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AFK Journey's First Seasonal Update: A Closer Look at Song of Strife and Its New Heroes

Steven Weber Updated: Posted:
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AFK Journey has been growing steadily since the global release on March 27th, 2024. Now with millions of downloads and plenty of new players to bolster their community, the team at Lilith Games has just released their first major content update, Song of Strife. Within this update, players are introduced to a brand-new area to explore, two new playable characters, a new world boss, and new game modes coupled with changes to some ‘old’ game modes. How does this new update shape up?

If you’ve been playing AFK Journey up to this point, you were forewarned that Song of Strife is primarily an endgame content update. They’ve stated that players should reach the end of the main story, reach level 240, and clear all 1125 AFK levels as well. The update will also be live in stages based on when you started the game. That means, if you started the game on launch, you’ll get the update when it releases, while newer servers must wait for 42 days for the update to go live. This staged approach will help players catch up, and not be left in the dust by those that have paid their way to progress.

I had a short preview of the content during an event with the Farlight Games’ team last week. During the event I was introduced to the Ashen Wastes, a completely separate area that players will be transported to, which means the map everyone spent their time exploring will not expand on this update. Not only will players be introduced to a new area broken up into three zones, but they will also start their journey over, beginning a seasonal level climb again.

This confused me somewhat, because I wondered why players were pushed into completing the main story, getting to resonance 240, and AFK stage 1125 if everyone was just going to start over with Seasonal levels anyway. It feels like the content gating is primarily to expand the time it takes to hit endgame and additional story content, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you have a lot of free players pounding away at progress inch by inch. However, due to the Seasonal nature of the content, it would be great to not gate access to the content for players that haven't been able to get to get there quite yet.

The Ashen Waste zone brings players into the world of the Mauler faction. The animal hybrids have some of the most sought-after characters, such as the powerful A-Rank beast Odie, who is well known for his ability to execute enemies, and a player-favorite S-Rank healer, Smokey & Meerky. Players were introduced to Shakir near the end of the main story, so it’s not a huge surprise to find out the Ashen Waste will be Mauler focused. While we do have some popular Mauler characters, up to this point, many have argued that the Maulers are not as well-rounded as the other factions, and that’s where the addition of new characters comes in.

The new characters, Alsa and Soren bring a key piece to the Mauler faction that the team sorely lacked. Control. Some Maulers are great at support, but arguably the strongest control character in their arsenal, the Rhino Tank Lumont, isn’t very popular as he doesn’t do exceptional damage, rarely holds aggro well, and his ultimate ability pushes enemies out of a cohesive group strategy, which is in direct contrast to what you want to see with a stationary healer like Smokey & Meerky.

For this reason, the introduction of Soren and Alsa will shift the balance of power a little. Alsa, the S-Ranked rock-swinging Armadillo-like hero has a rather unusual kit that is built around rock walls that can protect your team by preventing other players from reaching them easily, and stunning enemies in the process. She is also quite agile, with a mixture of melee and ranged attacks. Soren, on the other hand, is even more control focused. He can push enemies away with a knockback ability called Deflecting Swing which can stun a single opponent, but the real power is in his ultimate, which allows him to stun all enemies within range. This will undoubtedly make him one of the most sought after characters, and someone that whales will most likely be targeting soon after his release.

The new content also introduces Magic Charms to the game, which will increase the power of your characters once you slot these charms. Magic Charms also have set bonuses, and once equipped, you’ll have some new abilities that you can use to enhance your favorite heroes. Magic Charms also have a rarity, meaning you’ll be able to build out your character with Elite, Epic, Legendary and Mythic Charms, and each charm grants a boost to your stats even if you don’t have a full set, so you’ll want to slot them on your favorite heroes for sure.

This update will also feature several new game modes and mini-games. Supreme Arena will have players challenge other servers from Wednesday until Sunday in PvP, with some unusual changes from the regular Arena. From what I was able to see, you’ll build out three separate teams, and the battles will be affected by a “Raging Duel” ability, where your characters will build up Rage through strong attacks until you reach a Battle Fervor state, granting you an advantage. The “Raging Duel” is also part of the PvE mechanics you’ll find throughout the world, so it’s a mode that you’ll likely be very familiar with by the time you compete in the Supreme Arena.

Supreme Arena isn’t the only mode that will put your team against other players, Server Districts will put your server against other servers in Honor Duel, Arcane Labyrinth, and your guild Battle Drills. That means you will no longer directly battle against your own server, but bolster the community to battle a number of servers, which is a great way to keep populations active, and bring along some camaraderie to your former server enemies.

Dura’s Trials were also shown, where players will take part in PvE battles on certain days of the week to earn those Magic Charms everyone is so excited about. The Trials will require their own trial currency, similar to how the Arena and Honor Duel have their own limited number of tickets to play, and you can purchase more if you want to keep playing.

Overall, the first major content update has a lot to look forward to. While my preview was short, the new puzzles, combat additions, and game modes have expanded the content that current players should keep busy for quite some time. The team has also made some changes to current characters and game modes as well, which includes 2 new Dream Realm bosses, new Legend Trials, new Seasonal Artifacts, and a Seasonal Growth Path complete with its own cosmetics. There are also a few Quality-of-Life features, like the addition of auto-battle for Legend Trial and Trial of Abyss, and the ability to automatically recycle equipment you can’t use into gold.

With so many changes, it’s likely going to be a hot minute before players fully grasp the extent of the content, and that’s a much needed change from where players have been circling the past few weeks, with a very obvious lull in activity while gamers awaited the new content. Whether the content will last until the next major update, it may be too early to tell. Either way, I’ll see you all in the Ashen Wastes! For more information on what has changed, see the full list of patch notes.


Steven Weber

Steven has been a writer at MMORPG.COM since 2017. A lover of many different genres, he finds he spends most of his game time in action RPGs, and talking about himself in 3rd person on his biography page.