Valheim is good at telling you what you’re supposed to do next, or at least that there’s something you’re supposed to be doing. It’s much less clear about how you’re supposed to do anything, and that makes getting started intimidating.
In this Valheim tips and tricks guide, we’ll list our best advice for your first few hours. We’ll tell you about working toward definable goals, finding new crafting recipes, gathering resources, managing your inventory, and eating food to increase your health and stamina.
For a more detailed walkthrough of tackling Valheim’s first boss, Eikthyr, check out our Spawn to Eikthyr walkthrough.
Treat bosses as objectives
Valheim is a vast sandbox, and it’s incredibly easy to get distracted exploring, hunting, gathering, or flexing your architectural muscles. There are goals, though, and working toward them will keep you focused.
Each boss — the Forsaken you summon and defeat — requires preparation, and that preparation moves you through Valheim’s intricate technology tree.
For example, to defeat the first boss, Eikthyr, you need better weapons. To make better weapons, you need specific resources and a workbench. Thing is, a workbench needs a house. A house needs a fire. And so on. The entire game is an elaborate stack of dependencies, and preparing for your next fight gives you a clear path through them.
Instead of blindly wandering and building with a nebulous goal of “getting ready,” focus your efforts on one specific battle at a time. In fact, we’ve got an Eikthyr guide to help with exactly that.
Resources and creatures spawn based on rules
You’ll do a lot of resource gathering in Valheim. Luckily, you can learn a set of rules to find pretty much anything, and that’ll save you a ton of time.
Some rules are obvious, like that wood tends to be near trees or stones are on the ground. Others require more observation. Flint is a good example: It’s only found near or in water. If you want flint, look for water.
Creatures work the same. Boars tend to be near water. Deer spawn in the meadows biome. Skeletons spawn near burial chambers.
Look for the commonalities when gathering resources — your surroundings, the landscape, or even the time of day. The rules might be subtle, but learning them will make your job easier.
You stink, so watch the wind direction
There’s a tiny arrow in the lower left corner of your minimap that indicates the current wind direction. You’ll also see some white streaks in the game world representing the wind.
Animals — especially deer — are sensitive to scent. If you’re upwind, a deer will run away long before it sees you. Staying stealthy while hunting means being aware of the wind (and your stank).
Pick up resources to learn new crafting recipes
Learning new crafting recipes is easy in Valheim. All you have to do is pick up an ingredient. At the beginning of the game, picking up a piece of wood and a stone unlocks the stone axe, the club, and the hammer — your first set of tools. When you find flint, you’ll unlock the next set.
Pick up at least one of everything to unlock new recipes. You don’t have to fill your pockets with everything you find, though. On that point …
Focus on what you need to collect
Your inventory only has 32 slots, and your armor, clothes, and tools occupy several of them. Space is at a premium. You’ll also eventually become encumbered by weight (that takes quite a bit, though).
Just pick up whatever you need to accomplish your next goal. Being prepared is nice, but (to paraphrase Alanis Morissette) having four stacks of stone when all you need is some flint doesn’t help you.
There are things you’ll always need, like wood for building or food for eating, but don’t be a hoarder. Concentrate on what you need right now. A dozen mushrooms will last you a long time, so maybe don’t stop to pick every one you see.
Don’t build a mansion when a tent will do
During your first few hours (and arguably even days) in Valheim, focus on utility rather than elaborate architecture.
Most of the time, a lean-to (a very simple structure more like a wooden shed than a house) will serve you just fine — like when you first build a workbench. Don’t overcomplicate things and waste your time (and wood) building a mansion (yet).
Similarly, a quick and temporary camp with a roof and a bed are often all you need while you’re weak and new and exploring. Save the architectural expression for a central base camp.
That said, having a warm place to sleep between expeditions is nice. A house with a door, walls, a roof, a fire, and some basic amenities gives you the rested effect, which increases your health and stamina regeneration for a while.
Eat different foods to increase health and stamina
You’ll start Valheim with a base health of 25 … points(?), and you’ll have a pretty limited stamina gauge. You’ll burn through both of them quickly.
Eat food to increase health and stamina. The mechanics here are a little tricky, though.
Eating food increases your max health and stamina for a set time, and it heals you every tick (an in-game unit of time of about 10 real world seconds). You’ll see all of this happen when you hover over a (food) item in your inventory (like we did in the image above).
You can eat up to three different things at a time. All of their effects be active and stack. You cannot eat another of the same food until the timer runs out. The icons to the left of your health bar help you keep track.
Eating food immediately increases your stamina bar, but it does not immediately heal you. It only increases the max number that you can regenerate health to. This is weird, so let’s talk about how it works with raspberries.
You have 25 health. You eat a raspberry, and your max health increases by 10 to 35. But you don’t have 35 total health yet. Over time (ticks), your health regenerates to your new maximum of 35. (Check the duration stat in your inventory to see how long your new max health will last.) First you increase the meter, and then you fill that meter.