Horizon Zero Dawn Beginner's Guide
Woman Versus Machine
Horizon Zero Dawn throws a lot at you in its first couple hours, from the myriad paths in the skills tree, the deep crafting system, and the vastness of the open world. It can be daunting trying to develop some sense of focus and make the most of the the abilities and resources available to you. Our beginner's guide will help you help make the most of all these options and opportunities in the initial hours of your playthrough.
Getting Distracted Is Okay
This is an open world filled with side quests and you'll come across many in the middle of pursuing your main quests. To find these, look out for exclamation point icons on screen and listen for tribespeople yelling for help. The rewards and experience you earn during any quest only make the later missions all the more manageable.
Plan Ahead And Build Around Your Strengths
When it comes to earning advanced skills and crafting high quality items, it's never too early to plan ahead. Just because you can unlock a lot of skills in the top row of the tree early on doesn't mean all those abilities are relevant to your play style. Concentration +, for example, is immensely useful if you like to slow down time and can be worth saving up for at the expense of "cheaper" skills. It also pays to plan ahead on what you want to craft since many items use up the same types of resources. There are only so many metal shards to go around.
Turn Crafting Into Quests
One of the most efficient ways to increase your carrying capacity is to make crafting into its own quest. If you're short on at least one item type for a craftable item, you can select the "Create job" option with the square button. Now, the act of searching for an item's respective resources is its own quest, selectable under the Errands submenu in the Quests tab.
Don't Lose Focus
That device clipped to your head is there for a reason. The tutorial does a good job in showing you its value and uses, but it can be easy to forget that you have this gadget hours later. The focus is particularly helpful in spotting weakness of new machines you come across.
Roll, Roll, Roll
The machines of Horizon are an aggressive bunch which is why you should dodge regularly. After a couple encounters with each enemy type, it's easy to recognize the telltale signs of an incoming attack from a specific machine. The trick is learn how to shift in and out of defensive postures and look for openings to attack once you've pulled off a successful dodge.
Thin Out The Herd
When taking on man or machine, it's wise to thin out groups from a distance, preferably without being detected. With enough patience and a steady hand, even a weapon as basic as a standard bow and arrow can pull off discreet headshots. You should also use your focus to find and tag all the enemies within your field of vision.
Attempt A Stealthy Approach, But Plan For Open Combat
Horizon's tutorial teaches stealth because it's an effective way to make combat situations more manageable. With enough patience and planning a machine herd or occupied outpost can be taken out without detection, but surviving in Horizon Zero Dawn also means knowing how to instantly change gears once everyone nearby has been alerted by your presence. When taking over outposts, that also means taking a brief break from killing enemies and making a beeline for the alarm.
Complete The 'In Her Mother's Footsteps' Side Mission
This mission, which you can take on by the second hour of the game, can give you a leg up in melee combat. The reward for completing it adds a damage boost to your spear. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and is time well spent.
Head to Meridian
Going to the settlement of Meridian (at the southeast portion of the map) as soon as possible makes the rest of your playthrough much easier. Its many merchants offer unique items as well as items that are hard to find in the field. This includes machine hearts, unlimited fast travel, and maps that reveal the locations of specific items.