Valheim – All you need to know
made a huge splash on the gaming scene when it opened its door in early 2021. This open-world survival game was an unknown entity that suddenly exploded in popularity thanks to its high-quality gameplay, unique setting, and diverse mechanics.
Whether you’re new to the game or a hardened veteran, the below overview will give you all of the overarching aspects you need to know about Valheim.
At its core, Valheim is an open-world survival game set in a world inspired by Norse mythology. You play as a Viking warrior sent to Valheim to prove your worth to the gods and ascend to Valhalla.
The game immerses you into a world where you need to explore, gather resources, craft tools and weapons, build shelter, and defeat enemies in order to survive. Its map is vast and beautifully crafted, with diverse biomes that range from dense forests to snowy mountains. On top of that, it has a day-night cycle with dynamic weather effects that make the experience even more engrossing.
One of the coolest things about Valheim is its crafting system. You can create a wide range of items and structures, from simple tools and weapons to elaborate bases and ships. Plus, the game has a robust skill system that allows you to improve your abilities in various areas such as combat, crafting, and building.
Valheim can be played solo or with up to ten players in co-op mode, which gives it a social and collaborative layer. You also get to battle challenging enemies and engage in massive boss battles, all while getting lost in the game’s vast world.
In other words, Valheim is the whole package with literally something for everybody to enjoy, which speaks volumes to its runaway success.
Valheim’s gameplay is a thrilling mix of exploration, crafting, and combat. The game drops you into a massive world filled with diverse biomes where survival is the name of the game. From the first moments of the game, you’ll be gathering wood, mining stone, and killing deer to craft your first weapons and shelter. Unlike a lot of its peers, though, Valheim does away with most tedious “babysitting” mechanics. You won’t die from hunger or thirst. Instead, you’ll be rewarded with buffs for doing anything that helps your character survive.
As you progress, you’ll encounter tougher enemies, like skeletons and trolls, that will require better weapons and armor to defeat. And if you’re looking for a real challenge, Valheim will pit you against enormous bosses, each with its own unique mechanics that’ll test your mettle. This is where Valheim differs from its peers. It manages to provide clear goals you work towards without compromising the freedom you’d expect from a survival game.
The crafting system in Valheim is fantastic, and it allows you to create all sorts of items, from basic tools to elaborate structures. You’ll start by building a simple shelter, but as you gather more resources, you can expand your home to include workbenches, forges, and even a farm. A lot of your stuff degrades but, unlike other games in the space, repairing them costs no resources.
Don’t let all of this fool you into thinking that Valheim’s gameplay is easy. The world of Valheim is dangerous, and you’ll need to be prepared for anything. The game features a day-night cycle, so you’ll need to manage your time carefully to avoid being caught out in the dark. And the weather can also be a challenge, with rain and snow affecting your character’s temperature.
This is where the game’s combat system comes into play which is a cut above what you’d expect from this class of game. It actually feels like the kind of battle system you want to engage with as it includes robust mechanics like dodging and parrying. In other words, it’s not a slog and feels fairly rewarding to master.
All in all, from its first moments, Valheim’s various gameplay layers feel like they’ve been crafted with care to make them as engaging and rewarding as possible.
Valheim’s story and plot are heavily influenced by Norse mythology. The game starts with your Viking warrior being dropped into Valheim, the tenth Norse world, by the Valkyries. Your mission is to prove your worth to the gods and earn your place in Valhalla, the great hall of fallen warriors.
As you explore the world, you’ll uncover various runestones that provide you with hints about what happened in Valheim and what you need to do next. The game has a light narrative, and much of the story is left for the player to interpret and discover. While this may sound like the game is skimping out on narrative, it actually adds a layer of immersion to the experience. You feel like you’re actually the protagonist of your own adventure.
The game’s world is massive and procedurally generated, meaning that each playthrough is unique, ergo every adventure is like a new story. You’ll encounter different biomes, from dark forests to snow-covered mountains, and meet various creatures inspired by Norse mythology. You’ll need to defeat these creatures to collect their drops, which will help you to progress and craft better equipment, which makes it all feel like a real hero’s journey unraveling in front of your eyes.
Valheim also features some massive boss battles, which are the game’s main story beats. The bosses are inspired by Norse mythology and include creatures like the giant deer Eikthyrnir and the legendary Midgard Serpent. To defeat these bosses, you’ll need to use strategy, quick reflexes, and the best weapons and armor you can craft. Victory also tastes pretty sweet in Valheim as each boss battle has a meaning rooted in the game’s core idea of turning you into a warrior worthy of joining the ranks of the Valkyries.
So yes, Valheim won’t give you a pre-defined epic narrative for you to follow. Instead, it sets the tone and stage for you to make your own stories either on your own or with your friends.
Valheim’s core game mechanics are centered around survival, exploration, crafting, and combat. As you can expect from a game in this genre, you’ll find the usual mechanics of gathering resources, turning those resources into useful items and elaborate structures, and generally building up your base. Where Valheim truly makes this experience fun is through its less punishing mechanics. The way stamina works doesn’t affect your ability to build until your heart’s content. The survival aspects are meant to make you feel stronger and more capable rather than put you on a clock that turns the experience into a job.
Furthermore, the way resources are staggered feels natural as the devs have done their best to not fall into the trap of creating artificial barriers to content. Each new animal you’re able to kill and every new tool or weapon you’re able to craft will open up new paths and capabilities to progress. For instance, you start with a melee weapon which allows you to take down slower enemies like boars. To start tackling tougher enemies, you’ll need the hides of deer which are a lot faster and can only be taken down with a bow.
The crafting system in Valheim is excellent and allows you to create an extensive range of items, from basic tools and weapons to elaborate structures like houses and ships. Building feels robust and well-thought-out across the board. Placing pieces to make your perfect homestead feels precise and is governed by structural stress which is an added layer of decision-making.
Where most survival games make combat feel like a secondary or tertiary component, Valheim takes a page from action games to make it feel meaningful and fun. Just like in RPGs, you can build your character any way you want. Thanks to the Mistlands update, you can now also add magic builds to your range of options, meaning your Viking warrior can also develop into a full-on mage. There’s actual skill leveling in the game which enables you to truly go in deep with what you want them to specialize in.
Valheim’s Version History
Valheim launched in February 2021 and since then has been releasing banger after banger updates that expand the game. The developers have been active in releasing updates and patches to improve the game’s performance as well.
Since its release, Valheim has seen several significant updates that have added new features, gameplay mechanics, and bug fixes. The game’s first update, called “Hearth and Home,” was released in September 2021 and added new cooking mechanics, building pieces, and combat improvements.
The game’s second major update, “Cult of the Wolf,” was released in November 2021 and introduced a new cultist enemy type, a new boss, and new abilities and items for players to unlock.
The third major update called “Ships and the Sea” was all about adding more ships and customization for all the sea aspects of the game. A lot of the functions that were meant for this update are still speculated as being worked on.
Finally, the Mistlands update launched in December 2022 and added a ton of stuff to the game. For starters, there’s the titular Mistlands biome, a mysterious area covered in…mist. The update also added new creatures and bosses, including chickens. And as mentioned earlier, this update also introduced Elemental and Blood Magic to the game.
In addition to these major updates, the developers have released several smaller updates and patches that address bugs and improve the game’s overall performance.
Valheim’s developers have been transparent about their plans for the game’s future, indicating that they plan to release additional updates and content. They have also stated that they will be listening to community feedback to help guide the game’s development.
It’s clear that the studio behind Valheim has put a lot of care into developing their game with new content and updates. What’s most impressive is that they’re committed to ensuring their updates are of high quality instead of blindly sticking to their roadmaps.
Valheim Similar Games
Valheim is a survival game at its core, meaning that you’ll find yourself right at home if you’ve engaged with the genre before. Here are some games similar to Valheim that offer a mix of exploration, crafting, and survival:
Minecraft – A classic sandbox game that shares many similarities with Valheim. You explore a procedurally generated world, gather resources, and craft tools and structures. While Minecraft is not Viking-themed, it still offers a robust survival experience with a lot of creative potentials.
Terraria – A 2D sandbox game that’s often touted as “2D Minecraft” that shares many similarities with Valheim. You explore a vast world, gather resources, and craft tools and structures. Terraria features a more arcade-like combat system than Valheim and a focus on building and exploration.
Ark: Survival Evolved – An open-world survival game that shares many of the same mechanics as Valheim. You explore a vast world, gather resources, and craft tools and structures. Ark also features a more complex animal taming and breeding system than Valheim.
Rust – A multiplayer survival game that shares many mechanics with Valheim. You gather resources, craft tools, and structures, and defend yourself against other players and the environment. Rust is a more PvP-focused game, with a heavier emphasis on base building and raiding.
Don’t Starve – A top-down survival game with a more cartoonish aesthetic than Valheim. You explore a world filled with strange creatures, gather resources, and craft tools and structures. Don’t Starve features a more challenging survival experience than Valheim, with a focus on managing hunger and sanity levels.