At first, Valheim offers the player a few simple tools to build a shelter for their Viking. You might start with a little shack to house your workbench, then a cozy cottage, and maybe a watchtower or a dock. Valheim fans are proving that once you master the basic tools of the game, you can go way beyond those early structures. From the Eye of Sauron to classic buildings from World of Warcraft, Iron Gate Studios’ Viking game has built a loyal base of people who are less interested in killing bosses like Bonemass and more interested in building the perfect village.
Remember Goldshire in Elwynn Forest? This inn from World of Warcraft spikes tons of nostalgia, and Reddit user ToddGeorgeKelly has replicated it in Valheim to the best of his ability. It’s incredibly comfortable looking — after spending some time here, I think I’d rather put my feet up and enjoy some mead instead of going back out to kill Greydwarves and Oozes.
One astonishing project was the Eye of Sauron, which was built by RalladoGamer and his wife. You can download it for your own world through NexusMods if you want to feel the menace of an ancient evil watching you while you hunt boars and sail boats.
Other builders take their inspiration from real life, making structures in game that mimic landmarks from around the world. Since Valheim currently allows Vikings to make things only with wood, metal, and masonry, it’s not easy to imitate modern structures of steel and glass. That gives architects a chance to go back to the basics.
My current wip on #valheim. I use to work at Epcot as a photographer and I always loved the Gol Stave church replica in the Norway pavilion. So I did a build *loosely* based around it! pic.twitter.com/2RzVfuJoi9— Kai-lo Ren (@thewhimsywizard) March 1, 2021
Valheim allows players to snap building pieces together, so walls auto-connect, or builders can free-place items in order to create their own blueprints. This, combined with a wide array of foundations, structural pillars, and materials, means that it’s simple to build wide, elaborate structures with lots of detail.
One builder, MissBeazus, shared pictures of her elaborate Valheim village on Twitter. “I like the challenge [of building],” she wrote to Polygon. “Ground support matters, workbench placement matters. You can’t just build skyscrapers without consequences.”
These bases contribute to the rest of Valheim’s gameplay, making them useful for an entire groups of friends on a server, even if only one of them is a dedicated builder. MissBeazus’s base has a main lodge that maximizes her Comfort stat, as well as a dedicated portal hub, a workshop for the high level workbench, a storage shed, a bunkhouse for up to eight players, a two-tiered garden, a guard tower, and four gates.
Of course, Valheim being an early access game means that proud builders could eventually have to start anew. In a call with Polygon, Henrik Törnqvist, co-founder of Iron Gate Studios, explained what the future of building might look like for Valheim.
“The road map is quite recent, so I don’t think we will change too much,” he said. “But with all of these players, there are issues that crop up all the time. The biggest thing that has changed since release is we have to put a lot more hours into bug fixing.”
The first content update — after the major bugs are addressed — is called Hearth and Home, which is all about building and creating even more comfortable abodes for Vikings.
Iron Gate is trying to retain Valheim players’ progress to the best of their ability, preventing consistent world wipes or data loss.
“That’s something we are going to investigate further, how exactly that would be implemented, because we don’t want to destroy anyone’s world,” Törnqvist said. “For regular patches and updates, breaking worlds is not something that will probably happen with them.”
The big hurdle will be new biomes, since Törnqvist notes that updates like the upcoming Mistlands will be complicated. “Obviously we are currently investigating what we can do,” he said.
For fans like MissBeazus, the thought of starting over isn’t entirely pleasant, but the building is fun enough to keep them going despite the risk.
“I think a part of me would be just a bit heartbroken to lose a hundred hours of work,” she said. “But I’d start over if I had to, especially knowing now what I didn’t know a hundred hours ago. I’ve already torn down and rebuilt so much as it is.”