It's great when a developer listens to player feedback. Really listens, I mean. When players ask for something and the developer delivers, it's like co-op game development has taken place. Players can really feel like they've taken part in shaping the game, and devs get a happy community.
Valheim's Hearth and Home update has just arrived, and with it there's all the stuff we've already talked about—a new food system and strategic vomiting, combat and weapon rebalancing, and some changes to health and stamina and how they work.
But there's something else in Hearth and Home that I'm going to talk about below. And I don't want to spoil it unless you want it spoiled (or if you've already seen the trailer and read the patch notes) so please consider this one of many SPOILER ALERTS! In short: Valheim players asked for something, and they got it, but Valheim's developers gave it to them in a way that's so perfectly Valheim that I'm genuinely excited to see players react.
I am about to start revealing this thing and I'm going to do it in stages because I was genuinely tickled—in stages—to discover this new addition to the game and see how it works. You may just want to close this article and go snoop around for yourself. I mean it. Go away.
Or, you may want to carefully scroll down—in stages—to slowly learn as much as you want about whatever the hell it is I'm talking about. Feel free to duck out any time.
Still here? Well, here's the first part of the spoiler. And it's barely one at all since you can see it when you launch the game, on the title screen, along with the patch notes for Hearth and Home. If you scroll down through the notes you'll see, under Items, something new and where to get it.
Thunder stone. (Sold by trader)
My advice? Go to Valheim's trader immediately. Bring 50 coins and purchase the Thunder stone.
Still reading, huh? OK, second stage spoiler warning.
What's a Thunder stone? And what's it for? One of the great features of Valheim is that you don't have to unlock crafting recipes by earning and spending XP or messing around some annoying tech tree. Simply touching an item you've never touched before will instantly give you any crafting recipes that item is used for. So when you buy the Thunder stone, you'll be notified of the item it's related to.
That item is called the Obliterator.
When I saw that pop up on my screen I thought "Oh. Huh. I think I know what that is."
For a while now, Valheim players have had a problem. We're constantly overloading our small inventories and juggling resources and dumping excess loot in crates. And sometimes we just wind up with too much of something and we want to get rid of it. But if you throw things on the ground near your base, they'll persist there for an extremely long time. Players have, for a while now, requested some way to properly dispose of or recycle unwanted items.
The Obliterator. I bet that's like an item incinerator, I thought.
Third! Spoiler! Alert!
I changed my mind the moment I had the materials (8 iron ingots, 4 copper ingots, and the Thunder stone) to craft the Obliterator. No freaking way this thing is a trash can or even an incinerator. It looks straight up evil, an insidious twisted hunk of black metal with copper tendrils circling it. And there's a narrow mast of iron on top that stands about 25 feet tall! What the hell?
This can't be an incinerator, I thought. This is a weapon of mass destruction, an arcane bit of machinery man was never meant to dabble with. This can't be something to throw garbage into.
No lie: I was genuinely afraid to build the thing at my base. I thought it would activate and just destroy everything in the vicinity. I thought maybe it was a weapon for wiping out fuling villages or dwarf nests.
So I built at Steven's base up on the hill. (Steven is on vacation. Sorry, Steven.)
Final warning! Everything else to spoil is spoiled below, probably!
My first guess was right. The Obliterator is, in fact, an item incinerator. And when I used it I finally understood why it looks the way it does. There's a hatch on top, and 21 slots worth of inventory space inside. You load it up with the stuff you no longer want. Then you pull the lever on the side.
There's a click. Then a sudden ominous rumble of thunder. And then Thor—fucking Thor—sends a lightning bolt down from Valhalla and incinerates your trash.
That's what the huge mast is for! It's a lightning rod. And what could possibly be a more Viking way to destroy unwanted items than with a lightning bolt sent from the clear blue sky, courtesy of the god of thunder.
I think players would have been perfectly happy with a trash bin or a simple incinerator. But this is such an awesome garbage can. For the full effect, turn the sound on for the gif below:
How do I know it's really Thor incinerating your trash? Well, if you pull the lever and the machine is empty, a message appears on the screen saying "Thor frowns upon you." And sometimes when you've destroyed something, you get something back. "Thor has bestowed a gift upon you." I have only gotten coal back as a gift, but I've only tried incinerating a few different things. Maybe there are items, or a combination of items, that result in a more interesting gift?
I'll leave that to patient Valheim experimenters to figure out. For now, I'm just so pleased that players got something they wanted and that Valheim's developers were so inventive about how they delivered it.