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Valheim players have created their own Thunderdome

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It’s like PUBG from 2 BC

Valheim - two Vikings stand on a hill, looking out at a vast and wild landscape. A branch from the tree of life reached out above the horizon. Image: Iron Gate/Coffee Stain Publishing

Some people love Valheim because they can make cozy cabins and tame boars. Others just want to beat other Vikings to the death in a murder arena. But the game itself rarely rewards this kind of player-vs-player action. That’s why the community has created the Vikings of Legend events, a high-profile series of PvP matches streamed live on Twitch.

The community-run event started in March, and has so far had a few small events with hundreds of viewers. A new, revised format is on the way that will create even more more fast-paced and brutal engagements.

Each match will begin by spawning participants into a giant arena as first-level characters. It’s a hand-made, Roman-style coliseum created with Valheim’s robust debug mode. Two teams of two-to-four Vikings maneuver around the arena trying to survive while also killing their opponent. It’s a game mode that is in some ways a lot simpler and cruder than the base game — it’s essentially just team deathmatch.

But despite that, it’s a fun twist on the usual Valheim formula, and shows that the game is becoming a platform for various modes and mods as players run out of developer-created content.

But rarely is it a fair fight. That’s because tournament organizer — a player who goes by the handle Dread Pirate Doug — spawns both loot and enemies during each match to keep the action dynamic and unpredictable. The audience can also lend a hand, using Twitch chat to spawn offerings for their champion. Every time a Viking dies the other team scores a point. At the end of 15 minutes the points are tallied and one team wins.

While tons of players are still enjoying the base Valheim experience, modded experiences are a big part of what’s keeping the sandbox game alive. Sometimes, that’s something like adding Diablo-style loot tables, magic items, and enchanting. Other times, that’s making a big circle and pitting a bunch of burly Vikings to the death for fun. There’s something for everyone! The next event is planned for May 1 at 4:00 p.m. ET.