You never quite forget the feeling of entering your first spring festival, marrying the bachelorette (or bachelor) of your dreams, and … pulling weeds. Harvest Moon stays with you in some small form, even if it’s the memory of listening to the rain pour or tuning into the cooking channel.
Story of Seasons for 3DS brings it all back. The farm sim is pure Harvest Moon in all but name. I asked Danielle Rust, QA tester for publisher Xseed Games, for the inside scoop on how to become a godlike farmer extraordinaire. Or at least help you figure out how to hold a shovel.
Tip #1: Plan your Conquest early
The Guild Hall spearheads the major activity in Oak Tree Town, where you’ll be putting down roots. (Oh-ho-ho.) Once the Guild Hall opens up, you’ll want to get a jump on the Conquest competitions. If you win these challenges and gain the rights to new fields, you can plant more varied kinds of crops. In fancy math terms, more crops = more success.
“Seeing as your initial farmland is on the small side, it’s imperative to win Conquests to not only increase your usable land but to grow/create produce that can only be made on specific guild-owned land (e.g., the Mushroom & Honey Field),” Rust said. “With that in mind, I highly suggest trying to win Conquest competitions earlier on in the game, as victory requirements for certain types of competitions become harder to meet as you unlock more countries.”
Those countries become available the more you trade at the Trade Depot, which is the, uh, meat and potatoes of Story of Seasons’ economy. As you buy and sell goods in the square, more vendors appear, and life in Oak Tree Town flourishes. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Tip #2: Earn the monies!
Good news for you crafty farmers. The secret to earning riches year-round is nothing other than … flax.
“Specifically, using the sewing studio to turn flax into golden linen cloth is one of the most profitable methods of earning gold,” Rust said. “The one downside to this method is that it takes awhile to fully turn flax into the golden cloth, but it’s definitely worth your time to do so. Another thing to keep in mind is that gems and minerals sell for roughly between 3,000-4,000G each, so mining in the Safari is another good year-round money maker.”
The Safari Zone—no, not that Safari Zone—is also an animal haven, but you (and your chickens and cows and horses) will have to wait until fall to go there. Of course, to line your pockets quicker, you could stick to what you can eat.
“As far as seasonal crops go, I’m sure there are certain crops that are more profitable than others, but truthfully I haven’t done the math,” Rust said. “I’ve personally always liked growing crops that you could re-harvest multiple times throughout the season, such as strawberries—definitely less maintenance. Whatever you end up growing, cooking it is always a good way to earn extra profit.”
Tip #3: Trade, trade, trade!
It takes a little while to reap the rewards in Story of Seasons, but keep plowing away.
“During the first year, you can expect to see new countries coming in to trade as the seasons pass, assuming you’ve been shipping enough to garner their attention,” Rust said. “Furthermore, all the countries you’re trading with will increase the variety of their wares as time passes. Also, in both the first and second year, you’ll see some new (and old!) faces coming to live at Oak Tree Town.”
Tip #4: Crops are only the start
Trading isn’t limited to turnips or potatoes. If you want more traders to come to Oak Tree Town and grant you access to more animals, crops, and blueprints for building, you’ll need to use everything at your disposal.
“When it comes to trade, you can ship more than just what’s grown on your farm,” Rust said. “While several of the traders are unlocked through reaching certain monetary goals, others are unlocked by shipping a certain number of specific items, such as tools, clothing, seeds, decorations, wallpapers/floors, etc. “
Tip #5: Swimming is good for you
As Rust mentioned, selling minerals and gems is a good way to earn fast cash, and they’re often a quick dive away. That’s good, because you’re also going to need them to build and expand your farm.
“Early on in the game, diving in the rivers is the best way to get materials such as iron, bronze, and bricks,” Rust said. “Later on, though, you’ll unlock more viable sources for getting these materials, such as the Safari’s mining point or certain trading partners.”
Tip #6: Salvage anything and everything
One farmer’s trash is another farmer’s treasure, as they say.
“Surprisingly, seemingly ‘junky’ items do have a use!” Rust said. “Bottles can be used to craft a television or winery, weeds are used in making fertilizer, and boots can be used to make a stethoscope for your animals. If you have the storage space, it’s always a good idea to hold onto those kinds of items.”
I get the weeds, but the boots? Who knew?
Tip #7: Make friends
A funny thing happens when you interact with the fuzzy critters around town: They run away from you in distress. It’s an awful feeling. Luckily, you can win their acceptance!
“Try ‘talking’ to them and giving gifts (read: throw it on the ground near them) like you would with any other villager,” Rust said. “Keep in mind, though, that even if you befriend them, wild animals will not live on your farm with you.”
Tip #8: Nature is everyone’s favorite gift
Yes, you can do something with all the bugs you’ll collect and the frogs you’ll catch on rainy days! They’re not worth much on the market, but the residents of Oak Tree Town sure like them.
“Very early on in the game, you can sell bugs and frogs for a little bit of extra cash, although they quickly get replaced in usefulness,” Rust said. “Bugs make good gifts for villagers such as Fritz, Lutz, Jonas, Edda, and Giorgio (with the latter two preferring butterflies, specifically). Outside of that, you do unlock trophies as you catch more bugs and frogs, although that’s purely for achievement’s sake.”
Tip #9: Listen and learn
Nobody wants to be that weirdo hermit farmer who only enters town to sell tomatoes, so you better start socializing. Especially if you fancy one of the local bachelors or bachelorettes.
“If you pay close attention to their dialogue, most villagers will actually give you hints as to what kinds of gifts they would like,” Rust said. “Lutz, for example, will talk about how he likes to watch the bugs around Oak Tree Town. And Giorgio makes it quite clear that he appreciates beautiful things. Although if you’re having trouble figuring out what kinds of items characters like, you can always increase your friendship with them by participating in festivals.”
Romance takes a little more work.
“Building a romantic relationship pretty much follows the same steps as building a friendship, with a few exceptions,” Rust said. “You’ll encounter several events with the person you’re romancing, giving you the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with them. But make sure you react to each event accordingly, or you could find yourself losing favor with the person! Keep an eye out on the flower in the top-left corner of a romanceable person’s dialogue box to see how you’re progressing.”
Tip #10: Remember to relax
The farming life isn’t all work, work, work. It’s fun, too, and the seasons bring all sorts of new discoveries.
“Seeing as the game just came out a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’m allowed to divulge any favorite ‘secrets’ per se,” Rust said. “As far as my favorite aspects of the game goes, I’ve always loved watching how everyone’s dialogue changed as you became closer to them, especially the person I was trying to romance. I always found myself excited to see what they would say next, and how they would react to me.
“Some other features I personally enjoy are the character customization, crafting clothes, and decorating my farm and house. I look forward to seeing if future Story of Seasons games will continue to expand on this level of customization (more curly hairdos, please!).”
Stephanie Carmichael writes about video games, comics, and books when she’s not helping teachers and students have fun together with Classcraft, an educational RPG. Find her on her blog or on Twitter.
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