Thursday, March 18, 2021

Just Some Thoughts

Some random thoughts about Valheim.

The Smell of Sulfur In The Morning.

Or afternoon. Or evening. Any time of day, really.

I'd read that as you downed each boss the attacks on your base would change to represent the next coming threat. With Bonemass down it was supposed to be drakes. I read it was drakes. Only I'm getting surtlings. Why is that?

Surtlings: the sugared-up toddlers of the underworld. When they come the sky turns orange and fills with ash. It's ominous as hell. And then two or three of the fiery sprites turn up and run about outside the walls, throw a tantrum and race around, throwing fireballs.

Sometimes they don't even manage that. I've seen them just hang around in the trees, staring. Then the sulfur fades and off they go. 

Why did they come? What did I do to annoy them? 

Heck if I know.

Difficulty Curve.

I'm beginning to wonder if it might be on upside down. 

Starting out in Valheim is tough. You die a lot. Greydwarves are scary. Trolls are terrifying. Even boars can give you a hard time. 

When you get to the swamps it feels like death is lurking in every puddle. You can't see properly, move properly, everything poisons you or shoots at you from the dark. It's horrible and it feels as though it can only get worse.

And then it gets better. Easier. Easier, still. Your skills go up, you fit yourself out in decent kit. You learn how the gears of the world turn and you stop dying. So much, anyway. 

Mostly when I die now it is completely my fault. I'm pushing on to get something done long past the point where I know it's a bad idea. I'm out of food, wet, cold, it's night, my stamina is on the floor and I just keep going because I've forgotten what it's like not to be stronger than everything else. Or at least faster.

By the time I was done with the swamp I was treating it like the meadows but getting there took a couple of weeks. In the mountains the same process took a day. Drakes make a lot of noise but they hit like day-old chicks. Wolves telegraph their attacks and go down in two hits. They spend more time stunned than they do attacking. 

Even the initially imposing stone golems quickly turn into mere nuisances. They move slowly, they're easily confused, they get stuck if you lure them into holes. Best of all, they're more interested in fighting drakes than they are in fighting you so most of the time you can just leave them to it.

It's almost all about perception. The mountains look deadly but in practice it's placid. Most of the time.

I'm wondering if the plains will live up to their reputation when I get there. I've been running scared of setting foot on the savannah but given that I was able to kill fulings when I was wearing bronze I'm not so sure I ought to be so wary. 

Is this a good thing? Wouldn't it make more sense for things to start out easy and get harder rather than the other way around? Or is that you have to pay your dues before you get to ride on your rep?

Bad Weather Is Good Weather.

Valheim has the best weather I've seen in a game, bar none. I don't play a lot of single-player games so maybe this is par for the course for survival titles but compared to what I'm used to it's astonishing. 

Partly it's the way everything's turned up to eleven. Storms are torrential. Blizzards are whiteouts. Waves lash, winds howl, trees bend. 

It's not just excess, though. There's much subtlety. In the meadow you can tell when the wind changes. Breezes ruffle the grass before a storm brews. Or so it seems. Whether you can read the weather that's coming from the signs I'm not sure but it feels like you can.

There are some oddnesses. When I take a portal from my mountain lair and step out onto the sundrenched deck of my log cabin I sometimes bring the winter with me. Thick flakes fall for a few seconds as if the chill mountain air has followed me through. And maybe it has. It's magic, after all.

Needs Some Work.

How, exactly, does building decay happen? Anyone figure it out yet? That decking outside my cabin that I mentioned? Needs constant repair. I come back home and it's turned green again. Out comes the hammer.

The stairs in the Stilt House, they're the same. In the castle it's the railings around the patio at the top of the tower. If it was the whole building I'd understand but it's not. It's just certain parts.

I have a couple of theories. Maybe some of the building materials are invisibly flagged for interior or exterior use. I haven't seen any sign of core wood decaying, nor pallisades, nor roofing. It seems to be beams and flooring that weather. Perhaps they're meant to stay indoors?

To get weathering you need weather. That's my other theory. The parts that deteriorate are storm-damaged. Lashed by rain, shaken by gales, they bend and fracture and rot. It's an hypothesis supported by my observation that adjacent boards seem to suffer different rates of damage that could possibly be related to the amount of cover they enjoy. 

Those two theories fit together, of course. The boards that stay dry and don't decay, though they're outide, might be considerd to be "inside" if they're in a location that triggers the "sheltered" buff. Then again, sometimes that triggers when I walk between two trees in the swamp so maybe not...

Plain Sailing.

When I played Vanguard I used to sail my boat for the sheer fun of it. I'm starting to do the same in Valheim. It took me ages to get the feel for how the longboat handles. I was always getting it becalmed or stuck on sandbars and if the wind was in the wrong direction I just had to sit and wait until it changed.

There are no in-game instructions on how to rig the sails or pull the tiller, or not that I've seen. I worked it out by trial and error. Now I can make the ship go in any direction no matter which way the wind blows. Slowly, if it's against me, sure, but at least it goes.

Being able to steer the longship at speed through a narrow gap between the mainland and a string of low-lying islands is exhillarating. Time was when I'd have had to go the long way round. Now I just cut through. It's a thrill.

Breaking Up Isn't Hard To Do.

A sailor's best friend is their axe. After a long voyage it's ridiculously quicker to demolish your boat and pack it for a trip by portal than it is to sail back home. All my sea trips are one-way, now. Sail out, plant a portal, break down the boat, gate back.  

The risk comes in the nails, which sink. I'm a little nervous of that part. I'm still trying to figure out the best place to stand to be sure the bits of boat all pop straight into my bags. And always remember to check there's space for at least four items. If you don't, you can bet the one that won't fit will be the one that doesn't float.

Sometimes You Just Need A Hint, Sometimes You Need The Whole Damn Manual.

If you don't look stuff up two things happen: you don't know what you're missing and you do. I can't say much about the first but I have plenty to say about the second.

I've known since about the first week that you can tame animals in Valheim. There's even an in-game tip that tells you boars like root vegetables. I've seen screenshots of people with tame wolves.

I'm still waiting for something to happen that lets me know how. How do you  give a boar a turnip? Do you lure one into a cage you built and then grow turnips inside with him until he gets the idea? 

And what about wolves? I know I said they weren't much of a threat but I wouldn't like to stand there letting one bite while I tried to nudge it into a pen. 

Is there some tool you can make? A harness or a lead? A trap? If so, how come I've never seen the recipe? 

But then, I only discovered the recipe for the Drake Helmet today. It must have taken close on fifty kills before the first drake trophy dropped. Is it meant to go that way or is it just my bad rng luck?

That's all I have for now. Well, it's all that comes to mind. I know full well as soon as I log in something else will come back to me. It's that kind of game. Always something to make you wonder.

Like where the hell Moder might live. 

Time I climbed another mountain.


  1. The building decay thing applies to any wood structure (except Stakewall) that gets rained on or is built in water. Anything under a thatch roof won't decay from rain. They decay to 50% at most and then stop decaying. I agree that it's a bit annoying for anything decorative like railings.

    I actually looked up the drake helm because I was curious about whether there even was a hat to go with the wolf set. After that I specifically farmed drakes for awhile and I still only have one trophy.

    1. Thanks! That's the weather theory confirmed, then. And it's good to know they only go to 50% and stop because I actually like the weathered look for some of the decking areas. I'll just leave those as they are from now on.

  2. We just made the wolf cape and drake helm today for bragging rights :D I differ on the mountains with you though, they have been harsh to us these first few hours. A next blog post!

    As for the boar: aggro two and bring them into a pen, close the wall. Then feed them berries or carrots or red mushroom. Just drop the items on the ground. Stacks work too. They'll eat them and get happy hearts....offspring follows. If you don't feed them, they remain and don't multiply.
    I like my little herd purely for cosmetic purposes. Doesn't seem an efficient way to farm meat however, deer work better for that and don't require feeding.

    1. Ah, thanks. I was guessing it was going to be something along those lines but I couldn't imagine it would be super-efficient for getting meat compared to killing stuff, which seems both easier and more entertaining (the bow is really fun to use).

      I am really not very interested at all in the virtual farming/gardening aspects of gaming, which is maybe a topic for a post sometime. If you can tame a pet wolf to follow you around and hunt with you, though, that's a different matter altogether.

    2. Also... It might be that my experiences are as they are because I'm playing solo. I've been wondering about difficulty levels for solo vs co-op. I know mobs get tougher when there are more players on a server but do they then vary in difficulty according to how many people are online? Do those people have to be within a certain distance of each other? Do mobs spawn at one difficulty level and stay like that until killed (or they despawn at day/night), meaning if there were six people on when they spawned and five people logged out, the last person would have mobs intnded to challenge a group? And so on and so on.

  3. Yea am not sure myself honestly. It definitely scales when you are a group of people fighting a boss for example, but am not sure about the nuances.

    As for the wolves, apparently they fight attackers for you if you keep tamed wolves in your hub. Depending on how tough waves get, this could be useful defense.

    1. As more people are on the server or your server the entire world will scale based on that population of players and that means the Bosses too in difficulty. 4-5+ people can make things get much more difficult.

  4. I prefer the Karve for exploring, it is just smaller and more nimble. I had the longboat running up a narrow channel and ended up having to go ashore and build workbenches to keep it repaired. And then the channel entered a plains biome and I had to replay the golf cart u-turn scene from Austin Powers to get it out.

    Potshot tamed some boars. You just drop the carrot or berry or turnip near them and they eat it. Reproduction is slow, however, and you would need a mighty swine farm to make it a viable food source. Easier to just take some wooden arrows out and shoot a few deer. Taming wolves is next on the agenda, once we get enough pelts to gear everybody up.

    1. I'll have to get a wolf or two. I might wait until you write up your account of how it works, though. They die fast but they bite hard so I wouldn't fancy trying to get one to follow me all the way from the mountains to a base. I wonder if they follow you after you've tamed them, so you could tame them in the mountains then lead them back? Can't see that working...

  5. From what i know, anything exposed to the elements of the weather can and will take weather damage. The Devs has explained that at most and via patches some time back in February that you will not suffer more than 50% damage to exposed weather structure which include structures planted in water like a boat deck. However a raid party can attack an unrepaired structure or exposed part and do more damage to it with the lower damage rating already. If the object is without roof with the exception of Fence Walls it will also suffer weather damage. Objects place on the sea or next to the sea does also take more environmental damage and often on the side facing the ocean as well. But again no more than 50% damage. They are weaken though enough that a raid if the monsters hit the exposed part somehow it will cause failure.

    How to tame animals 101: Walk around and find an animal like a pig, let it get aggro on you or attack you. Close to home great. If close to a fenced pen you made, great too. You can chamber the pen so that it has other sections sealed off by the fence, but leave a gate opening on the fence and preselect to put the other fence part there. So now when you have found the animal or pig in this case run over to your pen area and inside of it. The pig will follow you there. If out in an area run and stop and keep doing so as the pig keeps following and all the way there. When the pig follows you into fenced pen immediately drop the gate behind you and then jump over the fence to get out. You have now successfully trapped your pig.

    Now throw some food like Mushrooms or Raspberries, Carrots into the pen for the Frightened Pig to eat. As the pig eats its increasing in Happiness. This will occur over time. but somewhere around 30 mins it will get fully tamed "if" you stay in the vicinity of the pig or where you can see it. If not it will take longer for taming. SO drop a stack of food in the pen like 5-10 and just hang out in the area. As you check on the pig you will see the Happiness increase. But beware the pig is still frightened and will keep attacking the pen fence as you startle it. Make sure to have a Workbench in area to keep repairing the pen fence and make sure to do so.

    When it's 100% tamed it will be tamed and happy. Just feed it when you need to, but if you don't feed the pig it wont starve, it just be hungry. When there are 2 pigs in the same pen and you feed them it will serve to make the pigs happy enough to reproduce and you will see hearts after they eat. You can drop food scattered all around the pen as well.

    How to catch the 2nd pig is the same as first. Its why i said to chamber a pen area fence. As with the second you want it to go into the pen, but you don't want to let the first one out. So as you catch the 2nd pig trapped in the pen. Just remove a section of the chamber pen a fence and they both be joined in the same pen. It just so whatever is in the main section don't run out and get loose. When you have 2 pigs setup its easy from there.

    How to get a 1 or 2 star pig. Same as first method explained. You will see them more at night as more 1 and 2 star anything spawn more at night. But same method. You can also run into them during the day too but may take some time. 1 and 2 star pigs produce double the meat and more scrap leather. I can say at this point i've farm raised over 2 dozen 1 star pigs. They can consume a lot of food which is why i grow carrots and feed them that vs the Raspberries. When their population grows, i like to cut them back down to just 4 and let them reproduce and then back down to 2-4. You get plenty of meat and scrap leather that way. Farming Wolf is similar in way. But you really have to run and trap the wolf in a strong wooden fenced area and manage to platform jump out before your trapped in it and it kills you as well manage to seal the fence behind you after so that the wolf stays strapped. Feeding it is very much similar to feeding the pigs.


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