Assassin's Creed Valhalla Starter Guide: Norway
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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla can seem like a daunting game at first. When you start in Norway the map is already a decent size. The amount of collectables and content to discover can feel slightly overwhelming, especially with most of the main game set in England. In this article I will try and set you up for your Viking adventure, with hints and tips for your beautiful starting location, Norway.
I am going to keep away from the story aspects of the Norway arc, as it is best you discover this yourself. The only thing I will say is that the story can drag you in, and before you know it you will be sailing off to England without exploring everything Norway has to offer. Take time in-between quests to have a look around. Important to note, you will be able to return to Norway at any moment once you are in England.
When you begin the game you will immediately start levelling up, however this is only the beginning.
Norway is a snowy playground that you can use to set yourself up for your adventures in England.
XP and the Map
You will notice many icons scattered around Norway on the map. They range from gold (wealth), blue (mysteries) and white (artefacts). These are often separate from the main story and are here to enrich the experience. Completing the main quest will always be your best way to level up as the XP reward is high. The little gold markers have less of an impact on completing an area but offer valuable XP and resources. If you are a completionist like me then these small loot boxes are worth it even if they don’t seem like it at the time.
For anyone who played Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Mysteries may come as a welcome addition. I found Odyssey a tad repetitive, but Valhalla’s Mysteries help diversify the world and keep things fresh. They often come with a small bit of problem solving, but be sure to check your surrounding area for clues. Mysteries are great for XP too, but don’t feel compelled to complete them all as some are power dependant.
Gear and Skill Points
Unlike Odyssey, don’t expect to find loads of gear throughout the world. Norway does not have many gear items and you can find yourself in the same outfit for quite some time. Personally I enjoy this, as I find I use each piece way more than I would in Odyssey/Origins. Your best way to scout out these gear pieces is to find the synchronization points. This will open up the world, and although Valhalla is less click and go, waypoints will become clearer after syncing with the world.
Upgrading your gear can be done in multiple ways. The major upgrades will not be available until you reach England (Settlement Blacksmith), but runes and resources can be applied to your gear right from the start. I did this sparingly but if you follow the guidance above then you can use resources such as iron and leather to upgrade your gear as often as you like.
Try not to get overloaded with skill points. The maximum power in Valhalla is 400, but this level will be increased during future DLC expansions. The points can be added to 3 different routes, however you do not have to specialise as by the end of the game you will most likely have filled all of the skill tree. Red is the way of the bear (Melee), yellow is the way of the raven (Stealth) and blue is the way of the wolf (Ranged). The game lets you view what is available under each section, so just find a skill you wish to acquire and work towards it.
Combat will take some getting used to but with perseverance you will prevail. I don’t tend to make the strongest builds or use that many different weapons, as I prefer to keep to the pure Viking simulator. If you take the time, you can make your character very powerful, even in the early stages of the game. When in Norway, I preferred the axe and the shield combination for close up fights and then switching to the bow for anything at a distance. There are not a lot of weapons to choose from in Norway, but there are enough to get you started. Once in England you will gain many more abilities which will tie in with your weapon choices.
Health and stamina play a larger role in Valhalla. You will not have the luxury of health regeneration and must forage for food to store in a rations bag which can then be used during combat. Your stamina bar will deplete when running/fighting, so it is important to slow things down from time to time.
Traveling and Discovering
When navigating Norway it is best to use your longship. This will help you to discover fast travel points for easy access later in the game. It is also a great way to view the beautiful scenery Norway has to offer.
On land you will find yourself on horseback. I found it a tad slow due to the mountain ranges. Try if you can to keep to the main paths, as this is a lot quicker and will not deplete your stamina.
Quite often you will find items in the world that are trapped behind locked or barricaded doors. Sometimes it can be frustrating to find a way in. Remember, locked doors will always have a key nearby and Sýnin your raven can help. Sýnin cannot tag everything in the environment like Senu or Ikaros could, but your bird will still be useful for finding things. If that fails you have Odin’s sight (Eagle Vision) which will give you a glimpse of the environment around you. Anything that is barricaded will just be a small puzzle to solve. Keep an eye out for gaps in windows, or weakness in walls/roofs for a way in.
Hopefully these tips will help you get started on your Viking adventure. Valhalla is a wonderful game full of intrigue and mystery with a story that sucks you in slowly. Be patient and take your time, you will not regret it.