Today, the gaming world saw the release of the next big game from celebrated developer From Software: Elden Ring. The minds behind titles like Dark Souls and Sekiro worked with “Game of Thrones” author George RR Martin to bring Elden Ring to life, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend a bunch of time with the game over the last week. While I’ll be bringing you an in-depth feature later today breaking down some tips and tricks for getting up to speed as you explore the Banished Lands, I also wanted to focus on one part of the experience that can really change the way you play. Namely, cooperative and competitive multiplayer.
You see, while Elden Ring can certainly be played and enjoyed solo, there are a number of different multiplayer options that can make your life easier or harder (and I mean that in a good way). As you play the game, you can summon other players to help you with tough boss fights or exploration of dungeons or even battle head-to-head. Like many of the game’s mechanics, the co-op and multiplayer system can be a bit opaque and not the most user-friendly experience, so I thought now would be a great time to break down how it works, what you’ll need to use it, and how the game refers to it.
The first thing we’ll need to get into is how the game refers to the players and their roles. The Host is quite literally just that: the person hosting the game instance. When The Host needs help, they can call in an Ally,either to help take down bosses and enemies or to help them fight off other players in PvP. Those players are called Adversaries and they come in two varieties, one that is invited in to duel and one that invades in an attempt to spoil the Host’s fun.
How the Summoning Mechanic Works
As you explore the world of Elden Ring, you’ll likely notice small stone carvings that look like a person attached to a crescent-shaped symbol. This is a Martyr Effigy, and they indicate that you are in an area where you can summon other players (or, in the case of some boss fights, AI-controlled NPCs). Simply interact with one using the Y button to activate the Effigy and allow for summoning. To see the summoning signs that other players have left there, you’ll need to use a craftable item called a Furlcalling Finger Remedy (more on that below). When you do see the Summon Signs on the ground near an Effigy, you can see that cooperative signs are gold and competitive signs are red.
An important thing to note: you can exercise greater control over which players can access your Summon Sign by setting a matchmaking password in the “Multiplayer” tab in the menu. Just create a password, share it with the friend (or friends) you want to play with, and you’ll know that theirs are the only signs that you’ll be seeing.
The Items You’ll Need
Online co-op and competitive play in Elden Ring isn’t as simple as some games, but it’s been made quite a bit easier compared to the Dark Souls games. Still, you’ll need to find or craft some items to get in on the fun. Here’s what you’ll need to get in on the action.
Tarnished’s Furled Finger – This allows you to put down a Summon Sign in a specific place (such as outside a boss door) for anyone to summon you into their game for co-op help.
Small Golden Effigy – Send a cooperative Summon Sign to any active Summoning Pools in the vicinity.
Furlcalling Finger Remedy – As mentioned above, this item allows you to see any Summon Signs on the ground in your area. While this isn’t an infinite use item like the Furled Finger and Golden Effigy, you can easily craft one of these in the Crafting Menu using two of the basic flowers you’ll find all over the starting area.
Duelist Furled Finger – This create a Summon Sign for competitive PvP multiplayer.
Bloody Finger – Want to invade another player’s world? You can use one of these, but you’ll need to craft a new one once you’ve returned to your own world. You also won’t get it until a few (or more!) hours into the game.
Small Red Effigy – Send a competitive Summon Sign to any active Summoning Pools in the vicinity.
And there you have it, Elden Ring’s co-op and competitive multiplayer in a nutshell. While it’s likely that only some players choose to try the competitive multiplayer offerings, cooperative multiplayer will surely be a big part of the Elden Ring experience for many players. Speaking from experience with the Dark Souls games, I often spend many hours just hanging out by boss doors, waiting to help other players in exchange for some XP and that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping your fellow man.