What is Valheim? Why Are So Many People Playing It?


Every so often, a game comes out of nowhere, and becomes a huge hit for one reason or another.

Valheim is proof that you don't always have to reinvent a genre to become an instant success.

This 2021, one such game is Valheim.

You might not have played Valheim yet, but there's no doubt that you've heard of it. It's impossible to not have had to, as it's taken over Steam completely, seeing as it's only taken the game a week to surpass one million in sales and less than two weeks to hit two million.

With that said, scroll down below to find out more about Valheim and what makes this game so popular.

What is Valheim?

Valheim is a co-op Viking survival game with some added fantasy and role-playing elements along with a plot based loosely on Norse mythology.

The game's developers, Iron Gate, is a studio based in Sweden, and its publishers are Coffee Stain, who previously developed a hit indie title that may have already heard of and played with the name, Goat Simulator.

The game they've created puts players in the shoes of a Viking warrior sent to Valheim for some unknown reason. They'll then have to work hard to gather the necessary resources to craft everything from tools to weapons and armor, all of which they'll no doubt need to survive and rid the mysterious land of all the dangerous creatures that have taken over.

What Exactly is Valheim About?

If you thought you knew the definition of a tall ask, try surviving in a world that even the Norse gods themselves fear.

Loose adaptions of Norse mythology are nothing new.

Case in point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, otherwise more commonly known as MCU, features Thor, Loki, and Odin, among others, all of which are loosely based on Norse mythology. Not to mention, the newest God of War and its upcoming sequel, which has, so far, seen Kratos take on beings from Norse mythology like the Valkyries, among others.

In any case, according to Norse mythology, the universe is composed of nine different realms. Midgard, otherwise known as Earth, is where we humans reside. Meanwhile, the gods that preside over us, such as Odin, reside in Asgard.

In Valheim's case though, there aren't just nine realms, but ten.

The titular tenth realm is supposedly so scary and inhabitable that even the gods are afraid of it, which is why they've decided to send the souls of fallen Viking warriors (you, the players) to the said realm to do some spring cleaning, or so to speak, and turn this literally god-forsaken place into something more akin to Valhalla.

As you can see, the story and premise are rather simple. However, Valheim gives players so many ways to approach the game, which is exactly what has made it so popular.

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Why Is Valheim So Popular?

Perhaps another reason why Valheim is so popular is that you can play it alone or with friends and it'll be just as enjoyable either way.

As we've already mentioned, Valheim is currently topping Steam charts and is well on its way to becoming the first surprise hit of the new decade.

But why exactly is it so popular?

Well, there are plenty of possible reasons for this. However, we're inclined to believe that it just released at the right time.

The thing is, Vikings in a fantasy setting isn't exactly unique to Valheim. In terms of video games, you've got Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. In mainstream media, there's MCU's Thor and all of the movies he's featured in. There's also the Vikings TV show, which recently ended last December 2020, perhaps leaving people with a taste for more Vikings.

Of course, this isn't to say that the developers don't deserve credit for coming up with such a fine game.

While technically not an MMO, Valheim lets anywhere between one to ten players work together inside a procedurally-generated world where they can band together to gather resources, craft tools, weapons, and armor, as well as brave both the elements as well as the monsters that they've been sent to cleanse this tenth realm of.

Basically, what Valheim does is that it has taken everything that other survival games have done in the past, but makes it more palatable and accessible by removing any complicated survival mechanics and the need for too much grinding.

This isn't to say that Valheim is an easy game, mind you. It's just much more forgiving.

How Can I Play Valheim?

For now, Valheim is available only on Steam as an Early Access title.

There's no word yet if Valheim is going to be ported over to other platforms, particularly, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X. But of course, if the game continues being so popular, there's little reason for the developers not to consider working on making the game available on more platforms so that more players can enjoy it.

In the meantime, only players on the PC can enjoy Valheim as the developers work constantly to help improve the game by bringing on additional content on a regular basis.

When Will Valheim Release?

Valheim is already released in the sense that it is already available for players to buy, play, and download.

As for an exact release date, we don't have any clue just yet.

The developers haven't announced a proper release date for this fantasy co-cop survival game, but since it's still in Early Access, the smart money is on the game not being released until some time in 2022.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.