There are plenty of ways to play farm inheritance simulator Stardew Valley—whether you like co-op or challenge runs or just want to do your best to make grandpa's ghost proud. Or you could play competitively, which is exactly what a group of Stardew Valley livestreamers will be doing in the first Stardew Valley Cup. Not just that, but Stardew's developer Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone will participating as a commentator. I've got a feeling that these teams of fast farmers could even introduce its creator to some inventive and unexpected ways to play the game on September 4th.
Barone announced the Stardew Cup today over on Twitter, calling it "a competition of skill, knowledge, and teamwork" which he says will star "some of Stardew's most dedicated players in their element." Barone has put up $40,000 (almost £30,000) in cash prizes himself as rewards for winners. The event is being run and co-hosted by livestreamer Zach "UnsurpassableZ" Hartman, who gives an additional breakdown on how the competition will actually work down here in this video.
Each team of four players will start on the newest beach farm map, all competing in real time to earn points for achieving certain in-game feats. Any member of the team can check a task off the list, earning a different number of points depending on the difficulty of the task. They range from interestingly specific asks like "catch a fish that is exactly 15 inches long" to the more predictable "finish the whole Community Center".
Hartman has made the challenge list available to the participants, who will have time to strategise with their teams prior to the event date and plan the best way to rack up points. During the live competition though, Hartman has other secret challenges worth high point values to toss out in an attempt to lure teams away from their planned strategies.
The neatest bit of the event is that Barone himself will be hanging out to help commentate on how things go down. Speedruns and challenge runs are always a good time to watch, especially for a game I know as well as Stardew. I'm sure I don't know it quite as well as all these competitors though. I'd be willing to bet they'll be able to surprise the creator himself as well.
Barone has appeared as a guest on Hartman's channel previously, walking through his own co-op farm while answering some questions.
"I think it's cool that people have found all kinds of different ways to enjoy the game," Barone said back in July. "At this point I've played Stardew Valley so many times that I do kind of like—I wouldn't say min-max—because I'm not nearly as good as some of these people but I'm pretty economical in the way I play the game, you know. I try to unlock things as quick as possible. For me it's just kind of a way I challenge myself and makes it fun every time I play."
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing all the expertise on display and whether or not any of these teams can surprise Barone with some tricks within his own game he'd not picked up on yet.
The first Stardew Valley Cup hosted by ConcernedApe and UnsurpassableZ will be live over on Twitch on September 4th, 5pm BST (12pm EDT).