Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running stealth/action series. This time, you’ll play the role of Eivor: a Viking warrior who must build a settlement in England and unearth a Templar conspiracy.
If you’ve played an Assassin’s Creed game before, you know how this goes: explore new areas, dispatch some enemies stealthily, engage other enemies in open combat, upgrade your equipment, complete optional activities and so forth. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla puts a few spins on the well-established formula, though, with a bigger focus on open combat, more inventive side missions, and more freeform character-building.
The game isn’t too tough, but knowing how to focus your attention and gather your resources can give you a big advantage early on. Read on for 10 invaluable Assassin’s Creed Valhalla tips.
Pay attention to power level
As you gain new skills in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Eivor’s “power level” will increase. Each new area you explore will also have a recommended power level. Naturally, if your power level is higher than the recommendation, the area will be pretty easy. If your power level is lower, the area will be pretty hard. As far as I can tell, you don’t get any special reward for tackling high-level content at low power levels, so your best bet is simply to tackle low-level areas first, then high-level ones later. If you do a lot of side content, you’ll almost always be over-leveled, but you can always find challenges if you know where to look.
Seek out mysteries
Like previous Assassin’s Creed games, Valhalla has a plethora of side missions. Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed games, they’re not straightforward “follow the waypoints” missions. As you explore medieval England, you’ll come across blue circles indicating local “mysteries.” These mysteries could involve going somewhere and killing a target, sure — but they could also be taking hallucinogenic mushrooms and solving puzzles, burning down a couple’s house to get them in the mood for love, or competing in Viking rap battles known as “flyting.” Mysteries seldom tell you exactly where to go or what to do, so be creative and explore your surroundings thoroughly.
Focus your skill points
As you start to build Eivor’s skills, you’ll have three possible paths: Bear (melee combat), Raven (stealth) and Wolf (ranged combat). While all three paths have some overlap, you’ll generally want to pick one and specialize in it, at least early on. That’s because each skill path improves your stats whenever you wear Bear/Raven/Wolf-aligned gear. By focusing your skill distribution, you’ll also focus your equipment loadout and general playstyle. Bear is the most straightforward path, but Raven has the most useful skills. The Wolf path is a little more specialized, but archery is a viable strategy for both stealth and open combat.
Balance story and side activities
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an enormous game, and players generally approach enormous games one of two ways: Either zoom through the plot and handle side content later, or clean up an area’s side content before tackling the plot. Neither approach is ideal in this game, however. If you do the plot missions and nothing but, you probably won’t be strong enough to tackle the next set of missions. On the other hand, there’s no real reason to hunt down every last optional objective, as following the plot will take you in close proximity to many of them. As such, the best strategy is to follow the plot and tackle as many side missions as you can along the way.
Raid for resources
Generally speaking, you’ll reach new areas by traversing England’s waterways in your longship. On almost every river, you’ll find a church or monastery, just overflowing with valuable resources. While you can try to infiltrate these monasteries stealthily to thin the enemy ranks, you’ll need to call in the rest of your crew to finish the job. Hold the down button on the D-pad and select the “raid” option to initiate a mass battle, where, if victorious, you’ll walk away with plenty of supplies and raw materials to build your home settlement. Just be sure that the monastery is in an area in line with your power level; waterways often bridge two wildly different areas.
Build your settlement
Eivor and the Raven clan start out in England with just a longhouse; it’s up to you what to build next. During the course of the game, you can construct everything from a fishing hut, to a hunters’ lodge, to a bakery, to a stable, to a shipyard. My recommendation would be to prioritize the Hidden Ones Bureau, as this is where you’ll work alongside the Assassins – and what’s Assassin’s Creed without those? Bear in mind that you won’t be able to build everything right away, since buildings require resources, and there are only so many monasteries to raid in any given area.
Upgrade equipment wisely
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is downright conservative with equipment after Origins and Odyssey all but hurled new weapons and armor at you with each mission. You can find some gear, you can buy some gear and you can upgrade some gear, but your overall selection is fairly limited. You may find that your money and resources are limited, too, considering that upgrades can get pretty expensive in this game. My recommendation would be to find one particular set of equipment that you really like and focus on upgrading one piece at a time. Weapon upgrades in particular pay for themselves pretty efficiently.
Parry whenever possible
In previous Assassin’s Creed games, you could dodge enemy attacks indefinitely, and simply hope that your foe would never catch up. That’s no longer the case, as dodging drains a limited stamina bar, which you also need for heavy attacks. As such, you’ll want to dodge sparingly. Instead, parry enemy attacks whenever possible. (If the enemy attack has an orange highlight, you can parry it; if it’s red, you’ll have to dodge.) Not only does parrying save stamina, but it also wears down your enemy’s resistance, letting you perform devastating Stun Attacks. Since these Stun Attacks also restore your health, parrying is the key to surviving long battles.
Conserve your rations
Assassin’s Creed, as a series, flip-flops back and forth between “regenerating health” and “manually restoring health.” Valhalla falls into the latter camp. When you take damage, there are only three ways to restore your health: Find some food, eat a ration or perform a Stun Attack on an enemy. The first is the simplest method, but there’s not always food around. As such, your rations are highly valuable — but extremely limited — resources. Save them for tough enemies and boss fights whenever possible, particularly since most bosses change their attack patterns about halfway through a fight. In other battles, Stun Attacks are a much more common resource.
Follow Valka’s storyline
Without spoiling anything, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has a mythological element, just like Origins and Odyssey. If you want to see how Eivor’s story ties in with the Norse myths that you know and love (or perhaps know and fear), build up your settlement until you reunite with your old friend Valka. Then, when you get your next infusion of resources, build up her Seer’s Hut and follow her questline. You won’t be able to experience the entire mythological story in one sitting, but as you explore more of the world, you’ll find the ingredients that Valka needs to advance this particular subplot.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.