Valheim is getting a creative mode and some truly brutal hardcore difficulty options

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

As teased back in January, Iron Gate Studio has been working on adding difficulty settings for Viking survival game Valheim. Today on Twitter Valheim lead designer Jonathan Smårs gave us a quick look at what's planned, ranging from a creative mode that lets you build without resources to a peaceful "casual" mode to a hardcore setting that will brutally punish the bravest (or most foolhardy) players.

Smårs says these settings aren't final, but a quick skim of the video posted gives us a look at the text descriptions of the various world modifiers and difficulty presets the Valheim team is working on. Here's the current state of the new in-development modes, subject to change:

Casual mode: In casual mode monsters will not attack you until provoked, there are no raids on your base, resources are more plentiful, you will not drop equipped items or lose skills on death, and combat is a lot easier and events are based on your individual progress.

Hammer mode (creative mode): You can build all buildings for free. There are no raids on your base, and monsters will not attack until you provoke them. Other difficulty settings are normal.

Immersive mode: You have no map (!) and may not use portals (!!) so you will need to use your wits to keep track of where you are in the world.

Easy mode: Combat is easier and there are fewer raids on your base.

Hard mode: Combat is harder and monsters will raid your base more often.

Hardcore mode: Combat is a lot harder and monsters will raid your base more often. When you die all items you are carrying and skills are lost forever. You have no map and may not use portals.

This all sounds great to me. You can already play a type of creative mode using Valheim cheats and console commands, but an official creative mode, which Smårs calls "hammer mode," will make an excellent addition to the game—it's similar to the creative modes in other open world survivalcraft games like Minecraft and Subnautica. 

And for players who want an extremely punishing and difficult challenge, having no access to a map of the world, and no portals to fast-travel, plus death resulting in losing absolutely everything: that's the opportunity to experience some major brutality.

Smårs video clip also shows sliders that let you individually adjust combat difficulty, death penalty (how much you lose or don't lose upon dying), resource rate, and enemy raid rate. Checkboxes are also shown for toggling on and off portal restrictions (like ore, which by default cannot be brought through portals), build costs, the map display, and passive enemies.

According to Smårs, these settings can be changed at any point during your game, so you'll be able to play in creative mode to build a massive base for free and then switch to hardcore mode to defend it against raids. These new difficulty settings can also be applied to any existing worlds you've been playing on. For multiplayer sessions, the difficulty settings will be in effect globally, Smårs says.

You can check out the video yourself below. There's currently no word on when this update will arrive for Valheim, however.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.