Elden Ring: How to invade and play PvP

Elden Ring Scarlet Rot Image
Elden Ring Scarlet Rot Image (Image credit: Windows Central)

Elden Ring, like the majority of FromSoftware's games, may be a perfectly playable as a singleplayer adventure, but it's built with an extensive online component as well. A lot of the time, that means summoning players — both friends and strangers alike — to clear through a section of enemies together, culminating in taking on a boss. However, just as longstanding is the tradition of invasion, of arriving unexpected in another player's world and trying to kill them. If that sounds fun, I've got you covered.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Miquella's mysteries continue as Tarnished players head to the Land of Shadow, a mysterious realm filled with new monsters and powerful magic. This expansion is launching over two years after the release of the original game. At $40, preorders are open right now.

Buy from: Xbox | GreenManGaming (Steam)

Elden Ring: Where to get Festering Bloody Fingers

When you want to invade another player in Elden Ring, you'll need a Festering Bloody Finger. There are a few places you can go to get one fairly early on in your adventure.

Mistwood Merchant

The merchant is easy to find fairly early on. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

At the southern edge of the Mistwood area, there's a merchant just before you reach a castle being overrun by Demi-Humans. This merchant sells five Festering Bloody Fingers for 1,000 Runes each. This is by far the easiest way to grab some Festering Bloody Fingers early on. I've marked the location of this merchant on the map above.

Rose Church

The Rose Church is only a short ways past Stormveil Castle. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A little ways into the game, after acquiring your first Great Rune, as you progress through Liurnia of the Lakes and head towards Raya Lucaria Academy, you can take a detour farther into the west of the swampy marshland. If you do so, you'll eventually come upon the Rose Church

In front of the Church, you'll find a man who previously called you Maidenless. Speak with him, and when he asks your impressions of the Two Fingers, answer that something doesn't feel right. He'll then give you five Festering Bloody Fingers for free.

Important: Note that if you run into a dangerous dragon, you've gone too far north, though you can kill that dragon for a Dragon Heart. I've marked the location of the Rose Church on the map above.

Elden Ring: How to invade

The Festering Bloody Finger is your key to wreaking havoc in another world. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Now that you've got a truly rancid finger or three, it's time to invade. Obviously, you'll need to be online, so make sure you've launched Elden Ring in online mode and that your internet connection seems stable. From there, simply go into your Inventory or Multiplayer tab, either one works, and use the Festering Bloody Finger

If it works, you'll receive a message that you are invading another player. Festering Bloody Fingers ignore multiplayer passwords, so you won't be matched only with your friends if you currently have a password set. This also means you won't be protected by using a password.

Keep in mind that Festering Bloody Fingers are single-use items, so if you're successful in invading, the finger will be used up. When you invade a player, they'll be within your basic level range, which is a design decision to help keep things a bit random without letting you be truly overpowered when fighting someone, or vice versa. Keep in mind that you can only directly invade someone who hasn't beaten the boss for an area yet.

As such, if you're having trouble finding a successful invasion, try a different spot. In particular, look for "hotbeds," or rather, areas that lots of people will probably have some trouble getting past a boss. Early on in the game, these could be bosses like Margit the Fell Omen or Godrick the Grafted.

Once you're in another player's world, act fast. You win if you kill the other player; you lose if they kill you or manage to escape to a boss fight. Players will receive a warning that you have invaded, so be careful, as they'll have at least a few seconds (if not much longer) to plan and think of ways to defend themselves. Remember that because Elden Ring is an open-world game, you won't have access to the entirety of the world when you invade. Instead, it'll be sliced off into a section, with gray fog preventing leaving that particular zone.

Elden Ring: How to be summoned for PvP

The Duelist's Furled Finger provides a more honorable approach to combat. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Random invasions aren't the only way to fight a Host of Fingers in some classic PvP. If you're feeling more sporting, there's also a special item you can unlock that allows other players to summon you for fighting. It's called the Duelist's Furled Finger and fortunately, it's fairly easy to grab.

  1. Head to the Warmaster's Shack, which is slightly southeast of Stormveil castle.
  2. From there, head directly north.
  3. Run past or kill the enemy camp in your path.
  4. Keep going north until you come upon some massive ruins.

You'll find the finger just off the beaten path. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. The Duelist's Furled Finger will be on a body in front of the door.

If you're having trouble finding it, I've marked the location on the map above. Unlike the Festering Bloody Fingers, the Duelist's Furled Finger is an infinite use item, so no matter how many times you win or lose fights online, you'll always have it with you.

It's important to keep in mind that due to the nature of someone willingly summoning someone else for a fight, generally speaking, these players will be far more dangerous than someone whom you randomly invade. Make sure you've got your best gear and magic equipped, because otherwise it's possible that you'll get stomped.

Alternatively, you can also take part in PvP matches by heading to the Coliseums, which were added to Elden Ring in a free post-launch update. These three arenas provide new ways of fighting against other players at a reliable pace.

What goes around comes around

There's nothing unsporting about invading other players in one of the best Xbox games available. After all, it's been a part of FromSoftware's formula since the days of Demon's Souls. Just understand that you might also get invaded, and perhaps consider being sporting and fair when you fight others online. Unless they're unsporting first, in which case you can and should bust out every dirty trick in the book.

Elden Ring's PvP is sure to see a resurgence thanks to the upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree expansion. With a new Land of Shadow to explore and new bosses to fight, this expansion is set to launch across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on June 21, 2024. At $40, preorders for Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree are open now.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Edition

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Edition

Elden Ring is a sprawling adventure that offers dozens of hours of exploration and wonder, and Shadow of the Erdtree seems set to build on that when it arrives in June 2024. You can aid another's wonder (or frustration) by invading them!

Buy from: Amazon | Xbox

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.