Valheim: Weather Revamp

Ekrem Atamer
7 min readDec 20, 2022

I am back to Valheim.

The long-awaited Mistlands update was released recently and of course, I returned and started from scratch. I assure you that the patch isn’t an excuse to start over, it’s purely to, uhm, experience the changes throughout the progression. And since I’m playing, surprise, I have new ideas to share.

Source: Reddit thread by KingNewbs

The topic of this article and one of my favourite aspects of Valheim is rain and its inseparable enemy, fire. As usual, I’d like to start with a refresher of the current state: Rain not only adds visual and auditory immersion but also gets you wet, which decreases your regenerations and changes your resistances. It also stops you from sleeping until you dry. Even in open weather, if you enter waist-level or higher water, you get drenched immediately. You can wait, but if you find fire, you quickly dry up. Of course, said fire and yourself can’t be exposed to water. And fire, regardless if it’s from a campfire or a smelter, creates smoke, which forces you to think of chimneys or similar solutions. Fire also protects you from cold, which isn’t an issue at a slightly chilling night but becomes lethal in the snowy mountains, even worse if you are wet!

So the elements have a direct effect on your life, which I find very fitting to the “Viking survivor” theme. That said — it’s very straightforward. Maybe a bit too straightforward. Doesn’t matter if you jumped in the water, stayed outside during a storm for 20 minutes or took one step outside for 1 second under very light rain and immediately moved back under a roof: You get a 2-minute Wet debuff. And that’s what we are going to look into in this article.

As a reminder, my game ideas aren’t there to criticize games or say how they should’ve been, but a re-imagination, an alternate version. Game design is complex and each idea comes with pros and cons and I am not a designer. This also means that the concepts and numbers are not necessarily perfectly balanced. So please take it with a grain of salt and a huge sack of imagination!

So, for Weather: Revamp (mod?? patch??) I introduce wetness points, Wet effect levels and more! The purpose is to bring the whole “Let’s wait out the storm” or “Let’s make use of the nice weather” sitch. As part of that, the amount of different weather should also be regulated, maybe light rain and drizzles happen more often, but storms are less common. Maybe more indoor things to do can also help. This might also create an organic rhythm: You decide what to do depending on the weather. Work on buildings and gathering when the weather’s nice and do your cooking and house refurbishment when the weather is bad. Alright, ready to hear more? Let’s go!

Getting Wet and Drying

Wetness Points: As it sounds like, your wetness is counted with a variant that’s probably not visible to players. This number increases with exposure to water. Under Drizzle, it’s slow and has a low ceiling. Under light rain, faster and a higher ceiling. Under heavy rain or in a storm… you get the idea.

Hopefully, it’s readable. It should probably be an exponential growth, not a linear one but this is mockup

Reaching a certain number means getting a certain debuff. Wet is now the lowest wetness debuff which turns into drenched and eventually soaked with enough exposure. As you can see in the spreadsheet above, there are “sub-levels” in each debuff that sometimes change the effects. For example, Wet has “Very Wet” and “Little Drenched”. These are shown to the player as stacking debuffs. Here is what they do:

Stacking debuff UI mockup

Wetness represents that: You are getting wet. It’s a slight (5%) decrease in stamina regen and that’s all, a minor inconvenience at first. Sub levels increase this by 2.5% each (to 10%)

Drenched means you are seriously exposed, representing wet shoes and clothes and it has an even higher stamina regen (15%) decrease, plus a drop in your maximum stamina (10%). Furthermore, there is a slight movement decrease(5%) and health regen decrease (10%). You gain Resist vs Fire, Weak vs Frost and Lightning. This is closest to the Wet currently in game. Torches lose “health” even when in your bag.

Soaked means the ultimate exposure. Your stamina regen drops even more (20%, decreasing 10% further when hitting nex levels to a whopping 40%), and your max stamina drops by 20% (5% more at the next levels). Your movement decreases by 10%, 5% more at next points. Health regen decreases by 25%. Torches in your inventory lose health even faster.

Potential addition: Staying at max wet points for X amount of time gives you an additional level of debuffs.

Note that the above numbers (beside definitely not being balanced) aren’t meant to be cumulative. So movement speed decrease in soaked is 10%, not 10%+total decrease in Drenched.

Entering water around thigh-level gives you Drenched, the further you are immersed, the worse you get (up to max level)

Drying also has new options. Simply carrying a torch or being near one reduces your points if you are at or below Wet. If you are drenched or soaked, you need fire. Speaking of them, campfires aren’t put off in drizzles and in light rain, burn their fuel faster (exponentially, so there is a point they are definitely put off). Hearths work the same way. Bonfires still last through the rain but burn fuel faster in heavy rain or storm.

Misc Additions

Light Rain, Heavy Rain and Storm: Respectively, these decrease the detection range of NPCs (animals, monsters and dvergrs alike) and increase the “stealthiness” of Stealthing (but not stamina drain) as if the skill was 5, 10 or 15 points higher respectively. The latter two also decrease spawn rates of most animals and several monsters (representing creatures hiding).

It’s not just you. All rain now affects NPCs too, which means they might move slower, have different resistances etc. Maybe rain also helps grow trees and some/all crops.

Biomes might still have their own special weather, but it shouldn’t be a cut-off. If it’s raining heavily in the Black Forest and you move into the Plains nearby, a small portion of the Plains is Heavy Rain, then Light Rain, then it’s whatever weather’s in the Plains. Of course, if the Plains are Foggy, then you get both and some of the Fog spills to the Black Forest too.

Sailing is also affected. Heavy Rain slows rafts significantly and Karves slightly. Storms slow them further, even affecting the mighty longships slightly. Furthermore, Heavy Rain and Storms decrease the maximum speed with sails significantly as they are drenched.

Trees now provide some protection from the rain. Depending on the amount and the type of the tree and your proximity, you receive fewer wetness points. Don’t expect much help from running by two pines during a storm, but sitting right under an Oak can keep you pretty much dry during even light rain.

Lightning is a rare but potential threat during Storms. Whatever’s highest and pointiest can attract lightning. If it’s a tree, it burns up, dropping coal and turning grass around it to dirt. If it’s a building, it causes high damage to the top piece that it connects, likely destroying it if it’s wooden. The pieces connected to that one receive damage at half rate, then the next pieces take half of that etc. Stone reduces the damage on itself and greatly reduces the damage on the next part. This goes on until it reaches the ground and/or damage reaches 1. Karves and Longships can also be hit by lightning, causing a lot of damage and also hitting anyone onboard for a part of that.

Sunny Weather is energizing, increasing your stamina regeneration by 10%.

Mist/Fog also decreases enemy detection ranges (I believe they already do) except for Serpents, as they partially swim and see things underwater, free of fog.

Some creatures could also have further interaction. Maybe Trolls always come out of their caves during rain, drakes don’t spawn in foggy weather, deathsquitos move faster in sunny weather etc.

The Obliterator could now have a different function: Asking Thor for a certain weather. Maybe sacrificing certain bounties or items has a chance (higher with more items) to grant good weather for the current and the next day. Or

Conclusion

These changes will hopefully create new challenges and some opportunities from the very start to the end. Instead of sailing under a storm, you might want to find a place to spend the night to avoid the slow sail and the danger of being struck by lightning. But you no longer get very inefficient under any rain — as long as you dry yourself now and then, you can ignore light rain for the most part.

Would you like to see the changes? What parts would you like to keep or change? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the comments and if you like this, I’d appreciate some claps to help me understand what’s interesting for you. Oh and keep your eyes on this space. Very soon, another Valheim article is coming, talking about armor!

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Ekrem Atamer

Gamer, gaming industry wanderer, development and design enthusiast. Current WIP: TBD