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Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel guide: PvP in the Hollow Arena

New strategies for a new arena

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel has 14 new weapons. In this guide, we'll tell you what they are where to find them and why you might want to use them.

The Hollow Arena in Dark Souls 3's Ashes of Ariandel DLC brings multiplayer to the forefront. While PvP has always been possible with invasions, this is a dedicated area where all you'll do is fight other players.

How to access the arena

You'll receive the Champion's Bones when you defeat the Champion's Gravetender in the Depths of the Painting. Take these back and burn them in the Firelink Shrine bonfire to unlock access to Dark Souls 3's Hollow Arena.

Hollow Arena matches

There are two types of matches available in the Hollow Arena: duels and brawls.

  • Duels are exactly what they sounds like — a one-on-one fight to the death. You get zero Estus and limited Ashen Estus for your fight.
  • Brawls have more options. Brawls are also not one-and-done matches — you get to resurrect and rejoin the fight to battle for the highest number of kills. You do get a little of both Estus and Ashen Estus to help you along, though. There are team brawls — two-versus-two and three-versus-three — and free-for-all brawls — two, four and six player.

The current leader in a given match gets a flaming Hellboy crown.

How to win (beyond 'git gud')

Stick with the essentials

The opponents you face in the Hollow Arena aren't your normal enemies — they're other players. They're smarter, faster and deadlier than the enemies you normally face. Strip your loadout down to the essentials, so you're not scrolling through options and remember that holding down a direction on the D-pad will return you to the first slot.

Dress for balance

You also don't know what your opponents are going to throw at you, so pick your best balanced armor, shield and ring combinations. Make sure your ring buffs will help you or will even come into play. For example, that Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring isn't going to do you any good here.

So many rings

Speaking of rings, Polygon's Dark Souls 3 rings guide will teach you about them and where to find them all.

Adapt your style

Vary your offense. Your opponents' styles, class and defenses will vary wildly, so you're going to need options for landing those hits.

Your slow but deadly knight might end up facing a fast and scrappy deprived. Your glass cannon sorcerer might end up facing a slow but deadly knight. Your fast and scrappy deprived might end up facing a swashbuckling mercenary. You just don't know, so balance is key here if you want a chance at winning every fight.

Bring diverse weapons

In multiplayer brawls, you might come up against an arena full of players each with their own weaknesses and strengths. There's no good way to plan, so load up a couple weapon choices — ignoring bows because there's almost no chance that'll work out for you — so you can switch your tactics if one isn't working for you.


Your journey doesn't end here. Be sure to check out the rest of Polygon's Dark Souls 3 guide, which offers everything from tips for beginners and returning masochists to detailed walkthroughs of every area — including all of the secret, bonus content.

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