10 God of War Ragnarök tips to help you get started

God of War Ragnarok tips
(Image credit: Sony)

Try these God of War Ragnarok tips to help you pick up the basics of this rage-filled romp through Norse mythology as you'll need to master combat, explore the world, and level up Kratos. These tips are the result of hours of play here at GamesRadar+, but they should also be valuable for any new players that perhaps didn't try 2018's God of War. There can be a lot going on in God of War Ragnarok, so it can be a little confusing at times, especially when the armor system, crafting and upgrade mechanics, and collectibles and side quests are layered in over time - some things you won't even uncover until well into the mid-game portions of the story. Whether you're a returning fan or a new player, we can help you out with our 10 God of War Ragnarok tips and tricks below. 

1. Smash any vases or hanging buckets you see for rewards

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Any vases or hanging buckets you see will almost 100% always drop some hacksilver, the game's main currency, if you destroy them. The only reason they might not is if they give you a health or rage stone instead. You're rarely going to get huge amounts but it's always a steady trickle that's going to add up over time. Just get into the habit of smashing any you see. It's only the ornate, thin pottery vases though on the ground though - you'll get nothing from breaking up boxes and barrels. You can however smash barrels and containers you see while sledding, in much the same way as you do on the boat, for cash and crafting rewards. And, if you're committed to getting as much as you can, you can also track down the God of War Ragnarok buried treasure locations for big payouts.

2. Charge up your Leviathan Axe or Blades of Chaos for more damage

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

By holding down or mashing the triangle button for the axe or blades respectively, Kratos can charge each with extra frost or fire damage, and increase the elemental effect on the next hit. It's a good habit to get into while you're fighting, as the boost can really add up during a fight. The charge-up time is a lot shorter than you think so you'll have time to do it more often than you realise. Plus, as you level up, you'll unlock additional ways to charge up your weapons faster. Take it from us, it's a very useful advantage to press. 

4. Buy the elemental and dodging skills ASAP to do more damage

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

One skill you can unlock for Kratos will do increased damage if you attack a enemy suffering from an elemental effect with the opposite element. So if you freeze something and then and then switch to the Blades' fire, you'll boost your damage. While playing we found it can melt tough enemies away much faster. Just keep an eye out for anything affected by an element and lay into them with the other one.  

It's also worth getting the skill that lets you do a special attack as you dodge. You'll be dodging a lot, so even if you don't learn the specifics you'll often trigger them by accident for a bit of extra damage. The reverse axe spin is particularly effective, able to wound and stun enemies while you're getting out of the way.

4. Swap between Axe and Blades depending on what you're fighting

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

As a general rule, the Leviathan Axe is best for attacking a single enemy, while the Blades of Chaos' wide sweep is good for groups. Some enemies also have elemental shields that can only be damaged by the right weapon - so use the Leviathan on fire, and so on. Learn to switch quickly between weapons on the fly to fully optimise your battles. Unarmed combat with your fists also fills the stun bar quicker, letting you pull off a finisher move faster for big damage or maybe even an instakill. It might take a little getting used to but a fast and fluid movement between all your options will maximise the impact you have in battle. 

All God of War Ragnarok Raven locations

God of War Ragnarok raven tree in Niflheim

(Image credit: Sony)

Use our God of War Ragnarok Ravens guide to find all the Eyes of Odin and silence the squawking for ever!

5. Pick your armor carefully to match your playstyle

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

In the previous God of War armor provided some basic buffs and, while there were bonuses for a set, could often be mixed and matched depending on what effects you were after. In Ragnarok, armor is more focused and designed to enhance very specific styles of play, with effects that stack and interlock if you equip a full set. Lunda's armor is a good example: the chest piece has a chance to inflict poison, while the bracers and belt do more damage to poisoned enemies, doubling the boost if you wear both. If you want help finding the best options our guide to the Best God of War Ragnarok Armor Sets explains more.

6. Watch the arrows around Kratos to dodge attacks

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

The arrows that appear around Kratos indicate threats in combat that aren't on screen. A yellow arrow means an enemy is nearby and might be approaching, a red arrow means they're attacking, and a 'purple' (slightly different red) arrow means a projectile is headed in your direction. The latter two are very quick alerts and you'll often need to dodge the second you see them to avoid damage.

7. Environmental objects do high damage in combat if you can find them

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Certain areas will have objects that can be hit, thrown or used to do high damage to enemies. There are tree trunks that Kratos can swing at enemies, pieces of rock that can be picked up and thrown, jars that explode, and more. However, some of these don't stand out at all. There are tree stumps you can use to create a large area freeze attack for example, that is almost impossible to see in the thick of it. So make sure you take a second to cast an eye over the battlefield to see what you can bash enemies with.

8. Armor upgrades are better than new gear to start with but switch up mid-game

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

When you first start playing you'll get more out of your armor and gear by using your money and resources to upgrade things, rather than swapping it out for newer things. However, you will want to swap eventually so upgrade until mid-game and then see what your expanding options give you. If you want a sense for where the mid game actually is then check our spoiler-free guide to the God of War Ragnarok story length to help you see where you are.

9. Crack open Nornir Chests as you see them, if you can

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

The God of War Ragnarok Nornir Chests are special rune crates full of loot that require three objects hidden around the environment to be smashed, moved, lit and so on. The Nornir Chests usually hold very good stuff, so they're always worth opening, but you won't always be able to do so the first time around, as some require late-game God of War Ragnarok new weapons and abilities. Don't worry though - if you can't open them yet, Atreus or Mimir will usually tell you as much. Just make a mental note and come back later.

10. Make regular visits to the Huldra Brothers and see what's available

God of War Ragnarok tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Upgrade materials are pretty common in God of War Ragnarok, and with a fairly expansive selection of gear and resources at the Huldra Brothers' shop, it's worth dropping in whenever you get the chance to see what's there, whether it's upgrades to your weapons, new armor sets, or the chance to replenish resurrection stones. They'll also have a chest that fills with any rare loot dropped by an enemy that you missed, so if it's glowing blue, pop it open and see what's inside. 

Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.