Coffee Stain and Iron Gate Studio’s Viking survival game, Valheim, recently hit 4 million copies sold on Steam. It has been sitting at the top of Twitch for weeks and is currently sitting at just over 200 thousand concurrent players on Steam —just shy of Valve’s massively popular Dota 2. It’s safe to say that even if you’re just hearing about Valheim, you haven’t yet missed the boat (or longship in this case), as the game doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.

I have personally sunk over 50 hours into Valheim and fully intend to keep going. The game is polished for an alpha, has bucket-loads of content, and keeps even the most repetitive tasks interesting with a satisfying set of mechanics. There are, however, some gripes to be had with Valheim. A lack of certain quality of life features and some alpha-build jank can make the game a bit frustrating at times.

Here are a few of the things that could be changed to improve Valheim:

valheim portal

Allow Ingots to Move Through Portals

Anyone who has played Valheim understands how arduous the process of mining ore and smelting them into ingots can be. It’s a task that must be repeated numerous times throughout the game in order to upgrade precious gear and gain new build options for your Viking abode. One of the reasons that creating ingots can be so tedious, is that while the game allows you to freely teleport nearly every other item in the game through portals you can construct, it does not allow ingots or ores to pass through them.

There are likely two main reasons for this. The first is to ensure that players utilise tools like the handcart to carry big loads of ore back to the base. While the handcart would still have its uses if ores could be transported through portals, it would certainly feel much more redundant overall. The developers might even fear that there would be less satisfaction if players didn’t go through the struggle of using the cart and instead just zipped through portals to complete their smelting duties.

The other reason is to slow down the game’s progression slightly. Transporting mined ores and ingots around takes up a decent amount of time in Valheim, and having them travel through portals would certainly push the game forward at a much faster pace.

I think the solution here is to allow ingots to move through portals but not ores. This way, there would still be some use for the handcart to bring back your hard-earned copper, but once you had gone through the rigmarole of mining, traveling, and smelting, you would, at last, get some respite at the end of the process.

valheim water tools

Allow You to Use Your Tools in Water

This might seem like a specific issue to have, but anyone who has received the Wishbone item from the third boss and is trying to mine iron ore from the swamp has likely experienced how awful it can be to mine the boggy marshes of that biome. One of the main issues is that as soon as your character enters their swimming animation, whatever you have in your hand is unequipped. This goes for your pickaxe, your bow, or your sword and shield. This can be frustrating during combat, as having your shield removed from your hand can be the difference between life and death.

This is especially frustrating when your mining operation is drawn to a halt by water entering the hole you were digging and forcing the pickaxe out of your hand. The fact that using stamina in the water is dangerous already, as running out means you start to take damage, means that there is already a suitable punishment in place for using your tools in the water, removing the combat advantage you might have over slowed enemies.

Add a Trashcan

Valheim has a massive selection of items you can pick up. Many of them are very useful, while others…not so much. Oftentimes you will find yourself back at home with an inventory of dandelions, stone, and your 500th bone shard, and, considering the inventory capacity of Valheim’s chests, you can bet you aren’t going to have the space to fit it anywhere. A trashcan would allow you to dump all your unwanted gear and garbage somewhere that wouldn’t clutter up your beautiful home and also help you to keep your chests organised.  

valheim vendor

Change How the Vendor Works

Valheim’s vendor has become notorious for how difficult he is to find. Some people have been sailing the game’s rugged oceans for over 50 hours searching for signs of a blazing campfire, to no avail. As it stands, finding Valheim’s vendor NPC is completely down to luck. Your seed might spawn him immediately next to the starting area, or perhaps it will spawn him on the outer edges of the world’s gigantic, procedurally generated map. You just don’t know.

While this certainly encourages players to explore their map, if they get unlucky with the vendor’s spawn, it can also feel like certain items are walled off. The vendor sells several useful pieces of equipment, including the only inventory-expanding item in the game, the Megingjord. The vendor also gives you access to fishing by selling the fishing rod and its bait. This means you are missing out on a gameplay feature that many would enjoy having earlier in the game.

Many users have suggested having backpacks and fishing rods that you could craft. This would mean the vendor could still sell upgraded versions, but you weren’t missing out as much if you didn’t find him.

Another solution might be to have the vendor bring his wares to your home if you reach a certain comfort level. Perhaps he could sell different items based on what the comfort level of your home was, with the best items being sold when you reach the game’s maximum of 17. This system would further encourage players to build extravagant homes and make the building more goal-oriented. If he showed up at random intervals every few in-game days, there would still be an element of luck to his arrival, ensuring that the vendor’s presence would still feel like an event.

valheim sunrays

Continuing Down the Same Path

Valheim is a game created by developers who seem to love their genre. One of the main things that Iron Gate Studio can do to improve Valheim is to keep producing content of the same quality. So much care has been taken with this game’s atmosphere and gameplay, that anyone who has played it can attest to how enjoyable it is just being in the game-space. More than anything, we can only hope that future content is as strong as the rest of the game.

Have you been enjoying Valheim? What kinds of features would you like to see added to the game? Tell us your suggestions in the comments below, or let us know on Twitter! If you want to see more Valheim content from Games Atlas, you can check it out here.

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