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Elden Ring Multiplayer Explained: Co-op, Invasions, and PvP Duels

The Elden Ring Closed Network Test has begun and with it comes multiplayer in cooperative and PvP competitive forms. Summoning and Invasions were an integral part of previous FromSoftware games, and so is Elden Ring. Once you are familiar with the systems of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you will quickly become familiar with the methods of Elden Ring, but for those who are not, allow us to break down how multiplayer works in Elden Ring.

After you’ve chosen your character and taken your first steps into the open world of Elden Ring, the game will alert you to the possibility of playing in multiplayer mode. Coming together with friends, random generators, or enemies starts from the options menu, where you can choose a bespoke multiplayer menu from which you can choose exactly how you want to play.

For many people, cooperative play will be the way they want to experience Elden Ring. This is done using a summoning system; one player can draw a symbol on the floor and another can use this symbol to conjure up the drawer in his world. Although not immediately apparent, this assigns a rough role to each player; the person offering help and the person seeking it.

If you want to offer your help to another player, you will need to use an item called “Tarnished’s Furled Finger”. This will draw a gold incantation mark on the ground that can be seen by other players in their own world. If another player activates your mark, you will be called to him.

If you want to summon an ally into your game, you must first use an item called Furlcalling Finger Remedy to give yourself the ability to see gold conjuring marks. In contrast to the infinitely usable tarnished rolled up fingers, finger remedies are a consumable item. The Closed Network Test offers 99 of these from the start, but you’ll need to make sure you have a supply of them before you can play co-op. Basically, you can offer your help for free, but those seeking help must have Furlcalling Finger Remedies in their inventory.

Elden Ring – Gameplay Demo Screenshots

Both the Furled Finger and Finger Remedy items are accessible from the multiplayer menu. From here you can also set up a password system to restrict who uses your characters, ensuring that you only connect with friends.

It should be noted that co-op does not provide the “full” experience for the person who has been summoned into another player’s world. For example, incantations cannot activate Place of Mercy, Elden Ring’s version of Dark Souls’ bonfires. In addition, you have less tonics than the host player, cannot open treasure chests, and death sends you back to your own world. These are all limitations Dark Souls players will find familiar, but those new to FromSoftware should know beforehand that cooperatives have quirks that other cooperative games don’t.

As a hosting player, when you want to end your co-op session, the Separator will remove a summoned player from your world. Useful for forcibly ending meetings with friends who insist on another fight when it’s hours past bedtime or kicking useless summons.

However, Elden Ring isn’t just for people who are nice and help one another. There is also competitive multiplayer that can be activated in a number of ways. The first is to use the Duelist’s curled finger, which – like the Tarnished’s curled finger – draws an incantation mark on the ground. This is red and signals to players in other worlds that they are looking for a fight. Those who accept your challenge can call you into their world for an honorable duel.

More aggressive players can choose to invade other players’ worlds and hunt them down. To do this, you should use the Bloody Finger from the Multiplayer menu. This then looks for other players who can be attacked and sends you into their world.

Playing in co-op will automatically open you to invasions, but in single player you can volunteer using the tongue of the spotters. This acts as a beacon for those who use the Bloody Finger and summons up to two intruders into your game.

If you get into trouble during an invasion, you can use the White Cipher Ring to send out a cry for help. If this is activated, you will automatically request help from other worlds in the event of an invasion. Those who instead want to be on-call to answer such players’ requests should activate the Blue Numeral Ring, which will abduct you to play the Knights in Shining Armor in need.

As you can see, Elden Ring Multiplayer is a complex little beast with different mechanics for each game method. The multiplayer menu makes it a reasonably easy-to-understand system; While these items were in your regular inventory in previous FromSoft games, everything stays in one easily accessible place when you sort them into their own, bespoke menu. But it’s still a bit of a fiddly experience that might take some getting used to if you’re just used to joining a PlayStation or Xbox party and then jumping into a game.

To find out more about the latest version of FromSoftware, be sure to check out our Elden Ring preview from the Closed Network Test and see a full boss fight in 4K. You can also watch the first 19 minutes of the network test if you weren’t able to jump in, as well as learn about the five classes of the game.

Matt Purslow is the UK news and entertainment writer for IGN.

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