Crafting-focused survival multiplayer games are everywhere. Standing out in such a saturated genre is a daunting task, at best. How, then, has humble-looking 3D Viking crafting simulator Valheim captured so many hearts? Sitting at a modest gigabyte or so in size, there is much more depth to the game than meets the eye. It brings games like Terraria to mind. Both exploded in popularity. While Terraria has had more time to build a sizable community of builders, explorers, and warriors, Valheim looks poised to grow a similar playerbase. Terraria and Valheim both scratch the same itch, but in slightly different ways.
Valheim and Terraria offer similar progression. Each requires the player to collect resources, upgrading their tools as they go along. Once they judge their preparations sufficient, players can take on bosses to unlock more content. For instance, one cannot acquire the pickaxe tool in Valheim without first defeating Eikthyr, as Eikthyr drops one of the materials. Compared to Terraria's first boss, the Eye of Cthulhu, Eikthyr is much easier to handle. Players likely won't need to build an arena to more easily confront and defeat him. This gear-based progression is something that Terraria relies on heavily, with weapon modifiers to allow for all sorts of tactics to kill enemies.
The gameplay loop of Valheim is very simple: acquire gear to get new resources to farm, mine, and chop better gear. Valheim's charming Nordic aesthetic, however, brings players in and holds them tight. Building is intuitive once players get the hang of it, and it's a lot of fun, too. Assembly and disassembly is a breeze. With a few clicks, a player can have a usable (if not particularly impressive) shelter. Things built off of the ground must have support or risk collapsing. Snap building parts together for a uniform placement, or freeform to fill in that one little part of your house exposed to the elements. While it currently lacks the block variety of games such as Minecraft, Starbound, or Terraria, it is possible to construct a rugged little hamlet within a matter of hours. Harvesting resources feels organic: Use an axe to chop trees, a pickaxe to mine from the earth, and shoot down animals for meat and body parts.
Progression is both gear- and skill-based. Using a skill repeatedly levels it up. Shoot arrows to become a better archer. Sprint to improve your sprinting. Use your pickaxe to get better at mining. To truly master Valheim, a player has to improve their mechanical knowledge, acquire better gear, and improve their skills. It all fits together in a way that is elegant in its simplicity.
Though tools do degrade in Valheim, repairing them is a simple and relatively painless task. Players don't need to spend new resources to create most new tools or repair what they already have. The only requirement is a sufficiently leveled crafting station, which can fix most any equipment with a simple click of the mouse. One can do this as many times as the player wishes. Along with the carrying capacity, this limits the amount of time one can spend getting resources in a single go. One simple solution is to have several small workbenches scattered throughout the world, though establishing bases can become resource-intensive over time.
The limitations of inventory space and weight mean that multiplayer becomes a very appealing option. While it's possible to strike out on your own and make your own progress, it's much more satisfying to cooperate and build a better settlement together. It also makes finding resources and fending off big threats much easier. Different players can specialize in different weapons, forming a small warband. Some can grow food, others can forage, and everyone can band together to take on trolls. Though the game is still in early development, there's a lot to explore, learn, and build, giving everyone something to do and enjoy.
Valheim has already attracted several hundred thousands concurrent players on Steam. The trend is only going up, with more and more every day. TechRaptor has already compiled a sizable compendium of guides for your Valheim experience. Be sure to check back with us for the latest updates regarding everything Valheim. While you're at it, why not share what you've built with us on social media?