First off, new player and loving it..
I'd been putting off facing the Elder because all the locations I'd unlocked this far were fairly distant. Eventually, decided to take the nearest one. Walked as far as I could on my starter island, only to conclude that a large body of water was between me and my destination.
Having seen several tragihumorous clips of what awaits in open water, I reluctantly built my first boat, a karve, and set sail …. And true to the nature of the game tragedy soon to followed.
The initial incident was the game freezing up as I spotted what was an island in the distance. Restarted, no karve and I'm at my spawn point, where I set sail once again, far from where I intended to be. But had all my gear and enough resources to build a new karve, so wasn't too bothered. Followed the exact path, which in my mind was safe, as I hadn't encountered anything. Made it to where the game had frozen and I see my first karve. I think to myself, I need to salvage it before the thing in the sea gets it.
I was reading the minimp incorrectly. The little island wasn't so little after all. The trees were not like anything I'd seen before. These were dark, foreboding trees. As I get closer I look at the minmap and it now says ""Swamp".
But, I decide to be brave and jump ashore, thinking I'd build a crafting station, salvage one of the karves and be on my way. It's now getting dark. I find some ground and start looking for somewhere to place my crafting station, then I notice a snake-like creature hugging the shore.
My first thought was "Look at how gorgeous the animation is on that thing, God bless these devs for such attention to detail". Then it starts nipping at the shore seemingly unable to get to me, and some kind of dinner bell has be rung because there's now more than one. I let off a long drawn bow shot into one of them, almost half it's health goes. Emboldened I let out a second one but it scurries off into the water. I turn my attention to the other ones hoping to kill one and unlock some cooking recipes. I then hear this "thwack" sound, I see that I got hit. Now I'm the one on the receiving end with half my health gone from just that one shot.
I scramble for cover, it's dark and being close to the shore, very few places to hide. I momentarily fumble my WASD keys. The second time I hear the that dreaded "thwack" it's quickly followed by the death screen.
Now it's back to the spawn point, still confident I'll reach the Elder. I build a raft. I'd heard they're slow but I was not prepared….they are soooooo slow. As I inch my way to hopefully salvage my corpse, I constantly scan the horizon for that dreaded thing in the sea. I only have my raft, and boxers on and hoping things work out.
I get there at night, again. This time there's some sort of commotion. Something is fighting something, as my raft gets closer to my corpse. I slow down further …jump off the raft and decide to "sneak" and hopefully avoid detection. A lowly skeleton bounds towards me seemingly out of nowhere, one swing of it's sword. I'm dead.
Back to the spawning point. Now doubt, fear, despondency, are kicking in. The situation seems untenable. Although I haven't encountered it yet, I know the thing in the sea is there, somewhere. I take slightly different route. My gamble pays off. I get there, get what I can from the corpses, and jump on one of the karves and sail as fast as the wind could take me. I'm hugging the shoreline hoping the biome changes from "Swamp" to "Meadows". I can tell just from the trees though, that I'm not safe yet. And to make things interesting, I'm now in a storm.
Then suddenly there it was, in its bioluminescent glory. The dreaded thing in the sea.So much for hugging the shoreline to avoid it…
I turn the karve away to avoid it, but this is Valheim. It's seen me already. I see it move with purpose in my direction. It's faster than I expected. I readied my maxed out fine bow and let loose a fire arrow. I missed.
But I didn't panic this time around. The second shot hits, I see it glow and I get a bit more confidence. As line up the next shot though, I noticed I barely made a dent on its health. I get in a couple more shots, not enough damage for my liking. Still no safe harbour. I decided that I'd rather take my chances with outrunning the sea serpent rather than go ashore in the swamp biome at night.
And it turns out it was the right decision. I somehow outran the sea serpent, through sheer luck as I kept changing direction being new to the controls and I suspect a karve can take s few hits as well.
Even though I made it to safe harbour, a meadows biome, I was to die a few more times, and yes the thing in the sea got me eventually. It even spawned close to my spawn point, dispelling my misconception that you only run into them in the open sea. I doubt in the history of Valheim, a raft has done a 180 so quickly.
So where's the silver lining in all this?
Well, it turns out that the safe harbour is a small meadows biome that almost borders 3 biomes. Literally walking distance. I was walking along the shoreline in one direction looking for flint stones, next thing I'm in the plains biome. Similarly, walking in the opposite direction brings me to the swamp. And I've downed a couple of leechers and draugur, unlocking some much welcomed cooking recipes. Even took down some furlings and got some metal scraps.
First things first though, strengthening my base as it's right on the border of a black forest, then downing the Elder.
Couldn't be happier despite how I eventually got there.