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The Elden Ring Closed Network Test has begun, introducing both cooperative and PvP multiplayer. Summons and invasions are an important part of previous FromSoftware games, which also applies to Elden Ring. If you’re familiar with the systems used in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you’ll quickly understand how to use Elden Ring, but if not, analyze the multiplayer behavior in Elden Ring.
After selecting a character and taking the first step into the open world of Elden Ring, the game warns you that it can be played in multiplayer. Gathering with friends, landers, or enemies all starts with an options menu. In the options menu, you can choose a bespoke multiplayer menu that allows you to choose exactly how you want to play.
For many, co-op will be how they want to experience Elden Ring. This is done using the summoning system. One player can draw a sign on the ground and another player can use this sign to summon a drawer to his world. It’s not immediately clear, but this assigns each player a rough role. Those who provide help, and those who seek it.
If you want to help other players, you need to use an item called Tarnished’s Furled Finger. This will draw a gold summon sign on the ground. This can be seen by other players in your world. When other players activate your autograph, you will be summoned to them.
If you want to summon an ally to the game, you must first use an item called Furlcalling Finger Remedy so that you can see the gold summon sign. Unlike the infinitely usable Tarnished Furled Finger, the Finger Remedies are a consumable item. The closed network test will provide 99 pieces from the beginning, but you need to make sure they are in stock before playing in co-op. Basically, you can provide your help at no cost, but those seeking help must have Furlcalling Finger Remedies in their inventory.
Elden Ring-Screenshot of gameplay demo
Both Furled Finger and Finger Remedy items can be accessed from the multiplayer menu. From here, you can also set up a password system to limit who can use your signature. This will allow you to pair only with your friends.
It should be noted that co-op does not provide a “perfect” experience for those summoned to the world of other players. For example, a subpoena cannot activate the Site of Grace, the Elden Ring version of the Dark Souls bonfire. It also has fewer restorations than the host player, cannot open the treasure chest, and returns to its own world when it dies. These are all restrictions that Dark Souls players are familiar with, but first-time users of FromSoftware should be aware in advance that co-operatives have quirks that other co-operative games do not have.
If you want to end a co-op session as a hosting player, FingerSeverer will remove the summoned player from your world. This is useful for forcing a session with a friend who continues to insist on another battle after bedtime, or for kicking a useless summon.
Elden Ring isn’t just for people to be kind and help each other. There are also competitive multiplayer that can be activated in several different ways. The first is to use the duelist foul finger. It draws a summon sign on the floor, like a turnished foul finger. This is red and informs players in other worlds that they are looking for a fight. Those who accept your challenge can summon you to their world for a prestigious duel.
More aggressive players can choose to invade the world of other players and hunt them down. To do this, you need to use Bloody Finger in the multiplayer menu. This will search for other invading players and send you to their world.
Playing in co-op will automatically cause the invasion, but in single player you can use the provocateur’s tongue to volunteer for the invasion. It acts as a beacon to anyone using Bloody Finger and summons up to two intruders into the game.
If you notice a slight pickle during the invasion, you can use the White Cipher Ring to send a cry of help. When enabled, it will automatically request help from other worlds when invaded. Instead, anyone who wants to call to answer the plea of such a player should activate Blue Cipher Ring. This allows you to play a knight in shining armor to the suffering person.
As you can see, Elden Ring Multiplayer is a complex little beast with different mechanics depending on how you play. The multiplayer menu makes it a fairly easy system to understand. In previous FromSoft games, these items were in regular inventory, but if you categorize them into your own bespoke menu, they’re all kept in an easily accessible location. However, it’s still a bit of a hassle, and if you’re used to joining a PlayStation or Xbox party and then jumping into the game, it can take some getting used to.
For more information on the latest version of FromSoftware, check out the Elden Ring hands-on preview of the closed network test and see the full boss battle in 4K. You can also check the first 19 minutes of the network test and see the 5 classes of the game if you can’t join yourself.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and entertainment writer.
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