Dark Souls online and Amazon deal

First of all, Dark Souls is currently 19.90 at Amazon.com. So, if for some reason you haven’t bought it yet (or know someone who hasn’t) then now is the time!

More importantly, I wanted to collect some hints for successful multiplayer gaming in the PC version of Dark Souls. Many people seem to have problems with this, and there is a lot of misinformation online, while some good hints are hard to find. Since I played the game for probably 80 hours or so in co-op, killed lots of people who defiled the forest and have tracked down dozens of the guilty, I feel like I should share what I learned:


  • Enable UPNP on your router, and open these ports:
    TCP ports 80 and 443
    UDP and TCP ports 53, 88 and 3074
    More details here.
  • Don’t expect to play multiplayer during the first 5-15 minutes after you started the game and loaded your save. Spend this time doing something different. It may be a good idea, if you want to play MP later, to start the game early, load your save, and let the game idle a bit (in a safe zone of course). Alt-tabbing out is fine!


  • Make sure you are at a good level range for the area you are in.
  • If you want to summon someone specific, and need to get their summoning sign to appear, try to run away and back to the spot a few times.
  • Replacing your sign is generally not a good idea, even if it is often suggested online. Only replace your sign if your coop partner absolutely couldn’t make it appear for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once you have connected to someone for the first time, during the rest of the session any summoning attempts will succeed immediately. Also, signs will appear much more rapidly. Clearly, it’s a good idea to play long sessions with the same people.

Ring-based PvP:

  • This applies to Forest defenders and Blades of the darkmoon.
  • Again, there is some “startup delay” here. Equip the ring and go do something else (e.g. farming). I thought when I first joined the Forest defenders that the ring wasn’t working, but I only kept it equipped for a short time. Once you get summoned for the first time, it will continue to happen every few minutes!

Other PvP:

  • Obviously, try not to overlevel.
  • Kill the guilty.

Hope this helps!
Taking all this into account, it usually doesn’t take us more than 10 minutes to get a multiplayer session going.

9 thoughts on “Dark Souls online and Amazon deal

  1. Another good tip for co-op with a buddy is to be in the same covenant. It increases the chances of being matched up on the P2P network.
    Way of White is probably the easiest one to join at the beginning of the game.

  2. Great guidelines, but I’m curious why one would need to have UPnP enabled if the appropriate ports are already forwarded/open?

  3. Thank you for pointing this out. More people have to know this. I’m still encountering people who randomly lag because they haven’t opened the ports or are using Upnp. If everyone would follow the instructions posted on the steam forums, multiplayer would work much better overall.

    And most important: Be polite, so others will behave the same. Even if you’re encountering an invader, bow, and he will do it too. It’s all about respect.

  4. Those are some great bullet points regarding the MP aspect of the game Durante.

    Now, if you allow me, i’d like to share my humble view regarding the connectivity aspects of the game and GFWL more specifically:

    1.) Port 3074 UDP is all you need for LIVE to be able to communicate succesfully. All the other ports Microsoft list on their KB articles are there for purposes unknown to me. Besides, most ISPs around the world tend to block inbound traffic to the same ports they like to list as necessary to be open (port 80 and 443 inbound? really Microsoft?) I’ve been running Wireshark extensible for the past 3-4 weeks during my DkS sessions and that’s where I’m getting this data from.

    2.) The game peer pool seems to maximize at 20 IPs (NOT excluding MS own LIVE servers). After that, no more clients will be added to the peer pool. I blame MS shitty service for that one, I guess it’s a cost thing :/

    3.) Like Durante said: DO NOT SPAM YOUR SUMMON SIGN! If your co-op partner can’t see your summon sign after some 10mins TOPS, have him quit the game (I mean quit, quiting to the menu won’t renew/refresh your peer list) and try again. Summon signs take a while to travel all the way thru the P2P network the game uses, the more time they are up, the better.

    All of this is from my personal experience running a network sniffer and doing co-op, it’s by no means how the game network code works or whatever.

    Sorry about any english mistakes.

    • Thanks for the additional information, particularly about the IP pool. That would explain some of the behaviour I’ve seen.

      Since you seem to have looked into this in detail, I have a question: do clients forward signs of other clients? That is, if both A and B have C in its pool, but not each other, will the sign be propagated A -> C -> B? I thought that if this were the case it would explain summoning failures (the summon message fails to back-propagate through the P2P network)

      • That’s a nice question, and i’m afraid I can’t answer that. But it’d only seem logical to assume the code works like that I guess. Like, your client keeps fowarding world events to all your peers, and the game probably won’t do a check if it’s redundant or not, since it’d just be a waste of time.

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