Don’t Starve Is Starting to Feel like a Bad Luck Simulator

Don't Starve

After an excruciating string of misfortune, I’ve finally pushed a Don’t Starve game past day 100.

It certainly wasn’t easy. Don’t Starve can be brutal, and it can force you into situations where you can’t do much besides watch helplessly as your character is driven to insanity, is mauled by hungry critters, or simply starves to death. And permadeath makes the sting of all these things feel so much worse.

The good news is that every death will hopefully teach you something. Hypothetically, you should survive a little longer with every attempt.

However, sometimes the world of Don’t Starve is just hopelessly and overwhelmingly against you. For instance, the very first time I made it to the end of winter (winters in Don’t Starve can be pretty rough), my entire camp was completely destroyed by an unfortunately timed Deerclops cameo. And, as soon as I got it put back together, Deerclops showed up again to demolish it afresh.

Don't Starve

I survived by the skin of my teeth, and when spring arrived, Deerclops went away. However, in the middle of the very first night of spring — as I was putting my camp back together a third (or maybe even fourth) time while recovering from a nearly depleted sanity meter — I was attacked by a pack of hounds. Normally, I would equip a torch and kite the hounds over to a pack of beefalo, who would destroy the hounds without batting a fuzzy eyelash. However, after the relentless Deerclops attacks, I had far less resources to work with than I’m typically comfortable with. I could do nothing but run in circles around my campfire until it went out and I died in complete darkness. Alone.

In other attempts, I’ve had to deal with excessive amounts of rain. Seriously, I’ve had playthroughs where my entire first season was spent in the rain, with maybe a dry day or two scattered between every 6 or 7 stormy ones. Being wet drains your sanity extremely quickly, and rabbits tend to bury their holes when it storms, so rain drives away one of your primary non-vegetarian food sources.

I hate the rain. (Thankfully, there’s a menu option that allows you to turn rain off completely, which I’ve started doing just about every attempt now. My 100-day survival file, though, uses the normal rain setting.)

Don't Starve

Now, when I start a fresh game, there are a few things I look for immediately. Twigs and grass are the first things I collect, while I’m also picking up berries and carrots that I’ll eat later (usually during the night). Next, I try to find flint so I can craft an axe to chop down trees for firewood. After that, I try to find gold so I can make my first Science Machine, which lets me refine wood into lumber and grass into rope, and also allows me to craft a backpack for holding more items.

Then, I try to find a herd of beefalo. Once I do, I’ll start building my camp nearby. Beefalo are important for two reasons: They provide protection from hounds, and their dung can be used as fertilizer to build farms and keep your berry bushes alive. Also, beefalo live in the Savannah biome, which tends to be pretty well-stocked with rabbits, which work as an excellent primary food source in the early game (and will later be a core ingredient in recipes in the later stages of the game.)

Once my base camp is established, I try to find touchstones (which serve as an “extra life” of sorts) and try to craft some Meat Effigies or Life-Giving Amulets (which serve a similar function). If I can get this far into the game, I’ll start prepping for the more brutal seasons (my god, summer!)

However, almost every time I start a new Don’t Starve file, one of the essential elements is missing. I’ve had files where I couldn’t find more than a single piece of flint for the first in-game week. I’ve had other files where I’ve spent my entire first 20 days searching for beefalo without finding any. I’ve had still other files where early-game food items (primarily carrots and berries) were so rare that they couldn’t possibly keep me alive long enough to get my other ducks in a row.

Don't Starve

Still other files are cut short by a random Treeguard attack, or a campfire going out earlier than expected in the middle of the night, or just a stubborn lack of resources that leads to an eventual starvation.

I’m really happy to have finally survived past day 100, but seriously, this game is starting to feel like a bad luck simulator. It often feels like the odds are stacked so high against me that a quick death at the hands of a Bearger is the easiest option for ending the suffering so I can start fresh.

But still, I keep pressing on with a stone-cold resolve that, no matter what else happens, I won’t starve this time.

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