I got Valheim almost as soon as it released to the initial hype in February this year. At first, I played with friends.
We got started together, frolicking in the meadows, freaking out about the strangest noises at night and wondering where all the enemies were. We weakly slaughtered greylings and scoffed at necks with what I thought was great weaponry at the time. We ended up basing pretty close to the Sacrificial Stones, reading the ominous tomes installed there with wonder. All the while, more serious vikings in my group gathered, built homes, and plundered the surrounding lands.
Until we discovered the Black Forest. Suddenly, my friends started talking about taller greylings with blue eyes. Our weak weaponry could barely kill one grey dwarf, so good luck killing groups of them when they jump you. Eventually we found out about the shamans. Before that, we decided to dedicate ourselves to a few days of exploring this new biome, much to Hugin's dismay.
Hugin warned us. He told us to go back where we came from. –Back to the meadows, where hearth and home supplied us with happiness. But my friends and I were hungry for adventure. Until the troll attacked us while we traipsed through the Black Forest like unknowledgeable toddlers.
The beast was huge! Humanoid, bald, blue, and ferocious. It sounded like a bear out of hibernation and just as hungry. Our friend with the means to craft a tower shield charged in, attempting to tank the beast. However, he fell easily to the tree trunk the troll had used as a giant club, smashing wood with wood until his bones and flesh broke just as easily behind it. We ran. Some ended up falling behind, losing energy after failing to eat while exploring the dangerous woods. The troll ended them just as quickly.
By Odin's grace, we discovered we could respawn easily at the Sacrificial Stones to try again. This time we decided to get better equipped. So, we grinded. We chopped down more trees, explored the coasts for flint and deer, and learned how to upgrade the crafting bench properly. We cooked meat and bolstered our defenses, and took down Eikthyr on a whim. The deer was easier than we all thought given how upgraded and numerous we became. From there, we discovered the Black Forest holds more than monsters. –It holds precious copper and tin too. We also killed enough boar to use their skins to make a primitive raft. We used them to explore our immediate island, and discovered better places to make our homes.
Now donned in our better gear, we explored the Black Forest again. This time we had the finest leather armor, and every party member had been armed with their very own crude bow, fire arrows, torches, pickaxes, and clubs. One viking was even able to upgrade their wooden club with the bones from a new enemy they had found earlier. — Skeletons were emerging from crypts located deep in those woods, and he was able to mark down the location for future exploration. Inside these crypts, we discovered surtling cores. They changed everything. Suddenly, we all remembered how to smelt metal, and make coal from wood.
With our antler pickaxes made from Eikthyr, we plundered the Black Forest for copper and tin. At first, we were careful. We travelled in packs, and explored together whenever possible. We specifically avoided the place where we saw the troll. But we got complacent soon after. Friends would venture alone to gather the ore required, and few stayed home to oversee the smelting of metal and the burning of wood.
Then, the troll came back. We knew it was the same one. It had wandered towards the sounds of pickaxes striking stone, and one viking friend was foolish enough to lead it back home. He paid for it with a log striking the chimney of his home, where he cowered behind those weak wooden walls. We quickly rallied. Instead of taking the beast head on like last time, we kited it's swinging trunk, while peppering it with as many fire arrows as we could. With a loud roar, it crumpled to the ground, and exploded into precious gold and troll leather. We quickly discovered that we could use this leather for better armor. –Suddenly we felt like hunting more.
We also discovered fine wood after brandishing the first bronze axe. The cleverly made tool cut through the hardest of woods, which our earlier axes could not splinter. With this new material, we learned about a new mode of transportation: Teleportation. My friends and I set ourselves to work gathering more cores for these new inventions. Since we no longer needed to be tied to the sacrificial stones, we moved our home base near the water, and close the Black Forest. –Though, not too close. We still remembered the troll's rampage.
We also discovered the power of copper nails. We built our first karve quicker than we built carts, we were so excited. The aforementioned carts became just as useful. –Suddenly we could gather wood and metal ore with one or two trips, instead of multiple. We started building roads to accommodate using the carts better. The Black Forest would quickly be plundered. Sooner than I thought.
After learning about teleporters, a major diaspora occurred. Suddenly every viking had their own project, adventure, and plundering to attend to. Some vikings were enamored with hunting trolls for leather. Others stuck to mining copper ore, and upgrading the forge at home. –They would soon become the strongest among us for a time. Yet others set upon their own karves, exploring the seas. I enjoyed hearing my friend's screams of anxiety over the sea serpents and zombies they had discovered in farther lands.
While the others were exploring, I was on the hunt for more cores. I braved the Grey Dwarves of the Black Forest, and even defended myself successfully from an unarmed troll that I accidentally wandered too close to. However, once inside the crypt I was seeking, I discovered the location of the Elder. Suddenly, all eyes were on the next battle. We wondered what prize the Elder would spill from his belly? Would it be similar to Eikthyr's gift?
Only one way to find out.
The journey to the Elder required two Karves at least for the amount of vikings we had. Nearly everyone had some sort of bronze armor. Some were incomplete suits, and one was fully upgraded. –Complete with a bone tower shield. We made as many fire arrows as possible before the trip. In the ocean, we were attacked by a sea serpent, which I saw for the first time in my life. It was ferocious! It's beautiful scales must've been thick as iron, and it's head was marred with gnashing teeth. It's roar would stir nightmares in the darkness.
We killed it with our fine bows on the open water. It had no chance. We took it's meat floating in the water as prizes for later. The kill bolstered our spirits against the fight to come.
Upon making landfall in the black forest, we quickly made a temporary landing base. Almost as soon as the walls came up, did our teleporter come alive with a screech to lead us back home. We took advantage of teleportation whenever we could. We rested, and planned our attack on the Elder. We ended up cooking the sea serpent steaks, which turned into the heartiest meals we've been able to enjoy so far. With our bellies full, we set out once again to discover exactly where the Elder roamed in these strange faraway lands.
We came across a shrine dedicated to the foul creature. Four stone pillars surrounded the sacrificial fire pit made of similar material. "Burn his young", the shrine said. –And burn the ancient seeds, we did. With fury and anger, the Elder appeared. The tankier viking held his ground at first before getting pummeled by the vengeful thorns the Elder threw at him. My friend quickly learned that the stone pillars were a saving grace for him. Meanwhile, we peppered the giant tree with as much fire as our bows let fly. Roots lashed out at us as we fought, which we gingerly learned to avoid too. The Elder soon died, leaving a mysterious key meant for the Swamps. For good measure, we killed him several more times. Some unprepared viking died after he noticed his fish steak had long since been digested. –But other then that, the battle was a huge success.
So we set our eyes on the swamps.
I soon found out first hand how vicious the draugr that inhabited those cursed lands were. I also noticed it was impossible to stay dry, even above the soiled ground. The trees practically dripped green ooze, and draugr weren't the only enemies we encountered. After killing The Elder, we were brave. Too brave. Many of us died from poison injected into us by the leeches that lay in wait by the edge of the water. Poison was always our downfall. Other than leeches, blobs sprayed it into our eyes in the form of misty muck and goo. But we persisted. We learned that speed was our friend. –Almost more than friends themselves are here in the swamp land. Everything is slow here. The draugr, while powerful, had slow arms. The blobs had no legs, and the leeches cannot touch you directly on the shore. Soon we found our plunder. A sunken crypt lay before one of the vikings, now with swamp key in his wet hands.
Upon opening the doors to the sunken crypts, we were met with ferocious opposition. We came across deadlier arrows to meet the draugr with, but we had to use pickaxes to explore the ancient and wet tombs. Mining through bone, we discovered shards of iron ore that must've coalesced here over eons of time. Every foray into the swamps meant more iron ore to collect and smelt. We also experimented with the fermenter for the first time. Soon, poison potions were a necessity if you ever wanted to come out of the swamps intact.
The iron we plundered must've been a gift from Odin himself. With it, we crafted better cooking stations to make soups with, and made better iron gear to take back into the swamps. Soon, we were able to go face to face against the draugr themselves, even the one armed elites among them. The sinners among us, most of us, feasted upon their entrails, which we made into sausages. Every viking was getting stronger with every adventure.
Eventually, one especially large crypt held the secrets to the Bonemass. Coincidentally, it was located right within the first swamp biome we explored. –Though, somehow we missed the exact location where it resided in. Upon investigating, the foreboding skull housing the sacrificial boiling green sludge within must've stank worse than the rotten draugr. The ancient bones we had amassed suddenly had much use, and one unfortunate viking made the sacrifice thinking the ordeal would be easy.
The horror that emerged before him was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The Bonemass was huge. Much of it was hued a sickly and glowing green. It's face was made of bones, the flesh was of slime, and it's breath of poison. The unfortunate viking that suffered the first breath melted in an instant. We ran.
Once we regrouped, we came back with a battle plan. First, we would pepper it with fire arrows. Compared to Eikthyr, and the elder, our tried and true strategy was ineffective. At first, getting close was impossible. One viking with a sword was blown away, his prize was doing a pitiful amount of damage. One painful investigation met with another as we assailed the Bonemass with a variety of weapons to find out its weakness. With just as many skeletons inside it's body, it probably doubled the body count inflicting damage to us, and every retreat meant the gelatinous giant could heal itself. It was a nightmare. Soon, we were running out of poison potions. After trying again with a mace, and figuring out how to properly parry it, the bonemass finally fell.
The blob spilled a wishbone from its guts. At first glance, it looked useless. However, we somehow knew it possessed the power to locate treasures. But, from where?
Alas, there is where my story with my friends ended. I have since been playing this game by myself after life got in the way for most of my friends. –And I've still enjoyed the experience. I've since explored the Mountains, and fended off wolves, golems, and dragons.
I've yet to defeat Moder.
This game is fun.