How to Determine the best location for your Main Base - The Forest
On this page you will find all of the information you need for determining the best location to build your main base or one of your alternative bases. The first and arguably most important part of making your main base is the location you choose. Prior to determining your main base's location, however, you'll need to ask yourself some questions. I've included these questions below which will help you narrow down the sort of location you want.
1. Are you playing with Building Destruction on or off? If you are playing with it on then you want at least one base (preferably your main one) away from enemies and away from attacks. This is the base that will be your primary storage location so you absolutely do not want it to be destroyed.
2. Do you want Mutants or Cannibals to attack your main base at all? Building on water means that only 1 enemy in the game will be able to reach you, the Worm. This enemy is extremely rare and doesn't spawn till Day 40. More about this later.
3. Are you playing with Trees Regrowing on or off? If you want to build a large base then turn on Tree Regrowth. It will be a nightmare otherwise.
4. Would you like to build a compound or are you aiming for something practical and that's it?
5. What resources would you like your main base to be close to?
These are all of the many questions you have to ask yourself prior to building your main base and only you will have the appropriate answers. Below I have included two maps that will help you make the important decision about where to place your base; the top one is a map by Spessman on the Steam Forums (full credit to him) which has different areas on the map shaded depending on their difficulty. Follow the link to the original post for more information about what each number means.
As for the bottom map, it includes many of the Cannibal patrol routes in the game - this will help you understand where the enemies primarily patrol and help you avoid (or find) them easily. This map was created by Farket, a popular Youtuber for The Forest and it will help you determine where the safest locations to build are.
Click to enlarge. Full credit for this image goes to Spessman on the Steam Forums.
Tip: If you completely block a Cannibal patrol route they will often go a different direction and not around your blockade.
Tip: If you've completely blocked off all routes into the area where you are making your base no wildlife will spawn inside. This is how you can tell if your base is secure. Birds are the exception, they'll still land in your base even if there is no route in. Sometimes there are exceptions to this rule, like if you build your base at a location with multiple different cliff elevations. The game will not register them all as walled off despite the fact that your wall protects all of them (or should).
Now I have given you all of the information that you need for picking your base location. Let's look at the locations I chose for my bases and why I chose them.
As you can see from my map above I have multiple types of locations marked out. If you'd like to make a town or a fort in this game there are two prime locations to do so, the first is the southwestern peninsula and the second is the eastern plateau near the Fertile Lands. In my The Forest videos where I show off my town it's built on the eastern plateau marked above.
If you are reading this guide and you are still on days 1 - 5 I would recommend that your first base be a House Boat which you keep near the Yacht in the southern portion of the map. This is typically the best location for the first week ingame after which you can expand to a more permanent residence.
Key for Map Marks:
#1 Geese Lake: A favorite location by many since there are many nearby resources and you can build on a lake. Enemies in this game can not swim (except the Worm) so you'll be almost completely safe if you build near this lake (if you build ontop of it you'll be completely safe). My house at Geese Lake is built up against the rock wall along the northern end of the lake; the only enemies that can damage it are Armsy, Cowmen and Virginias that fall off the cliff and land near my house foundation. There is a Rebreather Cave Entrance in the middle of the lake so I try not to cover that up, however in the process you make yourself more vulnerable since you can't place your house in the center of the lake.
#2 Southeast Lake: This is the easier of the two lakes to build your house on. In the center of the lake there is a large rock which you can use as your foundation. Build a Small Raft and two log holders on the raft to carry them to the foundation as you build it. This house will be completely safe from all enemies except the Worm.
Croc: Depending on how long you plan to play this game will determine whether or not you should setup a small base on this lake. Many Crocodiles spawn in the areas surrounding this lake and each Crocodile gives you 4 Lizard Skins when you skin them. Lizard Skins and be worn as armor and are arguably much easier to farm up than Bones for Bone Armor. I personally wore Lizard Skins throughout the entire game because Bones were too hard to come by and what bones I did get I used for Bone Arrows. Want to see my Crocodile Lake Base? Check out my video for an idea of what to make here.
Tip: You can build a Large Raft and a House Boat next to each other on a lake as a base as well. The only downside is you'll be limited on space if you do this and they aren't ideal for a main base setup.
Basically what it all comes down to is the questions I told you to ask yourself at the top of the page. If all you care about is setting up a base away from enemies and beating the game then make a Main Base at the #2 location on my map above and setup House Boats on Croc Lake, in the purple circle on the bottom left of my map and at the #1 area on my map. All you need is a Small Bed and Drying Rack inside of the House Boat. I'd recommend a Water Collector on shore where you typically park your boat as well as a Birdhouse or two as well.
The House Boats are there for rest stops and resupply stops before and after raiding caves across the island. As the map above shows you'll also want to make a House Boat off the southeastern shore so that you can collect the four optional Blueprints in the game. If you want to collect them of course.
After you've decided a location for your base the next most important thing is what you're going to place inside of it. Since it's another buttload of information I have put that in a different guide, head over to my Main Base Amenities Guide for more information on everything you should build for your base.