100 hours in Horizon Zero Dawn – here are the tips I wish I knew when I started (no spoilers)

  1. Gather everything. At the start, you will have absolutely nothing. Gather everything you see. The exception is Ridge Wood. Gather about 250 of that before stopping. You still consume quite a bit of it for arrows, but since you cant sell it…

  2. Kill the wildlife any chance you get. You will need a crap ton of what they carry for lots of stuff, mostly potions and inventory space.

  3. Dont leave the starting area until you max out your resource inventory upgrades. Then maybe your modification inventory, or at least upgrade it a couple times. Everything else, just upgrade them as you need them. Trust me, it is worth it.

  4. A good idea is to not leave the starting area until you are about level 10. That way, you should be good with most of the things directly outside of the gates.

  5. When you start off in the starting area, do your best to kill with your spear, rather than with your bow. Saves resources. With the silent kill talent, you can 1 shot everything in the starting area.

  6. Speaking of talents. There are list of must have talents you should get as soon as you can. Suffice to say, these are the absolute must haves: Silent Strike, Concentration, Critical Hit, everything related to healing and your medicine pouch and everything related to resources (plants and machines). Then comes the super useful talents that allow you to pick up your traps and wires and the must have talent Tinker that allows safe removal of modifications. Only other must have is the double and triple shot arrow talents. Everything else is simply convenience and extra abilities that make things easier.

  7. Always buy the free bonus one time loot box from each new vendor you meet.

  8. Dont be afraid to sell resources that you have excess of. Just dont empty your bags on them. You do actually need quite a lot of resources.

  9. This may sound odd, but buy EVERY weapon in the game. Every one. Just once. Why? Because once you buy a new tripcaster, it grants you a ''tutorial'' quest that when completed (blow up 3 machines with the blast wire for example) gives a decent chunk of experience.

  10. Dont skip the hunting trials. I did. Always aim for ''blazing sun'' times. The point is, you will need it for later (no spoilers) and it teaches you how to take down machines smartly. If you find you failed and want to try again, but dont want to climb back up to reset it… just reload from save. You will load back where you started the trial and everything will have reset.

  11. Collectables are not necessary. They just give flavour to the game. There are exceptions but i will leave that for you to discover.

  12. This isnt World of Warcraft. When something on a machine says it's weakness is X, it isnt telling you that you will simply have a slightly higher damage on that component. It is telling you that hitting that with the correct element will seriously F them up something chronic. Hit a blaze canister with a fire arrow and after a couple seconds a GIANT explosion will engulf the machine AND ANYTHING AROUND IT. Hit one canister on 3 machines with a fire arrow each and say goodbye to all 3 machines. I am not joking either. There is nothing more satisfying than hitting a Longleg's power cells with a shock arrow (one to each one) and with ONLY TWO BLOODY ARROWS the machine explodes violently, utterly destroying it and anything around it. And even more so if you hit one power cell on 3 Longlegs OMFG!

  13. The game does not explicitly make it obvious, but frost arrows and bombs make machines absurdly easy. Freeze a machine and ALL damage, elemental or not, is increased by a solid F ton.

  14. Another thing the game does NOT tell you, is that hitting a machine in the body with an elemental weapon will rarely grant the element's true effect. You must hit it with it two or more times to fill up the ''circle'' above it's head. Once that circle fills up, the machine will become completely under it's effect and have a timer show on the circumference of that circle, counter clockwise. Once that runs out, the effect will end. Fire will completely engulf a machine giving it a damage over time effect, frost will freeze it, slowing it to a crawl you could run circles around and seriously increase it's damage taken and shock will stun it, allowing you to whack it upside the face or (if you have the talent Critical Hit) stab it for good damage with your spear.

  15. All icons on the map that say nothing when you hover the cursor over it, have not been ''discovered''. Get close enough to it and a notification will appear on screen to let you know that it has been added to the map as ''found''.

  16. There are maps you can buy (cheaply) from some vendors for the collectibles. Quite helpful.

  17. There is an infinite fast travel item you can buy relatively early in the game that does not consume anything. It isnt overly expensive either.

  18. With humans, it is just plain better to headshot them with the sharpshot bow. If you are not certain you can kill them with one arrow, get close and load up 2 or 3 arrows if you have the talent.

  19. Some machines have weapons you can shoot off and pick up to weild against them or other machines. They make you practically walk around, but FAAAARK they seriously F machines up really good. Literally a Ravager cannon (medium level machine) can topple a damned Thunderjaw!

  20. Last one – When you start out, resources are slim and take time to harvest. Until you have crap tons of them, only craft ammunition if the set (bottom right of the screen) will not craft more than how many you are short. If you have 23/30 and your set crafts 10 – dont craft. If you are 23/40 and your set crafts 10, then craft ONCE.

Feel free to add yours in. These are just things I learned the hard way.

EDIT – There are a number of other things I COULD add to this… But I would be straying into spoiler territory and I don't want to go there.

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