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You can play Skyrim’s official survival mode now, adding cold, hunger, and fatigue

Skyrim Survival mode

Dying lots makes games more fun. That’s what we’ve learned over six years of Dark Souls, and Bethesda have been paying attention. There’s a beta available right now of a Skyrim survival mode, made and distributed by Bethesda through Creation Club. It’s free while it’s in beta, and for the first week it’s completely available, after which it will default to Creation Club’s controversial paid system.

For the free versions, here are the best Skyrim mods ever made.

Here’s what the mode adds or changes:

  • Hunger – you need food to live, and in the game.
    • Not eating for a long time will reduce your maximum stamina, slows your attack speed and makes shields less effective.
    • You can also acquire a Well Fed bonus for eating enough regularly.
    • Health regen is completely disabled, so you’ll want to eat to restore that too.
    • Vampires and werewolves can feed on victims.
    • Uncooked meat can give you Food Poisoning, reducing the impact of eating food until it goes away or you’re cured. In a similar manner, Diseases are now much more common, more threatening and evolve over time if not cured.
    • Shrines no longer do this for free, unless you built them.
  • Fatigue – sleeping is good.
    • This is similar to the Hunger system, only for magicka. It also reduces the impact of potions and lowers regeneration rates for magicka and stamina.
    • Well Rested still exists, but you must sleep in a bed, indoors.
    • Carry weight is significantly reduced, and carrying too much makes you fatigued quicker. Arrows and lockpicks actually have weight now, of course, and items that increase carry threshold are nerfed.
  • Cold – keep yourself wrapped up.
    • Similar to the previous two categories, this lowers your maximum health. It kills you if you get too cold, with UI elements to indicate what’s warming you up and what isn’t – fire is good.
    • A Warmth system decides how good your armour is at keeping the wind out, affecting how quickly you succumb to the elements.
    • Exceptionally stupid things, like swimming in freezing water, aren’t healthy.
    • Vampires and Werewolves get colder much slower.
    • Different areas of the world are different temperatures, as laid out on this map.
  • Fast travel – is disabled. Use those carriages.
  • Afflictions – the aftermath of various diseases and states will give you afflictions, permanent debuffs until they’re cured. Some examples:
    • Weakened: You are less effective at using melee weapons and blocking damage with your shield.
    • Addled: All enchantments and spells cast are less effective.
    • Frostbitten: You are less effective at picking locks, picking pockets, and doing damage with a bow.

Of course, none of this is unique to Bethesda’s version. The last time I played Skyim – several years ago – I used a free mod that had several of these features. Of course, it was less well integrated and likely buggier, but they’re pretty sophisticated. Frostfall is one of the most popular and well-known.

To get access to Bethesda’s version, follow the instructions on getting into the beta here. Probably don’t stack it with Frostfall unless you like game crashes.