Building on the sim gameplay of the original Stronghold, Stronghold 2 allows players to rule as they please and still conquer each skirmish. Unhappy peasants turn to crime and must be punished, rival lords can raise entire armies on their title alone and sieges must be fought tooth and nail, with close combat taking place inside castle structures. Stronghold 2 Online extends this gameplay to competitive multiplayer for up to eight players, with offline skirmish mode also available against computer-controller opponents.
The online services used GameSpy which was shutdown. The Steam Edition is the only version of Stronghold 2 that still features multiplayer using Steam Multiplayer.