Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Valheim - Longevity?

Valheim on Steam is now at 3 million copies sold, with 96% of the 80,000 user reviews positive. Not bad for a $20 indie game in Early Access! Valheim has certainly set the bar higher for the survival crafting genre of games. I was chuckling at some video game journalists expressing their disappointment on the fact that there are no console releases for Valheim planned; the two guys in Sweden who made Valheim probably never even considered the possibility that somebody would want that. Not that I would recommend playing Valheim with a gamepad, I tried, and it makes some of the more fiddly aspects of the game even fiddlier.

I'm 66 hours into the game, and with using some shortcuts on metal transport I arrived at the 4th stage of the game, having killed the third boss. And this is the first time I actually notice the "early access" part of the game. For example I killed a stone golem in the Mountain biome, who dropped a crystal, material for which there is currently no use yet in the game. And I visited the Plains biome, which appears to be the last developed biome currently, and concluded that it wasn't really made for solo play, with monsters living in larger groups there.

Now I had a lot of fun with Valheim, and I would consider 66 hours of fun gameplay for $20 a rather good value for money proposition. But I don't think that I will play much longer. Last year I asked my readers what they thought was the best game about chopping wood, and Valheim most certainly comes close to the game I was looking for in that post. For example I much prefer Valheim over Animal Crossing, because Valheim has considerably more freedom, more space, and a far more involved crafting system. But while I do like the frequency and difficulty of monsters in the early biomes of Valheim, I found that the monsters get too hard for me to be enjoyable in the later biomes, even with optimal gear. I have to admit that I beat all three boss mobs with clever use of terrain and buildings, rather than fighting them toe to toe. And I didn't enjoy those fights, they were a bit of a slog. In other words, my perfect game isn't far from Valheim, but a bit closer on the peacefulness scale to Animal Crossing or My Time at Portia.

Where other people might get a lot more mileage out of Valheim than me is the aspect of building a base. I am not very creative in that domain. My buildings are functional, not grandiose. My house only has 5 x 5 "squares", because that is all I need to get my workbenches and furniture in. And although I have access to the tools that would allow me to build a stone castle, I simply wasn't very interested in building one.

I would still recommend that you try out Valheim if you haven't played it yet, or at least watch it played for a bit on Twitch or YouTube if you are on the fence. But personally I think I will move on, and then maybe come back later to see how the game has evolved by the time it is actually "released".

For me, the whole game part of Valheim is a bit of a side issue. I'd prefer a creative mode with no aggressive monsters or plot, where I could just explore the world and build stuff. And I would bet that will become available in due course (you can already fake it with the inbuilt GM controls if you can't wait - there are guides online).

Before that happens, though, I'm fine for a good while with the Meadows and Black Forest biomes. Those are the landscapes I'd prefer to virtually live in and wood is a great building material. I'm happy to have Valheim as a creative toy. I don't particularly require it to be a game as well.
I'm a bit interested in Valheim but there are a few things that I'm considering.

1. The game shouldn't have open PvP. I don't like to be ganked over and over while mining or whatever. As I've understood this game doesn't have that so that's good.

2. I usually avoid early access games until they are released. I usually only play through a game once, if I find it fun. If I would play a lot in early access that means that I would be sick of it once it's released and never see the full game.

3. I don't want the game to be too grindy. With what you've described it seems like the mining mechanics and not being able to transport resources makes the game less fun just for the sake of making it last longer. Ergo grindy.

So I will see if I pick it up at some point when it's done or close to it. Of course there are a lot of early access game that never get released at all and just stay EA titles forever. I despise that.
I haven't gotten back to the game yet after my initial foray but I have read multiple posts about how difficult the bosses are (particularly the Elder). Yet you happily soloed them. Any interest in writing a guide?
@mbp I mostly followed guides like this one on YouTube. Most of the time this involves finding a situation where the boss can't hurt you, and then shooting him with arrows. The Elder I beat by having a cave *under* his platform to rest up whenever my hitpoints got low, and then hiding behind the columns and shooting him with fire arrows. For the first boss I built a small fort with an arrow tower. For the third boss I built a tree house to shoot arrows down from.
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