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Elden Ring guide: How to play online, summon friends, terrorize enemies, and earn tons of runes

Kill to help

Elden Ring martyr effigy Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Elden Ring continues FromSoftware’s “weird but cool” multiplayer, where by “weird but cool,” we mean “confusing and opaque.” It’s not quite like any other FromSoftware game, except the parts that are, and the game kind of explains it all, but not super well.

But understanding Elden Ring multiplayer can make you a better, richer player.

In this Elden Ring guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Elden Ring multiplayer. That begins with an overview of connecting with other players (for good and for evil) — including when and why that’s a good idea. Whether you want to be helpful or a monster hurtful, optional multiplayer can make the game better. It’s also among the best ways to earn runes in Elden Ring.


Table of contents


How multiplayer works in Elden Ring

When you launch Elden Ring, you connect with the game’s servers automatically. Those servers are portals into other players’ games. If you don't want to be online, go to the System > Network, and chose Launch Setting > Play Offline. (Play Online is the default.) But even if you do that, parts of Elden Ring will behave as if you were online.

Write messages with the Tarnished’s Wizened Finger

You can see online-like behavior early on, when you walk across notes written on the ground. If you play offline, the only notes you’ll see are from the game’s creators. If you play online, you’ll also see messages from other players. Sometimes, those messages are helpful, like when players warn you of an ambush ahead. Sometimes, they trick you into jumping off a cliff because that’s kind of funny, from a certain point of view.

If you’re playing online, you can leave messages with the Tarnished’s Wizened Finger item which is “Used to write messages to other worlds.” (Fingers are an item that will keep coming up.) You’ll get it from a dead body in the Chapel of Anticipation right at the beginning of the game. Write a message, and they’ll show up in other players’ games. If someone rates your message, you’ll get a bonus to health.

Bloodstains

Bloodstains are a big advantage to playing online, because they show you where and how other players died, so that you don’t have to die that way, too.

Imagine finding a message that some naughty Elden Ring player wrote, telling you to jump off a cliff. It could be horse apples. It could be the path to untold riches. What’s a Tarnished like you to do?

Well, you find a bloodstain nearby, and you walk over it, and sure enough, it shows another Tarnished leaping down the hole to their death. Crisis averted. Watch those bloodstains. They might save your life.


Summoning and being summoned: Playing with other Elden Ring players

Real-time multiplayer takes two forms in Elden Ring: You can become the Host of Fingers to other players into your game, or you can leave your game temporarily and join someone else’s.

If you want to make lots of runes and you’re a helpful person, consider using the Tarnished’s Furled Finger and helping other players defeat a boss. If you want to make an indeterminate number of runes and you’re a mean and cruel person, consider invading other players’ worlds with a Bloody Finger and killing them.

Summoning other players

In Elden Ring, as in so many other FromSoftware games, summon signs represent other players. They look like piles of rocks on the ground. Use a Furlcalling Finger Remedy to see nearby summon signs. Gold summon signs are allies — people who want to help you. Red summon signs are enemies — people who want to fight you.

If you want to help someone, use Tarnished Furled Finger to create a gold summon sign that appears in other players’ games. Elden Ring calls this cooperative multiplayer.

If you want to fight someone, use the Duelist’s Furled Finger to create a red summon sign. You’ll become the Duelist, and your job will be to kill the player Host of Fingers who summoned you.

Summoning pools and martyr effigies

Summoning pools are a … weird part of Elden Ring multiplayer. Here’s how they work.

Let’s start with what Elden Ring says:

In each area, you may find effigies of martyrs. These effigies are summoning pools.

You’ll find it easy to summon other players at these locations, as co-op and hostile summoning signs created with small effigies gather at summoning pools.

Elden Ring martyr effigy Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Geographical areas in Elden Ring have summoning pools, as represented by martyr effigies, like the one pictured above. You’ll find them near sites of grace, dungeons, catacombs, and legacy dungeons.

Walk up to an effigy, interact with it, and others’ summoning signs appear.


The password system for playing only with your friends

Elden Ring multiplayer password menu Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Elden Ring’s password system allows you to play with a friend of your choosing. If you and a friend want to play together, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Open the Elden Ring, menu and select System. (It’s the one on the bottom left with the gears icon.)
  2. Navigate to the Network tab (it’s the wireframe globe icon), and make sure you’re online.
  3. Navigate to the Multiplayer tab in the main menu.
  4. Press Triangle/Y/whatever the PC equivalent is to enter Settings.
  5. Choose an easy-to-type, definitely mature password that isn’t a childish word that we would never use.
  6. Tell your friend the password.
  7. Enjoy a period of jolly co-operation.

Elden Ring multiplayer items

There are several multiplayer items. They’re all about fingers. Here’s where to get them and what they do.

Elden Ring multiplayer items

Item name Description Location
Item name Description Location
Furlcalling Finger Remedy With a Furlcalling Finger Remedy, you can see summon signs, which can be used to summon players from other worlds. (Finger Remedies are consumed with use.) There are various types of summon signs. Gold signs summon Furled Finger cooperators. Red signs summon duelist adversaries. (For either type of multiplayer, the summoning player becomes Host of Fingers.) A crafting item that requires Erdleaf Flower.
Finger Severer Choose a summoned player to send back to their own world. This player will be removed from the multiplayer session Pilage a body near the Stranded Graveyard site of grace.
Small Golden Effigy Send a cooperative summon sign to several nearby summoning pools (activated pools only). If you are summoned, you will be transported to that summoning pool’s location in the host player’s world and multiplayer will begin. (Your objective will be to help the host player defeat the area boss.) You'll get this when you examine a Martyr Effigy.
Tarnished’s Furled Finger You can leave a gold summon sign to play cooperative multiplayer. This sign will appear in other players’ worlds and allow them to summon you as a Furled Finger for cooperative multiplayer. Multiplayer begins once you are summoned. (Your obiective will be to defeat the area boss.) If you leave a second summon sign, the older sign will vanish. Pilage a body near the Stranded Graveyard site of grace.
Duelist’s Furled Finger You can leave a red summon sign to play competitive multiplayer. This sign will appear in other players’ worlds and allow them to summon you as a duelist adversary for competitive multiplayer. Multiplayer begins once you are summoned. (Your obiective will be to defeat the Host of Fingers.) If you leave a second summon sign, the older sign will vanish. Pilage a body at the entrance of the Stormhill Colosseum, in the northeast of West Limgrave.
Small Red Effigy Send a competitive summon sign to several nearby summoning pools (activated pools only). If you are summoned, you will be transported to that summoning pool’s location in the host player’s world and multiplayer will begin. (Your obiective will be to defeat the Host of Fingers.) Pilage a body at the entrance of the Stormhill Colosseum, in the northeast of West Limgrave.
Festering Bloody Finger Attempt to invade another player’s world as a Bloody Finger. If you successfully invade, your Festering Bloody Finger will be spent and invasion multiplayer will begin. (Your objective will be to defeat the Host of Fingers.) You can attempt another invasion of the same world by using a Phantom Finger item. (These items are consumed upon use.) White-Faced Varré in Liurnia of the Lakes’ Rose Church.
Blue Cipher Ring Puts you into a ready state to answer, should someone in another world call for rescue. You will be summoned to their world as a hunter. Multiplayer will begin once you are summoned. (Your obiective will be to defeat invaders.) Buy from the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold for 1,000 runes.
White Cipher Ring Allows you to automatically request for a hunter from another world to come to your rescue when your world is invaded. You can also use this after being invaded to summon a hunter for help. (Summoning rescuers may not always be possible.) Buy from the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold for 1,000 runes.
Bloody Finger Attempts to invade another world to kill the Host of Fingers. You'll get this as you go through the NPC quests in Liurnia of the Lakes’ Rose Church.
Recusant Finger Attempts to invade another world with the goal of killing the Host of Fingers, though with a different narrative than the Bloody Finger. You get this as you go through the Volcano Manor quests, which stars with an NPC looking for an item in Liurnia of the Lakes.
Tarnished’s Wizened Finger Used to write messages to other worlds. You'll get this in the Chapel of Anticipation.

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