Dying in Valheim isn’t terribly painful. You may lose small amount of skill points on the first death, but all your gear is just sitting on your corpse. Valheim is kind enough to even put a map marker where you died. Dying is a normal thing, especially when you first enter a new biome. You are but a babe in the woods if you’re not prepared and cautious, and the lowliest of boars can take you down without much effort.
After taking down the 2nd boss, I received a Swamp Key. Inferring that I now need to find a swamp. Valheim is BIG, and my starting island is a full day’s trek from coast to coast in a straight line. My island is but a drop in the bucket compared to the larger map. Exploration is fundamental to Valheim, and the move from Meadows/Dark Forest to anything else feels like you’ve moved onto a different game.
You Need To Build a Boat!
Great game btw. I had put some minor effort into a raft, went out for like 5 minutes, moved like a snail, and then decided to do better. The exploration part of the game doesn’t tell you that there are other boats until you have the right materials in your bag. In this case, Bronze Nails. Why craft Bronze Nails at all when nothing seems to need it, and bronze is already hard to get? Well that was a bad call. I’m now crafting 1 of everything, in the odd chance that is adds a new recipe to my list.
Back to the boat though. I crafted a Karve, which is a sort of sloop with a 4 slot inventory. Sailing in Valheim is more simulation, so you really need to take wind direction into account to actually go anywhere. You know you’re doing it right when the music changes. I opted to head out to larger sea, enough to see the short but far enough away to avoid rocks. That was a bad idea for two reasons.
First, the fog on the map is super important to get the outline of land. You need to be a certain distance for that the unveil, and it makes further trips a lot easier. Second, if it’s night, you’re going to find a sea serpent and it will not stop attacking you. It doesn’t do enough damage to sink a Karve (at least not a level 1 serpent) in one night, but it sure as hell is a new level of stress! Staying to short avoids notice from sea serpents.
I haven’t mentioned sailing in a storm. That is at another level, and I strongly urge everyone to give that a shot.
Finding a swamp is not super obvious. Finding anything really isn’t, truthfully. I ended up sailing for 20 minutes to find something that looked like a swamp. And here’s where that started going downhill.
Swamps are a level of death that’s on part with taking out a troll naked and no bow. You’re always wet, which means slower stamina regen. There’s crazy monster density (Draugr, Skeletons, Leeches, Slimes) so that you’re nearly always in battle. There are leeches in every pool of water, and they deal decent damage and poison you. There’s next to no useable land, meaning it’s crazy hard to find a spot to put a workbench and install a portal. It’s an entire zone that say ‘DO NOT ENTER’.
Of course we need to explore!
So I end up finding a spot that has no enemies, is close to water, and with my hoe I can raise the soil to put down some stuff. I have enough time to put down the workbench, and as I’m building the lean-to for shelter which would allow portal construction, it feels like half the zone has aggroed me. I had over 100hp, full bronze armor, but wasn’t able to get back to the boat before poison took me down.
And where do I end up? Back in my main hut, naked, 3 islands away.
I had kept all my leather/stone items, but I didn’t have enough copper or fine wood to build another boat. You need a bronze axe for the latter, so I ended up spending a day rebuilding my inventory in order to set sail again. I could see my corpse marker, it was just impossible to get there without a boat.
So lesson learned here is that I need a ‘recovery chest’, which has all the mats needed to build a boat, and the food needed to do the corpse run itself.
The other lesson is that I absolutely need to have a portal on any island that I land upon, and that it is never a good idea to put a portal in a swamp.
I did get my corpse back and was just able to squeeze back onto the boat before dying AGAIN. I sailed the coastline a tad, found some Dark Forest land, and built my portal. And then proceeded to die 3 minutes later. But I do have some iron scraps, some ancient tree, and some mats to cook up better food.
So many lessons learned from a single corpse run.