Last week, Valheim developer Iron Gate rolled out a patch that was intended to provide players with an extra level of challenge: enemies were tweaked to be more aggressive towards structures, meaning players would have to be more proactive about defending their homes. But some players feel Iron Gate went overboard with these changes, highlighting that the patch has resulted in some strange enemy behaviour - along with the wanton destruction of property.
Over on the Valheim subreddit, players have argued that Valheim's monsters are now too eager to attack buildings, sometimes opting to destroy structures even when standing directly next to the player. This has led to some "immersion-shattering" enemy behaviour, with monsters looking uncertain about who they should be attacking. Some players, meanwhile, are simply exasperated at the amount of damage now being caused in monster raids.
"Earlier today I had a troll invasion and I had three trolls attacking my base non-stop," said Reddit user Squatch11. "I literally couldn't get them to attack me. Half of my base was destroyed before I managed to kill them."
I dipped into Valheim myself to have a look at what all the fuss was about, and immediately regretted the decision. After stumbling across a two-star troll in the forest, I retreated into a clearing to make the fight a little easier. The troll had other ideas, however, and made a beeline for my friend's beautifully-structured forest tower instead. I'm sad to say the tower did not come off well in that match-up:
I also used some dev commands to test how the AI would cope with raiding my base, and found that monsters mostly focused on me (when I was near them, at least), but they certainly did a lot more damage to my house than normal. They also became rather more confused, with several monsters forming a queue on one of my bridges. One troll froze entirely in place, abandoning all pretense of attacking me in favour of gazing longingly at the portal. I also discovered that placing campfires was a good way to confuse enemies like greywarf brutes, who easily became distracted by the fires and focused on smashing them instead of me.
Something rather more annoying, however, was that the outer wall of our village was frequently attacked when I was pottering around inside doing chores - meaning that it was constantly being stripped of any decorations like banners and torches. Like having a toddler, it seems you now cannot place anything within reach of greylings, and moats are now essential.
And as for players trying to take carts or boats with them on adventures, well, that's certainly one way to attract attention:
"We arrived at a mining shack we had set up on the shore where we docked and the sight was horrifying," said Reddit user GoldenSmidget in a post describing the update as "absolute anarchy".
"I'm not even joking, dozens of greydwarves were rolling over the horizon somehow still following us. We were trying to hold our own, and all of the dwarves were zoning in on the boat instead of us. Just pelting it with rocks as we were out in the open. We tried to sail away and the greydwarves kept coming. They swam into the open seas in their efforts to continue to pursue our ship. Meanwhile, more greydwarves continued to pour out and attack the house in the distance.
"I'll never be the same again. The trees. The trees speak dwarvish. They're everywhere."
Remarkably, some players have even reported seeing enemies attacking structures spawned by the world rather than players. Draugrs have apparently been spotted turning on their own villages, while players have witnessed skeletons running past them to attack doors inside burial chambers. It all sounds like a bit of a mess.
So while Iron Gate probably meant to create a little more challenge for players, it seems the developer might have overcompensated this time - making the AI so eager to attack structures that the game's combat has suffered, and raids are now a little too punishing. It also means many players will have to redesign their bases to compensate for the increased aggression. Some are now calling on Iron Gate to roll back the change, so we'll have to see whether the developer agrees that adjustments need to be made. Given that the dev team is now on summer holiday, that could take a fair few weeks.