A Beginner’s Guide to Terraria


Terraria is a sandbox game developed by Re-Logic and released in 2011. Image by Ethan Hobbs

Tali Gortenburg, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Terraria was released on May 16, 2011. A game of adventure, audacity, and exploration, Terraria was and still is an amazing video game today. The only problem is, it can become extremely complex and nearly impossible to navigate without guidance. Therefore, in honor of the game’s 12th anniversary, I am providing a beginner’s guide to new players.


So, here it is (and keep in mind, I’m talking about Classic Mode):


Introduction to Terraria


Terraria is a sandbox adventure game that can be played alone or with others. A sandbox game is a game that provides a lot of creative license. Terraria has many different aspects to it, such as exploration, building, and fighting. There is no defined end to the game. However, many make their goal in the game to defeat the Moon Lord, who is generally considered the “final boss.”


In order to defeat the Moon Lord, there are many tasks that need to be completed prior, but I will not be discussing most of these in this article. 


One thing I will mention is Hardmode: Hardmode is a major state change of your world that occurs after defeating the Wall of Flesh, and attaining Hardmode is the first achievement that’s necessary for game progression.


Nevertheless, most players will attempt to defeat other bosses in pre-Hardmode prior to the Wall of Flesh for a variety of reasons, the most prominent one being it makes gameplay more interesting, gives you smaller goals to work towards, and can provide you with good items and materials. 


At the end of this article, I’ll provide some general advice for boss fights.




Once you load into the game, you’ll spawn in a random location in the center of your world. Unless changed later through use of a bed, this will be the place you spawn every time you die, use a Magic Mirror, or Recall Potion


Given the importance of your spawn location, I highly recommend that the first thing you do is build a shelter around it. This is because at night, Zombies and Demon Eyes come out. This won’t bother you much as you progress in the game, but in the beginning, they will likely be deadly.


The shelter can be built by cutting down trees with your ax and collecting wood. From this wood you can then build walls and a crafting station from which you can make other things necessary for the house such as doors. Initially, the house doesn’t need to be elaborate, but pretty quickly you’ll want to build two structures that the game considers to be houses.


As I’m sure you’ve noticed by this part of the game, there is a guide walking around by your spawn. The guide is one of many NPCs in the game. NPCs “move in” after you’ve met certain requirements and they can be very helpful. In order for them to move in, the houses they move into need to meet certain requirements. These can be found here.


Now that you’ve made some sort of shelter, you can begin exploring. For now, the best thing to do is to explore the caves and other holes that already exist instead of digging new holes yourself. In these you’ll see pots (which can be opened by smashing them) and chests.


Loot everything in the chests, and after this, be sure to also mine the chests themselves. Chests can be placed in your home and used for storage. You’ll want many chests so that you can keep your things organized. For example, you might want a chest dedicated to potions, a chest dedicated to ores, etc. Trust me on this, you’ll thank yourself later.


Also, on a side note, it would be a good idea to craft some armor or perhaps a new sword at this point if you’ve mined any ore (although armor made from wood is better than nothing).


Back to exploring. Exploring is arguably the most fun part of Terraria, and something you’ll spend a lot of time doing. With the exception of a few items that I recommend you acquire (I’ll detail these below), I don’t have a lot of advice for exploring. Just have fun. 


Important Items to Acquire


One fundamental item that you should acquire immediately is a Magic Mirror. When used, a Magic Mirror will transport you back to your spawn location. Recall Potions do the same, so if you’re having trouble finding a magic mirror, stock up on recall potions. 


The next item I highly recommend is Cloud in a Bottle or Sandstorm in a Bottle. When equipped (yes, these need to be equipped), they give you the ability to double jump. Once you get used to double jump, you’ll never want to go back. It’s absolutely essential for mobility. 


The next item is the Mining Helmet (this can be purchased from the Merchant). Like the Cloud/Sandstorm in a Bottle, this needs to be equipped. If you haven’t noticed by now, there aren’t always light sources in Terraria. Often, your choices are either place torches every few feet or brave the darkness. The solution to this predicament is the Mining Helmet. This provides minimal (but enough) light when it is equipped. The downside to this item is that it takes the spot of potentially better armor (the Mining Helmet only provides one defense). It’s a tradeoff, but one that I feel is worth it.

The Mining Helmet provides light to the player. Image by Tali Gortenburg


The last fundamental item I’m gonna recommend is a piggy bank. This can also be purchased from the Merchant. When you die in Terraria, you drop money. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to store your money somewhere so you don’t lose it. While it’s true that chests work fine for this, a piggy bank is ideal because it can be accessed wherever, even in a different world.


Tips for Boss Fights


1. Don’t underestimate the power of dodging and avoiding taking damage. Even if you have a good weapon, taking damage when you don’t need to can be your downfall.

2. It’s a good idea to construct a sort of “arena.” It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Placing rows of wood platforms works well. This makes it a lot easier to get around and avoid taking damage when you don’t yet have a Cosmic Car Key or other item that gives you a ton of air mobility. It’s also a good idea to place torches around the arena to provide additional light.


An example of a functional arena. Image by Tali Gortenburg

3. Don’t ignore the ability of the Nurse NPC if you have her. If you’re fighting a boss with a friend, it’s a good idea to take turns going to her and healing. Healing potions are also helpful.




In conclusion, Terraria is a great game. It’s pretty unstructured, which leads to a lot of creative license to progress in the game at your own pace and in a way that you enjoy. I hope this guide helps those of you who might be feeling a little lost at the beginning of the game.

Also, if you have any questions about Terraria that I did not answer in this article, Terraria Wiki is an amazing resource. Terraria is a complex game; don’t be afraid to look things up.