Soulsborne titles are lauded for their difficulty, and while much of the genre’s joy lies in the challenge, many entries ease the burden with co-op. While FromSoftware’s previous title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, didn’t include multiplayer, Elden Ring brings it back.
As players explore the Lands Between, they can team up to conquer various challenges and bosses. Conversely, competitive players can follow another Soulsborne tradition and invade other gamers’ worlds and attack hosts as they please. In other words, Dark Souls veterans should find Elden Ring’s multiplayer system very familiar, but the game alters co-op enough to require a handy guide.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game’s co-op system:
Enabling and Disabling Co-op Functionality
In order to actually use co-op in Elden Ring, you have to connect to the internet and have the appropriate subscription service (Xbox Live Gold for Xbox, PlayStation Plus for PlayStation consoles). If you have an active subscription, you’re ready to set up multiplayer. If not, you don’t have to worry about random invasions, but you can’t call for help, either.
Normally, any Elden Ring owner can request help from other players, but what if you would rather adventure with a select group of comrades? If that’s the case, you can set up multiplayer and group passwords. Simply navigate to the Multiplayer tab in the Main Menu, create a unique password, and share it with your friends. When they type the password into their game, they can join you and vice versa. While this system prevents random strangers from filling up limited ally slots, it doesn’t prevent them from invading your session.
Meanwhile, if you have an active subscription but just don’t want to participate in multiplayer, you can disable co-op by visiting the Main Menu, selecting the “System” tab, then picking “Network” and finally setting the game to “Play Offline.”
How to Summon Other Players
While potentially any player can help you any time in Elden Ring, the game’s co-op system isn’t purely drop-in, drop-out multiplayer. As with other Soulsbornes, you need specific items to initiate the team up.
Multiplayer in Elden Ring hinges on items known as Fingers. In order to actually start, players need a Furlcalling Finger Remedy (which can be crafted with Erdleaf Flowers) to reveal Summon Signs. Simply interact with a sign to summon another player into your world, but pay close attention to its color. If the sign is gold, you are inviting a friendly ally, but if it is red, you are challenging another player to a duel.
If you want help in a dungeon or when setting out from a Site of Grace, you don’t need to seek out Summon Signs. Instead, you can find Summoning Pools at the beginning of optional dungeons, dotted throughout Legacy Dungeons, and near Elden Ring’s bonfire analogues. If allies are available, a Martyr Effigy (a stone carved to look like a human using the Praise the Sun emote) will spawn in the pool. Like Summon Signs, you have to interact with a Martyr Effigy, but this time, you need to scroll through a list of gamers before you can summon one. Once again, Martyr Effigies come in two colors: gold for co-op multiplayer, red for competitive.
Creating Summon Signs and Martyr Effigies
If you don’t want to ask another player for assistance but would rather be the summoned help, you don’t need to check nearby Summon Signs or Martyr Effigies. Instead, you create your own, and players can interact with them and call you.
In order to plop down a Summon Sign, you need a Tarnished’s Furled Finger. This item is found on a corpse at the Stranded Graveyard. Look for a Site of Grace near the lift to The First Step. Just use the Furled Finger, and you will spawn a Summon Sign other players can use. Looting the aforementioned corpse also nets you the Finger Severer, which lets you de-summon allies and duelists (but not invaders), as well as un-summon yourself while another player acts as the host.
Creating Martyr Effigies is just as easy. Simply use a Small Golden Effigy, which is provided by examining any Martyr Effigy, and the game will automatically spawn a co-op effigy at a nearby Summoning Pool.
In Dark Souls games, multiplayer participants are divided into three categories: the host, the friendly client, and the invading client. Elden Ring primarily follows this system but with some alterations to ease — or accentuate — the pain of PvP.
Any player who summons allies or is invaded becomes a Host of Fingers, and they must stay alive at all costs. If a Host of Fingers dies for any reason, all summoned players are booted back to their sessions.
Anyone who is invited through a Summon Sign or Martyr Effigy is considered a Furled Finger. Their job is to defend the Host of Fingers’ life, whether from enemy monsters or invading players. If successful, Furled Fingers are given a prize for their troubles. While normal Elden Ring gameplay limits hosts to two Furled Fingers (and one invader), if the summoner uses a Taunter’s Tongue, they will only receive aid from one Furled Finger, and an additional adversarial player can invade their game.
If gamers don’t want to help other Elden Ring players explore the Lands Between and would rather act as an emergency PvP shield, they can sign up to be Hunters and only aid a Host of Fingers when invaded. In order to become a Hunter, a player needs a Blue Cipher Ring, which can be purchased from the Twin Maiden Husks, found in Roundtable Hold, for 1000 Runes. This item whisks its wearer away into a co-op session, but only if the Host is invaded while wearing a White Cipher Ring. Like its blue counterpart, this ring is only sold by the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold and also carries a 1000 Runes price tag.
How to Write Messages
Co-op in Soulsborne titles isn’t restricted to proactively helping or hindering players. Gamers can write messages to warn others of hidden dangers, notify them of secret treasures, or just troll people. Elden Ring features the exact same system.
To leave a message for players, you need to use a Tarnished’s Wizened Finger. This item is found on a corpse in the Temple of Anticipation. Since looting this cadaver is mandatory, the Tarnished’s Wizened Finger is impossible to miss.