A new official Skyrim mode challenges you to battle the elements with more realistic health effects. Survival Mode is those who like a challenge rather than those who prefer the escapism of the game.
The mode means your character will be affected by hunger, fatigue and cold. Specifically:
- Going a long period without food will lower your stamina and leave you unable to carry some weapons. Cooked food will combat hunger more effectively than raw food, with raw meat carrying a food poisoning risk.
- Going without sleep will drop your available magicka, in turn affecting your ability to restore stamina. The type of sleep matters as well: if you aren’t sleeping indoors in a bed, you won’t get as much of a benefit.
- Getting cold (for example by travelling in snowy areas or swimming in a cold river) will lower your health, slow your down and limit your ability to pick locks or pockets. Other than leaving the area, you can overcome cold by eating hot soup or lighting a fire, while clothing and armor will limit the effects of cold to varying degrees.
Other changes in survival mode include fast travel being disabled: you’ll have to choose between slow foot or horseback travel, or getting there faster on a boat or carriage, which may increase hunger, cold and fatigue.
There’s no longer any automatic health regeneration and you’ll need to be in bed to level up. The mode also takes more account of the weight of items you carry, with an associated effect on fatigue.
The mode is available for testing now in Steam Beta. It launches on PS4 and Xbox One next month and on PC later on. In both cases it will be free to use for the week before the (as yet unspecified) cost kicks in.