Valnir Rok is a multiplayer online sandbox survival roleplaying game that just entered Early Access on Steam, giving yet another option in an already crowded genre. Finding a way to set itself apart from other survival games will be paramount to its success. The developers at Germany based encurio seem to be up to the task by adding some life to their sandbox world.
Valnir Rok is poised to bring something to the table other survival games lack - an opportunity for roleplay. True, a veteran roleplayer merely needs an audience to perform, but many of us need a backdrop to help us along the way. From the time you wash up upon the shore, the lone survivor from your destroyed ship, you will choose how you leave your mark upon the world that lies before you.
Valnir Island is a world steeped in Viking lore. Unlike many survival games that give you a completely blank canvas to begin your story, you and the other players are not the only humans in your new surroundings. You will find altars where sacrifices to the gods can be performed, NPC traders to barter with (coming soon), and villages filled with inhabitants waiting to send you on quests for loot and glory.
Don’t worry, if you prefer the blank slate approach, you can skip straight to the building, crafting, and combat that is at the heart of any decent survival game. Crafting has a multi-tiered discovery system. You will start off with the typical gathering of resources, then experiment with different combinations to learn recipes for weapons, armor, and structures.
Once well provisioned, players will be able to build settlements of their own. Create a clan, build your guild hall, and rule the surrounding countryside. How you deal with other clans you come across is up to you; form an uneasy alliance, or conquer all you encounter to become the strongest Jarl the world has ever seen. Just remember, you will have to defend your holdings when your enemies return, so be prepared.
Being a ruler isn’t the only option available to you. If you prefer combat, blaze your trail as a mercenary for hire or become a bounty hunter, searching out the vile scum plaguing the countryside. You will find many challenges to test your mettle, starting with lowly boars and wolves, then moving on to more formidable foes such as undead and werewolves. The bravest, or possibly craziest, will even be able to test their skills against powerful beasts such as trolls and dragons! More peaceful endeavors are available to those who wish to take that path; craft goods to supply your clan, travel the countryside selling your wares for profit, or possibly become a cleric, performing great deeds for the gods.
Valnir Rok shows a lot of promise, and I have enjoyed my time in the game thus far. The game is still in an alpha state, so if you decide to check it out, be prepared for some hiccups. Many of the game systems are still under construction, so don’t be surprised by placeholders for things like character abilities or job boards. There are several bugs (quests not completing on the first try, the map quits scrolling, mobs do not aggro when attacked at a distance), but the build seems stable as I have yet to encounter a crash. If this is too daunting for you, be sure to check back for updates as development progresses.