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Valheim Early Access Review: Should You Try It Out

Vikings are one of the more talked-about warriors today alongside knights and samurai, as made evident by For Honor. The interest the game generated led to people looking into their own culture and mythos. However, it’s still quite surprising that a new survival game IP was created with both Vikings and Norse mythology in mind. The game’s name is Valheim, and we’re going to be discussing it and its early-access days today.

 

What Is Valheim?

 

Valheim is an open-world survival sandbox game created by Iron Gate. Inspired by Viking culture and the myths of the Norse, you will be thrust into Valheim, a dangerous realm filled with Odin’s enemies. The initial area you start out in is safe, for the most part. However, you have to explore dangerous biomes and craft better tools, weapons, and armor to thrive in its dangerous landscape.

Typical of Vikings, you can also create your strongholds and outposts all around the realm of Valheim. Eventually, you might even wish to create your own ship and sail the realm’s various oceans. However, do be careful when doing so, because the waters also hide a danger of their own.

The game is in Early Access. This means that the game isn’t complete yet and you should probably set your expectations low. Moreover, it’s not yet available on other consoles.

Now that we’ve learned what Valheim is about, let’s talk about the game’s system requirements. But before that, you might want to read our article on the benefits of playing video games.

 

System Requirements

Before we start, we’ve already said that Valheim is still an Early Access title. It is only available on Steam and can only be played on PC, to the dismay of console players. You may have to wait for the game to leave Early Access before the developers even consider expanding their game’s availability.

The game needs, at a minimum:

  1. 64-bit Processor and OS
  2. OS: Windows 7 or later versions. Windows 10 is optimal
  3. Processor: a minimum of 2.6 GHz Dual Core or higher
  4. Memory: at least 4 GB RAM, higher is preferable
  5. Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 500 series or similar
  6. DirectX: Version 11 at minimum
  7. Storage: at least 1 GB of available space

 

Step-By-Step Valheim Purchase and Download on Steam

Check it out on Steam today!

Here’s how you can purchase and download Valheim on Steam:

  1. After installing Steam and creating your account, go to their store and use their search field function to search for Valheim.
  2. Usually, the game you entered on the Search Field will immediately appear below it. Select Valheim to go to their page.
  3. After you’ve found Valheim, select the “Add to Cart” button to put it into your purchases.
  4. Purchase the game by going to the cart and putting in your credentials.
  5. After finalizing your purchase, Steam will ask you if you want to install Valheim immediately. Click the button to start downloading.

 

How to Start and Join a Valheim Server?

Game
Photo from Steam

 

As mentioned, Valheim is one of the best survival games that’s been released right now. The game thrusts players into the full spectrum of Viking life. These can range from killing your enemies, the Viking community, to even raiding old fortresses and killing Odin’s enemies. Well, maybe more of the former, and not so much of the latter, but you get the point.

If you want to have a multiplayer experience in a survival game with up to 10 people, then Valheim’s currently the best game for it. As for how, here’s how you can set up a dedicated server for Valheim. You can even host a Valheim multiplayer server yourself through a locally made connection. The multiplayer options that are shown below might be a bit confusing at first glance, but that’s what we’re here for.

 

Server Hosting

There are two ways for you to play Valheim with your friends. You can have your friend host the server or you can have a dedicated one. This means that they’re the ones that are storing the game world as their file. This method will have you and other players essentially just going into the said game world for drop-in co-op ala visitations. This is the normal way of playing multiplayer on Valheim, and this is good if you’re only going for two or three players who want to play together.

 

Dedicated Server

Another option to take into consideration is to create a dedicated server. This means creating a different client to host the game server for yourself and other players, even if the server admin isn’t online. A dedicated server is the better option if your friends can’t always go online simultaneously to play or if you have multiple players. Usually, people want to just rent a server from a hosting provider, something that’s readily available throughout the internet. However, you can also create your own server if you’re technical enough and have the necessary equipment.

 

How Exactly Does Valheim Multiplayer Work?

Valheim 2
Photo from Steam

 

To start this journey, we need to know how Valheim’s multiplayer works. You can put any of your created characters as well as their inventory from one game world to another world. This transfer also has the added benefit of carrying over their skill progress from one world seed to another. However, a caveat of this is that you need to keep into consideration that any gear you lose in one world will stay gone if you log out before getting it back. You can also lose your gear if a griefer stops you from getting it.

PvP isn’t a consideration in Valheim due to the devs making PvP toggleable, but that doesn’t mean other players can’t just straight up take your gear from your grave. Iron Gate, Valheim’s developers, suggested creating separate characters for both single-player and multiplayer plays. If you’re someone with a lick of sense, you probably should do that to keep your equipment safe during your PvP journeys.

Another thing to take into consideration is the world’s enemy difficulty. Every player that enters the game world means that the world’s various beasts and enemies get harder to defeat. Some players stated that the game has better drop rates on resources and other essentials when playing on a single-player playthrough. Unfortunately, those are just unproven rumors as the devs didn’t clarify the issue yet.

 

How to Create a Valheim Server

Setting up a Dedicated Server for Valheim is a process that’s incredibly hard for those not used to the process. The process has a lot of steps to complete, and there are many areas where the process could go wrong. However, creating your own server is an option if you’re the kind of guy that doesn’t want to pay monthly subscription fees to host a server.

The steps below are what we hope would be a good step-by-step guide that should, if followed correctly, allow you to create your own Valheim Dedicated server. We also hope it will answer any questions about how to accomplish it as well. Grab your notebook because we need to get a bit technical.

 

The Setup

Before we begin creating the server, always make sure that you have any kind of notepad editing tool. This can be Notepad++ or similar apps. In addition to this, you need to allow it to edit any kind of file extension type. You can check file extensions by selecting View in the Windows File Explorer and then enabling the File name extensions box.

  1. Forward these three ports through your router (2456, 2457, and 2458).
  2. Download and install Valheim’s Dedicated Server (You can do this by either Steam Library or SteamCMD).
  3. Create and edit a file on the Valheim Dedicated Server app filled with the server and world names, as well as the server password.
  4. Put your internal IP address into your Steam Server list.
  5. Have your friends join the server by putting your external IP address into their Steam Server lists.

 

How to Join a Valheim Server

Joining a Valheim server is a relatively simpler affair compared to creating one.

To start, go to Join Game, which is the second tab on the menu after character selection. It’s here where you’ll see either the servers that are hosted by your friends on Steam, or look for various Community Servers available and join those. Regardless of which server you choose, you’ll need to get the password.

This is the method you use if you’re using the Valheim Dedicated Server app located on the Steam Library.

For the other method, you’ll have to jump a few hoops since you have to connect to a different IP address. It gets even more complicated if a friend of yours who’s in a different city wants to play on YOUR server. In this case, however, they will be relying on your external IP, alongside the port routers we’ve mentioned before and the password listed on the start.bat file. Here’s how you can do this.

 

Step By Step

  1. Getting the external IP though is a simple affair. Type in “what is my IP” on Google Chrome and you’ll see it at the top marked with “Your public IP address.”
  2. Take the External IP address and put it on the port that’s listed on the start.bat file. This is 2456 by default.
  3. Now, you need to have your friend open up their Steam accounts. Select View, then Servers. Here, you need to select the Add a server button. Then input the external IP, add a colon (:) and then put in the correct port. DO NOT put any spaces.

 

After all, this is done, you’ll be able to see the IP address that the server has added to your Favorites list. After which, you can join said server by clicking it and typing in the password on the start.bat file. You do need to type the password again when Valheim’s launched and you’ve selected what character you’re using though.

 

Can You Play on Single Player?

Yes, you can play the game on Single Player. You’ll lose a lot of the interactive and multiplayer aspects that the game has, but the game can definitely be experienced alone.

However, the tradeoff of having an entire world to yourself would be the fact that you’d need to gather resources and fight the world’s enemies by yourself. For some people, this shouldn’t be a hard task. Follow the advice of keeping two separate characters for single and multiplayer and thank us later.

 

Valheim Early Access Review

Valheim Exploration
Photo from Steam

 

Now that we’ve talked about how to get to play Valheim, let’s talk about its current Early Access state, shall we?

 

Gameplay

Gameplay
Photo from Steam

 

Valheim is stated by its developers to be an incredibly punishing game. And to be fair, it definitely can be one if you aren’t careful. Stamina management in the game is especially essential, and an absolute necessity. Careful use of the stamina bar is necessary for victory, and the journey you’re going for.

As per usual in survival games, dying means that all of the stuff that you’re carrying is immediately dumped to the ground. After that happens, you respawn back in your bed, IF you made a bed. If you didn’t or your bed was destroyed, you instead respawn back at the place you initially started the game on. This can be either good or bad. It’s good if your base is near the spawn; bad if said base is miles away from where you started. Moreover, anything in the game can kill you, from the lowliest dregs you can see in your path to the most brutal bosses. Hell, a TREE can kill you in this game if you’re not careful if you’re in its way when it falls.

 

Forgiving Yet Engaging Gameplay

However, Valheim is also a bit forgiving at the same time. Ensuring that your weapons and armor are repaired costs nothing on your end. For example, when repairing an iron sword, you don’t need more iron to repair it, unlike in Minecraft. In a similar vein, if you decided that something you’ve built isn’t to your liking anymore and want it destroyed? Well, you can do that, and you’re refunded the entire cost of the build. This means that changing the way your base looks or even wholesale demolishing it and moving the whole base only costs you time and labor. No materials will be wasted for any changes you want to make.

Last but not the least is the cool feature of bringing the same character and their stuff into any world that you have made. Want to go and try out a new seed or even join a friend’s new server for some jolly cooperation? You can do sow ithout worrying about resetting your progress.

Next up after that is that you can bring back the stuff that you got from that world back to your original one. Lastly, if you’re scared that you’re gonna get killed by another player, griefer, or any malicious rogue in the same server, you can immediately switch PvP damage off by just going to the settings.

 

Combat, UI, and Controls

In terms of its controls, they’re pretty good. They respond well, and you can fully expect a button press to do what’s advertised.

However, some things can be a bit annoying. The fact that you need to press both the right mouse button and shift to dodge is one of them. This makes combat using dodges a bit of a hassle. Maybe having a dedicated block and dodge button would be a better idea here, but that’s just me theorycrafting.

Another annoying thing about the game is the UI. The UI for the inventory and crafting is a bit on the small side. The inventory is located on the upper left of the screen when you open it. Meanwhile, the first crafting that you can get is on the right side of the screen. The fact that they’re separate is a bit of an annoyance due to having to look back and forth between the two sections of the UI.

Consider Minecraft’s crafting system. That system is an incredibly elegant one and one that should be the gold standard for the genre. The game’s inventory and crafting are set on one single UI screen. Said UI is also set on the center of the screen, making the player look at one place only, and focusing their attention there. It’s incredibly elegant, utilitarian and one that Valheim probably should take notes of.

 

Story/Setting

Valheim Story
Photo from Steam

 

The story of Valheim is a pretty simple one. Players are Einherjar, Viking warriors who died a noble death, that is transported to Valheim. Valheim is a realm where Odin sent his enemies after they’re defeated. There, they’ve been sealed and cut off from the other nine realms of Norse lore.

However, after a long time, they somehow managed to gain more power in Valheim. Odin, worrying that they’ll escape, sends you to keep them in check and defeat them. Before you do that though, you need to obtain various resources to create tools, weapons, and armor to explore Valheim and battle the beasts and monsters in it.

Overall, the fact that the story and setting of the game are woven pretty well in its gameplay is a plus in its corner. There are a few things that survival games tend to not do well and the story is one of the more prominent ones. Luckily for Valheim, the Norse theme of Einherjars and Odin’s enemies fit together like peanut butter and jelly.

 

Environment and Graphics

Graphics
Photo from Steam

 

Valheim needs less than 1GB, or around 500MB more accurately, to download and install. This isn’t something praiseworthy, but when you compare it to the exorbitant amount of space that other games take up these days? It’s more than an incredibly welcome thing. It’s also pretty OK to play on older PCs and laptops that are outdated, hardware-wise.

However, in terms of its low storage count, it looks pretty good on its max settings. The animation and character models that it has wouldn’t look out of place from back in the day. However, the game’s got some pretty good lighting and weather effects that set the mood.

However, there are still a few hiccups that need to be fixed. One of them is the fact that there are some graphical and system glitches that appear when the game’s played on the lowest settings. This can be a bit annoying, although, some leeway can be put in due to the game being early access.

 

Sounds

In terms of its soundtrack, the game does have a few great beats to listen to while you’re being a Viking. Though, as mentioned, the game’s still on its early access, so expect changes along the line when it progresses.

One thing to take into account though is the fact that the game’s world is incredibly alive with sound. You can hear things in the forests, the enemies’ footsteps, the terrifying lightning strikes, and the soothing warmth of the crackling campfire. All that and more is communicated well by the game, which adds greatly to your immersion.

 

 

Comparing Valheim to Minecraft

Now that we’ve talked about Valheim’s overall appeal, let’s take a look at a similar game to Valheim.

 

Minecraft

Minecraft
Photo from Minecraft Website

 

Minecraft is the game that pioneered the survival genre. It’s also the one game that’s stood the test of time. It’s been 10 years since its release back in 2011, and the game’s still going strong. It’s a testament to its design that people still come back to play it even after all these years.

Above all else, Minecraft is a block game. You get your materials from the stylized blocks around you and create wondrous things with them. If you’re free-thinking enough, you can create some awesome things in Minecraft, from the usual structures like Ph1lza’s ENDlantis to various mechanical objects like the various Redstone contraptions on 2b2t. In Minecraft, your imagination is the only thing stopping you from building whatever you want. In Minecraft, you can do anything so long as you have the know-how.

Valheim doesn’t have the same creative freedom that Minecraft has. After all, it’s a survival game first and foremost. It doesn’t have its creative mode, nor does it have the elegance and simplicity of its crafting. However, it’s early days yet for Valheim. We can expect new things to come out throughout its Early Access lifespan.

Check out Minecraft on Amazon today!

 

Is Valheim a Good Game to Get on Early Access?

If you’re looking for a great alternative to other survival games out there that has their vibe and feel, then Valheim might be a fit for you. Even if it’s still on early access the game’s showing a whole lot of potential that it’s staggering. If this is what Valheim is now, then we can expect a lot of good things about the game in the future.

Albert de Venecia

Albert de Venecia

I love playing video games on either console or mobile platforms. I also collect action figures of superheroes and robots.

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