Welcome to the land of Terraria!
If you're here then chances are you've begun playing and have wondered what you're supposed to be doing (and perhaps how to keep from dying). Or maybe you haven't gotten started yet, and are wondering what all the settings are about.
Either way, don't worry. We've got you covered. Everyone has to start somewhere, and since we've all been there before, we made this handy guide to take you through surviving your first Terraria days, on through where to go afterwards.
This guide is intended to make a person with absolutely no knowledge of gaming, or of Terraria, into a bona fide Terraria explorer!
In Terraria's opening screen, choose a game mode to play, by clicking either Single Player or Multiplayer.
- It is recommended that you choose Single Player for your first Terraria experience. Learning is easier in Single Player mode. From this point on, the Guide is written from the assumption that you have chosen Single Player.
After choosing which mode to play, click the Create Character button to create a new character. Once at the Character creation screen, you will see all the character properties that can be customized.
- Note: The default settings (the settings that appear on the screen already, before you change anything) will be ideal for learning Terraria. You may customize these settings if you wish, but these steps can be skipped if you'd like to get directly to gameplay. If you want to skip character customization, skip to Finishing character creation below.
The first four character properties change the way your character appears: Hair, Eyes, Skin, and Clothes.
- Note: These settings are purely for cosmetic purposes (for looks). If you find this step confusing or simply don't care what your character looks like, you do not need to change any of these settings: In that case, skip down to Difficulty below.
- There are 36 hairstyles to choose from, as well as their color.
- The Clothes menu has four more options to choose from.
- In order to pick colors, the Red/Green/Blue (RGB) values must be set to numbers between 0 and 255. For example, in order to get a white color, the RGB must be Red: 255, Green: 255, Blue: 255. There must be a minimum of 150 in all slots total, which means black cannot be chosen, but can be closely approximated by setting all values to 50. Some commonly used colors:
You can switch your character between Male and Female. This option is also purely cosmetic, having slightly different looks and a different sound made when the character gets hurt.
A Difficulty must be chosen. You will see that Softcore is displayed by default.
The Difficulty setting determines what happens when your character dies. It does not affect any other aspects of gameplay, including how hard Terraria's enemies will be.
Finishing character creation
Click Create World.
You are now presented with three World Size options: Small, Medium, or Large.
Note: Choosing Small is recommended for your first Terraria experience. This will make it easier for you to find and experience the various different area types that Terraria has to offer. Medium and Large Worlds have the benefit of providing more area to explore, which you'll likely want once you've gained some experience, but as a beginner you'll appreciate having to travel less distance to see the various game aspects. Don't worry, as Small worlds are still quite massive, especially for a beginner, and fully exploring a Small world would take many days (real-world days!) of play.
Upon clicking a size option, you're asked to enter a name for your new World. You can leave the displayed name (usually "World 1"), or erase that name and type any name you like. Click Accept.
You will now see your new World listed on the screen. Click it to enter.
Now it's time to finally enter Terraria!
Upon entering your World for the first time, your character will spawn (be placed into the game), usually in a Forest. This location is at the center of the map, so you have half of your World to explore to the left, and half to the right.
This location is known as the Spawn Point (or simply, the "Spawn"), and will be where your character is placed each time this World is entered.
Movement and tool use
Your character is moved using the keyboard, while most interactions like fighting, mining, and building, are done with the mouse. These can be customized in the settings menu before entering a World, but for now, we'll assume you haven't used the game settings to change these buttons. For a quick recap of the available keys, refer to the game controls page.
In the upper-left corner of the screen are ten boxes numbered from 1 to 0 (zero). These are special inventory slots referred to as the "hotbar", and they contain the items you currently have access to for use. Press the "Esc" key to see the rest of your inventory slots. These are empty right now, since you haven't acquired any items yet (but don't worry, before long you'll have more than you can carry). Press the Esc key again to close your Inventory.
The slot of your hotbar that's currently selected is slightly larger than the other slots, and will have the name of the item listed above the hotbar. The item selected will be used when you click the left mouse button. The current selection can be changed by:
Press the Esc key to display your Inventory again. Click the slot on your Hotbar that contains the Copper Axe. Notice that you've picked up the Axe with your mouse pointer, and you can now move it around. Point to one of the slots in the lower portion of your Inventory, and click the left button again. The Axe now appears in the new slot.
What you've now done is moved an item from your Hotbar into your Storage slots. Items in your Storage slots are not accessible for use, and are instead just for, well, storage. Pressing the Esc key again, you can see that your Axe is no longer selectable, so you can't use it. Open your Inventory once again (Esc key) and move the Axe back to a Hotbar slot. You can also rearrange the order of the items in your Hotbar using the same method, but this too must be done with the Inventory open (Esc key).
Later in the game, when you acquire more items, you'll have to make smart choices about which items to keep in your Hotbar for immediate access, and which items to keep in storage. In general, though, you'll want to keep your best Tools and Weapons in your Hotbar, along with at least one Light Source, and one set of Blocks.
If you'd like more information now on how the Inventory screen works, refer to the article: Inventory.
A test run: Mining and building
Start by selecting the Copper Pickaxe in your hotbar. Position your mouse pointer over some Dirt or Stone near your character, then click and hold the left mouse button. Some blocks will be freed, and assuming you're close enough to them, your character will automatically pick them up (if they're still sitting on the screen, move closer to them, until they are picked up). Do this repeatedly, and notice that the blocks you picked up are now displayed in another slot of your hotbar. Continue until you have at least 5 or so blocks. The number of blocks in the slot is indicated by the number displayed there.
You've gotten your intro to mining. Now on to building!
Select a slot of your hotbar that contains blocks, and left-click in a space that's near your character. The space should be next to -- or on top of -- some other material, like the land surface. The space itself should be free of any material. If you've done this correctly, a block from your hotbar should "thump" into place. Try placing another block on top of the one you just placed, and then try holding the left mouse button while you move the pointer, to continually place connecting blocks.
Other Interface elements
The “hearts” beside the inventory indicate the character's health. The character's health will start at 100 health points (Or five hearts) and can currently go up to 400 health points (or 20 hearts) with the use of Life Crystals.
Mana is also present in the game, and will show up as blue stars on the right side of the screen. Newly made characters have zero mana. To obtain mana, one must use Mana Crystals. For the purpose of this guide it will only be glossed over.
The inventory screen (opened by pushing Esc) shows the rest of the game's interface.
The beginning of the first day
During the first day, it is best to cut down some trees immediately with the Copper Axe and start gathering wood. During this, if an enemy appears, simply select the Copper Shortsword and swing at it. If it is a Slime, it will take only a few hits to dispatch it. More combat information will be available further into the guide.
When a world is created for the first time, there will only be one Non-player Character (NPC): The Guide. The Guide is there to help new players learn the game, and he is a valuable source of information. The Guide also can tell the player how to craft various items.
Building a home...
Your very first goal is to cut down trees for wood while fending off any slimes that spawn. When you have gathered about 100 pieces of wood (a large tree can yield over 20 pieces), it's time to build a house.
Now it's time to do some crafting. Crafting is the basic way players will obtain items, and all armor is crafted. Understanding of the system will allow the player to conquer the world.
Now it's time to do some exploring (and killing!)
... And defending it
While making a home, the player may have fought off and dispatched several Slimes. However, there is a small chance that your first day went by without a single monster spawning. Here, the guide will show players how to fight in Terraria.
During the day:
During the night:
Mining in Terraria
It's time to begin the wonderful process that is getting upgrades, as there are no advancement paths apart from the power that comes from better gear. However, a Workbench will not be enough to craft our gear; a Furnace is needed. A Furnace will serve to transform Ore into Bars (and can also be used to make glass and ceramic items), which are the main building materials of weapons, tool, and armor . Venture out and find deposits of Stone, and mine up at least 20 blocks of stone. Torches are also needed for creating a Furnace, so make sure to kill a few slimes to get a bit of Gel. Finally, a small bit of Wood is all that's needed. Head to the Workbench and craft a Furnace, then place it down.
Ore is a fundamental part of Terraria, and in order to reach the higher sections of the game one must forge and create a ton of Bars. While exploring the world; keep an eye out for odd colored soils as these will most likely be deposits. The picture to the right (1) shows the four most common types of ore and Stone.
We also need to make an Iron Anvil. Anvils are used to create items from Bars. Go out and find some Iron Ore. In order to smelt one Iron Bar, three Iron ore must be present. As we need five bars total; to successfully create the Anvil we need 15 Iron Ore. Once the ore is gathered and smelted at the Furnace, head to the workbench and create an Iron Anvil. When placed down preferably next to the Furnace, you can also buy an anvil from a Merchant for 50 silver. After that, an entire new set of Recipes become available. The surface has its share of ore, but in order to get the best items in the game, it's now time to dig a bit deeper.
It is highly advisable to begin gathering materials for a few Buffs. A fresh character on a new map can quickly gather Sand and Daybloom necessary for some early buff potions, as well as the Daybloom Seeds and Clay used to begin Gardening with Clay Pots. All Buff potions used Bottled Water, at least one of the six Herbs, and in most cases another item such as Ore, enemy drops, or other naturally occurring objects. Two of the earliest buffs that can be easily concocted are the Regeneration Potion and the Ironskin Potion, and for the early game can significantly improve your survivability.
There are a few options when choosing how to dig: Digging straight down or searching for a open cave to explore. At this early stage in the game use caution when digging holes. Using the blocks picked up while digging or creating Wood Platforms, you can construct a way back. Another thing to watch out for is deep caverns. When falling great distances the character will take damage.
When underground there will be no light. To illuminate your area and see, you can hold a torch in your hand by putting a torch stack in your hotbar and selecting it. However, you will be unable to use anything else while holding the torch. You can stick a torch on a wall or on the ground by left clicking where you want to place it. This will not only let you see mobs so you can fight them, but you can leave behind a trail of torches to see mobs coming at a greater distance, mark the way back out, and show where and how far you've gone if you come back to the same cave to explore further. In addition to placing torches, you can throw one (the T button by default), which is useful for seeing what's at the bottom of a pit, and how far down it goes (unlike with all other items in the game, throwing a torch only throws one item in the stack, instead of the whole stack).
When exploring caves you will frequently come across pots. You can smash these with a weapon or tool to get some loot. Less common are chests and golden chests. When you are near or in front of a chest you can right click, which will show your inventory and below your inventory the contents of the chest. You can click on a chest item to grab it, then click again on an inventory square to put it in your inventory. Alternatively, you could click "Loot All" to the right of the chest contents grid to grab everything in the chest. Once the chest is empty you can repeatedly hit it with your hammer in order to pick it up and take it with you, and then place it elsewhere like you'd place any other piece of furniture (if the chest isn't completely empty then it will remain there no matter how many times you hit it). It's recommended that you take a few of the chests you find back to your house to store stuff with, since crafting your own chest or barrel uses Iron Bars, and you'll want to save up your iron for other purposes.
Another thing you'll run into underground is cobwebs, which slow you down when you try to move through them. You can cut them down with any weapon or tool and then pick them up. Harvested cobweb can be turned into silk, which is used to make a bed, which can be used to change your spawn point. Silk can also be used to make some type of decorative items and vanity clothing, or can be sold for two silver coins a piece if you need money. Harvested cobweb itself can be placed like furniture or a torch (select it and left click), either for use as decoration, or placed at the bottom of a tall pit to break your fall for preventing fall damage.
While mining underground it is possible to come across pools of water. Torches do not work underwater. Glowsticks work underwater, but they cannot be crafted and must be found at this stage of the game. Also, they cannot be attached to blocks. You can throw them, but they will bounce and move around and may be hard to place exactly where you want them. You can craft Sticky Glowsticks anywhere by combining Gel with a Glowstick; these will stick to walls when thrown, making them easier to place. No matter which you use, however, glowsticks are not permanent when thrown, unlike placed torches, though they do last for 5 minutes.
Also note that just as with other projectiles, a glowstick should be thrown with the attack command. The default button to "throw" an item is the "T" button, but using this method the entire stack of glowsticks will be thrown. Using the throw command is for dropping a stack of the item from your inventory on the ground. Instead, you should use the attack command, which throws an individual glowstick.
When stepping into a pool of water the character will sink as if weighted down. Don't fear diving down underwater to continue moving downwards, as the character has a rather large air meter. However, if close to running out of air there is a way to regain air quickly. First either find a wall or make a small shaft at the bottom of the water. (The shaft should be around 10 squares deep) Then dig a 3 high 1 wide hole in the wall and then a 4-6 high and 2 or more wide hole in this wall. The water will not fill the upper squares. As the air supply runs low jump into the hole. This will restart the meter. (2)
There are many deep chasms inside the caves. An efficent way to traverse them is to create a gapped bridge (3). To do this create a background wall of any material. Stone and dirt will be in excess so those are recommended. Place a strip as far as the character can reach then build stepping stones at least one block apart. There are two benefits to this:
Note that the character cannot pass through the one space gaps either; so it would be a good idea to leave an opening somewhere along the bridge.
For more advanced information, please check out the guides listed below.
Crafting 101 - This is the introductory crafting guide. It contains a detailed explanation of how crafting works, and the ideal crafting station setup.
Bases - How to create an effective homebase.
Mining techniques - This guide goes into detail on easy and efficient ways to mine ore, and what to expect when venturing deeper into Terraria.
PvP - A great place to start when looking for information on Player vs. Player combat. Not quite for beginners, however it's a great read for those who would like to study beforehand.
Eye of Cthulhu Boss Fight - Considered by many to be the first boss players will face and kill. Bosses are powerful monsters that have a lot of health and do devastating damage to the unprepared.