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The end of the world comes to viking RTS Northgard as a free update today

It's the end of the world, and free too

The latest to mine from the rich vein of inspiration that is the Norse apocalypse is Shiro Games's excellent viking strateg 'em up Northgard. Released today, Ragnarok is a big free update to the game adding an hostile and haunted new map, dark elves to tussle with, new game systems and more. As if a free apocalypse wasn't enough, the game is half off until October 5th. Check out the trailer below, and the extensive update patch notes here.

The Ragnarok map looks like a change of pace if you're used to just casually locking down your territory, farming until your warriors are hale and healthy and rolling through enemy territory. Its volcanic terrain is toxic and unfarmable, so you'll be relying on fish and deer to keep going. The volcano at the center of the map will also spew massive rocks around the map at random. The good news: If you can mine them, they're a good source of stone. Bad news: If you don't mine them, they'll come to life as magma golems and start mining your workers instead.

Watch on YouTube

There's other supernatural menaces (this is the apocalypse, after all), including the Blood Moon, which gives all units outside of their own territory a 50% power boost, encouraging offensive play. There's a graveyard where you can summon spectral warriors to help you, ghost-sailors to harass your fishermen and smarter, more aggressive kobolds. Plus there's the Myrkalfar, an all new neutral faction - cranky dark elves who raid people at random, although if bribed they'll focus on your enemies instead.

Last of the big new features of this update is the Military Paths system - a new form of faction progression. There's three paths to pick from - Tactician, Guardian or Conqueror - and as your faction level up, they'll gain new perks in their chosen path. Tacticians get bodyguards for their Warchief, Guardians can convert civilians into defensive Militia units and Conqueror troops get stronger if their allies die behind enemy lines.

Northgard and its Clan of The Snake DLC are half off on Steam, bringing it down to £11.89/€13.99/$14.99. The Ragnarok update is out now - here are the complete patch notes.

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