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RimWorld's beta adds swamp biomes and 'story combat'

The last big update before launch

RimWorld has left its awkward alpha stage, blossoming into a beta with update 18. It’s called A World of Story, but the update really dabbles in everything, from crazy weather to orbital super weapons. Hitting beta also means that it’s in the final stretch, says developer Tynan Sylvester, and there won’t be any “major” new additions like entirely new systems before launch, though there will still be future updates.

Within the long list of new additions, it is perhaps the most boring feature that has gotten me incredibly eager to jump back in and start a new colony: queuing up jobs. It’s not flashy or sexy, but man is it going to save me a lot of time and frustrating micro-management. So if I want to feed a bedridden colonist and I’ve got no meals, I can order another colonist to pick up the raw resources, bring them back to base, cook them into a tasty snack and then feed my poor patient, all without following them around and waiting for them to finish each task.

If the flashy stuff is all you care about, then there’s plenty of that, too. Orbital super weapons, psychic, mood-altering devices, three types of swamp biome, new furniture and gear, tornadoes, cave networks complete with bug nests and edible mushrooms, new mental breaks -- it’s a pretty big update.

There’s also new mental effects. On top of additional mental breaks like following someone around insulting them or slaughtering every animal, there are now inspirations. So your colonists could become inspired, giving them massive bonuses for a few days. These inspirations are connected to specific skills, so a colonist could become an inspired surgeon or an inspired artist.

But what about the story stuff? It’s in the name, after all. Well, there are new story events that can be remembered and celebrated through art; a new end-game challenge where the colonists must power up the hidden spaceship over several days, attempting to survive a series of raids; and “storyful combat”, which gives each combat encounter more narrative flair through descriptions in the combat log.

A World of Story is live now.

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Fraser Brown avatar

Fraser Brown


Premature Evaluation caretaker. Likes strategy games almost as much as he likes labradoodles.