The Hill-Top Farm is a unique map fit for budding miners. If you’ve ever wanted to focus more on Mining, you should give this map a try. Here’s our breakdown of everything you need to know about the Hill-Top Farm!
How To Select the Hill-Top Farm
There’s no way to swap farm maps after starting a game, but if you want to try out this farm map, head over to the New Game screen. The Hill-Top Farm is the fourth farm map listed.
An Overview of the Layout
To learn more about the structure of the Hill-Top Farm, check out this screenshot and our breakdown of the layout below:
The Hill-Top Farm can be said to consist of three distinct areas. The first third of the map is at the very top. This is where your farmer’s house, the Greenhouse, and the Cave are. This is a rather small area, with only a little bit of arable land for crops.
You can get to the second section of the map by going down some stairs. This area is almost all tillable soil, but there are a lot of Large Stumps and Boulders that make farming difficult. Sometimes, during map generation, these Logs and Boulders can prevent you from easily reaching the third part of the map, as can be seen in the above screenshot on two of the bridges.
The final section of the map contains a small pond, a lot of tillable areas, and a quarry. This is almost entirely unique to this map, except for a smaller quarry that can be found in the Four Corner’s Map. Like in the second area, there are a lot of Large Logs and Boulders here that can stop you from planting crops or building structures until you get the tools to remove them.
The quarry generates Stone, Ore, Geode nodes, and Gem Nodes every four days. This can be a consistent and dependable source of Geodes in the early game. Cracked geodes can contain minerals, artifacts, Earth Crystals, and basic resources like Clay, Coal, and Ore.
The Advantages of the Hill-Top Farm
1. Focus on Mining
The concept behind the Hill-Top Farm is a focus on Mining. The map itself contains a Quarry, almost entirely unique to this farm map, and the map is broken up into pieces, preventing you from being able to fully rely on farming. There is space for Barns, Coops, and crops, but far less than on other maps. This farm map still has more tillable soil than the Forest Farm and the Riverland Farm, if only slightly. However, the Forest Farm has more buildable space overall.
While the Quarry is useful to be sure, you’ll want to navigate to the Mines themselves to really get the most out of this skill. The Mine becomes available after day four and from then on, you may want to spend most of your days there improving your skill.
Early-level mining can be quite tough. You won’t have access to food that can keep your Health and Energy up, let alone food that can boost your mining skill. Furthermore, you start the game with very little backpack space. Spending just a few hours in the mine usually yields a lot of items, and in the early game, you won’t have a place to put them.
Because of this, you’ll need to, at first, rely on other skills to earn money. Fishing and farming are great ways to earn cash in the early game. Once you can afford it, you should upgrade your backpack at Pierre’s General Store and your Pickaxe at the Blacksmith. Once you have more backpack space, and enough money to upgrade your Pickaxe, you can more readily focus on the Mine.
2. Access to a Quarry
The Quarry you find on this farm map is a smaller version of the Quarry you can unlock in Pelican Town. To unlock the large Quarry, you need to complete the Crafts Room bundle in the Community Center. The items you need can all be found by foraging and mining, which are two skills encouraged by the Hill-Top Farm.
The fact that there are not a lot of space crops requires you to focus more on other avenues for earning profit. Foraging, mining, and Fishing are all ways you can earn money without relying on crops specifically.
Tilling artifact spots in the Quarry often leads to gathering Clay. Clay is used to craft the Silo, very useful if you plan on raising animals, as well as to craft water Retaining Soil and Garden Pots.
3. Can Catch Mountain Fish
Though Fishing isn’t the focus of this farm map, one excellent feature of the Hill-Top Farm is that you can catch Mountain Fish here. Normally, you would need to travel all the way North of Pelican Town to catch these fish.
The Sturgeon is a very difficult fish to catch, but a high-quality Sturgeon is great for the Luau and produces highly valued Caviar when raised in a Fish Pond. Midnight Carp can only be caught very late at night, so it’s very useful that you can catch them in your backyard. Midnight Carp are used in the recipe for Seafoam Pudding, a dish that increases your Fishing skill by +4!
4. Easier to Fix Boiler Room
Once you complete any two bundles in the Community Center, you’ll be prompted to complete the Boiler Room. This project requires all manner of resources found in the mine, from metal bars to gems and monster loot.
Some of these items can be difficult to get if you haven’t spent a lot of the game in the mines. In particular, Fire Quartz can be quite rare, and generally require you to forage on floors 81-119. A casual miner would not get so deep into the mines very quickly. Luckily, farmers on the Hill-Top farm should have been spending plenty of time in the mines and have gotten most of these items before the bundle appears.
Fixing the Boiler Room opens up minecarts in Pelican Town. This is a form of fast travel that can get you from the bus stop next to the farm all the way over to the Quarry in the mountains, to the blacksmith, and to the mines themselves. This convenient form of travel will make your day-to-day a lot easier!
The Disadvantages of the Hill-Top Farm
1. Limited Farming Area
The Hill-Top farm has about 1600 tillable tiles, more than half the amount that the Standard Farm possesses. Moreover, the farm map has a little over 900 non-tillable, but buildable, tiles. All in all this means that the map is the opposite of spacious, and not very good for farming at all.
Most crop layouts are designed so that crops are arranged in a square shape, to make it easier to automate watering with sprinklers. The strange layout of this farm map makes that difficult.
2. Difficult to Maneuver
This is probably the worst map available in terms of openness and free movement. A long river winds through Hill-Top Farm, separating the map into two halves. To get from one half to the other, you’ll have to cross one of three bridges. Sometimes, during map generation, Large Logs, Large Stumps, and Boulders will generate on one side of the bridges, making it impossible to cross them.
If you get really unlucky with the map generation, you might even be locked out of the second portion of your farm map entirely until you upgrade your tools. It’s possible, if unlikely, that all three bridges are blocked by obstacles. In our screenshot depicting the layout above, two of the three bridges are inaccessible.
If there is a Large Stump in your way, like in the screenshot below, you need a Copper Axe. If a Large Log blocks your path, you need a Steel Axe. To remove a Boulder, you need a Steel Pickaxe.
3. Not Great For Fishing
The Hill-Top Farm is no fisherman’s paradise. About half of the time you fish on this farm map, you’ll end up catching Trash. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid choosing this map if you’re a fan of fishing, though. After all, there are plenty of great fishing spots in Pelican Town for you to visit.
More importantly, fishing up Trash can sometimes be a good thing. Trash can be recycled into more useful items with the Recycling Machine. Recycling Newspapers can even lead to you getting some wool, something that would normally require a Deluxe Barn or Deluxe Coop to get!
How to Earn Money on the Hill-Top Farm
1. Craft and Sell Metal Bars
Ore doesn’t seem like it can earn you a lot of money, but it can! If you spend a long time in the mine, over time you will build up a huge stock of Copper, Iron, and Gold. These can be smelted into metal bars at the Furnace and then sold.
To maximize profits from Ore and Bars, you’ll want to grab two particular Mining professions. The first one, at level five, is called Miner. Miners get +1 ore per mining vein. This is a graet investment over time, as you’ll get a lot more ore than normal. The second profession you’ll want is Blacksmith. You can select this profession at level ten if you previously took Miner. Blacksmith’s Metal Bars are worth 50% more.
In terms of numbers, one Copper Bar is normally worth just 60 gold, but a Blacksmith’s bar is worth 90. Gold, which is relatively easy to find and craft into a bar, is worth 375 gold per bar when you’re a Blacksmith. The one inconvenient constraint to earning a lot of money this way is the fact that smelting ore takes a while. To craft one Gold bar, you’ll need 5 hours in the Furnace. You can combat this by having multiple furnaces.
2. Replicate and Sell Gems
Another way to earn money by mining is by collecting and selling gems. Unlike ore and bars, Gems are worth a lot of money on their own. However, you can maximize your profits by grabbing two particular mining professions at levels five and ten.
At level five, you can select the Geologist profession. With this profession, any gem node you crack has a chance of producing two gems instead of one. At level ten, you can select the Gemologist profession, which increases the worth of gems by 30%.
There are eight gems in the game, all of different worth. The least valuable gem is Topaz, which sells for 104 gold with the Gemologist profession. The most valuable gems are Diamonds and Prismatic Shards. Shards are quite rare, but they can be sold for 2600 gold if you’re a Gemologist. Diamonds, less rare, are still worth an impressive 975 gold a pop.
There are also many Geode Minerals, such as Star Shards, Dolomite, Tigerseye, and more, which are also affected by the Gemologist profession. You can earn a lot of money if you’re a Gemologist with a lot of Geodes to crack.
Rather than sell every gem and mineral you collect, you can invest in Crystalariums. You can place a gem of high value in the Crystalarium, such as the Diamond, and continuously produce Diamonds. Gems of higher value take longer to reproduce, and Diamonds require 5 days to replicate.
3. Conquer the Skull Cavern
Once you’ve reached the bottom of the Pelican Town’s mine, you’ll find a Skeleton Key which unlocks the Mine in the Calico Desert – the Skull Cavern.
The Skull Cavern is a much more difficult version of the normal mine. Enemies are deadlier and more numerous. There is no elevator, so your progress does not get saved.
In return, the Skull Cavern offers many benefits. Namely, this is the best place for finding Iridium Ore. You may find Iridium Nodes past level 30 in the Skull Cavern. Iridium Bars are used to craft the strongest versions of all of your tools as well as a plethora of useful items and tools such as the previously mentioned Iridium Sprinklers and Crystalariums.
Your chance to get Prismatic Shards is a lot higher in the Cavern than in other places. Iridium Nodes have a 4% chance of dropping one, and the rare Mystic Stones have an even higher, 25% chance of doing so. Many enemies have a percent chance to drop them, such as Serpents and Mummies. Treasure Rooms in the Skull Cavern have a 4% chance of containing Prismatic Shards. Finally, Omni Geodes have a 0.4% chance to contain them, and they are plentiful in the Cavern.
Is the Hill-Top Farm Worth it?
All in all, the Hill-Top Farm is a solid choice if you want to try something new on your next playthrough. The lack of farming area may force you to look to other skills for earning money, which can be refreshing for someone who’s played this game many times before.