Terraria beginner's guide


Use these Terraria guides to help you survive


(Image credit: Re-Logic)

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Terraria can randomly generate a huge world in a few seconds and fill it with dungeons, monsters, chests, underground jungles, flying islands and boss monsters. You can burrow or fly to every corner of the map, slaying enemies, looking chests and mining precious ore. You can craft powerful items, build a palace and become incredibly rich. Eventually.

When you're first dropped into the middle of your world, it can all be a bit overwhelming, and with just only a cryptic NPC as a guide, it can take a while to see what Terraria has to offer. We've put together this beginner's guide to help you survive your first nights in your new world. Read on for advice on mining, crafting and building your first home.

For any additional information on Terraria's items, monsters and environments, the superb Terraria wikia is essential. It's an in-depth resource for all things Terraria, and is especially useful if you want to find out how to craft or find the best items in the game. Before you can do that, you'll have to build yourself a home and get settled in your world. Here's how.

Kill all trees

The first thing you need is wood. In the beginning it's a good idea to build your house close to where you start. You will respawn in the same spot each time you die until you build a bed. One of the main frustrations of building by the spawn is that it puts you right next to the Guide NPC. He's supposed to offer advice to new players, but he ends up wondering in and out of your home at a whim, letting zombies and flying demon eyeballs in at night.

To get wood, chop trees with the axe. It won't look as though anything is happening for the first few swings, but keep at it. After enough hacks targeted at the same location, the entire tree will explode and shower wood down upon you. Aim at the very base, that way you won't leave annoying stumps behind, which means you'll get all of the wood the tree has to offer, and the space you clear will be flat and easy to build on.

Once you have wood, you can make a workbench. Pressing escape brings up your inventory menu. Below this, you'll see a list of the items you can craft with the materials in your pockets. Clicking on these items a couple of times will deposit them straight into your inventory. Once you've got a workbench, drop it into your task bar. Once you're back in the world, select the crafting table, with your mouse, or with one of the 1-9 hotkeys, and left click to plop it down on a flat bit of ground.

You'll find yourself interrupted constantly by Slimes. They hop around the surface in daylight hours, generally making a nuisance of themselves. They're as useful as they are irritating. Bludgeon them to death with your pickaxe (it has a faster swing and is more effective than a wooden sword against annoying hopping enemies like slimes). Dead slimes drop flammable gel and money. Gel can be combined with wood to create torches, invaluable for the cave exploring we'll be doing later on.

If you're worried about all the mass deforestation you're doing, you can plant acorns gathered from chopped trees. Given time, they will grow into a new forest.

Build a home

If you open up your inventory while standing near your new crafting table you'll be able to craft more advanced items. Before you start building, make sure you have lots and lots of wood. All of your starting items will be made out of the stuff. First, craft a sword and a hammer. Then, craft lots and lots of "wood wall" blocks.

A safe structure in Terraria must have a background wall. Placing wood walls on the landscape will create a wood panel backdrop. Once enclosed, this will stop monsters from spawning inside your house. You can place unprocessed wood directly onto the landscape to build walls. Create a rectangular background as big as you can, and then wall it off with wood blocks. If you build walls using dirt blocks, it won't count as a home, and you'll have plenty of awkward night time encounters with zombies appearing in your bedroom. Also note that your structure won't count if its frame is narrower than 10 blocks, or shorter than eight.

Next, craft a couple of doors. Use your axe to gouge three block high gaps at each end of your structure, and plant a door in each one. Doors can be opened and closed with a quick right click. When closed, they'll keep any creature out, unless there's a blood moon in the sky.

There are two ways of telling whether there's a blood moon out. The first is the colour of the moon itself, the second will be the zombie apocalypse erupting around you. Blood moon creatures can smash through doors. Your best bet in that circumstance is to hole yourself up in a corner, swinging wildly at the forces of darkness with your best weapon.

If you're building a two storey house, the best way to get between floors is to leave a gap in the floor/ceiling, and replace it with a wood platform. Pressing down when standing on a wood platform will let you drop down safely to the floor below.

Finally, craft a few torches, assign them to your taskbar, and plant them on the walls with a quick left click. Voila, you have a house! Later, friendly NPCs will move into abodes, if they're big enough, well lit, and have a table and chairs inside. Different NPCs will move in when different criteria are met. Once you have fifty silver coins, a merchant will appear. If you discover a crystal heart undergound, smash it and then activate it, a nurse will move in. Check out the Terraria wiki for more information on the different NPCs.

Furnaces, anvils, beds and chests

Your next focus should be stone. It's an extremely common material, and you're likely to find outcrops of the stuff on the surface. Wander for a few minutes in either direction and you should find enough to let you craft a furnace.

You'll need 20 stone, 4 wood and 3 torches to make one. You can place it in the environment in the same way as a crafting bench. With a furnace in your home, you'll be able to smelt more precious ores like iron, gold and silver.

Now you've got a base of operations, the exploration can begin. The most precious ores are miles from the surface. You'll have to head deep underground to get your paws on the best building materials. You can either wander the world in search of a natural sinkhole, or start digging within sight of some useful ore. Stone and copper are fairly common, but to begin with you'll want to keep your eyes open for iron. It's easy to miss because it looks quite similar to stone. Veins of iron are slightly darker and browner than stone. Here's a picture to demonstrate.

You can smelt 3 blocks iron ore into one iron bar. Iron bars can then be used to craft many items, but an anvil and a new pickaxe are good places to start. You can make an anvil out of five iron bars at your workbench. You'll need 12 iron bars and 3 bits of wood to craft an iron pickaxe. This will let you mine faster, speeding up the game considerably.

While underground, gathering iron, it's a good idea to swipe any cobwebs you see littering the place. This will get you silk. You can combine five silk with 20 wood to make a bed. Placing a bed in a valid home and then clicking on it will let you set a new spawn point. This is useful for a number of reasons. If you're extremely far underground, and don't want to travel back and forth between the surface, you can build a bed underground as a base of operations for mining.

Even on the surface, it's a good idea to move away from the default spawn point. Firstly, because it's a good way to get away from the Guide, secondly, because of goblin invasion. In Terraria, a horde of goblins will sometimes come charging across the map. No matter where your bed is situated, they will always attack the default spawn point, so planting a bed a few hundred metres in one direction or the other should let you escape the brunt of their charge.

As soon as you start amassing iron, it's a good idea to build a chest. You'll need two iron bars and eight chunks of wood to build it, but it'll give you somewhere to safely stow excess ore and items that you find on your travels. It's also a good idea to deposit money in your chest whenever you can. When you die in Terraria, you lose half of the money on your character at the time. If your fortune is safely stashed at home, it won't suffer if you, say, wander too close to the King Slime , or fall off a particularly high cliff.

Arm yourself

As you burrow deeper into the earth, you'll encounter stronger enemies. As soon as you come up against a Mother Slime or a group of charging skeletons, you'll probably find that your manky wooden weapon literally doesn't cut it anymore. The next step is to craft better weapons, and, if you've struck lucky with enough iron or silver, a suit of armour.

There are two types of sword you can craft, a shortsword or a broadsword. A broadsword is the recommended choice if you have the eight iron bars needed to craft it. It has a slow, wide swing that can knock back low level enemies like zombies and skeletons, but is also good at taking out the underground worms that leap out of the walls. The shortsword's quick, stabby motion is nowhere near as effective against these horrible creatures.

Armour takes a lot of ore to craft, which makes it a luxury when starting out. If you've got a ton of copper, it'll take 15 bars to craft a helmet, 20 to craft some greaves and 25 for a suit of copper chain mail. For iron armour, you'll need 20 bars for a helmet, 25 for some greaves and 30 for body armour.


You've got a house. You've got armour. You've got a sword that even a Mother Slime would fear. Now the game begins.

Once you're established, it's time to head out into the big wide world. There are numerous different environments you can discover as you travel further from the centre of the world. One of the most common is Corrupt lands. These are pink and grey areas populated by spiky brambles and flying Soul Eaters. They are not pleasant. Corruption also has a habit of growing, infecting surrounding lands and spreading poisonous mushrooms.

If you encounter Corrupt land near to your house, and want to stop its approach, dig a block or two deep and build a stone wall, or plant a sunflower. You can beat back the Corruption by digging the ground away, or by sprinkling purification powder on the ground.

As you explore underground, go out of your way to get to as many chests as you can. Underground chests hold special items and accessories that can't be crafted. These include items that will let you breathe underwater, or, if you're extremely lucky, rocket boots.

Crystal hearts are also extremely valuable. These can be found in their own cave networks underground. They can be smashed with a hammer and then consumed to increase your maximum life.

You may also encounter underground jungles as you continue to explore the depths. These contain golden jungle shrines that protect special items, but look out for swarms of giant hornets. If you burrow deep enough you will eventually encounter the underworld. This is rife with hellstone that can only be mined with a Nightmare pixkaxe. From here you can steal a hellforge, and use it to craft some of the best items in the game.

There's so much more to Terraria than this introduction can cover. We've not even mentioned floating islands,the huge boss monsters you can summon, or the enigmatic dungeon that spawns at the edge of every generated world. Hopefully you'll now be equipped to go out explore, and discover Terraria's best secrets yourself.

For more on Terraria, check out our pick of the best Terraria mods, or read our Terraria review.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.