Valheim Journal 2Jun2021

Hey guys. My son moved on from Valheim, so it is just me left in this game, and I thought I would post a journal so I could share some of the fun stuff I am doing in this game with someone else.

I have like 600hrs into the game now, and there seem to be two modes of play that interest me- (1) modded play, and (2) hard core fresh start unknown seed play. I have been playing with mods now for a bit, and in particular the epic loot mod + the higher level enemies (I play up to 5 stars) raises the challenge level to a point where it is interesting. The base game itself is not as challenging, so hardcore sounds like the way to go to make that more fun.

Currently I am doing a playthrough on my own with the mods and increased difficulty. There are some enemies that are simply way too difficult to deal with, and I to park them to come back to them. For example, I am in the iron age now with about 12 crypts cleared. I ran into a 3-star draugr bow using regenerating and poison elite that killed me 5x in a crypt. I set up a partial muck wall that it could not path beyond, but the hit damage was so high that 2 shots would kill me. I upgraded all of my armor to iron quality 3, and still it was hard. It would wander off and heal up.

But on the balance this is a great way to play. The enemies are much harder, but the rewards with magic items are very satisfying. Any encounter can have a fantastic drop, so rather than having things add feel like irritations, they now feel like opportunities. In general one is pushed to maximize armor rating even with not the best enchants on the gear just to take a few hits from a high star enemy.

The swamp I am in is thick, with likely near 20 crypts all told, and Bonemass. I have been conquering it, one crypt at a time. I discovered that if I use a hoe, I can elevate ground from below the water line to above the water line and create leech free paths. Each crypt I fortify in a minimal fashion- 4 stakewalls on the stone with a door around the front gate of the crypt. 3 boxes for loot. A simple wood floor on the steps to hold the portal. A bench on one side opposite the door. And a ladder from that enclosure to the roof. I make a campfire inside the crypt, and can dump iron scrap safely to a box up top, and port back with excess materials to repair. This lets me work through the nights without much fear of night spawn, although splitter type enemies in the crypt can spawn more of the same up top.

I have used the planting plus mod to make an abundance of items one normally gathers. My red raspberry patch generates around 200 per harvest, and is enough to sustain the cauldrons with ease. Red and Yellow mushrooms I planted in a single dot, yielding about 8 stacks per harvest. The reds I have stopped harvesting, and the FPS lag from them is not bad. But the yellows and thistle generate FPS lag, and I have had to find secondary uses for them as the cauldron does not consume them fast enough.

Yellow mushrooms make great road markers. In that swamp I plant yellow mushrooms down the middle of paths so I can easily see the path in the gloom of the swamp. So many times in hard fights these paths have saved my life, leading from crypt to crypt. I need only run along the line to be guaranteed a nice safe roof of a crypt from which to fight.

I am using an improved combat mod which overhauls tower shield in a fair way that makes it worth using. In the base game it is slow, and can not parry, making it decidedly inferior to the regular shield. We never used them in the regular game. It was always better to use the lighter round shield and go for a parry to enhance your damage. However this mod applies damage taken above the tower shield block to your stamina bar. This will ultimately kill you when you zero stamina, but it makes a block without parry style of play much more viable.

Iron Sledge and Stagbreaker remain one of my favorite weapons. THe damage goes through doors, and partial muck walls, and even inside stone buildings. The damage seems to be very generous with altitude checks, so you can stand on a tall rock, and smash your hammer and have the splash damage stuff below. There are numerous tactical ways to use this with the steps and ledges in crypts to damage your foes while denying them ability to melee you. And personally I love rendering stone ruins to rubble for the vast collection of rock I can harvest, and eliminating that annoying skeleton on the top of the tower. Stone ruins are a great hidey hole for massive star creatures whose increased size prevents them from going through doorways. Run into the ruins, and hammer away until they all die and the rock rains down.

Slowly over time I have gotten much better at sledge technique. You basically hold the s-key down and continuously move backwards. You pivot the hammer impact point left and right to catch most of your pursuit. If you do it right, the knockback puts them just out of range, and just as they are coming within range again, the next hammer blow falls to push them back again. THere is a real art to this, as how you walk backwards can stretch them into a cluster in which you get more of them.

For ranged guys with the sledge, I go behind a tree or doorway, denying them line of sight. Time the hammer impact so that they are in range, and get knocked back from clearing the obstruction. I was able to use this to great effect with Bonemass, circling the center spawn point, and using that to shield myself from its attacks. Splash goes around and hurts Bonemass and all of the adds, and you can back off when stam or health goes low. My son and I farmed him 20 times for drops using a smoothed area around the portal with my sledge keeping the pressure on, and him darting in for a series of mace blows to rapidly drop his bar.

Atgier is my second favorite weapon. It does high damage to a single target, and has a more quick knockback sequence. When you face something that is too fast to sledge kite, you can Atgier knockback that enemy safely. Just use the special, then wait and time it again to hit it as it comes in range. Use backpeddle to position adds with the focus on say that deadly brute who can 2 shot you. Having a hill or a boulder really helps as the knockback with the king of the hill spreads out the attacks you face.

Another really fun use of atgier involves troll caves. I ran into a 3 star troll and ran out of arrows, and I ran into the front door area of a troll cave. I did not go in the cave, but was just under the archway. The troll could not get in, and would uselessly smash the roof of the troll cave. And I would go out and stick it with the atgier, and duck back in. This was super useful for Elder Summoner fights in which you have multiple trolls and not much ammunition. I think you can do the same in some of the skeleton crypt structures. Marking them on your map even after you clear them can give you a retreat point that can save your life.

The mods I am playing reduce the lethality of bow. In the base game, you can fire arrows into rocks and achieve an instant full draw bow strike that will mow down pretty much anything in the game with no challenge at all. In the modded game, bow is more of a sniping tool, or an opening. You can still bow kite really tough foes, but the damage from bow in the modded game pales in comparison to melee.

The bow is still useful for things like Elder. I could go to maximum range and snipe Elder. It would move about laterally as it got hit, and my miss rate was pretty high, but the troll adds he summoned were not detecting me and this broke the impasse. For me this has become something of a game…long range sniping of game. The further away I am, the more satisfied I am when the snipe lands. If you are far enough away, deer will panic, then recover and return to where you first shot them. They seem to run around trying to find you, and if they do they run FAR off. But if you snipe them from far, they never see you, and think it is safe. You can rotate through snipe targets of different creatures while you wait on the panic to abate.

Trolls in modded play are amazing. I had a 2 star splitting troll spawn in the tiny bit of forest biome bordering my massive swamp. I was about 10 crypts into conquest, and decided to just drag the club wielding troll through the swamp to clear out annoyances. Those club trolls have such a massive hit box that they hit leeches and skeletons and Draugr and blobs. Splitting means you kill one, and likely another 2 spawn of lower star value. I took that one troll into the heart of the swamp, and it laid waste several tough spawners for Drauger and skeletons. The loot trail was great, with the epic loot beams shooting skyward in the wake of the trolls destruction.

I finally gave up and expanded inventory. To me weight is enough of a restriction, and this game demands you carry so much around with you that the tedium of repeatedly dealing with inventory full diminishes the game. I kept existing weight bases and improvements via the belt, but went from 4 rows to 6 rows of inventory. Things are balanced now. I seem equally split between needing to go back for full slots as I do for full weight. Before it was full slots limited.

I am coming around on fortress design to this mindset that I bench up my time consuming base itself, and rip down benches in the environs. This puts spawns outside my base, and creatures that threaten the base from outside rather than from within. I was super annoyed at a hole in my bench coverage in my base when a boar spawned and killed 2 out of the 3 starting turnips I had in my garden.

The best base perimeter seems to be a dirt wall rising up high enough to stop enemies from walking in, and high enough so you can step back and receive cover from it. Trenching is time consuming and tends to lend itself to particular directions, which may or may not look good with your fort. I like a wide dirt wall from which I can fire when it is too hot, or I can jump down from and melee to sortie and reduce numbers. Structures should be 8m back from the edge of the dirt wall to avoid splash damage from club trolls. This includes your benching. This was how boars got into my base… a troll smashed a perimeter bench and I did not notice it.

Gates are harder. I like to have the dirt wall go out from a gate at gate width for about 8-10m. This keeps troll and such from bashing my gate, and they are too big to go into the passage of the gate itself. Thinner smaller threats like brutes can still put pressure on the gates though. I like to set up a standing wood torch inside the gate with a box of resin, and a fire and chimney inside the gate. What this does is drive off deer, necks, and graylings from crowding the door, and gives me a dry off point in the rain as well as visible sign of where the gate is.

One of my favorite mods increases foot speed on paths. On dirt or wood you get a 25% speed boost, and on stone 50%. What this does is encourage you to build roads, and I go towards an interconnected empire with these roads. I will build Roman style forts along these roads at about a stamina bar sprint distance.

The Roman forts are simple. Stakewall, 2 sections by 3 sections. Bench along a 3 section, with fire next to it, and a chimney of stakewall going up, with an additional stakewall going up 2 stories from which to hang a 26deg thatch roof for the fire. Torch on door, box with wood and resin to keep the torch lit and fire going. Maybe a couple 45deg thatch sections to shelter the bench and do low grade field repairs. And a portal with boxes.

Into these forts go the local copper and tin and stuff gather as I clear the roads. I can then make a cart run or boat run along the fort line to harvest all of the ore for home. I deliberately do not use port metals with mods as I feel this game requires that restriction to force boat exploration. Between the rods mod and regular boats I think there is balance in the game for travel.

I have been turning copper mines into tree pits. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it does not. it really comes down to how flat the pit is. If there is a lot of the steep terrain in your pit, you will not be able to plant that or harvest that well. So after I mine I make a decision on a pit becoming a tree pit.

A good candidate pit is squared off. You trench so that you go along the regular directions of trenching. Then carve a ramp going up one wall, and dig a little further into the wall at the base of the ramp away from the tree fall line to position a portal and boxes for seed and wood. Extend the top of the ramp with dirt walls, and go around the pit with dirt walls. They do not need to be high, just enough to keep stuff out of your pit. Put a gate and torch and fire like always at the top of the pit, and hoe a fast path around the top of the wall and outside of the wall. Building walls seems to work best now if you are on top and just put your elevate cursor over the top edge ….this raises to that height and extends the wall. You have to hoe a path to stand on though. WHen properly done you can run at high speed along the wall.

For planting, I use a planting mod that goes in a 5×5 plant array with the shift key. Bad location show as red, good locations as green. Move the grid around to maximize the green. It helps to orient the grid with the pit dimensions matching the rows. Typically I plant downhill, and tree harvest uphill. Make sure no trees are in the walls of the pit…harvesting those requires benches and scaffolding. I find harvesting uphill makes it easy to chop stumps. I fell the tree, kill the stump, then hit the giant log just enough to make it split in 2. This last move generates a second wave of falling that speeds up chopping. Going uphill forces trees away from me uphill, then they roll down to the stumps, where I can target the fallen tree and stump at the same time.

Tree farms are helpful for 2 things- fine wood, and bulk wood. I have been unsucessful getting pine to sustain. Perhaps this is because my pine pits were too steep and low yield. Beech and Birch sustain though…you generate more seeds than you use normally. You turn on the fine wood pit when you run low, and turn it off otherwise. I like having a massive pile of wood auto feeding my single charcoal furnace, which runs day and night. I only need one, and it steadily chugs away making coal that banks in the same rack that I fed it wood.

Tree pits when done well are invasion safe. I was in one when the foul smell of the swamp came. I had built a pit in an area where I had a bounty, but the target was gone. The funny thing was the swamp creatures killed the bounty I could not find, and left me alone. I walked the perimeter afterwards and gathered a nice profit of biome kills by the invasion.

I love the draw feature for Valheim Plus. I dug out my main base floor to bury forge and bench upgrades, and I now have bulk storage below the flooring. When the upstairs is full, I just haul down bulk into the masses of boxes below the floorboards and dump it all there, and it will just draw from that when I craft. No need to go to each box and pull out stuff. I still have labelled boxes upstairs for sorting, but my basement is a cluttered mess.

I am very happy with my box wall design of my main house. I used 1m wide floor boards to orient a box array such that the boxes all stick out of the exterior wall. I can either load boxes from inside the house or outside, and the latter is helpful when I cart in ore, or need to draw off more wood or stone for an exterior project. The outer wall boxes also are handy for crops…I come in and just dump them into the house through the exterior wall.

I have come around on docks. A good dock not only has an easy way to load or unload a boat storage box, but also an area shallow enough that you can chop up the boat and reclaim materials. I like having torches guide me in from sea to the unload section, with 26deg stairs going down to the sea floor. I have a nice cart dock. To unload I stand on the rail of the boat, encumber load the storage bin, then jump to the stairs below and transfer to cart. Works great. What does not work so well are the 26deg riser stairs. A loaded cart in these mods can not go straight up a 26deg riser, so I have to zig zag the cart up the stairs. A better design would mean a flat no stairs house above the tide line.

Bounties are great in mods. You go to the trader, pick up bounties, then you get currency reward when you kill them. At first I was just taking all bounties I could, but now I am only taking gold reward bounties. The entire bounty and trader mods make gold fun and useful, and with epic loot rewards, you can occasionally buy something really fantastic. The bounties complete if an enemy kills the target, and you can come back later to collect on something that the environment killed.

Bounties are encouraging me to explore other continents. As I sail about, I will seed a new continent with a portal. Then later I come back, build roads, hunt bounties, build forts etc. Over time the radius of civilization expands. The base game does a poor job of giving you reason to go back to yet another continent with a meadows biome. Bounties mean you have real reason to return. They are even encouraging me to explore new unknown areas. For now though some are off limits in too-hard-for-me-now plains biomes.

In the regular game you kill a boss and move on. In this game you farm the bosses. The enchanting mod lets you grind up extra swamp keys for yellow rare enchanting mats, or lets you fight Eikthyr again for blue enchanting mats, and so on up the boss lines. This means that the boss spawn location is a fight club zone, and there is a point to building a structure there from which to fight the boss over and over again. The various prefixes and stars make return fights fun and rewarding. There is this entire mini game of designing a fight area for return bouts that is not really motivated in base game.

I have so many projects to do. Right now I am grinding out a lot of iron and will prep to farm Bonemass. I will likely need to add drake defense to my home base before I kill him to deal with invasions. Crypts are exciting…each one may have a lethal 5-star guy that pushes you to the limits of your play in the confined spaces. There is a growing feeling of satisfaction at my network of fortified crypts stretching across Bonemass'es home turf, with every spawner destroyed, and well lit yellow mushroom paths. I might do a fish weir, but that will likely wait until plains biome and flour for fish wraps. I have been going by my initial meadows base, which has some cool looking modern garden terraces of minimalist clean lines. I am feeling the desire to build in stone somewhere though, and maybe upgrading paths to stone paths. I have some ideas for wolf pits and taming of them. In the modded version, the boar farm is counterproductive. I slaughtered a good 20 boars of the 5-star variety and only got 12 meat…I think the algorithm to avoid high start raw meat trivialization is off, and it is better to hunt meat in the wild. I have created hunting zones free of trees that I enjoy sniping.


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