Everything you do in Death Stranding revolves around making deliveries. Simple tasks and major plot points all involve strapping something to your back and bringing it to point A to point B. But if a delivery doesn’t advance the plot, is it worth it?
Turns out, making more deliveries and increasing your connection with anyone who makes requests, from important story characters to lowly NPCs tucked away on top of mountains, make a difference.
Why you should always take on orders
No matter where are in the game, if there’s a terminal, there’s an order waiting for you. Plot-centric orders that will advance the story will be listed under orders for Sam. These will have glowing text and a star next to them in your Orders menu.
Less important but still valuable orders that to increase your relationship with others will be listed as standard orders. These request won’t advance the main plot, but they do have several benefits.
The most obvious is an increase in your relationship with the request giver, signified by a five-star rating you have between them. The more orders you do, and the higher porter grade you have, the more likes they will give you upon order completion. As you gain likes, you’ll increase that star rating. The more stars you have with that person, the better relationship you have with them. So what are some of the benefits to those increased relationships?
If a character offers up a piece of gear for you, be it new equipment, weapons, or anything else, you can level up that item through deliveries. As your grow a stronger bond with them by completing multiple standard orders for them, they’ll eventually reward you. In time, each quest giver will level up the item they make for you, which means you’ll eventually be able to craft more efficient and better versions of that gear.
Not only that, but those quest givers will periodically send you mail that will further elaborate on the wider story of Death Stranding. Each of them offers a unique perspective on the events, secondary characters, or the weird phenomenon in the game. You’ll learn most of what you need to know through major cutscenes and conversations, but these additional pieces of mail will often shed more light on questions you have. Very important aspects will be highlighted in yellow to let you know that’s a line or two worth reading if you’re skimming.
You can certainly beat Death Stranding without leveling up your relationships or by doing more than the required deliveries — but in a game all about making connections, why would you stop yourself from investing in more of them?
The payoffs for maxing out levels with certain secondary or tertiary characters may not lead to bombshell reveals like the story’s main characters, but with a story as complex as Death Stranding, it pays to know as much as you can. Plus, some of the upgraded gear and items from other characters can radically change how the game feels, so it’s worth investing in the characters who make the gear you like to use.