The new Mistlands update finally landed to Valheim and it revitalized the game once more. A massive patch, it is perhaps the best piece of official content that the game has ever received. More work remains, especially (but not only!) work on the sparse Ocean biome, and the Ashlands and Deep North biomes. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few of the ways in which I’d love to enhance this amazing game, without really changing the intended developer vision.
Get the engine and tech in a better state!
There is a massive difference between playing Valheim these days and back when it launched. The game runs better, utilizes CPUs and RAM a tad better, and some GPU inefficiencies were fixed both via developer patches or driver updates. Not to mention that we have new, faster hardware to boot!
However, that is not enough. Valheim can still be fairly heavy even on strong systems. Huge buildings and massive constructs can bring down performance, especially in a cooperative setting. A player-made village with multiple players around it as well as animals and even that awesome 7700X and 7900 XTX will be impacted, not to an unplayable degree but still.
Valheim does come with a decent Vulkan renderer which is generally superior to its DX11 one in performance while offering the same visuals. If the developers were to continue working on ironing out their engine’s optimization but also add top of the line image reconstruction such as FSR 2.2 – that would be more than great. Even without the complicated optimization process, FSR 2.2 alone would help weaker machines achieve higher frame in this game while keeping a reasonable level of image quality. Another vector for improvement for newer GPUs at least would be to add a few of the advanced DX12/Vulkan features such as VRS or FP16x2 processing.
Iron Gate is a fairly small developer studio, but they are competent. And passionate. The progress they have shown so far is proof that they can punch above their size. These features are not that hard to implement and they can help the game long term for sure.
More modding tools!
One of the best parts about Valheim (or any PC game for that matter) is the modding community! Valheim actually has a fairly healthy modding community and some of the content produced can for sure add massively to the game.
The deveopers do not go against modders and seem to be happy with them, so there is that. However, a game like Valheim has extreme potential. The smart move long term would be to give modders an SDK or at least more modding tools to help them on their creative endeavors.
Imagine total conversions made on Valheim? Or someone managing to create a brand-new theme for the game world, perhaps something based on a different mythology? A new underground world generation algorithm? The possibilities are vast.
It may be wise to wait for the game to be even more feature complete before doing that, but I do believe it should be given some sort of priority. Powerful modding communities can make games immortal.
More weather states!
One of the best things about Valheim is its weather system! One great thing about it is just how good it looks. Thunderstorms are … well they are strong. If you are in the water on a boat and a thunderstorm starts raging – you WILL take notice. The beautiful morning clear sky is quite the sight as well.
Another awesome thing that the weather does is affect gameplay. Rain can slowly damage (but not destroy!) your buildings, making them look uglier and easier to destroy. A deep fog can affect visibility harshly. The waves are affected by wind patterns as is hunting and stealth.
One thing I really hope the developers further flesh out would be to add more weather states, for all zones as well as for specific zones (like the Blizzards are for the Mountain biome). Valheim’s world already benefits massively from its weather system, making it more thorough and deep would only improve the adventure!
One last thing to note, an implementation of Vulkan Ray Tracing, for RTGI, may make the game even more visually striking no matter the current weather. Combine this with the first point about optimization, FSR, and general engine work – this can work!
More engagement with NPCs (and better AI)!
Valheim has reasonable AI all things considered. Enemies and animals have simple routines, but they work well and it is relatively light on system resources. Enemies from one faction or biome can also attack or hunt those of another one. For example, the Fulings (Goblins) from the Plains would engage any undead from the Black Forest or the Swamps, if they see them of course. One thing that does make me wonder though – how would the game world be if the animals and enemies were simulated to some degree even outside of the player’s view range? Or if there were more factions and historicity within the game world? I am unsure how this would pan out in Valheim, but it does spark my imagination.
A different but I guess linked topic would be to add more ways to interact with neutral or friendly or tamed NPCs within the game world. Mistlands specifically has some surprises here, but I do believe more can be done. Some modders have added quest systems too, so that would be an interesting idea to pursuit either way.
This marks the end of this article. I absolutely adore Valheim and playing it with friends for more than 270 hours has been an amazing experience! I hope the developers continue working on this project and finish this awesome indie title!
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