The Trial of Tyr – Announcing the Winners

October 10, 2023

The time has come to announce the winners of the very first Valheim speedrun competition – The Trial of Tyr! We're so impressed by everyone who attempted this difficult challenge and we want to thank everyone who gave it a go. But now, without further ado, we present to you our three champions:

Third Place

With the total playtime of 13 hours, 4 minutes and 7 seconds, the third prize goes to "Mr ADEL". You can watch the run in this YouTube playlist.

Second Place

The second place is claimed by "ThreadMenace", who completed the run in 10 hours, 52 minutes and 1 second. You can watch the entry on YouTube:

First Place

And finally, with a total playtime of only 7 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds, the grand victory goes to "Time Traveler" (or 时空旅行人, in the player's native Chinese). You can watch the full run on YouTube:

Interview with the Winner

Because we suspect you might all be a little bit curious about how one manages to kill all of Valheim's bosses in less than eight hours, we have asked Time Traveler some questions about the entry:

Q: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you and how long have you been playing Valheim?

A: Hello guys, I'm Zhengyuan, a Valheim player from China, also known as "the Time Traveler" (时空旅行人), which is the ID I use on Bilibili, a Chinese video site, or 森罗万象 ("the all-inclusive") on Youtube. I primarily post my Valheim streams and guides on Bilibili. I added Valheim to my steam library on February 7 2021, when it was released into Early Access on Steam. My adventure as a viking started there and since then I have spent circa 4500h in Valheim -- almost all of my spare time is dedicated to it. It has become my favourite game ever.

Q: You're pretty active in the community with making guides and videos. What motivates you to speedrun the game and why do you enjoy it?

A: Oh, that's a long story. The first 50 hours I spent in Valheim were really tough. The ores cannot be teleported. I had to retrieve my items by corpse run, not to mention all the skill loss. And some mobs at the moment were so tricky to deal with, like the troll, Bonemass, the stone golem... All these mechanisms made Valheim extremely hardcore and challenging. And I was definitely not alone. When Valheim was just released, players from all over the world should have similar experience of struggling that I had. Many would say it was extremely difficult to play Valheim solo, if not impossible. And I did it. After my first solo "completion" playthrough, I began to delve into my research on Valheim, like the items, the mobs, the mechanisms, and so on. I kept wondering how to turn some crisis into triumph efficiently, how to defeat the bosses without taking damage from them, or how to improve the efficiency in my solo gameplay, and had experimental or actual games through numerous characters and world saves.

At some moment, I figured out I could set up temporary bases in the current biome, so as to save time from massive ore transfer. I understood different mobs have different damage resistances, which means it is more efficient to use spears on trolls or hammers on Bonemass to deal massive damage to their weak points. I studied the pattern of enemies and figured out what their flaws are and when they are vulnerable, which indicates when I could dodge and when I could fight back. As I have developed some useful survival techniques and accumulated some combat experience, finally I could complete Valheim  without any death, or 一命通关, which means one-life completion in Chinese. At that moment I had played Valheim for circa 300 hours.

Then I started posting my gameplay videos on Bilibili to share my gaming experience with my viewers. In China I am thought to be the first player to complete Valheim with one life, and have received some recognition and encouragement from the community. I am very grateful to that, and motivated to further refine my gameplay. Therefore, after my "one-life completion", I have achieved "one-life speedruns", breaking my own records, and focusing on both not dying and completing the game as fast as possible. As such, my videos gradually evolved into something about hardcore combat, extreme challenges, and breaking limits.Through my speedrun recordings, I want my viewers to understand and master my skills from a first-person perspective, so that they can improve themselves and have better combat in Valheim. I feel a great sense of accomplishment, willing to put a lot of passion into one-life speedrun. So I continuously challenge myself, surpass myself, and the contest is a great opportunity for me to prove all of it.

Q: You managed to complete the game in under eight hours. How did you prepare for it? How many times did you attempt it before you were satisfied with your final submission?

A: My previous answer explains a lot. I have some succeeded Valheim one-life speedruns before, and the trial of Tyr is also a one-life speedrun contest. Though it seems like I don't have to do something special to prepare for the trial, which is just something I have done before, there's still something significantly different. I regularly play Valheim "unseeded". The map is always randomized, so I won't depend on something too lucky or RNG-dependent, which means the merchant is not the guy I would seek, some fancy equipment is not the thing I would craft, in order that the most parts of gameplay are under control.

However, the trial of Tyr is seeded, every contestant can scout the fixed world in advance, so I reconsider the importance of Haldor and the Frostner in this trial. The Frostner is insane, available in mid-game, but one can even use it in the Mistlands, so it is what I would happily have on my hands in this trial, thanks to Haldor. Since the map is seeded, the route of progression can be well determined, like where to sail, which dungeons to sneak into. For example, I already know the locations of the Moder and the silver veins, so I can finish the Moder and the silver mining on the Mountain in less than a hour. And that's why 6 anti-frost mead for me is enough, and I don't necessarily need anti-frost capes when I'm on the Mountain.

I have submitted three complete runs in the trial, which were finished in 11h31m, 8h07m and 7h54m, respectively. However I have circa 15 actual attempts. A few of them obviously ended due to deaths, and others mainly because the route I chose was too suboptimal, some result are not expected, or so on. It is fair enough though, without errors the "trial" won't be a trial.

Q: Which part of the run was the most challenging? Was it a specific boss fight, or another tricky situation?

A: Always the Mountain, to be honest. The harsh terrain (similar to but not easier than the Mistlands), the blizzards to disrupt the player's vision and hearing, the starred wolves at night... It is always the toughest part. After we can set the game's difficulty, every mob can be quicker and tougher, and I just find out one single wolf bite is mostly fatal in hard or hardcore mode, not to mention that they are quick enough to have another. Moreover, I personally don't use bows, so I basically must not fail to retrieve my spear each time I aimed to the drakes. Every mistake can be a point of no return. Although the Mountain is challenging, it is also beautiful, solemn, full of dangers, which is intensely immersive. Each time I succeed in the Mountain calmly and efficiently I believe my Viking's skills are checked again.

Q: We noticed you only use the spear and never a bow, why is that?

A: The reason I fight with a spear is mostly for efficiency. The key to a speedrun is efficiency: cost-effectiveness of food, armours, and weapons chosen. The difficulty of using bows is lower compared to spears. It works well against a few flying units in the game, especially the drakes. Very error-tolerant. However, they are more expensive to craft. Also the skill of bow levels up slowly. Spears, on the other hand, deal high damage with low crafting cost. They also have the potential of fighting against flying units. The skill of spears levels up quickly, which is more important because it is much easier to have a high level of spear, making it excellent for speedrunning.

However, it is demanding and difficult for many to master their spears, since the trajectory should be accurately calculated. Additionally, you have to reach and pick up the spear after throwing it, which is error-prone because after the throwing the spear might be lost forever. In general the spear is high risk, high reward. I always choose the spear as my "flying unit solution", because I have achieved high throwing accuracy and I always believe in my accumulated skills from thousands of hours of gameplay. Therefore, for me, using spears instead of bows in speedrun is the best option.

Q: How did you come up with the cart technique you used to rob the dvergr in the Mistlands? [06:48:54]

A: After the Mistlands update, I have started my research on everything from there. When I tried to deal with the dvergr and their settlements, I found out if the dvergr mages become hostile, their ice or fire magic can easily overwhelm the player at the current progression, based on its high attack frequency and high damage. As usual there are more than four dvergr in one settlement, so the mage should be included in most cases. Therefore I thought it might not be the intended way to fight against dvergr and rob them by brute force. Although getting "help" from the spawned seekers is an option, waiting for the seekers and dvergr consuming each other is slow, and the player would play a rather passive role, which is not a very effective solution in speedrun.

At the moment I have noticed the cart, which can bypass the ward in the dvergr settlement and nullify it by dealing "neutral" damage, without making the dvergr hostile. After the ward is destroyed this way, the dvergr will simply give up protecting their settlement, and the player can get the loot from there. Therefore I came up with the idea of using a cart to play pranks on the dvergr.



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Artwork depicting troll in a forest setting