Valheim developer believes paid mods are 'against the creative and open spirit of modding'

Valheim Viking giving thumbs up
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim developers Iron Gate have been "getting a lot of questions regarding mods" lately, so the team has issued a statement clarifying its stance on Valheim mods in general and more specific aspects of the game's relationship with unofficial addons.

"First of all, while we don't have any official mod support, we are definitely happy to see that people are engaging with our game and creating their own mods for it," Iron Gate opens in a Steam news update. They go on to describe having a creative community around Valheim as "flattering" before getting to a more serious disclaimer about Iron Gate's liability regarding mods, pointing out that "any creating and using of mods is done at your own risks," and that "we can't guarantee mods will be compatible with newer versions of the game."

Iron Gate then moves on to what is apparently the most popular question surrounding Valheim mods, namely paid mods. The developer is blunt on this point. "Iron Gate does not condone locking modded content behind a paywall," the post explains. "We feel that charging money for a mod is against the creative and open spirit of modding itself, and therefore we urge all mod authors to make their mods freely available to all who want to play them."

It's worth noting Iron Gate is not entirely unsympathetic regarding the work that goes into mods, suggesting players can show support for modders with a "voluntary donation," but they are firm on the point of direct payments for access: "We do not want payment to be a requirement to access a mod". It isn't clear what Iron Gate's response would be if someone did try to sell access to a mod, whether or not they would actively seek to have that mod shut down.

Iron Gate rounds out the statement by requesting modders explicate the unofficial nature of their mods "both in the game and on any website where the mod is available." This seems slightly odd, as mods are unofficial by their nature. But Iron Gate does at least explain its reason for requesting this. "Sometimes joining a modded dedicated server will automatically trigger a download of a mod, and we simply want to avoid confusion for players so that they can know whether or not they are playing a modded game." They then point out that Valheim "already has a feature" for flagging modded servers, which probably should have been pointed out first, as otherwise it sounds like they're asking modders to take an additional step.

It's been a while since the argument over paid mods was dug up. Way back in 2015, Valve briefly had a paid mods feature in Skyrim's steam workshop, but dropped the idea after a vicious backlash. Gabe Newell maintained that Valve would allow modders to be paid back in 2017, but so far no system has emerged to replace it. Perhaps that's because these days, most modders who want to make bank from their mods, such as Team Beef, do so via Patreon and other subscription services, enabling players to support them financially without necessitating direct transactions for specific mods.