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[Update]: After two years of updates, Grounded has now finally been unleashed from Early Access!

While the initial version of Grounded suffered from a rather severe lack of content, things are looking a lot better these days thanks to a steady stream of updates. In fact, the backyard is about to become even bigger as Obsidian is currently testing the rather hefty new Hot and Hazy update.

You can expect to see four new zones to explore (more on that in a bit), significant updates to the Haze biome, an assortment of new bugs to beat up, as well as plenty of fancy new equipment to craft. Most interestingly of all, the update will also bring with it both personal and party-wide stat upgrades in the form of vitamins scattered across the yard, thus even further encouraging exploration!

As for the four new zones, here's the brief blurb describing just what each one will bring to the table:

The Crab Sandbox
Dig up buried treasure and find ways to survive the sweltering heat of the Sandbox, or wait until night and venture forth in the dark. Either way, you'll have to discover new ways to survive while avoiding your new antlion friends!

The Black Ant Hill
Introducing a new sprawling anthill in the western yard full of black ants and other secrets. This dungeon allows players to uncover new craftable weapons and armor, and includes a new mini-boss within its depths.

The Trash Heap
Too precious to throw away, but not precious enough for the Trash Heap! Here, players will be able to uncover some of the trash left in the backyard. From food items in the knocked-over trash can to the AARTZ 3000, it'll be interesting to see what the players designate as treasure of their own.

The Picnic Table
Something's abuzz over at the Picnic Table! Joining the beehive, players will now find trash from yesterday's lunch, along with the latest and greatest in tabletop RPGs, Minotaurs and Myrmidons vol. II! Although the players will be too tiny to play, they can have fun exploring some of the components.

The Hot and Hazy update will also change or rework a bunch of old mechanics, with the most curious one being the armor rework. All armors will now be classified as light, medium or heavy and will have special effects based on their weight. Light armors will reduce the delay before your stamina starts regenerating, medium armors will keep you exactly as you are, while heavy armors will offer additional protection at the cost of, you guessed it, increased stamina regeneration delay.

Once the Hot and Hazy update goes live I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, you can check out the work-in-progress patch notes, or simply dive into the beta yourself, over at the Obsidian website. Enjoy!