The Dark Souls 2 online mechanics are similar to the previous games. Summon signs, invasions, and covenant PvP are still present, but there are some slight differences. If you don't know how to summon / invade, or are having trouble summoning / invading players, see the information below.
See the Summon Range Calculator page for information on matchmaking.
Also see PvP Soul Values to understand soul gain via pvp.
For every friendly summon added in the world when host passes through the fog gate, the damage dealt to or received by boss is reduced with flat percentage. Boss health or resistances do not increase.
|Number of summons||Damage reduction (* on DirectX 9 version)|
|1||33% and 50%*|
|2||50% and 67%*|
Finding Online Players
Patch 1.10 added a function to make matchmaking easier: when you're in the warp menu, the areas with multiplayer activity close to your Soul Memory will be outlined in orange.
Patch 1.10 made it possible for players in NG to connect to players in New Game Plus and beyond.
Online Play Rewards
Regular Online Play rewards:
- Host vanquishes invading dark phantom or arbiter spirit: Human Effigy
- Host vanquishes a dark phantom summoned through red sign: Human Effigy
- Host vanquishes a dragon spirit summoned through dragon sign: Dragon Scale
- Host vanquishes invading grey spirit in Bell Keeper area: (1 of the following) Titanite Chunk, Titanite Slab, Twinkling Titanite, Petrified Dragon Bone.
- Vanquish host you are summoned by at the covenant “Rat King” area: Smooth & Silky Stone, Pharros Lockstone
- After being summoned by host in the "Rat King" area, escape through a fog door at the end: Smooth & Silky Stone, Pharros Lockstone
Please See Covenants for specific covenant-member rewards.
Online Play Items
- White Sign Soapstone: Leaves a summon sign on the ground that allows one player to be summoned by another. Obtain by talking to Mild Mannered Pate, an NPC located in the Forest of Fallen Giants. Players are summoned as phantoms into other worlds for cooperative play, and receive a Token of Fidelity for completing a full session. Its effect changes if the player joins the Heirs of the Sun covenant.
- Small White Sign Soapstone: Leaves a small summon sign on the ground that functions similarly to the White Sign Soapstone; except the cooperative session lasts for a shorter time. Obtain by opening a chest upstairs near the Cardinal Tower bonfire in the Forest of Fallen Giants. Players are summoned as shades into other worlds and receive a Small Smooth & Silky Stone for completing a full session. Can also be used to summon you into a world where the boss is dead and the original wouldn't work. Its effect changes if the player joins the Heirs of the Sun covenant.
- Red Sign Soapstone: Leaves a red summon sign on the ground. Players summoned by this sign enter the summoner's world as Dark Spirits (hostile players). Its effect changes if used in certain areas, such as in the King's Passage or a Dark Chasm of Old. Unlike Dark Souls 1, players who defeated the boss in the area can still summon Dark Spirits. Hosts can, however, cancel summons by entering the boss fog wall.
- Dragon Eye: Leaves an eye shaped sign on the ground. Players summoned by this sign enter the summoner's world as Dragon Remnant (hostile players), winner can obtain a Dragon Scale, unlike other summon signs, it can only be used when there's no phantom present, thus provide a guaranteed 1 vs. 1 fight, both host and summoned Dragon Remnant can heal. It can only be used by members of the Dragon Remnants.
- Cracked Red Eye Orb: Immediately invades another player's world as a Dark Spirit. Its effect changes if used in certain areas, such as in the King's Passage or a Dark Chasm of Old. Unlike Dark Souls 1, players who defeated the boss in the area can still be invaded by Dark Spirits. Hosts can, however, cancel invasions by entering the boss fog wall.
- Cracked Blue Eye Orb: Immediately invades the world of a sinner as a Spirit of Vengeance. Sin is accumulated by killing innocent NPCs or killing players using the Cracked Red Eye Orb. Can only be used by members of the Blue Sentinel covenant.
- Name-engraved Ring: This ring greatly extends the wearer's matchmaking range for the White Sign Soapstone and Small White Sign Soapstone items, but blocks co-op play with players who don't share a matching god. The player is given the option to choose a god upon equipping the ring, and may change their god by unequipping and re-equipping the ring.
- Guardian's Seal: Summons the wearer to Way of the Blue covenant members' worlds to defend against invading Dark Spirits. Can only be used by players in the Blue Sentinels covenant.
- Bell Keeper's Seal: Summons the wearer to defend either Belfry Sol or Belfry Luna when another player trespasses into those areas. Can only be used by players in the Bell Keepers covenant.
- Crest of the Rat: Allows a member of the Rat King covenant to defend the Grave of Saints and Doors of Pharros areas by summoning non-covenant members who trespass into those areas.
Online Play Issues
- Bad connection or disconnecting during a summon/invasion - If the player has a bad connection and/or fails to connect to a co-op session or otherwise causes a summon/invasion to fail (such as intentionally pulling their uplink cable) they will have trouble summoning/invading for a short amount of time which should correct itself on its own with time.
- Summoning/invasion items are grayed out - This means that you are unable to summon/invade until the item returns to its normal state and is selectable, also a hint of being invaded but the Dark Spirit isn't arrived yet.
Opening Ports for Firewall connections - If you currently have a firewall up on your connection, we recommend opening the following ports to allow proper connections to Xbox Live or the Playstation Network:
- TCP 80
- TCP 443
- TCP 5223
- UDP 3478
- UDP 3479
- UDP 3658
- Port 88 (UDP)
- Port 3074 (UDP and TCP)
- Port 53 (UDP and TCP)
- Port 80 (TCP)
Limit bandwidth usage: If there are other users currently using the bandwidth on your connection (watching Netflix/Hulu, streaming music, etc) it could slow the online multiplayer aspects in Dark Souls II. Therefore, it is recommended that you limit the amount of bandwidth usage to allow a proper online multiplayer experience when playing Dark Souls II.
You will occasionally see a bloodstain on the ground. When you stand on it, you can activate it. Doing so will replay the last few seconds of another player's life at that location, ending with their death. The death usually does not take place at the actual bloodstain, similar to how your own bloodstain is usually not precisely where you actually died but rather where you were several moments before. The replay shows the slain player as a phantom, but does not show any other aspect of their death such as what specifically killed them (unless the phantom falls off a cliff or the like). However, much can be inferred from the replay, including possible nearby computer enemies that may be in ambush, or if PvP invaders are particularly active in the area (typically when the phantom is repeatedly circling and attacking, and then backstabbed or slain in only a few hits).
Illusions (Light Blue Phantoms)
Playing while being connected to the internet will cause images of other players to appear. Unlike in Dark Souls they are distinct at all times allowing you to see what weapons they are wielding, their armor, even if they are using items. These phantoms allow the player to know how active an area is since these phantoms seem to be appearing somewhat real time (you might see the same phantom twice doing the exact same things, and you might see a summon sign, and a light blue phantom putting it down afterwards). One cannot interact with them but you may move through them since the other players are not really in your world. If killed they will even be seen dying before completely vanishing, this will possibly lead to a bloodstain being left nearby. Seeing these phantoms the player can get some solace in the fact that other people are going through the same strife and troubles that they are personally facing.
Near bonfires (and only near them), the above phantoms of other players may appear more distinct and visible than elsewhere in the game, showing all of their equipment and even whether they are in human form or not. Seeing other people resting at the same bonfire helps players realize that these people are probably facing the same challenges. Testing suggests you are also more likely to see distinct phantoms of those players at or very close to your own level, giving you a helpful sense of how active the area is at your level if you wish to place a summon sign at that bonfire, or look for signs to summon help.
Bonfire Strengthen (Kindling)
Players can burn a Human Effigy at a bonfire to prevent multiplayer activity in that area. While active, the player may neither be invaded nor summon until the effect wears off or is canceled at the bonfire. Players can also burn an item named Bonfire Ascetic to raise the difficulty of the surrounding area by one playthrough (if in NG, the area will be equal to NG+), and this effect stacks and can not be reversed.
Players can be summoned into another player's world to aid them as Phantoms by leaving a summoning sign with the White Sign Soapstone or Small White Sign Soapstone. A new addition is the ability to voice chat with co-op phantoms. Phantoms are limited by a timer in the host's world. Normal White Soapstone summons last 40 minutes of gameplay. A good fact to note: when you help another player to defeat a boss you will get any replenish-able items and equipment durability back. Estus, any spells, etc. But if you fail to defeat the boss of the area in that person's world you will still be missing any replenish-ables you have used, even in their world. For example you have 15 out of 30 soul arrows, you place a summon sign and help defeat a boss, when you appear back in your own world you will have all 30 of your soul arrows, same goes with estuses. But if you lose against that boss and used 3 soul arrows you will appear back in your world with only 12, which also goes with estus ,replenish-ables and equipment durability.
As the player explores the world, there will be certain opportunities which allow the player to make an oath to a person or on a specific subject, which causes them to effectively join a guild called a Covenant. When a Covenant is joined during the game, it will impact interactions with other players online. This could mean that taking an oath for something could make you allies with another player, or deadly enemies. The Covenant system is not an all encompassing fixed alliance like a MMO guild; instead it should be thought of as a system which serves as a guide for active roleplaying. Visit the Covenants page for more information. Generally, membership in a Covenant will afford you certain specific benefits such as a few unique spells or equipment, an increased likelihood of other members of the same Covenant encountering your summoning signs (or you theirs), and more narrative structure to your RPG experience. You are generally able to "rank up" in your chosen Covenant by various means, which typically gives you access to a few additional items, abilities, or spells. Many Covenants also have special online play characteristics that affect whether and how they can invade or be summoned by other players. Covenant choices are not permanent and usually may be abandoned and rejoined at will.
Covenants with a Focus on Player Versus Player (PvP)
Several covenants are focused on PvP for different purposes, some covenant's goals are defending an area by either invading the trespassers or summoning invaders from other worlds. while the rest are focused on dueling and invasion throughout the rest of the game world. Invasion items are varied, turf-war based covenants use a ring as the invasion tool, while dueling oriented covenant uses eye orbs as the invasion tool, there is also arenas where the victors will have eye orbs awarded to them for victory.
Level To Location: Summoning Comparison
See Soul Memory page to understand how the matchmaking works.
|Area:||Aprox Minimum Level
Aprox Minimum Soul Memory
|Aprox Maximum Level
Aprox Maximum Soul Memory
|Forest Of The Fallen Giants||1||25|
|Heide's Tower Of Flame||20||35|
|Cathedral Of Blue||N/A||N/A|
|The Lost Bastille||40||55|
|Doors Of Pharros||N/A||N/A|
|Brightstone Cove Tseldora||70||85|
|Grave Of Saints||N/A||N/A|
|Shrine Of Amana||80||110|
|Throne of Want||90||145|
New Game + (Needs To Be Filled In)
|Area:||Aprox Minimum Level
Aprox Minimum Soul Level
|Aprox Maximum Level
Aprox Minimum Soul Memory
|Forest Of The Fallen Giants|
PvP (Player vs. Player) Suggested Levels
Currently, there is no "perfect" level for PvP, mainly because Soul Level has no effect on normal area, only Soul Memory. However, Brotherhood of Blood and Blue Sentinel Arenas match up players according to Soul Level instead of Soul memory. Generally, the bridge located at the Iron Keep is a common PvP area because of the role of being Dragon Remnants' headquarter and its controlled environment.
When another player is accessing their menu, their character will relax and slouch back their shoulders.
Support Miracles can be partially cast by holding the button down, where the animation begins and pauses allowing you or another player to have time to get in range of the miracle and then cast when the caster releases the button.
If you suspect an invader to be using hacks or cheats you can go into your Steam overlay, click on "View Players" in the Friends window, then go into the "Recent Games" tab and you can see the profile of the invader and thus report him for cheating by going to their profile.
If you are listening to music while playing (PC Only). The music will stop playing immediately on a player joining your game, this can help as an early warning to invaders, although it also happens when you summon phantoms or get summoned yourself.