Raft – Useful Tips Before You Start

Some observations I made while playing that I wish I’d known from the start.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting

Hello, and welcome to Raft! If you’re reading this, you’re probably a newbie to the game and are looking for a few pointers to get you started. Included are some things I’ve learnt in 40 hours playing on single player/normal mode; applicability may vary if you’re playing on a different difficulty or co-op.

1) The plank economy: The humble plank is the lifeblood of raft. You will constantly be spending planks – cooking food, purifying water (before you get glass, anyway), refining material in the smelter, and of course, repairing damage done by Bruce the shark. You’ll come across a number of guides which advise you to not worry about visiting islands too early, or staying there too long – this is why. By all means, visit islands, gather resources (and cut down trees!) but if you’re planning on spending time crafting or building your raft, leave the island behind.

2) Simple Collection Nets are fantastic. If planks are the lifeblood of Raft, Nets are your means of generating passive income. Space them out – a regular foundation between each one should be fine. Once you have a few, you can focus on only bringing in barrels, or crafting, or building your raft, while material collects. Just remember to have one or more foundation between them and the edge of your raft – Bruce will be sure to snack on them otherwise.

3) Speaking of building your raft, you can make it more resistant to Bruce by using 2 triangles instead of 1 square along your edges. The material cost is the same, and it means Bruce needs to chew through twice as much foundation. This probably backfires late in the game, once you start building engines, since the engine power you need is determined by number of foundations, but at that point you can re-engineer your raft to use squares or just build more engines.

4) Don’t be afraid to re-engineer your raft, particularly if you’re floating with the current and letting your nets collect materials. A layout that serves you well in the early game might prove to be a hassle late game. Also remember that many things (storage, small garden plots, etc) can be stuck on walls, and palm walls are a great use of those otherwise useless palm fronds.

5) Set up a few seagull nests somewhere you can keep an eye on them – perhaps near your sail. The feathers they produce aren’t that useful, but seagulls are easy to kill and drop 2 drumsticks each time. Yum!

6) Pausing the game is a little unintuitive. It’s not enough to just hit escape, as the developers have suggested on Twitter – you also need to have started the game in “No one can join” mode. Otherwise time will continue even with the menu up, and you will starve or die of thirst while taking a bathroom break. Of course, the pro gamer move is to just save the world and quit to the main menu, anyway.

7) Bruce is a loyal companion, always ready to give you mouth-hugs, but he’s not all-knowing. If you park your raft on one side of the island, Bruce will generally stay with it, which means you can safely collect resources in the water on the other side of the island.

8) Shark bait can keep Bruce busy while you collect resources around your raft, but you can also use it to draw him close to your raft and smack him with a spear each time he attacks the bait. When Bruce dies, there’s several minutes before he respawns. You can prolong this by not looting his corpse, since the respawn timer won’t start until the corpse disappears just as any other unattended item does.

9) When leaving your raft, take only what you need – leave the rest behind in a chest. No sense in losing some fancy gear or high-end resources that might be difficult to replace.

10) Speaking of which, I always like to set aside a chest where I’ve got a scrap hook, a cup or bottle with fresh water, food, an axe and maybe a weapon, along with some planks, plastic, stone and scrap. This is useful if you die and respawn without your gear – having some gear ready-to-go makes dying less annoying. Just remember to replace anything you take!

Bonus Combat Tips

  • Always, always having some food & drink on your hotbar, and consume both when you think you’re about to be in a fight. The dehydrated/starving slowdown will absolutely get you killed if it happens in the middle of a fight.
  • Boars and bears fight in a similar way: telegraph that they’re about to charge, and then charge in a straight line. Just dodge to the side and you can smack them fairly easily. Try to be on open ground so you have room to dodge, but also having rocks or something you can leap up on but they have to path around can make your life very easy.
  • Screechers are deadly in open ground, but seem to get confused if you’re in a tight spot – caves or narrow passes work well. If you can find such a place, the screecher will often start circling overhead in a predictable pattern, making it easy prey for your bow.

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