil Flowers) will not regrow after being picked. Flowers may be replanted by capturing butterflies and planting them, but carrots and Evil Flowers have no such method of growth (Carrots may grow on farm plots). Seeds may be cooked or planted on a farm, and since they are randomly dropped by birds there can be a near endless supply of them (though they are not always available). Berry Bushes will yield a handful of berries every few days.

Perishable Resources - All food resources, equipment and most clothing is perishable. In the case of food you can keep it safe for longer by building a fridge (this is a demanding project in terms of resources). Equipment and Clothing should be used when needed, so do not use your Ear Muffs when it’s not cold out, and do not use your crafting tools for combat. That way you will be able to use them for longer.

Storage - As soon as you can you should build chests. One Chest is good for a start, but you will quickly realise that you will need more and more chests to store everything you find. Be careful when obtaining the wood to build them, or you may awaken the Tree Guardian. The alternative to Chests are backpacks, as they can be thrown on the ground, but they are not as spacious and collecting enough resources for them might be more difficult than cutting down enough wood. If you find a Eye Wand you will have a Chester! This is one of the sweetest things ever, and it acts as a moving or stationary storage device! If you drop the Wand Chester will remain near it. You cannot make Eye Wands, they may only be found in the “wild”. If Chester Dies he will respawn on the next day (but he will drop all the things that were stored in him).

Sanity - Sanity is just as important as Hunger and Health. Sanity does not hold a major negative impact until it is below 100, and becomes dangerous below 30. The world around you will change as your Sanity drops. The two most most “felt” differences is the appearance of Beardlings (Bunnies that become “Monsters”) and Hallucinations. Hallucinations at first appear as spectres, spawning randomly around you, but not interacting with you directly. They might follow you, taunt you or simply observe you. Below 30 Sanity they may start attacking you, and at 0 sanity you will have to face a group of them. When you have little to no equipment Hallucinations are very dangerous foes.

Increasing your Sanity - Sanity may be recovered in a number of ways. These are divided into two categories, “Actions” and “Items”. Actions include research, picking flowers and eating specific types of food. “Items” are primarily different pieces of clothing that when worn will increase your sanity. Under difficult circumstances the clothing might not be enough to stop a Sanity drop from happening but they may still reduce it. For an exact list of beneficial items check the Don’t Starve Wiki.

Decreasing your Sanity - Why would you ever want to reduce your sanity? Nightmare fuel. At some point in the game you will need it, and while Spirits in the real world might drop it Hallucinations have a higher chance of doing so. Once you have enough equipment you may choose to perform a number of “Insane” actions to rapidly reduce your sanity. Just like in the above case there are “Actions” and “Items” that may reduce sanity. Actions include: picking evil flowers, using Worm Holes and eating rotten food. There are not that many items reducing sanity early on in the game. Weather alone may reduce your sanity, as will the night. For a list of items that reduce your Sanity check the Don’t Starve Wiki.

Winter: Food - Eventually, if you survive long enough, you will be forced to endure through Winter. If you did not prepare a large stock of food you will be forced to search for it in the wild. Ponds will be frozen and farms will grow much slower, but bushes, rabbits, birds and Beefalo will still be present. You may also decide to kill your fellow Pig Men for nourishment, but remember that killing innocent creatures en mass might summon Krampus.

Winter: Freezing - With Winter comes lower temperature and this may kill you faster than the hunger. How to keep yourself warm? There are a few methods. The most common one will be to start a fire, since its flames will keep you warm. While this is feasible when you have an awful lot of wood and food stores it is more likely that you will have to leave the camp, once in a while. In order to stay warm you need warm clothing, such as Ear Muffs. Clothing does not allow you to stay in the cold indefinitely, it only allows you to stay in the cold longer, before freezing. So the more warm clothing you have the better. A Heat Stone also helps in this. It works like a portable fire (almost), and it charges up when you stand near a fire. Warm Clothing is Tiered, so the harder the piece of clothing is to make the better its durability and the longer it will keep your warm (use common sense though, a Top Hat does not keep you warm). You can check the Wiki for details on this.

Sustainable Development - When you gather resources, be it wood, berries or silk from spiders you must realist that if you mess things up you might kill the local habitat. You could kill off all the Beefalo, thus cutting off your access to Meat, Fur and Fertilizer. You could burn down all of the local trees, the same goes for bushes. You might also end up collecting all of the flowers, thus not being able to replant butterflies as new flower patches (Butterflies spawn from Flowers). Plan your work carefully. Do not go on a wild chopping or burning spree, since that could leave you completely resource-less. If you need Silk plan your trips to the spiders, do not outright destroy all of their lairs or you will have to go even further to find the Silk you need.

Pig Men Villages - One of the best ways to keep yourself safe at an early game is to find a Pig Village and settle down there. The Pigs will not pose any threat to you and they will gladly engage any monsters that might appear near the village and thus your camp. Using Pig Men in such a way costs you nothing in terms of “Karma” and any meat and leather that they drop may be used by you later on. Take note that if the Pig Men “Win” they will proceed to eat any meat that was dropped. This might result in Werepigs, if they eat enough Monster Meat.

This would be all from this short Tip List. It does not include a lot of information overall (such as coping in Adventure Mode, how to fight different bosses, etc.) but it offers you some key basics so that your early games will be much easier.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

3 Responses to Don’t Starve – 10 Survival Tips

  1. andrea says:

    Not a pig village a-hole. There’s werepigs

  2. Mi3terT says:

    To keep sane just pick flowers! And butterflies are a nice treat! :)

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