How Valheim’s armor system works
Valheim is replete with dangers, from skeletons to trolls to powerful, yet tiny, Fuling goblins. Not to mention the dragon and the manifested gooey flesh of a hundred dead soldiers, colloquially called, Bonemass.
So to mitigate these dangers, we are allowed to don mighty armor. Swaddled in iron and leather, we stand a much better chance at facing down Odin’s forsaken enemies. However, understanding how armor works in Valheim is a challenge in its own right.
Fortunately, savvy players have peeked beyond the veil of the game’s code and returned with the formula in hand for us to discern.
Damage calculation in Valheim
The game code that determines damage can be affected by several extra factors such as damage type, elemental, poison, etc. However, we will be addressing a raw input-output calculation of damage to simplify things.
Overall damage calculates by using a raw damage input stat and a raw armor stat. Raw damage is the physical damage of a hit, and the base armor stat is the number you see on the gear you create.
In Valheim, there is a boolean relationship between the damage you take and the armor you have equipped.
Simply put, there is a true or false flag operating at the center of Valheim’s damage calculation that will determine your armor’s effectiveness overall.
If your base armor stat is less than the raw damage divided by two, the damage reduction will calculate as the base damage minus the base armor.
The total damage then resolves by multiplying the reduction by the raw damage.
If (baseArmor < damage / 2):
reduction = (damage – baseArmor) / damage
totalDamage = reduction * damage
For example, if a troll hits you for 55 damage while you have leather armor on for a base-armor rating of 6, you meet the first type of damage reduction requirements and receive 49 damage.
However, if your base armor is greater than the raw damage divided by two, you qualify for the second type of damage reduction.
reduction = damage / (baseArmor * 4)
totalDamage = reduction * damage
For example, if you get hit by the same troll for 55 damage while wearing Wolf-armor for a base-armor rating of 60, you qualify for the second calculation of damage reduction and only get hit for 12.6 damage.
The halfway requirement makes hitting that critical point of armor greater than the overall damage divided by two in Valheim pivotal. Until you reach that point, your armor gains will be substantially less effective, and once you’re past it, you’ll experience diminishing returns in armor upgrading.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, this kind of code prevents armor values from returning zero or negative values.
Poison and elemental damage is calculated separately from physical damage and should be considered a damage source that will bypass your armor unless your armor explicitly states added elemental damage protection.
Armor slots in Valheim
Players have four armor slots in Valheim, namely the chest, legs, and head slot, as well as a cape slot. However, the cape slot only provides minimal armor and serves to provide bonus effects.
There is an accessory slot for characters’ gear. However, none of the accessories provide armor at this point.
Types of armor in Valheim
In Valheim, there are several sets of armor that you can equip. You can mix and match sets without consequence, except for the Troll Hide set, which will require all four pieces to utilize the ‘stealthy’ buff that the set provides.
Unless you upgrade, each armor piece from a set will add the same amount of armor to your overall armor pool.
You will have the opportunity to upgrade each piece by two armor points, up to three times, depending on how far you’ve upgraded your workbench or forge.
- Cape Armor Base Values
- 1 – 2 – 3 – 4
- Leather Armor Base Values
- 2 – 4 – 6 – 8
- Troll Leather Armor Values
- 6 – 8 – 10 – 12
- Bronze Plate Armor Values
- 8 – 10 – 12 – 14
- Iron Armor Values
- 14 – 16 – 18 – 20
- Wolf Armor Values
- 20 – 22 – 24 – 26
- Padded Armor Values
- 26 – 28 – 30 – 32
You can see a steady increase in the armor pieces value from these values, except for troll leather, which sneaks in to compete well with the bronze plate once you fully upgrade the troll set.
Once you start making armor out of metals, you will need to step up to the next tier of armor to go beyond your current highest upgrade point. Upgrading is still incredibly useful, as upgrading might be sufficient to push you over the armor < half of damage tipping point.
Again, once you reach that threshold, you’ll get much better returns on your damage reduction.
Ready for battle
Now you have a better understanding of how armor works in Valheim, and you will have a better grasp of where you stand in terms of your enemies. Keep upgrading your gear as you get the materials and never forget to repair your armor before leaving home.