It is a reasonably safe bet that if I write a post about a game for which I have some nostalgia but am not playing, that it will be followed up with a subsequent post about how I am now back and trying to play that game.
And so it goes with Valheim. Last week I was pining for the developers to get on with it and finish up the Mistlands biome and now, the next Monday on, I am here to say we are back and playing it again.
It might have been apparent from my posts last month that I was thrashing around a bit looking for a solid title I could focus on. So there were several titles I wrote about. But none of them really hit me as titles I just wanted to spend time with.
And that includes Lost Ark.
It isn’t that I dislike Lost Ark, but neither am I in love with it. It can be fun, but it hasn’t really captured me in the way some other MMORPGs have. It is a flavor of the month more than a long term relationship. It doesn’t feel like a place, just a series of connected events in a story that can seem very forced or awkward at times.
So, with that groundwork laid and me thinking about Valheim, it was only a matter of time before I hit the obvious conclusion, which was a return to last year’s big indie hit.
But I didn’t want to start back on our old world. I have it backed up, and we could do that, but due to the way that updates to biomes work, it has essentially been ruined for updates due to the large amount of exploring some of us did while it was out main title.
So, a fresh world. Why not?
If you’re going to go with a fresh world, then fresh characters are probably a good idea as well. Due to the fact that your characters carry all of their inventory and access with them to any new world… which is kind of odd, but not necessarily bad… going all in on a restart seemed like a reasonable plan.
And if we were going to play together, then it had to be on a hosted server, so I went back to GPortal, which still had my account… though it had long since purged any saved data… and got things set up again, pushed the button to create a new world, got the connection information, and we were set to go. It went a lot faster than a year ago.
Basically, in about 30 minutes I went from “I want to play Valheim” to having a shared server setup and standing there looking at the trophy stones at the main spawn point in a new world.
It is also a very different experience starting again than it was starting out last year. Last year it was a chaos of figuring out how things even worked. Now it is more of a series of “Oh yeah, I remember that.” A lot of early mistakes, like building what would become our main base too close to the “no build zone” of the stones, were avoided.
Still, it was a learning process. I ran around for a bit with stone tools because there wasn’t any water close by, then finally stumbled upon a piece of flint and got all the recipes for flint tools and weapons, so had to go collect enough for all of that.
Then there was the hammer and and the work bench and how to build things and upgrade things and the need to gather resources and Huginn not so helpfully landing 50 feet away when you overload yourself so that you struggled to get to him so he can tell you that you have overloaded yourself.
There is work and effort and no small amount of bother just to get things going. Every new building project takes more resources than you have to hand. I started off very optimistically building what felt like a modest house when Huginn pressed me about shelter, and it took me a couple of day/night cycles to get it to the point where I could sleep in my bed and use the workbench, which needs to be sheltered for most things.
On the flip side, the pace of the game is as slow as you want it to be. The goals are modest, the world has a real sense of place, and you can spend time just doing something quiet, like stalking deer with a bow.
And some things have changed. While I have seen the game updates go past for the last year, it is one thing to read them, another thing to live them. There isn’t anything dramatically different, and it all seems for the best. It also makes the fresh start more interesting.
Skronk and Ula were able to connect very quickly as well, so we’ve been wandering the new world. The altar of Eikthyr, the first boss to defeat, which gets you the hardened horn to make the first pickaxe and puts you on the road to smelting is close to hand. But we’re not in a rush to get to him. The plan, such that it is, is a slow roll through the content again, exploring the updates that have come to the Black Forest, Swamp, and Mountain biomes before winding up in the Plains once more not too far ahead of when we get the eventual Mistlands update. We shall see.