Valheim Beginner Tips For Surviving Your First Few Days

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Another week, another million in sales. That seems to be how it goes for Valheim, the surprise hit from the 5-person development team at Iron Gate Studio. While some players have quickly mastered all that the early access title offers, others are just doing their best to survive day to day, myself included. If you count yourself as one of the latter, then I’m here to help. I’ve compiled some tips for surviving your first few days in the harsh new world of Valheim. Don’t worry; there aren’t any spoilers. I can’t guarantee they will keep you from knocking on death’s door, but they will help you make it through your first few days in Valheim

Timber!

You know the drill – grab a few branches off the ground or start punching small trees until you get enough wood to start making your first weapons and tools. That’s not my first tip to survival in Valheim, though. I’m here to warn you to watch out once you get your first axe and start chopping down larger trees. Unlike many survival games, trees in Valheim don’t just politely disappear and leave a pile of lumber on the ground. 

No, they do their best to go down swinging. Watch to see which way they are falling and move out of the way. Not doing so will end poorly for you. Once they are on the ground, they can still be a threat. Felled trees need to be treated with caution, as they tend to roll around while you are chopping them up, and like dough under a rolling pin, they will flatten you out.

Valheim 1

Dinner Time

One of the best things about Valheim is you don’t have to worry about dying of starvation. That said, food still plays a critical role in your survival. You see, your base health and stamina levels are relatively low. Your 25 health and small stamina bar are quite sufficient if you’re hanging around the homestead, but once you wander out beyond the safety of whatever small hut you’ve built, you’ll want to beef those stats up. And that’s where food comes in.

Food gives a temporary buff to your health and stamina. The heartier the meal, the more you gain, represented by the bars along the bottom of the UI. Berries and mushrooms will likely be your first meal, and they give a small boost, while cooked meat gives a larger one. Later on, you’ll even get some additional cooking tools that will allow you to combine multiple ingredients into meals for a more significant boost.

You can have up to three food buffs active at any given time. You can only have one buff per food item, so don’t think you can stuff your belly with three strawberries either. As each buff starts to wear off, its icon will begin to flash. At that point, you can either let it completely wear off or replenish it with a fresh helping of the same, or different, food. The amount of health and stamina gained starts to diminish immediately, so eating sooner is often better than waiting until later.

Level Up

You don’t have an overall character level in Valheim. Instead, each skill ranks up independently from repeated use. The more you use a club, for example, the more damage you will impart upon your foe. That combat experience doesn’t carry over to other weapons, though, so be sure to train with all of the available weapons; you never know when you might need them. 

Valheim 2

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense

You will come across many creatures in Valheim, and none of them will be pleased to see you. We already discussed how you don’t have many hit points, which becomes all too evident when fighting against multiple foes. Press the attack too quickly and you’ll run out of stamina, leaving you unable to attack or defend yourself.

Crafting and using a shield will significantly increase your survivability in combat, but it will reduce your maneuverability. Blocking with or without a shield will also drain your stamina, so you will have to disengage sooner or later. Since creatures have slow attack animations, it is easy to avoid most attacks by backing away as they start to attack. You usually won’t have to block or sprint away to stay out of harm’s way (some creatures have a longer reach), so kiting multiple enemies will allow you to gain back your stamina and get back into the fight in no time. Just make sure to keep your kiting circle small, or you may add more enemies to the battle than you are dispatching.

When you are on the attack, you can do a few things to keep your fight time to a minimum. Using a ranged attack or two may end the fight before it begins on weaker enemies. You do extra damage from backstabs, making sneak attacks a viable first strike option as well.

When you get more comfortable with Valheim’s combat, you will be able to take a more direct approach. Some creatures are vulnerable to specific attacks, so make sure you’re wielding the correct weapon for each foe. Some weapons also have a secondary attack, like the ability to throw a spear, that is performed by clicking your middle mouse button. Combo attacks can also stagger an enemy, allowing you to get multiple hits on them. And for the pros out there, parrying an attack at just the right time can also stagger an enemy.

Valheim 3

Rapid Fire Round

Following the previous four tips would have saved me countless hours and deaths when I first started playing Valheim. The rest of my tips may not help you cheat death, but these one-liners are sure to save you some time and frustration along the way.

  • Shift-click to split a stack in your inventory, ctrl-click to rapidly move it from your inventory to a container.
  • Repairing items doesn’t cost resources, so get everything back in tip-top shape each time you are at a crafting table.
  • Have an extra set of armor and weapons stored near your bed before heading on an extended hunting trip. If you die, the extra set of gear will make your corpse run a little easier.
  • Speaking of corpse runs, don’t rush back if you aren’t prepared. Unlike Minecraft, your gear doesn’t disappear.
  • Just like you, tamed animals don’t need food to survive. They will need food if you want them to reproduce, though.
  • A workbench needs a roof for you to craft, but it doesn’t need one to tear things down. A quick way to get a bunch of resources is to place a bench next to an abandoned building, pull out your hammer, and start destroying. It’s much faster and safer than cutting down trees.
  • Deer have a good sense of smell, so try to stay downwind while you sneak up on them. 
  • You can make and claim multiple beds, but only one can be your spawn point. When you’re going to be spending some time in one area, simply sleep in the nearest bed to set it as your spawn point.
  • Want to catch some of those fish you see in the water? You can’t build a fishing rod, so locating Haldor the Merchant in a Black Forest biome is the only way to add sushi to your diet.
  • Playing with friends can be a lot of fun, but if you are going solo, you can enable console commands by pressing F5 and typing in ‘iamacheater’ to unlock cheat codes.
  • Workbench upgrades must be in close proximity to the bench. You will see a sparkly trail if it is close enough.
Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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