The Ultimate Valheim Starter Guide: 50 Quick Tips

valheim strategy guide

I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now, as Valheim has taken over the Steam charts, Twitch, and virtually all gaming conversations on Twitter. No wonder that it has sold 3m already. But if you’re brand new to Valheim, you might find yourself with more questions than answers, as the game refuses to hold your hand at all.

Luckily, we’re here to help you survive in the Viking purgatory with our ultimate Valheim starter guide, containing 50 quick tips to get you started:

1How to Get Wood

Your first order of business should be to get wood by punching trees and/or picking up branches already on the ground.

2Build Your First Base on the Border

While you’re running around gathering wood, you’ll want to look for and find any Black Forest area. You’re going to want to build your home base in the Meadows side of an area that borders the Black Forest. This will save you some trips from the Black Forest to your home base in the near future.

3Gather Stone While You’re Gathering Wood

Gather Stone while you’re running around gathering wood. Craft a Stone Axe; it’s useful for gathering wood faster (chopping down trees) and defending yourself against boars and the few greylings you’ll encounter in the Meadows.

4Gather Raspberries and Mushrooms

While gathering wood, gather any raspberries or mushrooms you find to keep your HP up. Raspberries are found in certain bushes, while mushrooms are on the ground around trees.

Note: After you eat your first one, they’ll blink on the bottom left side of your screen once you’re able to eat that item again.

5Put Your Workbench Off to the Side of Where You Want to Build

After you’ve gathered some wood, stone, and food, find a nice bit of flat land in the meadow that borders a Black Forest area. DO NOT ENTER THE BLACK FOREST (YET). Build yourself a hammer, and then build yourself a workbench and build it slightly off to the side of the area that you want to actually build your base on.

6Three Quick Walls and a Roof

Build a few quick walls and some roofing over the bench so that you can begin using it.

7Build a Campfire So You Can Sleep

Gather more stones and wood around you as needed to build a campfire and a bed.

8Sleep At Night

Sleep at night. You recover energy much more slowly when you’re cold at night, so you’re better off just sleeping. There’s no point in keeping yourself awake in-game, as you can just sleep and instantly go to the next morning.

9Day 2 Is All About Hunting

For Day 2, pop some raspberries and mushrooms when you wake up, and then set off to hunt boars. Boars will drop meat that you can cook on a campfire and leather scraps that you’ll need to craft.

10Where to Find Flint in Valheim

Find flints along a river or on a beach. You’ll use them for a Flint Axe and arrows.

11Use Wood Arrows For Deer and Beehives

Craft a bow and wood arrows to carry around the Meadows with you. You’ll use it to shoot deer for meat and Deer Hide but also to take out various beehives you’ll find around the many abandoned shacks in the meadows. You should save your flint arrows (and, later, bronze arrows), as they are overkill for deer and beehives. You should just use wood arrows as wood is easier to come by.

12Aim Your Bow Higher Than You Think

When using the initial wood bow and arrows, aim slightly above whatever you’re trying to shoot and pull the bow all the way back before loosing your arrow. This bow is highly inaccurate, and if you miss the first shot on a deer, you’ll have trouble getting the kill.

13How to Create a Beehive Farm

Build your own beehives. Destroy beehives in the abandoned houses as you find them. You’ll get both honey and, likely, a queen bee, which you can then use to build your own beehives back at your base camp. This will allow you to have a neverending supply of honey for the remainder of your time in Valheim.

14Build a Wood Shield ASAP

Build a wood shield after you’ve built everything else mentioned above. This shield will last you for quite some time and will help you progress through the Black Forest. Blocking with the wood shield is highly effective in keeping you alive against multiple enemies.

15How to Repair Your Weapons and Armor

Repair, Repair, Repair. Repairs have zero cost in Valheim, so you should repair all of your stuff every time you pass your workbench and forge. You can repair any wooden tools and weapons using the workbench by hitting the E key at your workbench and then clicking the box on the left of the screen until everything has been repaired and you can’t click it anymore. The same goes for the forge, except that’s used to repair anything containing any metals like copper or bronze.

16How to Hunt Deer in Valheim

You’ll have to spend some time walking and sneaking around the meadows to find deer, as you’ll need their hides to craft leather armor and upgrades for your camp. What I suggest doing is to run in short bursts, look all around with your mouse to see if you see any deer in the distance. Deer often spawn in groups of 3, so when you see 1, be prepared for others around you as well. After spotting a deer or two in the distance, walk towards it, don’t run (running will scare it off). Crouch to sneak up on the deer, draw your bow, and make your first shot count. Be prepared to pull back another arrow for any deer close to it for another quick kill, as it is quite possible to kill two deer before the second one runs away.

17How to Get Maximum Health in Valheim

Simply put? Stuff yourself. Keep your maximum health up by eating a mix of the different foods found in the Meadows biome. Eat one of each: cooked meat, raspberry, mushroom, and honey.

18How to Kill Eikthyr

The next step after upgrading your gear to Level 2 is to go after Eikthyr, the first boss – an electrifying large stag that you should kill for its Hard Antlers (which you’ll use to create the Antler Pickaxe, a better pickaxe with). Once killing Eikthyr, you’ll also get 2 Eikthry Trophy, which you’ll bring back to the stones at which you first spawn and hang to unlock the Forsaken Power, which gives you 60% less stamina drain when running and jumping for five minutes. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much skill to kill this awesome stag, and you will likely kill him on the first attempt. My weapons of choice were a Wood Shield and a Bow with flint arrows. His attacks are incredibly easy to dodge or block.

19You Don’t Really Need a Raft In The Beginning

Don’t worry about building a raft until you actually need to travel to the swamps. Everything you need for the first 15 or so hours of Valheim should be in the Meadows and Black Forest, which typically doesn’t require you to journey to another island. So, while sailing is fun, you most likely won’t need it until you’re past the Black Forest progression.

20How to Use Map Markers

You can make notes of locations right on your map by pressing M to bring it up and then double-clicking on the location you want to make note of. I use this to mark copper veins, burial chambers, and abandoned houses. When sailing, I also use it to make note of where I leave my raft on the shore so I can find it easily when I need to.

21Keep Materials for a Workbench On You

Portable Workbenching: Sick of running back and forth from your copper veins to your workbench back at your basecamp to repair your pickaxe? Wondering how to repair your tools in Valheim? You can (and should!) build a quick workbench and a crude hut over it right next to the copper vein so you can just keep repairing it as needed. Do not expect this small building to last for very long, as it will eventually be taken out by Greylings. However, having that second workbench closeby is a big timesaver, especially if the copper vein you are working is further away from your base camp than you would like.

22Trolls Can Destroy Your Buildings

If you come across a giant Troll while in the Black Forest and you’re unprepared for battle, do not run back to your base camp. Instead, run towards another section of the Meadows. If you bring a troll back to your base camp, it can (and will likely, in my experience) destroy everything you’ve built rather quickly. So, instead of kiting the troll back to your lovely home, kite him to an open field.

23How to Kill Trolls in Valheim

Killing trolls is actually quite easy if you’re using the right strategy. Despite their heavy-handed attacks that will drain you in a couple swipes, you can take a troll down easily with your bow and arrows (fire arrows are most effective at this stage of the game).

24Use Trolls to Farm Materials

You can also farm quite easily if you’ve got a troll around you. Because trolls can knock down trees around them, simply kite the troll and get it to attack you in the middle of the forest, which will take down trees in its path, granting you easily-obtained fine wood and core wood.

25Red, Green, Blue Trolls

Beware of red or green trolls, as they’re a higher tier and are, therefore, a bit tougher to take down. The blue trolls are the easiest.

26Jump Randomly and Often

While running around the Meadows and Black Forest, I highly suggest randomly jumping as much as possible. This will help you max out your Jumping skill, which makes you jump significantly higher (making jumping more useful).

27Build a Smelter Before You Build a Kiln

After you’ve cleared your first burial chamber, you will likely have enough Surtling Cores to build either a Smelter or a Charcoal Kiln. If you’re faced with a choice between the two, build the smelter, first. You can actually make coal another way: by simply overcooking your meat (which is easy to come by). After your raw meat turns into cooked meat, leave it on the fire for another few seconds. It will turn all-black, and will now become coal. This will allow you to get started on your bronze gear and weapons before having to venture through another burial chamber.

28How to Find Haldor the Merchant

While in the Black Forest biome, be on the lookout for Haldor the merchant. He will show up on your map as a coin sack when you’re within a 2km radius of his location. Once you have that coin sack on your map, he will remain there for the entirety of your gameplay. Haldor will allow you to use those gold coins you’ve collected to buy things like a fishing pole, yule hat, and the much-needed Megingjord that allows you to carry 150 more weight.

29Build Many Chests At Your Base Camp

Build numerous chests at your base camp so that you aren’t just clearing your inventory by dropping stuff on the ground. If you find yourself with an abundance of rocks, wood, and other materials, unload them every time you go to your camp. Your future Viking self will thank you.

30How to Split Stacks of Materials

One thing Valheim doesn’t tell you is that you can easily separate stacks by holding the Shift key before clicking over a stack. This will cause a small window to pop up that will allow you to select however many you want.

31Don’t Build Your Portals Directly Against Walls

I suggest not building those portals directly against a wall, although you will likely be tempted to by their appearance. You can easily get stuck behind your portal if you do so, requiring you to have to destroy and rebuild the portal after you travel through. Create a portal room in your base camp. I built mine underground for funsies by digging into the side of a mountain, but I highly recommend keeping your portals separate from the rest of your base so that you have enough room to go through them without being forced to go back through them.

32How to Summon The Elder (Boss #2)

You can find The Elder’s location by viewing one of the runestones within some of the burial chambers in the Black Forest. This will put The Elder’s mystic altar location on your map, which is where you’ll need to go to summon this gigantic Groot-like being. In order to actually summon him, you’ll first need to take out two or three Greydwarf nests (which drop the ancient seeds you’ll need to summon The Elder). Each nest drops one or two ancient seeds, so you should only need to take out two or three of them to obtain all three of the ancient seeds you’ll need to summon The Elder.

33How to Defeat The Elder

With the giant tree-like creature being extremely vulnerable to fire, you’ll want to use fire to your advantage. So, before summoning The Elder, place a circle of campfires around the altar. During your battle, kite The Elder around the fires so that he’s almost always lit aflame. On top of that, make yourself a few stacks of Fire Arrows. Paired with the Huntsman Bow, your Fire Arrows will put in some work against The Elder.

34Kite Surtlings Into Water

Surtlings are a great way to grab surtling cores, of course, but they can be tough to kill if you’re not properly geared. The best way to take them out is to kite them into water, which will make them significantly easier to kill.

35Create a Surtling Core Farm Easily

When you’re in the swamp, look for the fire geyser-looking thing that spawns Surtlings. After you’ve defeated the initial group of them, do not destroy the nest. Instead, take out your pickaxe and mine a large circle of water around the nest. Then, stand close enough to the nest for the surtlings to continue spawning, and then they’ll die rather quickly as the water kills them. Boom, you’ve got yourself a surtling core farm, and a little coal as an added bonus.

36Write Down Your Portal Tags

I don’t know about anyone else, but I kept forgetting the original tag for a portal I built back at my base when I went to tag the other end of the portal far, far away; which was super frustrating, to say the least. To avoid my plight, write down the names of your portals on a sticky note and stick it on your monitor for safekeeping. Otherwise, you’ll end up sailing across a large body of water to place a portal only to realize you’ll have to sail back to figure out the name of the original portal.

37The Tankard Is, Essentially, Useless When You Unlock It

Wondering what the hell you use a tankard for in Valheim? Well, nothing, really. Don’t bother making one when it initially unlocks early in the game as it will just be a small waste of resources and time.

38Ooh, a Dandelion!

Be on the lookout for dandelions while roaming the meadows in the early stages of the game, and pick them when you see them. Put them in a chest until you have built a Cauldron. You’ll need the dandelions to create your healing potions later on in the game. So, you’re best to keep stacking them as you find them so that you don’t have to go looking for them in the future.

39What Potions Can You Brew In Valheim?

Right now, you can brew healing potions, stamina potions, frost resistance, and poison resistance potions.

40Build the Fang Spear ASAP

The Fang Spear is one of the most useful and deadliest weapons to use against your foes in Valheim because it pierces through armor. To build a fang spear, you’ll need 10x Ancient Bark, 4x Wolf Fangs, 2x Leather Scraps, and 2x Silver.

41Don’t Use Your Raft At Night or In the Rain

Beware of the hostile water Serpents that roam the waters at night or while it’s raining when crossing big bodies of water in your raft, because in all likelihood, you won’t survive if you are not prepared to defeat this menace. The Serpent only spawns in the seas, and it will definitely take out your raft with ease (leaving you to drown and lose all of your items in the sea). You’re best to avoid using the raft during the night or while it’s raining. Later on in the progression of the game, you will unlock the Karve, which is faster and more durable to stand up against serpents. Take them out with flint or bronze arrows if you have them. Frost arrows are also super effective against them.

42Build Stakes Around Your Base Camp

Although destroying your initial base camp might be a super slow process, it’ll be less of an annoyance to you if you take the time to build a row of Stakewalls all around it. And, you definitely want to try to keep your most valuable items in the center of your base so that it’s less likely to be destroyed by raiding Greydwarves and greylings.

43Avoid the Mountains For Now

Even though you’ll often found mountain biomes aligned near the meadows and black forests in the early game, you don’t want to enter them. Not only will you quickly take frost damage, but you could potentially encounter drakes, which will absolutely destroy you if you’re not properly geared to defeat them.

44How to Build a Fire Indoors

You might very well find yourself in the midst of a storm during the day, at which point you’ll need an indoor campfire to dry off and stay warm. You also need a nearby campfire in order to make a bed and set a spawn point. You can simply remove a single piece of your wooden floor (assuming your base has one), and you can build a campfire directly on the ground. However, it is possible for you to become “Smoked”, which will kill you. To avoid that, you should either build your campfire in a chimney, complete with a hole at the top or just leave enough ventilation in your house so that the smoke doesn’t get trapped in there.

45How to Find Tin

You can find tin in the black forest biomes alongside river banks and the shoreline, and once you find one, you’ll find many nodes. These are set apart by being slightly shinier than stone deposits, and they won’t have any green moss on them.

46Stack Chests To Save Space

Space is precious in Valheim because with every square of flooring you use the more resources you’re going to need. Luckily, you can give yourself a bit more space by simply stacking your chests on top of each other. You can still access them as needed, but you don’t have to lay 10 chests out 1×1 on the floor.

47Reinforce Your Structures

You can reinforce your structures with logs and log poles. You should help make your structures stronger by gathering Core Wood and using it to craft log poles to strengthen your home. This will stop your walls from breaking too quickly when attacked.

48Plant Carrot Seeds

You can find carrot seeds randomly dispersed throughout the black forest biome. Pick up seeds as you find them, and you can plant them back at your basecamp to create your own carrot garden. Use the carrots to make carrot soup to replenish your health.

49Stay Out of the Swamp at Night

Don’t be a hero; stay out of the god damn swamp at night.

50Avoid the Plains Entirely

I wish I had some words of wisdom for your final adventure in the Plains, but I’m not a masochist. Just stay the hell out of there.