How to play the Valheim Mistlands update on the public test branch

Valheim Mistlands new biome with craggy rocks and fog
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studio)

You'll need to download the Valheim public test branch if you want to play the new Mistlands update (opens in new tab) for viking crafting action but don't worry—it's easy. Iron Gate has finally revealed the long-awaited Mistlands biome update but it isn't actually fully released. I mean, neither is Valheim, as it's still in early access. But the new biome is even earlier early access as it's currently located on an opt-in beta build. It's betaception in here. 

Iron Gate will of course add the Mistlands biome to the main version of the game after it's had a bit more time with bug fixes and testing in the test branch. That doesn't have to stop you from jumping in to explore though. You can swap back and forth between the main early access version of Valheim and its public test branch at will. Just be sure you're diligent about keeping a backup copy of your save files.

We've already been taking a stab at the update and have found a lot of new Mistlands surprises. If you're ready to go battle the fog yourself, here's how to unlock it:

 How to unlock the Valheim test branch 

Public test branch for Steam:

  • Right click Valheim in your Steam library and select "Properties"
  • Go to the "Betas" section and enter the code "yesimadebackups" then select the "public test" beta
  • Go to your Steam downloads section and ensure the public test build begins downloading
  • You can now launch the game "Valheim [public test]" in your library
  • To play the main game branch again, change your "betas" tab back to "none"

As is clear at every step of this process, Iron Gate advises that you be very very sure you've made backup copies of your worlds and characters. There's always a possibility that the test branch could corrupt your save files. Your Valheim saves location is at C:\Users\[username]\AppData\LocalLow\IronGate\Valheim\

Make a copy of your "characters" folder and "worlds" folder before playing on the test server.

Public test branch for Game Pass:

  • Launch the Xbox Insider Hub app
  • In the "Previews" tab find Valheim and select "Join"
  • Go to the Valheim page in the Microsoft Store to install the Valheim Public Test

If you want to revert back to the main branch of the game, you'll opt out of the preview from the Insider Hub app and then redownload the game again.

Does your character carry over to the Valeheim test branch?

Yes, the good news is that you don't have to start over with a fresh character or world when playing on the Valheim public test branch. You can play the same geared up character you've been using and even the same world save file you've been playing on too. 

If you've already encountered the placeholder version of the Mistlands biome in your save file, you will need to continue exploring in order to generate new parts of the world with the new crafting materials and enemies. "If you cannot find any unexplored Mistlands, you might need to start a new world," Iron Gate advises in its Mistlands public test patch notes (opens in new tab).

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.