How to survive your first night in terraria

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Welcome to Terraria! Whether you are a new player (increasingly unlikely after 4 years on the scene), or perhaps a returning player who can’t remember if it’s the Blinkroot or the Moonglow that goes in that Shine Potion, hopefully this guide can be of some help to you. At least it might be more useful than the other  Guide.

When progressing through Terraria, many players can be confused about where they should go and what they should do next. This is not a design oversight: Terraria is an open-ended game and unlike most games, you are not forced to go anywhere or do anything. You are free to set your own goals and follow through with them, whether you are a builder, fighter, explorer, collector, or whatever else. This walkthrough merely aims to provide a logical order of progression through Terraria’s many different environments, called biomes, generally in order of increasing difficulty. But there is certainly no requirement to visit each biome, or in this order.

If you are unsure of what map size to choose as a new player, choose small. Even in a small world a player can face long travel times, and it would still take hundreds of hours to explore every cave in a small world at a normal pace. A more accurate description of the map sizes might perhaps be Large.

A newcomer could easily be lulled into a false sense of security upon entering into the bright world surrounded by cute bunnies and harmless slimes. Don’t be deceived. You have 15 minutes before night falls and you are ripped into pieces by packs of zombies, if you are not prepared. Your goal in the daylight remaining to you should be to kit yourself out with some better starting equipment from your surroundings and find a source of shelter, preferably underground, to pass the night.

The first thing you should do is cut down several trees (using your axe, aim for the lowest block), as wood is needed for many things, then build a Work Bench, and then probably, aWooden Sword, and perhaps a Wooden Bow, as your starting weapons are next to useless.

Next, you should explore your surroundings. There are usually a few Chests and Pots on or near the surface near your starting point, which will often contain useful weapons and other items. If you are lucky (a 9% chance per chest), you’ll find a Spear, which is one of the best starting weapons, especially against zombies, the biggest threat at this point. If you can find enough Cobwebs near the surface (you'll need 20), you can also make a Wooden Yoyo, which is a finicky, but solid starting weapon. There will also almost always be at least one cave entrance close by leading Underground. Use Ropes and Platforms to reach high ledges, bridge chasms, and safely descend. So always carry blocks around with you so you can fall safely!

Once you have explored your surroundings and cracked open all the chests and pots in sight, you should head to the safety of the Underground before night falls to continue your search for useful items and resources.

For a more experienced player, you may wish to consider another option. Cactus/Ebonwood/Shadewood equipment is as effective as Copper/Tin/Iron, and far quicker to obtain, albeit at serious personal risk. Note that the Jungle always generates in a world opposite from the Snow and Dungeon, the Snow often generates close to spawn, and frequently the Corruption/Crimson generate just after or in the Snow biome, especially in small worlds. It is preferable to travel through the Snow as it is faster and safer than the Jungle, and knowing this, one can often quickly reach the Corruption/Crimson. Once there, it is advised to use any buff potions you may have picked up on the way (don’t forget to craft any arrows you’ve found into flaming arrows), nip in, cut one tree, duck out, make a Ebon/Shadewood Sword/Bow, then use the new weapon(s) you’ve made to defend yourself while you chop down a few more trees to make the armor. It only takes a minute or two and then you will have sufficient equipment to survive every surface biome as well as the caverns (if you’re careful.)

It should be emphasized that it is very easy to die doing this, as it is a gamble and there may not be corruption/crimson at all on one side of the world, and sometimes when the corruption/crimson generates in the snow, there will only be boreal trees around. On the other hand, this strategy frequently does pay off and allows you to quickly obtain superior starting equipment. Even if you don’t find shadewood/ebonwood trees, you can usually at least encounter numerous chests, a desert or even a pyramid, and collecting cactus is even faster and easier. (Tip: Use a pickaxe to mine the block under the cactus.)

It is recommended to stay underground during night time until you are strong enough to easily deal with zombie packs, as there is little to be gained and much to lose for a new character outside after dark. If you do (inevitably) find yourself outside at night, any weapon that pierces multiple times, such as the Spear (if you find one), Wooden Yoyo (if you can find the cobwebs needed to make it), Throwing Knives, and Shurikens, is very useful. A bow and flaming or frostburn arrows also tend to deal more damage than most other starting weapons. If you're not used to playing sandbox building/mining games, it is easy to forget your greatest ability: the power to move blocks.
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