Valheim gets a fiery rebirth as the Ashland biome goes live with new siege weapons, bone spiders and boiling seas

Do you like the smell of napalm in the morning? If so, you’ll probably love the smell of Valheim’s Ashlands biome, which just launched to all players after a period of beta testing. Unfortunately, my computer isn’t capable of producing scents beyond the faint stench of caked on pasta sauce and regret, but if it were, I could already bask in the smell of burning bones and feathers, because that is basically what the 10 new creatures you’ll encounter in the Ashlands consist of. Shout-out especially to the monster that looks like a burning sink clog with spider legs. Very Possum-esque.

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Also in Valheim’s Ashlands patch: 70+ new buildable items! 30+ new weapons! 30+ new craft materials! 15 new foods and drinks! Five new upgrades for the crafting station! Three new armor sets! Two new capes! Possibly a partridge in a pear tree! Developers Iron Gate Studios are also introducing new events, music and mechanics, including the ability to lay siege to the fortresses of the Charred using new catapults and rams. The full Steam list contains detailed patch notes that spoil a few nasty surprises you might prefer to discover on your own. I’ll just give this away: be extra aware of the possibility of burns when dressing, crafting, constructing things, exploring the new biome on foot, or cruising along the coast.

The developers also have some advice on preparing for your first trip to the Ashlands, which I’m going to petrify for posterity in the form of a blockquote, the greatest mausoleum available to modern gaming journalism:

“Before you travel to the Ashlands, make sure you have defeated The Queen in the Mistlands. If you did this on a previous playthrough, remember that her dropped item is no longer a placeholder. Just like Eikthyr’s antlers let you craft a pickaxe you need in the Black Forest, and just like The Elder drops a crypt key for the Swamps, The Queen’s item will be useful in the Ashlands! inventory and retrieve so new recipes are activated properly.”

In case it’s not already clear, the Ashlands are a challenging environment. It’s the penultimate biome in an intentionally difficult game, the developers remind us. So perhaps brush up on your skills a bit in the Meadows or the Black Forest before taking the plunge. You can also adjust the difficulty in the World Modifiers menu.

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As always with Valheim updates, the new biome will also break many existing mods, so consider uninstalling them (including mod loaders that can auto-launch mods) before playing. “If you don’t want to play without mods, you’ll probably have to wait a few days for the mod creator to update their mod to be compatible with Valheim again,” the developers note. I’m not versed in the Valheim modding scene and am curious to see if this last statement seems reasonable or presumptuous to Mods.

We’re big Valheim enthusiasts around these parts. It ranks fourth on our list of the best survival games and 13th on our list of the best co-op games. Ah, if I could only drink the stench of roasted monster vertebrae, it would be right up there at number one. Are there any other games you wish you could smell?