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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Beginner Guide: Tips and Tricks I Wish I Knew Before Playing

In this Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Beginner Guide: Tips and Tricks I Wish I Knew Before Playing article, we’ll be helping you with a Getting Started Guide for AC: Valhalla. Whether you are new to the Assassin’s Creed Series and regardless of whether you have played the previous Origins and Odyssey installments, this tips collection will help you out. Make sure to also check out our AC: Valhalla Review!

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Beginner Guide: Tips and Tricks I Wish I Knew Before Playing

Getting Started: Difficulty Modes

Picking the right difficulty mode for your gameplay is an important part of this game. The game doesn’t have one but three difficulty Modes and sub-categories within them, which we have listed in detail below. The important takeaway for me was that anything below Drengr felt easy – so make sure you set on Hard for at least some combat challenge. Pathfinder is a tempting mode but it got tedious very fast, so Explorer is likely the best option for a good mix of exploration and accessibility. Lastly, the Assassin difficulty mode will change the perception range of enemies. I do like sneaking about, so I set mine to Master Assassin, but if you want more fast-paced gameplay you will want to stay on default.

Exploration Difficulty


More icons will guide you toward your rewards. Opportunities are visible from further away.

Explorer (Default)

Feedback on world map opportunities and regular information on the compass.


Minimal HUD and World Map information for a more immersive experience

Combat Difficulty

Skald (Easy)

For those who prefer a good narrative experience over intense combat challenges , this setting is for you.

Enemy damage output and resistances are reduced. You may adjust this difficulty setting at any time.

Vikingr (Default)

A balanced combat experience for those who wish to immerse themselves in the the Viking ethos.

You may adjust this difficulty setting at any time.

Berserkr (Hard)

For players that want a solid but fair combat challenge. the Berserkr setting is for you.

You may adjust this difficulty setting at any time.

Drengr (Very Hard)

An intense combat setting for the ultimate warrior. Enemy health and damage output are increased.

You may adjust this difficulty setting at any time.

Stealth Difficulty

Apprentice (Easy)

Guards’ perception has been reduced for a less challenging experience

Assassin (Default)

Regular guard perception and awareness settings.

Master Assassin (Hard)

Regular guard perception and awareness settings.

Combat, Skills and Abilities in AC Valhalla

Players familiars with the previous AC installments will feel at home, as many of the elements from previous combat are present. A meaningful new addition is that Enemies have a defense bar and a health bar. The defense bar is displayed as a thin line above the health bar, and usually divided into segments. Removing the defense bars can cause stagger and open the enemy to taking significant damage.

Skills and Skill Trees

Skill Trees are now displayed in complex constellations that unlock both passive and active skills for your character. There are three main branches, and your chosen branch will give bonuses to your weapons and armor as well. Raven Skills (yellow) focus on Stealth and Assassination, Bear Skills (red) provide bonuses to melee combat and head-on confrontations and Wolf Skills (blue) give perks to mainly ranged combat.

To obtain more skills you will need to increase your overall Power (level) by gaining experience from completing Quests, World Events and activities. You will also gain Skill Points when you defeat Bosses, so be on the lookout for all of these.

Abilities and Books of Knowledge

Unlike the previous games, your abilities are now independent from your skill tree, and you have to find them on the landscape. We have put together a list of Ability Locations for AC: Valhalla that you can use, these list all the Books of Knowledge in the game. Books of Knowledge are the item that teaches you an ability – and finding a second copy of the same ability will increase its rank.

For the beginning portion of the game, you will only be able to slot 4 ranged abilities and 4 melee abilities. My recommendation based on my own gameplay is to get Dive of the Valkyries and run with it, it’s a great ability and feels great to perform. The others are situational and can be very useful when tackling specific bosses (Rush & Bash for example), but in general unless you are playing on a high difficulty you’ll be wanting the wow factor more than the effect itself.

Equipment, Weapons, Armor & Upgrades

Equipment is significantly different from the other games, mainly in that none of it is random so everything can be found at a specific location. Additionally, there is a lot less of it, so for your first 20 hours you will be looking at about 3 armor sets and maybe 20 weapons. To offset the lower number of individual items, you have the option to both upgrade and enhance the quality of your weapons, as well as slot runes into them. We cover all of this on a dedicated page on the wiki, so you can find details there.

Weapon Types

There are 12 weapon categories to pick from, and you will find that the skill trees unlock mastery use of them – so you want to keep to their designated skill line in order to get the best bonuses out of your weapon. One-handed weapons feature Bearded Axes, Flails, Seaxes (daggers). Two-Handed weapons have Dane Axes, Greatswords, Hammers and Spears. There are three types of bows: Light Bows, Hunter Bows and Predator Bows, and lastly two types of shields: heavy and light. All weapon categories have a unique moveset and you can chain combos (and even animation cancel doing a dodge) with any of them. Dual Wielding is an option: you can equip two weapons, one to each hand, but your off-hand will have only some specific attacks that it can perform by pressing LB (L1). A shield can be equipped to the offhand for defense, and to the mainhand for offense. You can also play with bare hands which creates a punch and kick sequence of combos.

For me, the best moveset is from the Greatswords, that features a heavy attack with a 200 degree horizontal arc: this means you can AOE when surrounded. The animation cancel from dodging mid-move also helps, but be mindful that the game introduced a Stamina mechanic: Stamina is displayed as a blue bar under your health, and Heavy Attacks and Dodging consume it. Managing your stamina is an important part of learning combat.

If you prefer to take things one-on one, you should learn to parry: it is available with just about every weapon, and allows you to deal significant defense damage, which usually stuns or opens an opponent to a stronger attack finisher.

Armor Sets

Like weapons, Armor is linked to a specific Skill Tree. There are armor sets in the game that give bonuses for equipping all pieces, and you get further bonuses for taking “Way of the Raven“, “Way of the Bear” or “Way of the Wolf” skills on each tree. So if you plan on going for heavy armor, you should go into the red tree and find instances of “Way of the Bear” to put points into as it will maximize your stats.

In general, I haven’t found many armor sets so my opinion on them is limited as of now, but I will update our equipment pages on the wiki as I find more.


Your progression through AC: Valhalla will be slightly different than you may have done in previous games. I would suggest following the main story until you get to the point you can unlock your Settlement before doing too many side activities, mainly because you’ll want to be able to benefit from the many services available there. Additionally, I found that if I visited places too early, NPCs that were needed to complete the wealth objective of the area where not there, meaning I had to come back to the location a second time.

How to open Locked Doors or How to get into a Building

The biggest impediment to progression for me was trying to figure out how to get inside buildings, find entrances to underground lairs, and wondering where the hell the wealth was. Some general tips for this:

  1. Try burning it with your torch
  2. Try hitting it a lot with your weapon (lunge at it if under water)
  3. Try using a fire arrow to blow a nearby pot, or pick up and throw the pot
  4. Try using an arrow to break a rope holding a heavy item above the entry point
  5. Use your Odin Sight and scan for cave entrances
  6. READ the text around you, sometimes you have to go get a key from a location a distance away and the game will not give you a marker
  7. Come back later if you cannot figure it out, as you likely need to progress a quest to get inside

Upgrade your Settlement

We have a full settlement guide that can be found on the wiki, so the tips here will be a lot more concise. First, the settlement is unlocked after you travel to England and complete the quest called “Settling Down”. Once you do this, your first order of business will be to build the Blacksmith by gathering materials, which you get from Raids. Once Gunnar is set up, your Settlement will begin giving you options to construct Service Buildings, Cosmetic Buildings and Feast Buff Buildings.

The upgrades to Ravensthorpe are limited by your Settlement Level, which increases by building. The first buildings available will be a Barracks (make your Jomsviking for online asynchronous play), the Blacksmith, the Hidden Ones Bureau, Stable and Aviary and a Trading Post. After the Blacksmith, your second upgrade should be the Hidden Ones Bureau to unlock targets for assassination, and the third one should be Trading Post as being able to buy and sell things can be very important.

From level 2, you will want to get the Hunter’s Hut as soon as possible so you can turn in Legendary Animal hunts as well as complete small sidequests (Hunter Deliveries) for NPCs in your town. Everything else here is optional, but if you like fishing then build the Fishing Hut.

Once you reach Level 3, you will have to consider your priorities: Complete a quest for the Seer’s Hut to “delve into strange visions” with Valka, or get the Cartographer who will sell you maps to Abilities, Gear, Ingot and Raw Materials. The Cartographer was my choice, as I wanted to find abilities and gear as soon as possible. Each map costs under 50 pieces of silver.

For more details into the higher levels of the settlement, feast buffs, and such, check out our dedicated guide on the wiki.

Final Tips

This final tips section is a mish-mash of things I feel will make your experience better. These are really tips and tricks based on personal preference, but do hear me out:

  1. Read everything (actually read it). Games have taught us to pick items, dismiss the popup, and wait for the quest log to show us where to go. Valhalla isn’t like that, and you have to read and understand what is going on in order to solve puzzles, find keys and unlock locations
  2. Listen to everyone (actually listen). Same as above: listen to the dialogue! You don’t get a summary or objective for World Events, so if you don’t listen to the NPC they may sit there expecting you to do something without you actually knowing what. Additionally, they sometimes start walking / running to an unmarked objective and you have to somehow figure it out on your own if you skipped the dialogue.
  3. Get close to wealth to figure out if its worth it. While I recommended focusing on the main quest, if you are going by an event / wealth you should go near it and Odin Sight so you know if it’s an Ability, Piece of Gear or Carbon Ingot. You should also do all events you come across as they usually have good rewards.
  4. Put markers on your map. Whilst your raven no longer marks all enemies and loot, you can put markers on your map that will shoot up light beams into the sky so you can see them as you approach. This makes locating wealth much much easier.
  5. Travel by Boat. Your boat can now auto-pilot to a destination, and it can be a lot faster than trying to go by land. You can do the same with your mount (follow road, go to marker), and even teach your mount to swim if you unlock the settlement’s stable.
  6. Parry. This is a very powerful move that you should attempt to master to make your Boss encounters a lot easier, as it creates safe openings to attack and does defense damage which can lead to a staggered or stunned enemy.

And that’s all I have for this AC: Valhalla Beginner Guide. I hope my tips and tricks were helpful, but I probably missed a lot of questions that you have since it’s such a large game! You can probably find the answers to those in our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Wiki, or you can help edit it and add further tips and information. Also make sure to check out our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review and our Skills guide!

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