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Valheim - viking survival game

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So for the last week I've been playing Valheim with a couple of friends. Overall, it is a very good game. There are some irritating quirks from time to time, but overall it is very solid. It is currently available on Steam and it is pre-release. So more stuff to come.

It plays very similar to minecraft. There is a tech tree that you start to build and expand on as you find materials and create equipment. So at first you start to collect branches in order to make a club. Then pick up rocks in order to make a crude axe or a hoe. Once you make a hammer, you can start to build things. As you explore you will find ruined buildings that you can start to repair and use. It paces nicely in this early stage that will build the foundation for the game.

Your character has health and stamina which is controlled by the food you eat. You can benefit from up to three different foods at a time. In the beginning, you will forage berries and mushrooms. You can then kill boars or deer for both skins and meat. You build a fire to keep warm and need shelter to protect you from cold and rain, both which have a negative effect on your health and stamina.

The goal of the game is to defeat a set number of bosses in order to ascend to Valhalla. Not only that, but beating bosses is also the only way to advance your tech tree. The first boss gives you material to make your first pick, which allows you to start to mine, that unlocks metals and upgraded gear. Bosses are super tough and it would be incredibly hard to solo them. During combat, stamina is just as important as health, because stamina fuels attacks as well as defense. Bosses have huge health bars compared to everything else, and I just don't see how a solo player is going to manage it. This is currently one of the downsides of the game. As fun as it is, I'm not sure you can really succeed in pure solo play. That being said, you can take your character to any open server and any gear you find comes back with you. So it wouldn't be hard to join a game that is past your current point in order to get a jump start on better tech.

Yeah, its cheating (kinda), but again, not sure how else a solo player is supposed to do it. That being said, the game is not really designed for solo play. It is a co-op survival game. With just three of us, we have so far beaten four bosses and have explored seven zones. Each zone is a different level of difficulty and there is really no warning until you face the dangers. Deaths can happen really quick and the major downside is that your gear stays where you died. So EQ corpse runs are a thing.

So in terms of gameplay, you have tech tree advancement, a slew of weapons and armor to constantly make and upgrade, different enemies with unique attacks and defenses that you have to learn how to overcome, and general exploration. The game itself is very small, 1gb, and the graphics are decent...better than minecraft, but way lower than most games. That being said, with time and the right tools, you can terraform pretty much everything. Nearly every tree can be chopped down with the right tool. Mountains can be flattened or raised. And of course there is lots of sailing around as the world is built up from lots of islands. The sea holds its own dangers and rewards as well.

Combat is pretty fun. Weapons have different stats and even types of attacks. So using a spear is different from using a knife or a sword. Enemies have resistances and vulnerabilities, so you need to match up the right weapon for the foe. And your character has skills for each type of weapon, the more you use it, the better your skill gets. Not sure exactly how that translates just yet, but I'd assume it means you have a better chance of critical hits or maybe reduced stamina costs.

The game has pissed me off from time to time. Combat can sometimes be quirky. If your foe is elevated from you, then sometimes your attacks will miss even though you are adjacent. Or your swing will not connect because they are too far which is really hard to judge at times. And since every attack uses a limited resource (stamina), one bad swing can mean you die. Oh, and don't die in the ocean as your remains sink and there will be no way to recover those items. Also, there is grinding of resources. Want to make that iron battleaxe...well you gotta have 35 iron bars to make it. That means finding ores to mine, carrying it back to your forge, smelting it, and then finally crafting the axe. And if you want to improve it..that's even more iron you need.

But overall, the game is a lot of fun. My friend has spent days on the game just building new structures. Oh, and you have to be careful too...as you progress, the game starts to throw events at you. So suddenly your home will be attacked by monsters based on how far you have gotten. And they can destroy buildings and such just as much as kill you.

Valheim has a lot of stuff going on, but for the most part, you'll pick up all you need to know in just an hour or so. Everything builds on what came previously. Also, it does a great job of making sure old resources are still used in new recipes that you find. We are in what I would call the fifth tier of technology, but I'm still using boar hides for some of the new equipment.

The game also does allow PVP, but that is on an individual basis. My friends and I haven't tried it, but found it in the character settings. There is also ways to protect your buildings and such from other players as well if you really want to risk playing on a public server. We rented one so that we can play at any time, but it is password protected so that we don't have to worry about griefers.

So if you like minecraft, but also like exploration and interesting combat, Valheim is a good choice. It is the best $20 I have spent in a while. And with just a friend or two, it is all very doable.



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  • 2 weeks later...

playing also with some buddies, and we have all solo'd the first 2 bosses.  First one was horrid.  2nd was not too difficult if you have a bow and figure out how to use the terrain to block his attacks on you.  Also, use fires on the ground (pre-preparred) to stop him from moving around.  He is slow and if you can keep him at distance its just a matter of time to arrow (fire) him to death.....


Hope that helps


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12 hours ago, Bearfoot_Adam said:

Oh, I'm plugging along in the dark forest well enough. But between the small inventory and the running away, it's  slow process. 

only  few biomes in but what I have found is that the beginings of any new biome you will die....ALOT...its tough till you get a little nibble of what they offer, then it gets easier....also, a stealth arrow shot is your friend...anything that hits opp unexpectedly does massive damage


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21 hours ago, Bearfoot_Adam said:

I am 1 surtling core away from my foundry then the fine wood bow will be mine. so far the trolls have not been considerate enough to smash any of the birch trees I have tried to lead them to.

Adam,  here is how I got my fine wood.  Cut down a tree's near the one you cant get down.  try to drop the trees into the standing one.  once you got it on the ground, roll the trees into each other or drop more trees onto them. it take a while, but eventually the will break

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15 hours ago, Bearfoot_Adam said:

I just haven't found my 10th core. I can build my kiln and then break down for my foundry but I wanted one of each for a little more realism. As much realism as can be found when you need 10 mystical orbs to progress to the bronze age i guess.

keep looking.....cores are everywhere once you find them they come in spades....lord knows I have way to many ......


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On 3/20/2021 at 12:59 AM, Bearfoot_Adam said:

I just haven't found my 10th core. I can build my kiln and then break down for my foundry but I wanted one of each for a little more realism. As much realism as can be found when you need 10 mystical orbs to progress to the bronze age i guess.

Are you on a shared server?  If so then go steal them from one of the people ahead of you (since they cleaned out the Delves you need).  If you're alone on your server (e.g. on your private desktop) then you just need to hit more delves.  If there aren't many in the forest biome you are in then move to the next one, at least to explore.

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