Elden Ring multiplayer deemed “not ready” following network test

elden ring gameplayElden Ring/FromSoftware

The online community is worried that the Elden Ring multiplayer is not up to standard after playing the game’s beta test. Are their concerns warranted?

Elden Ring’s online beta test went live on Friday, November 12, 2021, and gave fans their first clear look at Elden Ring’s multiplayer and campaign gameplay. As a Souls-style game, Elden Ring’s multiplayer, be it PvP or co-op, is integrated into the game’s main campaign.

A host can freely explore the world, summoning other players for support in combat when needed. Players that want to engage in PvP can challenge others to a dual by using an in-game item, then get ready for battle when someone answers the challenge.

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However, the main form of PvP in Elden Ring’s multiplayer is an invasion mechanic which works similarly to the one seen in Demon’s S0uls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne. This allows predatory players to enter the world of another – uninvited – then set about ruining their day.

Elden Ring screenshot showing combat between two KnightsFrom Software
Elden Ring combat is satisfying, but needs a few tweaks.

Elden Ring multiplayer: repeating Dark Souls mistakes?

Those who’ve played the closed network test have now expressed their thoughts online and have concluded that the game is far from ready. You can read a full breakdown of fans’ complaints here on Reddit, but most of it is concerned with Elden Ring’s PvP multiplayer. Surprisingly, the multiplayer mechanics of earlier games have translated well, but there are issues when it comes to actual combat.

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Some fans fear the infamously overpowered backstab from the original Dark Souls has made a return, something that essentially allows players to win a fight in one well-practiced move. Players are also worried that blocking is OP and that players can seemingly just block and backstab their way through Elden Ring’s multiplayer.

The original Reddit poster explained, “The backstab’s purpose was to punish carelessly showing your back in the middle of combat. It added a high amount of depth as players needed to be aware of their backs and could not swing their attacks carelessly.”

Elden Ring Blue Phantom in combatFrom Software
Blue Phantoms suggest Elden Ring will feature PvP similar to Dark Souls.

The ‘Backstab’ in Elden Ring

They went on to explain why this was a problem in Elden Ring’s beta, saying, “In Elden Ring, ANY movement will make you miss the backstab even if the movement is casting a spell while standing still. Even when you don’t want to do the backstab, you still get the backstab grab which leaves you vulnerable.”

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This essentially turns PvP battles into just two blocking players attempting to get behind each other, rather than a tense and varied sword/magic fight. It could encourage players to all pursue the same build rather than engage with everything else the game has to offer.

Apparent glitches and the game’s lack of melee combos in battle may also drive players down this route in an attempt to gain an advantage. Those who opt for a different experience may feel vulnerable in PvP if they do not follow the crowd.

Elden ring map revealFrom Software
Elden Ring’s open-world is simply stunning, despite being dark and brooding.

The positives when it comes to Elden Ring feedback

The good news is the fan complaints have been constructive and measured, designed to be feedback f0r developer From Software rather than an attack. This is exactly what beta tests are designed for, after all.

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Souls games have a very passionate fanbase, and many will be keen to avoid the growing pains that Dark Souls 1 and 2 experienced. Therefore, this feedback will be invaluable to From Software as they continue to polish Elden Ring’s multiplayer. Most Souls games are often a little bit janky at launch, so constructive feedback during a beta test should hopefully lessen any issues that arise.

Elden Ring will release on February 25, 2022, on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. Check out what we thought when we went hands-on with Elden Ring.