Getting started with survival crafting game Dawnlands

Getting started with survival crafting game Dawnlands
| Dawnlands

With all the survival and crafting titles being released today, it can be hard to know where to start with some of the latest releases. In this case, the pseudo-viking title Dawnlands is one of the newest on the market. Here’s everything you need to know about getting started with Dawnlands.

Before you begin

Remember that this is one of those games where the install from the app store isn’t the whole story. So don’t go downloading expecting to play later on spotty wifi, as the game still needs to patch in a whole host of new data and finish the rest of its installation.

After that, you’ll get a short intro video, and the game will load up the rendering optimization for your device, so you’ll need to restart it again. You’ll also get the choice of four server regions to choose from, North America, South America, Asia and Europe. Naturally, you should choose the one with the lowest ping (or the number in green), and remember the game requires a constant internet connection.

Getting started in-game

Character creation in Dawnlands is fairly straightforward, with a choice of nine different face types on either of the two gender options available. From there, you have the classic mix of sliders and presets for shaping your character’s face, hairstyle, skin tone and various features. It’s by no means the most in-depth character creator, but it’s definitely worth playing around with the surprising variety of customisation options available.

Dawnlands differs from a few other survival crafting games on mobile by offering you different ways to play - as you can either set up a multiplayer world, or play in single-player, or convert your single-player world into a multiplayer mode at a later date.

There’s also a sandbox mode available; however, the biomes you can play in only unlock after a certain level threshold. So, you likely won’t be playing with those for a while yet. Simply start up a single-player world, and let's get into the game itself.

What now?

You’ll have another short intro video to give another hint at the plot of Dawnlands - although if you’re familiar with the “Once there was an evil demon lord, now there’s not” style JRPG plotline this’ll all be pretty standard already. After which you’ll awake and the plot proper gets started…

Into the Dawnlands

Without giving too much away, you’ll have a character - a talking owl named Hedi - pop up to give you general guidance. But the key thing to remember is that this is a survival and crafting game, so both of these elements are equally important to success. Unlike games such as Minecraft, you won’t discover recipes organically when you collect resources, but collect them as their own items, aside from some basic recipes unlocked in the tutorial or via quests.

You’ll get dropped into a small starting area where you have a chance to move around and work out the controls. You’ll also get basic instructions on how to craft weapons, starting with a Stone Axe. After which you’ll chop your way out of the starting area and be unleashed onto the world proper. Waypoints will guide you through the starting tutorials that’ll explain all the mechanics, although if you’re at all familiar with survival and crafting titles there won’t be any huge surprises - aside from some unusual additions such as sledding down slopes on your shield.

Combat is quite easy to get used to. Especially as there are some decent quality-of-life additions such as auto-locking to enemies. Although it may take you a minute to get used to blocking with a shield for example. Fortunately the enemies you’ll face initially are pretty easily dispatched Grass Slimes and Goblins.

Your first task proper is going to be sanctifying a Beacon. These markers in the world serve to single out some key points of interest, and let you teleport around the map to get around. All you need to do is use your stone axe to chop down a tree and it'll automatically land and form a bridge. You’ll be able to sanctify other spots as well in order to gather resources such as Sanctified Dust. Remember that, because it’ll come in useful later…

Further Goals

Your first overall goal to work towards will be fighting the boss enemy in the Grasslands, this is a creature called Kenda. But before any of that you’ll find your way to the local human settlement or “Shelter” as these spots are called. This is where you’ll find merchants and be able to rest if you don’t have a base. You’ll be tasked with sanctifying another location - or more specifically defending your companion character while they do so.

Don’t rush into this next quest though, as you’ll get a new glut of recipes to use that’ll let you gear up your character to a more reasonable level. All being well you’ll have gathered enough resources just on your way there to get a decent set of kit, but you’ll want to hold off on continuing with the next quest until you’ve geared up properly. That may mean going off and exploring the immediate area a bit first.

You’ll want to take this time to get properly acquainted with the crafting and fighting. There should be some common enemies you’re familiar with already by now, namely goblins, as well as animals you can kill for Raw Meat and Leather Scraps - such as boars. Head around the immediate area of the Shelter, gather up bits of Wood and Stone, make sure you’ve crafted an entire set of Crude Armour and a Stone Sword and you should be more than ready.

Do also be aware that, like in other survival crafting games, your armour and weapons will degrade with use. So try and keep an excess of crafting materials on hand to repair them. Fortunately, at least for the purposes of the very start, you shouldn’t need to have much.

After you’ve had some time to practise, head back to the “Shelter” and get acquainted with the building system. Dawnlands has the excellent addition of a grid to show exactly where you can place and turn your buildings. You’ll only have to place down a couple of Wooden Barricades to get started with, however. After that you’ll still be able to head off and do some more exploration or gathering if you wish, but if you’re sufficiently geared up now there isn’t much reason not to stick around and get the next part of the main quest done.

After that, you’ll battle a small wave of monsters. It won’t be anything difficult, aside from one particularly large and ornery Goblin, but stepping out of the way of their (telegraphed) attacks, landing a few hits (especially with the inhabitants of the Shelter helping out) and waiting until the ritual you’re supposed to protect is finished won’t be anything too hard.

Continuing the quest

Finishing up the fight, you'll be rewarded with a host of new recipes and a pointer of where to go next for your quest, namely to the statue in the centre of the Shelter. Remember that Sanctified Dust? Well now’s the time to use it to “Resonate” with the statue. Like the beacons, this’ll transform it from a lump of rock into something a bit more useful - remember you’ll need to navigate to “potential rewards” to claim your rewards, such as attribute increases, for the statue however.

Next you’ll get given a plot of land to use in the shelter, and tasked with popping down a Thatch Bed and a Campfire. Sleep through the night and the quest continues…from here on out you’re on your own. But all being well you should already have a grasp of what Dawnlands has to offer!

Iwan Morris
Iwan Morris
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who only occasionally refers to himself in the third person.