Valheim - a viking multiplayer exploration and survival game by Coffee Stain

I’m disappointed, but i knew i was going to be.

I am still waiting for a player magic system. I played it up until the swamp boss and just got bored of it.

It must be hard to concentrate on creating content, when you’re spending most of your time trying to decide which island to buy.

Heh. They are (or were, anyway) a very small team, from what I recall? Hiring more devs helps but in the short term it’s a major drag on getting things done. The new people have to be onboarded, learn the codebase, etc. and that tends to involve a lot of guidance and tutoring from the vets, instead of them just being able to focus on getting things done.

At least that’s been my experience working on a small team. We’ve been down a developer but have held off hiring a replacement until we release our next product because we can’t afford the time right now. If they’ve expanded, hopefully things begin to pick up.

I get it. And i understand to a large degree. Unparalleled success can be really tough to motivate through (and I mean that earnestly - it can be terribly hard to perform again when you’ve done awesomely). And you couple that with bonuses, and ponies, and all sorts of stuff and it’s really easy to lose focus. And if you’re a small team, maybe you don’t have really good management that has experience in how to guide people through that (success). Thats one reason so many of those dot com companies failed.

So, ya, perhaps they take a performance hit because of hiring, and ya, they take a performance hit because of the pandemic. But now’s the time to settle down and get comfortable - because they likely burned through a ton of their good will and they’ve had a great start, but really only two of their 8 or 9 zones are anywhere close to complete, and people are likely gonna get pissed if they don’t start releasing content on a more regular basis.

At this point, I am sort of forgetting about this game. I made it through all the content so far and definitely got my money’s worth out of it.

I hope they eventually release the rest of the zones and progress they had planned, and fine tune and flesh out more of the current biomes, and then I will run through it all again. I could see myself coming back every year or two like I do in ARK when they release new content, if they continue to do that. Hopefully they will be able to get their team focused and give us some more adventures, and at a little bit of a faster rate in the coming years.

If I were one of these devs, I’d just take my ball and go home at this point. They could easily spend years logging countless hours toiling away at this game, and to what end? It’s a great experience for what it is, but I’m not sure expanding it too much holds any real value vs going and lying in a hammock on a beach somewhere with a butler bringing you mai tais. Sometimes it hard to accept that you did it, you won, you don’t need to keep trying to do it.

Do you really want to spend 18 hours a day with your nose stuck in code, when you now have the resources to literally do and see anything you want? It’s a quality of life issue, or at least it would be for me. Trying to please cantankerous internet neckbeards, or eating tiramisu with super models…hmmm, tough choice.

It really depends on how passionate they are about their game. The nearest analog I can think of is Hello Games and NMS. Another small indie developer who also made a crap ton of money on release. They could have taken the money, packed up and gone home but instead have spent years making free improvement after improvement to their game.

Then again, other other hand, there’s Notch. I guess we’ll see.

Yeah, I guess we will find out.

In some ways they maybe messed up being still in EA and promising all sorts of extra features and biomes as part of the initial game. I just double checked and it says this on the Steam page, “Feature-wise the game is about 75% complete and content-wise it is about 50% complete.” That certainly may give them less desire to progress as they won’t have a new product to sell to generate more revenue. Sure, some new people will purchase it, but man they sure had a lot buy it already and it would be great for them to release some sort of DLC or map packs to capitalize on that install base.

I am sure that is tough to decide at the beginning, though. When they first released the EA on Steam, it was probably hard to judge how much to promise to get people interested and to purchase your new game, and how much to hold back to optimize your return for the future.

It was like 3 dudes. I’m not sure there was any holding back to be had there.

Oh, I get that. I meant they could have released it on Steam and said it was say 95% complete and just fine tuned and fixed bugs. There is quite a bit of content already right now.

I just meant they could have held back all the plans for the new biomes/areas and things like the Hearth and Home for further updates/DLC. That could have reduced their initial sales, sure, but I am thinking most would have still purchased it.

Probably so.

But I do think it can benefit greatly from more fleshing out. The core of experience is there, but I look forward to a better mid to late game progression as it starts to feel pretty sloggy near the 3rd or 4th boss in terms of gear reliance and how long it takes to do anything.

But they can take their time, I have other things to do while I wait and can still enjoy farting around the world with my kid in streaks when new things get added.

Very true! I am almost itching for another run on a new map.

I just hope it doesn’t get too overwhelming for them. True, they got rich and should be in great shape now, but I could see all the attention and pressure making it hard to finish up, along with the mountains of money as people have said. I hope they do, though! I am looking forward to more similar content for sure.

Do you know how sometimes you get into a project with a lot of goals and then it gets the point where you say “this is so complex I’m never gonna be able to do all these things “… I wonder if we’re at that stage. Would these guys burn a lot of goodwill if they said they weren’t going to do all the promised biomes etc. and decided to put that in Valheim 2?

This is where good management is very important. There are ways to motivate people through success - and I don’t think it’s any harder, it just takes a different mind/toolset.

And very much doubt they just split the money or anything. I would hope everyone got some good bonuses, but the company would want to hold onto that capital - ensure everyone they have employment for the foreseeable future, do some strategic hiring, and then show everyone the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, hoping they have some good management…

Absolutely yes. I can see the Steam reviews from here. Developer “abandoned” the game for a “cash grab” and making people pay twice for promised content.


Internet weirdos already treat Early Access games as if that’s some common outcome, when I think that’s actually a rare occurrence.

It’s good to mentally assume that any Early Access game might never get done, or might even become something you no longer wish it to be, but I’ve seen shit loads of them become amazing and very few that were objective failures or scams.

Yeah; I tend to avoid early access games like the plague, but I made an exception for Valheim thanks to everyone here and I’m glad I did. I play it regularly with a few friends. We’ve restarted worlds a couple times (including with the 1.3 update) and have just really sunk into the gameplay. I’m also impressed at how well it seems to scale; I first played it on my 2500k and 970 GTX, where it looked “meh” but ran quite smoothly. Then I played it on my 5900X and 3080 RTX and it looks remarkable and still runs smoothly.

The article isn’t wrong, and mirrors some of the thoughts here.

I wonder how many of these problems would have persisted if they didn’t publish (on launch day, i’ll add) a roadmap for 2021 which had 4 updates on it?

I’m sure some people would still be pissed, of course, some people always are. But the argument remains that if they just titled that “Roadmap” instead of “Roadmap 2021”, you’d have way less to be pissed at. And frankly, if you really wanted to go there, you could make an argument that this was something of a bait and switch, with 4 months of delay between “Roadmap 2021” and the announcement that there was “a change to the roadmap” - that’s at least 5.8 million sales, based on 2021 roadmap being announced on feb 2, 1 million vikings announced on feb 10, and 6.8 million vikings on May 20.

So maybe a better article from PC Gamer would ask “how could have Iron Gate and Coffee Stain managed expectations for their smash hit better?”

But i just woke up early from a siesta to find i’m late in starting up my dinner prep and i’m maybe a little snarly…