Valnir Rok – 12 hours in the Pre Alpha

Valnir Rok is a Viking online multiplayer survival crafting game created by German developer Encurio. It is much in the same vein as games like ARK: Survival Evolved, RUST or 7 Days to Die. Which are all games that feature the basic gameplay mechanics of “Forage, Craft, Eat, Drink or Die”. These games have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their endless possibilities and the fun and havoc you can create with friends. Due to this fact a game set in the time of the Vikings seems like the obvious choice and Valnir Rok has nailed it in their Pre Alpha build.

The team at Encurio was gracious enough to provide us with two keys to the Pre Alpha test that took place from 19 – 22 September. We broadcasted our thoughts on the game for a few hours and continued to play it the following day for roughly 10 hours. Valnir Rok is simple in its current state but has already greatly captured this Craft/Survive game type. The collection of resources, foraging for food and creating your own shelter is paramount to the game type and they have done fantastic job in making it as simple as possible but also fun. I personally spent about 6 hours creating a small village simply because I could.

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The world is very well developed and feels like a real, breathing place. There are plenty of animals throughout the wild that you can hunt for food and hides. There are plenty of water sources in the areas around where you start to where you are not looking for days to find water, unlike some other games. The environment feels much like a Scandinavian locale and great detail and thought has gone into the way the towns look.

Crafting as it is one of the key features in the game, seems like it will more fleshed out as the testing of the game continues. They had disabled some of the items for crafting due to bugs with the creation/placement of those items but most if not all of the of the craftable items were available in the Alpha. The developers have also stated in the Discord server that they are constantly tweaking these settings and the way the items work. The constant communication with the testers is one of the reasons I feel this game will succeed. If not in monetary success then certainly in what all game developers should aspire to be, transparent and receptive.

One extremely interesting feature of the crafting system is the experimentation that it requires. Recipes for items are not given to you at the start of the game. You have to collect items out in the wild and try to combine them together to find out how to make new items. I found that this was refreshing in that it made me want to go and collect as many items as I could so I could figure out how to make some of the higher quality armor and weapons. Everything in the game is useful and every item has multiple uses.

The combat in the game has improved, even throughout the Alpha as an update was applied half way through the test that improved a lot of the hit detection and stamina usage. While the combat system was not broken or poor, it was nice to see the constant improvement even during the test. Taking direct feedback from those in the test and applying those changes that were practical to the game.

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Valnir Rok will be released 26 September 2017 on Steam Early Access for $19.99/€19.99. While the game is in early development the price point and the game in its current state would be worth the price point.

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