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Minecraft but with Vikings!
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Valheim is a 2021 crafting survival game developed by Iron Gate Studio and published by Coffee Stain Publishing. Set in a world inspired by Norse Mythology, it features third-person exploration and base-building mechanics alongside crafting and a Dark Souls-esque combat system.

Your character is dead. Having fallen on the field of battle, your soul has been collected by the Valkyries and judged by the Norse gods to be sent to the land of Valheim, the tenth realm and a purgatory for beings banished from the other nine worlds of Norse cosmology. Appointed as the land's latest custodian, your task is to defeat six legendary foes known as the Forsaken that inhabit the world and bring glory to yourself in the eyes of the gods. To reach the point where you have the power to challenge these powerful banished spirits, you must explore the realm of Valheim, defeat its lesser inhabitants, craft arms and armour and build yourself outposts and strongholds from which to set out on your adventures. Thus, your work begins...

Valheim was released on Steam's Early Access program in early February 2021, and is currently still under development, selling five million copies in the first month following its release. According to its Steam page, Iron Gate has planned the release candidate for late 2021 or early 2022 and are steadily adding features and content during development.

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  • All Trolls Are Different: Valheim's trolls inhabit the Black Forest biome, the second biome in the game. They are blue-skinned giants at least eight metres tall, wielding their fists, boulders or entire tree trunks to squish the unwary player, and are usually only found inside or near their dens.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Branches and rocks (as well as flint) respawn slowly but gradually. This means that even in the worst circumstances, you will always be able to craft a stone (or flint) axe, a campfire, and a hammer to restart base-building.
    • Repairing damaged equipment and structures is free, requiring no resources but a hammer and a functioning workbench; similarly, destroyed structures drop 100% of their crafting cost, minus consumables (such as resin for most light fixtures) so they can be easily rebuilt.
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    • After being killed, you are immune to further skill loss for a good number of minutes. This means that, even should you be felled during a Corpse Run, you will suffer no worse than lost time over being killed a second time.
    • Boats and rafts have a tendency to be destroyed by being dashed into the shoreline once you disembark. Luckily, they always refund 100% of the resources spent to build them when they do.
    • Tamed animals will not starve to death if you neglect to feed them. They will simply enter a state of "hungry" and they will not mate and reproduce.
  • Arrows on Fire: Fire Arrows are an early-game type of arrow, which use Resin as fuel for the fire. They deal the least physical damage of all the arrow types, but will set flammable foes on fire.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The second Forsaken, the Elder, is a giant tree humanoid. Your characters will barely reach his knees should you engage him in melee combat.
  • Beef Gate: While it's possible to go to all the biomes from the beginning, it would serve you well to stick to the biomes of the Forsaken you are currently tasked with as the enemies are progressively stronger in the order of the Forsaken quests. Though there are more traditional hindrances to progress, like needing the Swamp Key to get iron, or the Mountains slowly killing you if you don't have frost resistance.
  • Behemoth Battle: Can occur when kiting a large enemy from one biome to another containing another large enemy (e.g. trolls, abominations, stone golems...).
  • Black Vikings: It's perfectly possible to play one by playing with the skin tone and color sliders when creating your character.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears (one-handed) and polearms (two-handed) are obtained at the flint and early metal stages of the game. They feature good reach and a fast attack speed, and spears can also be thrown, allowing for easy hunting without using having to use precious arrows. Polearms have no other utilities outside of combat though.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Antler Pickaxe is the first pickaxe you'll acquire and is quickly superseded by more advanced versions. However, since it only needs a simple workbench for repairs, instead of a resource-intensive forge, it's more efficient and useful overall for the lengthy expeditions you'll be undertaking.
    • Cooked meat can be made anywhere out of raw meat (dropped by most animals) with a campfire and a spit (15 wood and 5 stone, in addition to neither requiring a nearby workbench to build). It provides decent, but not spectacular, boosts for a reasonable amount of time and is a useful fall-back if you find yourself away from your cooking pot for long periods of time.
    • Once you obtain a fishing rod, cooked fish becomes like cooked meat but with better stat boosts. Fish bait is inexpensive, and spending an in-game day fishing can get you at least a dozen or two raw fish, which can then be cooked over a campfire just like raw meat.
    • Swords deal slashing damage. There are no enemies in the game that are vulnerable to slashing damage, but only a few enemy types are resistant to slashing damage (most of them undead). Because of this, swords are a good weapon for most situations.
    • Spears are one of the cheapest weapons to make in the game, typically costing a third or less of most other craftable weapons in regards to their respective ore. The spear can also be thrown as its special attack, with particularly accurate throws being able to down local wildlife such as deers, boars, or birds; allowing for conservation of arrows for hostiles. The best part? It's one of the earliest unlockable weapons in the game as long as the player finds flint, meaning the player could start leveling up in their spear stat immediately.
  • Carry a Big Stick:
    • The club can be crafted straight out of the gate and is likely to be the first purely combat-focused weapon you can access. Although it has no flint/stone variant, maces are craftable once you advance into the metal stages of the game. As they deal blunt damage, they are your best weapon against skeletons. Surprisingly enough, this weapon is very effective against the third boss, Bonemass due to Bonemass' weakness against blunt damage.
    • Trolls will occasionally be found carrying entire tree trunks they use as clubs. This makes the already-deadly troll even deadlier.
  • Cooking Mechanics: Unlocking the cooking pot allows your character to cook recipes, which are unlocked once you've picked up all the ingredients for the recipe at least once. Cooked food has longer duration and offers better bonuses than raw berries and vegetables. Meat and fish has to be cooked, either by itself or as part of a recipe, to be edible at all; recipes using it again give better bonuses than eating it by itself.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef Most of Valheim's recipes are inviting, but there are a few which use some questionable ingredients.
    • Eyescream is a late game, high stamina food that is very easy to make. And also uses Greydwarf Eyes as its primary ingredient.
    • Sausages are an extremely useful mid-game high energy food that is produced in bulk. All it requires is common boar meat, common thistles, and the entrails of decomposing, swamp-bound, re-animated zombies.
    • Brewing Medium-Healing Mead involves fermenting blood-sacs that come from giant swamp leeches.
  • Creepy Good: Odin the All-Father, King of the Gods, will personally come down and check how you're doing, and he will scare the shit out of you when he does, because he only comes at night, clad in black, with a glowing fog around him and carrying a long staff. About the only reason you know it's him, and not Death come to claim your soul, is if you manage to get close enough before he vanishes you will see he has only one glowing blue eye.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Defeated enemies and bosses often drop their heads as trophies, which can be mounted onto appropriate vertical item displays on your wall. Do it to the Forsaken, and their spirits will sometimes speak through the trophies to comment on their deaths.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: As your character is already dead to begin with, you cannot be permanently slain. Instead, you will respawn in your base (or the circle you arrived in Valheim) with no equipment and have to make your way back to the site of your death. You will also lose some skill points.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are one of the more common enemy types; they can be encountered in Meadows at night (either spawning from certain stone monuments at first or from anywhere after killing Bonemass), in Black Forests near and inside tombs and ruins, in Swamps pretty much everywhere, and in Mountains also inside ruins. They're tougher and deadlier than most other examples, as a starting character unlucky enough to encounter one when lightly armed and armored (if at all) will get killed by one pretty fast. And apart from 1- and 2-star varieties, they have an elite version called Rancid Bones whose hits will poison you. They are also ludicrously aggressive towards non-undead creatures so any encountered outside Swamps are likely to be found running after or fighting anything they notice.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • The Stag-Breaker is a giant maul made from wood and bone, which can be crafted from deer trophies.
    • The iron sledge is a giant maul made from iron which replaces the Stag-Breaker later on. It also requires Ymir Flesh to craft, making it one of the only items in the game you need to find Haldor in order to craft.
    • Frostner is a slightly smaller (can be used one-handed) hammer reminiscent of Thor's Mjölnir that is so far one of the best endgame weapons as it does both frost and spirit damage. It also requires Ymir Flesh bought from Haldor to craft.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Elemental Crafting: The weapon and armor tiers follow the stereotypical cloth→leather→bronze→iron→precious metals→fantastic metals scheme. Subverted as the ultimate endgame armor so far is padded iron armor and blackmetal armor does not exist in game.
  • Elite Mook:
    • Many enemies have a chance to spawn as star versions. 1-star versions are stronger than regulars, while 2-star versions are the strongest variant. Star versions are often bigger and/or differently coloured. While star versions of early biome enemies are only somewhat stronger than the previous tier, later enemies can feature ludicrous increases in health and damage output.
    • Taken to extreme heights with Fulings. Regular Fulings are dangerous enough as they are with a base damage of 110, but 2-star versions deal a ludicrous 220 damage a hit. This not only eclipses that of any boss in the game, but is enough to one-shot all but the players with the best, upgraded gear and food.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Equipment can be made from different-tiered materials, and each tier of equipment can further be upgraded by investing more of those materials into it. A fully upgraded piece of equipment is usually as good or slightly better than a baseline equivalent of the next highest tier, and will usually have more durability to boot.
  • Explosive Breeder: Tamed boars and wolves will produce offspring at a rapid rate if you keep them fed. Wolves are quite capable of hunting food on their own and defending themselves from enemies, so if you leave a few tamed wolves alone in the meadows you may soon find yourself with large pack.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Averted. Unless you're standing near a fire or have recently consumed cold-resist mead, being outdoors at night will give you the cold debuff (which slows health and stamina regeneration) unless you are wearing at least one article of warm clothing. The mountain biome is even more extreme; entering it will give you the freezing cold debuff which actually damages you unless you're dressed warm.
  • Fishing Minigame: Once you manage to obtain a fishing rod and fish bait, you can catch fish to use as a food item. It's also possible tocatch fish by pushing them onto land.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: On occasion, ships continuously take damage as if running into an invisible obstacle, even on the open sea with now waves. While it's not completely limiting close to land (as it only requires putting down a workbench and repairing the ship), navigating away from the coast is a death sentence if it happens.
  • Geo Effects: The weather changes from day to day. Rain makes your character wet, which reduces stamina regeneration, fog reduces your sight range, and wind direction changes which directions you are able to sail. Nighttime makes you cold, which further reduces stamina regeneration, and the freezing cold of the Mountain biome will constantly harm the player.
  • Give Chase with Angry Natives: Running from a group of enemies into another group of enemies from a different biome can be a way to get rid of at least one group. Sometimes you don't even need to change biomes, such as graydwarves and skeletons in the Black Forest.
  • Glowing Eyes: Your character's eyes are solid blue and always glow faintly. Greydwarfs and Greylings also have glowing, colour-coded eyes.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Skeletons and Draugr's eyes glow, as you your characters (when wearing a hood, they're the only visible element of the face).
  • Green Hill Zone: The Meadows, the starting biome, consists of a lot of open grassland and light-to-heavy forest inhabited mostly by wildlife (but the further you get in the game, the more dangerous it gets).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Figuring out how to obtain Sea Serpent scales without using a guide is quite an ordeal. If a serpent is slain on open water, its valuable scales will sink and can't be retrieved. In order to obtain them, the serpent must be defeated on land. How do you pull this off? Turns out you can craft a harpoon. However, the harpoon can't be made using stone, flint or metal. Instead, the player must venture out into the open sea to search for Leviathans, enormous yet benign creatures of which only the top of their stony carapaces are not submerged. The player must hop onto the island-like creature and use a pickaxe to mine the Abyssal Barnacles found there, which will yield Abyssal Chitin. With enough of this Chitin, a harpoon can then be made. Finally, the player can set out to find a sea serpent and harpoon it. Once you got one harpooned, you must make your way to the nearest coast all the while making sure the Serpent's struggles don't sink your boat first. Sail too fast, however, and your line breaks, resulting in the serpent swimming off. Once on land you must balance your stamina as you alternate between attacking the serpent and re-harpooning it. Quite often random mobs will come harass you as you drag your catch ashore. If you don't balance your stamina well, your line will break and the serpent slithers back into the ocean, fleeing immediately. Good luck, sailor!
    • Learning how to tame animals is a small quest in and by itself, and every tameable animal requires its own food and plan for capturing and containing them while you try to tame them.
  • Justified Tutorial: Provided in-game by Hugin the raven, who will usually drop in to provide in-character hints and tricks on what do to next during the early-game.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields are essential tools for melee-focused characters. They provide the absolute best blocking ability (which allows you to convert health damage to stamina damage) and very good returns for parrying (blocking before an enemy hits, which can stun an enemy for a few seconds). Of course, they're separated into three different shield types of which offer differing benefits.
    • Round Shields are your balanced option, consisting of a nice balance between parrying and blocking bonuses.
    • Bucklers offer the best parrying bonus, but suffer from a weaker blocking bonus. Sadly, they only have two shields, a bronze and iron bucklers; with no bucklers in the late-game.
    • Tower Shields completely rid the player of the ability to parry in exchange for a higher blocking bonus. They also slow the player down significantly.
  • Mêlée à Trois: With the exception of (some of) the Meadows and Black Forest inhabitants towards each other, creatures from one biome are invariably hostile to those of another, which can be exploited by canny, fast-on-their-feet players.
    • This can even happen within the same biome (such as Greydwarves and Skeletons).
    • Certain enemies have the "wrong" faction type for the biome they can spawn in (such as Undead-type skeletons in Meadows and Black Forests), which can lead to fights even before players get there to take advantage.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night:
    • The world of Valheim in general is not without its ample dangers, but at night the player is urged to be extra on their toes. For one, enemy spawn rates increase, including odds of encountering 1 and 2-star versions. There are even some enemies that will only spawn at night, such as Wraiths and Fenrings, which are among the deadlier creatures in their respective biomes.
    • The peaceful Meadows become increasingly dangerous at night as the player progresses through the game. Once at least one boss has been defeated, Greydwarves will start spawning in the biome at night. Later on Skeletons and eventually even Fulings will make an appearance at night.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Mistlands in their current unfinished iteration. No enemies or even neutral creatures, no music... just the player in an eternally dark, silent forest of colossal dead trees, cobwebs and giant skulls.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Log-wielding trolls will tear through an entire forest trying to smash you... and that's exactly what some players use them for. By dodging and blocking while leading the trolls to trees, minerals and rocks, a well-geared player can harvest half a forest's resources without ever swinging their own axe.
    • Graves remain until their items (a player's inventory) are all reclaimed. Players have noticed the advantages of an unkillable chest with more than three times the capacity of a regular wooden chest and often use conveniently-located graves as storage.
    • Flame geysers constantly spawn Surtlings, fire elementals who take damage from water. Digging up the ground around a geyser in a swamp means a spawned Surtling will almost immediately die, making it a good source of coal and cores.
  • Organ Drops: Several enemies drop body parts beyond just meat, hides or trophies, such as greydwarf eyes, draugr intestines, leech bloodbags and drake freeze glands, which usually can also be used in food recipes. Can cross into I'm a Humanitarian, if the player makes and eats sausages from draugr intestines - the draugr are undead humans.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with with Haldor the merchant. He's short (for a dwarf, as he'll tell you himself) and bearded and as he's interested in gems and precious metals and sells you stuff at high prices, he fits most of the standard dwarf tropes; on the other hand, Intrepid Merchant isn't quite a standard dwarven profession, and blue is an unusual skin color.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Fulings are small, goblin-like beings that live in the Plains biome. They are amongst the deadliest creatures in the game and mistaking them for a standard nuisance-level mook will not end well for you, especially if your world seed puts Plains where a player might encounter it early on.
  • Patchwork Map: The existing biomes fill out across your map as it is explored, leading to swamps, plains, and ice-capped peaks sharing common terrain. Of course, this might make sense in a Patchwork World where Odin has the Forsaken sealed in their own locales.
  • Power-Up Food: Instead of healing you or using a hunger mechanism, eating food increases your health and stamina caps temporarily, and grants faster Gradual Regeneration. You can only eat three different pieces of food at the same time, and different foods offer different stamina and health cap bonuses, so you are encouraged to look out for the highest-quality food you can cook and mix and match different meals depending on which stats you want increased.
  • Portal Network: Portals can be crafted and paired with each other to allow you to move between places you've already visited and jump from base to base. Unfortunately, metals and ores of all kinds cannot be teleported.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can play as a man or a woman. Gameplay-wise it makes no difference.
  • Retraux: Valheim intentionally features graphics and textures that mimic 3D from around the turn of the millennium. However, the game uses modern-day shaders which make the game looks indistinguishable compared to some modern games at a first glance or by distance.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Bees inhabit abandoned buildings in the Meadows. Exploring these buildings without noticing their nests can lead to a quick death (or at least a lot of pain) for a beginning player.
  • Sequence Breaking: A downplayed example. You are free to visit the biomes in any order you wish, but the local fauna will likely flatten you without proper equipment and each of the Forsaken tend to drop something that you'll need in order to fully access the next biome and the resources within it. It is possible to obtain some items from higher-level biomes (like trollskin armor or obsidian) that will help you defeat earlier Forsaken, but they will be limited.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Enemies from different areas or factions will attack each other on sight, potentially leading to skirmishes with four or more different sides. If you're being chased by something you can't defeat, running into enemies from another biome can provide you with a life-saving distraction.
  • Shock and Awe: The game's first forsaken, Eikthyr, can shoot lightning from their horns.
  • Shop Fodder: Amber, amber pearls, silver necklaces and rubies serve no in-game function other than to be sold to Haldor the Dwarf for gold.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Weapons made of silver do extra damage to undead foes (skeletons, draugr and ghosts) by inflicting spirit damage, a burn-like effect.
  • Splash Damage Abuse: The Stagbreaker can be used to damage and kill enemies on the other side of a door. It's best used in dungeons and base raids rather than buildings, because it's possible to destroy the surrounding walls faster than killing the enemy.
  • Stealth Clothes: Wearing a full set of troll hide clothing increases your sneak stat by 25%.
  • Super Drowning Skills: While the player character can swim and reduce the stamina cost with enough practice, running out of stamina in a body of water causes the player to quickly run out of health and die. One can drown in a waist-high river if they linger for too long; large bodies of water are completely impassable unless you can find a land route, build bridges, or build a boat to cross them.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Swamp biome is constantly dark and overcast once you enter it, damp and filled with twisted, gnarled trees, ancient sunken crypts and several flavours of The Undead, with the only living inhabitants being the giant, poisonous leeches that infest its waters.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Some enemies have resistance to one or more types of damage (indicated by grey text) and vulnerabilities to others (indicated by yellow text). For instance, trolls are resistant to bludgeoning and weak to piercing, while skeletons are the opposite.
  • The Lost Woods: The Black Forest biome leans into this aesthetic, being dark, inhabited by trolls, tree-men and undead, and dominated by giant pines and firs. It is also the home of the second Forsaken, a giant treeman known as the Elder.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Meadows sometimes features groups of empty buildings that can be used to set up your own bases or torn down for resources. Sometimes, however, the buildings are infested with draugr.
  • The Undead: Several enemies are undead, and are mostly encountered in the Black Forest and Swamp biomes: skeletons and rancid remains, ghosts and wraiths, and draugrs, and it's implied that blobs and oozers and almost certainly Bonemass are also a form of them.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Eikthyr, the boss encountered in the first biome of the game. It has relatively low HP and damage, heavily telegraphed attacks that are easy to dodge, and no resistances to any weapon types, so the player can use whatever they're comfortable with.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Some enemies will drop gold coins when killed, which have no crafting utility at all and simply take up space and weight. There is a merchant who takes gold as currency in return for rare items, but his spawn location is random and it can often take players a long time to come across his camp. It also doesn't help he has a very limited selection and only one item you would need to buy more then once.
  • Zerg Rush: While in a structure recognised by the game as a "base", it is possible to get raided by enemies. There are a number of different raids and each has a certain enemy or enemy type spawn in large numbers for a short period to attack the player and their base. The raids come in two varieties: story-based raids, which only occur when the boss they are tied to is the next one the player has to kill, and general event raids, which are unlocked halfway through the game and can be triggered indefinitely.

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