So you’ve chosen to be the Fire Starter, Willow! Willow is a pretty straight forward character in Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together, though she plays differently in single-player than she does in Don’t Starve Together.
Willow is the first unlockable character in Don’t Starve (DS, RoG, SW & HAM) and can be played immediately on Don’t Starve Together (DST).
While Willow doesn’t have any game-breaking perks as Wickerbottom does. Willow doesn’t change too much gameplay, though I find her more useful than other default characters like Wilson and obviously “hard mode” character Wes.
The following guide will take you through all of the aspects of the new refreshed Willow, which took place in 2019.
PERKS AND DEBUFFS
Willow is an interesting character in Don’t Starve Together because she requires players to be a bit more sinister to make use of all of her passive perks.
Willow, for example, is entirely immune to fire damage, in both Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together. The following are the differences between Willow’s perks in Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together.
Willow will receive an exclusive item in both Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together called Willow’s Lighter. Willow’s lighter has a lower light radius than a Torch, but it will protect you from Charlie.
Willow is also able to cook raw foods on her lighter, so make sure to cook all of your Berries, Vegetables and Meats on Willow’s Lighter until you get a chance to build a Crock Pot.
DON’T STARVE (DS, RoG, SW & HAM)
When playing single-player Don’t Starve, Willow players will be given an infinite version exclusive item, Willow’s Lighter. Willow’s Lighter in Don’t Starve will also give Willow 0.6 Sanity per minute when in use and will also provide Willow with a minimal amount of Warmth.
When Willow is by a Fire, she will gain up to 10 Sanity per minute (per fire) but must be standing very close to the fire.
If Willow’s Sanity is 60 or below, Willow will begin setting small fires at her feet. Although the Fires that Willow starts by her feet are small, they can spread and ultimately burn out a camp if the camp doesn’t have Ice Flingomatics.
While the fires that Willow sets can potentially get your Sanity back up, back a better method of raising your Sanity is by placing a few objects on the floor and setting them on fire. The best items to burn include Grass Tufts and Saplings, and while you may be worried that these resources are not renewable, there’s no way you’re going to get through all of them. Players can also extinguish Saplings and Grass Tufts before the 25-second mark, making sure that they do not thoroughly burn.
Stacks count as one object, so players must drop a single item(s) on the floor to fully benefit from Willow’s passive.
DON’T STARVE TOGETHER (DST)
Because Don’t Starve Together includes a Freezing mechanic in Winter, Willow is extra susceptible to freezing. Willow gains and loses Sanity, 1.1x faster and can game up to 11 Sanity per minute per Fire nearby.
Unlike Don’t Starve single-player, Willow’s Lighter has durability and will expire after 600 seconds (10 minutes) of use or by cooking on it 100 times. Though Willow’s Lighter has durability in DST, it can be crafted in the Light Tab and costs 3 Petals, 1 Rope and 1 Gold Nugget.
Willow will receive an extra exclusive item in Don’t Starve Together, which is her teddy bear, Bernie. Bernie is also a craftable item in the Survival tab and will provide WIllow with Warmth and Sanity if he is equipped on Willow’s hand slot.
Bernie can also battle alongside Willow when she is below 15% Sanity. Similar to Tibbers in League of Legends, Bernie will be summoned as a giant BERNIE! when placed on the floor. Bernie’s name will also appear as BERNIE! giving him a 50 Damage buff and 2000 HP. BERNIE! and any other Bernies will become inanimate as soon as players are above 15% Sanity.
BERNIE! will taunt the majority of mobs, though he is not very powerful against Bosses and will not have the ability to do so.
The best use for Bernie is farming Nightmare Fuel as he taunts all Shadow Creatures until they are killed or until he dies. If multiple Bernies are placed on the floor, they will all become animated when Willow is under 15% Sanity; however, only one will grow in size.
Players can choose to craft multiple Bernies with 2 Beard Hair, 2 Beefalo Wool and 2 Silk. If a BERNIE! is already summoned and another player becomes insane; the second Bernie will become active, but will not grow in size. The smaller Bernie can still taunt Shadow Creatures and mobs but only has 1000 HP. Bernie will lose 1% durability for every 10 Damage dealt to him, ultimately becoming “dead” once at 0%. Willow players can either choose to craft another Bernie or can restore him with a Sewing Kit. If Bernie is not sewn back together within 3 days, he will disintegrate, giving players half of the resources it takes to craft.
Bernie cannot be used on the Lunar Island as Sanity doesn’t work the same way.
Willow will also take less damage when Overheating, will cook faster, and will use Fuel more efficiently (50% more effective).
The biggest difference in Willow between Don’t Starve Together and single-player Don’t Starve is that Willow doesn’t set things on fire passively in DST. Not setting things on Fire works for and against you in Don’t Starve Together, especially during Winter. I appreciate the fact that an insane Willow will not burn down my whole base, but ultimately getting rid of that debuff reduces Willow’s consequences a bit too much.
WILLOW IS MOST STRONG WHEN SHE IS INSANE
One of my biggest frustrations with Willow is how insane she has to be to summon BERNIE! BERNIE! is clearly the biggest perk Willow players have, and if players are uncomfortable with becoming Insane to summon BERNIE! they will lose quite a bit of damage.
Whenever players want to grind out mobs or need some extra assistance, I would make sure to eat a few Green Caps to ensure your Sanity is low enough to summon BERNIE!
Players who are too nervous about being Insane while fighting should think about playing Wendy instead, as Wendy still has a bit of a “summoner” vibe, without having to be insane.
Truthfully, after a few tries with Willow, you’ll get the hand of her, BERNIE! does enough Damage to keep Willow safe in most cases, but players may not want to kill the Shadow Creatures too early as doing such will raise Willow’s Sanity too high to keep BERNIE! out.
Willow players will have to learn how to manage their Sanity much more than other players.
WARNINGS FOR WILLOW
Willow’s main issue is her Sanity, especially when playing Don’t Starve Together. Players who choose Willow will have to get used to burning items and Trees for extra Sanity, especially during Winter.
The first Winter will always be much more challenging to get through as Willow in Don’t Starve Together, so make sure that you always have an extra lighter or torch built.
When setting anything on Fire, make sure that there are no other flammable objects nearby. If you set objects on fire by mistake, make sure you take a Hammer or Shovel to them quickly. Willow should be able to pick up the burning object before it turns into Ash, putting the object out once it is in her inventory.
WHO SHOULD I PAIR WITH WILLOW IN DON’T STARVE TOGETHER (DST)?
Willow doesn’t really have any “stans” in Don’t Starve Together, though several people suggest that Willow be paired with Wickerbottom, because of BERNIE! and Bernie will taunt Shadow Creatures away from her while she spams Applied Horticulture or similar books. Truthfully, a pairing between Willow and Wickerbottom doesn’t really extend past protection from Shadow Creatures.
Other suggestions include pairing Willow up with Webber and Wilson since they drop the ingredients required to make Bernie. In most cases, players will have more difficulty collecting Beard Hair than Silk as Spiders are a terribly easy resource to farm.
If players Willow is not paired up with Wilson, Beard Hair will require players to become insane to kill Beardlings.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON WILLOW
Willow is a great default character and simply provides a different playstyle than other default characters. If you’re someone who has issues with having Torches on hand, I guess Willow can be your chicka, especially in single-player.
If you’re someone who likes playing a summoner type class, try out Willow in Don’t Starve Together. She can be extremely powerful when played well, especially after the rework on her.
Though Willow’s stats don’t have buffs, her debuffs are easy to work with and quite frankly can work to your advantage depending on how aggressively you play Willow.
I’m curious, what do you think about Willow? What do you find the most challenging? If you’re an old player, what do you think of her rework? Let me know in the comments below!