Willow Don't Starve Guide

Willow Don’t Starve Guide

Willow is an Awesome Don’t Starve Character and Heres Why

Willow is an unlockable character in the base game of Don’t Starve. She has the unique ability to start fires when nervous and is equipped with a Lighter, allowing her to set alight flammable objects. In our Willow Don’t Starve guide, we’ll see how she is blessed with the special power of fire immunity and will take no damage from being close to fires.

Willow will also regain Sanity from being in close proximity to fire and will gain Sanity depending on the size of the fire. The larger the fire, the more Sanity.

As you can imagine, this changes up the gameplay considerably, giving you more options to recover your Sanity.

However, note that Willow’s powers are traded off for lower Sanity than Wilson’s, and you will find yourself in a constant state of maintaining her Sanity.

To the untrained player, Willow can be a dangerous character. If you are not careful, you will destroy entire biomes with forest fires and summon angry, powerful monsters due to your high naughty level.

Threat not, as I will show you how to keep Willow’s pyromantic tendencies in check and how to best use her firey powers. Before we begin, Willow is unlocked by gaining 160 experience points in Don’t Starve and is one of the first characters unlocked in the game.

Therefore she is suitable for beginners to the game, she’s great for learning the mechanics of the game, and her Lighter gives you an infinite light source allowing you to explore at night with ease and always be ready for nightfall.

Brief Fire Introduction

Willow Fire

To master Willow, you will need to know everything there is to know about fire and how it works in Don’t Starve. Fire can be used to create light sources to combat sanity drain and fend off Charlie and other Shadow Creatures. Fire can also be used to raise the temperature of your character during winter and cook food.

Fire in Don’t Starve will spread to any nearby sources of fuel and will grow in size the more fuel that is added to the fire.

Fire will react to weather effects such as rain, and fuel will burn faster depending on the amount of rainfall. Fire will damage creatures and characters except for Willow and will leave ash behind once the fuel has burned out.

Fire is your friend in Don’t Starve, but you should approach starting fires carefully. If you are not careful, you can cause forest fires and destroy huge biomes sections. This is detrimental to your survival as many resources will burn away.

Furthermore, you will most likely kill many passive and peaceful creatures in the process, which in turn will raise your naughtiness level. If this level is raised too high, the game may spawn Krampus, a boss enemy that steals your items and tries to destroy your base.

Fiery Willow Tips

  • Willow gains Sanity over time when in close proximity to fire. This stacks, so creating multiple fires around her is a great way to recover her Sanity. However, ensure that the fires are contained in an area that will not spread to other flammable items or things that could start a forest fire.
  • Unlocking Willow will reward you with the Firestarter achievement.

How Can I Control Willow’s Fires

Willow's Fires

If Willow’s Sanity drops below sixty, there is a chance that she will get nervous and start a fire at her feet. Because Willow has a sanity threshold, this can be a common occurrence for new beginners of Don’t Starve that struggle to maintain their character’s Sanity.

This poses little harm in the early game as you will most likely not have a sizeable base yet. However, if you notice that your Sanity is creeping to the sixty mark, make sure that Willow is in an area with enough space around her so that if she lights a fire, it does not spread.

Willow’s stress fires become troublesome when you have built up your base or near farms. I highly recommend that you spread your base out, as I learned that you could lose a lot of progress in mere minutes if the fire spreads. You can further combat this by installing an Ice Flingomatic in your base.

This machine, when turned on, will automatically fling ice at any fires within range. However, to craft this, you will need to be in the range of an Alchemy Engine and need two gears, fifteen pieces of ice, and two electrical doodads.

Furthermore, the Ice Flingomatic has a short lifespan of five days, so I suggest crafting one when your Sanity gets close to the sixty mark.

How to use Willow’s Fire

When I first played Willow, I was well aware of and worried about her destructive abilities and how a fire could be sprung out of nowhere if I didn’t look after her mental health. However, after some trial and error, the penny dropped, and I realized that I was wielding an extremely powerful weapon.

At the snap of a finger, I could set alight to a Spider Den or set alight an area to kite aggroed enemies to and just sit and watch them burn. While yes, I sound a little deranged, the point I’m making is that if you are playing Willow, you should make the most of her abilities.

Playing as Willow, you’ll notice that your fires will last longer than regular fires. This is because Willow makes use of fuel a lot better than other characters, and all fuel will burn longer. Therefore you won’t have to collect as many resources to keep your fires burning.

While Willow has a powerful fire lighting ability and an infinite source of light, you won’t be able to rely upon this as your only light source. As it can be dangerous if you are near objects that you do not want to catch fire. Furthermore, the lighter has a smaller light radius than the torch.

Therefore, you will still need to acquire other light sources such as the Miner’s Hat for spelunking in caves. Although if you are feeling brave, I would suggest descending into caves with your lighter as you can get a headstart.

Note that exploring solely with your Lighter at night is dangerous as you can accidentally stumble upon monsters. However, you will be safe from Charlie’s attacks while your lighter is active. Your Sanity will also drain from being in the range of darkness, though.

Willow in the Summer

Reign of Giants Summer

Don’t Starve features a season cycle that changes up the gameplay. The Reign of Giants DLC further updated seasons to be more impactful. Seasonal changes should not be underestimated in Don’t Starve, as the sudden changes in temperature, night duration, and mobs can end your run quickly.

It could be argued that Summer is the hardest season to get through while playing Willow, as her fire abilities can overheat her if you are not careful with her Sanity.

While in Summer, rainfall will be less frequent, but when it does rain, there is a chance of lightning strikes. Nights are shorter in the Summer, and food is plenty; however, there is a considerable temperature rise.

Reign of Giants Summer

If you have the Reign of Giants installed, summers become a lot harder to navigate as plants decay in the heat faster, the world is more susceptible to drought, and wildfires can start in forests if it becomes too dry. Not to mention the blistering heat that beats down on your character.

As you can imagine, the Summer is not the greatest season for Willow as her ability becomes extremely dangerous. The heat from her fires can be dangerous to Willow and her surroundings.

Therefore, you are going to need a plan for approaching the summer season. Utilizing a Crock-Pot and Ice-Box, you can create Ice Cream and Melonsicles to cool Willow’s temperature down. The Ice Box will allow you to store food without worrying about it spoiling.

To craft Ice Cream, you will need Ice, a dairy product such as butter or milk, and a sweetener. It’s going to be hard to acquire ice in the summertime, so I would collect ice before entering the summer season.

Alternatively, you can create a melonsicle by combining a melon, stick, and ice. These foods will also give Willow a significant increase in her Sanity, helping you to stay on top of her fires.

  • If you are already in Winter and don’t have any ingredients for either of these recipes, I recommend crafting yourself a floral shirt and a Straw Hat. Both clothing items will protect you from the heat by cooling Willow down.
  • If you find Summer too tricky to survive as Willow, consider hunkering down in the caves.

Willow in the Winter

Willow in the Winter

As you can imagine, Willow is a brilliant character to tackle the winter season as her infinite Lighter and nervous fires give her an advantage for surviving Winter over other characters.

In the winter season, the temperature drops, and many creatures hibernate, such as butterflies and bees, and plants struggle to grow, making food sources a lot harder to find.

You’ll also come across some new dangerous and aggressive creatures such as Walruses and Deerclops, a giant boss that will aim to destroy your base. In the Winter season, nights are a lot longer, making it a lot harder to stay sane in light. 

However, for other Don’t Starve characters, Winter is the most dangerous season, but it’s a breeze for Willow. Her lighter allows her to have an infinite light source for those long dark nights of Winter.

She will also be able to keep warm from her fires allowing you to spend less time regulating Willow’s temperature and more time scavenging for food.

However, I would still recommend that you acquire a Thermal Stone, as holding this item in your inventory will create a buffer of warmth, giving you protection from the cold. The Thermal Stone also releases enough light to ward off Charlie.

Not like you need to worry about Charlie, as Willow’s lighter emits enough light to ward her off. You should also consider crafting yourself a Winter Hat, as this will give you an extra bit of insulation from the cold during the wintertime.

The Reign of Giants significantly raises the difficulty of the winter season. With the DLC enabled, night and dusk time in Winter are longer, making it harder to maintain your Sanity. Caves also have a chance to freeze. As you can see, Winter is a tough season to survive.

I recommend you collect as much ice as you possibly can during the winter season and store it in an Ice Box as this can be used in the coming months to create ice cream to cool Willow down during Summer and significantly raise her Sanity. 

Willow’s Origin Story

Willow Don't Starve
Image from Don’t Starve Fandom

Klei Entertainment revealed Willow’s origin story in an animated short. Willow’s story begins in an orphanage where she grew up lonely with only her teddy Bernie to protect her from the miserable and abusive orphanage carers.

Every night Willow would be plagued by nightmares and be awoken to pursuing Shadow Creatures, mainly Mr. Skitts. Establishing a connection between Willow and Maxwell. But no matter how close the horrible creatures got to Willow, Bernie would always protect her from the dark.

One night Mr. Skitts chased Willow out of her bed, and Willow would wake the abusive carers by mistake, and they would punish Willow by confiscating Bernie and throwing Willow into a storage room. Locked in the room, Willow held herself panicking as shadow creatures began to slowly approach her.

The door flung from its hinges with a roaring blaze, and Willow was free. As the carers looked back in horror, an engulfing flame wisped its way down the corridor of the orphanage.

Willow would retrieve her beloved Bernie free from her torment at the orphanage, but the memories there and events that occurred would be with her forever.

Willow Past Theory

We can assume that Willow struggled with living at the orphanage and some past trauma as to why she was put there in the first place. As Willow is subject to nightmares and stalking of Shadow Creatures. Beings that are known to appear when insanity is drawing near.

It is my opinion Willow may have accidentally killed her parents with her fiery powers and obsession. While the reason is unknown, there are many parallels between Willow and Annie from League of Legends. Now Klei Entertainment may purely be referencing the character.

It’s not too farfetched to believe that Willow had a similar experience to Annie and why she lives in an orphanage. The guilt and fear of getting her parents killed, combined with the anger and abuse received at the orphanage, is likely the reason for her unstable mental health.

How to Keep Willow Sane in Don’t Starve

Despite having relatively low sanity points, Willow is capable of staying sane throughout the seasons’ thanks to her sanity recovery from fires.

As we have already touched upon the benefits of being near fires and starting fires for Willow’s Sanity, I’m going to list a few more sanity-saving strategies that I’d recommend utilizing while playing Willow. 

Now You are going to want to make sure that Willow’s Sanity does not go below sixty; otherwise, she may start a fire at her feet. Therefore if you have Reign of Giants installed, I highly recommend that you acquire Glommer as a pet. As Glommer emits a calming aura that will restore Sanity from being in proximity of it over time. 

Another form of stress relief that I recommend would be to befriend a pig by feeding it food. Followed by sitting close to fire, the companionship of your new friend will boost your sanity recovery. However, be careful not to get too close to the pig; otherwise, you may end up with pork chops!

Thanks to her powers, it’s fairly easy to keep Willow sane in Don’t Starve. If her Sanity begins to drop, then you can always light items in your inventory on fire. The more fires that surround Willow, the higher her Sanity will increase. This is just an issue in Summer. As mentioned before, the summer heat will slowly kill you. 

Willow in Don’t Starve Together

Willow in Don't Starve Together

Don’t Starve Together has many similarities with the original Don’t Starve. Klei Entertainment made many changes to the playable characters in the game that changed fundamental gameplay mechanics. Willow is no exception.

The developers had to considerably change Willow’s abilities and mechanics because Don’t Starve Together is a multiplayer version of the game.

Her firey abilities made it very easy for players to grieve other players’ bases, whether on purpose or accident, from Willow’s firestarter mechanic. Willow still gains Sanity and has fire immunity in Don’t Starve Together.

Willow’s lighter no longer has an infinite supply of fuel in Don’t Starve Together and can only be crafted by Willow. Willow no longer starts fires when she is stressed. Instead, she starts with her beloved Bernie in her inventory.

Equipping the bear will restore Sanity and provide warmth over time. If Bernie is placed on the ground, he will grow, come alive and attack nearby enemies to protect Willow. 

Bernie is Willow’s trump card in Don’t Starve Together as Bernie acts as Willow’s tank. As Bernie will attract shadow creatures and other enemies towards him.

In Don’t Starve Together, you will be able to play alongside another survivor in co-op. Willow is a good choice as other survivors will also gain protection from Bernie.

Willow in Shipwrecked DLC

Willow in Shipwrecked DLC

It could be argued that Willow is the worst character to pick to play in the Shipwrecked DLC. This is because of the new boat exploration mechanic featured in the DLC. I played Willow with this DLC enabled and struggled as I was not able to use her lighter while exploring on a boat because to use the boat, Willow must row.

Therefore, she cannot use her Lighter, making it hard to travel at night. Furthermore, it’s incredibly risky to sail out to sea while Willow’s Sanity dangerously hoovers around the sixty mark. As she could start a fire on the boat, and just like that, your run of Don’t Starve is over. 

The Shipwrecked DLC also introduces four new seasons to Don’t Starve, and each season poses its challenges for survival, excluding the Calm season.

Surviving the Hurricane Season

The Hurricane Season brings on new challenges for Willow as nights are longer, butterflies do not spawn, and the world is frequently subjected to storms. Storms will bring heavy rainfall and hail storms that will raise the speed at which your fuel burns away for your fires and light sources.

Willow won’t be impacted by this as much due to her ability that makes fuel burn for longer. However, she will take a hit to her Sanity by the rainfall, so make sure to craft clothing to protect her from the elements. 

If you have an Ice Box make sure to collect as much ice from the hailstorms as possible to later be used in the Dry Season. Harsh winds are blown across the world during the Hurricane Season, making it both fast and slow depending on the direction of travel and direction of the wind.

You will want to make sure that you craft a Windbreaker or Sleek Hat to combat this, as you will want to make the most out of your time collecting ice and food for the upcoming Monsoon and Dry seasons.

Surviving the Monsoon Season

The Shipwrecked DLC raises the difficulty level substantially as you will need to prepare to survive three difficult and contrasting seasons. The Monsoon Season is the wettest season as frequent showers of rain flood areas on the map.

However, this season is a lot easier to survive than the upcoming Dry Season, so I highly recommend that you prepare during the Monsoon season.

To do this, I would collect as many food items as you could and store them in an Ice Box. As food sources such as Berry Bushes die in the heat of the upcoming season.

Willow may be hindered slightly as the constant rainfall and flooding will affect her Sanity and make it hard for her to create fires. 

Surviving the Dry Season

The Dry Season is by far the hardest season to survive in the Shipwrecked DLC. This is because plants die from the heat and lack of rainfall. In addition, the temperature considerably increases, making it harder for Willow to stay sane as being in close proximity to fires will raise her temperature further.

Although you won’t have to worry about wildfires in the Shipwrecked DLC. Klei Entertainment added volcano eruptions to the Dry Season instead!


Question: How Old is Willow in Don’t Starve?

Answer: Willow is in her early 20s at the start of the events in Don’t Starve. However, her story begins much earlier, as it was revealed in the “Inevitable” animated short by Klei Entertainment that Willow has been tormented by Shadow Creatures since she was a child.

Question: What is a Werepig in Don’t Starve?

Answer: Any Pigmen can transform into a Werepig when there’s a full moon, or they are fed a combination of four monster meats.

Werepigs are hostile creatures, and a transformation will typically last four hours. Multiple Werepigs can spawn at a time, and they are very dangerous. I suggest you keep your distance until the duration of the night.

Question: What is the Best Way to Store Food in Don’t Starve?

Answer: If you need your food to last longer, you can wait until your food is about to spoil, then either cook it over a fire or in a Crock-Pot. This will restore its durability. If you want to preserve food further, you can store your food in an Ice Box as this will make food unspoilable.


In conclusion, you should pick Willow in Don’t Starve if you find yourself struggling to keep fires burning and generate light for nighttime. As her abilities will allow you to allocate your time towards exploring and other activities.

Thanks to her Lighter, you will have an infinite source of light, making it impossible for Charlie to attack you at night. Her low Sanity can sometimes be difficult to manage if it is neglected for too long. However, if you need a sanity boost, just drop some fires down in your vicinity.

However, remember the dangers of wildfires. You will need to be extremely careful that you are able to control your fires. As one wrong fire could cost you your base or entire biome.

The game becomes a lot easier when you get access to an Ice Flingomatic, as this will keep your base safe from any impromptu fires.

In my opinion, Willow is a fantastic Don’t Starve character for beginners. Her abilities are interesting and fun, but they also offer a breath of fresh air to the game without being too complicated.

Thanks to her Lighter, you will experience the game in a whole new way, as Willow allows you to delve into Caves as soon as you want.

I can’t stress enough how much you need to utilize her abilities as they are very powerful. Because she is immune to the fire, she can be invulnerable to aggressive mobs as she can just stand in a roaring fire. 

However, you will need to maintain her temperature as she will overheat if around a fire for too long; however, this is mainly an issue during the Summer, so I suggest you cook the previously mentioned recipes.

I enjoy playing as Willow as her playstyle allows you to have a lot of fun with fire. Her personality and flutey talking offer a funny experience that is unique to other characters.

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