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Valheim Ashlands update unveils a terrifying foe and stylish helmets

A Valheim Ashlands update from developer Iron Gate shows a new threat lurking in the waters, delightful helmets, and difficulty settings for the survival game.

Valheim Ashlands update unveils terrifying foe and stylish helmets - a character wearing a bronze helmet with her hair hanging down in braids from either side

Iron Gate has given us more details on the Valheim Ashlands update, and it features a rather compelling reason to steer clear of the water. The next biome to be added to Valheim is a haunted volcanic region found in the southern portion of the map, and it promises to be an exciting addition to one of the best co-op survival games on PC. We also got news on the Hildir’s Quest update, which includes new helmet options and difficulty settings.

Iron Gate says in a new blog that “pre-production on the Ashlands is in full swing with concept art and terrain tests,” some of which, such as Valheim Ashlands weapon concepts, have been shared on the team’s social media. “It’s really fun to be able to read your comments about the design ideas this early in the process,” the blog continues.

“Right now we would like to show you another piece of enemy concept art.” Heads up that we’re going to show the enemy concept art in question, so if you’re looking to avoid any Valheim Ashlands spoilers then perhaps look away – although if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably already eager to see what’s waiting.

Iron Gate poses a simple but rather bone-chilling question: “What if the waters around the Ashlands were inhabited by something that made it a little bit harder to reach the shore…”

Valheim Ashlands - Concept art of the BoneMaw Serpent, a giant snake that has bony plates along its back toward the top third of its body, culminating in a bony casing around its head

Meet the BoneMaw Serpent, then. It’s tough to tell from this image quite how big it’ll be, but, quite frankly, it looks large to me. Few things freak me out in games quite like mysterious horrors lurking unseen below the surface of large bodies of water, so needless to say I’m very excited about this news.

In the meantime, the team is working on its smaller Hildir’s Quest update, which includes new difficulty settings. “We’re trying out a hard mode and an easy mode,” Iron Gate says, “but also a casual mode where you won’t lose gear upon death.” That’s certainly welcome news to those who find the tension caused by risking it all more off-putting than enticing.

Iron Gate says, “The normal mode will still always be the best-balanced version of the game, but we hope adding more ways to play can both provide a challenge to experienced players and open the game up to players who would rather take a calm and relaxed approach.” There’s certainly something inherently peaceful about the general moment-to-moment adventuring of Valheim, so I can certainly see the appeal in a more friendly toggle for those that want it.

Valheim Hildir's Quest update - Preview image of Hildir's home. A chest and mixing bowl sit atop a plank of wood on the ground near a drying rack with clothes hung from it, and the wheel of what looks to be a larger cart or structure

Also included in Hildir’s Quest is an option to wear helmets while keeping your hair visible, something that’s definitely a welcome change for those of us who plumped for some magnificent viking locks only to realise that we had to choose between style and safety. There’s also a small tease of Hildir’s home, which shows a chest and mixing bowl on the ground next to a drying rack.

Check in on the recent Valheim 0.213.4 patch notes, and make sure you know what to expect as you venture through the Valheim Mistlands. Our helpful Valheim progression guide will make sure you don’t miss a beat, and we’ve got all the Valheim building tips you need to ensure your base is safe and sound.