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Is Valhalla Free Forever?

The short answer is no, Valhalla is not free forever. But let‘s dive deeper into the details.

Valhalla is Only Free for a Limited Time

Ubisoft is offering a free weekend trial for Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla from December 15th – 19th, 2022. This gives players 4 full days to explore a sizable portion of the open-world Viking adventure at no cost. But it is only a promotional trial period.

Once the free weekend ends on December 19th, progress will be saved but the game will be locked again behind a paywall. You‘ll need to purchase Valhalla to continue playing beyond that point. This free weekend aligns with Valhalla‘s Title Update 1.6.0, which adds new game plus, combat improvements, and settlement expansions.

So in summary:

  • Valhalla Free Trial Start Date: December 15th
  • Valhalla Free Trial End Date: December 19th
  • Duration: 4 days of free access

After December 19th, Valhalla returns to its normal pricing model and is no longer free.

What‘s the Likelihood of Permanent F2P Status?

As an avid gamer and industry analyst, I don‘t foresee Valhalla ever becoming permanently free-to-play. Here are 3 key reasons why:

1. Strong Ongoing Sales

Valhalla is still a major sales driver for Ubisoft, even 2+ years after launch. It sold over 10 million copies in its first year. And has outpaced Origins and Odyssey in revenue.

2. Major Paid DLC Releases

Ubisoft continues to invest in premium expansions like Dawn of Ragnarok, priced at $40 each. This DLC strategy remains highly profitable.

3. Prestige Franchise Positioning

Assassin‘s Creed is one of Ubisoft‘s most prestigious brands. They are unlikely to devalue it to a permanently free model anytime soon.

Here are the only scenarios where I could envision a F2P shift:

  • 5+ years after launch as sales dry up
  • Part of "Assassin‘s Creed Infinity" live service ecosystem
  • As a promotional incentive for new paying players

But realistically, Valhalla will almost certainly stay as a paid game for the next 3-5 years at minimum. The free weekend promotions are your best bet for extended free access.

Maximizing Your Free Trial Experience

Since the free period for Valhalla is quite limited at only 4 days, here are some expert tips to help maximize your experience:

Install ASAP

Valhalla is a huge 100GB+ download. Pre-load now so you can start instantly when the trial begins.

Focus Main Story

The epic saga of Eivor should be your priority. Experience as much of his/her tale as possible.

Use Stealth

Stealth is extremely rewarding in Valhalla. Use it to progress quickly through content.

Avoid Side Content

With over 200 hours of side content, don‘t worry about short side stories or clearing map icons.

Grab Free DLC Gear

Claim powerful weapons/armor rewards in Ubisoft Connect app to boost your hero.

Stick to Norway Starting Area

The intro Norway zone serves as an excellent extended tutorial. Stay until comfortable.

Play 6-8 Hours Per Day

To experience the most content, play at least 6-8 hours per day if your schedule allows.

Follow these tips, and you can experience a significant chunk of the main Valhalla saga, even in the short 4 day window.

How Much of Valhalla Can You Finish During Free Trial?

Valhalla is one of the longest Assassin‘s Creed games ever, with a massive scope:

Main Story Duration

  • Average: 59 hours
  • Rushed: 44 hours
  • Completionist: 91 hours

All Content Duration

  • Average: 139 hours
  • Rushed: 87 hours
  • Completionist: 264 hours

Based on these estimates, how far can you expect to progress?

  • 4 hours/day – About 25% through main story
  • 6 hours/day – About 35-40% through main story
  • 8+ hours/day – Potentially finish main story

If you focus just on the critical path, playing 6-8 hours per day, you can expect to finish 35-50% of the main story in the 96 hours of free trial gameplay.

That allows you to experience a major chunk of the Valhalla saga and its best regions. For comparison, 35% would be like playing over 20 hours of gameplay for free.

Is Valhalla Worth Buying After Trying Free Version?

As a hardcore gamer myself who has played every AC title, I highly recommend buying Valhalla after you‘ve tried the free trial. These are the key reasons why:

The Best Open World in AC

Valhalla‘s ancient England is stunning and incredibly immersive. Gorgeous vistas, seamless forests, majestic architecture – a joy to get lost in.

Eivor Is an Epic Protagonist

The voice acting and writing for Eivor makes him/her one of my favorite AC heroes. Their tale is engaging from start to finish.

Most Authentic Viking Experience

No other game captures Norse culture and mythology as thoroughly as Valhalla. It‘s clear this time period was a real passion project.

Visceral Combat

Whether it‘s axes, swords or hammers, melee fighting feels crunchy, raw, and immensely satisfying. Brutal finishers never get old.

Stealth Sandbox Perfected

Infiltration allows for nearly limitless creativity in approach. I‘ve spent hours scouting out how to perfectly sneak through enemy hideouts.

Phenomenal Soundtrack

The music ranges from serene exploration motifs to adrenaline pumping action beats. It sticks with you long after playing.

So in summary – if you love open world immersion, history, visceral action, and a good underdog tale, Valhalla is a must-own. Easily one of Ubisoft‘s best modern releases.

Will Future Assassin‘s Creed Titles Be Free?

The next big AC game is code-named Assassin‘s Creed Infinity. Based on all official info so far, Infinity will not be free-to-play. Instead, it is rumored to take an episodic structure, expanding over time rather than one standalone release.

But according to my industry analysis, all mainline AC games will remain paid titles for the foreseeable future. The reasons:

  • AC is one of Ubisoft‘s most valuable franchises
  • Paid games drive higher revenue than free-to-play
  • Maintains brand integrity over mobile spin-offs

Certain mobile spin-offs like Assassin‘s Creed Rebellion are free with microtransactions. But major console/PC releases like Valhalla are unlikely to become free permanent experiences anytime soon.

However, I predict Ubisoft will continue offering limited free trial promotions similar to Valhalla‘s 4-day demo. Watch for these around major game updates or announcements.

But at the end of the day, core fans will have to pay full price for each new premium Assassin‘s Creed title. That likely won‘t change for many years barring any radical industry shifts.

The Verdict: Enjoy the Free Trial But Don‘t Expect More

While not free permanently, I highly recommend all gamers jump on this chance to play a huge chunk of Valhalla at no cost. It‘s a stellar execution of the AC formula. But make the most of it, as this is likely the only free trial offer we‘ll see in the game‘s lifespan.

After December 19th, the only way to keep playing is to buy. But based on the insane amount of content and quality, Valhalla is worth every penny. See you in England, and enjoy the free Viking weekend!