In Horizon Zero Dawn, you're expected to be fairly self-sufficient by gathering the resources and items you need from machines and crafting your own supplies. But every now and then, especially in the beginning, it can be in your best interest to trade with merchants.
Merchants are useful for saving yourself some time, obtaining items that can’t be crafted or found in the wild, and for some useful quality of life upgrades. If you’re just starting out or you haven’t given much thought to what the merchants offer then here’s why you should give them a second look.
10 Shard Gambler’s Box
Most players will overlook this item in the beginning and as you start progressing, it’ll become worthless, but it’s something to consider when you find yourself low on shards. A Shard Gambler’s Box costs 10 metal shards and can potentially reward you with anything from a single rock to 250 metal shards.
It’s gambling so obviously, the odds of getting more than you put into it are low, but fans have reported that dropping the 10 metal shards every now and then has yielded some surprises and been worth it in the long run. Just don’t sink too much into this.
As you learn the robot’s weaknesses and get more efficient at fighting, you’ll find yourself swimming in a pool of resources you don’t know what to do with. But at times, if you aren’t feeling up to the grind, don’t want to face a particular beast, or just want to top of your stash then buying resources from merchants can be a great way to save time.
You can find merchants that sell everything from Blaze to Chillwater allowing you to craft a variety of powerful ammunition. If you don’t feel like going toe to toe with a Snapmaw or can’t be bothered to kill a fox then just buy what you need.
You’ll likely be purchasing potions at the beginning of the game when you’re less equipped to fight the robots and your satchel can only hold a few in the first place. Even in the latter part of the game when you’re ignoring potion drops you can still find yourself stocking up at merchants for the simple convenience of it.
It can get tedious tracking down the right plants in the wild to craft your own potions and if you have more metal shards than you know what to do with you might as well put them to use while you’re in town.
7 Modification Boxes
For 100 metal shards, you can buy a Modification Box that has a randomized chance of containing useful coils to put in your weapons and weaves for your outfits. You are guaranteed to get at least one common of each so it can be worth it if you find yourself with empty slots at the beginning of the game.
Later when your metal shard stash is larger you want to upgrade to Special Modification Boxes which cost 1,350 metal shards. It is guaranteed to drop at least a very rare coil and has a small chance of dropping an equally rare weave.
6 Mystery Boxes
Found exclusively at Mystery Boxes Merchants these are Treasure Boxes that can contain a number of useful items. Outlaw Light Boxes cost a Slagshine Glass, a human drop, and provide you with three to six shock, blast, and detonating blast traps.
Some boxes like the Mysterious Box can only be purchased once and others like the Hunter Boxes probably aren’t worth the Luminous Braiding in exchange for a chance at machine cores, but poke around and see if any are of benefit for you and definitely get the one time boxes as they’re always worth the cost.
5 Banuk Boxes
Banuk Boxes are similar to Mystery Boxes, but much more valuable and much more costly. All boxes require Bluegleam to purchase which can be found on frozen machines and in ruins and only 100 are available in a single game.
Bluegleam can’t be used for anything else so go crazy buying these boxes whenever you find any. Banuk Snowfall Boxes cost two Bluegleam but yield 500 metal shards, two Crystal Braiding, and two Luminous Braiding. The Banuk Gambler’s Box is also a good one as it costs one Bluegleam and yields you 50 Shard Gambler’s Boxes which at worst will give you 50 metal shards and at most 12,500 metal shards.
The absolute best thing you can purchase for loot gathering and if you want to get into boxes are maps. These will give the player approximate locations for a variety of collectibles and resources that can be traded for a large number of boxes.
The Bluegleam map will help you locate Bluegleam for the Banuk Box Merchants and only costs 250 metal shards, one badger bone, and one goat skin. The Metal Flower Map can help you find Metal Flowers that are traded for treasure boxes and so on. Buy these whenever you find them as getting them sooner saves you a lot of searching.
Unlike most other objects in the game outfits, with a few exceptions, can only be acquired through Merchants. There are a good number of outfits in the game and each has unique perks and benefits that make it worthwhile to carry a few on you for varying situations.
For example, a Nora Survivor outfit will provide resistances to elemental attacks and a Nora Protector outfit will give increased resistance to melee damage. The best outfits are expensive and well worth the time to save up and purchase.
While outfits are certainly useful and required for survival, weapons are undoubtedly more important and once again are largely only acquired through Merchants. There are a lot of weapons that can be purchased and each are useful for certain fights or for certain playstyles.
Most of your resources will be reserved and go towards buying the best weapons to give yourself more options and firepower. At the very least you will be visiting merchants to buy these tools of war.
1 Golden Fast Travel Pack
Arguably the most useful thing you can purchase from the Merchants is the Golden Fast Travel Pack. Prior to obtaining this item you must use Fast Travel Packs which are consumed every time you use them which will chip away at your wealth reserves and require you to gather Rich Meat and Ridge wood to purchase or Bony and Fatty Meat to craft.
A Golden Fast Travel Pack costs 50 metal shards, one Fox Skin, and 10 Fatty Meat and will allow you to fast travel an unlimited number of times. After a dozen or so uses it’ll break even, and it saves you a lot of time hunting animals for meat. Buy this as soon as you can.