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Everything you need to know about Stardew Valley multiplayer

Last week, the Stardew Valley multiplayer update finally arrived…. almost! The Steam version has added a public beta mode, allowing us PC users to experience multiplayer a little early.  It’s a little glitchy and awkward, but I’m pleased to say it’s been mostly smooth sailing.

Getting started

First of all, you’ll need to opt into the beta by right-clicking on the game in your Steam library and selecting properties.  Under the betas tab, enter the access code jumpingjunimos  and wait for the beta files to download. For you and up to 3 mates to  create a brand new farm, it’s a simple matter of choosing co-op from the main menu. One of you will need to host the farm, which means that person will need to be online anytime anyone wants to play. This is expected, but it’s a shame that we won’t have that freedom to tend to our farm whenever we want. I would be willing to pay a cost to keep a private server running, similar to Minecraft, so that any combination of friends can log on at any time. The farm’s host will be able to play by themselves and offline, however.

one of the 3 cabins that can be built for other players

Allowing a friend to join an existing farm is easy as well. Robin will construct a cabin for your friend at a very low cost, and there’s even a few designs to choose from. You’re free to choose the location of the house as well, so it doesn’t mess up your farm’s layout. A cabin is linked to its player and their save file, so if you want to add more friends, you’ll need to build a new cabin for them. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a way of allowing visitors onto your farm without adding them to the save file, a function that would surely be popular. Hopefully that’s something we’ll see in the real update.

You and your friends share your cash, so I’d advise setting up a voice chat so you can talk about what to spend your money on. There is an in-game text chat function, but as always it is not as efficient as voice. What isn’t shared is tool and backpack upgrades, so it might be best to allocate different roles/tasks between yourselves so you don’t fight over who’s turn it is to upgrade their axe. Everything from farming to foraging is more efficient with friends, and combat in the mines is a lot more rewarding when you have someone there to back you up.

New Content

Theres a bunch of new stuff to do in the Stardew Valley update, with or without your friends. There are some minor things like new furniture and paintings to collect, which is nice. You can put a hat on your horse now as well, which is something we never thought we wanted until now.

But onto the major additions: there’s a new holiday in winter! It’s a night market that spans 3 days from the 15th day, which a bunch of new stuff to buy and activities to do. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but there are plenty of videos that showcase the event on YouTube, like this one.  There are new character events for certain characters, (including a scene where you can be called out  for dating all the bachelors at once!) and new construction projects.

a new construction project in Stardew Valley

If you’ve ever wondered about the empty spaces in your key items wallet, here’s your chance! New key items are obtainable, such as a magnifying glass that allows you to find secret notes in the world. These notes will be the key to finding some cool stuff, including the other items. For a free update, all this new content is incredible.

Be aware that the Stardew Valley multiplayer is still a beta, meaning some functions are a little awkward or don’t work smoothly. It’s advised to backup any save files before opting into the beta, in case an unlucky crash corrupts your save file. Lag was a common occurrence while we played, and  more than once our game crashed while saving. Time discrepancies were common as well, so it’s got a ways to go before it can come out of beta. In most of our sessions, we decided to stop after a bug halted or deleted our day’s progress. This seemed to happen most often when we had a full 4 players logged on, especially in areas with a lot of loading such as the mines. Stardew Valley developer ConcernedApe is keeping a close eye though, and is to be applauded for his frequent and diligent patches. His list of known and patched bugs is updated daily.

If you don’t already own Stardew Valley and the multiplayer has you intrigued, you can check out our review of the game to see if it’s up your alley.