What is PvP?
PvP stands for Player Versus Player as distinct from PvE or Player Versus Environment; that is, normal, storyline play against the AI. Some players find PvP thrilling and rewarding, and even go so far as to sacrifice some PvE utility in their Character Builds to facilitate effectiveness in PvP.
In Dark Souls, PvP is accomplished by any given player using one of several online-only items to "invade" another player's world, to send stronger enemies to several other player's worlds, or to lay down a challenge which another player can either accept or reject as seen fit. The specifics of the various methods of initiating PvP are detailed below.
What happens in PvP?
Two or more players fight to the death! The winner receives different rewards depending on their method of invasion, they include Souls, Humanity, or other items. The loser is sent to the last Bonfire they used, and depending on the method of invasion they will either lose nothing at all, or find the bloodstain where they died to recover lost souls and humanity. If the player being invaded and loses, he or she can use the Indictment item to add their invader's name to the Book of the Guilty, depending on the invader's type.
During an invasion, the area is locked; the host cannot exit the area, though they may still initiate a boss fight by passing through a boss' fog gate, which will immediately send the invader home. The exception is in the case of a Spirit of Vengeance, by way of the Blue Eye Orb , in which case the previous rule does not apply.1If a Black Phantom and a Spirit of Vengeance invade the same world and one kills the other, the survivor does not get credit for accomplishing the objective, which is to kill the host. You can tell when you are being invaded when access to other areas is covered by thick fog, similar to most boss fogs and area transitions, except you cannot pass through them (except the Blue Eye Orb).
You cannot be invaded if you are Hollowed.
What happens if my name is in the Book of the Guilty?
If your name is in the Book of the Guilty for any reason, members of the Blade of the Darkmoon covenant can randomly invade your world as a Spirit of Vengeance by using their Blue Eye Orb. You cannot be targeted, it is a random, level appropriate draw and based on the area you are in. See the Book of the Guilty for more information.
How do I invade?
At the beginning of the game, you can only invade by using a Cracked Red Eye Orb, which is consumed upon use. You can later gain other items from Covenants to invade. Any player can use the Red Sign Soapstone once found, which will lay down a Red Soul Sign for other players to invite you to invade. You can only use this if you are in human form.
There are multiple ways to PvP, depending on which covenant you join.
- The Gravelord Servant covenant encourages you to use the Eye of Death item. This places a Gravelord Soul Sign that causes stronger enemies to occur in 3 players' worlds. They must find the sign and invade your world to stop the effects of this item. Beware, this means that by invoking this power you could be subject to 3 other invading players! The sign is not visible to the player who casts it, the only indication to the Gravelord that he is under the Eye of Death effect is a black aura emanating from the player.
Where can I invade?
- Consult the list of invasion spawn locations.
- You are able to invade in every level asides from the Undead Asylum, The Valley of Drakes, The Great Hollow, and Ash Lake, which do not allow multiplayer activity.
Where can I find the Cracked Red Eye Orb?
- There are 4 near the Firelink Shrine area.
- There are also 6 more in the New Londo Ruins before The Four Kings boss
- They can also be bought from Darkstalker Kaathe in the Abyss.
Where can I get the Red Eye Orb?
- Join the Darkwraith Covenant. After advancing to level +1, you will receive one as a reward.
What's the Blue Eye Orb?
- It's an orb that specifically allows you to invade those that are in the Book of the Guilty. Only members of the Blade of the Darkmoon are awarded this item, and the invading Phantoms will be Spirits of Vengeance.
Can I set up a Duel with someone?
- While setting up PvP or Co-op with a specific person is difficult due to the way the servers are set up (here's hoping for a fix), your best bet is to find the Red Sign Soapstone in the Painted World of Ariamis. This allows you to lay down a Red Soul Sign which will appear in other player's worlds. If another player summons you via this sign, then you will be summoned as a Black Phantom and will be challenged to a duel. Same level restrictions apply to this as with summoning and/or invading.
What determines the amount of souls you gain when you kill a player?
The amount of souls you get is determined by the amount of souls your opponent needs to level up. As an invader, you get 10% of the hosts souls when you kill him/her. As the host, you get 50% of the invaders souls when you kill him/her.
- DON'T let your foe get away from you to recover as it could make you lose. Take your opponent down as quickly as possible, especially if your opponent is a human PLAYER.
- If you have other friendly spirits with you let them try to handle the invader to find out what your opponent is using.
- Backstabs are your worst enemies, especially since lag occurs on servers: players have the tendency to appear in your back and you usually die by then. Keeping your back to a wall limits that but it restricts your mobility and you are then vulnerable towards powerhouses. If a player uses God's Wrath against you when you are near a wall, you often rebound on it and are thrown towards him, in which case you are usually backstabbed as soon as you get up.
- Contrary to what might be thought homing sorceries aren't that powerful. If the enemy is too close to you, he can evade without rolling. It is hard to hit another player with Soul Spear, although it can one-shot him if you are powerful. The only exception is if you managed to lure the opponent in a narrow corridor where evading is made harder. If you are in a wide area, casting a Soulmass can still be useful: it probably won't touch the opponent but it will make it slightly harder for him to approach you and you can use other weapons once you have cast it. Don't rely on it to kill your opponents though.
- You cannot use a Bonfire when invaded, regardless of where your enemy is: The bonfire will be deactivated, much like when there's an enemy too close to it. Outside of safe areas (mainly bonfires you can warp to) you aren't safe if you're resting at a bonfire: As you're being invaded, the bonfire may shut down while the game is connecting to the enemy player. Despite the inconvenience of a bonfire not being a properly safe place to take a break, this can be used to your advantage: It can take a little while from the bonfire shuts down until the invader appears, giving you time to run over and quickly take down nearby enemies (just be sure they're someone you CAN kill quickly), or to equip more PVP-friendly gear (like if your only currently equipped weapon is a spear).
- You cannot quit the game (menu quit, at least. You could reset your gaming system but there are the usual risks) once the message notifying the invasion appears. However, you can quit it during the time between bonfire deactivation and actual invasion. I however noticed when I did this that reloading as soon as you get back to the title screen seems to make you unusually vulnerable to invasion. If you want to continue playing, either turn the game to offline or suck it up and deal with it.
- You can notice that you're about to be invaded without being near a bonfire. For starter, if you can't see it but are near it, you normally hear a noise that disappears as soon as it is deactivated. And you can't use invasion related items like orbs or Soapstones. You can still use other players' signs to summon help (don't know about red or gravelord signs, I don't usually see many of them Confirmed, red and gravelord signs do appear.) but chances are help will come too late so don't rely too heavily on that, although white phantoms can save you if they appear in a timely manner.
- An effective way to attempt PVP is to go to Darkroot Basin just beyond the Crest of Artorias door in human form. Experience using cracked red orbs may vary.
- If you are invading someones world with another phantom try to take advantage of this by two ways, Firstly teamwork, and secondly study your enemy's tactic with the help of your ally.
- Please note that there are a lot of people that summon two phantoms and attempt to gangbeat you. Running away is the best option.
- When invading and entering another player's world, always check around you as you spawn. The enemy may be waiting for a backstab or an easy kill. Also, roll past corners where the host may be waiting to backstab you. Using an area-of-effect attack near these areas is useful, but it can alert your enemy to your presence if they are elsewhere.
- Remember that the only the host, who is in human form, makes noise. Listen for them (if invading). Exceptions are when they are using Hush or a ring with an effect that decreases their presence or stops their noise.
- Only attempt a parry if you are absolutely sure you can get it right. Otherwise, it can be deadly.
- Being able to move quickly is vital. Rolling quickly can save your life, and the Dark Wood Grain Ring acquired from Shiva of the East's ninja bodyguard is extremely valuable in not only PvP but PvE as well.
- Players using lightning weapons are usually vitality builds with super high HP, because they do not need to sacrifice level points for stats that will scale their weapons. While this is undoubtedly cheap, it is also frustratingly effective. Keep an eye out for the type of weapon your opponent carries, as this can help you determine what type of build they are. This can also help you gauge what type of attacks you should use, such as fire, magic, lightning, etc.
- You can also equip a good armor with a fine poise resistance (Havel's Set is a excellent choice but is also extremely heavy) and act like a Tank, run up to your rival with the most powerful weapon you have (use it with both hands) and keep attacking him(her) frequently (but watch out for your stamina as it will DEPLETE FAST and will REGENERATE SLOWER).
- Poise may not seem VERY useful, but it can determine a win or loss easily. Players who wear armor/clothes with low poise can be staggered easily, even with a katana. However, players wearing a full Havel's Set won't stagger easily and are best dealt with by using either spears, washing poles, or very large, heavy weapons.