Dark Souls 3: How To Play Co-op & Leave Summon Signs
There is a reason the Dark Souls series is best known for its difficulty. Even if traversing its unforgiving environments and countless surprises don’t get to you, the boss battles will. For challenges that seem unsurmountable, the game affords players the option to summon help in the form of phantoms. These phantoms can either be NPCs (Non-Player Characters) or other players on the network.
Dark Souls III is no different in this regard. Series veterans prefer playing solo for that extra sense of achievement, if you’re new to the series and are having trouble with a certain area or boss, know that you don’t have to go it alone. If you managed to defeat the first boss and make it to the second area of the game, you’ve probably already come across summon signs and may even have summoned a few players to your world to engage in jolly cooperation. In what follows, we’ll walk you through using summon signs in Dark Souls III, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as leaving your own summon sign to help others and the rewards you can get for doing so.
How To Summon Other Players
Summoning is simple. Past the first boss (Iudex Gundyr) and the game’s hub (Firelink Shrine), you’ll be able to see summon signs littered across the Dark Souls III landscape as long as your character holds the power of the Lord of Cinder, which can be obtained by consuming an Ember or defeating a boss and boosts your health points till your next death. Embers can be found all across the game’s world and earned by helping other players defeat a boss. To use a summon sign, simply walk over it and hit the action button once to activate it and again to confirm the summoning.Usually found at bonfires that precede particularly challenging areas, or right before a boss battle, summon signs are matched to both your soul level and the upgrade level of your weapon, and disappear from an area as soon as its boss has been defeated. The matchmaking range for soul level and weapon upgrade level is such that you can see summon signs for players who are at a +10/-10 difference in soul level compared to your own and are carrying weapons that have a +2/-2 upgrade level compared to the highest-upgraded weapon in your inventory. Items in the Storage Box do not seem to be considered.
Note: Some areas and bonfires, like the one before the first boss, Iudex Gundyr, do not allow summoning players.
You can summon up to two players for co-op at a time. A third player can be summoned by using the Dried Finger item, which can be purchased from the Shrine Handmaid in Firelink Shrine for 2000 souls. Note that doing so will increase your chances of being invaded by up to two dark spirits (players looking to kill the host of a world for a reward).
Summon Sign Colors
Summon signs come in white, gold, purple, and red colors. The red variants are PvP (Player vs Player) signs and should only be used if you’re willing to test your skills in a duel with another player. The purple signs are from players in the Mound-Makers covenant. These players can help you defeat your enemies or attack you and other phantoms, but they can’t join you in boss battles. Considering that their prize lies in killing you and ruining your day, their signs are best left untouched if you’re looking for help.
Orange signs are left by players in the co-op-focused Warriors of Sunlight covenant while players in any other covenant or those without one leave white signs. The last two are the ones you should be looking for if you’re having trouble with an area.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Summoning
The advantages are numerous, of course. You and your phantom friends can gank enemies from multiple sides, keeping them in constant stun-lock or performing critical hits from the rear. The phantoms who help you have usually cleared the area themselves and know their way around. They may point you to secrets and warn you of enemies that you may otherwise have missed. Summons also help tremendously with dark spirit invasions, though ganking an invader is considered unethical amongst Dark Souls PvP vets.Boss battles, on the other hand, may not always become easier with co-op. Whenever you summon other players to an area, the boss of the area gets a boost to its health points. While it becomes easier to flank enemies in numbers, certain bosses have attacks or combos that can make short work of your help, leaving you with an even tougher fight on your hands, likely to result in a wasted Ember. Pick your co-op battles wisely. If you’re unlucky, you might get co-op buddies that like to dash through the area and get to the boss battle as soon as possible. This could result in you missing key items. You could always return to the area after you’ve defeated the boss and scour through it again on your own, without fear of invasions.
Inviting Your Friends For Co-op Via Password Matching
Taking a leaf out of Bloodborne’s page, Dark Souls III has introduced the Password Matching feature to the series, allowing players to summon friends of choice over to their world. Apart from it being loads more fun, playing with people you know makes it easier to coordinate during boss fights, unless your friends enjoy tormenting you like mine do. It also removes the aforementioned soul level and weapon upgrade level matchmaking restrictions, scaling the stats of summoned phantoms according to the level of the summoner. What this means, essentially, is that you or your friend could be playing through the final stages of the game and still help out one another with early-game bosses and areas.
To invite a friend to your world, open the game’s menu to Network Settings, type an invite password of choice into the Password field, and have your friend do the same. You and your friend(s) should now be the only ones able to see each other’s summon signs in the game’s world.
How & Where To Leave Your Summon Sign
To get summoned into another player’s world for co-op fun, you’ll need the White Sign Soapstone, which can be purchased from the Shrine Handmaid for a meager 1500 souls.
Once that is done, simply walk to whatever area with which you’d like to help other players, open your inventory, select the White Sign Soapstone, hit Use and go about your business. You don’t need to consume an Ember to leave your summon sign.
When another player within a certain range of your soul and weapon level interacts with your sign, you will be alerted and subsequently teleported to the player’s world. The item offers unlimited uses, so you don’t have to worry about your co-op adventures costing more than that initial investment.
Summon signs are best left near bonfires or before boss battle areas.
Potential Rewards & Benefits Of Getting Summoned
Getting summoned is a risk-free way of farming souls, first and foremost. When you die in another player’s world as a friendly summon, you don’t lose souls or the Lord of Cinder boost. Summoned phantoms have their health points returned to the original count if Embered, and are given half of their Estus Flask charges in another player’s world. You earn souls for whatever enemies are killed in the host’s world, including a percentage (approximated at 25%) of the soul reward for the boss of the area. In addition, killing the boss
- restores Ember, earning you the Lord of Cinder power and its temporary health boost.
- earns you a consumable Ember and
- a Sunlight Medal (which can be traded for rewards by members of the Warriors of Sunlight covenant).
How To Send Summoned Players Back Or Return To Your World
Friendly phantoms are automatically returned to their worlds after being killed or as soon as the boss of the area has been defeated. To return a particular phantom to their world at any time, simply use the Black Separation Crystal item from the in-game or your inventory and from the list that follows, select the player you want to remove. Using the same item while within another player’s world will have the same effect.