How do you play with friends in Demon's Souls? Is it multiplayer? It's a bit unclear from the outset how the online functionality works in Demon's Souls and it wastes no time explaining itself. We're here to answer your questions in this Demon's Souls guide and shed some light on how the online functionality works.
Playing Demon's Souls Online
Playing Demon's Souls while connected online is a significantly different experience when compared to playing it offline. There are a lot of features that playing online enables, and we're here to help describe them to you by highlighting those features below.
How Do You Play Co-op?
Cooperative play is a major component of Demon's Souls, but it doesn't work the same way here as it does in the typical online multiplayer you might be used to. There's no sending quick and easy invites or telling your friend to join your game from the UI. You'll either have to use a Blue Eye Stone to join another player, or you'll have to activate a summon sign to allow another player to join you.
These summon signs are how cooperative play happen. Activating one of these signs requires being in Human Form, and doing so will bring another player into your game. Using a Blue Eye Stone, on the other hand, requires you to be in Soul Form and leaves a summon sign on the ground that another player can activate to pull you into their session. You can get your own Blue Eye Stone by speaking with the Maiden in Black shortly after the game's first main boss.
It's worth noting that the summon signs you'll see scattered about are limited based on the soul level you're at. You'll only be able to summon (and, by extension, be summoned by) players with a similar soul level. It doesn't have to be identical, but roughly within ten levels is where the cutoff seems to be.
How Do You Play With Just a Friend?
This Demon's Souls remake adds a feature called password matchmaking which makes it much easier to group up with a friend. If you go the in-game Options menu, navigate to Settings, and go to the Network screen, you can turn on a password requirement.
Once you turn on the password requirement, you'll only see the summon signs for people who entered the same password as you, and any summon signs you've placed can only be seen by other players who have entered that same password. This is a fantastic way to pair up with a friend as it bypasses the possibility of having a stranger summon someone into their game instead.
Using this password system also bypasses the level requirements for seeing a summon sign. You won't have to be within a similar soul level to see the summon signs of someone with the same password as you, so there's no need to worry about accidentally progressing too far past your co-op mates. However, do note that if one player is a much higher level, they'll receive a debuff to try and keep things better balanced.
What Can You Do While Playing in Co-op?
Once you join another player's game or have another player join you, you'll be able to proceed through the stage as you normally would. However, if the visiting Blue Phantom player dies, they'll be kicked back out to their own world. The same goes once you defeat a boss – as soon as the boss is slain, your Blue Phantom friend will have to say bye-bye as they're transported back to their own game.
It's important to note that none of the progress you make while summoned to another player's game will translate to your game session. That means if you help someone else defeat their boss that you haven't gotten to yet, that boss will still be alive and well once you return to your realm.
Items also can't be interacted with or picked up as a Blue Phantom unless it's an item that's been dropped by the host player. Item trading can be conducted this way as items that a Blue Phantom drops can be picked up by the host player, too! In addition, the souls you collect as a Blue Phantom will stay with you, and a Blue Phantom that successfully helps slay a boss will regain their Human Form once they're sent back to their own game, so being a Blue Phantom does have its perks.
Does Demon's Souls Have PvP?
It does! Player vs. player combat is one of the primary pursuits of many Souls players, and it comes with its whole own set of best practices and builds that are completely modeled around fighting against other people. Player beware though, as engaging in PvP isn't always voluntary.
If you're running around a level in Human Form, there's a chance that you'll be invaded by a Black Phantom player. These are folks who used a Black Eye Stone and were sent to your session where they'll be rewarded with souls and restored to Human Form if they eliminate you. You can get your own Black Eye Stone by killing a Black Phantom to ruin other peoples' days yourself if you'd like! If you'd rather not put up with the stress of possible invaders, staying in Soul Form will keep you safe from these hostile outsiders.
How Do You Communicate With Other Online Players?
You've more than likely noticed all the messages scattered about on the floor. The vast majority of these were actually left by other players! You were probably able to tell this by all the nonsense they were filled with, and you can leave your own nonsense-filled messages if you feel so inclined from the touchpad menu. You can only compose these messages from a pre-defined list of possible words, but it's a hoot to read some of the creative combinations people come up with.
If you're hanging out with a friend as a Blue Phantom or you're being invaded by someone who seems surprisingly friendly, the only way you'll be able to reach out and communicate with the other person will be with emotes – no in-game voice chat here. You'll likely pick up on the emotes other players like using, and before you know it you'll be bowing to greet a helping hand and celebrating your victories against invaders.
What Are the Ghosts of Players That Pop up Everywhere?
You'll likely come across white apparitions of other players – these are other real people playing the game who are being shown to you in real time! You can't interact with them in any way other than trying to emote at them. These serve no real practical purpose other than to possibly gauge what might lie ahead based on their movements.
The same goes for bloodstains that can be found littered all over the place. Interacting with one of these will show you another player's last moments before perishing and being sent back to their last checkpoint. Gauging the frequency and concentration of these stains can be especially useful in estimating where a deadly surprise might be waiting in store.
What's a message you've left in Demon's Souls that you're particularly proud of? Tell us about your magnum opus in the comments below. And, while you're here, have a look at the rest of our Demon's Souls guide where we seek to answer more of your excellent questions.