Valheim Beginner’s Day 1 Guide

by wawoodworth

While Valheim has a good in-game tutorial to help out when you first start the game, I’m writing this to offer a little more depth and insight to that first day in the afterlife. Please feel free to add tips for all the stuff I miss; this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything but the concise essentials for a new player.

Valheim Day 1

I’m going to break down your initial needs into three categories that can be accomplished on that first day:

  • Weapons/Equipment
  • Food
  • Shelter


In order to craft the basics, you’ll need two resources: wood and stones. The tutorial will help you combine them once you acquire them, but let’s help you find them first.

  • Wood spawns on the ground mainly in forest areas. Press E to interact with them and auto-loot should help you pick them up. You’ll want to collect 20+ pieces over the course of the day, but initially enough to make the basics. (You can punch smaller trees to get wood rather than gather it from the ground, but that’s up to you.)
  • Stone spawns on the ground mainly in hilly areas, generally any area with a slope. Press E to interact with it and auto-loot should help you pick them up. Stone is less important than wood for the first day, so you won’t need as much and can gather as you need it.

In your basic crafting menu, you’ll have four options: axe, club, hammer, and torch. The axe works both as a weapon and gathering tool for wood; the club is a weapon only; a hammer allows you to build structures; and the torch can work as a weapon and light source.

Construct an axe first, then a hammer. Move them onto your toolbars so you can utilize them quickly. You can now use the axe to gather wood from smaller trees.

Now that you can defend yourself as well as build structures, let’s talk about food.


Food influences two important stats: health and stamina. The better food you eat, the bigger your health and stamina pools will be. As you go along in the game, you’ll learn more recipes; but for now, there are limited options.

While you are gathering wood and stone, you can forage for raspberries and mushrooms.

  • Raspberries are easy to spot since they are red bushes in a sea of green; if you have a color deficiency, look for squat dense bushes in clusters of two or more since they don’t share a texture pattern with any other object right now. (There are other bushes in the game right now, so you’ll have to learn which pattern is the raspberry one. Look for abandoned villages since they can spawn in fenced-in areas.)
  • Mushrooms will be red buttons on the ground, typically in forest areas; again, for those who cannot see that color, these are round low objects that usually spawn in clusters of two to four. Unlike raspberries, mushrooms are easily hidden by grass.

Boars, necks, and deer drop meat for you to cook; boars and necks are easier to hunt since they will not run away. Save their loot as best you can for this first day but drop leather scraps if you need more room. With some food in addition to other equipment, let’s talk about shelter.


Your day one base needs not to be elaborate since you will eventually construct a bigger base, but the immediate benefits are important. It will give you a place to rest (the rest buff dramatically increases your stamina regeneration), to gather more items (stored in chests), and get out of the weather as needed. There are two possible options for creating that first shelter: convert a building to your use or construct one from scratch. In either case, you will need to build a workbench (10 wood).

  • There are abandoned villages on the Meadows with houses that are suitable for Day 1 shelters. In gathering wood, stone, and food, you have most likely stumbled onto one. (If not, keep going!) Find the largest house you can and place your workbench inside of it. You will now be able to build additional building pieces which can be used to rebuild the house. Use the build menu to enclose the house, but leave one roof tile unfilled for a campfire. (More on that in just a moment.) You can also place a bed (for sleeping and respawning) and chests for gathering more items.
  • You can construct a basic house or lean-to. While a floor is optional, it is helpful for snapping building pieces to it. This house doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it does need a roof to count as shelter. If you are constructing over three tiles high, you will need adequate support in the forms of beams and walls. There are other guides out there that delve into such issues.

Game mechanics sidenote: you are only granted the shelter buff if the roof is made of thatched roof pieces. Placing a floor as a roof will not give you that option (as of 2/12/21).

Workbenches: in addition to providing new items to made, it allows you to repair items. Use the hammer icon to the left of the menu to repair any items. There is currently no resource cost to repairing items.

Placing a campfire: campfires are a bit finicky at first, but once you learn their quirks you can place one anywhere and keep it going all the time.

  • It needs to be placed on the actual ground: it cannot be on a floor tile.
  • It needs protection from the elements: the wind and rain can put it out.
  • It needs ventilation: if there is no place for the smoke to go, it will snuff itself out. You can also be damaged by smoke inhalation.

For a day one base, you can place a campfire inside but you will need to ensure that the roof over it has an opening. (There are other, better guides for constructing chimneys.) The 45 degree roof tile is recommended with the top of the tile facing the outward sky area. Once the campfire is placed, you can construct a cooking rack over it to cook any meat. Careful, it can burn if left unattended!

The Rest Buff: you don’t need to sleep to get this buff. If you sit by the fire (press X) and wait, you will get the buff again during the day. This is very helpful early on as it increases stamina regeneration.

Day 2 and so forth:

You’ve survived the first day, so it’s on to the next. There are dungeons to explore, resources to gather, and adventure to be had. Good luck on your path and enjoy your journey.

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