The Year of the Varg is an event in Don't Starve Together, lasting from February 9 until March 16, 2018. It is inspired by the Chinese Year of the Dog, which started from February 16, 2018, and continues until February 4, 2019. In the Chinese zodiac, each year is related to an animal in a 12-year cycle.
It is similar to the Year of the Gobbler event, which came in the year before, and shares mechanics with it, such as the Offerings crafting tab, and most craftable items from that event. However, there were several additions and differences implemented into the event, especially concerning the obtainment of Lucky Gold Nuggets. Spring Chests have a chance of dropping in place of Classy items as part of the weekly skin drops.
During the Year of the Varg event, the Knitted Puppy HatSkin is given to players upon opening the game.
Players can revisit this event by setting Events to Year of the Varg in the world creation menu. Event-only themed skins will be disabled when revisiting the event.
The Varg Shrine is a craftable Structure located in the Structures Tab, and requires 8 Gold Nuggets and 2 Boards to craft. It is always available to craft and does not require prototyping. Offering a Torch to the Varg Shrine will grant players access to the Offerings Tab where they are able to acquire event-specific items using Lucky Gold Nuggets.
While a Torch is in the Shrine, its fuel usage rate is multiplied by 0.2 - so a Torch with 100% durability, which would usually last for 75 seconds, will last for 375 seconds (6.25 minutes) instead. Once the Torch runs out, the Varg Shrine will no longer be active.
Clay Vargs spawn from Suspicious Dirt Piles like normal Vargs do if there is an activated Varg Shrine in the world. They will appear as a statue surrounded by twelve Clay Hounds and will wake up if a player approaches them and stays in front of the Clay Varg for an extended period of time. Clay Vargs have the same health and fighting stats as normal Vargs, but will drop 4-6 Red Pouches instead of Monster Meat. They additionally drop 1-3 Hound's Teeth.
Unlike normal Vargs, Clay Vargs are unable to summon Clay Hounds or regular Hounds. They cannot be set on fire or put to sleep.
Clay Hounds spawn from Suspicious Dirt Piles in two groups of six next to the Clay Varg. They share the same health and fighting stats with regular Hounds, except for being a little slower. Upon being killed, they have a 20% chance to drop a Red Pouch and a 10% chance to drop a Hound's Tooth.
Clay Hounds cannot be set on fire or put to sleep.
Items can be obtained from the Offerings Tab when standing next to an activated Varg Shrine, each of them having a different function. Similar to the Ancient Tab and the Ancient Pseudoscience Station, these items cannot be prototyped and then made on the go in the future; in order to craft an item under this tab, the player must always be near a Varg Shrine.
The following items can be crafted only at the Varg Shrine:
Lucky Whistles can be acquired in exchange for 3 Lucky Gold Nuggets at the Varg Shrine. Blowing the whistle will tame nearby Hounds (including Clay Hounds) for 40 seconds. Tamed Hounds will follow the player around, but will not attack them. However, they will still attack other Mobs as they normally would. A player can only have five Hounds tamed at a time. The Lucky Whistle can be used ten times.
“A picture of a sculpture. We'll need somewhere to make it.”
Clay Hound Figure Sketches and Clay Varg Figure Sketches can be acquired at the Varg Shrine in exchange for 8 Lucky Gold Nuggets and 16 Lucky Gold Nuggets, respectively. They can then be given to a Potter's Wheel to be able to sculpt Hound Figures and Varg Figures.
Varg Figures and Hound Figures can be crafted from the Sculpt Tab after acquiring their respective Sketches from the Varg Shrine and giving them to a Potter's Wheel. Depending on whether the player chooses to place 1 Marble, 1 Cut Stone or 1 Moon Shard on the wheel before sculpting, the resulting Figure will be white, black or translucent green. Varg Figures additionally require 2 Rocks and 2 Hound's Teeth to craft, while the Hound Figures require 2 Rocks and 1 Hound's Tooth.
Similar to Chess Pieces, Varg and Hound Figures can be carried around on the players' backs and can be used for decorational purposes.
The event was originally announced to end on March 1, 2018. However, on that day, the event was extended to March 16.
During the time of the event, the theme in the main menu of the game is slightly different by being mixed with Chinese instruments.
The Hound Figure's crafting description ("It ain't nothing but a clay hound dog.") is a reference to the Elvis Presley song "Hound Dog".
The two Vargling skins introduced with the Year of the Varg event (the Purebred and Pedigree Varglings) resemble two dog breeds believed to originate from China (the Chow Chow and Shih Tzu, respectively).
According to Rhymes with Play #179, the reason that the new Clay Hounds and Vargs in the event are earthen-themed is because the developers discovered that the Chinese lunar year that the event was held in (2018) was associated with the element of earth.