Stardew Valley launched beta patch 1.3 two days ago. Last night, my sister and I jumped into our first try at a multiplayer game. The verdict – there’s a few small bugs, but overall, Stardew handles multiplayer almost flawlessly… even in beta form!
If you have Stardew on Steam, you can follow the instructions in the official blog post to opt into the beta. The GoG version is coming very soon. And, there IS cross-platform multiplayer between Steam and GoG through using codes to invite friends to your farm.
Once you’ve opted into the beta, you get a new Co-op option on the main menu screen. This is where the fun happens.
You can host and join multiplayer games there. You can also make an existing game into a co-op game, but we chose to start a brand new farm using the co-opt hosting.
We had no problem at all hosting or joining the game via the Steam friends list. No need to open up ports or anything. No muss or fuss. I like it!
Since both my sister and I have many hours of Stardew under our belt, we both approached this from a “I’m returning and remembering how to play this. How is this going to work in multiplayer?” standpoint.
Changes for Multiplayer
The first thing I realized was that the game no longer pauses when you open up your menu — keep this in mind for when you’re down in the mines fighting monsters! There’s no pause time!
The game host can still pause the game, though, by opening up chat (Press “T”) and typing /pause. Since Stardew days are short, and everything revolves around time, this is a huge feature to take advantage of, especially if one of your players dropped connection.
We also learned that certain things, such as going to sleep at night and festival cut scenes, have a built-in feature that waits for the other players to confirm. For example, if I go to sleep and my sister hasn’t yet, I see this until she jumps in bed and confirms she wants to sleep:
This makes it a little nail-biting when your friend is running home at ten-till 1 am. 😀
I have no idea what happens if one player sleeps an the other doesn’t. Do you both get the penalty? Or just one?
Shared and Not Shared
The biggest thing we ran across was figuring out what was shared and not shared.
Money is shared. This means that you need to buy two of everything – upgrades and the like. Thankfully, more than one of you working around the farm can get twice as much done. Someone can be foraging on the beach and another in the mines while another is watering the crops.
It seems like quests, stats, skills and NPC relationships are not shared.
But other things, such as progress made on the community center and clearing floors in the mine, are shared. It’s fun to battle through the mine and have someone else with you searching for the next path down.
Just know that the treasure chest you loot in the mine seems to only give one reward. Not sure if this was intentional or a bug.
We only ran across a few things that I would consider a true bug. The biggest one was with sounds carrying much further than they should. Sometimes I could hear Vix chopping trees or fighting monsters in the mine when I was nowhere near her.
Directional sound also doesn’t carry very well from the other player. I can hear her walking around on the farm, for example, but can’t tell from the sound what direction she’s located from my position.
These aren’t anything that break the game, and I’m sure these sorts of things will get fixed. Overall, this is a very solid beta, and I’m certainly looking forward to continuing to build our farm. We might even get a few more to join us down the line.