Have you ever wanted to play Skyrim with your friend? To finish all the quests, discover all the dungeons and fight side by side? Well, it is now absolutely possible thanks to the mod, which was created by Together Team and called Skyrim Together Reborn.
What I am going to share with you here is my experience with this mod after I played it for 200+ hours with just me and my friend. We basically finished the entire game, including its DLC – Dragonborn and Dawnguard, with all the achievements on Steam. Was it worth it? Let’s find out here!
In case you want to play this mod yourself, feel free to check this mod on Nexusmods.com. I also have the in-depth installation guide for this mod, which you can find on my website: How to Play Skyrim in Coop – Skyrim Together Mod Guide.
Technical implementation (aka. Single-player experience)
Skyrim Together Reborn doesn’t add any other features, nor enhancements for the core game. It simply implements Multiplayer features, so don’t expect to see any new textures, quests or UI there. It also doesn’t support Anniversary Edition of the game, and you’ll have to use Skyrim Special Edition instead.
Technically speaking, this mod simply adds a model to your single player game, which is controlled remotely by a real player – it can jump, attack, use commands, interact with quests and loot. And that’s the main feature of this Coop mod.
As Skyrim still remains a single-player game, this leads to many inconveniences and restrictions during gameplay for other players, including the host. The host, is basically the main player, aka. The party leader, who must start new quests, talk to NPCs to share or continue quest steps and interact with all quest items, while his sidekicks have to stare, kill enemies where necessary and do nothing. Other players, aside from that host, can only impact negatively and soft-lock the game.
The devs clearly state that, Skyrim can be sensitive to other players, and it is not recommended to trigger anything related to the host. But if you accidentally break anything, you still have console commands. Even without the mods, this game can be buggy at times, and I can’t imagine playing Skyrim on any console, as players don’t have any options to debug their game or use cheats to get “unstuck”.
In other words, you are still going to play a single-player game, but with another key player (presumably the host), who will not share any landmarks, radiant quests, experience, or spell books to you. You will have to get all that by yourself. This is especially painful for those who want to become werewolf or vampire, as these powers are given only to the main player, and a second player is usually left with nothing.
While playing in the group, it is also important to keep your eyes on your leader, as he can trigger something you’ll likely to miss, or run far away from you. And there is also no marker on your compass or any other icon for showing your party members. Your only option would be to teleport from the party menu while praying that it won’t crash.
Other “Single-player” limitations include: non-synced objects, you may encounter NPCs without clothes, invisible guards to other players, passive enemies in most of the dungeons, glitched doors (especially the Dragon claw gates), and puzzles.
But that’s far from over. You can also glitch zones, especially indoor dungeons, if you enter them first while not being the host. By doing so, the loaded zone will be tied to your save file, instead of the host’s and with high chance it will miss quest items or enemies to proceed. So if you or your friend unintentionally enter the map first, you will encounter many soft-locks, sync issues and even crashes. But there is one good solution to all that: rollback saves and don’t repeat these mistakes ever again.
Trust me, with this mod, you will surely learn the hard way how to quicksave the game whenever an important stuff happens. So long story short, Skyrim, including its engine, is hard-coded into single-player. And if you plan to play this mod even only with one friend, it’s going to be painful.
The Buggy, but fun Adventure
As I mentioned before, this mod obviously has some critical flaws. The developers don’t rush to update their mod, unless the new patch for Skyrim is out to break every single mod. But despite all that, it is quite playable even in its current state.
Skyrim together itself works fine. You can search and join any server you like, you can then invite other players to join your group and start an adventure. And since this mod allows you to play with others players, it is important to interact with each other.
Here, you can chat in this game, but using text chat nowadays for instant communication is not very convenient. It takes time to open, and it takes time to type your message. This will be especially annoying if you can’t run the game like me above 60 frames per second, as the Multiplayer’s UI is tied to your FPS. But don’t worry. If you have a high-end GPU and if you can handle ENB (visual) shaders, then you should be fine.
Additionally, if you open the Steam overlay or use Alt-Tab while your chat or invite window is opened, you can easily break this UI and will have to reload the game.
As for the Quests, I believe you can finish 80% of the quests without using console commands, if you carefully follow the host and don’t break anything! But during my playthrough, I used console commands quite often. Prepare to google lots of IDs and quicksave in case something goes wrong. This includes – spawning NPCs by their base ID, teleporting to RefID, changing race to fix werewolf/vampire form, adding missing items to the inventory, killing unkillable mobs, changing quest stages, getting rid of unnecessary quest items, clipping through the walls as some dragon claw doors were not opening for me, but for the host and more.
As for the leveling and difficulty settings, this mod certainly has balancing issues because, again, it is a single player game. We found a server which was on Adept difficulty and started leveling there for quite some time. It was still a rough adventure, we were under leveled and lacked weapons.
But things started to change drastically, once we figured out that we could level up much faster by attacking each other. And the easiest way was to use sneak attacks. This allowed us to boost one-handed weapons, sneaking and light/heavy armor quite fast and move forward with the quests. At some point, we even improved our weapons and enchanted them to the maximum damage.
We could of course add some levels from console commands, but since the game lets us level up this way, it was more fair and we had fun. In some rare cases, we could also find glitched dragons that were stuck inside the structures, and it helped us level up even further. As some of you probably know, that dragons can’t die while they are mid-air. They die, only when they land.
We were basically destroying Adept difficulty and decided to find a different server on a Master difficulty, and since then it was quite a balancing experience. While most of the Mobs were still passive, it was challenging enough. Mobs had more health, and they hit hard, so we had to use most of our spells and weapons. Because of that, we also had to use Enchanting and Blacksmith more often. These upgrades definitely helped us improve our heroes. At some point, my one-handed axe had over 800 damage with all the buffs, sharpening and enchants. That’s quite a lot, even for Master difficulty.
During our play sessions, we both also had to dupe plenty of items, because some of them were hard to obtain. Since it runs on a shared (server-side) world, one player can easily store his hard-earned items in a chest and then roll back a save to get more items of the same type. This saved us a lot of time and basically removed the grind completely. We weren’t grinding any ores or ingredients, as it was time-consuming and not fun. We simply wanted to enjoy the game, and we did. Sort of…
Of course, it is considered as cheating, but our initial plan was to casually finish the story with most of the side quests that we encountered on our way. But if you are the one who wants to live in this game and enjoy every second of it, then you are free to do whatever you want, just don’t forget to share your findings with others.
Another big deal here, while playing in coop, are Escort quests, where you have to escort or wait for NPCs to reach their destination. This may sound easy in theory, but difficult in practice.
Most NPCs will travel to far distances across Skyrim and Waiting to skip time is not an option, as the time is tied to the server itself. Sometimes, these NPCs may even get stuck between different loading zones or stop moving completely. The only idea we could come with was to leave the server, pass time on the host’s side, get past this objective, join the server, recreate the party and move on. And this process was annoying as hell for sure, even for 2-player experience. Imagine doing this when you play with a group of 5 to 10 players!
Another game breaking choice you can make is joining to Stormcloaks before finishing the main story. Simply don’t repeat my mistake. This Faction is completely broken, and you will encounter lots of bugs regarding reputation, quest chains, missing Jarls and the bugged main quest where you have to catch the dragon (The Fallen).
You would probably say, that there is one mod called Unofficial Skyrim Patch that fixes most of these bugs I mentioned earlier, but we trusted the devs and decided to embrace Skyrim in its original state. It even made us laugh, but sometimes it didn’t.
Speaking of other mods, We only used visual mods without touching the fundamentals, as the 2011 version looks extremely outdated with low-res textures and inconvenient console UI. We spent many hours testing every single mod, and we made sure everything worked perfectly.
But the longer we played, the more crashes we encountered. My friend and I later realized that the root of the problem was the coop mod itself. My game could crash up to 50 times in one day, and it really pissed me off. Even when I played without any other mods, it could still crash for no reason. In most cases, these crashes were caused by opening my inventory, switching zones, interacting with doors or chests, or when I was trying to improve my armor on the blacksmith table. This game could also crash at any minute and ruin our quest steps. And for this reason, we started to use quicksave as often as we could.
Another problem with these crashes, is that once your game crashes, it creates a 1GB crash dump in your system folder (in the Appdata) as well as in the game’s folder. These crash logs may quickly drain your free space, or even
reduce your disk health in the long term if you leave it unnoticed. But for some reason, my system didn’t allow more than 10 crash dumps in that folder, so it was always capped at 10 gigs. This may vary on your system, but in any case – prepare for frequent crashes to desktop.
If not the frequent crashes or bugged quests, this mod deserves the highest praise for their hard work. I believe there is still much to be done to improve this coop experience. After playing this game for more than 200 hours, I’d say that I rather enjoyed it. And I don’t regret my decision to play it with my friend.
Bringing multiplayer to this legendary single-player game is like a breath of fresh air, and many veteran or new players will certainly take their chances to play it with the friends and make some fun.
This mod definitely has enough room for expansion to allow bigger mods like Enderal, Skyblivion or even Fallout 4 as they all run on the same engine and have many similarities. I’m looking forward to playing all these mods in a future with my friends to experience these worlds from a new co-op perspective. The developers just need more time to connect all the dots and make it work.
Despite all these unpredictable bugs and crashes, it is still playable, but I believe that not many players like me will make it to the end. If you are going to play this mod alone, or just want to join some random people on a server for one evening – be cautious. You will soft-lock your save file while playing with strangers, without realizing it. And some players may also ruin the immersion by hacking levels and equipment or spam enemies in front of you just for laughs.
I hope that one day, this mod will become more accessible and stable in terms of optimization. Maybe I’m asking a lot, and it is technically difficult to accomplish, or maybe not. I don’t know. I believe, that we, players can improve this mod and make it more customizable. Take for example Minecraft servers with their countless plugins and customization. This mod certainly deserves it. I assume that many like me would love to see more console commands, whitelists, custom events, web UI, custom plugins, and more! If you want this to happen, then go and support them on Patreon. Let them know that the players care about this mod.
Video Review (200+ Hours)
With all that being said, it is time for conclusion. If you still want to play this game in co-op, then get Skyrim Special Edition on Steam, download the mod and call your friends. It’s not going to be a smooth experience, for sure, but you will certainly have some fun. You will also learn more about the ways this game works behind the scenes, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment after solving certain bugs on your way.
In case you need some help with the installation or solving bugs, you can check the in-depth guide on my website.