New Valheim update adds hardcore difficulty to the already unforgiving Viking survival game

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

The latest Valheim update adds hardcore difficulty to the already unforgiving Viking survival game.

Valheim can be a punishing experience at the best of times, but those looking for even more of a challenge can ramp up the difficulty with hard mode, which arrives today as part of the Hildir's Request update. Here, enemies have increased HP and pack an even greater punch, making your survival even less likely than before. 

Alternatively, if you're not keen on always trying to survive by the skin of your teeth, there's an easy mode that offers a "more accommodating adventure" that's "ideal for the pacifists and builders." You can choose to switch to easy, normal (the game's current difficulty), or hard at any time in your playthrough, allowing you to customise the challenge however and whenever you wish. 

Hildir's Request also adds a bunch of new content to Valheim, including NPC Hildir, who's the sister of Haldor and also a merchant. Having lost all of her wares, she's in a bit of a tight spot and needs your help gathering items from Valheim's various biomes to open her shop. 

There are new locations and dungeons to visit, new mini-bosses to contend with and lots of cosmetic items to try out. The update also brings a hefty dose of improvements and fixes, the most important being the ability to see your character's hair and beard when they've got a helmet equipped.

Hildir's Request is currently available for the Public Test version of Valheim, which you can access by following the steps outlined by developer Iron Gate in the patch notes.

Last month, Iron Gate revealed it's all for Valheim mods but is wholeheartedly against the idea of making players pay for them. They said: "We definitely understand that you spend a lot of your time on creating a mod, and that you might want financial compensation for that, but Iron Gate does not condone locking modded content behind a paywall."

To see how Iron Gate's game compares on console, check out our Valheim Xbox impressions.

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.