Valheim: Hearth & Home Update

I’m not usually into the early-access survival games (or early-access in general), but Valheim ticks my boxes. I previously wrote some articles on my experiences and impressions based on the launch:

Part 1Part 2Part 3

The Update

The new update is focused on building and things at home (hence the name). Cooking, in particular, was expanded with a lot of new recipes and new improvements (and onions!). There were also balance changes done to the food to make the decision of what food to eat more interesting and important. Some of the new recipes also use up some of the items that stockpile over time that previously had little use.

Another improvement is the new build pieces. Some are just nice variety pieces like inverted slant pieces. There are also pseudo-glass windows that use the stone golem ice crystals. The large hearth also got an improvement for visuals and it now snaps! Farming fine wood also got easier as now there are birch seeds and oak seeds. Though there still aren’t a lot of build options for fine wood; it’s more for crafting and gear.

There are a variety of other additions (a few new gear options) and changes, and apparently some hidden things. It’s been fun finding all the new stuff, and there’s more I still haven’t seen. Though, I’ve gotten a little stuck on the 4th boss, Moder. She seems much harder than she was before (though she had problems before, bugging out and not really attacking). Even bringing in my character with maxed armor and huge food buffs didn’t make the fight much easier. Moder remains undefeated.

The Headquarters Build

The first thing I did for building a real base was find the ocean. My starting island is actually huge and finding the ocean took a while. Then scout a place to build. Unfortunately, there were later discoveries for my house location; this world seed has a lot of sandbars and rocks around the coasts. It’s the worst seed I’ve found in this regard and makes the longship difficult to use. But I tried to adapt by using a sandbar as the end of a dock. It took some further terraforming to make work. The house itself was built out from an initial small house (which was converted into an entry room/kitchen). The beehives got moved around a lot but finally took up residence in what was a boar farm (my boars were all murdered during an event and not for the first time). Then I added some connected buildings for the workshop and bedroom.

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a screenshot of the old bedroom, but really, it was a large square with nothing very fancy, just a good chimney and stone flooring. But the next part of the build was the portal room. It attaches to the main hall, and the concept was individual portal stations. I had to adjust the bottom, however, because the stone flooring was too high, and the 1st-floor portals poked into the second floor. So, I ripped up the bottom and put in wood flooring. Fits perfectly now.

With that part done, the backyard forge area was a mess (seen above in the first set of pictures). Lots of wood and stone piles cluttering things up, and I needed to better organize the kilns. First part was building a shed for the extra supplies. Second was an open pavilion to cover the kilns and smelters. The pavilion was a challenge because I didn’t set the smelters and kilns in a layout that was clean to cover, so I tried just covering where they were. It worked okay, just don’t look too closely at the roof.

It was time to tear up the old bedroom and do something interesting. I had a concept in mind, but I needed WAY more resources. Just the foundation and first walls nearly depleted what I had.

The idea was to have a small, personal garden in the center, a partitioned-off bed-chamber, a vault for treasure, and the large hearth. I might have to make some adjustments for more decorative elements. The table and throne are a tight fit. I also might need a second hearth; the far corner of the room is outside of warmth distance.

The building mechanics are really good and easy to learn. There are some nuances and quirks, but a lot of freedom to experiment. I’m not really experienced with these kinds of games, so all my early buildings were pretty basic other than the longhouse (which was just based on Viking designs). But I’ve been learning more and trying new things, and I’ve made new favorite techniques. There’s still more work to do around here and there. For one, the main hall still needs work; it’s a bit empty and the stairs are bare. But I already have other ideas for things I want to try and build, especially themed buildings.

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