Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Can't Complain

Gamers can be a superstitious bunch. In the glory days of EverQuest inumerable charms and rituals were passed on from guild officer to new recruit when a rare spawn was proving to be rarer than expected. Or, in the case of the Ancient Cyclops or Quillmane, exactly as rare as expected

Of all the supposed cure-alls, perhaps the one that I've heard invoked most often of all across many games, is the cantrip of complaint. The theory is this: that only when you finally snap and humiliate yourself with a tirade of self-pity over your terrible bad fortune will the damn thing finally pop, purely to embarass you.

The trick of it is to hold off until the frustration genuinely boils out of you, uncontrolled. Faking it won't fool the rng gods. 

Maybe it was that

Or maybe, as Argent Defender and Wilhelm both dropped into the comments on yesterday's post to point out, it was the change Iron Gate made in today's patch:

* Missing Moder spawn location in some worlds fixed (NOTE: For existing worlds "genloc" command needs to be run manually in a local game with dev commands enabled to generate new locations, this is only needed if your specific world has this issue, this is not very common)

I spotted that before I logged on a few hours ago. The patch was described as "small" but it had quite a few interesting changes, several of which related directly to posts I've made over the past few weeks.

Inventory didn't get a boost but storage did, with the reinforced iron chest increasing in size to a couple of dozen slots. I'll be making a few of those to reduce the chest clutter that's already out of hand in my more popular homes.

The entrance to the sunken crypt was tweaked "to stop tombstones getting stuck", which was exactly what happened to me. And the console commands I used to fix my own problem when it did are being pushed out of general view behind an optional "launch argument". 

I knew what one of those was. I've used them in EverQuest and Guild Wars 2. I had to google to find out how to apply one in Steam. I thought I'd better do it even though I had no idea whether my difficulty finding Moder was down to the "not very common" bug. It seemed worth a try, at least.

Of course, after I'd done it I was none the wiser. I checked what the "genloc" command does before I applied it and although the explanations were vague it seems it just resets all the data. It doesn't add anything to your map. Clearly you need to run it to add a spawn marker that never existed in the first place but it doesn't solve the problem of finding it. You just know now that it is there. Somewhere.

I suspect that particular bug wasn't the cause of my problems anyway. As this reddit thread explains, the problem people were reporting was that when they found the vesigir it didn't add a location to their map. I just couldn't find the vesigir.

Still, I did it anyway because why not? I was happy the devs changed the console code from "imacheater" to "devcommands". Makes the whole thing feel a bit less uncomfortable. Not that it could be construed as "cheating" when the patch notes tell you to do it, but still.

With that out of the way it was off to carry on with the search. I'd made a deal with myself that I'd give it no longer than today and tomorrow. If I still couldn't find the vesigir after that, I'd use the trick that opens the entire map (not in your actual game). I'd squint at the screen and put my fingers over my eyes and hope to spot Moder's spot without spoiling anything else.

Luckily I didn't need to take that chance. After a couple of false starts, one or two more unsuccessful mountain trips and several distractions along the way, I found myself sailing along the coast of yet another island. In the middle was the biggest mountain I'd seen yet. It was huge. If that didn't have a black tower then sod it. Nothing would.

I only found it by mistake, naturally. I was heading for a different island entirely, one I'd just clipped in a previous voyage but hadn't investigated. Everything was going well. The wind was with me. Visibility was good. And then the fog came in.

Fog in Valheim, like every weather condition, is no joke. I couldn't see anything. I slowed down so as not to run aground on an unseen shore. Land would probably mean either plains or swamp and both would be deadly in thick fog. And then the wind swang around to the west.

By the time I could see where I was going I was a good way from where I'd meant to be but there was land ahead so I changed my plan. Flexibility is important. As the longship flew across the waves I was stunned to see a giant mountain peak looming out of the distant haze. Better yet, it was just the tallest of a range that went on further than I could see.

All along the shore were plains. I ran parallel to the coast, looking for a patch of meadow or black forest but the plains stretched on and on. Finally, just as I was reaching the southernmost tip of the island, I spied a tiny patch of green. Meadows!

Of course, there was a massive draugr village right where I beached the boat because why wouldn't there be? I did consider clearing it out and making it my base but I'd already spent enough time on displacement activities for one session. (Did I really need to dig out an underground bunker for the portal on that last island?). 

Throughout the whole of this very, very long search I've been extraordinarily careful. Being so far from home makes corpse runs a truly terrifying prospect. I've been assiduous about establishing beachheads, planting portals before exploring, staying well-fed, not going outdoors at night. 

I've even taken to carrying a spare boat since the time I stepped through a portal and came out the other end to find a troll trying to smash it with a tree-trunk. You can never get totally stranded because if worst comes to worst you can destroy your bed and get yourself killed to force a respawn back at the big altar on the starting island. 

But who wants to die? Not me. And by taking proper precautions in this whole lengthy enterprise I believe I've only died two or three times in about a week. And all of those were when I kept pushing on far longer than I should have. Mostly I haven't done that, which is unusual for me. Maybe I'm not too old to learn new tricks after all.

Once I was set up in a house the draugr weren't using, with my portal installed, secured and working, I set off to find the mountain. It was big enough. You'd think it would be easy enough to see. 

Yes, well, it wasn't. It seems to be an oddity of Valheim that you can see the heights from the ocean but not from the land. All those trees get in the way. 

There were only a couple of choices. One of those was through the plains so I took the other. I was expecting more plains to appear at any moment, or if not plains then swamp, but the country remained joyously forested as I pushed further and further north. And then there it was, looming majestically ahead. The big mountain.

There was a tiny strip of plain to cross but it was empty of life. In moments I was leaping up the snow-covered slopes in the peculiar bunny-hopping fashion that passes for mountain-climbing in Valheim. Wolves came at me from all directions but wolves stopped being any kind of threat long ago. When you've climbed as many mountains as I have you learn to swat them down without breaking stride.

Drakes are even less of a threat but a lot more of a nuisance. If you ignore them they just keep coming and all that screaming and blue lightning is distracting. I stopped and potted them as they arrived. Their frost glands I left where they fell. I have stacks of those back at home.

Night was begining to fall and I was still in the foothills. Wooden shelters are worthless in the snows. Drakes and golems destroy them in moments. I looked for a solid rock face and took out my pick. A cave is both safe and comfortable. One day I'm going to dig myself a really big one and make a proper mountain retreat.

The next moning I set off again, onward and upward. I was almost at the summit when I thought I saw something unnatural. Something made

At last! A black tower. Only the second I'd ever seen. It was small and in bad shape. There were figures moving around near the base. Draugr. 

That threw me. I was under the impression all the towers were populated only by skeletons. They own the tower franchise in Valheim or so I thought. Some people even refer to the black towers as "skeleton towers". 

Draugr it was, though. Two of them. I popped one with a single arrow. His companion, around the corner, didn't even notice. When he wandered back into view I popped him as well. So much for them.

I scree-surfed down to the tower. Even before I slid to a halt I could see the tell-tale red glow inside. A vesigir. Yes!

I was so determined to record the event I took a screenshot before I even clicked on it, which was tempting fate. Imagine if a golem had arrived just then and chased me off before I'd used the stone to mark my map. Imagine if I'd died.

It didn't happen. I didn't die then or on the way back to the cave, where I spent another night, or on the journey back through the black forest, although a deathsquito did chase me into the trees. (I turned and blapped him with my silver sword and that was the end of him). 

Before any of that I explored the mountain range some more, curious to see if there were any more black towers. I found one. It didn't have a vegisisr.

Looking at it in the round, I'm sure I wasn't bugged. I just had very bad luck in the number of towers my seed generated. And in the vegisirs in the few there were. I agree with Asmiroth that it's a weakness in the design.  I don't mind the exploring. I enjoy it. But you can have too much of a good thing.

Now it's on to the fight itself. Well, once I get there. It's another long journey but that's okay.

Moder's altar is further to the north again. Further than Bonemass was. Further than I've ever been. But at least I know where I'm going, now. That makes all the difference.


  1. For what it's worth, I tend to be a bit superstitious. During our long, ongoing set of Molten Core runs, trying to get the second binding for the Windfury legendary weapon to drop from Baron Geddon, my superstition was met with a skeptical "I don't believe in Superstition" comment by a fellow raider.

    "I would ordinarily agree with you," I replied, "but I'm a Cincinnati Bengals fan. And we lose playoff games in the most bizarre ways possible."

    So yeah, I completely on board with any methods of appeasing the RNG gods.

    And yeah, bad juju is very much a thing.

    1. It's amazing how many people claim they aren't superstitious while still crossing their fingers or touching wood without even thinking about what they're doing. I'm not even sure it matters if you believe it makes a difference or not.

  2. I believe the markers are called 'vegvisir'. Which I found super fun first time I spotted one in Valheim because it's literally almost the same word in my native language! :) We say 'wegvisr' which means sign post / way marker. Apparently in Valheim it's the Icelandic term.

    1. Doh! Thanks for mentioning it. It's really anoying because I looked up the spelling to make sure I had it right before I wrote the post... and yet apparently I can't type what's in my head! Even when I proof-read the post I saw what I'd written as "vegvisir", which was how I was pronouncing it - Veg-Viz-Ear.

      I'll leave it as it is for this post or the comments won't make any sense. Next time I'll spell it right... maybe.


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