Guides/The Big Picture
The goal of this guide is to outline the major options in Don't Starve. This assumes playing as Wilson in vanilla DS.
One option is to build a science machine without choosing a base location, and then some combination of backpack, spear, log suit, shovel, and hammer. Hammer the science machine, and keep exploring. One of the primary goals of the hammer is to get pig skins out of pig heads.
Burn a forest and collect the charcoal. Use the shovel to dig up some or all of twigs, berry bushes, and grass tufts.
After choosing a base location, build a firepit, crockpot, drying rack(s), chest(s), and lightning rod. Place traps on rabbit holes. Read the crock pot page – this is one of the most useful pages on the wiki. Plant pine cones and the other items.
Fight spiders using traps or weapons to collect the silk, spider glands, and monster meat. Monster meat enables a few crock pot recipes and at least serves as filler for the others. Glands heal for 8 by themselves, and with ash, can produce healing salve to heal for 20. One way to generate ash is to set a stack of 30 grass on the ground, light it with a torch, and then collect the stack of 30 ash. But perhaps the biggest reason to fight spiders is for the silk.
Secure a source of repeatable healing. The best options are a bee box for honey nuggets/honey ham (requires silk for the bug net), frogs + mushrooms for froggie bunwich (requires ponds), a fishing pole for fish sticks (requires silk for the fishing pole and ponds), farms (requires manure), and drying racks for jerky. While jerky is perhaps the weakest source of healing listed here, it’s a top-tier source of sanity and food storage.
Get lots of gold and tech to the alchemy engine. The main options for gold are hacking lots of rocks, and giving meats or trinkets to the Pig King or Wolly.
Pig skins are now highly valuable. The ham bat and especially the football helmet are huge fighting upgrades. Consider a piggyback and pig houses with the leftovers.
There are three main options for meat: Beefalo, werepigs, and tallbirds, and they all require fights that could easily prove fatal. In particular, note that with correct technique, Beefalo can be killed without taking a hit, but a bum’s rush into a herd will end very badly, even with armor.
An alternative to ham bats is fighting a tentacle for the spike. Options include finding a tentacle that’s fighting spiders, befriending pigs and having them go first, and simply rushing it while heavily armored.
Find the marsh and collect reed. Extra honey and reed can be used for honey poultice. Use a bird trap to populate a bird cage and produce eggs. The caged bird converts cooked monster meat to eggs, enables crock pot recipes, and gives crop seeds. Save eggs until they spoil and make gunpowder (or collect pengull eggs at the end of winter). Gunpowder is the point at which saving the early nitre is rewarded.
Using hound teeth, set up tooth traps. Build a boomerang, hunt birds, and craft fire/sleep/blow darts.
Build a prestihatitator. Build a meat effigy, which requires meat and shaving a sufficiently long beard.
Fight the chess pieces to get gears, marble, and the wooden thing.
Dig graves to get gems and gears. With gears, the choices are an ice box or a divination rod. Blue gems can be made into ice staffs – this is generally more efficient than darts for fights requiring ranged weapons. Red gems can make a life giving amulet. Mandrakes can make a pan flute.
Plan A is a beefalo hat. This requires fighting about 3 beefalo, depending on drops. Plan B is a winter hat – the wool could come from shaving beefalo at night, thus avoiding the fight. The backup plan is rabbit ear muffs. It’s always useful to get 1 or 2 thermal stones.
Looking for Trouble
Hunt a koalefant to make a vest. Fight MacTusk n' Son and hope for an awesome hat or a tusk for a walking cane. Make Krampus angry. All of these require ranged weapons.
Teching to shadow manipulator requires three things: a purple gem, living logs, and nightmare fuel.
The Dark Sword, Night Armor, and Fire Staff are all significant fighting upgrades. Given enough nightmare fuel, make a nightmare amulet, go insane, and collect more nightmare fuel.
Most advanced magic items and resources cost sanity to use or acquire, so sanity sources are more valuable now. Options include green and blue mushrooms, MacTusk’s hat, pig friends, jerky, and sleeping in a tent. Prototyping otherwise low value items could be a bargain due to the sanity gain; for instance, a sign is 4 logs for 15 sanity.
Prepare the battlefield. It could have any or all of strategically placed walls, tooth traps, fire pits, bee bombs, pig houses, beefalo, and even a treeguard.
In all stages of the game, the easiest way to win a fight is to get someone else to do it. For instance, build a pig house next to frogs, and collect the pig skins after the frogs win.
Fight the treeguard, the spider queen, and the deerclops. Note that if the player encounters any of these before they are ready, the fight can be avoided.
Harder ways to play
Explore the caves. Go through Maxwell’s door. Change sandbox settings so there are more hostile creatures and less resources. There’s no need to defeat all of the bosses or learn the shadow manipulator toys before trying these.