Horizon Zero Dawn: XP, Skills, Crafting, Weapons and Equipment Guide

Complete side quests

Horizon Zero Dawn is generous with quest XP, so if you put some effort into completing a few side quests, it will save you the grind of the main story.

And even if you get minimal loot, even the simplest side quests in Horizon Zero Dawn will allow you to gain a lot of experience. For some, you can even get extra skill points – this is even more useful. You will be able to pump all the skills long before you run out of quests.

Check your quest menu and see if you can complete something in close proximity – each quest has a distance indicator. New side quests and quests can be picked up at locations marked on the map and on-screen UI with green exclamation marks. Usually, in every non-gangster village marked on the map with an icon with three houses, you can take at least a couple of quests.

And don’t forget the weapon training. It opens with each purchase of a new weapon. Some of these quests can be completed in less than 5 minutes with a very easy experience.

Use concentration for accurate shooting

Concentration is an essential skill. It is activated by pressing R3 (right stick) while aiming with a bow (L2). Time slows down, increasing the chance of hitting small moving targets.

This is especially important when you start facing really dangerous armored vehicles with very small weak points. Getting into those tiny vents and tanks can be very difficult.

Concentration can be upgraded with two support skills, Concentration+ and Quick Reload. They increase the duration of the skill and speed up the actions with the weapon when it is active, respectively. Both skills would be great additions.

The Hunter’s Reflex skill will also be useful for those who like to use concentration. It provides a similar effect when aiming a bow while sliding or jumping. Basically, this means you don’t have to wait for Focus to cool down – just jump or slide and you’re back in business before the cooldown runs out.

Double and triple shot are your best friends

Stealth and knocking out enemies one by one is great. But there will come a time when you will have to fight something too big for any of these tactics. Then double and triple shots will come in handy for you.

Arrows have an advantage over sling projectiles – they can be accurately aimed with the Concentration skill, which allows you to shoot parts from cars and hit weak spots like ventilation grills even in a difficult situation. Also, they are much quieter if you want to be more stealthy.

Unfortunately, bows can’t deal the same amount of damage or create an elemental nightmare as slings – unless you can fire two or three shots at the same time. And, perhaps most importantly, most of the fire-resistant enemies from the three fireballs will still catch fire, burning to the ground while you quietly laugh in the grass on the other side of the hill. Nicely.

The triple effect also works for the base damage of hunting or precision arrows when you spot an enemy weak spot or take a headshot, and allows you to dismantle vehicles very quickly with flail arrows.

Kill every animal you see

While traveling through the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, it is very easy to stab nearby foxes, raccoons, wild boars, turkeys and rabbits with your spear. And this must be done, even if it hurts you to look at their torment.

Animal remains are used to craft inventory upgrades, and trust me, you will definitely need to expand your inventory as quickly as possible to get more ammo and consumables. Some later upgrades require rare (blue) items rather than common (grey) or uncommon (green) items. If you collect everything you can during your travels, this will save you from searching for resources in the future.

Animal loot can also be sold to merchants or traded for fast travel kits, but don’t underestimate meat as a starting resource for healing potions – a vital support in case you get stuck in a dungeon or a serious fight and can’t collect flowers for a health kit. You can learn how to brew potions of healing from your creepy trophies in the tools and potions section of your crafting menu. That’s why they are red. Brrr.

unlock new weapons as quickly as possible

Leveling up helps unlock new skills, but all of the difficulty in Horizon Zero Dawn comes from gear: tougher enemies can be dealt with much more easily with the right tools.

The main weapon types in the base Horizon Zero Dawn are: Hunting Bow, Precision Bow, Combat Bow, Nitem Thrower, Sling, Explosive Sling, Rattler, and Rope Launcher. There are several versions of each: Nora gear (green, uncommon), more impressive Carja variants (blue, rare), and even better Shadow weapons (purple, very rare).

Starting equipment can only fire one type of elemental ammo, but Carja weapons can fire two, and Dire weapons three different types of projectiles. So when you upgrade, you will have a lot more variety of tactics.

The exception to this rule is the Rope Launcher – the higher the rarity of your Rope Launcher, the more powerful enemies it can bind and the faster it works. Therefore, it is obvious that it is also worth improving.

Completing the Hunter’s House quests will give you slightly better versions of the three main weapon types. They don’t have new ammo types, but their reload and aim speeds are better than Dire weapons, so it’s worth getting them if possible. As you start Frozen Wilds, be sure to find Blue Gems weapons, and try to upgrade the three new elemental weapons that are unlocked during the main quest.

Use the case system to get good equipment faster

Apart from a few quest rewards, all weapons in the game can be purchased from vendors. The further you go from the starting location, the more powerful options will be available.

As discussed in the previous section, you should always try to acquire the best equipment as quickly as possible. But to buy the very best, you need more than just shards. Merchants will need things – sometimes quite rare.

Luckily, you can use the “create business” function on the trade screen to move this objective to your quest menu. Set it as active and go to a suitable machine hunting ground to complete faster.

The to-do system not only lets you create a to-do list and tells you where to go, it also notifies you when you pick up something you need, eliminating the need to rummage through every corpse. It may even increase the drop rate of a particular item – although it’s possible that it’s just that you start to pay more attention to items that you used to just sell without thinking.

Complete the Hunting Grounds quests

Many open world games have optional quests to test your skills. But unlike many of its competitors, Horizon Zero Dawn doesn’t require you to have a perfect reaction: it tests your brain first. Deal with the puzzle in each of the Hunting Grounds and you’ll be well-prepared for the rest of the game.

Each of the challenges in the arenas of the Hunting Grounds can be easily and quickly dealt with with the right equipment and tactics, and once you figure out what the “secret” of each of them is, the time limits will seem quite adequate to you.

The caretakers will give small hints, and you can buy the appropriate equipment from the merchants nearby. It’s not necessarily more powerful, and better gear won’t win you a few seconds, but it’s worth taking a look at the vendor’s wares anyway for a hint on what to use.

Don’t rush into battle right away! Observe the location and behavior of the enemies, carefully consider the choice of your starting position. It is important.

Effective use of stealth – evasion and reconnaissance

Despite the fact that all serious enemies will have to be dealt with in open combat, stealth is one of the most powerful tools in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Although enemies can hear Aloy’s movements and her weapons (the symbols around the eye icon indicate how much noise she makes), they do not go into full combat readiness until they have a good view of her. Move out of sight before the alarm symbol turns completely red and you are not seen. You can use any surrounding objects and just climb up to hide from the enemy.

Long, red-tipped grass camouflages you if the enemy is not alert, but even in a tense situation, you can use it to your advantage. If you find a large enough area, you can use it to get out of the enemy’s search area – sometimes even if he saw you enter.

Since both machines and humans are almost always encountered in groups, stealth allows you to control aggression by thinking about the strategy for fighting them. Mark each enemy with the Visor, find out their weak points and eliminate those who have strayed from a safe distance. If they start looking for you, find another hiding place.

Effective use of stealth – silent attack, bait and stones

The AI ​​in Horizon Zero Dawn is pretty dumb, and after buying a few upgrades, stealth becomes incredibly effective against almost all but the biggest enemies.

Silent attack allows you to kill weak enemies in one go, and with a few upgrades, it deals serious damage to everyone else. When fully upgraded, she is able to kill any person with one blow.

For best results, combine Silent Attack with Lure. This cheap skill allows you to target one enemy and call for a quick kill. If you quickly return to cover, you will not be seen, and if you lure the enemy into the middle of a patch of grass, they will not even see his body.

Stones have the opposite function – they can be used to drive one enemy or group away from you in any direction. This is very useful when you are trying to position yourself in the middle of a group without drawing their attention, or to prevent a stubborn enemy from bumping into you while patrolling.

Wear the right gear and don’t forget about resistance potions

At the start of Horizon Zero Dawn, when you’re stalking the shadows killing Watchers and Runners, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of elemental resistance, but it’s critical. There will come a time when you will inevitably need to face the enemy in open combat, and although we are sure that such an experienced gamer will be able to dodge all attacks, it is always better to stay safe, right?

There is no reason to forego health and resistance potions – the materials for crafting them are more than enough, so drink them before every serious fight. A large flock of kites? Cold resistance will help you. Nowhere to run from the angry Behemoths? Power up against Electricity.

Likewise, don’t forget to change clothes and modify them for boosting bonuses. It is quite possible to sacrifice a stylish look for a few minutes to become almost completely invulnerable to fire. And yes, if you are a fan of completely silent actions, the Silent Hunter armor looks silly, but works just fine, especially if it is modified.

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