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The Valheim Ashlands test is here, and you can jump in right now

The Valheim Ashlands biome is out now in public testing, challenging you to explore the Viking survival game’s most threatening area yet.

The Valheim Ashlands biome is out now in public testing - A Viking ship sails between charred rocks with lava pouring down them, backed by a bright red sky.

The Valheim Ashlands are finally here. It’s been a long time since the last big biome overhaul for Iron Gate’s Viking survival game – the Mistlands update arrived 16 months ago, if you’re keeping count. In that time, we’ve seen plenty of contenders arrive, from Sons of the Forest and Palworld to Enshrouded, Nightingale, and most recently the 1.0 launch of The Planet Crafter. But now, after much teasing, one of the biggest and best open-world survival crafting games on Steam is ready for you to explore its newest region, with the public test available right now for you to jump into.

If you’ve been staying up to date on all things Valheim, you’ll probably already have a good idea of what to expect from the Ashlands. But in case you haven’t, the flame-wrought, ash-strewn wasteland is the penultimate region to be fleshed out in the survival game, with just the Deep North left on the cards from Iron Gate’s original map. The developer pitches the Ashlands as “Valheim’s deadliest biome yet,” a hostile and uncaring land filled with the dangerous, skeletal Charred and all manner of even more horrifying threats.

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Of course, a new region opens up new possibilities, and so – once you’ve made it across the perilous waters and landed on the toasty shores of the Ashlands – you’ll be able to collect ashwood, grausten stone, and flametal ore to make new building pieces, weapons, armor, and more. New Valheim weapon crafting gems will allow you to infuse your preferred weapon type with the element of blood, storm, or nature. You’ll need it all, too, if you’re going to make gear capable of withstanding everything the Ashlands have to throw at you.

“We’re anticipating players will be surprised by how difficult it is at first,” producer Andreas Tomasson says of the new biome, “but that’s what Valheim is all about – challenging and often brutal exploration and survival.” If that has you worried, however, he does reassure you that “We will of course keep an eye out on how public testing goes and make sure that it’s not unfair.”

The other big addition with the Ashlands is siege weaponry. The Charred forces will entrench themselves in sturdy fortresses, surrounded by towering walls lined with ballistas and fire mages. To stand a chance at breaking through, you’ll need to take advantage of new Dvergr-fashioned catapults and battering rams to crumble those defenses and take the fight to the Charred armies directly.

Valheim Ashlands - A warrior holding twin axes faces off against a giant, skull-headed bird flying above them.

The Valheim Ashlands are available now on the public testing branch. If you want to jump in, you can do so by switching via the beta tab in the game properties menu. Tomasson says the Ashlands “mark a significant milestone as the last major update before our final batch of content when the game reaches 1.0,” although it’s likely to be some time again before we see that next update arrive as the team focuses on tweaking and honing the Ashlands leading up to and beyond the full launch of the update.

If you can’t get enough of the Norse warrior experience, the best Viking games on PC should give you plenty more options to satisfy your needs. Or if it’s the base-building and construction side of things that really tickles your fancy, then the best building games are the place to be.

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