Valheim has its sandbox, base building, and maintenance task elements. I think Skronk and I spent a good four hours in the game on Friday night just pottering around and doing “things” that were not exactly epic, but which kept us busy and engaged until the clock had gone past midnight.
But there is still a story and a through line that the game expects you to eventually follow, holding back on crafting upgrades by way of incentive to get you to leave your base tweaking and look for something besides more copper nodes.
Previously we defeated Eikthyr, the lightning horned stag, which got us the antler pickaxe and opened the way to the bronze age for us and our obsession with copper nodes.
Now, as we have begun to sate our thirst for bronze… there are only so many items to make and upgrade… iron is the next item on the list. But to gain access to iron you need to defeat The Elder, the next boss on the list.
Which means you have to find his altar.
Fortunately, that is pretty easy. At the end of some of the burial chambers you will find a rune that, when activated, marks the location of The Elder on you map. Our map… in this case Skronk’s map… showed about the limits of our exploration on the island where we started, with our main base being at the southern tip, and the Black Forest base about a day’s sail on a raft to the south.
The marker for The Elder was across the water from the northernmost tip of the west coast of our island and at least as far over the water as our Black Forest base was to the south. That was something of a journey.
However, we had not been wasting all that tin and copper on cauldrons and knives. 80 bronze nails, 30 fine wood, and some resin and deer hides will get you the Karve, the upgraded water craft. This is a real boat, not a few logs strapped together like the raft.
The Karve actually sails much faster than the raft and has four inventory slots to carry cargo. I did some coastal raiding for tin ore with it, and we’ve all used it for some exploration.
We had decided that our instance group dungeon for the week was going to be The Elder. But the afternoon before Crowbar (Moronae from the WoW Classic group) were on and decided to go get things setup for the event in advance. Planning!
Well, sort of planning, in a half-assed kind of way. We decided to sail north around the western side of our island, up the coast and as far as we could to get as close as we could to the site of The Elder. Our idea was to get up there, build a secure compound, then put up a portal so we wouldn’t have to muck about with all that sailing just to get to the fight. Not that I don’t enjoy sailing… the Karve is a delight… but it does take time.
So off we went, a few supplies… mostly a couple of surtling cores for the portal… in hand.
Of course the weather was bad and it was raining most of the time and the wind seemed set against us, as it always seems to be when you’re actually traveling to a destination. But we pressed on and found that The Elder’s site was pretty close to the shore when we finally spotted land.
We actually found a nice little cove to come ashore. There was even a stone tower there to mark the place. I am always optimistic about such landing sites, even if I have no basis in fact or history for being so.
It was there that we discovered that we ought to have packed more supplies… like a lot of wood. You think you’re going to the Black Forest so that wood won’t be an issue. But once we knocked down a few nearby fir trees to start a building, we found we were in an area heavily made up of pine trees, which yields a bit of regular wood, but mostly core wood. Core wood is good, but for basic building you need plain wood.
Meanwhile, the greys were showing up constantly, so our progress was slowed by fighting. As it turned out there was a greydwarf nest on either side of the camp, just out of line of sight.
Eventually we took those out, but it was a long running fight before we had a building standing.
There was also a troll cave just up the hill from us, so we had to kill a troll along the way as well. No end of problems… and recurring ones too. My current operating theory is that troll caves are troll spawners, since they clearly respawn.
It was then that we found ourselves shy of fine wood. We actually could have found some… there were some birch trees in a Meadows biome not too far from us, but we had other issues. All the combat had made my copper knife and bronze axe useless, and you need a forge to repair those. So we had to sail back to a base to get supplies.
Fortunately, about a third of the way up the west coast of our main island is a base with a portal to our main base, so we did not have as far to go and the sailing was a straight shot, without need to navigate the shallows that we had to slip through to go north.
So we sailed, made it to the portal, got back to our main base and repaired. We also grabbed supplies and built a portal at that end with the tag “Elder” so once we built the portal near The Elder we would be hooked up for travel.
The trip back on the boat was uneventful, though we spotted an abandoned raft on the way. Somebody left that behind while exploring.
Back at The Elder outpost the greys were there to greet us, so we had to fight to clear the area. With plenty or core wood around I built some pointed stakes around the house, which the greys have a knack for impaling themselves on.
The portal went up, once I found some space for it in the house. Houses fill up with junk quickly, just as in real life, as we had a workbench and beds and chests already there.
Once the portal was in place, we were able to jump back and forth with supplies. I brought back wood and built a palisade wall around our outpost, moving the sharpened stakes outside of that. Our outpost was set. Then I felt the need to sail the Karve back to one of our bases with a harbor.
But, with this outpost connected to the main base via a portal, we were all set for the Elder. His altar was just a short walk.
We just had to take him out. But with all four of us, how hard could that be?