Valheim's fiery Ashlands update leaps from public test to live servers, adding a new biome, over 30 new weapons, and lots of new and inventive ways to burn to death

Valheim isn't exactly the new hotness it was near launch—few runaway successes are—but the flames have been lit for players to come back and enjoy a new update, which promises many different ways to die horribly, mostly by getting set on fire.

Valheim: Ashlands entered public testing last month, promising the game's "most challenging" biome yet—a biome that's now available for play in the main game as a free content update.

As per these patch notes on the game's official website, Ashlands has added over 30 new weapons, three new armour sets, and over 70 new buildable items for experienced vikings to piece together—including catapults and battering rams, which you're gonna need to lay siege to raidable fortresses.

Why anyone would want to build a fortress here beats me, however: The Ashlands themselves are an incredibly hostile biome, flooded with horrible-looking monsters—like the Morgen, which is sort of a cross between those giant bone dogs in Dark Souls and a spider. A flesh turducken with spindly legs, if you will. Also, there's a non-zero chance it'll be on fire. Here's an image of the blighter from the test phase, courtesy of the Valheim wiki.

(Image credit: Iron Gate AB)

In case that didn't sound lovely enough, even the weather in the Ashlands is out to get you. "Beware the skies! Cinders rain down from above in the Ashlands, causing damage to those who are unprotected," read the patch notes, like the world's least appealing travel catalogue. If you want, there's also a setting to allow wildfires to spread from the Ashlands to other biomes, a world modifier that's "part of the immersive preset".

Valheim's producer Andreas Tomasson, however, says this fiery mean streak's on purpose, as per a press release sent to PC Gamer: 

"We didn’t want to just release another biome but with fire instead of mist … Ashlands is supposed to feel like a struggle, and players should expect a challenge. Every inch of territory you claim has to be earned, and every outpost has to be reinforced before you venture deeper. We’re entering endgame territory here, and players need to be ready for what comes in the Deep North."

As mentioned previously, you can play Valheim: Ashlands right now—either via its early access Steam version, or on Game Pass. You can also find the patch's abbreviated notes below—though there's a more detailed version on the game's official website.

Valheim: Ashlands patch notes

An image of two adventurers poised to attack a fortress in Valheim's Ashlands update.

(Image credit: Iron Gate AB)

Abbreviated Patch Notes:

New content:

New Biome – Ashlands:

  • 30+ New weapons
  • New bombs and ammunitions
  • 3 New armour sets
  • 2 New capes
  • 10+ New creatures
  • 70+ New buildable items
  • 5 New crafting station upgrades
  • 30+ New crafting materials
  • 15+ New food items and potions
  • New locations
  • New music
  • New events
  • New mechanics

Fixes & Improvements:

  • Fixed Mead materials
  • Standardised texts throughout the game
  • Various fixes and improvements
Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.