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Valheim tips and tricks: A beginner's guide to Valheim in 2023

Use these tips and tricks to start strong in Valheim

Looking for Valheim advice for beginners? Valheim is the Viking-themed indie title that came out of nowhere to hijack everone's free time back in early 2021 — and it's recently found its way to Xbox Series S|X. That means there's now a whole new audience for this clever, satisfying, punishing survival game.

Getting to grips with Valheim is often a matter of trial and error. But if you're finding the game's massive world daunting, this Valheim guide is filled with essential tips and tricks to help you to master the game, covering everything from weapons to building, from boss battles to boar taming. We have everything to get you started.

Ed and Liam recently interviewed the developers of Valheim about Mistlands within Valheim itself.Watch on YouTube

What to do on Day 1 in Valheim

The first thing you'll need to do when you start a new game in Valheim is gather some wood and stone so you can craft some basic tools. Wood can be harvested from branches on the ground or by punching plants and bushes, while stones can be found dotted about the ground.

The first tool you should make is the Axe, to chop trees and gather wood more easily. After that, craft a Club to defend yourself, and a Hammer to start building with.

Place down a Workbench and make sure it's covered and protected from the elements. Use our Valheim Workbench guide to help you with this! With the Workbench you can repair broken tools and weapons for free, so build one as soon as possible.

A Valheim screenshot of the player wading into the water and looking out at the sea.

Learn where to look for resources

Everything in Valheim has certain criteria for spawning into the world. Beyond just wood and stone, one of the first major resources you'll need to gather is Flint. Make sure you read our guide on where to find Flint in Valheim, because that's a good example of how everything spawns in particular areas of the map.

Another example later on in the game is Iron. Many new players are confused about how to find Iron in Valheim, but once you know the rules governing its spawn locations, it becomes quite simple.

Certain other resources, such as Bronze, can't be found anywhere naturally and so must be crafted. Check out our guide on how to make Bronze for full details.

A Valheim screenshot of a Boar standing in a Meadows biome.

How to find food

Finding good food sources in Valheim is also important. You can't starve in Valheim, but the fuller you are, the higher your maximum health and stamina. You can eat up to three different types of food at a time, and each will extend your health bar by a certain amount for a while, while also healing you up over time.

To begin with, the best sources of food come from Boars, Necks, and Mushrooms found in forests. If you need some help on creating a reliable source of food, you should definitely look into Boar taming in Valheim.

A player in Valheim, clad in Carapace Armour, wields the Mistwalker Sword while standing in a Meadows field.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Coffee Stain Publishing

Switch between weapon types and learn enemy weaknesses

There are several different weapon types in Valheim, and each of them has their own skill. Skills in Valheim use the Skyrim method of levelling up the more you use them. So if you want to get good at chopping wood, you need to chop lots of wood.

All the different weapon types have their strengths and weaknesses, so it's a good idea to mix things up and increase your skill level with all of them. Check out our guide to the best Valheim weapons for more information!

Most enemies are weak or resistant to particular damage types (piercing, blunt, slashing, fire, etc.). Pay attention to the colour of your damage numbers:

  • Yellow numbers: Weak to that damage type
  • Grey numbers: Resistant to that damage type
  • White numbers: normal damage

A good companion to our weapons guide is our guide to the best Valheim Armor and how to craft it.

A Valheim screenshot of Eikthyr, the first boss, standing against a Meadows backdrop.

Work towards the boss battles

It's rare for a survival game to give you such a clear set of objectives to help you progress, but that's what Valheim has given you with the Forsaken boss battles, so use them as your main goals to work towards.

These bosses are not pushovers. Don't make the same mistake I did: only summon the first boss, Eikthyr, when you're well and truly ready. To find out what you need to be ready, check out our Eikthyr boss fight walkthrough.

For details on all the other bosses in the game, be sure to consult our larger Valheim bosses guide, which contains details on what to expect with every Forsaken, and what you get out of defeating them. Each one drops unique and powerful loot which is required to unlock major new technologies and tools, such as the Valheim Pickaxe - which you'll need to start mining Copper and Tin so you can craft stronger metal equipment.

Two Vikings traversing the Plains biome in Valheim, under the shadow of Yggdrasil.

Understanding the biomes of Valheim

I've already touched on how important it is to know where to find each resource, material, and creature or enemy in Valheim. That means knowledge of the Valheim map and its biomes is of utmost importance.

Did you know, for example, that Copper and Tin veins can be found in the Black Forest - as can gigantic Trolls and powerful self-healing Greydwarf Shamans?

Did you know that each biome in the game has its own naturally spawning structures, crypts, and dungeons?

Did you know that each Valheim map is procedurally generated from a starting seed, and that we have a list of the best Valheim seeds so you can find the perfect world for your newest journey?

An Obliterator, including lightning rod, next to a semi-abandoned looking shack in Valheim.

Keep your builds simple until later on

Building is one of the most satisfying aspects of Valheim. There's a lot to learn about building, from the importance of chimneys to wood decaying in the rain, to understanding how the game determines the stability of your house. All of that and more is covered in our dedicated Valheim building guide.

But as much fun as it is, I'd recommend you keep your bases functional and simple until quite a bit later on in the game when you've unlocked more of the fundamental tools for building. Otherwise you'll end up wanting to tear down your just-completed mansion the moment you find out you could make the whole thing so much better with the new building material you've just discovered.

A Valheim screenshot of three armed and armoured players looking into a Portal.

Share the fun with your friends in multiplayer

In my opinion, Valheim is a game best enjoyed with others. The devs at Iron Gate seem to agree, so they've given players the tools to easily set up their own dedicated Valheim servers so you can easily start playing with friends and family.

If you want to host your own server, you'll need to have a basic knowledge of how to use Valheim console commands and cheats to control the world and its players. You can also use the console for things like forcing the game to save, so it's not all about cheating.

Just remember that the game difficulty scales up to match the number of players in the world, so be prepared for raids and enemies to hit harder in multiplayer!

A Valheim screenshot which shows the three of us, still on the raft, approaching a rocky isle in the distance.

Learn everything that Valheim simulates

Valheim has some very impressive simulations going on behind the scenes, and the best part is they're all there for a reason, and you'll need to learn how to master them.

For example: wind direction is very important. The arrow in the corner of your minimap shows the current wind direction. Take note of it, because animals like Deer will smell you more easily if you're approaching from upwind rather than downwind.

Another important simulation: smoke from your firepit will collect if built indoors. If you don't build a chimney, you'll start to suffocate from the fumes. Again, learn how to avoid such things by perusing our Valheim building guide.

Another example: chopped trees will take into account the tree's leaning, wind direction, the angle of the chop, and the slope of the ground with its fall. Falling logs can kill you in a single hit, but they can also be very useful if they crash into other logs and trees and break them apart, sparing you the effort of chopping everything down yourself.

A Valheim screenshot of a player standing with their back to the camera, wielding a Battleaxe and looking out into a Mountains biome.

More general Valheim tips and tricks

Let's finish up with some more general tips and tricks on everything from Valheim's UI and controls to setting up your own beehives.

  • Valheim supports the Vulkan API on Windows PCs, which can potentially grant performance benefits and frame rate increases. Learn more about it with our Valheim Vulkan API guide.
  • As well as only having a limited number of inventory slots, you also have a weight limit of 300. Pass this threshold and you'll be unable to regenerate Stamina. Stick to gathering only what you need to avoid this punishment.
  • You can place multiple cooking stations over a single fire pit. Useful for cooking lots of food at once - but make sure you can still reach the fire pit itself to add more fuel.
  • Use the mouse wheel to zoom the camera smoothly closer to or further from your character. Zoom in for combat, confined spaces, and precise building, and zoom out for exploration and situational awareness.
  • Shift-clicking on an inventory item will split the stack. From there, either use the slider or A/D to specify the size of the stack you want to take.
  • Ctrl-clicking on an inventory item will automatically dump the entire stack on the floor - unless you've also got a storage inventory open, in which case Ctrl-clicking will automatically transfer the selected item to the other inventory window.
  • Stagbreaker is a fantastic early-game weapon thanks to its knockback and area-of-effect damage - but don't swing it indoors!
  • If you're frustrated about not being able to place torches on walls, beeline towards smelting Copper Ingots and you'll be able to craft sconces.
  • Speaking of Copper - did you know that all Copper Ore deposits are actually huge boulders that extend far underground? You may want to return to old deposits and dig down a little bit more.
  • If you're having trouble hitting smaller enemies in Valheim such as Boars and Necks, it's likely because you're standing on higher ground than them, so your attack goes over their heads. Move around until you're on equal or lower ground and try again.
  • Sneaking uses up stamina, but if you successfully sneak up on an enemy you can backstab for high damage. The Flint Knife is a great early option for this, as it offers a 10x backstab damage bonus.
  • Place a Workbench near any naturally occurring structure and you'll be able to dismantle it for free materials.
  • Beehives can be found inside certain naturally spawning structures. Use the previous tip to break down the structure and destroy the beehive. Beehives will often drop honey and a queen bee, which you can use to create your own beehives to generate even more honey.
  • Once you've got your hands on your first Pickaxe, keep an eye out for stone circles. If you see one, dig down and you're likely to find treasure!
  • Occasionally, events can occur in Valheim. These events involve different types of creatures attacking you for a short time. Stay calm, avoid getting surrounded, and you'll weather the storm.

And with that, our Valheim tips and tricks come to an end. Hopefully you've learned a thing or two about how to better survive and thrive in Valheim's forbidding and punishing lands. Keep checking back every so often, because we'll continue to add more guides and update our existing pages with the most up-to-date info!

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