Skyrim: How To Play Coop Through Modding

Skyrim’s modding community is nothing short of astounding. Ever since the game’s initial release back in 2011, passionate modders have created hundreds of thousands of mods to enhance various aspects of Skyrim. Some mods fix bugs while others add entire world spaces.

One mod, Skyrim Together, has figured out a way to incorporate multiplayer gameplay into Skyrim: Special Edition. It has a few bugs and is far from polished, but it is remarkably far along. There is also a way to get this mod to support split-screen co-op for fans that don’t want to deal with latency. Here is a quick guide on how to play Skyrim cooperatively through the use of mods.

Who Can Play Skyrim Co-op?

Currently, only PC users with Skyrim: Special Edition can play Skyrim cooperatively. This is due to the mod enabling co-op, Skyrim Together, requiring the Skyrim Script Extender to work. Console users do not have access to script extenders due to TOS issues, preventing them from using this mod. Owners of the 2011 version of Skyrim also can’t play co-op; it must be the Special Edition.

How Does Skyrim Co-op Work?

Skyrim does not have any co-op or multiplayer functionality by itself. Thanks to mods, this is now possible. The Skyrim Together mod allows multiple players to connect to a single instance through a server browser. Clients can host a local server that other Skyrim Together users can join. Passwords can be set in place to only allow friends into your game. A maximum of eight players can be in a lobby at a given time.

Since this mod is a work in progress, expect a few bugs and missing features. Most actions and items are synchronized, excluding leveled loot from chests, opening claw doors in dungeons, quest objectives (players need to progress each quest exactly the same to prevent bugs), and certain character-altering effects like Wabbajack don’t work.

If you are interested in playing split-screen co-op to remove latency concerns, you can use Skyrim Together in conjunction with the Nucleus Co-op Mod. This mod adds split-screen co-op for compatible games, Skyrim Together being a recent addition. With both mods installed, two instances of Skyrim should start. Have both instances join each other with different save files via Skyrim Together’s server browser. Click here for Skyrim Together’s guide on how to do this.

How To Install And Play Skyrim Together

There are a few things you’ll need before you can play Skyrim cooperatively:

  1. Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE): Required for Skyrim Together. Download the current SE version.
  2. Harbor Launcher (Skyrim Together Mod): Adds online functionality to Skyrim. Download the latest version.
  3. (OPTIONAL) Nucleas Co-op launcher: Allows Skyrim Together to utilize split-screen. This requires a good computer, as you’ll be running two instances of Skyrim simultaneously.

Install the Harbor Launcher first. When the application asks for an install directory, choose wherever is most comfortable to you; it doesn’t have to be where Skyrim’s installed. When finished, boot up the Harbour launcher. It will need to detect your game. To do so, click the magnifying glass icon to the left of the “Install” button to manually search for your SkyrimSE.exe file. Once selected, Harbour will install Skyrim Forever for you.

Before you launch Skyrim through the Habour launcher, make sure that Skyrim Script Extender is installed. Install SKSE by dropping its file contents (everything inside the “skse64” file) into your root Skyrim directory, the location your SkyrimSE.exe is located.

In-game, choose a save file that is not in the Helgen tutorial. Press right control to bring up the server menu. You can connect to a friend’s server directly by using their IP address or by searching for their server name. To host a server, find your root Skyrim directory, look for the “server” folder, then launch the server.exe file.

Note: If the executable states that libcrypto-1_1-x64.dll is missing, you can find it here. Drop that file in your “server” folder. Downloading an older version of the Harbour launcher can also work.

Split-Screen Co-op

Following the above steps is needed for Nucleus to work. As with the Harbour launcher, Nucleus can be placed anywhere on your computer. Install it, then boot the launcher up.

Note: If any antivirus software detects the .rar as malicious software, disable the warning and install Nucleus. One of the developers, ZeroFoxG, explains why this problem occurs. The program is not a virus.

It will need to find your Skyrim executable. If you get error messages, you must have at least two character save files past Helgen and a “logs” file inside your “server” file for Nucleus to find Skyrim. Once it detects your game, launch Skyrim from the Nucleus launcher to start two instances of the same game in split-screen. Have both instances load into the same server (you can join by using your local IP or by typing “127.0.0.1” in the IP field).

For any other issues involving Skyrim Together, consult this FAQ from the developers.

Next: Skyrim: Mage Build Guide

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Charles Burgar is an expert on all things tech and gaming. Graduating from Pikes Peak Community College in 2018 with an Associate of Science, Charles has spent his time dissecting popular video games, movies, and technology. With an understanding of games for as long as he can remember, Charles has a large interest in understanding what makes things fun. He is currently a Freelance writer for TheGamer and Game Rant.

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