My only real gripe with Valheim today is the breadcrumbs, or I guess the RNG relating to seeds. I really enjoy the exploration aspect, sailing my ship and finding new locations. I even like the limitations on what you can bring through a portal – pretty much forcing you to explore. If everything could be portaled around, we’d be no further than WoW Garrisons. Plus, you can portal around stuff to upgrade crafting stations, so aside from exploring with a few copper on hand, it’s fine.
The challenge is moreso related to the knowledge to that something exists. You’ll never know about ships if you don’t make nails. The odds of finding the in-game vendor are pretty low unless you’re even aware he exists – there’s no reason to go island hoping, and he’s often deep in a Dark Forest. Just finding a boss is it’s own adventure.
Finding the first boss is usually pretty simple – it’s a few metres from your starting point. The second boss’ location is found while you’re exploring tombs for loot/cores – and there are plenty of them. The third boss’ location is provided why exploring crypts for iron – again, multiple crypts per swamp.
The fourth boss, Moder, requires a similar runestone that randomly spawns within a specific dark tower structure in the mountains. There’s nothing in these structures except for skeletons. And these structures themselves only appear to spawn once (if at all) within a given mountain biome. Perhaps its my bad luck, but it also appears that most mountains are surrounded by plains.
I’m rather impressed by the randomization logic applied to any given seed. Biomes appear to have a tileset minimum size in order to spawn a given item – be it a tower, a cave, or even a small village. There’s this sort of magic number that you eventually get a grips on, that will tell you if a Biome is rich in options or not. This won’t matter much until you hit the swamps, but makes a big difference in the mountains (for silver), and plains (for fuling villages).
The beauty of swamps and plains is that they are coastal biomes. From your ship you can get a general sense of what’s in the biome, and from the map, the general size. Mountains, not so much. They never really reach the shore, and you often have no idea how big a biome is because of it. Due to multiple learning sessions (i.e. deaths) I’ve come to the habit of building a portal on shore, and then hauling up the resources to build another on the mountain, if need be. I run up that hill (Elkthyr power!), take a quick look at how big the place is, then plop down a portal if it’s going to take a bit. I need to be full health to bother exploring, cause a single quick hit from a golem, or a tandem of wolves can be an unlucky end.
To find the Moder runestone, I need to find a big enough mountain biome to have a black stone ruin. And I need to luck out that the ruin itself has a runestone. I don’t really need the silver anymore, I’ve mined / upgraded my gear enough and still have 200 to spare – this is just exploration.
It may not be obvious from the map, but there are 9 mountain biomes on that list that were explored. 4 of which had a black stone ruin, none of those had a runestone. I ended up finding the summoning location by pure accident, after 2 real-world nights of exploration. To sail from the Moder location (north) to the home base (south) would take slightly less than 3 in-game days.
In any other game, I’d say that this time spent wasn’t fruitful. That’s not really the case here.
- I learned much earlier that you don’t enter any swamp biome without poison resist potions. There are swamps everywhere – I avoid them entirely
- Troll caves tend to be near the coast. Bhagpuss‘ experience reminded me of this fact. While I won’t avoid them, I will take time to explore the coast a bit to make sure there are none nearby.
- You cannot take a single hit on the plains on an empty stomach. Deathsquitos are extremely aggressive and quite hard to spot. Oh, they attack over the water too. Play with music on, and have the ability to block 80 damage. The first thing you must do when beaching is build a workbench and put up a portal.
- Elkthyr’s power + a full stomach = you can climb most mountains in 1 go
- I ended up with some extra loot from Fulings (plains) and Deathsquitos (plains). Also now have a full stack of wolf furs, and 2 new drake trophies (which have very small drop chance). Oh, and another 1,000g from various chests.
- I found a few plains (I should have put markers!!!) that had Fuling villages I will explore later.
- I am coming to the conclusion that I should have left portals on ALL the islands I visited. I have more than enough materials to support this.
Knowledge is never a waste, and I learned a whole lot from this larger trek. Things that even a guide would not have done justice. The question is, would I have acquired this knowledge had I had a map marker pointing to Moder? Some of it, certainly. Not all. I learned a ton from the swamps, even though I found the runestone real quick. I’d still advocate for an earlier runestone… I’d have learned all of this exploring the plains anyhow.
Taking down Moder of course! The beauty of this particular mountain location is that it’s relatively open and flat. I built a portal shack a decent ways from the summoning spot, and have already found 2 eggs. Before I start the fight, I will want to prep a tad.
- Make some more medium healing potions
- Get my Draugr bow to level 3 (I need some extra Guck, which is annoying to collect)
- Get 200 Poison arrows (Obsidian are good for single shot attacks)
Once Moder is down, I think it’s time to think about a new home base. I have more than enough space, but I’d certainly enjoy being closer to a triple biome (plains, mountains, swamp). I could easily leave a portal somewhere to cut down some trees. For another time!