Valheim: 10 Tips For The Amazing Viking Survival Game

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Co-op Viking survival game Valheim is in Early Access, and players are jumping in to make forts, craft weapons, sail longships, explore the huge and mysterious open world, and do combat with creatures inspired by Norse mythology.

Whether you’re playing with buddies online or going it alone, Valheim can be a rugged and unforgiving survival sandbox. There’s a helpful talking crow who will give you a great amount of direction as you’re just starting the game, but the crow doesn’t explain everything you need to know. You may need a bit more tips, and here we are going to give you those tips.


1. Dismantel old buildings to harvest wood quickly

As you travel you’ll seldom come over small shacks and hovels in a state of disrepair. They’re a fabulous source of easy-to-gather wood, and in Valheim you’re gonna be finding wood a lot.

But don’t break the huts with a weapon! Instead, use your crafting hammer to build a workbench, drop it on the floor inside the shack, and then start destroying the building. Pick up all that free wood, then tear down your table and move on. You can totally strip a building in a matter of seconds and walk away with tonnes of wood to use on your own plans.

Don’t forget to look around in these old buildings when you find them. Some have treasure chests with loot, and others have beehives that will give you a queen bee when slaughtered, which you can use to create your own hive.


2. Upgrade your workbench by crafting a chopping block and tanning rack

There are two things in your crafting menu that are a bit misleading: the chopping block and the tanning rack. These pieces don’t actually function—you can’t use them for cutting wood or tanning leather, and that can be a little complicated. What they actually do is update your workbench.

Crafting the chopping block and putting it near your workbench will improve your bench to level 2. The tanning rack will improve your workbench to level 3. This will enable you to upgrade your weapons, tools, and clothes 2 and 3 as well, providing your weapons more damage, clothing more protection, and so on.


3. There’s no repair cost

When standing at your workbench you’ll see tabs for Craft and Upgrade. But to the left of the menu, there’s a little square image of a hammer. That’s your very own repair tool.

Different from most crafting games, you can’t select a particular item to repair. Clicking the repair hammer button will just cycle through each broken item in your inventory and fix them one by one. There’s no resource cost for repairs. Every time you go to your workbench you should hit the repair button until you’ve repaired all your gear.


4. Sail your raft with WASD

This looks simple, but it wasn’t instantly apparent how to sail my first raft, so here’s how the raft works. Look for the prompt to use the rudder at the rear right corner of the raft, and press E. While holding the rudder, pressing W will take you through the three speeds: slow, medium, and fast. Pressing S will cycle back down through the speeds. Turn the rudder with A and D. You’ll turn much quicker with the sail up rather than down.

You won’t make course if you’re trying to sail right into the wind, so keep out for both on the little white arrow on your minimap and the icons under the minimap, which show the direction your raft is pointing and where the wind is blowing from.

Also note there’s a tiny ladder on the rear of the boat, on the opposing side of the rudder, which makes it easy to climb back on if you’ve fallen off. If you’re a passenger, you can hold onto the mast by looking at it and clicking E when indicated.



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5. Tame boars with mushrooms

You might find a rune stone that says you can befriend boars by feeding them. That means mushrooms, which are red and can find them on the forest floor.

The only conclusion I’ve had with taming a boar was getting one chase me into a pen I’d made from fencing, then closing a gate behind it. Then I’d select mushrooms from my inventory and left-click over the pen, which leaves a mushroom inside. The boar will eat on the mushroom and you’ll see small yellow hearts rising above it as its disposition toward you increases. It seems like a very slow process—after a day or two of feedings I was only at 8% tame. But it’s a start! If you get multiple happy boars, they’ll breed, giving you a local source of leather scraps.


6. Carry a weapon on your back with the R key

No advantage to doing this, it’s just kinda neat. You can carry a weapon, tool, or shield on your back by hitting the R key while you have the weapon in your hands.


7. You’ll need to defeat the first boss to craft a pickaxe

Sadly, you can’t just live an idyllic life and journey through the crafting levels without taking on Valheim’s terrifying monsters from time to time. In fact, a primary crafting item, the pickaxe, is locked until you beat the first boss, Eikthyr, a powerful stag.

You can summon Eikthyr by placing two deer trophies on his altar, which you’ll find early on. Just make sure you’re ready for the fight by crafting some clothing and making sure your weapons are in great shape. Make sure you’ve already got a shield.

Eikthyr has a lot of HP, but despite his size, even a little shield can efficiently block his attacks. Just be patient, block when he charges or rears up, and avoid or strafe around to get in some hits on his flanks before he runs away. And don’t tangle with him near your base or he’ll break the hell out of it! It might take time, but you’ll tire him down. Collecting his antlers will unlock the recipe for the pickaxe, which will let you mine stone and ores.


8. There’s no way to increase your inventory size

You don’t have a lot of free inventory slots on your character. All the tools and weapons you’ll be using will pack up your Hotbar, and clothing like helmets, tunics, pants, and capes will also each take up a valuable slot. When you set out into the world your inventory will be filled up quickly.

There’s no way to expand your inventory, at least not yet. Valheim is in Early Access, so maybe, we’ll be able to craft pouches or sacks or something in the future so we can carry more stuff with us. In the meantime, craft some more storage crates in your home and drop what you don’t need to bring with you.


9. Find the trader for the fishing rod

This is one more thing you can’t just craft yourself is a fishing rod. If you want to go fishing, you’ll need to discover a trader, a randomly spawning NPC you can find in the Black Forest.

The Black Forest is a biome you can find if you strike out from your starting biome in the center of the map. As you get further from the center, you’ll finally see a change in the location: pine trees and fir trees, caves guarded by skeletons, and more graylings, trolls, and other monsters. It’s much more serious than The Meadows, so be careful.

And the trader is somewhere in the Black Forest. Valheim’s map is procedurally generated, and the trader can produce it in a number of different places so I can’t give you an exact location. But if you find get close, you’ll see an icon on your minimap revealing his location, and you can get a fishing rod from him.


10. Hide the HUD with Ctrl+F3

Valheim comes with not so fancy graphics, but it’s still quite a gorgeous game. If you want to take some gorgeous screenshots without a bunch of UI cluttering things up, press Ctrl+F3 and start taking amazing photos. Press the button again to bring the HUD back.


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