The sun rises, and with it a new day. The shieldmaiden raises her eyes to the skies and sees the brilliance of the morning light through the canopies of the trees. The sky is rich with flowing blue clouds. A rumbling is heard as she feeds mushrooms to her pigs, and out of the forest line emerge three trolls. Each troll, nearly 5 times as large as her, she draws her bow and lets her flaming arrows rip across the sky. To her aid come several others, slashing at the monsters with axes and swords. One, two, three they fall. But in their wake a small stone makes known that one of her allies has fallen as well.

What is Valheim?

Valheim is a world building game available on Steam. The premise is; that as a noble warrior in life, you have been teleported into Valheim, a sort of Norse purgatory. In this land, you have been advised by Odin himself to end his enemies and survive in the process. You will find an immeasurable amount of crafting, strategic battle, and exploration bountiful in this game. The graphics are beautiful, combined with the constantly change atmosphere and time of the game. From the early rise of a foggy morning, to a terrible storm at sea, the game simulates the different environments you might find in an untamed world.

While Valheim is currently available in “Early Access,” there are a handful of bugs that can be found. “Early Access” allows the developers to charge less for the game, in exchange for the public knowing that the game is not fully released – it’s almost in a testing phase.

The game can be played solo, hosted on your machine’s server (this means that you have to be online in order for others to access your world), or through a third party such as G-Portal (anyone can connect at anytime). Your character can go to any world on any server, and is saved on a file on your machine.

How Difficult is Valheim?

There’s a joke amongst my friend game when we talk about a tutorial in Valheim – that there isn’t one. In the early stages of the game, a black raven flutters around and tells you a few useful things, but after that there’s nothing. Want to craft a sword? Forget about finding instruction in the game on how to do so. What this does, is create a culture of sharing amongst friend groups though. “Have you learned how to craft an iron sword?” might be an example of something that could be discussed.

Valheim’s learning curve is incredibly steep. You basically are forced to find outside knowledge in order to progress throughout the game. Because you are going through different stages of crafting, you have to learn where to find bronze/copper/iron and other types of metal. Valheim for casual play is easily possible when you consider that you can log on and off and the game just saves your world where you’re at. If you die, you just run back to your grave and you can collect your items with a small proficiency loss.

How to Play Valheim with Friends

Playing Valheim with friends is easy to do. There’s a couple different ways, as mentioned above.

The simplest way, is to have the person who is going to play the most setup their own world. They will set a generic password, and then you can give your information to your friends and they can login and play on the same server. If the person hosting the world is not online, or logs off, others will not be able to play.

The alternative is to purchase a server through a company like G-Portal. While the setup is highly technical, involving FTP servers and configuring IP addresses, there are several tutorials out there to guide you through the process. It costs around $15 for 30 days, and you can scale your purchase far beyond a month if you’d like. The benefit of this, is that anyone can login at anytime and play.

It is incredibly important to note that when nobody is playing, nothing is happening in game. You don’t have to worry about logging back in and everything being destroyed by raging trolls, for example.

Valheim: Playing to Have Fun

There are some servers I’ve been on that work like jobs. People have specific things they’re tasked with doing, and there’s a lot of red tape around play. If you have domesticated pigs, you have to feed them or else they starve and die. If you have a garden, you have to reap it. A bridge might decay slowly because its in the water, and need constantly repaired. You might be tasked with mining things, scavenging for food and berries, or helping to clear a zone of enemies.

Will you and your friends create a single community, or each have your own? Will you all do everything, or will one person manage all the building while others do hunting and chopping down trees? There’s a lot of different ways that you can play – and in the end it just comes down to finding what works best for you in your goal of having fun.

How to Take Screenshots in Valheim

As you explore the world, you’re bound to find yourself in sudden moments of glory. There are a couple of ways to take photos. F12, Print Screen, and the Steam overlay are all viable options for doing this. On most computers, just search for “Capture Settings” next to your bottom hand Windows button, and you can easily set where you’d like these images to be saved. This will make it so that whenever you hit “Print Screen,” your image is saved where you appropriate.

If you’re interested in trying out Valheim, you can download it for $19.99 on Steam. I recommend it and it’s worth the game play.