Sunday, February 14, 2021

Is That All You Got?

As Wilhelm pointed out in yesterday's comments, you can futz about in Valheim playing house for as long as you like but if you have any ambitions beyond living in a cabin in the woods, eventually you're going to have to knuckle down and do what the raven tells you. And the first thing Hugin insists on is that you challenge and defeat Eikthyr, the horned forest god.

I'd been putting it off. I'm not a big fan of boss fights at the best of times and I was having far too much fun chopping down trees to relish a tough battle I might well have to repeat a few times. Reading Wilhelm's account of his struggles with darkness, adds and multiple deaths didn't exactly fill me with confidence, either. 

It seemed as though the acepted method was to attack with a spear and defend with a shield. The only problem was I didn't have either.

Combat in Valheim is exceptionally simple, at least at the start. Left mouse to attack, middle mouse for your weapon's special, right mouse to block. You can block with whatever you like but naturally a shield has the best bonuses.

So far I'd not found any reason to block or defend. Everything I'd fought seemed quite willing to die without doing me too much damage. Half the time I'd been sneaking up behind things, hitting middle mouse, leaping like a ninja and one-shotting them with my flint knife's massive backstab multiplier.

I doubted Eikthyr would stand still for that. Still, I wasn't convinced about the spear. It's not a weapon I favor in any game. I went to my workbench, pulled up the recipes and compared the stats. Without the backstab bonus it didn't seem likely the knife was going to do the job but there seemed precious little advantage in using the spear over the flint axe, which appeared to do at least as much damage.

Since I already had some skill in the axe I decided to stick with that. I thought I'd best learn to block all the same so I made myself a tower shield. It looked like a rusted sheet of corrugated iron. Or maybe a coal-shed door.


It also reduced my movement speed by a fifth. I stumped off through the woods to find some boars to train on but boars are never there when you need them. I found a few but although they did keep coming in to atack they spent more time backing off. 

After what seemed like far too long I'd only added three points to my block skill. I'd probably have given up if it wasn't for a run-in with a Greyling. They're everywhere and I'm so used to despatching them with a single hit I hadn't really paid attention to their behavior but it's almost robotic. 

If you don't fight back, a greyling comes at you three times, attacking. Then it dances back, does a quarter turn and comes again from a different direction. It keeps doing that until it's completed a full circle, making three attacks each time. There's a random chance it might reverse direction on any turn, so it doesn't always make the full rotation but mostly it does.

If you have your shield up it will hit it every time. It never varies. At first I was timing my block to meet the obvious wind-up but after a while I just held the right mouse button down, kept my shield up and gently rotated. 


That way I got my block up to twelve on the same Greyling. It got slower each time, of course, as the requirements for the skill points increased, but I could definitely have wrung a few more out of that one fight. I figured a dozen points in block would be enough, though, so I dropped my shield and clouted the Greyling with my axe. Not much of a reward for all his help.

It was getting past the point where I could prevaricate any longer. At the very least I needed to go give it a try just to see how bad it was going to be. If I needed to train some more, well, there's no shortage of willing Greyling volunteers.

Hugin reminds you to remember to eat before you start the fight and I'd already figured out you can eat three different types of food and get stacking buffs from all of them. Once I'd realized that my health pool had more than doubled. I packed a lunch of raspberries, mushrooms and cooked meat, picked up my stack of trophies to sacrifice on the altar and off I went. 


Thanks to Wilhelm I knew what to expect. Darkness, lightning and a bunch of Greylings joining in. Thanks to Ula's comment I knew there'd also be Norwegian death metal. That scared me more than all the rest put together so I turned the game music off.  

The altar was marked on my map but I'd also made a path between there and my house. The hoe has an option, strangely named "Pathen", that makes a very convincing footpath over most terrain. It's very handy since there's no means of adding map markers. The paths look good, too.

One thing I wasn't sure about was how many deer trophies it would take to get Eikthyr's attention. I had it in the back of my mind it could be as many as eight, which would have been a problem since I only had six, but I can't say I'd have been disappointed to be turned away because I didn't have the entrance fee.


In fact I just needed the one. And the head on the block turned out to be Eikthyr's, lightning-wreathed antlers and all.

What an anti-climax! It seems I'd over-prepped by a couple of orders of magnitude, at least. I'm not sure I saw Eikthyr hit me even once. I was watching my health and I never saw it move. In fact, you can see from the two shots here that between them I'd lost just one point of health, while Eikthyr went from just under half to dead.

Every time he reared up on his hind hooves I raised my shield and blocked him. He was as predictable as the Greyling and about as dangerous. The axe did an excellent job. I was glad I hadn't bothered with the spear. It took a while to kill him but only because he kept running away out of reach. Rather than chase him I just waited for him to come back. 

As for the Greyling adds that had swarmed Wilhelm, I didn't see any. I don't know if that's something to do with the way the fight went or whether it just depends on what happens to be passing through the woods at the time the fight begins.


When the darkness cleared I sat back and contemplated my success. I don't believe it had anything whatsoever to do with skill - at least not my skill. Something to do with the fact that by the time I called on Eikthyr my viking had been in Valheim for a month and a half, her time. I suspect the game intends you to get to this point long before that, not to wait until you've upgraded all your armor and weapons as far as they can go and pushed your skills into the twenties and even thirties (although that's only tree-chopping).

It sets an interesting precedent. I hope the game continues to allow overgearing and prepping. I'd much rather hone my skills on the litle guys and then breeze through the boss fights than rush ahead and get my viking butt handed to me. 

Next god on the chopping block is... I have no idea. I went and hung my new trophy on the hook at the stone circle then I walked round reading the runes on the rest. I couldn't even work out what creatures most of them were meant to be, let alone what order they might have to go down. One is definitely a skeleton but other than that, I'm stumped.


Oh, wait, I do have one clue. After I'd done with god-slaying I went exploring and I found a couple of tombs. That was an adventure worth a post of its own and it might get one tomorrow if nothing else happens. 

While I was tomb-robbing I happened upon the grave marker for one Vegvisir the Elder. When I read the runes they gave me the option to add a marker to my map. I did and it looks very much like the one for Eikthyr. It's also waaaaay off to the east, much further than I've ever travelled. 

If Vegsivir's next it's going to be a long time before I get there. I'm in no hurry. Readiness is all.


  1. You can add map markers. In the map, click on the symbol you want to use, then double click on the map.

    1. Thanks! I wondered what those symbols were for. I clicked on them but nothing happened. Didn't think to double-click the map (why would you?). This is what happens when you play without looking anything up online.

  2. One of the things I hadn't quite picked up when we did the Eikthyr fight was the stamina bar and that it goes across weapons. The spear uses up a ton of stamina per attack, and when that bar is drained, you cannot swap over and do a block because the shield draws from that same source. (It also didn't help that I had shield and spear skills at like 2 or so.) We went back and did him with Ula and used axes and arrows and brought him down without much issue.

    1. Yes, I had that issue with the stamina bar when sneaking up to things. Usually I just get right next to them then hit middle mouse and leap on them, stabbing them instantly dead. Only sometimes I hit the button and nothing happens at all. I thought I was bugged for a while until I spotted that yellow bar was empty. I think I'd sneaked through some water or something and drained my stamina and it's one pool for all your stamina needs.


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