Content Type: Gaming News
Date: August 31, 2021
Valheim took the gaming world by storm, snagging the #5 on Steam’s all-time concurrent players list despite being the first release from small Swedish development team, Iron Gate Studio. Many of these players are either still in the game or will be more than eager to return with the release of the game’s first expansion, the Hearth & Home, dropping on September 16th.
With the game still in Early Access, we have heard some members of the gaming community express worries that the small team of five will not be able to keep up with the impatient expectations and demands of the players: “What took Hearth & Home so long?” “Hearth and Home? Where are the Weapons and Monsters?”.
Well, fellow fans, the Iron Gate Studio is definitely not backing down from the challenge, with three new members joining the team this month (animator, programmer, and QA manager) and the upcoming expansion promising many new items and a list of improvements in several areas of the game.
If you think Valheim’s Hearth & Home will not have much to offer, expect some surprises: developers have shown us glimpses of the new food types and UI, some health and stamina specialization, a few additions to shields and defense, new cooking upgrades and ingredients, and have promised new additions to the furniture selection and building in general!
Also, very important: puking Vikings.
In order to discuss what’s coming up we don’t even need to do much speculation, since developers have already discussed and demonstrated some of these features. So, get comfy in your Raven throne and let’s see what has been officially revealed about Hearth & Home so far.
Old Food Bar is No More: Welcome Food Timers!
Remember the multi-tier food bar hanging out next to your health bar? Well, now that UI bit is gone: instead, you will see food icons with timers that will indicate the time left before the boost effect wears off. Icons will still blink when there is only a half of the total time left.
Oh, by the way, there is also a new bit that will work with what we will discuss in the next section (Health and Stamina, that is): food now has specializations!
Inside your inventory you will now see a little fork icon in the corner of each meal:
- A Red Fork means that the food will give you a lot more Health (cooked lox meat, for example, will only get you 10 Stamina, but will give you a solid boost of 50 Health).
- A Yellow Fork means that the food is meant to boost your Stamina (blood pudding will only boost your Health by 14, but your Stamina will increase by 70).
- A White Fork will designate foods that are still a balance between the two types of boosts (boar jerky, a new food, gives 20 to both Health and Stamina.)
Some players noticed that the effects of these foods have been a bit diminished as a result — for example, Blood pudding went from a 90/50 health/stamina to 14/70. Turnip stew was 50/60, before it was changed to 11/55.
This will mean that current players will have to switch some things up (a lot of us just started using the same three meals), but this also means even more pressure on the already cramped inventory. There is hoping that new ingredients and tools will more than make up for that.
Stamina for Damage, Health for Blocking Power
And this is why the food specialization matters. Eh… aside from making travel and fighting in a hilly region a bit less of a sprint-stamina-hell.
Stamina is a great companion to dealing damage, if you attack from range and dodge, for example. Now, on the other hand, Health is essential to tanking. It’s important to note that Blocking Power is now based on your maximum health, but there is even more.
Health now boosts your resistance to Staggering, with the Stagger Bar being a new addition to the game, visible next to your character.
Once the bar is full, you will be staggered. More Health points will allow you to absorb more Staggering damage before that happens.
Will these changes be enough to push players towards one specialization over another? Not everyone in the community feels sure about this, but the full extent of these changes is yet to be seen.
Shields Specialization: Knockback
Speaking of blocking! Remember Tower Shields?
Well, if you only kind of do, know that they are getting a solid boost in Knockback power against opponents in Hearth & Home. Sure, this one is still very slow, but it will now have no match in defensive play, especially when being surrounded by multiple enemies.
Here’s the catch: just like food, shields are getting a bit of a specialization themselves, on a gradient of Knockback vs. Parry.
On the opposite end from the Tower Shield is the Buckler, allowing to actively Parry incoming attacks at the cost of blocking efficiency. Regular Round Shield will pretty much stay as it is, offering a little bit towards both defense strategies.
Cauldron Upgrades, Meats, and… Plantable Onions!
Also, you can now eat bukeperries to buke on command upon any friend or foe as the ultimate intimidation tactic (yeah, I would probably keep my distance from that one, too). Well, alright, that’s actually something to use to clean up your food slots in a way that your character will absolutely hate you for.
In all seriousness, though, remember how we mentioned our hope for new cooking tools and ingredients? Well, that’s because we already know that there will be some!
Valheim’s Hearth & Home comes with cooking extensions for your Cauldron, since it felt like it was a bit neglected compared to the other crafting stations.
Expect upgrades like the butcher’s table, spice rack, and pots and pans!
Also, a Stone Oven! Why? Well, because it’s about time your character stopped trying to figure out cooking bread in the Cauldron. Ditch bread soup, it’s time for properly baked breads and pies with the latest in the modern Stove Oven tech!
Man, what did ancient people do before baking was a thing…? Gotta feel bad for them, boiled bread doesn’t sound great.
By the way, Onions! That is, growing onions! Because we are all kind of sick of carrot soup. Think there is a Viking version of onion rings? Because that just sounds delicious.
To help our Viking with a more balanced diet, the Raw Meat now comes in three new variants: deer meat, wolf meat, and boar meat (probably used for the new boar jerky).
This is to add, uh, a little more variety to hunting (now there is a point in going after different animals aside from taming!), but also to support the many new recipes we will see in Hearth & Home!
(Guess now we can just go ahead and try them all out at once with using the new puking ability in between…?)
New food and shield specializations, additional features for health vs. stamina, new cooking tools, and probably plenty more we haven’t seen yet (we know there will be more features and items added to building!): does Hearth & Home make you feel like hopping back into the game?
If yes, we want to hear about your favorite new feature so far! Or, did you even need more encouragement to play Valheim again?
If not, why? If not these, what kind of features were you hoping to see? What are your expectations for when the game leaves Early Access?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!