Skyrim Survival Mode: How to Turn It On and Everything It Changes

Planning on delving into dungeons with Skyrim's survival mode?

by Gordon Bicker
Official Skyrim cover image.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has just officially launched its Anniversary Edition today as eager fans and new arrivals alike flock to indulge themselves in the entrancing world of Skyrim. This edition seeks to bring new features to the game and celebrate the achievements that Skyrim has earned over the years. A community of culture and a story for the ages, there will always be something new for fans to enjoy in the experience. One of which is the inclusion of the Skrim Survival mode for free in the game for all ‘Special Edition’ and ‘Anniversary Edition’ players, where you will be able to take on the world of Skyrim in a whole new light.

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How to Turn On Survival Mode in Skyrim

Skyrim’s survival mode can be activated by completing the tutorial area in Helgen and going into the System menu then press Settings. From this point, navigate to Gameplay settings and select Survival Mode. You will now be playing in survival mode.

What is the Skyrim Survival Mode?

The Survival Mode is a Creation that is a gameplay mode altering core components of the experience. It will have you ensuring there is a good shelter for your character and things such as food and other resources. The mode is similar in some ways to Fallout 4’s Survival mode.

It was first released for players around the time of October in 2017 when it was free for the first week and cost 500 Creation Club credits to purchase afterward. However, it is now entirely free once again thanks to the Anniversary Edition’s release.

It should be noted that the Creation can also be linked with the Adventurer’s Backpack and Camping creations which will assist players who want an easier experience in Survival mode and for the authentic feel of the world.

What the Survival Mode Changes

There is a vast and extensive list of changes that survival mode brings to the experience, each one bringing a new gameplay thought to be had for every adventure, here is a list of all of the changes:

  • Hunger: In the survival mode, your character will start to be hungry over time which will impact your maximum stamina and also your ability to use certain weapons. In order to keep your hunger at a satisfactory level, eat a range of food and also cooked food that will restore even more hunger. However, ensure not to eat raw meat as there’s a chance you may get food poisoning for your character which would be best to avoid for clear reasons.
  • Freezing Water: If you swim in any freezing area in Skyrim, you will get colder and begin taking health damage.
  • Disabled Fast Travel: There is no fast travel in survival mode so you will have to make use of alternative transport methods such as carriages or simply by walking or travelling on horseback across the land.
  • No Health Regeneration: There is no passive health regeneration in survival mode.
  • Levelling Up: In order to level up, players must sleep first to do so.
  • Reduced Carry Weight: The Carry Weight has been reduced to an extent and when your character is over the carry weight limit, stamina will be drained much quicker. The ‘Extra Pockets’ perk and ‘The Steed Stone’ now grant 50 extra carry weight in total.
  • Disease: There are now even more diseases that can be gained from creatures.
  • Afflictions: Along with the new diseases, players can gain afflictions from these.
  • Shrine Offerings: Shrines will not cure diseases for free anymore, instead players must spend gold in order to receive the shrine’s benefits with a few exceptions.
  • Vampires and Werewolves: Both vampires and werewolves can restore their hunger values by feeding on their kills.
  • Standing Stones are less effective: The Standing Stones will not offer the same benefits they used to and instead be at lower values.
  • Fatigue: Players will need to sleep in a bed in order to restore fatigue that they may have gained over the course of an adventure.
  • Cold: Skyrim is now divided into warm, cold, and freezing climate areas. Traveling in snowy or rainy areas will also increase your Cold value which will decrease your player’s available health.
  • Warmth: Following on from the ‘Cold’ addition, there will be a ‘Warmth’ rating that can be raised by wearing warm clothes and the player will gain the effects of the cold environments much slower instead.

These are all of the main changes within Survival Mode, there are also racial passives that have been added to characters when playing through the mode.

Will you be playing Skyrim’s survival mode this month?

Skyrim Anniversary Edition is now available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.

- This article was updated on November 11th, 2021

About The Author

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Gordon is a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy, a Games Design (BA) Honours student, and a Video Game Ambassador. He has been writing at AOTF for over a year and a half, with four years of games writing experience for outlets like Green Man Gaming. When he's not busy, he'll no doubt be experiencing games, writing poetry, playing guitar, adventuring, or happily starting a new Skyrim playthrough! As an avid Final Fantasy XIV player, he also hopes that you'll gain a warm feeling from his community stories. Gordon has reported on Fallout 4 and Destiny 2, whose favorite genres include action RPGs, MMORPG's and First Person Shooters but is always experimenting with many other types of games.