Dark Souls: the timeless magic of asynchronous multiplayer

Dark Souls: the timeless magic of asynchronous multiplayer

Dark Souls

Although years have passed since its release, Dark Souls 3 still remains a video game of the highest level. The new generation consoles with high computing power have made it even more enjoyable, a bit like wine that improves over time. We therefore greatly appreciated our return to the lands of Lothric, where our dormant flame has embarked on a new long journey in search of the esteemed ember lords. Having already extensively explored both the gameplay elements and the lore of the game, today we want to focus on a characteristic element of the entire From Software series. We're talking about the asynchronous multiplayer elegantly included in what appears to be a predominantly single player video game.

What has amazed us in fact in our return to the splendid maps of Dark Souls 3 is the continuous activity of the online community. So if you have never tried a Dark Souls or have avoided their online component, today we will try to explain to you what this wonderful addition in the video games of the series includes. So we want to tell you what happened in our adventure, trying to explain what are the advantages of this mechanic in the gameplay of a soulslike and how the community behaves in this asynchronous multiplayer.

How does asynchronous multiplayer work?

A splendid screenshot of the progenitor Demon's Souls Let's start immediately by explaining how online multiplayer works in the Dark Souls series. Some elements were clearly taken from the progenitor Demon's Souls, re-proposed in a modern way also in his recent remake for Playstation 5. Others instead came up to Bloodborne, a sort of spin-off of the soulslike series, released exclusively on Playstation 4 in the now far away 2015.

But how does asynchronous multiplayer work in Dark Souls 3 and similarly in the other chapters of the series? There are basically two forms of interaction with other players, pleasantly enriched with the existence of various pacts present through the interaction with the NPCs of the game. The first involves collaboration with other players, who wish to receive help in dealing with a particularly difficult area or a boss with whom they are losing their soul by dint of failed attempts. The other form of interaction instead is the competitive one, where players clash with each other to get souls used in the growth and enhancement of the character, as well as various bonuses that depend on the agreement made previously.

What if one only wants to play offline? No problem, just don't use the "Ember" item present as a consumable in Dark Souls 3 and by doing so we won't be invaded. In this case, however, we will not even be able to benefit from the collaboration of the other players. Furthermore, by using a "Brace" it is possible to obtain a 30% increase in our life points, a very important advantage, especially in a title like this. In short, at this point it is easy to understand how the excellent game design created by the developers of From Software wants to put the player in front of a crossroads: if you want to have a bonus in the vitality bar and take advantage of external help, you have to accept the risk of being invaded by other online players. It might seem like a trivial matter, but using "Embers" changes the gameplay considerably.

One of the multiplayer arenas of Dark Souls 3 Typically, in order to invade another player's world it is sufficient to own and activate a special item called the Red Eye Orb, which is easily found with a little exploration on our Lothric adventure. In this way, a sort of matchmaking will start and we will be transported to the world of our opponent as a dark spirit, where we will have to defeat him to successfully conclude the invasion. On the contrary, if we want to help someone face a difficult boss, just leave our sign of summoning near the battle arena using the "White Stone" object. Another player with the "Ember" active can call us by touching our sign to be able to face the boss-fight together.

An enrichment of the experience

Screenshot of a Dark Souls 3 dungeon During our adventure we found ourselves in an unknown area and particularly rich in insidious enemies. We were about to take the last sip of our precious "Estus Flask" and we used the "Ember" to get the most of the available life points. In the distance we could hear the bones crackle faintly in the next bonfire (a kind of checkpoint in the game), but we haven't been able to find it yet. The load of the many accumulated souls was tangible and the tension rose instant by instant, because we had already made a precise plan on how to spend them to empower your pyromancer warrior. While we were escaping from an unexpected ambush, the following message appeared on the screen: "The dark spirit Vladimir has invaded your world". Panic. Another player was about to ruin our last hour of intense exploration and we had no more resources to fight him than what little life we ​​had left. It was certainly not a pleasant situation to have to deal with, but the desire to have 30% more life and be able to call some benevolent souls for help prevailed. Obviously we are not cursing the ruthless wickedness of From Software, on the contrary, we want to emphasize how this element of the game greatly enriches the experience and increases the involvement of the gamer.

The invader did not immediately reveal himself in front of our pyromancer warrior, so with the water in the throat we decided to continue along yet another dark corridor, hearing strange cries of equally unusual creatures approaching step by step. Arriving at the top of a long staircase we saw a Black Knight in the distance, certainly an opponent not to be overlooked, even with a character of a certain level. We turned around for a moment to check that maybe there wasn't another road, an alternative route, a hidden shortcut, but around the corner we saw only the dark spirit named Vladimir appear. We instinctively took a few steps back to upgrade the weapon with fire through our pyromancy, but made the stupid mistake of attracting the attention of the Black Knight behind us. As the thumb was dangerously approaching the "Playstation" button on our controller to immediately turn off the console, a summoning sign appeared on the ground right in front of us. We were evidently close to a boss arena and some players were waiting to be summoned to that area. Without thinking twice, we called the spirit, who came to help us following some of our dangerous dodges on the edge of a precipice between the rapid sweeps of the Black Knight and the heavy sword of our invader. The newly appeared sorcerer Mortir used his powerful catalyst twice, sweeping the Black Knight down the ravine and causing Vladimir, the invader to lose most of the life points. Taken by the surprise of what happened, we instinctively pressed the R1 button in the vicinity of our enemy, still stunned by the powerful magic, and we gave him the final blow of death. We therefore turned to the sorcerer who came to our aid who was greeting us happily to leave our world, leaving us on the ground a very precious flask of "Divine Blessing" to heal us.

Respect and collaboration

Another splendid scenario proposed in Dark Souls 3 What has been told is only one of the many experiences related to the asynchronous multiplayer of Dark Souls 3, lived during our return to the lands of Lothric. Veterans of the series will see nothing strange in any of this, but for those taking their first steps into the soulslike world, such an experience remains etched in their minds for quite some time.

In addition to finding a community still active five years after the release of Dark Souls 3, we were also pleasantly surprised by their respect and desire for collaboration. In numerous invasions and collaborations made during our adventure, we have met different types of gamers. In addition to making us appreciate the sometimes very particular construction of their characters, we have had the opportunity to challenge them or collaborate with them in the different scenarios offered by the video game. Arriving in front of the arena of a particularly tough boss, we decided to help the others deal with him first, so that we could calmly study his move set. Entering another player's game we were often greeted by some nice greeting through the gestures present in the game, most of the time feeling the gratitude for our intervention. Following the fight, we were thanked with other honorable gestures and returned to our world charged up to face the boss on our own. Returning to the battle area we were faced with a pleasant surprise: the player we previously helped has returned for the umpteenth time in front of the boss, this time to help us. Saying goodbye with a gesture typical of an old companion in adventures (for experienced players we mean the repeated and rapid pressure of the L1 key with the weapon held in two hands), we welcomed the player, defeating the fearsome enemy together once again.

Offline combat in Dark Souls 3 Similarly, having played most of the time with the "Ember" active, we have been overrun several times by enemy players. While at first glance these may seem like real demons (they often appear with a red aura around their body), actually in our experience we have met some truly honorable and respectful players. Locating us in our world, rather than making an incorrect attack from behind or attacking us from a distance with a powerful sorcery, the player most of the time approached us calmly. By coming face-to-face with him, he allowed us to upgrade our weapon through pyromancy, while performing an honorable bow before the fight. Another demonstration of respect and desire for healthy interaction in this wonderful online community, still wonderfully active and full of players, despite a certain age of the title.

Looking to the future

One of the most anticipated titles in the coming months: Elden Ring We would like to highlight that what is told in this article represents only our adventure and the experience of asynchronous multiplayer linked to it. Undoubtedly in such a large community there will always be incorrect players and it will certainly happen that the multiplayer component ruins some of your games. However, we have not encountered events of this type and pleasantly surprised by this thing we wanted to tell you about it to encourage you to try this unique and satisfying experience.

Taking a quick look at what awaits us in the coming years we cannot avoid mentioning the long awaited Elden Ring. The next game from From Software should arrive by the end of the year, having already been expected for 2020. Unfortunately, we currently have no further information on its release, but we are sure that the developers are giving their best to bring it as soon as possible. possible time, despite the obvious problems experienced due to COVID. While asynchronous multiplayer wasn't featured in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, we expect it to return in their next title. The gameplay mechanics will probably be further evolved in Elden Ring, being a title with an open world structure. Similarly, we expect an evolution of multiplayer, perhaps with other ways of interacting, even with a greater number of players. In an open world title, real pacts or clans could be formed between players with unique missions or objectives to complete. Everything could be divided into a sort of houses, just like those of the popular Game Of Thrones series, in fact the author George RR Martin contributed to the creation of the game world of this Elden Ring. What we clearly hope is to review such an honest, respectful and active community also on this upcoming video game in order to enjoy the multiplayer component just as happened with the other games produced by From Software.

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