this guide does NOT focus on getting you to play the game better, or how to be especially successfull in PVP, but it is rather a source of information you may need to get started (and have fun) with multiplayer in the first place.
just like in previous soulsgames, there are, strictly seen, only two types of PVP in the game: duelling and invading.
thanks to the active and creative soulsgame community however, PVP culture has developed different branches of game modes, that can also be found in elden ring today. all of these offer completely different gameplay experiences and sometimes even require different builds than others.
PVP types surrounding duelling:
- 1v1 and 2v2 duels
PVP types surrounding invasions:
- invader phishing
- being a blue spirit, aka. police duty
i will write a little about each of these in the following sections, so feel free to scroll there, should you be in need of specific informations. for beginners though, i will follow up with some informations about general behaviour and common ettiquette.
that said: may the tree always shine on you, rugged tarnished!
in this section we you will get some general idea about the soulsgames online community, some key information if you want to fit in... or if you deliberately dont ;3
common etiquette can be understood as a community behaviour codex, developed by the souls community over years of playing. they are not written rules by any means, and are sometimes disregarded even by experienced players. however, it serves as an improvement to the overall fun and immersion of pvp and the game itself, so i think they are worth mentioning.
honor is a part of etiquette, and everyone has a lightly different concept of it. there are some ways of behaviour that are generally considered to be honorable or dishonorable. even if you care just a little bit about honor, it can drastically change your gameplay experience, since many players will react to your general behaviour.
i will get closer into examples and explanations to that topic later.
a very important (and by newbies often neglected) aspect about soulsgame multiplayer are gestures. the most important utility gestures in PVP however are, without a doubt, the bows and the fingerpoints.
there are 6(?) different bows in the game, whichever you use is really up to you. bows are a show of respect, and it is common sense for normal players to use them before (and sometimes after) a fight, especially a duel. even if you stand before a 3 man gank squad, bowing can trigger them to go at you one by one. interrupting a bow with an attack is generally considered to be very rude. if you are being attacked during a bow animation however, it is most times very easy to simply roll away.
because of the lack of a voice chat in the PC version of the game, fingerpoints are obviously very useful to show certain directions. however the pointdown is commonly used to show disrespect after a fight, while the uppoint or the clapping can be a sign of respect.
another traditional menthod of plazer communication everyone should at least have heard about, is posting stuff (like long, salty hatemail or maybe just GG) on other peoples profiles. in elden ring this can be done by opening your ingame steam overlay -> go to view players under the FRIENDS section -> look at the point of time you connected to the other person and voila, you got their profile.
you will need to reopen the list each time you want to refresh. if you connected to multiple people at the same time, the first on the list is propably the host.
fashion has always been a big part of soulsgames, even big enaugh to coin the well known expression "fashion souls", and thats not a tad different in elden ring.
under fashion we generally understand the desire of players to prioritize certain looks over combat capability, even though those goals dont have to exclude each other.
common fashion concepts are
cosplay: the imitation of existing characters.
oc: perfecting your own original character.
armor fashion: mix greatest possible combat ability with the headpiece/specific armor you like most.
examples of items commonly used for fashion are:
>"furled fingers trick mirror" talisman, which disables your MP aura if you are not the host.
this item is taking a talisman slot away from you, but since experienced players usually have a changeable slot for swaps anyways, its up to you if you want to make that bargain in order to get rid of the annoying aura.
>light and medium armor, especially the kind that shows as much skin as possible....
>most players have a favorite headpiece they prefer to wear most of the time. in elden ring this is a problem though, since many give you big stat boosts, and are therefore way more commonly used.
examples are the white mask and glintstone crowns.
never forget this game is essentially a role playing game, not an arena game!
sadly, there is an especially great variety of unbalanced weapon skills, items and spells in elden ring. to use those in pvp is not necessairly shameful behaviour though. first and foremost, it makes it almost mandatory to focus on leveling up vigor with most builds, especially if you are new to PVP. Using broken weapons is a matter of honor, but it can also make things way easier for you to refrain from using them, since most players have such weapons themselves at their reserve.
General Information Regarding The PVP System
ok, now lets hop into the science of the seemingly complex multiplayer system itself. dont worry though, you will get used in no time :]
unlike in previous games like dark souls 2, you now need to use items in order to connect to other people in any way. those can be found in the general menu under multiplayer items, once you found them in the world. i will get get deeper into the specific items that are needed for PVP in the following sections.
once you open your map, there exists a button on the bottom side that says "show multiplayer status". press it, and you will propably notice blue and red circles in discovered areas.
those are an indicator for player population, or in other words, the amount of players you can potentially play with in that specific area right at the moment.
what exactly the circles mean remains a mystery for the english speaking community, but speculations suggest that blue means active co-op in the area, while red cicles may hint existing red summoning signs. in that case blue circles would be especially important for invaders.
most important aspect for PVP with random people are the summoning ranges. they are the mechanic that dictates who you may join your world, or whos world you are allowed to join. are you below or above the fitting summoning range of someone, you will simply not be able to connect to them. this is especially important for invasions.
your summoning range is dictated by both your level (rune level, or RL) and by your highest upgraded weapons level. a certain area above and below those levels, you are able to connect to people.
for example, if your highest weapons upgrade level is +17, you will under no circumstances be able to match with other people with a max weapon upgrade above +22, unless you use a password.
this area is again influenced by your level height and the kind of multiplayer item you are using.
to calculate how far above and below your individual level your summoning range goes, i recommend using this simple calculator by fextralife:
now that you have a better understanding about the summmoning range system, lets get to the part where it applies to pvp most visibly: the META. the META is simply describing the community driven standard for levels and weapons.
in souls games its especially important because of the pvp restrictions mentioned above. therefore it is the only way to guarantee that you always find someone to play with (or against).
while in dark souls 3 the most popular meta level was considered to be 120, its likely higher in elden ring.
there is still fighting about the exact spot where people stop leveling up in order to pvp, but level 125 and 150 with weapons +24/+25 (+9/+10) seem to be the most popular multiplayer area so far. there are also lower META ranges, but because of the large open world, it is hard to find real public consent on the fitting weapon levels, as well as the areas that are the most alive. an example for low level meta would be level 50 with weapons +10 though.
Everything About Duelling
duelling is the simplest way to fight other players, and the backbone of PVP in soulsgames since part one. duelling is ideal for practice and to test out builds, but can of course also satisfy your ego quite a lot. ;>
to duel regularily, you will use a red sign to connect to another players world. you can also duel in invasions and other situations, but commonly, duels find place at community-driven duelling hotspots or inside a multiplayer arena, which has not been implemented into elden ring yet.
>furled duelists finger (if you want to be summoned)
>furlcalling finger remedy (if you want to see others' signs)
>multiplayer password (if you want to play with a friend) and no multiplayer password (if you want to play with the community)
>using a remedy AND a taunters tongue (dropped by alberich after jumping down balcony at the roundtable hold) will, if you are in an area typical for invasions, summon invaders to your world even without having a co op partner. that way you can duel people who are weaker than you, but at the same time often very experienced. beware though, since invaders can be mischievous little beasts, who rarely follow 1v1 ettiquette!
the by far most alive spot for duelling at most ranges is the academy grace. here you will almost certainly find red signs on the ground, weather you are at level 30 or at level 200. other areas where you may find red signs include the frozen lake (level 70-150) and the haligtree prayer room (level 80-200).
for duelling, you will want to level up vigor a lot, since it makes fights longer and therefore more fun. a (purely optional) thumb rule is to have at least ~40 vigor at level 80 and ~55 or more at level 150 for a duelling build.
other than that, be creative with your build and try out new things. this is no arena game, and therefore it is never just a fair fight. look at the fights as practice and try to have fun, maybe even show off your new cosplay here.
Different kinds of duelling
>1v1: most basic kind of duelling: you connect to someone elses world and fight to the death. common rules here are:
-no healing flask
often considered dishonorable:
-instant weapon swaps
-bloodhound step ashes
-honed bolt incantation
usage of the latter can be perceived as rude and should therefore be used with some consideration, but the two rules above are generally known and should be strictly followed unless your opponent does not follow them either.
>Fight Clubs: the host summons as many players as they can. for this they need to have an area boss that is still alive (+1 possible red spirit) and used the taunters tongue (+1 red spirit). inf fight clubs, normally two players fight while the other players watch and wait their turn. if you are the host, you should wait until hardly anyone is left, since everyone will go back to their own world if you die.
>2v2: 2v2 is possible, but very hard to pull off in elden ring. you will need 3-4 friends and set your own rules. this is a duelling mode that was previously possible in the arena gamemode of dark souls 3, so maybe it will be implemented into elden ring later.
Everything About Invading
Introduction to Invasions
Invading is tough. that applied to other souls games, but in elden ring, this sentence arrives at a new dimension.
reasons for this are highly unbalanced weapons, unstable servers and the fact that you can normally only invade worlds with at least one cooperators inside.
if you can look past these terrible obstacles in your path however, invading is overall a pretty rewarding experience. you will learn to adapt to your environment, get to see all kinds of game mechanics first hand and also experience some of the most fun and random moments pretty much any game can offer you.
as you propably know, there are two different invasion items you can gain in the game: the bloody finger and the recusants finger. both have basically the same effect: they summon you into a random players world as a dark spirit. it gets more complicated from here though.
where do you get the fingers? you can buy consumeable versions of the bloody finger from most merchants. this is the fastest way to invade others upon starting a new game. the bloody finger can be gained by doing varres questline, essentially visiting him at the rose church. the recusants finger is gained by arriving at vulcano manor and finishing taniths first assassination quest.
now, i will list some items that are not required, but useful for invasions:
>weapons and spells that you can work well with ;)
>poison and rot boluses
>grace mimics to see the path towards the host
>a parrying item
>potential to buff yourself, here you can use incantations, physic tears or consumeables alike
>throwing items like knifes or bombs
>hand ballista with explosive bolts or a greatbow to knock hosts off ledges
Goals of an Invasion
your objective as invader is simple: kill the host, before they beat the area boss, or travel through a boss fog if one exists. this can be done by countless means, be it by sneaking up on them and backstab them, brutally crush them with all your might, challenging them to a duel or even use the environment to push them off a cliff somehow or lure them into one of elden rings countless traps.
you can invade in almost every area in the game. if an area is not suitable for multiplayer, most your multiplayer items will be greyed out. however, as mentioned above, invasions are highly sensitive to level ranges. you will need to look exactly at the area you invade in and ask yourself: would there be a reason for an invadeable host to be here?
now that answer completely depends on two factors:
1. the host must have at least one cooperator in the world or used the taunters tongue. this however is only possible, if the area boss is still alive in their world. that means, you wont be able to invade in areas anymore where people usually already killed all bosses at your level. above level 135 this does not matter anymore, since many people started the next NG cycle here and are therefore potentially in every area again.
2. the host must have roughly your level (summoning range!) and weapon level. in invasions, the multiplayer password does not matter here.
without a doubt, invading successfully can sometimes be harder than beating even the heardest bosses in the game. therefore knowledge about your build and proper preparation are most times an important key to victory. generally it is said, that vigor is one of the most important stats in elden ring PVP.
this does not necessairly apply to invasions, since the element of suprise is most times on your side, and depending on your build damage output should be prioritized to kill the host fast.
prepare your arsenal by assigning the weapons to spots where you can access them fast. a good way to do that is to sort your items by the pickup time and then move them from the storage into your inventory in the right order.
Tips and Tricks
>allocate your flasks to straight numbers if possible! since the amout of flasks is always cut in half if you are not the host, you should consider carefully how much you need inside the enemies world. spellcasters for example should always at least 4 cerulean flasks at hand so they can restock their FP two times during their invasion.
>dont level up too high! by keeping your level low in especially populated areas will enable you to invade far more often and to avoid long waiting times. therefore a low and mid level invader should know at least a little bit about the area specific summoning ranges.
>watch your weapon level! again, summoning ranges are key for invaders. keep your weapon level corresponding to a typical rune level to avoid falling out of summoning ranges. if you build your invasion build wrong, you will have a hard time to find a spot to invade at.
>trust your PVE instincts! keeping a cool head and timing your rolls and dodges is the most essential skill in PVE and PVP alike.
>learn parrying! collect knowledge which weapons and skill are parriable and practice switching to a shield at the right moment.
>dont be afraid! nothing worse can happen to you than death, and thats just one of a million times in this game, right?
>know your area! knowing the area can not only give you a significant advantage, it can also prevent you from being suprised by phantoms using the mimic veil or aimlessly wandering in the wrong direction if you spawn miles away from the host.
>dont give up! the only thing an invader can do wrong is leaving, because they dislike their odds. rune farmers are a science for themselves and can sometimes really be impossible to reach without proper equipment, so there is of course no shame in disconnecting to save yourself time. however by using swapglitches or legit strategies like the hand ballista, most of them canbe punished.
>take duels! if the phantom bows before you and the host just watches, it may be challengenging you to a duel, which may make your invasion easier and more fun. beware though, since it may be a trap and they could jump at you anyways.
>dont try too hard and get angry! even more important here than in duels is to not get frustrated over dying. mess around and have a fun time, and your opponent might have one as well.
>use broken weapons and ashes as last resort! always keep your arsenal in order, thing about counters to the most commonly used spells and skills like bloodhound step, honed bolt, rotten breath, corpse piler and transient moonlight. not knowing these is almost guaranteed death in many situations, especially since a great amount of players uses them a lot. what can even you do against them? there is no way to prevent getting killed by these unbalanced abilities at least some times. however you can fight fire with fire. having some ace up your sleeve never hurts, even if its considered lame and honorless to just spam away with it before the fight even begins. another thing you can do is to exploit the range, cooltime and other limitations of such abilities with proper spacing and by using the environment. there is no shame in running for an invader.
Some Things About Cooperation
being invaded is easy. to survive an invasion is generally easy as well. not only do you usually have at least two phantoms at your side if you use the blue spirit ring, you usually also are over 20 levels above the invader! from that perspective, invaders are nothing more than an annoying fly to swat for most hosts.
without hosts who meet the proper requirements, invasions would be impossible, so i will now get a little bit into hosting first, and talk about blue spirits right after.
there is one essential condition to be a host in elden ring: you need to consume a furcalling finger remedy. this item can be crafted from two eardleaf flowers after you buy kahle's crafting kit in the church of elleh.
now you only either need to use the taunters tongue or summon a cooperator to make your game eligible for invasions. this is easier said than done however, since your area boss must be still alive, or you will only be able to summon red spirits.
using the taunters tongue to increase the likelyhood of being invaded is called invader phishing.
since invaders roam most places in the game at the moment, you dont have to worry about the area too much as a host, however to get consistent invasions, you should think about waiting at areas like frozen lake, the broad liurnia swamp area, the first step area or leyndell.
using the "white cipher ring" item, hosts are able to additionally draw attention of blue spirits once they are invaded, but more to that later. there are no downsides to do this, so it is recommended to always have it active if you want to be safe.
Behaviour and Goals
since it is your world, you are free and entitled to do whatever you please as a host. that does not mean that manners would hurt you, and that they may even be beneficial in many situations. Hosting is the safest way to pvp with friends. since invasions are excluded from the password system, you will still get invaded if you decide to use a multiplayer password.
because of their advantages, cooperators can afford to do roleplay and mess around, but they can also just go for the kills in the most efficient way possible, in which case they are known as gank squad, a serious challenge for invaders.
blue spirits are a mechanic that originally served to protect low level hosts from invaders. in elden ring, everyone can be summoned as a blue spirit, as long as they use the blue cipher ring item sold by the twin maidens.
once they do, they can be randomly summoned to any place in the world, where a host inside their level range needs assistance.
now that you have heard a lot of information that may seem useless to you. at this point, you may even be asking yourself: whats the point in doing PVP at the first place? well, the answer is, thats for you to decide. there are two major points to PVP, and you get to balance out which you value the most.
>try to win, no matter the cost
>try to have fun and mess around.
depending on the countless different situations you find yourself in, you get to choose, which you value most, so i recommend to make your own moral code, tarnished.
i will propably extend the guide, and i always welcome notes and suggestions to improve it in the comments below.
all the screenshots were taken by myself, if you are on one of them and dont want to be, please message me and i will remove it.
i hope that, despite of my limited ability to speak english, you could gain some insight out of this guide, and wish you a great day!
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