Image via Bandai Namco

How Multiplayer Matchmaking Works in Elden Ring

Elden Ring multiplayer matchmaking is kind of a mess. Here's how it works.

Ever wondered why you can’t connect to your friend in Elden Ring, even though you’re near the same level? Or have you made a PvP build but can’t matchmake while invading? The problem might be a part of how multiplayer matchmaking works in Elden Ring, which is confusing, complicated, and, frankly, a bit silly.

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How Multiplayer Matchmaking Works in Elden Ring

A summoned phantom in Elden Ring
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Elden Ring multiplayer matchmaking can be a confusing thing, especially if you’re used to other games where playing with other players boils down to “click the button, connect to a friend.” That’s not how it works in this case. Instead, if you want to connect to another player — any other player — Elden Ring checks two things:

Character Levels

The first thing Elden Ring checks when you want to co-op, invade, or duel an opponent is how close your and the other player’s levels are. Based on your level, the game sets lower and upper limits for the player coming into your world. In order to match with another player and play together, both of you need to be in the specific level range set by those boundaries.

  • For cooperative play, the lower limit is (Your Level) x (0.9) – (10). The upper limit is (Your Level) x (1.1) + (10).
  • For PvP, the lower limit is (Your Level) x (0.9). The upper limit is (Your Level) x (1.1) + (20)

Weapon Upgrade Levels

Your weapon upgrade levels and the other player’s weapon upgrade levels need to be similar. First introduced in Dark Souls 3, this mechanic keeps invaders with max-level weapons invading newly created characters who can’t or haven’t yet unlocked the top-tier upgrade materials.

There’s no complicated formula for weapon-level matchmaking. Instead, it uses a complicated tier system that starts out wide and gradually shrinks the higher your and your matchmade partner’s weapon level goes. There is an upper and lower limit to who you can connect with based on your weapon’s level, and the higher that level goes, the tighter the restriction.

  • For instance, for a +12 weapon that upgrades with standard Smithing Stones, the lowest weapon upgrade they can connect to on the standard track is +8, and the highest is +17.
  • Somber upgrades are complicated because they go from 0 to 10 and not 0 to 25, so the math is a bit weirder. However, if you want to connect to a +12 standard upgraded weapon, a +5 Somber weapon is your best bet.

The easiest way to tell whether you and your multiplayer partners will successfully match is to use a summon range calculator like the one on the Elden Ring wiki. Simply input your character and weapon upgrade levels and let the computer do the thinking.

Alternatively, if you have a friend at a much lower or higher level than you but you still want to play cooperatively with them, you can set a multiplayer password. So long as both of you are using the same one, the player at a higher level will be somewhat scaled down to around the lower-level player. Invaders can’t be scaled in the same way. Passwords mean nothing to PvP, in other words.

One final note: Elden Ring logs your highest weapon upgrade level the instant you reach it, and nothing you can do can reduce that log’s value. For instance, if you talk to Sorcerer Rogier in the Roundtable Hold and he gives you Rogier’s Rapier +8, the game will automatically place your current baseline weapon upgrade at that +8 value. Not even deleting the weapon from your inventory will change the game’s calculations. The same goes for the Banished Knight’s Halberd +8 you can get from the Revenger’s Shack phantom.

This weapon upgrade level lock also occurs if you accidentally improve a weapon at a blacksmith past where you want to stop leveling (if you do want to stop). In other words, if you want to make an invader at level 70 who uses +12 standard or +5 Somber weapons, but you accidentally upgrade your Jar Cannon to +6, you are permanently locked out of lower-level matchmaking.

I do hope that all made some semblance of sense. The system is clunky, janky, and in dire need of streamlining, but that’s how multiplayer matchmaking works in Elden Ring. For more content on the game, check out our guides hub. It’s not all this crazy, I swear.


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Author
John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.