Valheim has taken Early Access by storm, yet another open-world survival game that puts its own spin on the genre. When I last checked in on Valheim, it had just sold over one million copies. Nearing its fourth week of release, the game has gone on to sell three million, with numbers climbing higher and higher as the Viking game cult spreads to TikTok and YouTube personalities. Valheim is so far 2021’s Early Access breakout hit of the year. According to a recent roadmap they’ve posted, Iron Gate Studios still have a long way to go.
Let’s talk a bit about what’s to come and when approximately we can look forward to new features. As a warning, the following material will contain a few spoilers that may be new to players just starting their Valheim run fresh.
Update 1: Hearth and Home
Building a Viking home has become a staple for the servers that truly embrace Valheim’s Nordic sensibilities. At first glance, the mechanics for construction seem a bit sparse or anticipated compared to the droves of other games in the genre. Floors snap to floors on flattened earth, and walls snap to those floors, and a nice thatch roof sits atop it all. It’s the physics that mimic real-life construction techniques that have players excited to share their homes and building operations. As demonstrated by ToastedToast15 on Reddit, there’s a lot of depth to the construction aspect of Valheim and a lot of room to make a hall fit for feasts. Just makes sure you have the carrots to provide the soup.
Building a Home to Last
Building a home to brave the dangerous 10th world is incredibly important to the gameplay loop and encouraged by the devs who’ve even implemented later game mechanics to travel from base to base using portals. Valheim is continually pushing players across seas to the dangerous ends of the world while reinforcing the need to have a home to fall back to and protect when things become harrowing.
It would make sense that the first update would be for homesteading. And while Iron Gates hasn’t explicitly mentioned what exact items will be released with the home update, the developers have hinted at new building pieces and a more expansive cooking library. This no doubt probably means a more considerable emphasis on farming and gathering as well as hunting. Taming and capturing animals is already a core part of the later game, so this will be further expanded on with a more extensive selection of structures and mechanics to sustain your hearth. You are (quite literally in Valheim) what you eat, after all.
Information is elusive about future updates past Hearth and Home, but from the recently posted 2021 roadmap, Iron Gates Studio have given us a somewhat clear direction they’re taking the game in. The updates all seem to center around refining the game’s already (surtling) core components.
Update 2: Cult of the Wolf
Wolves are already a large part of the game and can make for an incredible early on threat. They can also make a decent later game ally with the right know-how. The Cult of the Wolf update information is very sparse. Still, seeing how much of the game already revolves around wolf taming and breeding, I’d have to imagine that these gameplay elements will be expanded upon more-so. Henrik Törnqvist, one of the five-person development team, also mentioned that this update will focus heavily on implementing new combat mechanics and experience.
Update 3: Ships and Sea
The ocean biome is already one of the more considerable challenges in Valheim. Iron Gates seem to be on a set path to nail down every gameplay component that makes their game feel like a Viking exploration game. Sea travel and boat construction are already implemented in a necessary way for exploration. The third update will see further boat customization as well as fleshing out the ocean biome to, I assume, be much more terrifying.
Right now, the largest threat to my Viking is falling off my boat and drowning while the wind carries my raft away. I’m confident that a sea monster of some sort would add an interesting new element of fear to the mix—just a thought.
Update 4: Mistlands
The Mistlands are already attainable to the daring explorer and seaman that pushes toward the map’s outer perimeters. Unfortunately, they’re a bit sparse for content currently. This is to be expected in a brand new early access game that already does much more than most players expected of it. The Mistlands update moves to fix this with more dungeons to discover as well as larger monstrous threats.
The Future of Valheim
While these are the primarily planned updates to Valheim, Iron Gate has listed a few more optional goals if Odin wills it for this year.
- Multiplayer Interactions
- Combat Improvements
- Moon Phases
- Tar Pits
- Vendor Inventory Expansion
- Svartalfr Brigands
- Unique Locations
- Sandbox Mode
- Munin (you know, the other bird)
With a wealth of a world to already explore, it would appear that three-million new Vikings (more than there ever were in history it turns out) are more than happy to wait to see what Iron Gates brings to the table next.