106+ hours of valheim

106+ Hours of Valheim


There might be a few spoilers ahead and if you plan on playing Valheim I’d highly recommend doing it without looking anything up, it really adds to the experience. Basically stop reading here and go play it if you don’t want it spoiled. So I’ve been playing a lot of Valheim, 106 hours as of this Monday, and we can get the obvious out of the way first. It is one hell of a game. I mean it’s early access which means there is a few rough edges but apart from that it’s a cracker. Well worth the price and more. Compare this to say a full release supposed triple A game like Cyberpunk with an absolute heap of marketing and this absolutely kills it. Not that Cyberpunk needed help dying but this goes to show what you can achieve when you’re not bogged down by the pressure of false promises, it still hurts.

So why is Valheim so good?

From the moment you create your first character name him and jump in to your procedurally generated world, it is an adventure. Your first task survive and from there it’s completely up to you. You can run around naked and try and take out skeletons with your fists and a kick that would make Sparta proud. Or you can hack down a whole bunch of trees and start building a mighty fortress that will serve as your base of operations for adventures to come. Three parts of this game really stood out to me.


Somewhat similar to stamina and health style management of Dark Souls it makes most combat challenging. There is a diverse set weapons and different types of damage that you can use to take down your enemies. Initially you won’t notice the different damage types too much, but as the game progresses, you stop hitting little tree dwarfs and you start to explore more dangerous biomes this becomes a major part of succeeding in the world. Armour is another important part to ensuring you don’t die. Crafting different amour pieces for different situations and with set piece bonuses none the less (looking at you Blizzard) is a welcome addition to the game. Sneaking around in troll armour and ambushing the unsuspecting fulings or charging straight in to an army of drauger it’s up to you. Of Course armour can only do so much, so you’re going to need some health. In Valheim health comes from food. Depending on the type of food you eat you get a certain amount of health and your health regenerates at a certain speed. You can only eat three different types of food at one time which means you have to think about what you fuel your viking with. Considering these things and preparing before going in to a boss fight or a more dangerous biome only adds to the feeling of adventure. You must prepare or you will die. I mean you will probably die anyway but preparing doesn’t hurt.

Crafting & Building

OK so I cheated a little and jammed two into one but crafting and building in Valheim is awesome. You start out in rags after grabbing some stray branches a few stones and some flint you can stick down a crafting table and really get to work. Each age of crafting feels like a very natural transition without too long of a wait between the next big advancement but long enough that investing in the current weaponry, amour and building material doesn’t feel like a waste. With named weapons to craft that have unique effects and items stands to display your trophies you can build a mead hall with viking ornaments that would make odin jealous. The building system is a little janky at times but with a little experimentation you can start to build some seriously impressive structures. I’m currently sitting in my three storey castle on an island of off the coast of a black forest. But I’m eyeing up a tree house at some point.


The bad guys in this game are what really makes it feel dangerous and also gives you a sense of progression. The first time I made my way into the black forrest and stumbled across copper ore only to have skull crunched by a giant troll not only made me jump but made me realise that this game wasn’t going to let me get away with anything. Safe to say when I had my glowing bow and needle arrows later in the game destroying trolls before they even knew I was there was a nice bit of revenge and added to feeling of progression and getting stronger as I crafted new armour and weapons. That being said if you get caught out by a deathsquito or a pack of wolves you’re still in for a bad time. The diversity of the enemies is and size difference is great and makes battles feels epic. I can’t wait to see what other creatures they add in future patches. It’s also nice to see a cast of creatures that you are able to tame, from the boar to the mighty lox and a good boy wolf is always welcome in any game.

What can be improved

Since the game is still in early access I’m going to go easy on it because a lot of the tiny visual glitches, minor portal bugs and infrequent frame drops will likely be resolved by the time the game gets a full release. So instead I will focus on some parts of the game I think can be improved from a design point of view.

Remove Crafting Gates

The first thing I’d improve is the current way you craft items. Not so much how the items are crafted, necessarily, but more the means by which you obtain the ability to craft items. A good example of this is how you obtain iron and silver in the game. To obtain iron you realistically need to beat The Elder (the second boss) to obtain a swamp key, so you are able to get in to the swamp dungeons that are locked otherwise. Similar to iron, to obtain silver you need to kill Bonemass (the third boss) and get the wish bone. This helps you locate silver deposits in mountains that are hidden. I don’t mind this method of obtaining an easier way to get iron and silver but it is unrealistic to expect someone to be able to guess where iron or silver is hidden. I’d go as far as to say it’s basically a gate until you get these items. This feels kinda bad especially since you have the play the game a certain way to progress to the next part, and you really don’t gain any benefit from exploring too much. A more extreme version of this system can be seen when you kill Moder (the forth boss) and he drops dragon tears. This item only drops from this boss and is required to be able to smelt black metal. This forces the player to have to kill bosses to progress. It would be far better to have all of the items required to craft certain levels of armour and weaponry obtainable, all be it much more difficult, without having to kill bosses. This would mean if I wanted to I could explore far more and obtain the best armour in the game and then take on the earlier bosses with ease should I wish to.

Enemies Spawning While Fighting Bosses

This one is a far more simple change. After engaging a boss providing you are still attacking that boss somewhat regularly other enemies shouldn’t spawn unless they are spawned by the boss itself with some sort of indication that it is going to do so. This will stop epic boss encounters being reduced to a cluster fuck of trying to avoid three fulings, a lox and a deathsquito while also trying to beat the boss. It will make encounters feel more epic and allow you to focus on the boss without having to manage the random spawn the game can’t shut off.

Larger Biomes

I would love to see far larger biomes with some of the enemies from the previous biomes, with slight twists, in the current biome making them more interesting, added to the game. Imagine a mountain that not only has stone golems, wolves and drakes but also has a frost troll and some lox pelt wearing fulings that are there potentially for the same reason you are. This would, of course require the biome to be much larger but would also make some of the earlier biomes more relevant later in the game due to the loot that they can drop. I’d personally like to see some forrest wolves that’s all I’m saying.


Overall this game is absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait for the next update. In the mean time I’m going to continue to explore the world and see some more of the unique landscape that is generated within my world and perhaps build some more fantastical structures. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who likes any sort of fantasy RPG or survival game. Tidy up a few things and this can’t be anything but a 10/10. But we will let Iron Gate release it first.

https://www.valheimgame.com/ just incase you want to grab it for yourself or a friend.