Valheim, an open world sandbox and survival sandbox that takes place in the Viking purgatory, is filled with deadly enemies. There are goblins, skeletons, ghosts and trolls who will fight against any player they see. But the absolute greatest danger in the world turns out to be not a weeping dwarf or a lightning-shooting elk, but the humble tree.
This is not a supernatural phenomenon at all, like a scary ent or a nature communication. Only normal, large trees in the world turn out to be surprisingly deadly. Valheim has a robust physics system, especially compared to many other survival games. When you mine ore, the stones around the copper are knocked away; the enemy̵
This also applies to trees. In some games, a tree falls harmlessly over and then disappears without a collision. IN Valheim, when a tree trunk goes down, it goes down hard. Falling trees can one-shot unprepared players and crush through wooden bases. They do not rotate. This is a game where shouting “TIMBER” is absolutely necessary, otherwise you hug your friends (or yourself) like little bugs.
To make matters worse, enemies can knock down trees by making attacks with range. There is nothing that makes a Viking feel more foolish than to stay at a distance, pepper a troll with arrows, only to miss the giant log that crashes down over their heads.
If you are not yet worried about deadly trees, trolls and other large monsters can grab logs and use them as makeshift weapons. There’s nothing more frightening than dragging a troll through the Black Forest, and feeling a wave of triumph when their health falls … just for them to crush you with a log and turn you into Viking salsa.
Players mostly take this with good humor, but some are already trying to find ways around the tree. Some groups build logging camps, far away from the main base, where they can cut trees without having to worry about losing longhouses or carefully built workstations in the process. Other actors try to use the logs as temporary bridges – or even as the basis for other construction projects that go so far up in the sky that nothing can affect them.
Valheim is a very new game, still in early access. It’s likely that developer Iron Gate will add much more deadly threats to the world as development continues. But for now, tree trunks seem to be one of the deadliest elements in Valheim. No one suspects that an innocent tree appears to be a weapon of mass destruction. For now, the best thing players can do is keep in mind physics, shout “TIMBER” when necessary, and never stand on the bottom of a hill while chopping down trees. If you die, no worries – at this point it is basically a rite of passage.