You’ve landed in Valheim, dumped by a giant bird into a strange and unforgiving landscape with only the shabby clothes on your back. You’ve managed to gather some food, maybe assemble a few modest tools. You want to build something epic, but you’re starting from scratch. Don’t worry though, our Valheim building guide will give you all the info and tips needed to make a thriving base.
Valheim is the ultimate Viking-themed sandbox, part Minecraft and part Skyrim. There are no limits to what you can build if you have the time and resources, as evidenced by some of the outlandish structures you may have seen in screenshots and videos across the internet.
But every masterpiece has to start somewhere. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of our top building tips for Valheim so you can unleash your creativity and build the mead hall, castle, or fortress of your Viking dreams.
How to Start Building in Valheim
To start building anything in Valheim, you’ll first need to craft a Hammer and a Workbench.
A Hammer can be crafted by opening your inventory with the Tab key and using the crafting menu on the right side of your screen. With the Hammer equipped, press the right mouse button to open the build menu. Note that there are multiple tabs at the top for different types of objects. Select and place objects with the left mouse button. You can also rotate them with the scroll wheel or remove them with the middle mouse button. We’ll go into more detail about snapping and rotating later in this guide.
Place a Workbench down on the ground and you’ll be able to build within a wide radius around it. You’ll have to construct another Workbench if you want to build anything beyond that radius.
More advanced objects will require other crafting stations to build. For example, you’ll need to set up a Stonecutter if you want to create stone walls and floors.
Choosing a Location
Location, location, location: selecting the right place to establish your base is the first step in any successful Valheim journey. Ultimately you may want to build a small settlement in each biome to take advantage of their unique attributes. For your primary home, setting up in the Meadows will be the most peaceful and relaxing experience.
Consider whether a location has enough resources nearby for you to build without a lot of running back and forth. You’ll need a lot of wood, so a forest that you can clear is ideal. Being close to other biomes will make it easier to venture out for different types of materials. Access to waterways is also vital for utilizing boats. Building at the top of a hill will give you a good view of the area around you, which is important for defense as well as aesthetics.
Shaping the Land
Ideally, you’ll always want to start with a flat area to build on. You can use the Hoe and the Pickaxe to raise, lower, and level the terrain to your liking.
To make an area as flat as possible, stand in one place and use the Hoe to level the terrain around you. The tool will attempt to make all of the nearby land the same level as the spot you’re standing on. You may need to raise it in some places or use the Pickaxe to lower it further than the Hoe is capable of managing.
Level ground is critical, because it will ensure that the foundation pieces of your buildings are all stabilized and can support as much weight as possible.
Foundation and Support
Speaking of foundation pieces: you’ll know that a piece is connected directly to the ground because it will be blue when you hover over it. That means that it’s capable of freestanding and doesn’t need support from any other piece(s).
Objects that are further away from the ground will progressively appear green, yellow, orange, and eventually red. Objects placed on top of a red piece will not have any support and will quickly collapse. Note that trees count as ground for support – a piece that you connect to a tree trunk will be blue, even if it’s high above the actual ground.
Eventually if you build high enough, you won’t be able to support your structure anymore. This limit is higher for more advanced types of materials. Basic Wood is the weakest. Core Wood will let you build a little higher, and Iron will let you build even higher than that.
Get creative with rafters, beams, and columns if you want to build high or wide. You’ll also need to make use of scaffolding at times to access the structure without falling.
Defense and Maintenance
Your base will fall under attack at times, as random events will cause hostile creatures to spawn nearby. You’ll want to build with this in mind. A wall can keep nearby enemies from wandering into the area, but you should have a plan for when anything does get inside.
Moats are particularly useful for defense since you can knock enemies into them, and they’ll be unable to reach you or your structures at all. You can also have tamed creatures like lox and wolves stationed around your base, and they’ll fend off most weaker enemies.
In addition to trolls, furlings, and other hostile creatures, the elements will also wear away at any structures that aren’t covered by a roof. This includes porches, paths, fences, docks… anything that is exposed to the rain and wind. Whenever there’s a storm, you’ll notice these pieces start to look a little green and rotted.
They won’t completely deteriorate on their own, but they will be weakened and not as nice to look at. Luckily, you can easily repair these objects with the Hammer, and/or build roofs above them to protect them from future damage.
Fire and Light
The hearth is the heart of a home, and in Valheim your fire is indeed a central fixture, essential for some basic functions in your base. You won’t be able to sleep in a bed without a fire nearby. You’ll also need one for cooking food. And of course, light is important. Light will help you see when it’s dark, and it will prevent creatures from spawning near your buildings.
Fire must be placed on flat, bare ground. You can raise a patch of dirt to place a fire in an elevated room. Often it may be preferable to put the fire down first and then build around it. You’ll also need to have an opening for the smoke to escape, or you’ll wind up suffocating in it. Build a chimney or a roof with open awnings for this.
You can place torches and other light sources around your property, but keep in mind they all require fuel in order to continue casting light. Fires require Wood and torches and sconces require Resin.
Snap and Rotate Objects
Positioning objects the way you want them can be challenging, but there are a few tricks that can help you line things up just right. As we mentioned earlier, you can rotate objects with the scroll wheel on the mouse. You can also decide if and how you want the object to snap and connect to other nearby objects.
Holding the Shift key will disable snapping, allowing you to place an object manually in whatever position you desire. This is great for fine details and decorations, but for your main structure you should generally stick to snapping to ensure that everything fits together nicely and has good support. You can cycle between snap options with the Q and E keys. This will change where the game attempts to line up the object in relation to other objects you hover over.
Placing beams can help you create snap points to better position your walls and roofs. Experiment with lining things up using beams, and then remove the beams afterward if you wish. Just be sure that the remaining structure still has enough support from other objects.
Maximizing Comfort in Your Base
When you’re inside your house, the game will sometimes tell you that you are “Resting.” Resting for at least 20 seconds or sleeping in a bed will give you the Rested effect, a buff that increases your health and stamina regeneration as well as your experience gains. The amount of regeneration you receive from the buff can be increased by raising the Comfort level of your house.
The Comfort level is increased by certain furniture and decorative objects, including rugs and banners. You’ll need to have a wide variety of objects in your building if you want to max out your Comfort level, as the bonuses from items in the same category don’t stack.
Here are the different types of items that provide comfort:
- Campfires & braziers
- Benches & chairs
- Hot tubs
- Armor stands
Objects made with more advanced materials will increase the Comfort level more. You’ll always get the best bonus you have available, so you don’t need to get rid of lower-level items.
When you have a solid structure with all of the functionality worked out, it’s time to start making it look nice! There are a few tricks that can make a bare or plain looking structure feel a little more homey and unique.
Add wood beams around the edges and corners of your doorways, windows, and walls to create trim. You may be surprised how much nicer it looks compared to a bare, plain wall. You can also create decorative fences and railings this way.
Stairs can sometimes feel like an afterthought. Remember that you don’t have to create stairs in a straight line – you can use floor pieces to create landings and continue the stairs in a different direction.
While it may be tempting to use single-file Wood Ladders to save space, these will be trickier to traverse than the wider, shallower Wood Stairs. Your character will also move more quickly up the Wood Stairs, and you’ll be less likely to accidentally fall off. Angled walls can be used to hide the area beneath the stairs, giving them more of a finished look while still allowing easy access.
Windows will let in the light and allow you to take in the view, and they’ll break up what could otherwise be a very boring solid wall. Use wood beams to frame your windows, or install small doors or shutters to allow them to open and close.
Dormer windows can really improve the look of your roofline and add some character to your building. To build a dormer, you’ll have to remove a square or two from your roof, and build a small square of walls that stick up from the hole, with an opening in the front. Then put a roof over top of the new small square you’ve created. Use diagonally cut walls to prevent the dormer from sticking out above or below the roof.
A bay or garden window can be created by jutting some framing out from an opening in a wall. Use a half wall at the bottom to create a little shelf inside. Just be sure to cover it with some roofing.
Join the High Ground!
Thanks for reading! We hope this guide has given you useful tips for building some amazing structures in Valheim. Feel free to share what you’ve built in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!