The Story Behind the Surging Popularity of Valheim

by in General | Feb, 23rd 2021

From time to time, a game’s popularity skyrockets, and it becomes a worldwide gaming phenomenon. The most recent examples would be Fall Guys and Among Us. They both became viral sensations, skyrocketing to the top of the popularity charts in no time. However, they lost their relevance pretty quickly too. At the moment, Valheim popularity is experiencing rapid growth, though that begs an important question. Will Valheim popularity lose its relevance, too, just months after its release?

Well, that’s what this piece is all about, boys and girls! We’re going to be talking about the game’s popularity and things that make it stand out from other similar titles. It’s going to be a short, straight-to-the-point piece following the game’s rapid growth and viral potential.

WTF Is Valheim?

Let’s start with the basics!

Valheim got its early access release on Feb. 2. Almost three weeks in, and the game already has more than three million downloads. It’s knocking down top-rated games like GTA V off the Steam Charts’ top, cementing its spot among Steam’s finest. Last weekend, Valheim popularity was off the charts, coming in just a few K shy of 500,000 concurrent players. 

It’s one of the fastest-growing games of all time, but that doesn’t mean it will keep on growing like this. Such an explosion in popularity doesn’t necessarily guarantee good long-term results. But hey, if Iron Gate studios do an excellent job with updates, they might be able to keep the flow going for a bit longer.

The price tag is adequate too! Valheim is an exploration/survival game that costs $20 on Steam. It’s currently in Early Access, with constant updates, fixes, and new content. Created by Iron Gate, Valheim took the gaming world by storm, offering a unique survival experience set in a Viking world, going toe-to-toe with AC Valhalla.

However, the two games are miles apart in terms of gameplay. Their only touching point is the Viking connotation, and that’s where the comparisons end.

Which games are best compared to Valheim? Well, any game from the exploration/survival genre. The genre is incredibly diverse, so let’s take a closer look!

Games Similar to Valheim

The exploration/survival genre has a ton of games for you to choose from, ranging from titles like Minecraft and Raft all the way to more serious stuff like The Forest and Rust. There are numerous other examples out there; these are just the most relevant ones.

Valheim has notable differences; it brings forth a new spin on the whole genre, with significant gameplay alterations that proved to be a massive hit with the audience. Its gameplay alterations are the reason behind such a massive explosion of Valheim popularity.

Surging Valheim Popularity

What’s so special about Valheim? Fall Guys had a great twist on the battle royale genre. Among Us had that viral something. What is Valheim bringing to the table? What are the things that helped push the game’s popularity to massive heights?

Let’s find out!

Forgiving Gameplay

Other survival games typically focus on heavy survival elements. You always need to search for food and water and keep other “health” factors at bay. It’s a list of chores. The key behind Valheim popularity is that the game basically eliminated all such chores but still kept hunger/thirst mechanics.

You don’t constantly need to address them, but you do get health and stamina bonuses if you’re well-fed and rested. Combine that with generally forgiving gameplay (except for the boss fights), the ability to rebuild your base and repair items with no extra cost, and other small caveats, and you’ll understand why Valheim’s gameplay is so forgiving yet so charming.

Intuitive Mechanics

As mentioned above, Valheim gameplay is somewhat forgiving. Not only that – it’s intuitive too. The crafting mechanics are straightforward; required materials are easily visible. There’s not too much grinding, though it all depends on how you play the game.

The building mechanics are straightforward too. Not only can you build massive bases, but you can also sculpt the ground and alter it to your base’s needs. Best of all, you can demolish stuff you’ve built, and you’ll get your items back. No extra cost, no penalties, nothing!

The repair system might not be that intuitive. I’ve spent a few minutes figuring out how exactly bow repair works. Once I’ve figured it out, it was A-okay. Plus, it’s free of charge. Thank you, Valheim!

Coop Action

One last thing – cooperative gameplay! Valheim can be played in coop pve mode for up to 10 players. Yep, you and nine buddies can go on an epic Norse adventure! Other games in the genre are either based on a hardcore singleplayer experience or feature a competitive multiplayer environment. Valheim is somewhere in the middle, offering a cooperative experience similar to that of Raft. It’s packed with intuitive coop design and proper PvE action, and it seems like both are significant pluses in its arsenal.

Wrapping Everything Up

Valheim popularity is still showing off positive trends, and the story could continue for a few more weeks. After that, I expect a steady decline, perhaps a bit less aggressive than that of Among us and Fall Guys. Let’s be real here, the popularity drop is inevitable, no matter what the devs do in terms of updates!

What are your thoughts on Valheim? Have you tested it out yet? If yes, how far have you come? Tell us all about your Valheim experience down in the comments section!

As always, thanks for reading!


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