Image credit: RastaGeckoo on Reddit (opens in new tab)
Co-op Viking survival game Valheim (opens in new tab) has blasted off like Thor taking a ride on the Bifrost. In just a week of Early Access it's already cracked the 100,000 concurrent player count (opens in new tab) and the top 10 list on Steam.
And as players build forts, battle monsters, and sail further into the world—occasionally sailing a bit too far (opens in new tab)—they're also making discoveries about what's out there on Valheim's startling massive map.
That includes a few intriguing mysteries. Several players have reported spotting someone else in the world, a mysterious, shadowy figure that appears to be watching them. This character has been described as wearing a hood or a cloak, and appears to be holding a staff or a cane. (One player on Reddit described it (opens in new tab) as "Looks like Obi Wan from Star Wars, but with the staff from Gandalf.") This mysterious figure has apparently been spotted in the Swamps biome, and quickly vanishes when approached or attacked.
Theories abound! One player thought it was the grim reaper, and said the figure's eyes were glowing red and it was holding a scythe. Others thought it might be a wraith, a spectral enemy in Valheim (that also wears a dark hood) that spawns in the Swamps biome—the same region the hooded figure has been spotted.
The most popular theory is that the figure is, in fact, Odin, the Allfather. Basically the top dog in Norse mythology. You know. Thor's dad.
And that seems pretty likely. In Valheim, players are slain Viking souls, sent to purgatory to summon and defeat The Forsaken, Odin's powerful enemies. Surely, Odin might pop down from Asgard from time to time to see how they're getting on with it.
Also, several players have said (and one screenshot shows) the figure appears to have a single, glowing eye. (Odin gave up one of his eyes in exchange for gaining cosmic wisdom). Odin was also known for disguising himself as a traveler (opens in new tab), depicted with a cloak, a hood or a hat, and a staff or a spear. Fits the bill.
We'll have to wait for more sightings before we know for sure. Mainly, it's just a fun little mystery, and it's not the only creepy blue-eyed man (opens in new tab) players have met in games lately. I haven't seen this shadowy figure yet myself, but then I haven't even made it to the Swamps biome yet. If it is Odin, I guess he's just not interested in my quiet little carrot farm.