RimWorld 1.3 helps you weave a tale of cattle drives and carnage

Rimworld rancher adventures in 1.3 update
(Image credit: Ludeon Studios)

RimWorld has always felt like a farming sim to me. Maybe because I have a strong tendency to hunker down and refuse quests of any kind—I'm that one kid who only played the economics-based campaigns in Stronghold, and defeated my enemies in Age of Empires by building a wonder. 

I suck at battles, okay, what can I say? 

I mean, why should I leave the safety of my deep, mountainside megaconstruct? The trade caravans wander right up to the doorstep, so I just set up my spike trap defenses and forget all about the outside world. Oh, was that a raid? I hadn't noticed. Too busy adorning the grand hall with carpets and intricate sculptures.

How perfect then, that the RimWorld 1.3 update shifted its focus toward making my simple ranch life more comprehensive and well-ordered, while simultaneously upping the chances of everything going to shit. 

There are some awesome mods that now come integrated in the vanilla game, such as the ability to search menus, and drag pawns into a battle-formation as opposed to having them clumped up and easy to grenade. Probably the most notable of the updates is the elaborate animal pen system. With it you can control and contain livestock populations, and there's been some re-balancing to animal and plant yields, along with a myriad of new farm-related features. 

But of course all that glorious regulation had to come at a price. Now there are a new breed of 'Termite' mechanoids with burrowing and wall-eviscerating abilities. Not to mention the new kind of breach raid, in which baddies will tear through your walls, as opposed to just setting fire to that random lamp post you claimed at the start of the game and forgot about.

Now was the time to test myself, I thought. So I rounded up some of my favourite rancher characters to see if I could quash Randy's destructive chaos with weapons of order, birth, and growth. And who better to join me on my journey than Dolores Abernathy of Westworld, one who chooses not only to see the beauty in the world, but (spoiler alert) to grab it violently with both hands and destroy that which is deemed unworthy. 

She may be a homicidal maniac, but she has a lifetime's worth of ranching experience, and little remorse for those cold winters that require us to don the odd human skin parka. Besides, I balanced her instability out with the stalwart moral compass of Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly. 

What could possibly go wrong with him around?

I have to say I was shipping these two—Malcolm reminds me a lot of Teddy—but his attempts to woo her by comparing her to a fine flower were sadly met with rejection. I shouldn't have been surprised when fellow anti-incarceration activist Django Freeman caught her eye, though. 

It was a hopeful day when he rescued her from that near-lethal raid. Not one for elaborate romancing, he complimented her height and that was that. But their love never would've come about had it not been for the addition of animal pens. They were the only reason her rescue was necessary.

In her panic, Dolores figured she'd take a shortcut through the pigpen to escape her assailant, but jumping the fence slowed her to an abysmal crawl, and the raider had time to catch up. Sure, she ended up with a hunk for a partner, but she also had chunks missing from her torso and a gash to the head.

At least it was easy to gage the damage thanks to wounds now being helpfully displayed on RimWorld's pawns, where before you had to check their medical log. Still, I recommend installing the Path Avoid mod to sidestep misadventures like this in your own playthroughs. That way you can have pawns only enter the paddocks to gather the literal gallons of milk cows now produce.

Strangely, despite the 1.3 changelog noting raider's supposed non-aggression toward penned animals, Dolores' attacker went straight for my prized piggo, Stellar—and boy did she fight back. Not sure if it was one of my many mods that somehow overruled it, but something to keep in mind.

Anyway, aside from being a slight hurdle, the new pen system turned out to be a really handy tool for deciding how many of each creature you want living together—just not for escaping murder. It's a little more realistic than just mind-controlling your livestock to stay in a certain area, and it means you can separate the males and females if the ever-growing hoard of self-tamed beavers that joined up in Jugust are wolfing down all your winter rations.

Back to the story, I bet you're wondering who Malcolm ended up with after that bloody love story, no? Oddly, Katy from Letterkenny hadn't made a move on the Captain, and considering her promiscuous nature I was expecting her to lay claim to all the lads on day one. But no, Katy and Mal just slogged along, dragging cows from paddock to pen without a second glance at one another, waiting for the next raid to come barreling through. That was exactly when our journey was cut short. 

It wasn't one of these mega breach raids that ended us, though. One misty morning, as my pawns fumbled through the cornfields, a band of slavers drew into sight. Weak though they were, they had all sworn to upend the inhumanity of any slavers we encountered. So, we gave it our best, but despite Dolores and company's valiant efforts, we were defeated.

(Image credit: Ludeon Studios)

So there you have it, my RimWorld 1.3 update tale. That's really what the game's all about for me: Stories. And as a story generator, it's just getting richer.

While the new features certainly have their downfalls—awkward slowing of pawns hopping fences, and terrifying, wall-demolishing raids to mention a couple—there are so many more layers to the game now. And combined with the growing list of compatible mods, I'm looking forward to many more adventures like this one.

Plus, the game has vanilla beards that grow differently depending on the pawns backstory. I mean, what more could you want?

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.