You Should Play Wilson To Learn How To Play Don’t Starve
Wilson is the first character players have available to them when they start Don’t Starve. Originally, Wilson was the only character in the game, but the cast has grown massively. Now, Wilson fills the role of being the best character to learn how to play Don’t Starve with. His mechanics are built to give the player just a small but critical push to survive while not having any downsides.
For this reason, I don’t recommend playing Wilson once you start getting comfortable surviving for long stretches of time in Don’t Starve. Other Don’t Starve characters in the game each have something that they can do exceptionally well, which Wilson lacks.
However, those benefits vastly outweigh their negatives, so you really should only use Wilson to come to grips with the game’s mechanics before moving on to another character that you find more interesting or fun.
Wilson’s unique ability is the ability to grow a beard over time. The primary benefit of Wilson’s beard is the extra insulation it provides during the frigid winter season. However, it can also be shaved at different lengths as an easy source of Beard Hair to use for crafting.
Shaving Wilson’s beard also gives him a small amount of Sanity regeneration but can also cause him to overheat when it is too hot out. So, the mechanic is pretty simple but still comes with some strategies, and you need to know to use it as effectively as possible. Luckily, in this Wilson Don’t Starve guide, I can fill you in on all of the details.
How Do I Use Wilson’s Beard
Wilson’s beard will constantly grow as you play, so you don’t have to devote any resources to produce it. It grows in three stages and reaches its final, full-grown stage after 16 in-game days.
Since the more survivable seasons of spring and autumn are 20 days long each, and it is standard for games to begin in Autumn, this gives you just enough time to get the beard fully grown before the harsh reality of winter sets in.
Each stage of Wilson’s beard will raise your insulation rating, and it takes four days to reach the first stage after a fresh shave. So, I recommend your beard at least every four days during the summer, otherwise, it will make staying cool in the boiling sun even harder than it already is.
By the time winter hits, you should have it fully grown to take advantage of it. I sometimes let it not get fully grown until a day or two into winter since the temperature drop isn’t as bad then, but that is as absolutely as far as I ever push it.
The other benefit of Wilson’s beard is the easy source of Beard Hair. Normally, players have to let their Sanity drop to fight Beardlings and Beardlords to get any Beard Hair, but it is much easier to shave real quick with a Razor when you’re playing Wilson. Razors can be crafted with just two Twigs, two Flint, and a Science Machine for its prototype, so it is very low cost to craft even when just starting a new game.
Depending on the stage of Wilson’s beard, you’ll get either 1, 3, or 9 Beard Hair when you shave, so I tend to let it grow out to the third stage before shaving it in Spring.
The most useful item crafted with Beard Hair is Meat Effigies. When placed, these are handy items that will instantly respawn players at its location when they die just once before they fall apart. Making a Meat Effigy does lower the player’s maximum health, though, so once you have one down, I recommend storing the supplies for another later rather than setting down multiple at once.
How to Play Wilson in the Summer
Summertime in Don’t Starve sees the Constant rising in temperature to a brutal degree. Every season in Don’t Starve brings challenges for players to work around, and summer is all about the heat.
The days get longer, animals become more active during the day, and more food grows in the wild. There is also a small chance for rain during the season, although not as frequently as in spring. This can lower the player’s Sanity or cause them to get struck by lightning, so you’ll need to craft an umbrella or rain coat to keep yourself from getting too wet.
Summer also makes Wilson’s beard more of an annoyance than anything helpful. Its higher insulation will make Wilson overheat much faster than when he doesn’t have it, so I tend to cut it every four days so that it doesn’t make the season any harder than it already is.
The only time that I let Wilson’s beard grow longer than the first stage in summer is if I’m well equipped to deal with the heat and need the Beard Hair for a Meat Effigy. Otherwise, it just isn’t worth the trouble.
Reign of Giants Summer
Don’t Starve‘s Reign of Giants DLC also makes summer an even harder season to survive in. The DLC marks the season by giving the entire game a Sepia tint and severely cuts down the length of dusk, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your clock to make sure you don’t get caught out in the dark.
Reign of Giants also increases the spoil rate of food during the summer by 25%, causes the Dragonfly boss to spawn and roam the world, and introduces droughts and wildfires for players to contend with in the wild as well. The season will also strain your food supply, as crops will wilt and require Fertilizer to grow.
So, when you play as Wilson, you’ll need to counteract all of this. Thankfully, you won’t have as hard of a time as characters like Willow (Read our full Willow Guide), but I have found that Wilson doesn’t have a particularly easy time during the season either. For starters, you should start gathering materials for summer during the spring and winter.
During winter, I try to get as much ice as I can find, as it can make for excellent clothing and food to cool Wilson down with. Then, during the summer, you can work on getting a Cock-Pot and Icebox if you don’t already have one so that you can make more effective food and keep it from spoiling for longer.
You should also take advantage of the various pieces of clothing that help keep Wilson from overheating. Items like the Straw Hat, Chirpy items, or the Desert Goggles will all help you out immeasurably. It is also paramount that you do not forget to shave your beard.
Having a beard will make it extremely difficult to keep Wilson cool, and there is no benefit to having it during the season, so get rid of it and stay on top of shaving it consistently.
How to Play Wilson in the Winter
The winter season is where Wilson gets to shine. Since most Don’t Starve games begin in autumn, Winter tends to be the first real test of a player’s ability to tough it out in the Constant.
This is because the season demands that players keep warm with frigid temperatures, decreases how active animals are, prevents crops and wild food from growing, and cuts down on the daylight available to you while making nights longer.
Luckily, winter isn’t a very long season, and Wilson’s beard gives him a much easier time surviving the season than most other characters. I almost always just let my beard grow throughout autumn without ever shaving it to make sure it is as long as possible when winter hits. This will vastly increase Wilson’s survivability in the cold, giving you more time away from warmth to scavenge for resources.
The most important thing during winter is staying warm, and while Wilson’s beard will help you out, it won’t be enough to keep you alive the entire time.
Instead, you’ll need a fire that you can keep lit at your home camp to heat you up both during the day and through the night. This means you’ll be burning through plenty of wood throughout winter, but luckily, Wilson’s higher insulation will give you plenty of time to gather some each day.
The second hardest part of winter is maintaining a steady food supply. To do this, your best option is to litter the world with rabbit traps to catch them on the sparse occasions that they leave their burrow, store food in your icebox from autumn to make it last as long as possible, and hunt Winter Koalefants.
Winter Koalafants are a must in winter because they are a great source of food, and their trunks can be used to craft some of the warmest clothes in Don’t Starve. Most players struggle with depleting their sizable health bars before they have hot clothes, but with Wilson’s beard and a decent weapon, I’ve never had trouble tracking one down and killing it before the cold starts to creep in.
How to Play Wilson in Shipwrecked
In Don’t Starve‘s Shipwrecked DLC, the four normal seasons are replaced with Mild, Hurricane, Monsoon, and Dry. Since the DLC is focused on a more nautical experience that allows players to travel from island to island, each of its seasons has entirely new challenges for players to face.
None of the four seasons are defined by particularly cold weather either, meaning that Wilson’s beard loses the most significant part of its utility. However, I still found playing Wilson in the DLC to be a good way of coming to grips with the game’s new mechanics and a good source of Meat Effigies to avoid restart my run too frequently.
Since Mild season is the default state in Shipwrecked, the first season I want to look at is the Hurricane season. Hurricane season is Shipwrecked’s winter equivalent and is indicated by the entire world being shown with a blue tint. However, the season does not require the player to avoid freezing to death, and it doesn’t negatively impact your food supply either.
The new challenges with Hurricane season come from its titular storms. These storms progress in a procedural way that starts with the sky getting darker, which leads to rain, followed by hail and lightning, and then those effects slowly fade away until the weather is normal again.
These storms will happen periodically during the season, so you’ll need to be prepared for them and quickly recover when one hits you to get ready for the next one.
To help you survive the Hurricane season, you should make your way to land whenever a storm approaches. Once you get on land, you need to place a Lightning Rod down next to where you landed on shore.
This will prevent not only you from getting struck by lightning but also your flammable boat. I can tell you from experience that standing on a burning boat and watching your progress turn to ash around you is not a good time.
Before reaching Hurricane season, I also recommend getting your hands on some clothing to help keep you dry. If Wilson gets too wet, his Sanity will plummet, which means these storms can quickly drive Wilson insane if you aren’t prepared.
If you do manage to make it to land, however, I recommend following up your Lightning Rod with a Palm Leaf Hut that you can stand in to wait out the storm. However, you should try to pick up as much hail during the storms as possible because they are a great source of ice for the Dry season.
You’ll also have to deal with my least favorite part of the storms, the strong winds. These winds will slow down or accelerate your movement, cut down plants and trees, and even blow out your fire at night. These can be incredibly difficult to deal with, and until you get the right items, you’ll mostly have to burn through resources to continue counteracting the wind.
Once you can, though, I’ve always found a Windbreaker helpful to cut down on the speed penalties and an Obsidian Fire Pit to work best as they can’t be blown out.
During this season, you’ll also have to watch the Tiger Shark as it will spawn more frequently, and the Sealnado has a chance to spawn at the end of the season. If you come across a Sealnado I suggest you distract it with other creatures if you can, and then just run away.
If you’re confident in your combat abilities, however, feel free to take on the Tiger Shark so that you can get the Dumbrella, which can be extremely helpful in the coming seasons.
Monsoon season is the spring equivalent and about surviving incredible amounts of rain. However, lightning strikes are far less common than during Hurricane season, so it usually will be fine to keep sailing or exploring during its storms. Just make sure to head to land if you hear the distant rumblings of thunder.
Monsoon season will also flood most of the land across the map by the time it is done, but I have some great tips to help you deal with that.
Firstly, the increase in rain also means that plants and crops grow much faster than they normally do, so, if you can, you should use this season to grow as many crops as possible to prepare for the Dry season. But, this means that you will have to protect your fields with Sandbags to prevent them from flooding and ruining all of your hard work.
You’ll also want to keep your rain gear from the previous season to help keep Wilson dry, and even add an Umbrella or Dumbrella if you can.
Wearing proper gear is especially important if you plan on exploring any flooded areas. I usually equip myself with a Football Helmet, Umbrella, and Snakeskin Jacket to prevent getting too wet and protect myself from any unlucky lightning strikes.
If you can, though, I recommend getting a Blubber Suit or Tar Suit as they completely protect you from getting wet. Just pair them with a clothing item that will protect you from lightning, and you’ll be good to go.
Your main goal during the Monsoon season should be preparing for the Dry season. That means collecting as many resources as you can and preparing food that you can store in iceboxes. I also tend to led Wilson’s beard grow out during the Monsoon season so that I can shave it just before the Dry season starts to build a Meat Effigy in case things don’t go my way.
The dry season is Shipwrecked’s version of Summer and comes with many of the same pitfalls. However, it also comes with volcanic eruptions to keep things exciting and keep it from being too easy. You’ll again have to stay on top of keeping Wilson clean-shaven for this season.
Otherwise, you’ll have a much harder time stopping him from overheating. Like in regular Summer, I tend to shave every four days to slowly get Beard Hair and not have to worry about it becoming an issue. However, overheating in the Dry season is not as harsh as in Summer, so if you want to let it grow out a bit more to be more efficient with your Beard Hair farming, that is an option. I don’t prefer it.
The Dry season also comes with the benefit of calming the ocean significantly. This makes sailing around the world safer, but it means that you’ll get the most fish when using a Trawl Net.
You can even get Obsidian from using a Trawl Net during this season. Because of this, I tend to use Trawl Nets to gather most of my food during the Dry season once I run out of all the food that I prepared in the previous seasons.
The only problem with doing so is that it takes time away from gathering other resources like wood, so you’ll have to make sure you have a stockpile of supplies to fall back on.
But, I’m sure the central part you’re worried about is the eye-catching volcanic eruptions I mentioned above. Thankfully, each eruption is preceded by three tremors that give you around half a day to prepare for the event. I have found this ample time to react, especially once you get used to them and develop a plan to survive. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
The main threat of volcanic eruptions is the Dragoon Eggs that fall from the sky after it spits them out. They will only fall in the area that the player can see and just outside it.
So, to prevent them from destroying anything too valuable, the first thing you should do when the ground starts to tremble is to stop whatever it is you are doing and head to a barren area with little to no resources. I tend to go to shallow ocean areas or wastelands to avoid destroying anything I may need.
Then, ashes will start to cover the screen, and large shadows will indicate where Dragoon Eggs are going to fall. I’ve always found these easy to avoid, so you shouldn’t have any issues unless you have a hard time seeing the shadows through the ashes on screen. In case you do get hit, make sure to have strong armor on like a full health Log Suit. Otherwise, you’ll almost definitely die.
If you really have a hard time with volcanic eruptions, however, I recommend building a small base at the volcano and appeasing it with sacrifices. If you build a camp there you can easily farm items to offer up to the volcano for the entire season, such as Eggs for little effort.
However, you’re going to have to fight a lot for this strategy, as the volcano is filled with Dragoons. I typically don’t find it worthwhile to adopt this strategy, but it is a viable alternative if you get of avoiding falling Dragoon Eggs.
How to Play Wilson in Don’t Starve Together
I strongly advise against playing Wilson in Don’t Starve Together. Being able to play with other people in a team allows each individual player to focus on one aspect of the team’s survival, such as gathering resources, hunting, or cooking up food.
This allows each character to cover one another’s weaknesses, but Wilson can’t do that because everything he does another character can do better.
However, if you do really want to play Wilson in Don’t Starve Together, there are some things you can do. Because of Wilson’s versatility, I tend to use him as a flex role when playing him in a team.
This allows you to adjust and pick up whatever tasks are falling to the wayside as the rest of the team works on their individual tasks. I also use Wilson to help my teammates with their tasks and jump around from task to task throughout the day. If one team member is going hunting I’ll go with them for a while and then go help someone else gather Logs for the night or do some extra cooking.
Wilson’s pivotal role on the team really comes when winter arrives. With Wilson’s full-grown beard you can venture out to gather vital resources for longer and make up for any mistakes the team made while preparing for the season. Right at the start of winter I also usually start by hunting some Winter Koalephants to make the rest of my team Puffy Vests to help them survive the cold as well.
Wilson’s backstory was revealed in the animated short titled Forbidden Knowledge. Wilson was a scientist that worked at home in a laboratory that he built himself. While he was toiling away in his laboratory one night, he heard a strange voice coming from his radio and speaking directly to him.
The voice comforted Wilson and convinced him that he was not going crazy, and then it made him a deal. The voice said that if Willson created a machine to the voice’s specific preferences, he would be given hidden knowledge that no one else could know.
Wilson accepted the deal and began throwing himself into working on the machine plans given to him by the voice on the radio. He was able to build the machine without much trouble, but just before he flipped the switch, he hesitated for a fleeting minute.
But, the voice appeared again and nudged him to flip the machine’s switch, which spirited him away, and he was never seen in the normal world again.
Question: Is Wilson Good in Don’t Starve?
Answer: Wilson is a good, well-rounded character who helps players not worry so much about preparing for the brutal winter season, which can be extremely helpful. However, he is not good in Don’t Starve Together, as any other character will provide more to a group than Wilson can.
Question: How Old is Wilson in Don’t Starve?
Answer: Wilson has been confirmed to be somewhere in his mid-30s.
Question: Is Wilson the Best Character in Don’t Starve?
Answer: While Wilson’s lack of a downside may make him seem like one of the stronger characters, his lack of a strong, unique ability keeps him well below the best character in the game.
Wilson is the iconic mascot of Don’t Starve and serves as a fantastic starting point for new players. I strongly recommend that anybody just starting in Don’t Starve should do at least one or two runs as Wilson to come to grips with the game’s core mechanics before moving on to a more complicated character.
Once they are used to Wilson and survive for a while in Don’t Starve, however, they will likely want to move on to a more intricate character that will allow them to approach the game’s challenges differently.
I also think players who are jumping into a group in Don’t Starve Together are also better off just skipping Wilson entirely and playing a character that has a bit more to offer their allies in survival.