Valheim — Game mechanics logbook

This was not made as a critic for the game. Perceive this as a logbook I was holding while playing an amazing early access game which I would love to see get better and better.

Oaks not available as trees we can grow ourselves (no seed). I don’t really get why but that’s ok, it makes it a “special / rare” tree. Still, it could be nice to be able to grow them ourselves : beech seeds could have a low percentage (0.5 % or 1% for example, seems pretty cool) to grow as oaks. When replanting forests, players could realise it happens slowly when an oak randomly pops up where the player planted his over 100 beech seeds. Later, players can try to have an oak at a special place they like (that’s a cool concept to me).

Statistics decreasing upon death (10%) is a dope mechanic. Death is scary with this, and it’s awesome. Problem is, I played (as far as I’m writing this) something like 150 hours of gameplay (from iron unlocked to Bonemass then finding silver, defeating Moder and starting plains farm) being between 35 and 45 in jump and 50 to 60 for run. I’m not an extrasafe player, but I can handle myself (I’d say 50% of my deaths are from exploring and fighting, the other 50% is height damage or stupid stuff while building).What does it say ? Firstly, 10% might be too much. It’s really easy to hardloose stats but, especially, it’s really long and hard to gain stats. Plus, running and jumping, then woodcutting and mining, “constantly” keep going up, but most of the other stats are a pain to enhance. I’d begin by trying different stat-loss percentages (7.5% could be just the perfect rate). Also, but it needs more time to work on, the stat-loss upon death could be more dynamic. It needs to still be a fear for the player, but maybe losing like 4 to 7 stats randomly could be a good idea. It could add a “fun” RNG (Yay ! I decreased only in unarmed and swim !). The player could also be offered a choice : “which stats do you choose to decrease upon death ?”, or be offered a bundle of randomly selected stats to decrease. More importantly, I think each statistic should have its own experience-needed-per-level amount. So far, I feel like some of them just take too long and are just pretty boring (sneak, swim) to level up.

Teleporting metals is a problem. I get the idea — make the player use carts and boats and have a mental consideration for the “travel” concept — and this is really good. Problem is it becomes quickly unbearable. Especially as a builder. I did use the carts and boats from copper to iron, until I realised I needed more than 300 irons to build my stuff. I just thought how could I fuck with that ? What I did is just get like full weight in iron in crypts, disconnect, switch to another world where I have just a small house with chests in meadow, put all irons in chests, connect back again on my server in my crypt, rinse and repeat. Once satisfied, I go back to my main house, connect back on the other transition server, get fully loaded with all my irons, connect back to my base and put it all in my chests and forges. Same thing with silver, dark metal, dragon eggs later. This is an abuse, but it is needed. To be honest, I don’t think I would have kept playing without this trick, it represents so much time and effort, and, most importantly, doing pretty boring stuff (running back and forth in swamps to your boat from the crypts is not that fun). So. How to deal with that ? Travelling to get stuff and metals being heavy and painful to gather is important, but becomes easily boring. My idea would be to create special portals : When you discover iron, you have the basic portal, you gather some, happy as one can be. Once you get your iron back to base, you smelt it and unlock new recipes. There could be a recipe for an “Iron portal”, a portal that would need iron to create, that allows teleportation of iron. Now, players do travel and gather like it’s intended once, or maybe twice (iron portals could cost a huge amount of iron to allow only players that “master” iron to now teleport it, like 100/each), but gains abilities to gather iron easily. Rinse and repeat for every not-teleportable item. I feel like it’s a win-win mechanic.

We need a trash option. Not being able to trash items is unbearable. I still have rag tunics and way too much greydwarf eyes I don’t need in my chests and can’t just trash them. I guess the items deletion could be reworked, as you might lose a lot of performances because of this. For this, two possibilities come to mind, first go the terraria way : one slot in the player’s inventory is a trash : you can put an item or pile of items in this slot, once you put another one on it, the previous item is definitely destroyed and the new item occupies the slot. Another possibility is giving a recipe for crafting a trashing device, like a stone oven or something like this, that just burns stuff that players put in it (it could also give something in return). In any case, deleting stuff needs to be an option, in my advice.

The Merchant, several things there. First of all, I think there should be clues dispatched on the world that helps finding him. He is way too important to be found randomly. Special red writings stones could either indicate where he is, or maybe give some kind of clues like directions (far north from where the red writings stone is, for example) to find him. But it might be tricky to code, but seems worth it. The fishing is cool, but is very basic for now. Different fishes, special spots, maybe being able to capture fishes alive and tame, feed and make them reproduce like piggy boys ? Could be nice to have some custom ponds in our base… About the Megingjord, I think it could also add 3 more slots at least, a new column on the right side of the inventory. Maybe a fourth slot on the equipement line, making a 9th shortcut. That could also be done by another item, like “Fenrir Armbands”. Seems pretty cool to keep going like this though : “Vidarr’s boots” that enhance sneak, stamina consumption or run speed, whatever. We can imagine a lot of stuff that you need to work on. Last but not least, it seems obvious to me as I went back to him with each new boss downed, Haldor should sell new things along the way. For each boss, something new with Haldor : new items, new materials… Also, there could be multiple Merchants in the world, selling different things, but that could be already the case and I did not find any other yet.

World saves freeze the game for a second or two and inputs buffer during the lag. I died exactly 3 times because of this, while building in high places and the freeze making me fall. This is too deep in the code for me to have an idea to solve this, but it needs to get fixed.Building should be a stat. Everytime you place something it could earn experience, with less stamina used when placing constructs with each level. Giving builders statistics, experience and levels seem obvious to me (it first came to mind when, playing with pals, I was the one that built a lot of stuff, while others went exploring. They gained stats, I wasn’t really gaining any, that felt a bit frustrating).

Monsters attacks like forest is moving, ground is shaking and all, don’t happen at good times. It happens when players are doing stuff in their homes, and it’s pretty upsetting after a while. Attacks could happen anytime when players are not home, that could create some really chaotic, dangerous and funny situations where players are trapped upon way too many monsters. Also I think there should be some kind of warning, one or two minutes before the attack happens.

Enemy loots need more variety. Very quickly, there is no point in killing monsters like skeletons, greydwarves, trolls… Yet, we spend a lot of time killing them. Ultimately, and I might anticipate dev’s will, we need rare items, rare materials, collection items and all. I’d vote for a more terraria model, as monsters loot a shit ton variety of different cool stuff. It feels great to bash monsters, whoever they are, because you can get surprises. Including rare loot gives players a new activity : farming certain types of monsters in order to get something the player desires. Especially at the beginning of the game, in Valheim, I was disappointed when realising there was really no point in killing early monsters.


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