Valheim finally introduces new difficulty options

(Image credit: Coffee Stain Publishing)

Valheim now has difficulty options, enabling you to increase or decrease the challenge.

According to developer Iron Gate Studio, easy mode offers "a more casual experience" that gives a "lighter, more accommodating adventure ideal for the pacifists and builders", whilst hard mode "ramps it up for a hardcore playthrough".

Alternatively, you can select different aspects of the server modifiers to "come up with a mix of your own".

The changes come in Patch 0.217.4 - Hildir's Request, which is available on the public test server. It also ushers in new NPC Hildir the merchant, new locations, two new crafting extensions, new items, and new hair and beard styles.

You can also expect to see an all-new quick-stack button, "various visual improvements", and now your fancy hair and beard styles are available even when you're wearing your helmet. 

If you haven't come across it before, Valheim is an early-access survival title (yes: it's still in early access) that has comprehensively taken over Steam, clocking in over 500,000 concurrent players at once just 19 days after the game’s launch. 

With four million players and counting and an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating after 350,000 user reviews, it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon, either.

"It’s quite an unusual game to be sitting so high on Steam’s most-played list, just behind gigantic esports behemoths like DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds," we said in our feature, Why you should be playing Valheim

"In Valheim, you play as a fallen Norse warrior trapped in purgatory who has to craft and explore their way through the realm, building up to progress-gating boss battles. 

"It’s also nowhere near as refined as its peers. Valheim doesn’t feature slick, high-fidelity graphics – but it’s still gorgeous, with its retro PS1 textures juxtaposed against magnificent sun-lit vistas. The game’s combat isn’t the most engaging on the market either, but it has a certain something to it, a Dark Soulsian clunkiness that keeps it addicting and hard to master."

Valheim is available now on PC and Xbox, and for no additional cost on PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass.