Tips & Tricks
Talk to every new vendor you meet: Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, you can grab a Free Sample Loot Box from a merchant’s “Treasure Boxes” category, which will contain an assortment of helpful crafting items.
Buy the Golden Fast Travel Pack ASAP: Fast travel in Horizon Zero Dawn requires the use of a consumable item that you must craft or purchase, appropriately called a Fast Travel Pack. However, some vendors also sell a Golden Fast Travel Pack, and you’ll want to find and buy one as soon as you can. This valuable item is buried in a merchant’s Resources category and unlocks unlimited fast traveling. You’ll only need a handful of shards, some fatty meat, and a fox skin to buy it, so make it a top priority, and then fast travel as often as you please!
Hold onto crafting items/enemy drops: Even after maxing out the capacity of your resource satchel, you’ll be surprised how quickly it can fill up thanks to all of the loot you’ll be collecting. However, there are some things you should consider before you go on a major selling spree at your local merchant. Naturally, you’ll want to hold onto at least a few stacks of every crafting component that’s used to make ammo – you don’t want to run out in the middle of battle. You’ll also want to hold onto the Hearts, Lenses, and Braiding that downed machines award. These items can fetch you a pretty penny from merchants, but they are also required to buy some outfits and weapons, in addition to the main currency. So, what should you sell? Check the “used for” descriptions of the items in your inventory; anything that only lists “selling for metal scraps” can be pawned off without a second thought.
Figure out your damage limits: Most of Horizon’s crafting items are plentiful, but the one bottleneck I frequently ran into was wire – the common resource is used in many arrow types, including the heavy-hitting precision arrows. As such, it’s worth experimenting with different arrows and figuring out what your damage limits are. Can you one-shot a human enemy with a regular arrow to the head instead of a precision arrow? Can you take out an elite enemy with a double shot? What if you slot in your best damage mod? Figuring out when you can use cheaper arrows will not only help you avoid crafting shortages, it also helps solidify your game plan when approaching battles.
Complete the Tallneck and Cauldron activities: A lot of Horizon’s side activities are standard fare for open-world games and can be freely skipped. However, Tallneck and Cauldron missions are worth tracking down. Tallnecks are Horizon’s version of towers in Assassin’s Creed and reveal new areas on your map and points of interest. They’re also more fun than AC’s climbing challenges and change up the formula as you progress. Cauldrons are also interesting, and while I don’t want to say much for the sake of spoilers, completing them grants you the ability to override new machine types. Completing all the entries for both activities is worth doing before you finish the story. On the other hand…
You can skip the collectibles: Horizon has four different types of collectibles scattered about the world: vantage points, ancient vessels, metal flowers, and Banuk figures. While the vantage points, in particular, provide a bit more depth to the lore, none of these collectibles are particularly vital; tracking them down will only net you a handful of metal shards and some mod boxes, which won’t matter much in the end-game scenario.
The Hunting Trials probably aren’t worth it either: Aloy will stumble upon several different hunting grounds during her adventure, which offers the opportunity to earn special lodge versions of the war bow, rope caster, and blast sling. These are the most powerful weapon versions in the game but aren’t really worth it in the long run. Why? Well, in order to earn them, you have to complete all 15 trials, under increasingly challenging conditions. Additionally, the weapons are only marginally better than the Shadow versions of those weapons that you’ll have access to relatively early in the game. If you really dig the challenge and variety of the hunting missions, then go for it – otherwise, you can just focus on experimenting with different mod loadouts.