Skyrim Together Reborn proves Tamriel is more fun with friends

I’m back misbehaving in Skyrim. And while in past playthroughs this may have pertained to unlawful NPC murder, theft, or breaking any other of the Nine Divines’ 10 Commandments, this time I’m picking fights with random human companions in Skyrim Together Reborn – a new Skyrim multiplayer mod that is so, so much fun. Actual human beings are screaming down their headsets at me as I fail to take our primary goal seriously, instead choosing to slap the back of our leader’s head repeatedly while giggling like Homer Simpson. I mean, who really cares what the fire-breathing dragon Mirmulnir’s been up to in the western outskirts of Whiterun? We all know how that set-piece unfolds by now. And surely enjoying the very fact that we’re all here, together, in a mostly functioning co-operative multiplayer Skyrim server is more important than protecting Tamriel?

Despite this, I eventually, reluctantly, yield to my crew. We set off to tackle the enemy tearing through the skies on the periphery of town, make light of work of it, and are once more on our merry way. I’m playing in a group of five with four other random adventurers, but Skyrim Together Reborn supports co-op for up to eight people. If, like me, you thought you were well and truly done with The Elder Scrolls 5 by now, you may as well think again. Skyrim Together Reborn will not only reignite your itch, but have you obsessing over the Dragonborn’s tale like you first did some 10-and-a-bit years ago.

Fus Ro Dahm!

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda)

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(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

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Skyrim Together Reborn isn’t the first player-made stab at multiplayer co-op in The Elder Scrolls 5, but it is surely the best. In my experience, previous ventures have either been barely functional – with pals falling through maps, clipping through walls, pinging all over the shop, or dropping offline entirely – or have been totally broken and unloadable from the outset. I’ve fumbled through so many ambitious but ultimately poorly-executed community ventures (not least the original ‘Skyrim Together’, from the same creators), in fact, that I’ve always viewed Together Reborn through a lens of scepticism. If the team behind the project hadn’t been so vocal throughout the mod’s several years in development, I’d probably have written it off a long time ago – but the fact that the team has stayed communicative with would-be players throughout the duration of its development has kept me cautiously optimistic. 

In full defence of hobbyist creators, crafting a fully-functioning, fully-co-operative multiplayer Skyrim can’t be easy, and so, despite making all the right noises on Reddit and Discord, I entered into Skyrim Together Reborn with a fair amount of trepidation. But, within mere minutes of firing it up, I was left eating humble Chaurus Pie – Skyrim Together Reborn really is that enjoyable, that comprehensive, and that sophisticated an undertaking, that I can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s not perfect, but it has breathed more life into old school Skyrim than any of the myriad official updates and repackages Bethesda has rolled out over the last 10 years.

A dragon blasts a man with a shield in Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Getting set up in Skyrim Together Reborn is really straightforward, thanks to a handy, easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial video from the mod’s creators (opens in new tab). If you’re short of pals to play with, the fact that upwards of 85,000 people downloaded the mod in its first three days after launch (at the time of writing it’s now closing in 100,000), partnering with other lone nomads via the mod’s official Discord is straightforward too – with the only obvious provisos being: the mod is only compatible with Skyrim: Special Edition; the party leader controls the direction of each adventure, they accept quests and choose dialogue options; and multiplayer can’t be activated until you have escaped Helgen at the beginning of the game.   

During my own time with Skyrim Together Reborn so far, I’ve partnered with a few different groups via Discord, with voice chat running in the background as our primary means of communication. As someone who’s bounced off The Elder Scrolls Online on a handful of occasions, Skyrim Together Reborn really feels like multiplayer Skyrim in its purest form – with everything from nearby respawns for fallen players, to increased end-of-quest loot quantities for larger parties having been considered. In practice, as a tried and true long-distance marksman, I no longer find myself frantically cycling between my bow and a two-handed axe or conjuration spell – in teams, I’m able to play to my strengths while my comrades handle their own weapons of choice, giving each outing a touch of multi-classed, roleplay-inspired D&D vibes. How many times while playing Skyrim with an AI NPC companion in tow way back when did you think to yourself: wouldn’t this be cool with a friend? Skyrim Together Reborn is, in a nutshell, realising those fantasies.

See you, see me

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda)

“I booted the mod up for the first time two days ago, and I’ve spent pretty much every minute of my spare time thinking about it and what I might do next since.”

The most obvious and most frustrating bug I’ve encountered with Skyrim Together Reborn so far is certain enemies showing for some players and not others. The mod is set to ‘Master’ difficulty (the second-highest setting) by default, which, when firing on all cylinders with four bodies, works really well – but in the scant occasions when enemies fail to load for certain players, battles that you’d otherwise breeze through can suddenly become fatal. During one ill-fated trek towards the College of Winterhold, I found myself locking horns with a Snowy Sabre Cat on my lonesome as my squad soldiered on without me. And while it’s possible they’d finally had enough of my head-slapping shenanigans as they left me to die, they assured me in the moment that they simply couldn’t see the enemy tearing me limb from limb yards away. 

I’ll take their word on that one, but, in any event, while Skyrim Together Reborn suffers from the occasional rough edge, it is in my experience so far a surprisingly complete and stable project. Moreover, after pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into their work over the last several years, the mod’s creators have announced they’re taking an immediate step back to focus their efforts elsewhere – making Skyrim Together Reborn open-source and turning it over to its community. With such a large uptake and seemingly fast-growing scene, I’ve no doubt those rough edges will be smoothed out in no time. 

In the meantime, I quite simply can’t recommend Skyrim Together Reborn enough. Even if, like me, you’ve covered the sprawling map of The Elder Scrolls 5 from pillar to post, I assure you there’s enough here to snap you back in. I booted the mod up for the first time two days ago, and I’ve spent pretty much every minute of my spare time thinking about it and what I might do next since. It goes without saying, then, if you’re less familiar with Skyrim, Skyrim Together Reborn marks the perfect reason to jump back in. And if, somehow, you’ve never played Skyrim at this point, then this mod could very well be the perfect introduction. Just steer clear of my team because I’m, apparently, very annoying. 

Skyrim Together Reborn can be downloaded for PC now via Nexus Mods


If you need a break from Tamriel entirely, here are the best games like Skyrim you can play right now. 

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