Five Things You Need to Know About Elden Ring PvP

PVP in Elden Ring is an experience like no other, but there are a few things you should know before diving in. Here are just some of them.

Let's start with the basics. PvP in Elden Ring is broken to the core. All of FromSoftware's games are built with the single-player experience in mind, and the competitive element is tacked on. There is some attention given to balance in a player-vs-player environment, but that usually occurs post-launch and only in response to community outcry.

Secondly, PvP is and has always been a choice. This is especially true in Elden Ring, as players will never be invaded if they play solo unless they use a missable item called the Taunter's Tongue. The majority of invasions will occur when players are engaging in co-op. Most invaders will be at least dealing with two players, up to three, the hos (of Fingers) included.

With these points in mind, here are some tips for anyone looking to PvP in Elden Ring.

Five Essential Tips for Elden Ring PvP

To start PvP, ensure you have the Bloody Finger, Festering Bloody Finger, or Recusant Finger for invasions against hosts playing through the game. The Duelist Finger is for one-on-one fights, usually with players looking for duels.

Tip 1: You Will Lose More Than You Will Win

Thanks to the stacked odds in most invasions, you are bound to lose more invasions than you win. There will be the odd instance where both host and summons are passive, with low health and damage, and you can take them out with relative ease. In my experience, however, everyone you face will be immediately out to get you and will run you down with everything they have. Spellcasters will hound you from a distance while cooperators with big swords give you no chance to recover.

Tip 2: PvE Viability Means Nothing

A weapon that tears through enemies in PvE, whether they be bosses or mooks, does not always translate well to a competitive setting. There are a couple of reasons for this.

  • Attack speed matters more. A slow weapon might chunk down Elden Ring's bosses like nobody's business, but if a player can see that big windup on your greatsword, they'll likely know exactly what to do to avoid it. Having a weapon that is both fast and effective keeps you in the fight longer with as little downtime as possible. Making big armaments work takes patience and advanced knowledge of spacing.

  • Players are not AI. Enemies in Souls games are programmed to engage you at all times. Even if they're relatively idle, their aggression is focused on you. A player can see an attack and choose to avoid it. Or they might do something else entirely.

Tip 3: There is a Level Cap

The Souls PvE community eventually determines a meta-level, the point at which you'll put no more levels into anything. Currently, the consensus is 125, but that value is still in flux. In Elden Ring, a casual playthrough could easily reach level 150 or higher, locking you out of almost all of the multiplayer elements that aren't already in the endgame or New Game Plus.

There has never been an invasion meta, only a recommended range of character and weapon levels. Right now, there are two tiers. Early game PvP is between levels 35-70 with up to +12 regular or +4 Somber weapons. Late-game invasions are probably around level 100 with +10 or +25 weapons. Also, keep in mind that 125 is the duelist meta, meant for completed builds against other players also at 125 who want fair, "honorable" fights at community-decided locations.

Tip 4: Lag is a Thing

Adding to the sentiment that PvP in Souls games is an afterthought, the connections to many players in Elden Ring will be less than stellar. Expect hits that should connect to fail, enemy players teleporting from place to place or not moving at all, or damage being incredibly delayed, such that your hit registers but the enemy doesn't take damage for at least a few seconds. There are even weirder interactions that occur on a case-by-case basis.

Tip 5: There is No Honor Here. Unless There is

We've mentioned that there are two core types of PvP: duels and invasions. The first is an honorable venture where everyone is at the same level and fights for the fun of it, knowing full well that everyone else involved will play with honor and without malice. The latter is chaos, where honor is a laughable concept.

Duels take place between two consenting parties, who agree on a specific set of rules. The primary one is that neither player will heal. For organized duels, certain weapons, spells, and other starts are also off-limits. Duels usually start with a bow or other clear "we are dueling" gesture, followed by both players applying any buffs or other advantages that complete their build. Once the fight starts, both players use all the tools in their arsenal, and once one player dies, the other is obligated to bow in respect.

Invasions are just that: an invasion of another player's world with the sole purpose of killing them by any means necessary. No trick is too dirty, no strategy too low, no rules unbroken. As we've noted, invaders are almost always outnumbered at least 2-1, so it's their prerogative to use anything and everything they can to get an advantage. The environment, the mobs in the level, status afflictions considered "cheesy" in any other setting, or just downright nasty strategies.

You are within your rights to taunt, steal, flee, and otherwise be a nuisance. An invader's purpose is to impede progress, so if you have the patience and skill, you can waylay a host and their summon for as long as you like. Either they kill you or run to the boss door. You have them at your mercy. 

There's plenty more to know about Elden Ring PvP that isn't directly tied to its gameplay, but those are five things you will need to know if you want to do it at all. You'll also need access to an invasion item, so have a look at our Bloody Finger guide for one of the best ways to do it. Our guide on how to invade generally talks about the other items you can use. For weapons, abilities, spells, and more, see our Elden Ring guides hub.

Contributor

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.

Published Mar. 21st 2022

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