Valheim is undoubtedly going to go down as one of the biggest games in all of 2021.
The Norse mythology-themed survival game had one of the strongest debuts on Steam seen in years, with a peak player count of 498,000 players in its opening month. Only four games have had higher peak concurrent player counts on Steam, and those include massive titles PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Cyberpunk 2077.
Valheim hit greater heights on Steam than even high-budget AAA titles with big marketing efforts behind them, including Fallout 4 and Grand Theft Auto 5. The Norse building game sold over five million units. There’s no doubt that Valheim is one of the biggest games ever to hit Steam. And one of the biggest reasons for the game’s success is its unique multiplayer experience.
As with other survival games, Valheim offers players the ability to traverse the wilderness alone or with a group of friends. One of the key differences between Valheim and many other titles within the genre is just how many players can take part in a game.
Valheim has multiplayer available for up to 10 players. Theoretically, this puts the game in an awkward position. It’s too small to be an MMO with massive servers run by the publisher, and it’s too big to be handled comfortably via P2P performance. The way most players compensated was by creating their own dedicated servers.
Dedicated servers effectively keep the game operational at all times, unlike P2P which requires a host to keep the game running on their own hardware. This can be done by a player in multiple ways. The easiest is to simply leave their PC running at all times, but that isn’t feasible or cost-effective for most players.
The other option is to run a service like Nodecraft, which gives gamers the ability to create a dedicated server for a variety of different games. Nodecraft servers are available for under $10 per month and begin with a free trial, offering players the opportunity to get in and get busy, then decide later if the price is worthwhile.
It’s easy to see the value given the number of options Nodecraft offers. Servers can be controlled from desktop or from mobile, enabling access to server opertion whether at home or on the go. Those servers are DDoS protected, offering a secure experience. And if there are any issues, Nodecraft has dedicated support staff on hand to assist.
User-made servers have never really gone away, but they’re now enjoying an uptick in popularity thanks to Valheim. And once Valheim exits its early-access phase, the game could get even bigger than it is today.