Valheim's hoe meta is over after the latest patch, and players are sad

Valheim hoe
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

As we wrote yesterday, the latest Valhiem patch buffed Valheim's terrain modification tool, the hoe, making it somewhat mightier. The cost to raise an area of the ground by a level has been reduced from 4 stone to 2 stone. This makes it easier to do landscape modifications since carrying lots of heavy stacks of stone around is a pain and since harvesting stone with a pickaxe is time consuming and doesn't yield a whole lot of rocks for the effort.

However. Along with the reduced stone cost and a new terrain system added in patch 0.150.3, many players were dismayed (if not outright annoyed) that a particular method of using the hoe had been patched out. The method, which you can see in this video from CohhCarnage, provided a shortcut to quickly and dramatically raising the level of nearby ground with a single click instead of many.

Some see this method as an exploit. It was pretty clearly not intended by the devs, considering that using the normal method of raising the ground a level costs a lot more stone and takes a lot more time. Creatures won't break through earthen walls, so this method allowed players to very quickly create nearly raid-proof bases in dangerous areas of the world.

But it also allowed players to build some really cool stuff they might not have been able to otherwise. For example, you can't use the hoe while you're paddling around in the water, but this method let players raise massive earth columns from the sea floor, meaning they were able to create their own islands. Which is pretty awesome! Intended or not, the method resulted in some pretty amazing player creations, which feels like it would be a real shame to lose. The hoe buff, for some players, was really a massive hoe nerf.

I can sympathize with players unhappy about the exploit being removed. It's easy to get used to a method that lets you skip a bunch of repetitive busywork like mining stone, even if the developers didn't intend the game to work that way. I can also understand why it may have been patched out—massive earthworks no doubt contribute to poor performance in heavily landscaped areas, which is something the patch intended to improve with the new terrain system. Valheim is also meant to be a challenging game, and this hoe exploit definitely made it much easier to complete massive building projects.

If I had to make a prediction, some clever Valheim modders will find a way to replicate the magic land-raising with a mod. I'd also bet a future patch will do something to ease the burden of the exploit being patched out—maybe stone won't weigh quite as much so players can carry a bit more, or maybe mining stone with a pickaxe will result in more of the resource being collected so players don't have to spend as much time chipping away at the ground.

Or maybe there's a new exploit or workaround players haven't discovered yet. Since there's a whole new terrain system, it's possible there are some new ways to game it, too. We'll see. I've emailed the Valheim developers about the issue (the exploit removal was not mentioned in the patch notes), and I'll update this story if I hear back.

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.