Stardew Valley Multiplayer is in beta right now for PC and longtime players, including me, can’t get enough. Since the game released in 2016 players have been begging for a multiplayer version. ConcernedApe and the publishers Chucklefish were happy to oblige and what has been created is an absolute masterpiece.
The game begins as it always does, with that fateful letter from Grandpa. If you’ve not read the letter yet I won’t spoil it for you. After that, you’re off to Stardew Valley where you’re put on a farm that needs a whole lot of work. Only this time you aren’t alone. You have friends, living in their own cabins, up to 3 of them can be added for a total of four players on a farm. Each friend starts out with their own packet of Parsnips so it won’t be long before you’re bringing in money. Four players also means foraging will be easier as you can all spread out and there’s less concern for your bag filling up. From there you’re free to pursue whatever interests you. You can all tend to the farm, someone can take up fishing…how you divide up the labor is entirely up to you and your friends. For my husband and I, I ran the farm while he took to the mines and raised slimes.
You get to live on what is effectively a little commune with up to 3 other players, their NPC spouses, and children. Or you can marry one of your friends, the choice is yours. Marrying another player is a challenge though. It comes with a high price you both will have to work towards. It isn’t as easy as giving them gifts every day to raise their heart.
The multiplayer option manages to preserve everything you love about the single-player mode but make it available for more than just you. The festivals are open to everyone, making them a little bit more exciting as so many of them are a competition. Everything about Stardew Valley gives you a real communal living feel that may inspire you to go out and join a commune. Stardew Valley has certainly been inspiring people to become farmers, raise chickens, or just plant a garden since it launched.
The game isn’t without its flaws though. It is currently in beta and that beta has some bugs. Festivals seem to have an especially tough time with them. Which is understandable given how complex they are. Some players feel that the cost to marry a player character is too high, even with two of you working at it. But worst of all is the built-in chat system. It’s an incredibly basic system…that took me 40 minutes to work out how to use. Like with most games the chat box will disappear after a period of silence. But while most games allow you to press enter to bring it up again and start talking this isn’t the case in Stardew Valley. You have to find the sweet spot in the corner of the screen and click on it. It’s a minor complaint really, but for someone just getting started, it might be something that kills the game for them. In all honesty, Discord may actually be a better route than using the in-game chat system. But it is nice that it’s there.
There is also the complaint that if you have 2 or 4 seasoned players the game is actually too easy. You’re quickly all bringing in a lot of money so there’s no challenge to the game. The dev team has thought about this however and when the host is setting up the farm they can reduce the amount of money you get from selling things. Yes, you’re intentionally giving yourself a handicap to better the game.
One of the things I had really looked forward to doing with multiplayer was roleplaying. I’m not entirely sure why but now that multiplayer is out I’m not so keen on the RP aspect anymore. The difficulty with chat certainly plays a part. It’s awkward to use. But I also find myself wanting to be me, not a character. Maybe this has just unlocked my deep desire to live in a commune and raise some cows. There have been some people who are enjoying the roleplay options though! You can see a bit of it on the Stardew Valley subreddit. Even if you don’t have friends who play Stardew Valley you can find a group of people to play with. One awesome Stardew Valley fan created /r/StardewValleyFriends, a subreddit specifically for finding people to play with.
Of course multiplayer isn’t the only thing that was introduced in the 1.3 beta. Reddit has been compiling a list of all the new content that was added to Stardew Valley in 1.3 as well. I’m not going to talk about any of it in detail, but if you’d like to read what has been added you can do so here.
TL;DR: Stardew Valley multiplayer is a fantastic final update to the beloved game that thousands have obsessed over for years now. It’s easy enough to play with your kids or make new friends halfway across the world. It isn’t without its flaws, but they are relatively minor things. Hopefully, the bugs will be worked out soon.
The Stardew Valley multiplayer is currently available on PC and incredibly easy to set up. There isn’t currently a date for its release nor is it known when the beta will be seen on consoles. If you’re a Stardew Valley fan already I highly recommend you jump in with some friends. The beta is feature complete and there won’t be any post beta wipes. It is incredibly polished, so while there will almost certainly be a patch put out to fix problems, we’re pretty much looking at the final form.Related: Indie, Multiplayer, Review, Simulator, Stardew Valley