Last week I ducked into my Valheim server for the first time in a month or so to check out what a few friends were building on a far-flung continent in our game world. I left the frozen mountainside of my hilltop retreat, took the portal to our original town and navigated the stone streets to our Portal Hall. Upon reaching what we are affectionately calling Rohan, night had fallen and a massive rainstorm had moved in.
Since the whole point of this was for me to see the landscape and what my friends had built, we decided to go to sleep for the night. Instead of constructing a bed there, though, I opted to go back to our large town and use the bed in my house. However, when I portaled back I was met face to face with a monstrous troll who was in the process of smashing up what we had come to call the Historic District.
Troll defeated, I assessed the damage and realized that while our Golden Mead Hall (Meduseld) was barely scratched, my house was completely destroyed. It was a sad moment as this was the very first building constructed in what would be the sprawling city of Ballz Town (taken from our group’s catchphrase, Tawdry Ballz).
While at first I just played it off, making jokes that this was a “black day” or quoting Theoden’s speech to the Rohirrim before they charged into the plains of the Pelennor to Gondor’s aid, the more I’ve thought about it since the more depressed I’ve become.
The remnants of the first settlement
Way back when Valheim launched (and by way back I mean February), I started the dedicated server thinking only a few of my friends would join and we’d have some fun, but nothing real major. Since it’s a survival game, only one or two of our group besides me really enjoys them. We did not expect (nor do I think many people did at first) for it be as addicting and enjoyable as it became.
When it was just me on our Valheim server, though, I moved away from the tiny shack I built near the server spawn in the hopes of gathering copper from the Black Forest biome near me. As I walked into a glade I found a run down settlement, complete with traditional Viking buildings built close to the ground. It was simple, but I found myself claiming that area without much thought other than to just create a small place I could sleep at night and store copper to move back to the shores of a nearby lake where I had originally intended to build up my camp. I demolished the houses and on one of the plots I built a nearly identical house. It was small, but it worked for what I had originally planned it for: sleep and storage.
As my friends started trickling into the Valheim server, though, they started to take over the area themselves. This tiny house which was never meant to be more than a footnote in my journey through the Viking afterlife turned into the epicenter for the large town we ended up constructing over the next several weeks. Historic Ballz Town was formed as Meduseld, the Portal Hall, a tree house, the Great Watch Tower of Amon Sul and more were constructed around it. We built a large wall to protect our buildings from the denizens of the Black Forest on our border, and even constructed stone pathways through the forest biome to the sea, where our Harbors stand as beacons of civilization to weary ship farers coming home.
My new home, but still not the same as the old original.
Through all the construction and upgrades, my house stayed the same. I never felt the need to build a large house there, instead opting to construct a house on the Plains or my eventual mountain top cabin. I felt comfort in knowing that this tiny house I had built reminded us of the humble beginnings and how a small cabin meant for nothing more than just a passing storage space while I explored turned into the epicenter of the largest settlement on our server.
And now it’s a crumpled ruin. The foundation is still there. You can clearly see where I had to raise the ground at the end of the building to attach a chimney (as you need a nearby fire for your bed to work apparently), one of the original walls is still standing (complete with surtling trophy), and a few chests. But other than that it’s all gone. The beehives nearby were also mostly destroyed, though we’ve rebuilt them in the aftermath. We’ve also strengthened our wall to hopefully ensure this doesn’t happen again any time soon. But I’m not sure I want to rebuild my original house. It just wouldn’t be the same for me.
So now my original house stands as a historic ruin, a reminder of the house that started it all for my friends and myself. While we’ve all mostly moved on to other games while we wait for Valheim to be updated, we always talked about hopping back in the Viking survival game every once in a while to explore more or build up more of our large city.
However, as we do the latter, we’ll have to do so without the building that started it all. And that has an air of sadness I don’t think I’ll shake for a while.