Valheim's massive new Ashlands update gives the survival RPG its "most challenging biome yet" plus raid-like sieges and new endgame weapons

(Image credit: Coffee Stain Studios)

Valheim's "most challenging biome yet" is now available for public testing.

The Valheim Ashlands update looks like something straight out of Mordor. Fiery landscapes and suffocating smoke billow all around you, making the entire atmosphere look incredibly daunting and threatening. That's setting the stage for a tough biome pretty perfectly. Check it out below.

A highlight is the brand-new enemies themselves. There are weird walking skeleton monsters strutting around, which look set to pummel us into the ground, as well as bat-like creatures that look like they've just come straight out of hell. Honestly, the entire Ashlands map wouldn't look out of place in Diablo 4.

These enemies even have a new name: the Charred. They've holed up in huge fortresses, which introduce raid-like battles to Valheim in the form of Sieges. You need to group up with others and use new gear like catapults and battering rams to breach the fortresses and take out the Charred lying in wait within.

Matching the challenge are some fearsome-looking weapons for players to get their hands on. We don't have many details right now, but that sword wielded by the character with a Viking-like helmet looks mighty powerful, which is surely what we'll be after to deal with the Charred.

"The Ashlands mark a significant milestone as the last major update before our final batch of content when the game reaches 1.0," says Valheim producer Andreas Tomasson in a press release. "We’re anticipating players will be surprised by how difficult it is at first, but that’s what Valheim is all about - challenging and often brutal exploration and survival. We will of course keep an eye out on how public testing goes, and make sure that it’s not unfair!"

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Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.