The characterization of a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO, is self-explanatory. Or is it? By definition, it means a large number of players on the same server — hundreds, thousands — and a big open world that continues to evolve. So does Valheim, an upcoming (it’s still in early access) survival and sandbox video game by Iron Gate Studio, have the potential?
It’s not an MMO, for numerous reasons. The game can be played entirely solo or you can adventure with nine of your friends. What I’d like to talk about in this entry of the “Is It An MMO?” series however is could Valheim be an MMO if it wanted to?
The game has gained a massive following and is already financially successful thanks to its accessible gameplay and building mechanics. And while Valheim’s procedurally generated open world doesn’t allow more than 10 players to explore it, the place is huge. There’s also RPG elements in the form of player skills, and the risk of losing your stuff upon death would be interesting if there were potential PvP encounters. The bosses are cool too, with their own mechanics and difficulties that beg for help from others. These fights could be expanded into raids, and the addition of world bosses would take things to a whole nother level.
That brings me to my next point: guilds/factions. The game as an MMO could center around wars, fighting for resources that are inherently scarce throughout the world. There would be contentions over specific areas of the map and forts available for control. Throw in features like wagons and horses, that are susceptible to robbery by other players, too. Instead of focusing on individual player progression, the “Valheim MMO” would rather aim to capitalize on the sandbox-ness that it already does so well. Therefore, the emphasis would be on teamwork and creativity, with the ultimate goal of wealth and power.
While the official game does not have any of these MMO features I mentioned above, there are of course mods already out there that do. Some of these servers allow for player counts in the thousands, in fact. They even include a player in-game economy and RPG-styled gear, as well as vendors and NPCs. There’s also events, dungeons, raids, and quests. It doesn’t end there too, these mods include PvP zones, PvE boss zones, and PvE battlefield zones. Some of them have progression paths too, like farming, combat, and cooking.
It’s certainly possible for a Valheim MMO to exist. The only question I have at this point though, is should it? One MMO that comes to mind that kind of covers much of what we talked about is New World, yet it doesn’t quite capture the magic of Valheim, especially when it comes to the sandbox nature. I’m not saying turn Valheim into an MMO, but I do think it would be neat if the developers made an MMO-esque sequel for the game. Or, upon official launch, perhaps Iron Gate Studios could allow servers that broke the current 10-player limit into the hundreds, maybe thousands, and were publicly accessible. I don’t know about you, but I’d for sure check it out.
About the Author
Matthew “dinofries” D'Onofrio is a writer, content creator, podcaster and — most importantly — a gamer. With such a strong passion for video games and a severe case of FOMO, it's no surprise he always has his finger on the pulse of the gaming world (And won't shut up about it). On the rare occasion Matt's away from a screen, you'll find him strumming away on his acoustic guitar or taking care of his cat Totoro.
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