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Elden Ring: Things We Want To See In A PvP Arena Mode

FromSoftware has made a lot of successful games in the past, but few of them compare to the frenzy surrounding "Elden Ring." The critically acclaimed new action RPG set record sales at launch and its popularity continued to build momentum in the weeks that followed. The PC version of the game has received some backlash due to some technical issues, but the general reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

There are numerous reasons for the game's popularity, of course. The single-player campaign is everything fans could have hoped for and more, featuring challenging combat and a breathtaking open-world that's a joy to explore, even when players aren't actively engaging with the story. Even dying can be fun, particularly with so many creative enemies to send players back to a site of grace. It's obvious that's where most of FromSoft's attention went. 

The co-op mode is another story, however. Right now, invading another player's game can be a lot of fun, but many fans have pointed out that there are several features they'd like added or changed in PvP combat. With the discovery of a hidden area leading "Elden Ring" fans to expect the addition of a more robust PVP experience, it's time to take a look at some changes we'd love to see in FromSoftware's latest masterpiece.

A multiplayer arena

Multiplayer in Soulsborne games usually works like this: an invader can come into a player's world any time that player is utilizing co-op mode and certain other qualifications are met. The player and their comrades must then fight off the invader if they wish to be able to continue playing together. 

There are a few exceptions, however. "Dark Souls 2" had an arena called the Iron Keep Bridge and "Dark Souls 3" had one called the Hollow Arena. These areas allowed players to engage in timed multiplayer battles that were unique from the usual invasions and hone their skills by battling other players. They also gave players a space to battle without monsters or invaders wandering in and ruining the fun.

Players hoping to see such a feature in "Elden Ring" recently had their hopes raised. Game modder and explorer Lance McDonald shared a video on Twitter showcasing a hidden area that was blocked off from normal play. It appeared to be a massive coliseum. Judging by the size and design of the battlefield, McDonald concluded, "Elden Ring will probably get a multiplayer arena DLC some time in the future[.]" FromSoftware has neither confirmed nor denied the purpose of this arena, but that hasn't stopped fans from being excited over the prospect.

Better backstabs

There are a lot of new abilities that players can take advantage of in "Elden Ring," but there are a lot of old ones that have made their triumphant return as well. The backstab has been around in several of FromSoftware's games. It's a devastating blow that players can unleash on those foolish enough to show their back in combat. This made it so that characters had to be aware of their position relative to their opponent at all times and served to punish those who might turn to flee. Several people online have pointed out that the backstab in "Elden Ring" is a step backwards for the franchise however.

Reddit user Gabri2292 wrote a post pointing out several flaws in the PvP, but argued that the backstab was the worst of all. ""Dark Souls 1" backstabs were rightfully nerfed in "Dark Souls 2" and then refined to perfection in "Dark Soul 3." In "Elden Ring," ANY movement will make you miss the backstab, even if that movement is casting a spell while standing still." The Redditor also linked several videos showcasing their point, like one where multiple backstabs failed on someone who was casting a spell like the post described and another where an opponent who was parry spamming couldn't be backstabbed. Commenters both on the Reddit post and YouTube videos all agreed that this is a problem FromSoft needs to address.

Replace the Taunter's Tongue with a menu option

Player's who want the added challenge of invaders coming into their world don't always need to have an ally present. Past FromSoft games have allowed players to simply tick a box in the menu that allowed players to invade any time. "Elden Ring" has changed this formula up a bit. Players who want to allow invaders into their world without summoning an ally now need to find an item called the Taunter's Tongue. This item not only allows the player's world to be invaded without any Furled Finger cooperators present, but it also shortens the interval between windows of opportunity for invasion and enables up to two invaders at a time.

So, what's the problem? Well, the Taunter's Tongue is kind of a pain to get. Players have to defeat an invader NPC named Mad Tongue Alberich, who can be tricky to take down due to the Bleed status effects inflicted by his scythe. Also, several players have complained that the Tongue doesn't always work the way it's supposed to, even after going through all the work to get it. That's why many have called for the item to simply be replaced with a standard menu option like the one present in the "Dark Souls" series.

Add covenants

There are plenty of new features added in "Elden Ring" that were missing from earlier FromSoftware titles, but there are also a few that seem to have been left on the cutting room floor. One that a lot of fans seem to miss is the Covenants mechanic from "Dark Souls." In order to join a Covenant, players would make oaths to certain NPCs. Following those guidelines would reward players, while breaking them would enact penalties. Several of these Covenants also had effects on the multiplayer aspects of the game. For instance, the Darkwraith Covenant allowed players to purchase a consumable item called the Cracked Red Eye Orb and eventually earn the non-consumable Red Eye Orb. Both of these would then allow them to invade another player's world by force. The Forest Hunter, Path of the Dragon, Blade of the Dark Moon and Gravelord Servant Covenants all had various PvP bonuses that players could earn to enhance the experience.

"Elden Ring" doesn't have anything like this, and fans definitely miss it. Reddit user YellowLeg2 wrote a post stating, "covenants are my [favorite] feature in 'Dark Souls.' Not only was it original and fun, but also provided many roleplaying options. I loved that, and I was (and still am) very disappointed that no factions exist in "Elden Ring" whatsoever." There are already plenty of interesting NPCs in "Elden Ring," so maybe FromSoftware will look into adding something similar to Covenants in a future update.

Less overpowered weapons

One of the bigger problems a lot of fans have addressed about the PvP in "Elden Ring" is that a lot of the weapons that were designed for PvE are a bit overpowered for 1v1 multiplayer duels. Reddit user Odyzzy pointed out three weapons that they think are the worst offenders: the Moonveil Katana, the Sword of Truth and Night, and the Bloodhound Curved Sword. The post argues that if players "combine [the] insane amounts of damage certain weapons do, [how] easy it is to land these attacks, and how unpunishing and how cheap ... it is to just spam magic and weapon arts in this game... It's near impossible to do anything in PvP, especially as an invader."

Most of the replies to the post seemed to agree, though a few argued that "Elden Ring" is a PvE game first and that things like weapons shouldn't be modified just for the sake of the PvP meta. User Soggy-Pouch wrote, "This game is just clearly not designed with [PvP] balance in mind, and honestly I think that's fine. I don't want good and fun weapons to be nerfed because they're good in [PvP.]" 

Odyzzy then countered this point by arguing that it diminishes the game for everyone to use the same overpowered weapons and that people will care more about the PvP once they've thoroughly explored all the fun there is to be had in PvE. In any case, it's clear something needs to be done to balance combat for a true PVP arena mode.