Category Archives: Valheim

Finding Silver and a Mountain Base in Valheim

There was some doubt as to whether or not we really needed to go through the effort and setup a base in the mountains.  So far we have managed to keep things consolidated within a single main base, using portals to get around where we need to go.

We have gotten away so far with just a few outposts here and there.  A couple of them grew to the point of being something akin to a base.  But we have tended to walk away from them once the local resources… copper, or tin, or scrap iron… have been exhausted.

And I probably have a pretty loose definition of a base.  A building isn’t enough, nor beds. And you have to build a workbench to build anything else, so that barely counts.  But insisting on there being a forge or a smelter might be too far.  A base is some place you stay and work out of, so it is more than an outpost, something that gets fixed up a bit and made to look nice.

Maybe like this?

A nice room in the mountains

Granted, we never planned to get there, it just happened.

I mentioned in my past post about finding some visible silver before we killed Bonemass for the first time that we would need to go up the hill again, so I built a little hut in a safe place on the side of the mountain and put up a portal to save us the trip up.

And that worked for a while, though the location of the portal was a bit awkward.  I had really planned to put it in an abandoned tower not too far away, but there were two stone golems prowling around it early on, and it is some effort to kill them.

But by the time we had Bonemass down and had the wishbones on us to find silver, I had managed to knock down both of the golems.  Another one spawned before we spread out some campfires, but he managed to get stuck in a hole and now sits there getting attacked by drakes while we go about our business.

Drakes and golems don’t like each other.

Though even after we had the golem menace under control, I wasn’t sure it was worth the bother to even move the portal.  Like our other expeditions, we were here for resources.  And then I started finding silver.  Lots of silver.

We had trolled around with the wishbones in a couple of other mountain locations and had only found one silver vein, but on this mountain, up above the Grey Pit we built, silver seemed to be much more common.  And close together.

I think part of the reason we have so many huge holes in the biome now is that, for example, I found three silver veins… so far… close enough together that the reading from one would mess up the reading from another.

Three silver nodes within beeping distance of each other

So I spent more time wandering around and digging down trying to find the treasure.  But, in the end, I kept on finding it because we would dig one up, then once it was cleared I would go back there to start my search for another, only to find the wishbone was still beeping at me.  So I would keep digging and find another one.

The wishbone knows where to go

So eventually I decided I would just more the portal into the tower if only because it was marginally easier to get to the silver from there.  So took down the portal, built a workbench in the tower, then put up the portal there.

Then I decided I wanted to shelter the portal, which meant putting up a roof.  But the walls were coming apart.  However, I knew we had a couple of pieces of iron down at the Grey Pit, and with those I could build a stone cutter and repair the walls.

Repairing is never enough though, so I started filling in holes and making the whole thing look a bit better.  There was a ton of stone to hand… literally so… from digging up silver near the tower.  It too seemed to be a nexus of resources.

The silver around the tower

[Edit: That upper right silver marker was a silver vein with another silver vein underneath it.  Silver city here we come!]

Once I had it fixes up a bit, with a place to shelter, a couple of chests, and a fire, I let the crew know on Discord that the portal had been moved.

And then Brynjar got on, went to town, and I came back to find that room at the top of the post and was pretty sure we had crossed over from outpost to base.

Looking at the base from the silver trio area

It actually grew quite a bit from just the tower.  But, as I said, we had a lot of stone close by to work with.

Meanwhile, there was enough silver up there that we started working on our silver mining technique.  By accident we found out that if you undermine a silver node completely, it gets much easier to harvest.

A silver node not touching the ground

Then, when you actually mine part of it, after a couple whacks the whole thing collapses into silver and stone.  Since it takes less time to dig through stone rather than ore, it seems like an easier way to get the whole thing done… and you have to dig out most of that stone anyway to get to the silver.

A silver and stone bounty

Then you just have to pick it up and carry it back to base.  Silver is heavier than iron, copper, and tin, so we can only grab about 22 per load. But Brynjar made a path for us to follow through the snow, so we have a regular hauling route.

So we seem to be well setup in that base.

It also has one more feature.  Right outside of it is the altar needed to summon Moder, the next boss.  We haven’t even found one of the runes that give you the location yet, we just found the altar when running around.

Summoning Moder is just a short walk away

That screen shot is me on the rock above the door that leads to the room pictured at the top of the post.  We won’t have far to go.  The question is probably how much damage will Moder do to the base when we summon it?  We have a ways to go on that, but sooner or later it will happen.

Bonemass and Misremembered Lessons in Valheim

One of the truisms of life is that failure often teaches better that success, and getting stomped or being savaged by a boss mob on your first run will make a lesson stick.  And if a boss fight is a milk run, then the details are… less likely to stick with you perhaps?

Anyway, this past weekend three of us got together in Valheim while Lugnut was off trying to chop down a real life tree and hoping not to have it fall on him or get caught in the kick back as it fell, a hazard in both the game and real life.

While Brynjar and I had been running around in the mountains, finding some more opportunistic silver and looking into the possibility of wolf pets, we felt we might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves.  There was, after all, a boss to be taken care of in the swamps before we could or should head off to the mountains.

So we decided to go out and prepare for the battle with Bonemass.  We had found his location and Brynjar had even put a portal in place close by in a little walled off compound, so travel out there was easy.

As for prep, we recalled having to smooth out the ground where the fight was going to take place.  Nobody wants to get caught up on something or end up swimming while a boss is after you.  And then there were platforms to be built.  The fight, we remembered, went easily enough with us up on platforms shooting Bonemass with bow… unlike that run in with The Elder.  So we got to work.

Working on a platform over the Bonemass summoning skull

Of course, Valheim won’t leave you in peace and we had a couple of run ins with the locals.  On the bright side,  as I noted before, you can do in an abomination fairly quickly by kiting it over a Surtling flame.  The problem is that you need to keep kind of close to the abomination to get him there as he is a bit short sighted… and there are the other mobs hanging out that can lead to issues.

The abomination burns, but Ula is down…

That aside, we got ourselves setup, the ground nice and level, and a couple of nice platforms in place.

I might have gone a bit far putting up a roof on a couple of them, but I had the wood and it is always raining out there in the swamp.

Platforms in the trees… also, I really like how the swamp looks in that shot

Brynjar had read that you could also put up a platform on top of the summoning skull, and set about putting that together as well.

The skull platform complete

Of course, once we had gotten things to about where we thought they should be, there wasn’t anything else to do but test the whole thing out by summoning Bonemass.  We would re-run the event later with Lugnut.  This was just going to be a soft opening or some such.

We ran back to base and filled up on fire arrows, all the better to burn Bonemass, along with some poison resist meads, got ourselves that sweet, sweet rested buff, then went back to summon the big guy.

Brynjar had the 10 withered bones needed to summon Bonemass, so Ula and I took up positions on the platforms and the summoning commenced.  Brynjar immediately scurried up to the top of the skull platform.  That was going to be his spot for the fight.

Bonemass and the skull platform

Brynjar was at a safe height, but Bonemass seemed quite fixated on him on his platform.  Also, Bonemass brought along some skeletons with him, who got up on top of the skull and commenced to chop away at it.

But we were loosing arrows at a fierce rate, so we hoped to bring Bonemass down before structural issues cropped up.

It turns out that fire arrows aren’t the ticket for Bonemass.  I had misremembered his weakness, or carried it forward from The Elder.  It wasn’t fire arrows we needed, it was frost arrows to do him in.  So while we were barely chipping away at him, I said there were some frost arrows in the storage shed and Ula ran off to grab them.

However, there were only 11.  But she brought them through to try them and they did indeed do considerably more damage.  However, 11 arrows did not last long and I ran down, went through the portal, and went back to our main base to make some more.

We happened to have enough ingredients for two stacks of 100 arrows each.  I ran back with those in my bag to share them out.

Sharing them out was made easier by the fact that Brynjar was running around on the ground now, Bonemass and his allies having broken down his platform just as I was getting ready to run off and make those arrows.

Skull platform down!

He survived the fall and scrambled away, leaving a couple of skeletons stuck up there.

Anyway, back with the frost arrows, I doled them out and we commenced finally doing some real damage.

Brynjar got up on one of the other platforms as Bonemass seemed to have it in for him.  I ended up coming down off of my own platform to position myself for back shots into Bonemass from the ground.  As long as you stay far enough away from his AOE gas cloud, things are okay.

Down on the ground… also, skeletons on top of the skull

Ula had her bow wear out and had to run back for repairs, but otherwise we were on the right track and were able to take Bonemass down.

Don’t get in the death splash of poison

Then there were the wishbones to pick up, the treasure finding charms that are the reward for the fight.  There were three, so we each got one but will need to do the fight again for Lugnut.

Huginn showed up to tell us about the wishbones and how they can be used to find hidden treasures.  We did a quick post fight pose, lit by the eerie light of the skull.

We won the battle

Then it was back to base and off to the stones at the starting point to hang up our third trophy for Odin.

Eikthyr, The Elder, and Bonemass trophies on display

After that, we did some repairs, made a few upgrades, and set out for the mountains where the wishbones found us a fresh silver node right away.

Silver exposed

We got a little aggressive digging it out… we dug about 15 feet below it before discovering it was above us and off to the right a bit… but it was our first find with the wishbones.  We are now on the path for more silver… and more iron, because we still need some of that and will need more when we get to the plains.

Some Fortuitous Silver in Valheim

We have been in the scrap iron accumulation phase of Valheim for a bit now.  One of the challenges so far has been simply hunting down enough crypts in the swamps to feed our demand so we can upgrade our gear.

In a reminder of the capricious nature of the random map generator, Lugnut found a stretch of swamp with an island on the coast, built an somewhat elaborate base in order to make a safe foothold for a portal and a dock, then as we joined him to go into the swamp to explore, found it to be a rather narrow strip of swamp with no crypts to be found.

We found a similar narrow wedge of swamp near our Grey Pit base, wide enough to spawn all the usual suspects, but not big enough to get a crypt.

Still, we kept going, finding a crypt here and there, hauling back the scrap iron to be refined and used to make upgrades.  I always go for weapons first, so it was an iron mace and the huntsman’s bow for me, then a pick.

There was also the longship to be built, the better to haul whatever large cache of scrap iron we might eventually find.

Setting sail on the longship

Of course, once you have a longship you need a suitable dock in which to park it, which Brynjar built out for us.

Docking at sunrise

We did eventually start to bring in some scrap iron, giving the mighty longship a cargo worth carrying… at least in volume.  The Karve, though nimble, cannot carry much, while the longship has a cargo hold to fill.

Scrap iron to haul back to base

A couple of loads like that and we had iron for further upgrades.  There was enough there for me to bid farewell to my sneaky trollhide armor set… though I stored it away in case I felt the need for some stealth later… and made myself the iron armor set with two upgrades, which felt like enough to of an upgrade to be worth the loss of both stealth and movement speed.  Being in the iron set does slow you down.

The iron doesn’t make you invulnerable.  I’m not going toe to toe with abominations in the swamp quite yet.

It is easier to just kite them over surtling flames in any case

Meanwhile, somewhere long the way, Brynjar started brewing some frost protection meads in the cauldron with an eye towards our eventual need to move into the mountains.  We still haven’t take on Bonemass, so things to do, but getting a head start didn’t seem like a bad idea.

Of course, having the meads meant the temptation to go up into the mountains, which Brynjar did, only to get mauled by wolves.  But he did come back with some treasures.  That got me thinking about poking around in the mountains, just to see where the bet opportunities might be.  In addition to silver being mined, there are the new frost caves to be explored.

So I started poking around myself.  I was quickly reminded how much stamina matters in the mountains.  The running up hills takes it out of you.

Mountain terrain is often a steep slope

But, in a bit of incredible luck, the first thing I saw after my first ascent into a mountain biome was an exposed silver vein.  I immediately got out my pick and knock off ten pieces of silver, then ran on back down the mountain and sailed them back to our main base to be refined.

Silver was just laying there waiting for me

Exposed silver isn’t unheard of in the mountains.  I’ve seen it before.  But it is rare.  Usually you need the little detector that you get when you defeat Bonemass in order to find it, the veins are generally under ground.

Now, ten chunks, refined down to ten silver bars, isn’t much.  But I wanted to get the silver bars to get the recipes for the next tiers of gear.  And I got them, all save the one item I really wanted, the wolf fur cape.  I thought we had everything for it.  Brynjar had come back with wold pelts and fangs and all sorts of things from the mountains.

But, on looking it up, the wolf fur cape requires a wolf trophy, the head of a wolf, in order to craft it.  No wolf head, no recipe, no cloak.  Getting the cape gives you frost resist, negating the need for the meads, which only last for 10 minutes, so I was kind of keep to get the cloak made.  Otherwise it only requires 4 silver and some wolf hides.

So it was back to the mountains in order to hunt wolves.  At least I got to explore some more of the mountain area we’ll likely be exploring for silver.

The mountain biome north of the Grey Pit

Wolves, however, only drop a trophy 10% of the time, so I ended up chasing down their howls for quite a while.  I also learned that if you log out, then log back in, you lose whatever mead you had going plus your rested status.  I drank another mead, but not having the rested status meant that my stamina regen was very slow.

After a few trips I finally managed to get the trophy drop, so I ran back to our base and made the wolf cloak.

Iron gear with a wolf fur cloak

It is actually less armor than my fully upgraded troll hide cloak, but it has that frost resist going for it.  I know the wolf armor chest piece has that as well, but that takes 20 silver bars, and we’re not quite there yet.

Also in my wanderings, I found some onion seeds.

Onions planted to make more seeds

Those are used in the next level of cooking.  Something else to work with.  Onions soup is very high stamina.

Now to find a few more wolf trophies and mine a bit more silver so we all have the frost resist.

Making the Grey Pit in Valheim

Brynjar, whom we should call “Brynjar the Builder,” was looking around for ways to speed up resource harvesting for our various projects.  It can take time to go out and chop wood and even more so to dig out stone.  But he found a video that shows how to farm the Greydwarf population.  A Greydwarf, Greydwarf Shaman, or Greydwarf Brute all drop wood and stone and resin and a few other things when they die, so slaying them en masse turns out to be a harvesting alternative.

The first thing you need  is a Greydwarf spawner.  You can find those all over the Black Forest biomes.  Unfortunately, because they are generally a source of annoyance, we had been pretty vicious in rooting them out any place close to home.  So we had to go find one elsewhere.

Brynjar and I set sail in a Karve, headed for an island we had seen with a lot of Black Forest coverage.  We had the supplies to build a portal and had a connecting portal all set up back at out main portal hub.

As we pulled close to shore, basically the first place we looked, there was a Greydwarf spawner right there, visible from the water.  We were in business.  We built a workbench, put up the portal and got it connected, then set to work.

The spawner found

What you apparently need to do is put down floor pieces from the building construction pieces around the spawner.  We set about doing that while carefully slaying any Greydwarf that spawned, studiously avoiding damaging the spawner.

It took a while, but we managed to get the boards laid out in a grid that seemed to, if not halt spawns, at least keep them down to a very slow rate.

The floor laid

Sometimes it is hard to tell because they will also wander up out of the woods while you’re working.

The next task was then to dig out a pit below the spawner.

The pit takes form… also, it finally stopped raining

You end up mining out a nice pit with a spire of rock left to support the spawner.  Then you build hearths down at the bottom of the pit… which was the step where we realized that we hadn’t brought some iron with us in order to build a stone cutter.  You can’t take that through a portal, so it was back to a base where we had smelted some iron, then another sailing trip back to our work site.

All Vikings love to sail, right?

Stone cutter built, Brynjar began laying out the hearths on the ground around the spire supporting the spawner.  Then a one high wall around the hearths, which is enough to keep the Greys from getting out of the fire.

The Grey Hell of the Pit

Once in action, the loot began to pile up in the pit.

Down in the pit

The easiest way to collect it is to do some fire walking and run around the pit to vacuum everything up.

It isn’t perfect.  Things collect slowly and you have to keep the hearths fed with wood… though wood is one of the outputs, so you at least have that covered.  And the hearths and the walls take damage when a Greydwarf thrashes around in the pit, so you have to jump in and repair them fairly regularly.

My sign to remind

Brynjar finished things up by building a little station there to house the stone cutter and work bench and portal and a few chests to hold things.

There is even an observation deck

It isn’t exactly a Minecraft level of operation… there is no auto sort into chests… but it was an interesting experiment with the mechanics of the game.

April in Review

The Site

It has been a busy month.  I was away for 8 days and have been dealing with elderly parent issues even when I have been home.  Then I started a new job mid-month, which is always a huge change and brings its own fresh dose anxiety.

And yet, somehow I found time to write 33 blog posts this April.  Is my hobby really video games, or is it blogging?  Also I managed to keep up the daily post streak, which I said I was going to probably let go of at the 500, 600, 700, and two full years marks.  And yet here we are at day 761.  Go me.

As for the blog itself, it continues to chug along under the weight of my words.  Traffic has been down since the big Google Page Experience change back in February, when the altered their algorithm to favor sites that met their “good experience” criteria.  That led to a noticeable drop in traffic from Google.  Before that Google was sending me 300+ referrals a day, since then their referrals have broken the 200 mark only once.

You get used to the new normal pretty quickly though, and it can be interesting to see what still grabs Google’s attention and what does not.  For example, I apparently jumped on the Antiwordle bandwagon just in time.

Google Search Console Says

Also, if you get the blog updates via email you may have noticed a change. started sending them out formatted for mobile devices.  But not for everybody  I get the daily update sent to two different email addresses just to keep an eye on it.  The more recent of the two gets the new format, while the older one… does not.

The older one dates back to the start of the blog and seems problematic overall.  For years it used to get an update of posts from the previous day at about 5am local time very reliably.  Now the update comes at all hours, or not at all some days.  It will go a week with nothing and then an email will arrive a 2pm with a week’s worth of posts in a single email.

The new one isn’t free from issues.  It seems sporadic on the delivery time and it misses a day now and then, and there is never a make up email.  So something isn’t perfect in the email delivery.

One Year Ago

April Fools was a quiet affair at Blizzard.

I put up a poll asking what part of the month in review posts people liked the most, and this section topped the results.  So I guess I’ll keep it up.

We got the word that Nielsen was shutting down SuperData Research, which it had acquired a couple of years earlier.  There would be no more monthly revenue charts to argue about.

Raph Koster was talking some more about his latest project, giving us an unreadable chart to illustrate a point about player economies.  He was also talking about cloud computing, which got me to write about the pros and cons of the thin client idea.  Raph came even came by and left a comment on that post.

The instance group was still hot on Valheim.  I was out scouting for base locations out in the plains biome.  Once we slew Moder, we started working on an island base on the coast of a plains area.  We were becoming good at dealing with deathsquitoes.

The plains has its own residents to take on. Meanwhile, we kept expanding our base, setting up a farm in it.  I was also out exploring even more.  I also got to battle Yagluth, the final plains boss, on another server.

Runes of Magic had their “biggest server ever” setup for the 12th anniversary of the game.

I was wondering if Lord of the Rings Online was in maintenance mode.  But EG7 has renewed their commitment to it since.  Over on the EverQuest front, the Mischief random loot server was coming online.

I also logged in and played a bit of WoW Classic.

In EVE Online World War Bee was still carrying on after 10 months.  However, CCP chose to introduce industry changes that made capital ships so expensive to produce that nobody was willing to go “all in” on another M2-XFE type battle.  PAPI would not commit its supers and titans to anything  besides structure grinds under a cyno jammer until the retreat from Delve a few months down the line.  The EVE Online posts from April 2021:

On the media front I wrote about Godzilla vs Kong and watching The Walking Dead.  I also wrote about out PS3, which turned 10 and had been used mostly for playing BluRay disks and streaming.

I was on about how throwing money at bogus MMO Kickstarter campaigns was no way to fight “big dev.”

And, finally, in a Friday bullet point post I mentioned the Diablo II Resurrected Alpha, EG7 completing its purchase of MMO publish Innova (which, a year later, they found themselves divesting themselves from), more about Runes of Magic, and CCP talking about the FPS shooter they said they weren’t talking about.

Five Years Ago

There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.

Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.

I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore.  It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.

I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.

Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary.   We would finally get to Mordor later that year.

Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.

In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such.  Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect.  This was before The Judge did his thing.  However that did not come to pass.

I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game.  I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.

In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way.  They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year.  CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place.  And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels.  We’re still waiting on that last bit.

I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.

I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs.  Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.

In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.

And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.

Ten Years Ago

April 2012 set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE Online, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Fifteen Years Ago

Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct.  Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune.  There was a failure of vision to be corrected.  But I bought a copy all the same.  It was marked down.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers.  I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.

In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.

While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online.  We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options.  I had my first impressionsTitles were a thing!

I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.”  Remember when those were “memes?”  Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.

I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.

Van Hemlock was leet.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last.  The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.

Our Wii finally came out of the box.

And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.

Sixty Years Ago

One of the earliest computer video games, Spacewar! came into being, being initially playable on a DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT.  This would evolve and move onto other platforms over the years, including an arcade version that I used to play in middle school in the late 70s.

As I wrote back in 2014, you can play the original Spacewar! in emulation over at the Internet Archive.  You can also play the Valve reproduction of the arcade game on Steam, if you know how to install it.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th
  4. The Trainwreck of 21st Century Lord British
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  7. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  8. April Fools at Blizzard 2022 in the Shadow of Many Things
  9. The One with the Lawyer from BASF
  10. Wordle and Things Like Wordle
  11. What Makes Housing Worthwhile in an MMO?
  12. The Coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Search Terms of the Month

Another all Russian edition.  I guess the war hasn’t stopped search terms.

дайсон сфер программ
[I think they have those in Stellaris ]

моды на бамбук
[Things pandas like]

ферма призмарина
[Aaron made one of those in Minecraft for us]

космические корабли ив онлайн моделька
[Not really sure on that one]

фон майнкрафт особняк
[I have a few screenshots here that might serve]

Game Time from ManicTime

Well, you can see where I spent most of my game play time this month.  Granted, as I said above, I was away and busy for quite a bit of the month, so the sum total of hours is the lowest of any month so far this year… half of what it was in January… but it is still a non-trivial amount of time spent messing around.

  • Valheim – 91.76%
  • EVE Online – 6.41%
  • LOTRO – 1.15%
  • Lost Ark – 0.69%

I was actually a bit surprised to see that I had logged into Lost Ark in April.  It feels like a long time since I last touched it.

EVE Online

It has been a bit of a month for CCP.  I have more posts talking about the game than about actually playing the game.  But, then, I haven’t been playing too much of the game, so maybe it isn’t all on CCP.

The deployment to the southeast of null sec carried on.  There are fights now and then, but I wouldn’t call it a war.  I managed to go on a few ops, got on my kill mail for the month, and basically did the minimum participation thing due to being busy.

The campaign does not sit still because I am busy though, and the staging stations keep moving forward, so I am behind one staging system and have ships strewn across three old ones.  My hope is that I’ll be able to get two expensive ships back home some day and then YOLO or asset safety the rest.

Lord of the Rings Online

Hey, it turned 15 this month.  Imagine that.  I did log in for a bit, though I probably spent more time patching up, and collected my anniversary gifts on what was probably the wrong server in hindsight.  Whatever, my bags were nearly too full to collect the gifts in any case, laden with gifts from previous years as they were.  There were some nice and generous items for 15 year veterans.  Maybe some day I will use them.

Lost Ark

Well, that ended quickly.  The sure fire sign that I wasn’t really all that into a game is that I simply stop even thinking about logging in.  And it isn’t like Lost Ark is out of sight.  It is there on my favorites list in Steam and I am in there every day to play Valheim.  I just don’t click on Lost Ark anymore.


Back to ValheimAs Potshot noted, its worldliness is a draw for our group.  So we’re back with a fresh start, and doing a slow roll forward, not in any hurry to get to the next boss or whatever.  Ideally we’ll get the update for the Mistlands before we’ve tapped out again.  We got another tease about that biome, but it is still in the distant future.

Pokemon Go

Some Pokemon was played, though not so much as past months.  The mega evolutions might be a bigger deal going forward as Niantic has finally figured out that an expensive, temporary evolve isn’t all that viable for any but the most dedicated players.  That sure isn’t me.

Level: 42 ( 43.5% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 706 (+9) caught, 730 (+9) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc


I fell off the bike this month, though at least it wasn’t literally.  I was away and then the new job meant trying to craft a new daily routine where I still need to find a spot for exercise.  I did manage to peddle a little bit on the weekends, but I am definitely off my stride for the moment.

  • Level – 14 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 937.9 miles (+37.7 miles)
  • Time – 2d 1h 37m  (+2h 12m)
  • Elevation climbed – 39,216 (+5,316 feet)
  • Calories burned – 31,059 (+983)

Coming Up

As I understand it, on Tuesday Blizzard is supposed to officially announce its long hinted at Warcraft mobile game.   Will it get a PC version as well to stop people from playing it in phone emulation mode on their PCs the way Diablo: Immortal did?  I guess we’ll find out.

Then, by this time next Saturday we’ll know all the things that CCP has planned to announce at EVE Fanfest.

Otherwise a lot of things will just carry on as before.  I suspect that Valheim will continue to dominate what play time I have when it comes to May.

Going After The Elder in Valheim Again

On Sunday we decided it was high time that we advanced the game to the next stage… as I wrote on Monday, we already had a swamp base… which would require us to slay the second boss in the game, The Elder.

But we had been planning for that.  One of our first ventures from our new coastal base was to set sail in order to scout out the altar of The Elder and prepare for our eventual fight.

Setting sail for The Elder

You get the location from runes you can find in the Black Forest, and the closest spot for us was on another island.

The Elder in the unknown

The thing is that out in the unexplored you don’t really know how far inland your destination is or where you should come ashore in order to start making your way overland.  In the end we came ashore directly south of the location and moved across what turned out to be most of the length of the island to get to the spot.

Still, we got there without too much fuss, and we had been smart about the whole venture.  We had built a portal back at our portal hub and then had brought the materials to create a linking portal with us.

We picked a spot close by the altar of The Elder and built a small base, just a house with some beds, a workbench, a fire, and the portal really, surrounded by a wall just to keep the locals away.

A little base with a view of The Elder

We spent some time after that exploring the island, mining out some copper, and generally getting ourselves geared up to the eventual fight.  We were a little nervous because the last time we fought him it was a bit of a fiasco, with greydwarves, skeletons, and a couple of trolls getting into the pitched battle.  I think we all died at least twice.

So we did our prep work this time, got ourselves armed with plenty of fire arrows, and then deployed around his altar in order to get ready for the fight.  When we were in position, I made the sacrifice and summoned The Elder.

Summoning The Elder

You can see, in the last couple of screen shots, that there are some platforms up in the trees.  Lugnut thought that might be of some help, though he might have been recalling the next boss fight, the one in the swamp where being up high helped.  Anyway, he built some platforms and Ula, Lugnut, and Brynjar took positions up in them while I opted to stay on the ground both to summon The Elder and to kite him around if possible, giving everybody else a chance to shoot him.

The working theory was that maybe those tendrils he shoots out at you might not angle up, so being on the platforms might help.

And then the fight started and that theory fell through… as Ula did when knocked off of her platform.

Ula’s platform assailed by The Elder

You can see that the tendrils reach up to the trees just fine.  I didn’t get a screen shot of Ula being thrown bodily through the tree tops, but it happened.  She survived the fall and joined me down around the altar where the old strategy of hiding behind the four huge pillars seemed to be working out for me.

Brynjar and Lugnut on their platform attracted the attention of The Elder as the fight went on, allowing Ula and I to pepper the boss in the back with a fusillade of fire arrows.  Lugnut was the next one to be deplatformed, as they say in social media, while Brynjar hung back trying to avoid the wrath of the tendrils.

Not really hiding all that well, but it worked

Meanwhile we just kept lighting The Edler up, sending fire arrows his way… and then he was down and the battle was ours.

The Elder dead

That got us his trophy and four crypt keys.  What it did not cost us was any deaths.  Somehow we all managed to survive, even those who were flung from the tree tops.  I guess fall damage isn’t all that bad.

We took our victory shot and passed out the crypt keys and… having dispatch the boss much more quickly than we thought it might take… we decided we should go find a crypt in the swamp and start mining some scrap iron.

Victory over The Elder

So it was back up to the base where we had fought an Abomination the day before and into the swamp to one of the nearby crypts.  The key opened up the front door and we were quickly inside looking to loot the place.

We’re all miners in this crowd

There were, of course, issues.  We had to remember how to fight the Dragur and blobs and spawners that are down in the crypts.  It didn’t always go quite to plan.

There I am, dead in the crypt

We made a note to bring along some of those poison resistance meads that we had been crafting back at base next time. (Which, next time, actually worked very well.)

We managed to loot out two crypts, which got us a Karve load of scrap iron to bring back to our main base.

And then, some time later, Brynjar remembered we needed to hang up The Elder’s head on the trophy stones back at the spawn point.  We don’t live very close to it anymore, so it slipped our minds.  Brynjar made us a portal so we can get there more easily.

Eickthyr and The Edler trophies hung

Now that we have done that it is time to work on swamps and crypts to get more iron for all the upgrades we’ll need.  And for the stone cutter as well.  One big win about getting to iron is that we can now build stone bases.

An Abomination in the Swamps of Valheim

With out base on the ocean setup in Valheim, those of us with a bent for exploration have set out to discover what our world holds for us.

While we haven’t slain the second boss, The Elder, as of my writing this, we are about ready.  We have delved deep into the Black Forest and have geared ourselves up such that greydwarves are no worry, even in packs, and troll hunting is more sport than terror.

With an eye towards what comes after The Elder, we have been setting out to find some decent Swamp areas to work on once we have the crypt keys from The Elder fight.  The resources required for the next round of upgrades we will need access to a lot of crypts.  That means setting up bases near swamps where we can either collect and haul scrap iron back to our main base or, if the yield is big enough, collect and craft.

Brynjar had found a likely spot, a sizable stretch of swamp with some Meadows and Black Forest close to hand along the shore as a potential beach head for a base.  Brynjar and I set out in the Karve with some building supplies, including the pieces for a portal with a connecting portal already setup at our “portal henge,” in order to build a base.

Rough seas are fine if the wind is right

We landed in some Meadows on the coast and found a likely patch and set about building.

Well, Brynjar set about building, I went to gather resources and to deal with the local mobs who were drawn by the noise and activity.  This included a fair number of Dragur, one of the main swamp creatures, undead Vikings who live in the swamp, and who wandered our way in ones and twos throughout the building process.

Fortunately we were geared up such that a single Dragur isn’t much of a threat, and a couple need just a bit of consideration.  A two star Dragur Elite is still a worry, but we have health meads available now.  Lugnut joined us and helped with the operation.

Brynjar’s building talents are something

Lugnut and I kept gathering and taking care of the locals.  I was pretty thorough in clearing out a wide strip between us and the swamp, wanting both a clear field of fire and less cover for encroaching mobs.

We did well, didn’t die, and collected quite a few Dragur entrails, which are required for the sausage recipe, one of the next big food items.  Lugnut called in a night and, while Brynjar was finishing up the base I went exploring in the swap to see if I could mark a couple of crypts for future reference.

I got into a bit of trouble and came trotting back to base, when behind me, as I ran, a new and disturbing noise started coming out of the swamp.  From the defense platform on the base Brynjar and I could see something thrashing about in the swamp, doing something, but it was hard to tell what was going on.

Eventually I went out and, wearing the full troll leather outfit which includes a stealth bonus, I went into sneak mode to get closer to see what was going on.  I managed to get into range to get a name plate.

An Abomination!

This was something new.  The swamp previously held quite a few perils, though most because more annoyance than danger as we geared up last time around.  Now we had something that looked like it occupied the troll position in the swamp ecosystem.

It wasn’t bothering us, but it was also close enough to the new base that we could see it moving about and, given that an unchecked Dragur had recently knocked down a section of our wall, it seemed like we had better do something about it.  He was going to have to go.

I tracked him around the swamp a bit while we considered this.  I went and looked up abomination on the wiki, which told be that fire damage was the best bet while it would resist piercing and blunt attacks.  Since I had a mace, a dagger, and a bow, it looked like fire was going to be the answer.

Fortunately, in anticipation of taking on The Elder, I had been stockpiling fire arrows back at our main base.  I popped back and collected a stack for each of us and then we went out to take him on.

The abomination has a lot of hit points, I will say that.  We had to expend quite a few arrows in order to whittle him down.

Plinking away at him

On the other hand, he didn’t seem especially fast, not like a troll, where you need to be sprinting to keep ahead.  We were able to keep our distance from him.  The main complication came from other mobs joining the fight, with Dragur, blobs, and skeletons weighing in now and again, diverting our attention.

Brynjar has attracted some blobs

He also seemed to be somewhat short sighted.  We were able to run out of his range it seemed and he would start to wander off like he had forgotten about us.

It still took quite a while for the two of us to knock him down, though the fire arrows seemed to be doing a decent job and, as you can see, he would burst into flames with a good hit and would take damage over time from the fire.

Burning Abomination

Once we finally got him down… he started walking back into the swamp at low health and we had to chase him down to finish him off… he dropped some guck, which I know we’ll need for crafting, and some roots, which are apparently used for a root armor set, which is new since we last played.

Something new to look out for in the swamps.

A Base on the Coast in Valheim

Our starting spot in our new Valheim world was, as I mentioned, not as close to open water as it was on our first run at the game.  That first time turned out to be a bit of a luxury, because sailing the open ocean is an essential part of the game.

Valheim on Steam

Seriously, you must have a coastal base from which to voyage.  It is just the way of thing on the 10th world.  So we headed south from where we started, where our first couple of camps sprouted, from where the trophy stones and first spawn point were located, and found a bit of an island on the coast of the Black Forest where we thought we could lay up and defend ourselves and started to set up shop.

The New Base on the coast

It was, of course, a struggle, and all the more so when night fell and we were still trying to throw up a perimeter and get a roof over some beds.  Deaths happened and a melee of us versus greys broke out on the narrow strip of land between us and the dark woods.

But we persisted, eventually got some shelter setup so we could sleep away the nights and work in the light when the greys are less active, and a base began to form.

Base 2.0, beyond basic shelter

It wasn’t ideal, and there were some issues at the gate when the inevitable invasion events started rolling in at as, leading to waves of greys assaulting the walls.

Sometimes you just sit and repair the walls until they get tired and go home

Potshot… erm, Brynjar… is ever the base builder and got in and revised and rebuilt over the time while I was away… the screen shot above was taken from my laptop, which was tethered to my iPhone for data because I was out in the wilds where WiFi isn’t a basic human right yet… and many things sprouted up.

For starters, in order to avoid attracting attention from the Black Forest and the occasional wandering troll, he put up a covered bridge that ran straight north to the mainland in the direction of our earlier bases.

The view from the bedroom loft along the bridge

If you look at that image full size you can see the perimeter of Ula’s boar breeding farm on the other side of the bridge.  Boars are now much more fertile and the whole animal husbandry thing is less of an exercise in futility relative to simple hunting boars in the wild.  There is even a new tool, a butcher’s knife, which can only be used to slaughter tamed animals.  Another handy game update.

Also, you make a covered bridge in Valheim for the same reason they did so in New England, the timbers don’t rot away so quickly if covered.

The front gate was redone as well after Brynjar, who is also the chief researcher at this point, read up on defenses and found a design for a bridge that mobs wouldn’t cross.  Or mostly wouldn’t cross.  The first invasion saw a greydwarf shaman run right across the thing and up to the gate.

The front gate revised

For the most part though the greys do not like it and opt to jump in the water.  Even the aforementioned shaman, on reaching the gate, turned around and jumped into the water.  And once there you can just go out, stand on the shore, and club them like so many baby seals as they struggle to try and reach you.

So we ended up with a very nice base, largely thanks to Brynjar’s work.

Looking back from the top of the bridge

But most importantly, it put us on the water and gave us an outlet to the ocean.

The dock at the back of our base

That is me in our initial Karve, the first real boat and the one that makes exploration and sea travel a viable venture, as opposed to the raft which, as I wrote, was slower than simply walking. (Though, at least sailing along shore, it was safer.)

Brynjar built that first Karve and left it in the dock so that when I logged in and saw it, I grabbed the keys and took it for a spin immediately.  He logged on to find that I had absconded with the boat before he had even gotten to give it a try.

And, in a very strange stroke of luck and/or coincidence, he asked if I was out looking for the trader, a venture that took us a long while the last time around, and about 15 seconds later I sailed close enough to the trader for him to appear on the map for us.

The trader found

I suspect the discovery radius of the trader is something else that has been increased since we last played as well.

Of course, that meant setting up a base on the far shore and working on getting our first pair of portals going.  Things were suddenly moving along, but we were still not in a hurry.  We have what we need to carry forward, we’re still building up supplies and upgrading our gear.  Trolls are being hunted and a couple of us have full sets of troll hide armor.

But most of all we have an outlet to the ocean, place to set sail from.

The base and our boat from the shore

We can now set out to find our next boss, The Elder, and get ourselves setup for that fight.  And with that, the swamp biomes will become the next place to gather resources and we’ll have to explore further afield to find them.

The Cartography Table in Valheim

I have been away for the last week or so, and in that time a bunch of stuff has gone on in our new world in Valheim.  We’ve been making bronze, fighting trolls, base building, and attempting to breed boars.

Valheim on Steam

But our progress… and we’re not in a hurry this time, we’re moving slowly… has not been the only thing going on.  We have also been discovering the many little changes that have landed in the game since we stopped playing in May/June of last year.

As with my mention of controller support previously, I have clearly not been paying enough attention to what has been added and updated in Valheim, and this time around I want to mention the cartography table.

I saw this show up as a recipe after we made a bronze axe and were able to being harvesting fine wood.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but Ula built one in our base and we quickly figured out it is a way for players on the same server to share their map data.

The cartography table

When you have been out exploring and get back to base, you can add your data to the common map.

Uploading to the common map

Then others can come by and check to see if there is any updated map data when they’re at the base.

Time to check for updates

I kind of like that it is a manual process, that we don’t all share updates automatically.  It makes the whole thing feel more… organic.

When you update you can see all that you have explored as well as places where others have been that you have yet to visit.  They appear as revealed on the map, but with a film over them so you can tell what is your explored area and what came from the table.

It also shares the markers people set on the map, which can get a little goofy if you all make a marker for something like a base or a crypt, but otherwise it seems to be a really solid addition to the game.  It was previously kind of a pain to go exploring and then have to paste screen shots into Discord to show things you had uncovered, things that wouldn’t show up for anybody else until they went there as well.

And you can even opt out of the whole thing.  The first way is to simply not use the table.  But if you do and decide you don’t like it, there is a button on the map that lets you turn off the data from others.

Just click the button

I keep finding new things that have been added to Valheim that impress me.

Valheim with a Controller

Now that we are back and playing Valheim and relearning old things and learning some new things, I have been digging through some of the patch notes that I have previously been only glancing at.

Valheim on Steam

One of the things I noticed back in the middle of the frozen caves announcement… and caves in the mountain biomes seemed like a pretty nifty update in an of itself… was half a sentence that said:

This update also includes full controller support

Now, I get that frozen caves are the lede, but controller support feels like it should have garnered a bit more that half a sentence, and it had to share that sentence with that ability to pause in single player mode.  Yeah, the pause is kind of cool, but you would think that either of those were enough to garner at least a whole sentence on the own.

Anyway, controller suppose was just the first step towards Steam Deck support, which came along with the most recent update.  And maybe that was the big win, jumping on board with Steam Deck, which seems pretty cool.

But the controller support idea has kind of struck me as interesting, and not the least because of my having purchased a controller for playing Forza Horizon late last year.

The controllrt in question

So now I am kind of curious as to how Valheim would play as a controller game.  I mean, the UI and controls are already fairly simple.  It seems doable, and all the more so because I have been on the road, away from home, with a laptop for the last week and have tried playing Valheim with a mouse and keyboard rather than my usual trackball.

Kensington Expert Mouse – An old picture at this point

And, frankly, I have found playing with a mouse to be a bit of a chore, which surprised me because that trackball is absolutely the worst for any FPS sort of game.  I am hopeless with it.  But for certain titles, like World of Tanks, it does have its advantages.  I just hadn’t realized that, for me at least, one of those games was Valheim.

So when I get home next week and have some time, I am going to setup and try Valheim with a controller because it might legit be a decent controller title.  And if it is a decent controller title on a PC, I don’t know why it wouldn’t be on a console.  That might get them a few more sales.

But I am curious if anybody else has taken Valheim out for a run with a controller.