How to Play Stronghold Crusader Online Multiplayer

There are a few different ways to take this classic game online to build and fight with other players. As with most older games, it’s a bit tricky to get multiplayer working on Stronghold Crusader, so we’ve laid out the process in this guide.

The easiest methods for playing online

You may be thinking that you can just click that big ‘Multiplayer’ button on the main menu and get cracking, but that’s actually the most complicated way to get a multiplayer session going. Stronghold Crusader uses some ancient methods (DirectX 8’s DirectPlay) for connecting players across the internet, and the newer hardware and software of today doesn’t work very well with it.

Instead, it’s pretty easy to just use GameRanger or a VPN to play Stonghold Crusader online, and we’ve written a guide on how to do that. But, if that shiny Multiplayer button still has your attention, and you don’t mind forwarding some ports in your router and adding firewall exceptions on your PC, then the next part of this guide is for you.

Internet TCP/IP Connection for DirectPlay

You can host a game by navigating to ‘Multiplayer’ and then clicking ‘Host.’ Your friends can join your game from their Multiplayer page by entering your IP address.

But before this will work, you (the host) and your friends that are connecting will need to forward some ports on their routers (unless the router has UPnP enabled). The ports that need forwarded are:

2300-2400 TCP & UDP
47624 TCP only

Everyone playing will not only need to forward those ports, but also add some exceptions in Windows Firewall (you must manually add them, since it will never prompt to ask you if you’d like to add the exceptions).

Open Windows Defender Firewall by typing ‘firewall’ into the Start menu.

Next, click on ‘Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.’

Then, click on ‘Change settings’ followed by ‘Allow another app.’

Click browse to locate your Stronghold Crusader executable.

When you finish adding an exception for Stronghold Crusader.exe, you’ll also need to add one for the DirectPlay Server program, located here:

C:\Windows\System32\dpnsvr.exe

With forwarded ports and firewall exceptions configured on each player’s router and PC, joining from the multiplayer menu within Stronghold Crusader should finally work. If you are still having trouble, we’d highly recommend using GameRanger or a VPN.

If you’re determined to make this method work but aren’t having any luck, make sure that any extra firewall and anti-virus that you’re using is disabled (or has the same aforementioned exceptions programmed into them).

Happy playing!

How to Play Old PC Games Online (Multiplayer)

Classic games are still a blast to play but it can prove tricky to get a multiplayer session going because of the ancient methods those games used in order to connect players across the internet. We’ll give you a few options you can use to play these oldies but goodies online like old times.

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When you open a game to play online with other gamers, your PC has no idea how to find other gamers or game servers to connect to. Your game will connect to a matchmaking server instead, and the matchmaking server keeps track of every server and player that’s looking to play.

The problem is that after 15+ years, there’s a good chance that the company providing the matchmaking server is no longer interested in keeping it active, or maybe they’ve gone out of business altogether. Without a matchmaking server, gamers must use a different method for finding and connecting to servers and players.

Gamers from the late ’90s and early ’00s may recognize the old GameSpy logo (pictured right). GameSpy was a matchmaking provider for a lot of popular games “back in the day.”

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A lot of older games relied on matchmaking services such as GameSpy, MSN Gaming Zone, or a slew of others that have all gone defunct or at least dropped support for retail PC games a long time ago.

Method #1: GameRanger

GameRanger is something of a godsend for breathing life into old games and making them easy to play with your friends or random people. It’s a matchmaking program available for Windows and Mac with an impressive list of over 700 supported titles.

Once you download it and make an account, you can add friends to chat with and invite them to private games. You can also make public games or browse the server list to join any other open games that someone else is hosting.

To get started, head over to GameRanger’s download page. Installation is very straightforward, and you’ll be able to create an account from inside the installation prompts. You’re ready to play once GameRanger finishes installing.

If you plan to play with friends, you can access the friend menu in Window > Friends. To host a new game, click on File > Host Game. You can choose to make the game private (friends only) or public, and invite other users once you’re in lobby.

Method #2: Connecting directly

Since all a matchmaking server does is tell your game where to find a server or player, you could just circumvent the matchmaking process if you knew that information yourself. That is, you’ll need the IP address of the server (or player, if the player is hosting the match) in order to connect directly to it.

The disadvantage of this method is that the host may need to do some port forwarding and configure (or disable) their firewall and anti-virus in order for other players to connect. If you’d like to proceed with this method, you can use the IP address of the host to connect directly.

Method #3: Use a VPN

These old games are pretty easy to play with others when the players are connected to the same LAN (Local Area Network – or everyone being connected to your home router), which is essentially what VPN software will emulate for you. There are a lot of VPN programs you can use, but we recommend and are covering Hamachi in this guide.

Download Hamachi to get started. After you install and open Hamachi, click the power button.

In the next menu, you’ll have to create an account before proceeding. Once you’ve done that, you can either create a new network or join an existing one. If you are going to be hosting the game, click on ‘Create a new network.’

Now you’ll be asked to create a network ID and password – this is the information your friends will need to enter when they click ‘Join an existing network’ to access the game you’re hosting.

Click ‘Create’ to finish creating the network, and then give that information to your friends. As mentioned, they’ll connect by clicking ‘Join an existing network’ and then entering the network ID and password you made.

You’ll be able to see when others are connected because they’ll be listed just below your network ID:

You’re ready to fire up your game now, and everyone should be able to play together as if you were on the same local network. Have your guests take note of your Hamachi IP address (seen below), since they made need to enter it in order to connect once in-game.