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Video Game / Valheim

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Minecraft but with Vikings!

Valheim is a 2021 crafting survival game created by Iron Gate studios. 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 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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  • An Axe to Grind: Axes are essential tools for chopping down trees and can also be used as weapons, being slightly less effective than swords but cheaper to build and upgrade.
    • The crystal battleaxe is a late-game two-handed version, requiring mountain biome materials; while slow, its wide sweeping arcs and damage output makes it great at felling multiple trees
  • 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.
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    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arrows on Fire: Fire Arrows are an early-game type of arrow, which are implied to 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.
  • Beef Gate: While its 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 progress hinders like the fact you will need the Swamp Key to get iron and the Mountains will slowly kill you without frost resistance.
  • 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. On the negative side they have no utility outside of combat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, cause 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Geo Effects: The weather in Valheim 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.
  • Glowing Eyes: Your character's eyes are solid blue and always glow faintly. Greydwarfs and Greylings also have glowing, colour-coded eyes.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Meadows, the starting biome, consists of a lot of open grassland and light forest inhabited mostly by wildlife.
  • 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.
  • The Lost Woods: The Black Forest biome leans into this aesthetic, being dark and dominated by giant pines and firs. It is also the home of the second forsaken, a giant treeman known as the Elder.
  • 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.
  • 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. These are also 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 and rocks, a well-geared player can harvest half a forest's resources without ever swinging their own axe.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with with Haldor the merchant. He's short 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.
  • 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.
  • Poison Mushroom: Tasty Mead, it is not only a completely useless waste of honey and a fermentation tank, but it actually has negative effects on health and stamina.
  • 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 find or craft when you need to eat.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can play as a man or a woman. Gameplay-wise it makes no difference.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shock and Awe: Eikthyr, the game's first forsaken, is a giant stag who can shoot lightning from its horns.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Weapons made of silver do extra damage to undead foes (skeletons, draugr and ghosts) by inflicting a burn-like effect on them.
  • 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, 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 Undead: Several enemies are this, and are mostly encountered in the Black Forest and Swamp biomes: skeletons and rancid remains, ghosts and wraiths, and draugrs; it's implied that blobs and oozers and almost certainly Bonemass are also a form of them.
  • Vendor Trash: Amber, amber pearls, silver necklaces and rubies serve no in-game function other than to be sold to Haldor the Dwarf for gold.
  • 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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