Monday, February 22, 2021

On A Wooden Bridge

Shockingly, I spent most of the day playing Valheim and now it's too late to think of anything else to post about. This can't go on. At this rate even the monthly music round-up is going to come as blessed relief. 

Never mind. Can't be helped.

So, what amazing adventures did I have today? Oh, yes, I killed a troll! And it was so satisfying I went out and killed another straight after. Also, I built a bridge, but we'll get to that.

Aywren has a post up with a good picture of a troll in profile. They have really big noses. One nose each, I mean, but a big one. They're not ettins. 

I managed to get a shot of mine face on. Bit of a rush job, as you can see. It looks as if the troll's just snuck up on my character, who appears to be turning around in shock and horror but if you look closely you can see a few numbers on the troll's chest. That's where she just shot him with a flame arrow. He didn't like it much.

Trolls turn up early in Valheim. They don't just crash around in the black forest. They stomp through the meadows too. You could run into one anywhere and the first time it happens, for anyone who played EverQuest back in the day, as Wilhelm observed it's a bit of a hill giant moment. 

Until today I've been treating them with a mixture of caution and terror. I'd say respect but who could respect something that looks like that?  Just as in Norrath, though, eventually the time comes when you just have to say "no more", stop running and turn to fight. 


Then you die and wake up back at bind wishing you'd had more sense and less pride. 

Or you could try another EQ tradition: kiting. In this case, since there doesn't seem to be any magic in the Tenth World (so far) that'd be bow kiting.

I've been working on my bow skills until I can hit what I'm aiming at at least some of the time. I've taken to carrying a couple of hundred fire arrows with me whenever I go out hunting. A troll is a pretty big target and they don't run as fast as me now I've pumped up my run speed (it's an actual skill you raise on use in Valheim. I run a lot - and not just away from things - so mine's always going up). It seemed like it might not be a complete disaster.

It wasn't. It was a stunning success. A glorious victory, indeed.

Okay, I'm puffing it up a bit. The first time didn't go well. The troll lumberd up when I was mining and I was already running away when I got the urge to turn and fight. I tried meleeing him first which was a useful learning experience. In my upgraded bronze armor at least trolls don't one shot me any more. 

If I was full of good food I guess I could take three or four clouts from a trollish tree trunk these days. Unfortunately I hadn't eaten for a while (Mining, you know.  Mind on other things). One hit that landed came perilously close to snuffing me out. 


I legged it back to my house with the troll chasing me all the way. I got inside and jumped on my roof so I could put a few arrows in him over the top of the pallisade. That made him cross. He thumped the fence a few times but then he gave up and clomped back into the woods, which was a pity because I was planning on pinging arrows into him until he fell over.

I could see he was taking some good damage though. Thus emboldened, I filled up on berries and cooked meat and went out to find him. I caught up with him almost back where he'd found me the first time. They really move well through the undergrowth for such big lumbering brutes. 

This time, once I'd got his attention (an arrow in the backside will do that) I ran a few yards, turned, gave him a  few more arrows, in the front this time, then turned and ran some more. It was not elegant or subtle or noble or fair. He couldn't quite catch me and I was using flaming arrows so even when I missed he was still on fire from the last volley.

Trolls, it transpires, don't have as many hit points as you'd think. He was taking noticeable damage every time I hit him and if I could keep him on fire it was plain he'd go down eventually. I just had to not let him catch me and not run out of arrows. Both of which I managed fairly handily.

I would have loved to take a picture of my viking standing over the smoking corpse of her first troll kill but in Valheim corpses explode in a shower of loot after about one and a half seconds. I was curious to see what he'd drop.

Some gold coins, which was... odd. Where does a troll spend money? Nothing else has dropped coin yet, either, so why a troll?


Also blue skin, five pieces. A flurry of recipes appeared as picked them up. You can make trollskin armor that has a 25% stealth bonus if you wear all four available pieces (tunic, leggings, hat and cloak) which seems ironic to the point of surrealism. If there's one thing a troll is not it's stealthy. Maybe it's unsympathetic magic.

Generously, five bits of troll skin is exactly what you need for one piece of armor. I have ten now because I enjoyed killing the first troll so much I went out and killed another. I knew there was one lurking around the stone tower on the hill opposite my factory house. He'd been keeping me from investigating the ruin so I decided his time had come. 

After I'd popped him (wasn't any more elegant the second time but the result was the same) I went and took a look at the tower. It was in pretty good shape. And conveniently placed, overlooking the swamp, which is my next hunting ground. 

So now I own a stone tower across the valley from my log cabin. It's a bit of an eyesore with all the wooden boards I've used to fill the gaps but it's sound, secure and there's a fantastic view from the battlements.

Looking back across the valley at my cabin it occured to me that what I really needed was a bridge. So I built one. It took me a couple of hours but it wasn't as hard as I expected. Anywhere you can place a workbench, you can build. And you can place a workbench anywhere that's flat enough. And if you have a hoe and a pick you can flatten anything.

It only took me three workbenches to span the valley. Flat boards nailed together extend much further across empty space than physics should allow but you do need supports eventually. I think just one support would fulfill the game's criteria but that looks weird so I put them in pairs.

With some stairs at the end the whole thing looks quite impressive. Scruffy, sure, but stable and safe to use. I put a back gate in my factory compound and another fence around the bridgehead and now I can go straight to my tower without fear of being swarmed by greydwarves, shot at by draugr or skeleton archers or poisoned by blobs, all of which regularly jump out at me when I leave home in that direction.

There is the slight problem of greydwarves attacking the bridge supports, something they were already starting to do while I was still building them. I might have to go down and put some perimeter fencing up to protect the pillars if it becomes a problem.

Next on the agenda is a trip deeper into the swamp to look for a crypt. I've heard that's where you find iron and I want to see if it's true. Maybe I should hunt some more trolls and make some stealth armor first. I have a feeling discretion is going to be the better part of valor when I get there.


  1. For trolls, getting a good, back of the head, fine bow shot from sneak can knock down almost half their health in one go. Then it is kiting time, though it can be more fun to run them around a big rock or, if possible, a burial chamber. You can get shots at them while they are on the other side. Basically, we had such a troll problem at our Black Forest outpost that I decided to just get good and kill as many as I could. Now we all have troll hide armor.

    1. Valheim seems to be very lenient in terms of movement. I found if I could get the troll into a nice, open space I could just backpedal and pump arrows into him and it didn't feel like I was going much slower than running forward. Of course I can't see where I'm going that way so it runs the risk of getting pinned up against a rock.

      Mob spawns and respawns is one thing I have figured out yet. I destroy greydwarf nests whenever I find them but where the trolls originate I have no idea. I don't know if it's possible to progressively clear and enclose an area and keep expanding the perimeter to keep a larger and larger area free of creatures or whether they would just respawn inside the fence. I might try and find out.

  2. I'm tempted to try this game out based on your posts, but beyond getting spoilers or other such info, could I ask how co-op is implemented in terms of progression? Is co-op necessary to defeat any of the bosses and get the drops for progression purposes, or is it just a bit more grind to solo the content?

    1. As far as I understand it, Valheim is intended primarily for co-op play but can be soloed with reasonable comfort at least through the first three of the five currently implemented biomes. I'm by no means a great player in terms of player skill but I'm not finding it very difficult so far. I'm just moving into the third biome, Swamp, and that is tougher but very manageable.

      The first two bosses can definitely be soloed with reasonable ease, even if I personally have yet to kill the second. I just need to get my bow skill up a bit I think. Tobold mentioned that he's soloed the third boss so if he can do it I imagine most regular mmo players will be able to manage it.

      After that, no-one I'm following has said much. I imagine several people are in Plains by now but not anyone I read who's going it alone. I stuck my head in plains and got one-shotted instantly and Tobold was complaining it seemed to be meant for groups. As for Mountains, I haven't really heard anyone talk about it at all yet.

      All that said, it's Early Access so no doubt a lot will change. I don't imagine the developers ever expected to be in the position where they'd have to consider the wishes and desires of three million players. Whether that means they'll make it more or less soloable, who knows?

      For now, though, there's more than enough enjoyably soloable content to justify the $20 cost just in terms of the progression game available. If you're interested in building for the fun of it then I'd recommend it as a construction toy in its own right. Definitely don't need anyone else's help for that.


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