Valheim Hearth & Home update now available: This is what's new

After something of an extended wait, the Hearth & Home update for Valheim is arriving today. While we've seen various teasers for the Hearth & Home – which is Valheim's first major content update post-launch – today's patch notes reveal most of what's new. Even then, though, it looks like the developers at Iron Gate want us to discover most of the additions on our own, as the patch notes are fairly broad.

Still, if you're trying to avoid spoilers and go into the update completely fresh, it's probably a good idea to stop reading here. Even though the patch notes are rather nonspecific, they still do reveal the additions of the Hearth & Home update in broad strokes, and that will spoil at least some things.

Obviously, the name Hearth & Home gives away this update's central areas of focus, which are building and cooking. 12 new food items have been added to the game, and food, in general, has been rebalanced so that most foods primarily give either a health or stamina buff. There's also a new iron cooking station and oven, which will both be necessary to cook some foods, along with improvements to the cauldron and a new butcher's knife accessory that's used for butchering tamed animals.

Speaking of tamed animals, you can now name them and apply the game's friendly fire rules to them, so you no longer have to worry about accidentally spearing your tamed animal in a fight. Weapons have also been rebalanced while the shield system has been overhauled. In addition, there are some new shields and weapons to craft, but since combat isn't a major focus of this update, there aren't very many.

As far as building is concerned, we'll be able to construct building pieces made of Darkwood, and there are new furniture items to craft, though the patch notes only directly name the stone throne and the Viking hot tub. If you're playing with friends, you can even craft a cartography table that will let you share map data with your buddies, which will be a huge help. You can check the patch notes for Hearth & Home over on Steam, but otherwise, the update is available now and ready for download.