Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Haas & Home-Walheim’s long voyage with early access

Valheim swept the gaming world when it launched Early Access in February of this year.Launch of a complex survival game created by five powerful Swedish (at that time) Iron Gate Studios 9/10 I bit the review And by March Over 1 million players per team member..

Seven months later, Steam’s player charts are skyrocketing again, thanks to the release of Valheim’s first major update, Hearth and Home. Dropping content makes various changes to all aspects of the game. There are new building possibilities, new items (especially in the mountains), new food and more.

Veterans of other survival games like Subnautica and The Forest probably don’t think about it, but for some, seven months is a long time to wait between drinks. And for IronGate Studio, it was a matter of priority.

It’s not all murder and mayhem, you know.

“Basically, it was very important to fix a lot of bugs right after the release because of the large number of people playing,” said Henrik Tonqvist, co-founder of Iron Gate Studio. “No one expected Valheim to become popular shortly after its launch, so making the game available to everyone was a daunting task.”

“I think you said internally that you wanted to start working on Haas and Home two weeks after Early Access. [launch] “At least that was the plan,” added Irongate lead artist Robin Eyre. And you need someone who can play the game as well as push the content of the broken game. And there are still problems, but I think it was the right choice.It was also like a disguised blessing, as every player who participated in the game was able to actually find everything. [bugs] Not found in beta. “

So if you Launch of Walheim, You will see the team had a grand plan for what they would put out before the end of 2021.

“There was a roadmap at the time of launch,” explains Henrik. “Many updates were planned, but we decided to abandon them and adopt a more dynamic plan for the game, which means we’re planning the big picture, using new biomes and more. It’s clear, but having a roadmap isn’t really tolerable to us because we developed the game so that there’s always something new we’re thinking of and we didn’t want to be tied up. I understand [those things].. “

“And again, the problem I think [milestones on] The roadmap seemed a bit bigger than it really was, “continues Robin. “It sounds louder than it really is, like ship customizations and wolf cults that were on the roadmap. That doesn’t mean they’re completely off the roadmap. Instead, when you have time, I’m going to push them during a larger content patch. Don’t hype or promote it [major] The only way is to push it out to people and allow them to test and play with it.

“It makes sense to push it as a small update to get one enemy a week and another enemy the next week instead of the next big thing we’re working on. There is no .. it really doesn’t make sense. “

“We want to do it in a more organic way,” Henrik concludes.

In many respects, it’s as if Walheim mimics a typical survival gaming experience. Developing Walheim seems to be a lot like playing Walheim. There, you’ll find that you’re putting together these grand plans, embarking on a mission, and doing something very different along the way. And over time, you’ll complete your project, but those detours you’ve taken also add a lot to your experience.

This is a great castle, but make sure there is no pool, English.

This is a great castle, but make sure there is no pool, English.

That experience has helped the IronGate team respond quickly to problems. Over the weekend, it quickly became apparent that the new food system wasn’t working as intended. Hearth and Home has added a number of new recipes, readjusted what food does for those who eat it, and categorized each meal into one of three areas. Health, stamina, and both.

Eating health foods or stamina foods improves each statistic significantly, while the third category of foods improves both, but not so much. It has been narrowed down to a more focused role-based combat system, coupled with general combat rebalancing. Health players can focus on tanks, and stamina players can deal sustained damage. Also, players will never play tanks or DPS because they can switch roles simply by eating a different meal.

However, it was adjusted a little aggressively, especially for solo players. People who played alone realized that they were struggling with the content they wanted to do, as they couldn’t wear the damage they once had or participate in combat for a long time. It used to be dominant.

Irongate pushed out the balance patch before the end of the weekend, adding health to the stamina hood, stamina to the health hood, and a little bit of both in between, and responded quickly. However, some people are still struggling.

And Hearthstone.

And Hearthstone.

“I was a little worried that the current food system system might be too harsh for some people,” Robin explains. “Especially those who enter the second half of the game, those who do not start over. If you only go to the second half of the game, you just eat random food, such as when you are in the plains. [you find there], You will probably die. “

“Balance patch … most people seem pretty happy with it,” explains Henrik. “But with that said, we are always watching what people are saying.”

That is the posture to move the iron gate. The team pays close attention to what the community says and tells you how to continue developing the game, not drive. It’s a constant balancing act. Items such as the Cartography table, which allows players to share maps with each other, and the Obliterator, which discards items. This eliminates the need to create a landfill when something becomes unavailable. Both of these were suggestions from the community. ..



But nothing else the fans are screaming for doesn’t exist yet. For example, the inventory system is very restrictive. Backpack space is limited and there is a burden system to deal with. Warehouse management is Valheim’s true last boss. Deciding what to bring and what to leave can be as important to success as eating the right food.

However, the inventory system is all part of the same balancing act, managing what the player wants for the game IronGate wants to make.

“So basically, when playing a survival game, I think one of the big choices you make is what to take and what to leave,” says Robin. “So if you ask me, I’m a little struggling to try to give you more inventory space, because I think the choices you make make it more interesting, but obviously there’s a limit somewhere. There is, and when we feel we’ve reached that limit, I think many players have already reached that limit at Irongate’s limits, but once that limit is reached, we may be able to review it again. . “

“This is one classic example of the problem that what we want from Walheim and what our fans want is what we have to deal with,” Henrik adds with a laugh. increase. “Don’t fool us. It’s clear that people want more inventory space, and that’s what we’re talking about.”

And sloths love chunks.

And sloths love chunks.

My pitch? Hearth and Home allows you to place your saddle in a tame Loxen. Why don’t you use a saddle bag? Then load the giant woolen bison onto the ship and sail across the ocean with those bags full. A sea snake will appear, destroy the boat and send everything you own to the bottom of the sea.

“It’s perfect,” says Robin.

“No comments,” Henrik adds.

From here, Iron Gate shows the way to Mistlands, a whole new biome with all the new elements to explore. They put the details close to their chests, but what we know is to give players more of what they love about Balheim, while staying true to the grand Viking vision of the Swedish team. is.

Joab Gilroy is an Australian freelancer specializing in competitive online games. You can tweet him here..