With the closed network test for Elden Ring ended, players are in possession of a pretty good idea of the way the game's multiplayer works. Those familiar with FromSoftware's previous titles that included multiplayer will have little difficulty figuring out Elden Ring's. It features these same system involving the summoning of phantoms for co-op and PvP, but includes a few differences.
Since Demon's Souls' unbalanced multiplayer in 2009, FromSoftware provides a comparatively unchanged multiplayer system for the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne. Generally speaking, it lets players ease the burden from the games' notorious difficulties by bringing in other players for help, while at the same time bringing some risk to counteract the benefit of another player. Across the board, summoning friendly players for co-op makes enemies more difficult, typically by just increasing their own health, especially that of bosses. In Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, restoring humanity to be able to summon a co-op partner also exposed the potential of invasion.
These systems all return in some form or another in Elden Ring, try not to work exactly the same way they did previously. There so far appears to be no humanity mechanic in Elden Ring, with invasions becoming a threat through either initiation of co-op, or by welcoming invaders. Elden Ring multiplayer supports four players in total, which can be any combination of friendly and enemy phantoms. There are a variety of items that, when used, let players participate in multiplayer. These were all provided to players for the closed network test, so it's unclear how they will be obtained within the full game once it's released.
How Co-op Works In Elden Ring