1h30 AM. I am still up. Or should I say, up again. What prevents me to sleep? Nothing. I just had to get up again to play some more Valheim with a friend. You see, we both happen to be available and awake late nights - with some extra time to explore and venture together in unknown lands.
Valheim starts like your typical survival game. You are almost naked. You have no tools. Start by getting some branches and stones… make a rudimentary stone-axe. Kill some boars. Make a fire. Cook meat. Eat. Get better at felling trees. Build a hut. Assemble an IKEA bed. Sleep. Feel hungry, hunt again. Make a bow to kill deers. Defend your place against strange monsters coming too close.
It’s almost banal. If you were to stay in the same place, truth to be told you would get bored pretty quickly. But the world calls for exploration. Are you on an island or a continent? What’s beyond the next hill? The next forest? Is it safe to run around?
Turns out, the world is hostile, to say the least. You will learn by taking risks. Sometimes calculated, but mostly dealing with unknown unknowns.
Once, we decided that building a raft to cross the seas would be a good idea. Maybe there’s some other island to explore after all? We were all set on this boat of fortune, struggling to make it go into the proper direction until we got the hang of it. We spent most of the day on the sea, with no land in sight. Until we did see something! It was almost night, and we arrived at the coast of a new land! A major achievement! After inspecting the coast, we were going to build a hut for the night. Looking for trees, we found something else: skeletons armed with swords and shields, ready to get us off their shores. Needless to say, our expedition did not end well and two graves remain on that island now.
A few days later, better armed and more determined than ever to find other islands, we built another raft and tried going into a different direction. This time, the trip was a lot more dangerous than the previous one: we were hit by a storm, making it very hard to control the raft, and the both of us very worried to be thrown in the water. Not that we don’t like H2O, but in Valheim falling in it is a death sentence: apparently Vikings are strong enough to storm the whole of Europe but they can’t swim for their life. You will lose health points quickly in water, and if there’s no land very, very close to you, you’ll just die there. So, yeah, this storm was bad enough for us to be very wary of what might happen next. Thanksfully the weather gave us a break and we could continue sailing. This is where I started saying out loud: “I wonder if there’s any kind of marine monsters in the sea… I hope not”. Less than a minute after I uttered these words, we spotted something strange on the surface: some fins? Uh oh. No, some dragon scale. Of the Sea dragon kind. That beast started to attack our raft. My friend took his bow, and did his best to hit the beast and give us some more time to reeach a shore. And there was a shore! Not too far. We might be there in 5 minutes. But will the raft hold? Getting closer… and then our raft fell in shards after one more attack by the Sea Dragon. A few minutes later we were both dead again in the water.
Maybe we will have more luck on land? At least we won’t be killed by the deadly water element. After much exploration we found a snowy mountain. Another hostile environment - once you progress too far, you start too freeze and your health drops pretty much as quickly as in water. After some back and forth, we decided to make a fire in the snow, as a way to keep us warm. Did not work. The wind kept blowing the fire out. My friend got an idea: building a kind of shed around the fire. That was a brilliant take: the fire then kept burning, so we had now one way to venture a little deeper in the mountain and come back to the fire to regain health. What we did not anticipate was… wolves. Turns out wolves are pretty dangerous in Valheim. Two bites and you’re dead. I guess we won’t be spending too much time in the mountain for now…
So we were back to staying in warmer areas of Valheim. Still exploring, of course. Deeper forests led us to find a new type of enemy. Trolls. Huge trolls. Just the sheer size of them is enough to scare you away.