Valheim Ashlands update reveals a giant fortress and imposing armor

Iron Gate reveals its first Valheim Ashlands fortress, a towering structure you’ll infiltrate in the expansion for the Viking survival game.

Valheim Ashlands update shows terrifying fortress - A bearded Viking in a crow-feather cloak, standing in the lava-strewn Ashlands biome.

I was already afraid of the Valheim Ashlands. The next biome to be fully fleshed out in the Viking survival game, and the penultimate base game region due treatment ahead of the Deep North, the Ashlands are a hellish, scorched landscape filled with lava, extra-crispy skeletons with a deadly glow in their eyes, and nightmarish giant bone snakes. Now, developer Iron Gate gives us a look at the first Valheim Ashlands fortress we’ll encounter, and I’m pretty sure I’m not ready to approach it.

In all honesty, Valheim biomes have never exactly been friendly places to visit. Remember the first time you happened upon the Plains, seemingly a bright, open region with gorgeous skies and vast fields stretched out before your eyes? But the co-op Viking survival game doesn’t pull its punches, and you’re soon beset upon by the troublesome Fulings, the giant Lox, and the Deathsquitos. Oh god, the Deathsquitos.

So following our adventures into the Valheim Mistlands, it’s safe to say that our next trek is set to be even more perilous. We’ve already had a look at some of the nasties you’ll be going up against, such as the terrifying Ashlands Bonemaw serpent, but now we’re getting a look at the buildings. That should be safe, right? What could be scary about buildings?

Valheim Ashlands update - A giant fortress with spiked gate lit up in orange.

Okay, here’s our first look at an Ashlands fortress, and it’s safe to say I’m intimidated. Those towering walls, the rows of spikes protruding from the parapet, the giant, ominous doorway – perhaps constructed from the region’s resilient Flametal and itself adorned with a grid of heavy spikes – this clearly isn’t a place to be trifled with. Getting inside, of course, is just the start – as Iron Gate notes, “It will not just be the wall on its own that you have to get past.”

Fortunately, we’re also given a glimpse at some of the equipment we’ll have at our disposal to help tackle such troublesome regions. Responding to concerns that our recent peek at Valheim Ashlands weapons didn’t seem especially magical, Iron Gate says, “You are correct. We won’t tell you just yet how you will be achieving the extra power boosts for these weapons, but we wanted to show you one of them in a more final form.”

Valheim Ashlands update - A warrior swings a longsword, its base glowing vibrant blue.

I already liked the base designs, but the sword shown certainly comes to life in this latest image. Glowing vibrant blue both on its hilt and at the base of the blade, this longsword appears to be charged with lightning, or at least some manner of energy. It shouldn’t come as too great a surprise that such upgrades are on the cards, but it’s nice to see them nonetheless.

Next up, and our final Ashlands teaser of the day, is an armor set we’ve seen some concept designs for previously, but now rendered with full modeling and textures. This is Embla, a deep cloak with a hood that hides the face, and a fitting match for the Ashlands. One of the first two humans in Norse mythology, Embla represents the emergence of fire – in Iron Gate’s words, “Not only a symbol of destruction, but also of rebirth and new beginnings.”

Valheim Ashlands update - A person stands on a rock near lava, wearing the hooded Embla armor set and holding a glowing red scepter.

That’s our lot for new Valheim Ashlands teasers for now, but they’ve certainly whetted my appetite. I can only begin to wonder at exactly what we’ll find lurking behind those vast walls. Iron Gate has previously teased that our arrival in the Ashlands means it’s “fortress time,” so I’m certain these structures will be central to the next part of our Valheim journey.

If all this has you tempted to start your own adventure, or entice some pals to join you, Valheim is 40% off on Steam until Tuesday, November 28. You’ll pay just $11.99 / £9.29, down from $19.99 / £15.49. It’s also available as part of the PC Game Pass library for anyone subscribed to Microsoft’s service.

If you’re looking to spice up your next playthrough while awaiting the Ashlands, we’ve wrapped together the best Valheim mods to keep you plenty busy. Meanwhile, here are even more of the best co-op games if you and your friends are after something new.

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