Elden Ring co-op guide: with and without the Seamless Co-op mod

elden ring margit the fell omen
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Cooperative play has been a core feature of FromSoftware's games going all the way back to Demon's Souls, but it's never been easier than it is in Elden Ring. Even if you prefer to play the Souls games solo, you may have taken advantage of their "summoning" mechanic that lets you call on friendly NPCs to take down bosses. More fun, in my opinion, is summoning another human player to battle through an entire area together. Prior to Elden Ring, this required spending a precious resource, but FromSoftware did away with that limitation to make Elden Ring much more multiplayer friendly.

Co-op in Elden Ring is still limited compared to most other games, though—you can't just pull up your Steam friends list and invite someone into your session. If you die or defeat a boss, the co-op session is considered complete and your ally is whisked away back to their game world. While joining someone's world for co-op does net you rewards, the process doesn't carry over, meaning you'll still have to defeat the same boss or area yourself. But thanks to an Elden Ring mod called Seamless Co-op, it's possible to play through the entire game in co-op without these limitations. It's a totally new way to play Elden Ring in multiplayer: the whole game, beginning to end.

Elden Ring with the Seamless Co-op mod is now my favorite way to play, though it does have a few limitations and bugs as you'd expect from such an ambitious mod. Here's everything you need to know about Seamless Co-op vs. traditional Elden Ring multiplayer, including how to set up the mod for Elden Ring's expansion Shadow of the Erdtree.

Expansion mod support

Elden Ring co-op buddies

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Will the Seamless Co-op mod work in Shadow of the Erdtree?

The Elden Ring Seamless Co-op mod works in Shadow of the Erdtree—but it's currently in beta, so expect some bugs.

Modder LukeYui released the mod on Nexusmods and has a list of changes posted in the comments. In this early stage of the mod, most updates will be mandatory. LukeYui says the forced updates are to "keep everyone on the same version so bug fixes can be confirmed and problematic issues that might disrupt playthroughs are addressed urgently."

Seamless Co-op is an impressive and complex mod, and it could take some time before it's out of beta, but LukeYui says the newest version should work smoothly for most people.

Seamless Co-op

Two Tarnished chilling by the fire near Melina

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

How to use the Seamless Co-op mod

Seamless Co-op on Nexusmods

As of July 2024 Seamless Co-op is compatible with the latest update for Elden Ring, version 1.12.3.

Elden Ring wasn't designed with full beginning-to-end co-op in mind. Like FromSoft's earlier games, it was meant to be more of a drop-in, drop-out experience. But it's so close to being a great co-op experience that it's frustrating when you run into the game's limitations. You also can't enter caves and dungeons from the overworld with a summoned player present, for example, and annoyingly you can't ride Torrent, the spectral steed, when another player is in your game either.

Seamless Co-op changes all of these things. 

"Simply put, the mod allows you to play with friends throughout the entirety of the game with no restrictions," says the Nexusmods description. "With this, it's theoretically possible to play the game from the tutorial up to the final boss completely in one co-op session."

Seamless Co-op does away with multiplayer zone restrictions and fog walls, lets you ride Torrent, and more. If you die, you stay connected to the multiplayer session. You share world progress, so everything you do sticks.

Because of the way the mod enables these things, it changes some other aspects of the game. You'll no longer be able to be invaded by other players, so it's definitely an easier way to play, though the mod does introduce a few new challenges to mitigate this. Seamless Co-op makes Elden Ring less of a multiplayer game but more of a dedicated co-op game, but if you want to play through the whole thing with a partner, it's the right tool for the job.

Since the mod's release in May 2022, it's been updated several times to fix bugs and add additional features. There's a new item called the Rune Decanter, for example, that lets you trade runes for Rune Arcs, which you can't easily accrue using the mod (normally these are earned while summoning and helping other players defeat bosses). 

The mod isn't just for cooperative play, either; Seamless Co-op lets the host enable PvP and customize teams, so you can use it to have player-vs-player battles if you want.

How to install: 

  • Download the mod from the 'Download' tab or the GitHub mirror
  • Extract the package you downloaded, and move the following files to your Elden Ring folder (usually in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ELDENRING\Game")
  • Edit "ersc_settings.ini" to your chosen co-op password
  • Launch the mod using "ersc_launcher.exe"

(Image credit: Fromsoftware)

Using the Seamless Co-op mod

You can launch Seamless Co-op by double-clicking the "ersc_launcher.exe" executable in your Elden Ring\Game install folder.

Once you start the game, it's not immediately obvious the version you're playing has any differences. The telltale clue is in your inventory, where you'll find several new items added by the mod. These are your gateway to seamless multiplayer.

  • Tiny Great Pot: Opens up your session for co-op players to join.
  • Effigy of Malenia: Searches for an active co-op session using your set password.
  • Separation Mist: Sends players home and ends the current co-op session.
  • Judicator's Rulebook: Enables/disables friendly fire and PvP.
  • Rune Decanter: Converts runes into Rune Arcs.

How buggy is the Seamless Co-op mod?

Buggier than the base game, but probably not as buggy as you'd expect.

In more than a dozen hours of playing the original Elden Ring campaign with the Seamless Co-op mod, I had one crash, which may not have even been the mod's fault. On a couple occasions, either my co-op companion or I got stuck on a black screen after a cutscene.

As the game host my experience was usually very smooth, but my friend ran into a few more issues. Sometimes his crafting menu was inaccessible for reasons we couldn't figure out, and sometimes our worlds would seemingly become slightly desynced, with enemies and our characters not appearing in exactly the same places. We'd also sometimes see one another ride by without Torrent actually being visible, so it looked like we were just floating in the air.

Thankfully these issues were always easily solved by ending the co-op session and restarting it, which only took about a minute. We never had any issue getting a session started, and for the most part the game just worked. So while some clear mod-related jank creeps in now and then, the mod is overall incredibly impressive, delivering a full end-to-end Elden Ring co-op experience without the vanilla game's compromises.

Seamless Co-op FAQs

Do you have to worry about getting banned? 

According to the mod creators, no. Here's why: 

"The mod prevents you from connecting the FromSoftware's matchmaking servers, and it uses save files different to the non-modded game. Easy Anti-Cheat is also not active when using this mod. There's no way to get banned using this mod unless you modify it with the intent of connecting to vanilla players."

The Seamless Co-op mod actually includes a separate executable you use to launch the game, so you don't really run any risk of connecting to the regular game servers.

How many players can play Seamless co-op together?

Up to 5 players!

Do enemies scale, or does this just make the game super easy?

Because you can divide enemy aggro, co-op play is always easier. But the Seamless co-op mod does attempt to compensate for this and scales enemies to be harder to kill as you add more players. It also introduces a difficulty mechanic where if one player dies they accrue "rot," limiting their stats, when they respawn. Rot keeps accruing with each death until you rest at a bonfire, preventing you from respawning over and over without penalty.

Is the mod still being updated? 

The most recent update was in July 2024. Seamless Co-op is compatible with the most recent version of Elden Ring, including its Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. The most recent version lets you scale the difficulty of enemies in the game.

What makes Elden Ring multiplayer different?

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

How Elden Ring multiplayer differs from most games

Moving on from the Seamless Co-op experience—if you're new to FromSoftware's multiplayer in general, you have a bit to learn about how Elden Ring works.

Typically you use an item to place your "summon sign" down on the ground, and that sign will show up for other players. If they interact with it, they can bring you into their game, where you'll stay until one of you dies or you defeat the boss of the area you're in.

Keep these limitations in mind:

  • You can't summon in an area where you've already defeated the boss (though you can still put your own sign down and help other players defeat it)
  • In the open world, you can't use your spectral steed while playing co-op
  • When you find the entrance to a dungeon you want to explore, you can't load into the new area; you'll have to end the multiplayer session and start it up again once you enter

Even if you're not sure about playing in multiplayer, I strongly encourage playing online, which is the default. This way you get to see messages from other players as well as their blood splatters, which give you a glimpse of how they died. That can be really helpful information, and it also just generally adds to the flavor of FromSoftware's games. Even when the messages are stupid.

To be clear, in Elden Ring, other players can't invade you just because you're "online." You'll only be invaded while you're actively in a co-op session with another player. This is part of what makes co-op exciting: you're much more powerful with a friend in your game, but that power comes with some risk, too.

Once you get past the confusing names on multiplayer items, it's not too hard to understand how it all works. Here are the basics:

  • Furlcalling Finger Remedy: Use this item to reveal the summon signs of other players, which will often be placed around sites of grace, in front of summoning pools, or near boss doors. Consumable, but easily crafted.
  • Tarnished's Furled Finger: Use this item to place your summoning sign on the ground. Other players will be able to see it and summon you to their game. Infinite uses.
  • Small Golden Effigy: Send your summon sign to multiple summoning pools, so that players can easily summon you. Think of this a bit like entering a dungeon queue in an MMO or flagging yourself as LFG. Infinite uses.
  • Finger Severer: Use this item to return to your own game if you've been summoned, or to dismiss another player you've summoned from your online session. Infinite uses.
  • Duelist's Furled Finger: Same as the Tarnished's Furled Finger, except for PvP. Places a red sign that allows you to duel another player if summoned. Infinite uses.
  • Festering Bloody Finger: Attempt to invade another player's game. (Note you'll only invade the worlds of players who have already summoned co-op companions). Infinite uses.

There are several other multiplayer items besides these, but they're the ones you'll using most commonly, whether you're out to co-op with friendly players or get into PvP scraps.

Starting multiplayer

How to play Elden Ring in normal co-op

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

If you're playing Elden Ring online but not utilizing the Seamless Co-op mod, you're able to jump into multiplayer at basically any time, either by summoning players into your game or being summoned into another's.

Doing either is simple, but keep in mind: in the open world, playing multiplayer means giving up access to your Spectral Steed. You also won't be able to enter dungeons and other separate areas. It's a bit of a pain, so it's often more practical to enter a dungeon before starting up a multiplayer session. If you find a particularly tough enemy out in the world, though, you can still try to summon some help!

Here's how to kick off a multiplayer session.

Survive the Lands Between with these Elden Ring guides

Elden Ring storyteller

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons: How to defeat them
Elden Ring Ranni quest: What to do
Elden Ring map fragments: Reveal the world

Use a multiplayer password to play co-op with friends

From the multiplayer menu you can set a multiplayer password, which will only show summon signs from other players using that same password. Set a unique password with your friends to make it much easier to party up.

Wait, what's a multiplayer group password?

Okay, FromSoftware made things pretty confusing with multiple password fields. The first field is what you use to ensure you'll only get matched up with your friends, while a group password is more like a clan system.

Setting a group password prioritizes online elements from other players using that password, including summon signs, white messages, their phantoms and bloodstains. You can set a group password with your friends if you want, but you can also use one adopted by thousands of other players, like YouTuber VaatiVidya's "SEEKERS" or the Elden Ring subreddit's "straydmn." 

Group passwords reward you with a small bonus: When one of the other players takes down a major boss, you get a temporary small buff to the number of runes you get for killing enemies.

Summon Signs

These things: 

Elden Ring co-op signs

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

To reveal Summon Signs left by other players in the Lands Between, you'll need to use the item Furlcalling Finger Remedy. This is a crafted item that uses Erdleaf Flowers that can be found on bushes throughout the game. Once used, you'll be able to see any Summon Signs left by other players. To make it, you'll have to buy the Crafting Kit from Merchant Kale at the Church of Elleh just after the Stranded Graveyard. If you've already passed it by, you can always fast travel there.

Pay attention to the colour of the Summoning Sign—gold signs are cooperative players, but red signs signify players looking to challenge you.

If you want to create your own Summon Sign to join another player's game to help, you need to use the Tarnished's Furled Finger item.

Summon Pools

These are located next to Martyr Effigies—creepy-looking statues with its arms outstretched. They are found in various places throughout the Lands Between and are generally located near bosses and dungeon entrances. These effigies signal the presence of a Summoning Pool, which you interact with to activate. Once you've activated a summoning pool, you can use the Small Golden Effigy item to send your own Summon Sign to the Pool. You can get this item at the first Martyr Effigy just outside the entrance to the Stranded Graveyard at the beginning of the game.

The benefit of Summoning Pools is that you can automatically send your summon sign to multiple nearby Pools at once, so you'll likely be summoned much more quickly than you would by placing a single sign with the Tarnished's Furled Finger. They also provide a concentrated place for you to summon other players.

To see the signs around a Summoning Pool and summon another player into your game, you'll still need to use a Furlcalling Finger Remedy.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).

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