Dark Souls FAQ: How to Summon or be Summoned for Coop Multiplayer Play as a Phantom – Tips, Secrets & Troubleshooting
This guide will cover secret tips that aren’t explained in-game, as well as all the basics, other important things that can affect if you get matched up at all, and any rumors that are unconfirmed as of yet.
Troubleshooting Multiplayer Summoning in Dark Souls – Secret & Lesser Known Tips on Getting Matched Up
Try these things if you are having trouble being summoned
- Open the ports on your router for the PS3. Sometimes this is not necessary, but after doing this I immediately saw an increase in summoning activity. This was the main piece of information that helped me. Go to the “Port Forwarding” section of your router and open/forward the following ports:
TCP Ports: 80, 443, 5223
UDP Ports: 3478, 3479, 3658
- Also if your router has the option, set your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360’s IP address as the DMZ. This makes sure there are not firewall / router issues blocking any connections.
- Play during peak hours, such as evenings and weekends.
- Look for and place summoning signs near bonfires and right in front of the fog gates to area bosses.
- If everything above fails, try resetting your PS3 as you may have been randomly placed on a low population server. If this is the case you will probably see very few orange info signs / tips and bloodstains.
- Make sure you are the proper level for the current area. Currently, Dark Souls is set up to only match people +/- 10% levels. At level 20, this is only +/- 2 levels, so can be very restrictive. See the article HERE for the recommended summoner level for each area.
- Matchups are prioritized by the covenant of each player. If you have joined one of the harder to find or less popular covenants, you may be less likely to find summons. The most popular early game covenant is likely The Way of White, from the cleric in Firelink Shrine. Also popular for co-op play is the Warrior of Sunlight – talk to Solair of Astoria / pray at the Altar of Sunlight (take a right at the bonfire under the bridge fire dragon in the Undead Parish). The Warrior of Sunlight covenant allows you to be summoned as a gold phantom instead of white. It requires 50 faith, but there are ways around that – read the Wiki about the Warrior of Sunlight covenant here
To Get Help in Your Game (Summon Others)
You need help beating a boss and want to have others join your game to help.
- Do NOT use your white soapstone item. If your sign is down in your game, you will not be able to get help from others (when you use this item, this causes it to appear in other players’ games so they can bring you into THEIR game.)
- You must be human. If you are hollow, which happens whenever you die, just go to a bonfire and select the option to spend 1 humanity to return to human. If you currently have 0 humanity you will need to find one or use a humanity item from your inventory.
- You cannot have already killed the area boss in your current area in your game.
- To summon other players into your world, once you are human, look around for a white sign on the ground and select OK to summon help. Look for these white signs on the ground near bonfires close to bosses and right in front of the gray fog boss gate (where it says “traverse the white light”). This is where people will most likely place them.
Extra Notes on Getting Help in Your Game (Summon Others):
- You probably won’t find any help until after the bridge with the Hellkite / Drake that spews fire. This is because other players need the white soapstone item in order to help you — so you probably wont find help until after the Taurus Demon, depending on your path.
- Some bosses may have more activity. Popular bosses would be any boss that can be reached quickly from a bonfire and bosses that can be killed quickly and give a lot of souls. Other players will want to farm these bosses for souls. The Gaping Dragon and Iron Golem are two bosses that are fairly popular in the early & mid parts of the game.
- Note that you can summon multiple people at a time. This is great to ensure you don’t waste humanity getting killed with a white phantom that doesn’t help.
- Be sure to use your Estus Flask to heal white phantoms that join your game to help you! Using yours will heal everyone in the game. They can’t use their own Estus Flask so will need help healing.
To Join Another Game To Help Someone Else (Being Summoned)
Joining another players game can be a fun cooperative play experience and can also be very beneficial in order to farm large amounts of souls in a small amount of time. The are also other various in game benefits from assisting other players.
- Place your white soapstone summoning sign in front of the gray fog boss doors (where you get the message “traverse the white light”). You could also try placing the white sign near a bonfire if you want to help someone through more of the level. This may be a good idea of the path to the boss happens to be tough.
- Being hollow is completely fine. You do not need to be human to help others.
- Your area boss can already be dead, that is fine also.
- Stay in the area. If you get the message that your summoning sign has disappeared, you’ve gone to far and will have to go back and replace it. You do not need to stay right on top of your sign however. If I am trying to farm a boss repeatedly, I will generally place the sign and then kill the rest of the enemies in the area. Eventually you will be summoned and once the connection goes through you will be transported back to your sign.
- Place your sign in front of bosses that people are likely to need help on.
- Play during peak hours, such as on weekends and during the evenings. This will increase the activity of other players looking for help.
Extra Notes on Joining Other People’s Games to Help Them (Being Summoned)
- Re-Place your White Summon Sign. If you have tried all of the above and are still having trouble, it may help to replace your white summoning sign every minute or so. There are unconfirmed reports that this may help “refresh” you in the multiplayer queue. You may also want to try sitting at a bonfire every now and then.
- Try restarting your PS3. If you are not seeing many orange “info” signs or bloodstains from other players, you may be on a low population server. Dark Souls multiplayer is split up into multiple different servers and there will be times where you are randomly placed on a server with very few people. Try restarting the game and possibly resetting your PS3 if this is the case.
This guide is current at this time. There are rumors of a possible patch coming to the game that may change the way network play works, but this has not arrived yet. The article will be updated if anything changes.
Hopefully this will help some people out as I found the summoning process to be pretty confusing at first, with very little in-game explanations. Before researching and looking into this, I was waiting for 30 minutes at a time without any coop action. I am now able to repeatedly fight some bosses every 5 minutes or so as a white phantom, and was able to get help quickly (just a couple minutes waiting) on a boss I was having trouble with.