The Let's Play Archive


by DoubleNegative

Part 1: Small, Small World

#1 - Small, Small, World

Welcome everyone to this Terraria tutorial LP. We're going to jump forward a bit at the start and skip character and world creation. There are very specific reasons for that, so just bear with me for now, alright?

So here we have three characters. First is a techno Madoka Kaname with a halo and sweet shades. Below her is a wizard wearing a trenchcoat. Finally below the wizard is our hero protagonist for this LP, Sam. As you can see, Sam is wearing a green Disneyland tee and faded jeans.

I've omitted the two previous character names because they're not relevant. Also because both have the same (shitty) name and I don't want my shame being known. The wizard doesn't have a playtime listed because she's my character from 2013 and was created before the game tracked individual playtimes. But trust me when I say she has probably a similar playtime to miss 76-and-a-quarter hours up top.

You might also notice that Sam has 80% less HP and 90% less MP than either character. That will change before too long, though. Finally, all three characters have the term "softcore" which means that dying incurs the least severe penalty. There are also mediumcore and hardcore "difficulty" modes.

Softcore characters drop a portion of their money on death. Mediumcore causes you to drop absolutely everything in your inventory, in addition to the portion of money. Finally hardcore just deletes the character when it dies. The mediumcore and hardcore "difficulties" are not fun, and in my opinion, anyone that argues otherwise is merely deluding themselves.

Here we have our selection of worlds. Refreshing and Opposites are my two old (and thoroughly endgame) worlds. Rivershire is the world that we will be using for the LP. The different colors on the trees mean different things, but that will be explained in the future. For now just take note that Rivershire is green and red, while the other two are green, purple, and yellow.

All three worlds are large. When you create a new world, you can select between three different sizes, small, medium, and large. For a good rule of thumb, large worlds are twice as wide and twice as deep as small ones, with medium sized fitting in between. Some people might claim that you should never play solo on a large world. These people hate fun.

Finally I want to stress something very important.

If you are new to the game, do not make an expert mode world!

Expert mode assumes you know how to play the game already, and adjusts the difficulty accordingly. Early game monsters will kill you in one hit. This LP will not be done in expert mode. Fuck expert mode.

So do you have all that? No? Don't worry too awful much about it. For now let's just hit play on Rivershire and jump into the game.

(click for big)

Terraria Music - Day

Normally I'm going to chop up every screenshot for visibility's sake, and to highlight what I'm specifically pointing out. But in this one case I have shrunk the scene to show you everything. This is our first glance at the world of Rivershire. If you haven't already, be sure to click on the picture above for a better look at it.

I can already point out seven things to talk about from that one image alone, so let's work our way down the list, shall we?

Sam is in the middle of the scene, surrounded on either side by trees. These aren't decorative, either. Before too long, we'll be engaging in that age old practice of deforestation in order to build our first hovel.

A little to the left of Sam and underground we can see a mineral deposit peeking out of the ground. This is copper ore, and it is the most basic ore in the game. We'll find quite a bit more as the game goes on, but it's nice to see some on the surface.

Over to the right of Sam is an NPC wandering around. This is our Guide, and his name is Garrett. The Guide basically functions as the tutorial, and he is incredibly handy to have around even into the very end of the game. He's also standing in front of some mushrooms, which are a common resource we will need to find periodically throughout the game. They grow at random, but just by randomly wandering around the surface we'll find more than we'll ever need.

Here's what our expanded inventory looks like. We've got 40 slots for storage, and an additional 10 for our hotbar up top. 50 slots fills up a lot faster than you might think it does. This will be one of our biggest woes throughout the LP. But for now, all we're interested in are the three items up at the top left.

In the upper left corner of the screen, in the hotbar, we have a sword, a pickaxe, and a regular axe. Our sword is apparently a legendary weapon, our pickaxe is a piece of garbage, and our regular axe has no special stats whatsoever.

It's worth noting that even though our pickaxe is "damaged," it's still perfectly usable as a tool. So if we wanted to excavate the copper ore, it would do a perfectly adequate, if slow, job.

Anyway, let's walk over and talk to Garrett and introduce ourself.

Clicking the "Help" button will display another tutorial prompt. While it's tempting to have Garrett do my job for me, we'll just move on.

He does have this tip that's worth showing off, however. Other than just randomly clicking around in your inventory, this is pretty much the only time the game will tell you how to do something. Terraria is one of those "play with the wiki open" type of games.

We're gonna leave Garrett standing around and start off by walking to the left first.

A short distance into the trip and we encounter our first enemy. This is a green slime, the first enemy you're likely to encounter in the game.

Our "legendary" shortsword is not a particularly good weapon. The reach is pathetic, and all it's good for is stabbing a short distance in front of you. We're gonna be replacing this thing ASAP. But otherwise, this is what combat is like in Terraria. We run up to an enemy and stab them to death, and if we're good enough, we can dodge their attacks in return.

It's also kind of difficult to see in the gif, but the slime dropped 2 coppers and 1 gel for us. Terraria uses the standard copper/silver/gold/platinum currency system. 100 copper makes 1 silver. 100 silver makes 1 gold, and so on and so forth. For the most part, money isn't really a concern in the game. There's a few points where we'll need some, but for the most part money woes are restricted to the super early game and possibly the super late game.

Anyway, the trees around here are nice and tall, so this is as good a place as any to start our deforestation campaign.

Chopping down a tree is as simple as selecting your axe on the hotbar and just holding down the left mouse button over the tree. This tall fellow gave us 25 pieces of wood and 2 acorns. You can probably guess what the wood is for, but acorns are used to replant trees that we've cut down. No reason to be greedy, after all. We're gonna be stuck on this world for a very long time to come, so may as well let the trees grow back.

Anyway, we spend the next few minutes chopping down trees. I finally stop when we have 256 pieces of wood.

Over to the left some more, we find some some very interesting things. First off, there are three pots sitting out on top of the ground. Pots are one-time goody bags, basically. They most often contain money, but can hold a large number of objects inside. The one in front of us held 1 silver and 42 copper coins.

More importantly, there is a supermassive tree right in our path, with a blatantly obvious tunnel leading down into the ground beneath it. Worlds will typically have one or two large trees on the surface, but a tree in this style is not common at all. The tunnel leading underground means that there are special items down below that you can only get from one of these trees. We'll grab those later.

It's also worth pointing out that these large trees can't be cut down by axes. These are actually a structure in the world, and as such, must be deconstructed by our pickaxe. So, we'll just make the tunnel nice and even and continue on to loot the two pots on the other side. One held some shurikens, and the other a Recall Potion.

Shurikens are our first throwing weapon, and are pretty powerful for the first part of the game. We'll hold onto those for a rainy day. The recall potion is a one-use item that will teleport us back to our spawn point. Once we have a base set up, an item like this is invaluable for getting back quickly. Using it right now would just teleport us back over to where Garrett is still pacing back and forth. So, like with the shurikens, I'll just hang onto it.

This small pond is just left of the giant tree, and it marks as far as I really want to explore this way for the moment. The sun is almost directly overhead, and we really want to have a shelter set up before night falls.

We're now just over to the right of where we started. This pot, by the way, contained some torches. These will be super invaluable in the very near future. I also think this is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate building. It's very simple. All you have to do is pick what building material you want to use, and then use the mouse pointer to pick where you want to lay it down, and go from there.

You can see just how easy it was to build a bridge from just 9 planks of wood. Now we won't have to worry about falling into that small pit anymore, which will make traversing the overworld that much easier in the future.

I find that most worlds tend to have some sunflowers somewhere near the spawn point. These things subtly glow in the dark and provide a small movement speed bonus when you're nearby. They also have another hidden feature that we won't get into right now.

This large-yet-small tree marks the end of our expedition to the right. The pot directly in front of us held some rope. I'll cover what that does later, but for now just keep in mind that it's absolutely invaluable through most of the game. Never leave home without a lot of rope in your inventory!

We stopped briefly to pick up a couple sunflowers for future use, but we're now back over to the left, on top of the hill where we fought that first slime. This is as good a spot as any to build our first house. But first, we need to do some landscaping.

The land is nice and flat now. Perfect for building a small hut.

It's not pretty, but it's serviceable enough.

Next we need to make a makeshift door.

Now, if you'll think back a bit, you may remember that Garrett mentioned something called a workbench. He told us something about a crafting menu and wood, but I think it's high time we learned how all that works.

Allow me to draw attention to Garrett's "Crafting" dialogue option. Selecting this opens up our inventory.

We're starting to get quite a lot of items taking up space. I also have no idea where I got the gold coin. I assume one of the many green slimes I've squashed dropped it.

Down at the bottom of our inventory screen is a scrolling list of items. There's also a box at the top with the label "Place a material here." What we want to do is drop our stack of wood on that box.

This changes the scrolling list at the bottom to display every recipe in the game that uses wood as an ingredient. This is Garrett's primary use throughout the game! If you pick up an item and don't know what it does? Toss it at your Guide and he'll tell you what to do.

Now, I don't know about you, but a scrolling list is pretty unwieldy. Wood is used in a metric shitton of recipes, so finding the one you want can be a pain in the neck. But the designers thought of that! Do you see that little hammer icon above the 337 pieces of wood? If you click on that, it changes the way the list is displayed.

This is still kind of unwieldy, but it at least lets you see all the objects at once. This is all 109 recipes in the game that use regular wood as an ingredient. You can mouse over each item and the game will tell you what they are, and when you find the one you want, you can then click on it and the game will show you what it takes to craft.

In this case, the basic workbench takes 10 regular wood to craft, and no special crafting station. We can cover that pretty comfortably, so let's build us a workbench. Crafting is just as simple as navigating the scrolling menu and picking what you want to build. You don't have to arrange the wood in a certain pattern or anything convoluted like that, you just have to have enough pieces and you can build it. The game is even nice enough to attach what you built to your mouse cursor for quick use.

Placing furniture is just as easy as building. We'll leave our workbench outside for aesthetic purposes.

The sun is beginning to set, so I've taken all 3 of the torches we got out of that pot earlier and placed them around to illuminate the area better.

Now, our house is nice and all, but it seems more like an empty shell than a house. What we need are some walls.

Terraria unfortunately requires us to craft our walls manually. We get 4 wall panels per piece of wood we spend, and we'll need a lot of wooden wall pieces for our house.

The game is kind enough to let us craft in bulk quickly. Just by holding the right mouse button down over top of a craftable, stackable item, we can quickly build as many as we want. In this case I make 168, which is a good starting point.

Now, we want to quickly and efficiently place these walls down. So it's time to introduce another neat feature the game has: the smart cursor. By pressing the left control button, the game turns on the smart cursor tool. It's easier to show what it does than it is to explain, so take a look.

We overshot our goal by a bit, but that's fine. Look at how quickly we just placed the walls in our house. It's looking a lot more sturdy now.

The smart cursor will also automatically dig holes in front of (or underneath) us if we hold the left mouse button down with the pickaxe selected. Just use the mouse cursor to direct what direction you want to dig and the game will do the rest. It's pretty handy, and I use the tool extensively while playing.

I quickly make a door (6 wood pieces) and place it in the convenient 3-high hole in the wall. With the door in place, our house is looking a lot better than it did not 20 seconds ago. But now we need to entice Garrett to move in to the house. But how?

Over on the right side of our inventory screen is this UI element. I'll cover what these all do later on, but for now we're concerned with what I'm pointing at with the mouse. This is the housing tool, and we will be using this extensively throughout the game.

The housing tool will show every NPC we've recruited, as well as the query tool. By the way, we can recruit NPCs to come live with us. Garrett is just the first of approximately 20 possible tenants. Clicking on an NPC's face will let you assign them a particular room. We're more concerned with the query tool right now, though.

Using it is as simple as clicking on our newly built house.

The bottom of the screen will then tell you what you need to make the structure livable. In this case, we need a seat and a table. It will also tell you if you don't have adequate lighting inside. Otherwise it will just say "This housing is not viable." without explaining why. The biggest candidates why it would say that are 1) you're using a naturally occurring backwall, or 2) the house is too small. A distant 3 would be that the housing is too large.

I find that the small rectangular room that I've built here is about the right size. Using this approximate size, I've never had a problem with housing.

A quick trip to the workbench and we now have a table (8 pcs. wood) and a chair. (4 pcs.) Garrett has also automatically taken notice of the house and will lazily make his way over to it.

Before we end the update for today, we have one last tool to cover. The hammer takes 8 pieces of wood to build, and is used to demolish backwalls.

I'm sure that was bothering some of you. I know it was bothering me!

I've taken the liberty of demolishing the dirt backwalls where the hill used to be. Now the land looks much nicer. As a bonus, Garrett has finally walked over to inspect his new house.

Stocking up on torches. We're going to need a lot of these over the course of the game. At least they're cheap enough to make! (1 gel + 1 wood = 3 torches) I built 54 of them, using up all the gel we've accumulated so far.

Finally, this will prove useful in the coming minutes.

I think that's a good place to leave off, don't you?

NEXT TIME: Terraria By Night