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Stardew Valley’s 1.6 Update Is Out—Here Are Some of the Biggest Changes

The popular farming sim and ultimate cozy game, Stardew Valley, dropped a major update on Tuesday after months of anticipation. Stardew’s 1.6 update has an insane amount of new content that touches every area of the game, from new menus and DIYs, to a new farm layout, new crops, and the ability to have multiple pets and play with seven friends at once. It’s enough updates to make the game feel fresh, but isn’t so new that you can’t ease back into a beloved farm and toil away.

It's important to note here that the free update is currently only available for PC players. The update will come to mobile and consoles like the Nintendo Switch later on. If you're not a PC player, the 1.6 news has not changed gameplay, and you'll be able to play normally while you wait for it to show up. If you don't have the game yet on PC, you can purchase it on Steam for $15, and it works on PC, Linus, and Mac computers.

As soon as the PC update arrived, I opened up Stardew Valley and started a file with the brand-new farm layout (which has me very broke) to dive right in. The update also works on your existing Stardew files, and I’ve been bouncing back and forth between my brand-new file and a later-game file to see what’s new in different seasons. Everywhere I look, I see something new. Moss to forage off trees! New reactionary dialog from NPCs! A prize machine in the mayor’s house!

If you hate spoilers, I’m honestly not sure why you read this far, but you should definitely stop reading. I’m about to tell you about some of the biggest changes I’ve spotted since playing the updated game.

Ranch Mode

The biggest change to see right away is the new farm layout. Stardew’s 1.6 update adds the Meadowlands Farm, a grass- and animal-focused design for my fellow animal ranchers. This farm grows a special blue grass that game creator Eric Barone says animals will love. It can raise animal’s hearts faster, improving the eggs and milk they give you. There’s less farming land available, and a few changes to initial quests. I’m enjoying the Meadowlands Farm so far—I immediately created one when the game dropped–even though starting with two chickens and no parsnip seeds is definitely a slower path to the infinite wealth I'm seeking. But even though I'm broke, it’s still been fun to have such a different start to the game.

Fresh Crops

The first question my sister asked me when I started playing: “Are there new crops?” At first, I told her no. I didn’t see anything new to purchase in the shop. But there are new crops with the update–you just won’t find them in any stores.

Instead, you find four new crops (one for each season!) in a few different ways—mainly, digging them up from the ground in the game’s well-known Artifact Spots, although spots with these new crops have a slightly different style you’ll be able to spot. You can also win them in the brand-new Prize Machine in the mayor’s house, once you get your hand on a prize ticket. The new crops are carrots for spring, summer squash for (shocker) summer, broccoli for fall, and powdermelon in winter. These new crops can be used in the game’s main quest, too. Just choose Remixed Bundles for the Community Center in your starting settings.

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Hot Tabs (and Powers)

No one can escape the world of never-ending tabs, not even Stardew players. The 1.6 update added two more tabs to the player menu area: Animals and Special Items & Powers.

The Animals tab is similar to the Social tab, allowing you to see the heart status of each of your animals and how close you are to the five-heart goal. There’s also a little hand icon to the far right to tell whether you’ve pet your animal that day, and a green check means you have. The Special Items & Powers tab houses some items that were in the Wallet before, like Forest Magic and getting a key to the Sewers. But while there were about a dozen items in the previous Wallet, there are 35 (!!) things to get for the Special Items & Powers. Several of the new additions look like books, and I was able to find where some of those books come from.

Packed Calendar

The new Books of Power come from a new calendar event: the bimonthly Bookseller. The Bookseller is one of a handful of new additions to Stardew Valley’s calendar. The seller shows up twice a month above Joja Mart to sell a small list of books that offer special boosts, like raising your farming or fishing skill, or allowing you to know the value of items in your inventory. I’m not sure you can find all 19 Books of Power here, as I didn’t see that many for sale, but it’s where some of them come from.

Back in his September sneak peek, Barone’s list of upcoming features mentioned a new festival and two mini festivals. When I saw the Bookseller on the calendar, I assumed this must be one of the mini festivals. But no! The humble Bookseller doesn’t count. Instead, the mini festivals are two new fishing-related events in summer and winter, and a new Desert Festival in the spring. Bad news, though, you can’t access the festival until after the bus is fixed, so we all have to wait until Year 2 (or see if some handy mods are ready yet).

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Party of Eight

Stardew’s multiplayer option used to cap out at four players, but it now welcomes up to eight after the update. I recruited six friends to test it with me, and we found it to be super smooth and an absolute blast. I was worried initially that so many people would be too many for a single farm, but since you lose the ability to pause during multiplayer, it was nice to have two or three players mining and fishing together to get better results. Plus, cleaning up a farm is so much faster when multiple axes and scythes are chopping away at the clutter. Our recommendation: Make sure you have a solid headset and mic, and make a sign for your house so you remember which one is yours. We loved using the new text sign DIY to write individual labels like “Haley’s Hut.”

More to Find

These are just the things that I've found over the course of the last two days of playing the new update. The changelog is massive. There's a lot I can't wait to see, from finding the Big Chest DIY (which will be an absolute necessity on massive multiplayer) to getting my farmer's eight-bit hands on the new Mystery Boxes from the enigmatic Mr. Qi, and finding my way into the mysterious room I found in Cindersap Forest. I've been intentionally skimming the changelog list to leave some surprises for myself, and I hope you do too. See you in the Valley, fellow farmers!

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