Many survival games feature animals you can hunt for crafting supplies and sustenance. Only in Valheim do they get revenge. Nautical revenge.
My friends and I have had some good times in the surprise-hit survival game. We’re making bronze armor. We’re in hot pursuit of the game’s second major boss, The Elder. Last night, I killed two gigantic trolls and made them into clothes. Our bees, mercifully, are happy. We’re not constructing Sauron’s tower or harpoon-blasting ourselves into space (yet), but we’re making good progress through the Viking afterlife.
And yet, I have acquired a mortal enemy who is...humble in stature: a fucking boar. In Valheim, boars are not meant to be formidable. Indeed, you can even tame them. Sure, wild boars sometimes charge when approached, but they go down in only a couple hits even when you’re wielding starter gear. I have learned, however, that what they lack in snorting muscularity, they make up for with persistence.
The other night, I built a raft to sail the seas in search of The Elder. I ended up landing on a small island overrun with Graydwarves—basically, tree stumps that want to annoy you so badly they became sentient about it. And one boar. The Graydwarves were numerous enough that I had to kite them around the island to slowly pick them off one by one. The boar, rated two stars (read: slightly stronger than a regular boar), got caught up in this Yakety Sax spectacle, but once jabbed with my spear, decided it’d had enough and fled into a nearby thicket. I figured I’d hunt it down later or, preferably, never see it again.
After dispatching the Graydwarf train, I set to picking the island clean of supplies and loot. It wasn’t a particularly large island, so this took five minutes or so. Then I walked back to my boat. There, in waist-high water, I found the boar. With feral rage, it was splintering the boards of my makeshift seacraft. I did a double take. “What the fuck?” I asked aloud. Then I realized that the boar would sink my raft if given enough time, so I skewered it. My raft—and the day—were saved. Or so I thought.
I sailed back to the mainland, where my friend group’s base is located, and left my tiny boat bobbing in shallow water near the shore. I created a custom map marker so I could easily find it again later. Then I deposited the resources I’d found at our base, went to bed in the game, and also went to bed in real life.
Flash forward to the next evening: My partner was playing Valheim while I was idly staring at nothing on the internet, my favorite way to pass the time until oblivion claims us all. Suddenly, she turned to me with bad news:
“A boar sank your raft,” she said.
“What????” I replied, as would anybody upon finding out that more than one pig had decided to wage a days-long war of naval subterfuge against them.
My partner, who was coincidentally in the area to collect supplies of her own, had arrived just after the squealing shithead managed to tusk my raft to death. She slew it on the spot, claiming vengeance on my behalf, but also depriving me of the satisfaction. I logged on and sprinted to the location just to make sure it was my boat and not somebody else’s that now lined the briny shallows. Sure enough: My raft was gone. The pigs had won.
I do not know what, in Valheim’s code, turns boars into boat-seeking torpedoes, but if you decide to construct a naval vessel in this game, I have some advice for you: Cherish it while you can. It does not matter how vigilant you are; the pigs are coming, and you’ll have to sleep eventually.