My group’s enthusiasm for Valheim died within hours of learning about cheat/debug mode…What keeps you playing?

I rented a dedicated server for myself and a handful of friends. The enjoyment we found in this game and the enthusiasm we had to explore and progress was unlike anything any of us had felt in years. Several of us commented how it reminded us of the early days of MMOs (we're old). There was a magic and charm to it and we had grand plans of expeditions and canals and big, beautiful builds and all sorts of adventures. We constructed roads and harbors and moats and fortresses. We were loving it.

When we started we agreed to do a spoiler-free run. Learn everything as we go, ignore/avoid any spoilers/guides/etc.

That lasted until the Elder, and then one guy in our group got anxious to progress into the Swamps and decided to look up a cheese strat before we made an initial attempt. This left some of us salty and kind of opened the door for others in the group to start looking at what other players were doing.

I started carefully browsing this subreddit, careful to avoid comment sections and spoiler posts and mostly just checking out cool builds.

The other day I accidentally learned about debug mode and the hidden cheat commands and I was gutted. I felt like all the hours of work we'd invested into progressing cheat-free was instantly invalidated. That's not quite accurate, but it's close. I was still proud of the work we'd done and enjoyed the adventures we had embarked on, but to realize the hours of toil we'd invested was due to an artifice that could simply be switched off was disappointing.

Like I mentioned, we're all old-school MMO players. We love the grind. We love putting in the work. But, to us at least, it felt something like investing several hundred hours into an MMO only to find the goal you had been investing so much time and energy towards achieving could have simply been spawned with a console command.

I talked about it with the rest of the group, hoping someone would be able to offer a perspective that could shift me back into the state of mind we enjoyed when we were all blissfully ignorant. No one could. In less than three hours, after trying it for themselves, everyone agreed…We were ready to move on to another game.

At this point we've all got more than our money's worth. I don't regret playing the game. At the same time, we all agree that it feels kinda of pointless to continue. Why scout biomes looking for resource nodes to map and build roads to and harvest and haul back and smelt and then utilize to construct some piece of gear when you could take 10 seconds and type "spawn Iron 1000". Or even just spawn the gear piece itself. We couldn't help but feel like doing all that was now just a waste of time.

It feels something like working a minimal wage job full-time when you know there's a button on the wall you could push at any time and be given a bajillion dollars. Even if you don't push it, even if you try to stay committed to earning money legit, how long do you continue to flip greasy burgers over a hot grill before you realize there's at least six other ways you'd rather be spending your time? Most people feel that way at some point or another during their career anyway, minimal wage or better. How long could you maintain the motivation to invest the time required to earn even a fraction of that fortune when you know you could just take it at any moment? Why would you work for decades just to earn enough to retire when you could quit with a fortune at any time?

I'd like to hear feedback from others on how they've found the motivation to continue after discovering this. Thanks for reading.


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