A Return to Valheim

Since it came out in early access, Valheim has become comfort-food gaming for me. I’m not usually into these types of survival/crafting/building games, but Valheim does things just right for me (and it started with a healthy amount of content and was remarkably stable for early access). I was getting burned out recently and needed a break from things, Valheim has been a great escape.

What’s New?

There were some updates last time that I never got around to checking out, so there was a good amount to discover this time. For one, the Plains now have tar pits with tar blobs, and if you drain the pit (carve a path for the tar to drain), you can loot the tar at the bottom of the pit. Tar is used for various new building pieces with nice dark wood and more intricate designs. This includes new shingle roofs, something I had requested. I doubt my feedback made any difference, they were probably already working on this stuff and I just happened to request it.

In the Swamps, there’s a large mini-boss enemy, the abomination, that you can kill for materials to make a new set of light armor (another thing I requested). These things are nasty and hit really hard. I’d compare them to when you first run into trolls wielding treetrunks. The new light armor boosts your bow skill with a full set and it looks pretty cool.

The newest update added the frozen caves to the Mountains, new enemies, crafting items, an armor set, and claws! I love the new caves and enemies. These have been my favorite dungeons to explore in the game so far. The new armor set is another light armor set that boosts your fist skill, and the new claws are a lot of fun to use. The set also increases your speed instead of slowing you down.

New Start, New House

I always start a new character after not playing for a while; the journey from the bottom is just too much fun. And that means building a new house. I took my time on this run, hunkering down in empty houses for a while before deciding where to set up shop. I lived on an abandoned farm for a bit and thought of rebuilding the farm, but the location wasn’t great.

Instead, my first house was situated right at the edge of the Meadows next to the Black Forest, with a copper node within walking distance!

Well, aside from the fact that I frequently had to chase off Black Forest enemies, including the occasional troll, the starting island turned out to be horrible for where I built. My house turned out to be in a large bay, I was far away from being able to explore the seas, and the east seas were completely cut off from my house. So, I decided to move to a new location once I had explored enough to find a good spot.

Try Again

I found a great location that was not only far enough from the Black Forest so it doesn’t cause trouble, the location was situated where I could explore in several directions easily (still not east though). It was also on the same island as my previous home, so I could make quick runs back and forth to move things.

Eventually, my dream house was complete. Or something. I actually like the workshop area and the concept for the never-finished bedroom and adjoining garden. I eventually moved the bedroom upstairs for more space. The balcony (never quite finished) didn’t come out how I imagined, though.

Entrance and main hall
Kitchen and workshop areas
Second-floor bedroom and balcony and third-floor portals
Rooftop lookout
The former bedroom and bee-garden
Around the outside

Some of the pictures came out poorly due to low lighting, but I took the pictures after deciding to tear it down, so I wasn’t inclined to wait for better lighting (or put up a bunch of lights). The house was too much of a big ugly box. It was tall thanks to the stone floors and iron beams, but that hadn’t really helped the design. I decided to build a shack out back (partially to experiment with some ideas) and tear the whole thing down and start over.

A Temporary home
The tear-down

And Again

I knew to try and not just build up but build out so it’s not just a big ugly box. I made some adjustments to the foundation layout and began again. I had a little more of an idea of what I wanted, though some of the quirks of the mechanics, like distance from a heat source or comfort level items, made things tricky. I built an upstairs bedroom and made a large open space upstairs for the portals. Downstairs was going to be storage and trophy displays. But… again, it was just boring looking. It was functional but ugly. I didn’t even finish this one before tearing it down and starting over, though some elements stayed for the next project. There are no pictures of this incomplete disaster.

And Again…

Okay. This time, things are different. I started up top, cutting down on the upper floors and building watchtowers. From there, I picked one area of the new house and built until I was happy, then moved on to the next. I made adjustments to the walls and flooring as needed instead of trying to plan everything from the start. My previous houses all tried to build too tall but not wide enough. Space in important areas quickly ran out but there was always another floor left empty.

Now, the main hall is larger, the bedroom larger (where the old workshop used to be and expanded), but the upstairs is tighter, there are only two floors to the main building, and I’ve got trophies upstairs with the portals. The old space for the garden was expanded and turned into the new workshop which is now all indoors.

New entrance and main hall
New bedroom
Kitchen and side rooms
Workshop and upstairs portals and view from the watchtower
Around the outside

There are still some things I might change, like moving the bathtub to its own building so I can build around it better. The fire that fuels it was quite a pain to deal with since it needs space for smoke to filter out. My current solution was a small side structure that leads up to behind the tub so it can be filled from outside.

I also need to finish the front defenses that currently act as the dock; they remain unchanged from the previous house. And at some point, I want to build a lighthouse and dock on a rocky island right next to where the house is situated, but that’ll take a lot of stone. I’ve got wood left over from my first giant monstrosity but not much stone.

But overall, this is my favorite house I’ve built in Valheim. Can’t wait for the Mistlands.

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