Category Archives: Steam

In Our Base on the Plains in Valheim

As I wrote previously, it seemed clear to me that we were going to have to build a base in the plains once I had read that barley and flax would only grow there.  Some sort of farm would need to be set up.  And then, of course, there was the next tier of metal.  While we could haul it back to our ever sprawling main base, my experience with collecting silver from the mountains indicated that a forge and smelter in the area would be viable.

So when Crowbar pointed out a likely island in the plains, we set about making a somewhat utilitarian outpost on the spot.

Plains island base

The first priority was production and a few of the first items laid down, once we had laid out a stone pad foundation, were, from left to right, a windmill, a smelter, a kiln, and a blast furnace.

The production corner of the stone pad

The windmill might be my favorite of that group, if only because it made the behavior of the wind in the game something to notice beyond when I had set sail.  The wheel and tail assembly at the top rotate with changes in the wind, facing into it like a real windmill.  But it also brought to my attention that the wind doesn’t blow at a fixed rate.  While I suspected that it might when out on the Karve, it is hard to tell.  But the windmill blades spin relative to the speed of the wind, or not at all if the air is calm.

Which would all be so much trivia if it didn’t affect how well the windmill worked.  You use it to grind harvested barley into barley flour for cooking, and how fast it grinds is directly proportional to the speed of the wind.  I understand that you can mess up your production with poor windmill placement, though we seem to have done okay.  It grinds away and we have an excess of flour now.  The only bothersome bit was the sound of the spinning blades, which in the right wind sound a bit like heavy footsteps running towards you.  Tuned into sounds, as you have to be when you play Valheim, that gave me a start a few times before I got used to it.

The smelter was built to process iron scraps, since I knew we would need some of that.  I also hauled some copper and tin from another base to get us some bronze in case we needed a bit.

The kiln I might have skipped on.  All it does is make coal, and you can bring coal through a portal.  But it also doesn’t take much to build.  I remember when five surtling cores seemed like a big investment.  Now we have a chest full of them sitting around.  So there it is.

And then there is the blast furnace, which makes all sorts of noise as it smelts black metal scraps.  My main disappointment was that it doesn’t replace the smelter.  Oh well.

But not everything can sit around outside, so we put up some buildings.

Buildings in the plains base

They are in the form of my “I ain’t building no damn chimneys” mis-matched roof design, something I borrowed from the roof venting in our own house.  They started as a mirrored pair, then I roofed over the part in the middle since I was tired of getting wet walking between the two or when using one of the portals there.

The building on the left became the indoor crafting area.

The crafting room

There we have some large storage chests, which was as good of a reason as any to get some iron, as they keep down the chest clutter a bit.  I am also all in on iron torches, which stay lit much longer than the wooden kind.

Next to that is the spinning wheel which turns flax into linen thread.  That thread is required for many of the gear upgrades.  The spinning wheel is dull compared to the windmill.  You just fill it up and it spits out spools of thread.

Then there is the artisan table, which requires Moder’s tears to construct, and which enables to building of the blast furnace, spinning wheel, and windmill.

And then there is a fully upgraded forge for crafting with our new found materials.  Behind me in the screen shot is an upgraded workbench for items requiring that.

The workbench

That is used mostly for making needle arrows and the occasional lox hide cloak.

The other building is the sleeping quarters, which is pretty compact.

The sleeping quarters

There are four beds on a platform over the hearth, which seemed very Russian to me, though maybe having a bed over the stove in a peasant izba is a bit out of date.

There is also enough decoration to boost the comfort level to 14, which gives 18 minutes of rested state, something that boosts stamina and health regen.  I also put up cooking racks to roast up some lox meat on demand.  I thought about building a cauldron as well, but the cooking area at the main base is just a step through a portal and we have a lot of supplies built up there for food.

Finally, there is the field.  We split out the compound to give us room to grow barley and flax when we found it.  I started off with just a bit of barley too.

Carefully planting my first bits of barley

Soon though I had a field of barely, enough that we pushed out the far wall to give ourselves a bigger field.  And then we found some flax and I went to town on growing that.

Flax and barley on a foggy morning

You can see I have the flax well spaced.  Early on, when we only had a little, I was paranoid about losing any of the crop.  Now our chests are spilling over with the excess and I am a little more free with it.  But I have still stored some away at other bases just in case.  We have a strategic reserve of flax and barely stashed away.

Overall, despite the utilitarian plan for our base, it has actually shaped up into a nice little outpost.  Things are handy but not in the way, the island location keeps us safe, and supplies are just a portal or a short walk away.

And, of course, it is on the plains, which can give one quite a pleasant view when the weather and the sunlight decide to cooperate for a bit.

Looking out from over the front gate, another day on the tenth planet

We’ll probably get in trouble with some eco type for importing a few firs and a strand of pine trees into the plains… invasive species… but they look pretty good out there.

Meeting the Neighbors in the Plains

Having carved out a little corner of a plains biome and successfully fortified it as a base, it was time to look further afield.  It was time to go introduce ourselves to the locals.

Plains island base

I will say, for openers, that the island location that Crowbar picked has worked out well.  We occupied enough of the place that nothing spawns there or on our causeway to the mainland.  Even NPC raid events seem to have trouble dealing with the location.  We had some skeletons beating on the doors once, but when we got the  ground shaking message about a troll raid they all spawned at the far end of the causeway and fought with the local spawns while Crowbar and I sat on the wall taking shots at them with our bows.

In fact, the only mob I’ve seen come up the causeway without being invited (by arrows) has been Odin, and he hardly counts.

Just leave your pamphlets on the mat

But out on the far side of our moat awaits the plains and all the mobs that wander it.  Well, the few mobs that wander it I suppose, as there isn’t a lot of biodiversity.

There are, of course, the deathsquitos, the first plains mob to slay me, and for quite a while an absolute terror in my eyes.  Now, geared up considerably since then, they are, like real mosquitoes, more of a nuisance.  They can be a pain if they show up in the middle of a fight or spawn in a group of six (which happened to Crowbar and he still managed to kill five of them), but when I see them out on the plains I move straight towards them, shield up to take their attack, then bonk them with the hammer.

Come at me bro!

Their needles make the highest damage arrows in the game, so I will go out of my way to farm them.

And then there are the Lox, the mighty bison that wander the plains… or sit around waiting for you to show up and shoot them.

Shooting Lox from Rocks

If you can find a vantage point from which to shoot them they’ll run around all confused.  That guy far off, he came back.  They are drawn to their spawn point it seems.  And they are worth shooting as their meat makes for mighty food.

And then there are the fulings, the goblins of the plains.

The new neighbors not happy to see me

You kill the deathsquitos for arrows and the Lox for food, but the fulings are the main target in the plains, and they are all over the place.  They are also the most dangerous due to being social and traveling in groups.  That is especially true at night when they wander far and wide in groups of 3-5, which can be a nasty shock if you’re just trying to get back to base after a long day of hunting.

And while fighting them out in the open is fun, it is their bases that are the big draw.  That is the source of barely, flax, and the totems to summon the next boss… and black metal scraps, which are the next tier for some gear.  I mentioned building the blast furnace to smelt it immediately after slaying Mode.

My first run in with a furling base was a tower, which turned into a bit of a slog as, once I cleared the fulings outside, the few inside refused to come out.  I sniped a couple off the top of the tower, but ended up having to go in hand to hand for the last two… one of which was a two star furling and killed me with one shot when I missed a block.  Oops.

But that was close to base so I was able to run back and finish things off, getting to the top of the tower and the chest there, which held eight barley.

On top of the tower

From that bit much barley was grown.  But flax, that took a lot longer to find.  Crowbar and I started scouting for more bases, and in our wide area of plains there were a few to choose from.

Crowbar, ever tactical, built up a platform on one of the giant stones that are scattered about the plains, thinking to snipe the fulings.

Shooting down from a great height

Unfortunately, the stone was a bit too far away to be effective, so we ended up just sneaking up to the base, surmounting a nearby stone, and sniping from there.

Popping the furlings from range

We were able to clear the base, which only had a scattering of fulings, two shaman, and no berserkers pretty easily.  They were all spread out enough that we didn’t get more than three at a time.

The base had some more barely… that quickly became common in our inventory… and some black metal, but no flax.

We moved on to the next base, another tower, and then the next after that.  There we had some fun with berserkers.

Eat that poison arrow!

Once again we had a rock to run to and shoot from which was too steep for the fulings to climb, so we could snipe from safety.  However, I managed to run out of stamina on a bad pull where we got a bunch of fulings and couldn’t get back up on the rock.  That was another corpse run.

Back for my gear

The run back was a bit dicey, but I have learned to eat some food and build up some hit points before I make the attempt.  I ended up outrunning two groups of fulings and a deathsquito successfully.

We cleared the camp, and found some more barley, plenty of black metal scraps, and a couple more totems, but no flax.

Int wasn’t until we were about five furling camps in before we finally ran across a few flax planted in a bed.  We grabbed that and headed back to our base to cultivate it.  That was a bit of a long haul and I ended up putting up two more portals in the base named Scout1 and Scout2 so we could run around and drop a portal to get back home when we needed.

Our plains domain

On the map the furling camps are marked FC and the current positions of our scouting portals are SC1 and SC2.

Of course, you cannot haul the black metal scraps back through the portals, so we have ended up running those back the old fashioned way.  When we first got there I would run them into the meadows biome and that camp, then haul metal by boat up to the plains base, but I’ve gotten confident enough to just keep running the whole way these days.

Except at night.  Like I said, groups of fulings roaming around can be an issue when you run into them.

And my usual worry, that this new method of metal procurement would be a bottle neck to production… well, we have ended up with a lot of black metal scraps to refine.  Iron though, which is required for the armor upgrades… that I have ended up having to haul in by boat from across the straights and the Bonemass swamp.

Sailing through a storm

But our supply situation is coming together.  More on that next time.

Little House on the Plains

Having defeated Moder in somewhat less time than we might have anticipated, Crowbar and I immediately set out to scout some plains biomes for a potential base.  I was ready for this, having spent some time out and scouting for a plains biomes for that very purpose.

Spying out the plains

While I had a few candidates, the best bet still seemed to be the base we had built up as a staging point to tackle Bonemass.  It had the advantage of being in a nice open meadows area… which I had since planted with trees for a wood supply… not too far from plain both north and south, connected to a mountain biome for stone, and a short sail from the swamp Bonemass was in, which also happened to have a select of crypts for iron scraps.

My camp across the straights from Bonemass

We would need to haul resources to this new base because of the whole “no metal through portals” thing and because the plants… barley and flax… we would need to cultivate only grow in the plains.  So we would have to commit to a full base/farm complex to get things done.

The first thing I had done after the boss fight was bring some Moder’s tears through to that staging base and build a blast furnace, mostly just to see it, but also to process some of the metal scraps we had collected from furlings.

The first blast furnace

I had thought for a bit that maybe we could just base in the meadows and simply farm in the plains, but the base was a bit of a hike from the plains in either direction, so it felt like we would have to at least move the base closer.  Fortunately it wasn’t much of a base, just a building, a portal, a smelter (for Bonemass iron), and that blast furnace.

So Crowbar and I set out to scout for a good site for a base, encountering some of the local wildlife almost as soon as we hit the line between meadows and plains.

Some more lox meat for the table

We’re still working on the best way to tackle a lox, but kiting them with bows seems to be pretty effective.  You just have to watch out for other things while you’re running around.

Deathsquitos no longer elicit the terror they once did, back when when we were younger and had just defeated The Elder and ended up having to die multiple times on a corpse run.  I still keep a sharp eye out for them to take them down at range with a bow, but my armor is good enough now and my hit points high enough from food that I can survive that first hit and turn to smack one as it comes in for another run.

A bugged bug

I shot that particular deathsquito about a dozen times before I was satisfied that it wasn’t actually there or active.  But I kept an eye on it all the same.

The furlings though, I can still get in over my head there.  A normal furling on the plains is no problem.

This guy? No problem

But you can take a shot at one and suddenly find out he had 3-5 friends and things can get out of hand very quickly.  And the one star and two star versions hit considerably harder than you might expect.  A miss-timed block against a two star furling is an invite to being one-shotted.

We’ll work on that.

We ran across a set of ruins on the edge of the meadows that had some base potential.  It even had the rune stone that revealed the location of the next boss, Yagluth.  So we had that marked down.

The ruins on the edge of meadows

But we kept on scouting until we found a little island not too far into the plains, just on the coast, which seemed a likely spot for a base.  It would be secure from the wandering residents and on the water so we could ship in metal that couldn’t come by portal.

The island spotted

So we walked back to the staging base and collected up some essentials… wood and stone and some iron and so on… so we could make workbenches and a stone cutter and a portal, piled it all into a Karve I had handy, and set sail back up the coast to the island.  The Moder power came in handy as the wind was straight against us so I was able to fix that.

We landed and got out hoes and picks and set about scraping out a level area.  Crowbar put up a small building and I built the connecting portal to the staging base.  We were then able to jump back and pull in more supplies.  The staging base also had a portal to a mountain base I had built.  I broke down that portal, brought the materials through to the new base, and set it up there so we could start hauling in stone for walls around the place.

We ended up working away for a few hours and then again the next day, until we had a nice little base built.  We built a causeway to the mainland once we were feeling secure.

Plains island base

I planted those trees because I had some beech seeds on me.  They were going to be a wood supply, but they actually make the base easier to spot when sailing by, so they will probably remain as they are.  The also look nice.

I then reworked the portals so that there was a direct connection from our main base at the spawn point to this new base, and from there you could jump to the staging base or the mountain base.

Portal routes to the new base

I should probably bring the Bonemass portal through to the plains base as well, as we’ll likely need to hop over there to harvest some iron scraps from the crypts the haul back.

I also did some scouting to get a sense of how much plains biome we have to work with.  In my journey I ended up circling our area and spotting quite a few furling camps.  We will need to assault those to find barely and flax.

Our plains area

You can also see the spot where I died to a two star furling while doing a scouting run around the mountain biome to see how big that was.  I ended up having to run back naked across the whole biome to grab my stuff, wolves chasing me.  Fortunately I ate a serpent stew, lox meat, and some sausage so I had a lot of hit points and stamina.  Then, at my corpse, a deathsquito latched onto me and chased me back.  Fortunately they cannot hit naked fleeing people.  Also, it decided to fight with the wolves once they caught up, so I was able to keep running and eventually put my gear back on.

So we have a lot of area to explore.  The furling camps feel like a group exercise.  Once we get some flax, which is suppose to be rare, and start growing it, we can begin upgrading our gear.

Life on the plains.

Tackling Moder

We had been ready to fight Moder for a while, largely due to the fact that not only was the largest, silver rich mountain biome yet found in the game happened to be right up the slope from a base we had built out ages ago, but Moder’s altar was in the middle of that as well.

Looking down at the altar

So all of that mucking about building up a staging base and setting up was largely dispensed with.  We built a couple of satellite bases up the mountain, so we could just portal ourselves there, but otherwise we were able to set right to work harvesting the bounty of the mountains.

Seriously, I have criss-crossed other mountain biomes and received nary a ping on the wishbone, while with our local mountains I have twice had to two silver nodes being so close together that the wishbone gives confusing feedback in its game of “hotter colder.”

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of our satellite bases was setup just above Moder’s altar, with a portal to get us there quickly.

Take the left portal please

The main problem with getting to the fight was just getting a group of us together with enough time to do it.  It has been a busy spring.  So while we’ve all been able to jump on and work on this and that, the fight took a while to materialize.  I didn’t want to go solo Moder.

Timing was such that Crowbar and I ended up doing a duo attack on Moder.  Fergorin had been on earlier on Saturday, but said that he might not be able to get back on, so we were clear to try if we had it in us.  And we did.

Among other things, I had already cleared out the area around the Moder altar, not wanting to get hooked up in terrain obstacles.

Looks at that nice clear altar area compared to the above picture

We got ourselves setup, but once out on the field Crowbar wondered if we might not be better served by having a bit of cover.  Since I had scraped off most of the cover that has been there before, we ended up putting some palisade wall sections about, with gaps in between from which to fire.

Some obstacles for cover

I had also collected up some better food to be sure we had enough hit points to weather the assault.  Sausages, lox meat, and serpent stew give you quite a bit of health and stamina.

The hit points

Both of us had been out and had experimented with slaying lox, the great plains bison, so we had some meat on hand.

After that, we just had to grab three dragon eggs.  As with silver, our mountain biome had an excess of dragon egg locations, so I had gathered up the three we needed and stashed them close by.  We just had to drop them in their respective spots.

Hiding eggs just before Easter

Or so I thought.  I put in the third egg and ran for cover… only nothing happened.  You have to click on the raised part of the altar in front of the eggs to summon Moder.  So I went back and did that, then ran for cover as Moder was on us.

Moder is not happy to see us

The fight itself was dramatic… the sky turns all sorts of colors and Moder flies around for a bit.  But mostly it was a matter of standing back and shooting Moder full of arrows.  We both carried a stack of obsidian and a stack of poison arrows, though the latter seemed the more effective.  I knew frost arrows would be a bad plan.

Moder on the ground

When Moder comes down to ground level, you can end up getting chased about, and there is a breath weapon involved that leaves some giant crystals on the ground.  But for the most part we had enough space to dodge and keep our distance.

Moder chasing Crowbar around while I take a screen shot

Moder ended up knocking down pretty much everything we built, and some of the local flora as well.

Breath weapon unleashed on a tree

In the end the two of us were able to defeat Moder without much drama.  Preparation helps again.  We only had one visitor show up, a Drake, which sided with us in the fight and got beat down with Moder for the trouble.  And then Moder was down.

The end of Moder

Tears is correct, as Moder drops dragon tears, which allow players to build the artisan crafting table which, in turn, allows the construction close by of the blast furnace, windmill, and spinning wheel, all of which are required to process the next tier of crafting materials from the plains.

Moder also drops the trophy, which we went back to hang on the appropriate stone near our main base.  That unlocked a new power which turns the wind your direction when sailing.

Moder’s power revealed

That is a surprisingly useful power, though it only lasts 5 minutes and has a 20 minute cool down.  But sometimes five minutes is all you need.

After that it was time to start scouting the plains.  Crowbar and I did some initial investigation in the plains near the meadows staging base we built up for the Bonemass battle, which is surrounded north and south by plains.

The camp across the straights from Bonemass

On the north flank we found an island on the coast that seemed like a place we could build up.  So our next task is to stage in the plains and start looking for furling camps, which is apparently the only place you can find flax and barley, which you need to cultivate in order to start working on the next level of gear.

Scouting the Plains in Valheim

While we’re all set up to take on the next boss, Moder, the group has been busy over the last couple of weekends so we haven’t been able to get together to finish that off.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve hauled in and refined enough silver ore and iron scraps to serve us for the immediate future, so I have spent my time lately exploring and building outposts, with a bit of an eye towards the next stage of the game for us, which will take place in the plains.

That has meant getting in the Karve… the longboat is too big for exploration in my opinion, I’ve already done an Ever Given in a stream with it… and sailing further and further from our main bases in search of new lands with some potential.

I have noticed, out at sea, that I will occasionally get a flight of drakes passing by.  If they spot me, they come after me.

Drake attack

Fortunately, they are not too difficult to deal with.

Exploring up and down coasts and every river passage though is fraught with some danger.  Like this troll, for example.

Oh yeah, he’s seen me

My first thought was, “Pink troll?”  But them he got close enough for me to see the two star rating on him.  A normal troll is a push over at this point, but the last troll to kill me was one star rated, and got me because I was getting complacent.  A two star troll called for some caution, especially since off camera to the right was a  standard troll looking to join in fun.

I hopped out of the boat and kited the pink guy around until I managed to bring him down.  Then I knocked off the other one because he had destroyed my boat.  I had to go fish everything out of the river, which was just deep enough to make the bronze nails tricky to grasp.  Fortunately the first fight had knocked down enough trees that I had the wood for a workbench to build a new boat.

I managed to sail out far enough to run into my first Mistlands biome.

The last biome on the list

The wildlife for those is not yet implemented, but it looks dark and spooky none the less.

But what I was really after was plains biomes, and specifically plains biomes with more gentle, preferably meadows, biomes adjacent to them.

Spying out the plains

We’re going to need plains biomes for our next stage, and as I understand it, we’ll need to set up a base on the plains to take full advantage of the new resources that will be unlocked once we slay Moder.  That means getting a foothold some place where we can set up a base and a portal and what not to support such an effort.

Plains are much more common and I have found a few likely landing spots where I have set up outposts, like the one we used for staging for Bonemass.  It is sandwiched in between plains, north and south, with mountains to the west, which are in turn also hemmed in by plains.

I went over the mountains and found more plains

That actually is a pretty good spot, since there are swamp crypts over on Bonemass side of the straights, so I was able to haul some scrap iron over in case we want to set up and make stone walls.  You need some iron for the stone cutter.

You can see the smelter poking up from the inner compound

Also, there are surtlings in that swamp, so a supply of coal and surtling cores as well.  I didn’t even need to tap our home base supply to build the smelter.

But I am not betting everything on that one outpost, so I have set up a few more, all near plains.  We have a portal tagged “Explore” in the main base, so I go out with the supplies to build a connecting portal, then set it up when I have a likely spot.

Of course, to carry on from there I have to make another portal back at one of our primary bases to connect it, so I can use the explore portal again.  I have started farming those out to the secondary bases, like Dieppe and Elder, as the portal room upstairs in the main base is getting a might full these days.

The portal room – not visible, one around the corner and three more down stairs

There is a hole in the floor because somebody got tired of going down stairs.

One of my likely candidates is off to the east of Elder base and has a nice buffer area of meadows then black forest around it before you get into the plains.

Eastmarch Base in the meadow

Of course, I have been nosing into the plains as I have been exploring.

A furling tower near the edge of the black forest biome

I am getting a little less paranoid when I get close to the plains.  I am now able to knock down a Deathsquito with an arrow shot as soon as I spot one.  I am not confident enough to take a screen shot while doing so, and I am always looking and listening, but I am getting there.

And the furlings seem manageable, even though they come in groups of two or three most of the time.  The Dargur Frang bow with even a wooden arrow will take one down if I get the drop on them.  And fighting them can be done.  Of course, I got over confident at one point and a two star furling came in and one-shotted me.

Death on the plains again

That happened where the little skull and cross bones are on the map.

Fortunately I had cleared the way there pretty thoroughly.  I was able to eat some sausage and serpent stew for a big hit point and stamina total, jump through the portals, and make the naked run out there to collect my stuff successfully.

I have yet to take on the bison who wander the plains however.  I haven’t seem them out in groups of less than three and am worried about something like a triple troll scenario.  Crowbar managed to slay one, though he said he did it by building a platform up in a tree then shooting them from there until they were dead.

We’ll get to those soon enough.

Making the Dragur Fang Bow

With every boss defeated there is a new tier of materials and gear unlocked in Valheim.  This is a very MMO-esque aspect of the game, and not one without a hint of peril.  Too much of that and it becomes a grind.

But Valheim’s range of gear isn’t all that extensive, and upgrades don’t leap ahead in stats or protection with each upgrade, so it is a rather calm progression that works for me.

Collecting the resources, on the other hand… well, I seem to enjoy that, but if you’re not an explorer type who wants to see the world, I could see it becoming a bit of a drag.  Logistics as well, with metal being forbidden from portals.  It has become a bit of the challenge of the game for us and where we end up playing is somewhat dictated by that.

We started in our main base, which is pretty much at the world spawn point.  When it came time to refine bronze, much of our work was done in the base we built in the black forest to battle The Elder.  With iron we were back to our main base, shipping loads of iron across the water to it.  And now, with silver as the focus, the base named Dieppe has been upgraded to handle our current crafting needs as it sits at the foot of the largest mountain biome area we have yet found.

And it is there I have been on a bit of a silver binge.  I take the portal up the mountain, run over to the current silver node, mine out 20-22 units of ore, about all I can carry, then run back down the mountain to our base, start it smelting, and take the portal back up again.  This has left us with a couple of chests full of silver and I have been using some of it to outfit myself.

Armor was first, especially since the frost resist effect, so necessary in the mountains, was part of a couple of the pieces.  But after that it was time for weapons, and the first on the list was a new bow.

The Dragur fang bow is currently the best bow in the game and I was happy to get my hands on it as soon as I could.

The Dragur Fang in hand

Making it requires silver, which I was hauling down the mountain, and ancient bark, which we have in abundance, as you find it in swamp crypts as well as in every ancient tree in the swamp.

Then there was guck, a material I had only discovered by accident when I was trying to figure if those green blisters on trees in the swamp might be used for something.  A bit of trial and error with one at blister at ground level showed that a pick axe would pop them after a few blows, and I received one unit of guck, which unlocked the recipe for the bow.

But you need 10 guck to make the bow and 22 guck total for a fully upgraded bow and I wasn’t seeing a lot more guck blisters down at ground level in my swamp exploration.  There are, however, more further up in the trees, though the trees they inhabit cannot be chopped down.  So I built a work bench nearby and then some ladders to get up into the trees to harvest.

Up the ladder for guck

On the bright side, the higher up the blister, the more guck that seems to come out.  Three ladders up I got one that dropped 6 guck, so at least I did not have to find 21 more such blisters.

My guck in the bag, I was able to go back to base and craft my bow… and then immediately upgrade it all the way.  And I am pretty happy with the bow.

It has a bigger knock-back than the huntsman’s bow I was using, which comes in very handy at times, like when I am on alone and I get that “The Ground is Shaking” alert that a troll raid is on the way.  Then I scurry up to the stone tower at the front of the base and start shooting trolls.  The knock-back puts them off balance for a bit so that swapping targets, along with a bit of luck, has kept them from tearing the guard tower down.

Repelling the troll attack

If I remember to swap to obsidian arrows and get a good opening shot, a troll is now down in 3-4 shots.   Maybe 5-6 if I forget and am still using the wooden arrows, which I carry around to shoot lesser mobs.

The poison damage the bow has, which seems to get applied as a DoT, is fun as well.  There have been a few times that I have failed to kill a drake up in the mountains with my second shot, only to see it fall out of the air a few seconds later because the poison finally landed.

The bow has also made sea serpents fair game.  Early on I would run for shore when I heard the cry of a serpent.  With the huntsman’s bow I could drive them off at sea, occasionally killing one before it got away.  The Dragur Fang bow, with obsidian arrows, now makes a serpent a fairly reliable kill.  When I hear the cry I stop the boat and get ready to shoot.

Waiting for the serpent to show

I have started killing them regularly enough when I am afloat that we have begun to build up a supply of serpent stew, which is the best food we have access to right now, and which we save for big fights.

Cooking up some serpent before making the stew

I have even managed to kill a couple close enough to shore to retrieve their scales which, unlike the meat that floats on the water, drop to the bottom of the sea if you’re out too deep.  I collected enough to make the serpent scale shield.

Serpent Scale Shield

It is a tower shield, which slows you down a lot when equipped, so I tend to just use the silver shield I made.  But if I need to go toe-to-toe with trolls, this works nicely.

So the bow has been pretty great so far.  It is accurate, hits hard, and looks good.  But it does have an issue.  That glow on it looks cool, right up until you’re trying to hit a target moving from left to right in front of you.  Then that glow has a bad habit of obscuring the target.

That glow is really annoying in the dark too

But otherwise, the bow has been a very good upgrade for me, and worth the effort in silver mining and guck harvesting.

Notes from the Mountains of Valheim

With our turn to the mountain biomes of Valheim, there has been a focus on silver, the next critical resource.  As with the turn from copper to iron, going from iron to silver made me wonder how hard or easy it was going to be to find sufficient silver nodes to supply our needs.

Using the wishbone from Bonemass, I have been able to spot enough silver nodes so far that I think we’ll manage.  Some of the silver is pretty close to the surface, but if you get the high pitched fast ping from the wishbone, nodes can be pretty deep.  Fergorin and I dug ourselves at least two viking warrior heights into the rock at one point before we hit the node.

I have also come up with a few items from my experience so far.

  • Silver Nodes can be Big

After digging down and finding the silver, I have gone through a couple iterations of thinking “This is the last bit” only to dig a bit more and reveal more silver.  The veins keep going and I have ended up with some large holes in the ground in getting the last bits out.  The mountain is starting to look like Nevada, with open silver pits for people to fall into.

I have take to trying to scrape away and reveal full nodes before I start harvesting, and they can be sizable.

Silver vein exposed

That isn’t as big as some of the copper nodes, but the density is much higher.  You get more ore per bite, and the bites are smaller.  Also, that node ran deeper than it looks.  It is kind of an interesting twist to actually be digging out veins of ore from under ground rather than the surface nodes favored by nearly every MMORPG.

  • Silver is Heavy

Well, it is heavier than copper, tin, or scrap iron.  I had optimized myself to being able to carry ~33 of each of those… a full stack plus a couple extra pieces… when mining.  With silver I can manage ~23, which means I am running more relays back and forth to haul silver ore to the smelter down at Dieppe base.

Likewise, after smelting, silver bars are heavier.  So there is a lot more walking back and forth.

  • Portals Are Key

Putting a portal up on the mountain turned out to be a huge win.  You still have to carry the ore down the mountain the hard way, but you can get back up the mountain immediately.    That was working out so well we now have a second portal up at the other end of the mountain biome from our first.

Two mountain portals

I found a nice stone tower complex in the south that I cleared out and built up a bit.  As the label indicates, it is also near Moder’s altar, the next world boss we need to fight.

We’ll be fighting down there at some point

Having the portals also makes harvesting stone from your digs very easy.  I haul the silver ore down the hard way, then run stone through the portals for use later.  I have managed to revamp Dieppe base with all of that stone.

Nice new crafting area

I’ve also managed to pave the whole compound, so we’re not tromping through the mud every time we go out.

  • Stone Collapse Fun

Digging stone for stone’s sake can be a chore.  But I did figure out a couple of ways to speed things up.  The big dome-like stone outcroppings in the mountains are a good target.  As with buildings, you can mine them out and they’ll stay standing so long as there is even a small connection with the ground.  But if you focus on the base and sever the top from the ground, it will suddenly collapse into a shower of stone.

Stone harvesting time

Then you just have to haul it off.

  • Stone Golem Harvesting

An alternative is to use your friendly neighborhood stone golem to do the digging for you.  I have gotten my fighting technique down pretty well now, using the iron mace and shield, and take very little damage if I block correctly… something made easier by the golem doing one attack, then a second, then wandering around a bit before it attacks again.

I just kite the golem over near a stone outcropping, put my back to it… which keeps me from getting knocked back… and let the golem take some shots at me.  He’ll nicely break up a bunch of stone that you can harvest once you’re done with him.

So we seem to be doing okay in the mountains so far.

One change I have noticed since the defeat of Bonemass is the population of hostile mobs down in the meadows.  That gets dialed up with every boss.  Now there are a lot of greys wandering around, up to and including brutes.  But they have also introduced skeletons into the mix.  They are all over now, and they fight with the greys.  Some sometimes I get back from the mountains and find the front yard of the base littered with the remnants of their battles.

Another mess out front

Now I have to go out and clean it all up.  We’ll never lack for resin or skeleton bones, and a bit of extra wood and stone if useful I guess.

From the Shore to the Mountains in Valheim

Since we had polished off Bonemass it was time to turn our eyes towards the next target biome, the mountains.

We had run into mountains quite a while back, including the freezing effect that drains your hit points once you wander into that biome, the gate to keep those unprepared away.  Mountains are all over as the map tracking my explorations shows.

However, there are mountains and there are mountains.  My map also shows a bunch of small mountain biomes you could walk across and still have most of the day left to go elsewhere.

But we were in luck when it came to mountain biomes.  We had stormed ashore and set up an outpost across the water from our main starting base early on in search of a black forest biome.  That turned out to be somewhat unnecessary as there were other block forest biomes to be found closer to home, had we ventured far enough.  Our outpost was perhaps better known to us as being a place where trolls and greys wandered and sometimes a starting point for exploration.

I mined quite a bit of copper and tin out there, and had even set up a smelter and a forge in order to avoid shipping it by boat to the main base, but the base we ended up fortifying for our assault on The Elder received more attention, getting our first stone walls and a nice stone building even before our main base.  I did eventually put up some stone walls at Dieppe after an incident, but that was after Elder base and our main base had been redone in stone.

Dieppe with stone walls up front now

With focus on the swamps, that base, named Dieppe, sat neglected for a stretch, save as a harbor for exploration runs.  And then, in the prep for Bonemass I needed to get some drops to make frost arrows and of all our bases, Dieppe was by far the closest to a mountain biome. You couldn’t actually see the mountain biome from the gate of the base, but you didn’t have to walk very far to see the snow.

Me on the map maybe 50 yards from the base

I had brewed up a few stacks of frost resist meads, which give you 10 minutes of frost protection in the mountains, and headed up there to hunt for supplies.

In the mountains clad in iron

I managed to run around without dying, though the mountains come with their own challenges.  I was glad I took a pile of sausages with me, as they give both a lot of hit points and stamina when consumed, and I needed both.

I have mentioned before that stamina management is very much a thing in Valheim, but it is all the more so in the mountains, where scrambling up hills requires you to run and jump quite a bit.  You end scrambling half way up a slope then looking for a rock or flat spot to perch on to rest as you stamina bar runs down.

And then there are the wolves.  They are not as tough as I thought, though they can show up in packs at times and if they catch you unaware, you will find yourself losing hit points fast.  I was two shotted by a one star wolf who I didn’t see.  But if you see them first they pop with a good bow shot or, if they are close, a blow from my iron mace knocks them below half heath with a single blow and stuns them for a moment, so you can bring them down before they even get a hit on you if you’re careful.

There are also the drakes, which were much more of an initial terror.  They scream at you as they fly in to attack, then stop, hover, and launch their frost attack down at you, which can be quite surprising.  Fortunately, it is a frost based attack, and since you probably have your frost resist on if you’re traipsing about the mountains, it barely does any damage.  Once I figured that out, they became more of a nuisance than a threat.  You hear the scream, equip your bow, spot them, pull back, and wait for them to hover for a nice clean shot.

Lining up another drake with my bow

With iron or obsidian arrows they are down in two hits.  If I am feeling cheap, wood arrows will kill them in three hits.  I generally keep a stack of wood arrows on me for hunting deer or seagulls, and sometimes I forget to swamp.

There are also werewolves out and about at night, but they are basically wolves without any good drops.

The main menace of the mountains are the stone golems, which are basically the trolls of the mountains, except that arrows are not very effective against them.  Like trolls, they are drawn to the sound of you digging with your pick axe, so if you’re out harvesting silver or obsidian or stone… we’ll get to that last… you have a chance of waking one up or drawing its attention if it is already up and wandering about.

I have yet to work out how to attack them.  As noted, arrows do not do much damage, though obsidian arrows will chip off a bit of damage with each hit, but you would need a full stack of arrows before you committed to that.

I read that the pick axe was effective against them, but you have to get in close to use it and if you mis-time and take the full blow from the golem, you’ll lose a lot of hit points.

I did have some luck using terrain against them initially.  They cannot go down steep slopes.  At one point I managed to get one trapped down in a bit below me, so I could rush in, hit him a few times, then pull back if I was taking too much damage.

Stone Golem in a pit

I also found that worked if I had dug myself deep enough mining, only I was down in the pit and the golem couldn’t reach me.  At one dig I sat there working away with a golem just above my head flailing away, unable to get at me.

Stone Golem above me as I worked

However, if you give them an opening, they will jump in the hole with you.  That generally gets them stuck in place so you can close with them and retreat as needed.

Time to finish him off

While I can divert most of their damage with my shield, their attack has such a knock-back that, unless I have something at my back to hold me in place, by the time I can close with them again I have to block once more.

You can juke their AI with the terrain by running up a slope they can’t use, which will send them off in another direction.  When you come back down and they’ll start back towards you.  Overall though, fighting them still involves trying a bunch of things looking for the best method.

Anyway, I got my supplies and enough silver and wolf hides to make the cloak that gives you frost resist and we went off to slay Bonemass.  After that, with the wishbones in hand, Fergorin, Crowbar, and I went to Dieppe so they too could learn about the mountains.

Crowbar and I considering a sleeping stone golem

Of course, hilarity ensued and everybody died.  Fergorin learned that you cannot hide in one of the many towers seeded about that mountain biome, as the stone golems will knock holes in them.

Fergorin’s corpse in a tower with a bite out of it

Before long we set up a little camp in a wooden building not too far off from that tower and decided that setting up a portal in the mountains would save us some running back and forth.  We would have to haul silver down the hard way, it being a “no portal” like other ore, but as a base camp to haul things up, and haul things down, it would be a boon.  Stone for base building seemed especially easy to find up on the mountain, it being made out of stone, so we could collect and portal it back easily.

That first portal stood for a bit, but I logged on to find it disconnected at one point.  As it turned out, a stone golem and a drake had a fight next to the house with the portal, and the golem knocked the tar out of the house, the way he did that tower, breaking the portal in the process.

But the house was only a temporary base in any case.  Fergorin had already been working on digging out a base to be fortified with stone and given a steep moat to keep the golems away.  I collected the bits and bought it down to the work in progress and set up the portal down there, then started digging some stone to help the building effort.

The fortified mountain base in progress

As for the biome itself, it is the biggest mountain area I have found so far.  While the trip to it from Dieppe is a short run, walking around its perimeter takes a full day/night cycle and I have yet to explore the whole thing.  Granted, that is due in part to the mountain terrain, which has its share of drops and steep slopes.  But there is a lot there to find.

Our mountain biome map

In the center there is also a wide are of lesser slopes to explore.

And, as I mentioned, there are stone towers around, often near peaks, several of which have the runstone that reveals the next boss, Moder.  You can see that is now marked on the map above.

One of the runestone for the reveal

I have actually been out to where the Moder fight will take place, so unlike the past two bosses, we won’t have to mount an expedition just to get ourselves set up for the fight.  There is even a tower close by, which seems like an opportune place to put another portal when the time comes.

The location to summon Moder

Also marked on the map are some locations where dragon eggs spawn.  You need three of them to summon Moder.  They also weigh 200lbs each, so they aren’t something you’ll just carry around in your back pocket.  When I found one the first time I struggled to get it back down the hill and through the portal to our main base, only to learn its sole use was to summon Moder, and for that I would need it back up on the mountain.

The comically heavy egg back at base

Well, there were plenty more back up there, so this one can just hang around the base.

Now we just need to gear up.  There is, of course, a whole new set of gear we’ll all need, and one of the prime ingredients is silver.  As I mentioned previously you need the wishbone from the Bonemass fight, the magic metal detector, to find most silver nodes in the mountains as they are hidden below the surface.  So we will be working on that.

Overthinking Bonemass

After the first two bosses ended up being more difficult than anticipated/advertised, Eikthyr’s surprise lightning and all the extras that showed up for The Elder, I was determined to approach the third boss in Valheim, Bonemass, with much more care.  Especially since every time I see that boss mentioned, it is explained that he represents a much more difficult fight than the first two.

Of course, the first thing we had to do was find him.

As with past bosses, his location was revealed once we found the right runed tablet to click on, this time in one of the swamp crypts we had been pillaging for iron scraps.  The location was way up north from our main base, well beyond where I had explored previously.  Bosses have multiple locations in the game, and later on in a crypt to the south I clicked on another tablet that showed a location for Bonemass to the south of our main base… that was even further away.  I would have put a screen shot of the map showing the spot relative to our main base, but I have to zoom out so far that all my notations blur together and cover everything up.  So it was a ways up north.

Fergorin had already been up that way exploring coastlines, so I had a bit of an idea where to sail.  I got in one of our trusty Karves and set out for the north to find the altar where we could summon Bonemass for the fight.

Setting sail for adventure

He appears in a swamp and my hope was to find a swamp with a nice little meadows area adjacent where would could set up a forward base from which to stage out attack.

As you move further away from the spawn point and henge at the center of the map, the more the mix of biomes favors higher level content.  Specifically, you end up with a lot of plains biome areas, an location we were not ready for.

So, as I approached the Bonemass marker on the map, I ended up encountering a lot of areas of plains, with the Bonemass swamp not only be adjacent to a large plains biome, but also sprinkled with little biomelets of plains around its coast.  It was just such a little patch of plains that introduced me to the deathsquito previously.

If I have a complaint about the procedural world generator, it would involve its habit of putting tiny biome strips in rather odd places.

And, as if to stoke my paranoia, a deathsquito appeared and came after me as I passed close to one of the small bits of plains.  I managed to kill it with a bow shot from the boat, but I quickly put some more distance between me and the coast.  I could see one of the giant bison wandering a little strip of plains, stomping random wandering Dragur and skeletons unfortunate to wander too close to it.  The biomes at war.

With visions of the plains, I went searching for a safer place to set up camp.  I found a nice sized meadows biome a short sail away.  It was also hemmed in by plains, but there was enough buffer that I felt confident in setting up a base in the middle of the meadows shoreline.

My camp across the straights from Bonemass

I had brought with me materials to make a portal to connect to our utility “explore” tagged portal back in out main base.  That set up, I built a perimeter fence and stocked up on supplies with an eye to making another amphibious assault to build a final outpost walking distance from the fight so we could respawn close by should the fight turn into a wipe.

The staging base in the meadows

I also read that one of the best weapons against Bonemass was frost arrows.  That required drops from drakes, which live up in the mountain biomes.  I had only seen a single drake up to that point, but I made some frost resist potions, which you need for your initial forays into the mountains lest you freeze, and found some drakes.  They turned out to be a bit of a push over with my bow, even with only flint arrows.  I was able to collect what I needed for the frost arrows, and even spotted an expose silver vein, a rare thing indeed, which allowed me to make the first piece of wolf armor, the cloak, which gives you the frost resist buff without the need for the potion.

The stagbreaker two handed hammer was also mentioned by some for dealing with adds in the fight, as it has an AOE affect that will pop the blobs that Bonemass summons.  Crowbar had made one, but didn’t like it that much, so left it in a chest.  I upgraded it to tier 4 and gave it a try in a swamp crypt, where its AOE can bring down mobs on the other side to muddy scrap piles without the need to get in close or use up your arrows.  It worked well for that.

With supplies laid in, including stacks of poison resist meads, I sailed again across the water to the swamp where Bonemass’ altar lay, looking for a safe spot to land in between the plains biomes, and found a likely cove a short distance away.  I was able to scout out the vicinity.  People talking about Bonemass mentioned a need to prepare the area before the fight, to get obstacles clear and minimize the amount of deep water close by.

Dude, cool skull altar!

On Saturday Crowbar and I were on and we decided to go to that prep.  We went through, to the staging camp, loaded up the boat with some materials, then sailed to the landing zone I had scouted.  A little ways away from the altar we cleared a bit of land and built a palisade perimeter and I put up another portal.  I had setup a connecting portal before we left, so once that was up we had direct access to our main base.

Out at the altar in some knee deep mist

Then we set about clearing the land around the skull altar for the fight.  As we were working, Crowbar asked if we should maybe build a tree house or something in order to position ourselves for archery.  I had seen that mentioned as well, and figured it would be good, so he set out to work on that.

I left for a while as Crowbar worked on a Swiss Family Robinson like set of platforms up in the trees.

Up on one of the platforms in the trees

Later in the evening, Crowbar, Fergorin, and I were all on and we were talking about the coming fight and decided that, since we had everything set up, we ought to give it a try.  I had been planning on having 4 or 5 of us for the fight, but what the hell.  It would be a good recon if nothing else, and we could escape through our portal if it was required.

We all got our best food… I had a few serpent stews left, which I handed out… and took our poison resist meads.  We had out bows ready and a stack of frost arrows each.  Crowbar and Fergorin got up on platforms ready to go, while I stood down at the altar, ready to summon Bonemass with 10 withered bones.

Deposit 10 withered bones to summon the boss

When everybody was ready, I used the bones and the message of the summoning appeared.  I scampered up the platforms of one of the trees, getting up before Bonemass noticed me.  He was there, a huge green blob.

Bonemass arrives

We let loose with our arrows, and found that we were all high enough that none of his attacks could reach us.

We sat up there, took aim, and shot, letting stamina build up as needed.  The serpent stew, in addition to a good hit point boost, adds a lot of stamina as well, which was probably more important to this fight.

Bonemass summoned a bunch of blobs, but they were stuck down on the ground with him.  At one point some skeletons showed up and attacked the blobs, but Bonemass knocked them out, which was probably the only thing he was able to hit.

The fight took a while and we went through a bunch of arrows, but we were never in danger while we stayed up on the platforms.  Eventually he was destroyed.

The mass is no longer moving

At that point Fergorin stepped to far and fell off of his platform into the mass of blobs, and I ran down with the stagbreaker and popped a bunch of them.  So at least I got to use it.

We collect the trophy and the three wishbones he dropped.  Hugin eventually showed up to tell me about the wishbone, which is really a magic metal detector.

He happened to have three in his gut

You need one up in the mountains to find buried silver nodes to mine… unless you luck out and find an exposed one like I did… though we would need many more to gear ourselves up again.

We then hung up the Bonemass on the correct stone.

The Bonemass outline was kind of the clue

That unlocked a new power for us to summon.

Defense against weapon damage

I hope that blunt is good versus stone golems.  There is an issue there I’ll get to later.

Another boss down, and it was easy enough that the next day, when Unna was on with Fergorin and I, we went back and did it all again.

Up on a platform again

Of course, it was probably easy because of all the work that went into setting it up.  The more you sweat in practice and all that.  He did actually manage to throw a couple of blobs up to my platform on the second fight, but with the poison resist mead up and my mace to hand, they didn’t last long.  I just had to be careful not to knock out and of the boards I was standing on.

So we had now mastered the swamps, having looted crypts, farmed tons of iron, and defeated the swamp boss.  It was time for a change of scenery.  It was time to finally ascend into the mountains.

Others on Bonemass:

Honest Game Trailers Takes On Valheim

Tired of Valheim posts yet?  Well, they’re not done.  Not yet.  But if you’re chafing about all this Valheim stuff, then Honest Game Trailers has you covered as they dig into the game to expose its many flaws.

I have to admit that a lot of what they say is true, though the measure of fun and depth will vary for people.  Stamina management though, it is very much a thing.  I am just surprised they mentioned the cart then didn’t show how you can mess up even that.  Or maybe that was just me.

Trying to push the cart is sub-optimal

But you know you’ve made it as an indie title on Steam if Honest Game Trailers features you.  Now to see if Zero Punctuation gets around to the game.