Crafting in Horizon: Zero Dawn is an ever-present element, but constantly keeping yourself in ammo and upgrades really isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
The game is littered with crafting materials — so much so, in fact, that the real challenge becomes about prioritizing the right stuff to gather, and when. Within a few hours, players will often find their pockets overflowing with stuff they don’t actually need. The trick is selling often, hunting regularly, and making upgrades as soon as they become available.
Here’s our complete guide to getting Aloy set with the best possible stuff as quickly as possible.
Hunting and gathering
Step 1: Hunt machines
You spend a lot of time sneaking up on and killing machine enemies in Horizon, which is essential to keeping your stock of weapons and materials full. Every machine you loot will give you metal shards, which are like bullets in post-apocalyptic games such as Metro. Shards are both currency and ammo; you use them to make arrows, but you’ll also spend them like money when you interact with merchants.
Machines give you basically everything you need for your weapons, including Blaze to create fire weapons, Chillwater to create freezing weapons, and Sparkers to create shock weapons. Different machines will also drop items that you can sell or trade. Bits like Lenses and Hearts, which are specific to each type of machine, will be useful later on.
It’s worth it to always harvest machines. Common resources, such as shards and wire, are something you’ll always need. Other things, like Blaze, will start to pile up and you can sell the excess.
Step 2: Hunt animals whenever you see them
What’s not immediately clear when you start Horizon, is that while you’ll want to harvest machines for ammunition, you’ll also want to hunt non-robotic animals. You won’t need stuff from them immediately, or as often as machine parts, but animals are essential to most of your equipment upgrades that let you tote additional baggage. Meat is also necessary for crafting health potions, which can save your life when things get hairy.
Shoot animals whenever it’s convenient to do so and try to start stockpiling skins, meat, and bones. They drop with different rarities but almost immediately, you’ll start to find you’ve got the resources necessary to upgrade Aloy’s carrying capacity, which takes off some of the burden of inventory management. Later in the game, you’re going to want fox skins in particular, because they’ll let you craft an endless fast travel pack. Early on in the game, fast travel requires an expendable item you can make, but once you’ve opened up a lot of the map, you’re going to want a more convenient way of getting around. Fox skins are rare drops, however, so start stockpiling them as soon as you can.
Step 3: You don’t need to gather everything
It’s tempting as you run around Horizon to grab everything you see. Medicinal herbs are plentiful and necessary to always have on hand, but you’ll probably use plants such as shock and freeze roots far less often. These are used for making traps, and are therefore resources you probably won’t need as frequently.
The most important items to keep a lot of are shards and ridge-wood. Shards are obvious, but ridge-wood is also versatile and necessary for crafting many items. You’ll dump ridge-wood into capacity upgrades, crafting for all kinds of ammo, and fast travel packs. Unlike other resources, you can stack up to 100 units in single inventory square, so you can go pretty nuts gathering it without worrying about it filling your resource bag. You’ll almost always need it, and it’s almost always abundant. If you should find you have too much ridge-wood somehow, just toss the extra or sell it. But it’s something you’re definitely going to use. It’s especially important to have a healthy stock of ridge-wood with you in major battles when you need to fill up your ammo supply on the fly.
Step 4: Check your upgrades often
As you start picking up stuff off the ground and hunting animals, you’ll quickly find you have the required components to upgrade your carrying capacity. Aloy carries a ton of different bags. How many weapons you can carry, how many outfits you can tote, how many modifications you can have on hand — it’s all reliant on carrying capacity, and it can all be upgraded. The early upgrades aren’t particularly expensive, though, and you’ll want to snag them as fast as you can.
You can pop into the Crafting menu to individually check upgrades to see what stuff you have in your inventory and what you’re short on. An easier way, though, is to create “Jobs.” Highlight the bag with the upgrade you still need resources for and hit the Square button, and the task of finding what you need gets added to your “Errands” list. You can even set the upgrade as your active quest if you really, really want to get it done. Mostly, though, it’s just a shortcut for seeing what pieces you still need for an upgrade. They’ll almost always be animal parts, so keep hunting — and don’t forget to snipe some fish whenever you’re near a river.