Stardew Valley looks like a friendly and simple farm sim. It's actually a time-stealing jerk, introducing layers upon layers that keep you bouncing between short and long term goals long after you intended to stop playing.
While there's no right or wrong way to play Stardew Valley, there are ways to be more efficient. If you don't follow this guide you are objectively playing wrong.
Make a robot.
Robots are way more efficient than humans.
Name him Robot. This way there's no room for confusion over your farmer's origin and identity. Confusion leads to inefficency and explanation, which wastes time, which is inefficient.
Robot is a male because when you start a character it defaults to male, and clicking a button to choose another sex is a waste of valuable seconds.
You'll begin with a number of farm-y tools in your inventory. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with them.
A watering can:
Now discard all of these tools immediately. They are a hindrance.
You will also notice a giftbox containing a packet of seeds to plant on your farm. Go outside and dump it in the trash.
Now go back inside and sleep. The next morning you will receive a note in your inbox. It's an invitation to meet a gross man on the docks and conduct a shady transaction. Dash through town (ignoring everyone!) and interact with this foul to get your bamboo fishing pole:
Follow the dirtbag when he shuffles back into his store. Now spend all 500 of your dollars on a second bamboo fishing pole.
Immediately return to your farm, ignoring everyone again on your way home.
Your Daily Strategy
Every morning you should dash outside and stand in the shameful ruins of your dilapidated farm. Make sure you have a fishing pole selected. Now cast it. You will catch nothing. The act of casting on dry land will drain a chunk of your daily energy.
Keep casting that fishing pole. When you run out of energy at around 9 or 10 in the morning, return to your home and go to sleep until the next day.
Exploring & Socializing
Don't explore. Every moment you spend walking around like an idiot is a moment wasted.
Don't socialize. These people are shit. Don't let them get in the way of your sleep or your land fishing.
Long Term Goals
While getting into position to cast your fishing rod, you may occasionally bump into a random harvest item such as a flower or berry. Sell these by dumping them into the capitalism bin next to your house.
Eventually you will have enough money to buy a third bamboo fishing rod. Repeat this process until your entire inventory is bamboo fishing rods.
This is victory. A moral victory, and a victory by any known measure of the word.
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