SOS: I Can’t Stop Playing Stardew Valley

What started as an interest in finding a mindless escape has turned into obsession. I am a machine now. Since I wrote my last blog a couple of days ago, almost an entire year has passed in my game. I’m halfway through completing the Community Center, I can speak dwarvish, and I’ve got a dope skull mask I never take off. I’m learning so much STILL, and I’m back with another episode of, “Things I’ve Learned While Playing Stardew Valley”.

My first major change since my last blog is that I’ve officially invested in animals. I started with a couple of cows and the base level barn, but I realized if I wanted to finish the Community Center, I’d need a bigger variety of animals. I’ve maxed out my barn to the highest quality. Inside, I’ve got two cows, a goat, and a sheep. I also have a coop that is tier two level (I think there are three levels for each of the barn types), occupied by two chickens and two ducks. Every morning, I beeline to my animals and make sure they are good to go before I venture out on my money-making mission. In the midst of writing this blog post, I have purchased a pig.

I cannot stress enough how valuable it has been to complete the tasks at the Community Center. When I wrote my first blog, I had my mine carts available and that was it. Fast forward to now and I’ve got a fully-operational bus and the bridge to the quarry repaired. Things are wild in these two new zones I’m able to explore!

Fixing the bridge gives you access to the quarry. The quarry is home to a secret cave with some crazy flying skulls (reminiscent of old-school Doom), but if you’re able to overcome the enemies here, you can claim a special golden scythe. Does this actually perform better than the scythe you’ve had this whole time? No clue! But you grab it out of the hands of a grim reaper statue so that’s pretty neat. Side note, once you’ve been through the quarry, you may randomly encounter a quarry-themed level in the regular mine.

At this point, I am pretty cocky. I’ve overcome the flying skulls! Nothing can stop me! … Except the cave in the desert. Once you complete all 120 levels of the mine, you are given a skull key, but are given no indication of how to use it. Well, this key unlocks a door to a cave in the desert. You can only access the desert by fixing the bus (which is pretty expensive to do). Once you’re out there though, you step into the cave and think everything will be fine, until you die really quickly. The enemies hit hard and they do not go down easy. I turned and ran out almost immediately the first time I went in. I was not ready. Full disclosure, this clip is from after I learned my lesson about the cave.

I went home and saved up money to buy the strongest sword from the Adventurer’s Guild. Even that is not enough to keep me alive. You have to play very carefully in this mine. Bring lots of high-power foods and take your time. Some enemies do not die or do not take damage. I don’t know if there’s actually a final level in this cave, but it doesn’t have the elevator like the mines. You can find some holes under rocks that you can leap into to skip several levels at a time, but as far as I can tell, this cave exists not to be conquered, but the break your soul.

Also, just a side note, I had a journal entry to give Pam a pale ale. I just recently got more into crafting and artisan foods, but I uncovered the pale ale after I fixed the bus… Pam is the bus driver… Easiest way to find her? At work! Now I have an intoxicated bus driver taking me to the desert.

So, how am I affording all of this? I’ve been investing heavily in ore and mining. I’ve got several furnaces at my farm and I make gold and silver bars regularly. I’ve been upgrading my tools, but only my pickaxe is gold (excluding the free scythe of course). I go down into levels 105 – 120 and just farm gold ore. I go back home and start plugging it into furnaces, making 5 bars at a time. This doesn’t even include the random gems and valuable stones you’ll find along the way. You’ll also stumble upon a lot of items you can donate to the museum and you’ll randomly unlock rewards from Gunter by doing that too.

If you’re trying to get in on this mining practice, you need to make your way to these higher level areas to get the more valuable materials. To make the most of your time, I recommend descending 5 levels at a time because these are the levels you can travel to from the elevator. Sometimes, you can get through 10 before you need to power walk back home, but more often than not, you’ll be pushing your luck. Random tip: If you’re going to rely on mining for money, you’re going to need a lot of coal. I recommend hitting the 60 – 70 levels and killing these little bouncy balls because they drop coal as loot more often than not.

As I conclude this blog post, I am in the early stages of Fall, Year 2. I’m building my second silo so my animals and I can get through the winter without having to buy hay. I’m saving up money and debating on what big structure I want to build next. Do I buy more animals? Do I finally make a dedicated farming area? Or will I continue making omelets and try to run through the cave in the desert? I don’t know, but I don’t think anything I do from here on out will top my goat’s name.

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