In this article, we’ll discuss late-game playstyles in Stardew Valley and rank them accordingly.
T0 Playstyles – Sheep and Brewing
The T0 playstyles, which consist of sheep and brewing, are characterized by low input and high returns.
The sheep playstyle involves using an Auto-Petter and an Auto-Grabber to automate sheep farming. Going to bed early doesn’t affect the profits. In my tutorial, there’s a 7-hour, 30-million profit method achieved by sleeping and focusing on sheep farming. Once you understand it, it’s pretty straightforward.
Brewing is always the top choice for beginners, as it offers fast returns, high profits, and doesn’t require much real-time commitment. If you find it tiring to brew once a week, that’s a little hard to justify. For example, with 600 kegs and brewing Ancient Fruit Wine, you can make over 5 million in a month, and in just three months, you won’t have to worry about money. This playstyle doesn’t take much more time than the sheep playstyle, even when considering real-life time.
T1 Playstyles – Gem Berry, Beehouse, and Jam
Gem Berry Playstyle
Gem Berry playstyle involves not brewing but directly selling gem berries. This playstyle boasts the highest profit for selling unprocessed crops. After unlocking Ginger Island, you can plant high-quality crops for money while keeping low-quality crops for seeds. Profits depend on many factors, such as using top-quality fertilizers or growth hormones. One advantage of this playstyle is that you don’t have to build kegs, which reduces early-game pressure and investment, but it requires at least 16,000 upfront to buy seeds.
The Beehouse playstyle involves unlocking the beehouse at Farming level 3 and making money by selling honey. During summer, it’s Poppy Honey, and during fall, it’s Fairy Rose Honey. Once Ginger Island is unlocked, you can produce Fairy Rose Honey every four days. The daily profit is 238 gold. However, the beehouse playstyle has no real advantages compared to brewing, and its dependency on Ginger Island limits its potential.
The Jam playstyle, also known as Preserves Jar playstyle, has difficulty competing with the Brewing playstyle. The main challenges are the higher costs of coal compared to copper and iron, as well as the lack of low-cost, high-profit crops like Hops. However, if you manage to invest heavily in Starfruit during spring, the profits can be comparable to Starfruit Wine. Despite its quicker turnaround time, the Jam playstyle’s overall profit is about 40% lower than the Brewing playstyle.
T2 Playstyles – Pig Farming and Hop Brewing
Pig farming is a high investment, high return strategy with significant daily profits. However, when taking into account rainy and winter days, the income from ten pig pens becomes roughly equivalent to that of ginger island and greenhouse starfruit brewing, while the workload increases several times. The cost of setting up is also quite high. Ten barns with pigs will quickly cost around three million gold, and the setup time is quite long – even with enough money, it takes about two months to get everything ready. Pig profits are tied to their happiness level, so reaching the maximum profit requires time as well. Adding all these factors together, the first year’s winter income can’t be very high.
Hop brewing, especially late-game hop brewing, includes ginger island hops, greenhouse hops, cabin flower pot hops, and Zuni magic cabin hops. Like pig farming, hop brewing has high returns but requires a significant time investment, and the returns are not proportional to the input. Strictly speaking, the returns for pig farming and hop brewing are not as high as those in Tier 1, which is why they rank behind the top three strategies.
T3 Playstyles – Miner Playstyle and Gem Replicator Playstyle
The miner playstyle is the late-game version of the explosive mining opening strategy. In spring, there aren’t many staircases, so mining iron and crafting bombs by hand can hinder mining efficiency. As the number of gem replicators increases and the game progresses, players can obtain plenty of staircases and supplies, especially magical sugar popsicles. Combining this with a slingshot explosive mining strategy greatly increases mining returns. Profits are mainly tied to the basic mining rewards, and a single iridium mining group can yield a net profit of over 300,000 gold. If a player can mine more than three groups at once, the single mining session profits can reach millions. While this can be a viable late-game strategy, it has obvious drawbacks – compared to brewing, a daily income of one million gold isn’t particularly high, and mining for millions every day is time-consuming, often taking up to an hour.
Mining for 20 million gold would require 20 hours, not including preparation time, and can be even more exhausting than pig farming and hop brewing. On the plus side, players who enjoy explosive mining might find it less tedious. This playstyle is best suited for those who enjoy mining and not for those who focus on collection and completion.
Gem replicator playstyle: This is another late-game variation of the explosive mining opening strategy. The daily income from replicating diamonds with a gem replicator is 195 gold, which is lower than the income from bee houses. The daily income from ancient fruit wine is 330 gold, equivalent to 1.69 gem replicators. The advantage of the gem replicator is that it only requires one action to collect, whereas brewing requires harvesting crops and placing them in kegs, which takes two actions. From a work efficiency standpoint, the gem replicator is slightly better than ancient fruit wine.
Gem replicators aren’t limited by farmland, so their upper limit is higher than that of ancient fruit wine. However, they have a significant drawback – the cost is very high, and setting up is difficult. A gem replicator requires 99 stones, five gold bars, two iridium bars, and one battery pack, making it several times more expensive than a keg. Battery pack sources are limited, as lightning rods depend on stormy weather and solar panels are a late-game item.
Other Playstyles and Brief Evaluations
Raising chickens or other animals is not a viable early-game strategy due to the high costs of building coops and barns. In the late game, their profits don’t compare to pig farming or sheep raising. However, raising chickens is the easiest to set up among these options. Profits from raising chickens are roughly equivalent to one-third of the income from brewing during the same period, but investing millions into this strategy won’t yield significant returns. Fish ponds, fruit trees, gold cats, tree resin, and similar strategies require large investments and yield low profits, making them less effective than raising chickens. These can be considered subpar playstyles.
Grandpa’s strategy essentially involves exploiting a bug in the game. The maximum income from obtaining Iridium Cats in the third year can be considered a form of compensation. Compared to regular brewing, the profits from this strategy are not considered high or fast. It can be a fun alternative for players who want to try something different.
Some other approaches can’t be considered playstyles on their own, but they can be classified as mod-based strategies or part of the decoration aspect of the game.
That concludes this tutorial on various playstyles in Stardew Valley. Thank you for reading!