Dark Souls III was the first souls game I played. The first time I got the message that I was being invaded, I had no clue what I was doing. The only choice I had was to attempt to fight the phantom, only to die at the hand of a skilled PVP player.
Invasions are a terrifying thing to a new player, but not everyone finds them enjoyable. For my first playthrough, I found several methods of banishing hostile phantoms without risking losing my souls.
Before I give you the best methods, I do not condone cowardice or being a sore loser. If you are losing the fight, be a good sport about it and accept your fate. Don’t ruin other people’s enjoyment of the game just because you aren’t winning.
On that note, here are the top ways to avoid an invasion:
- Don’t play co-op
- Play offline
- Avoid being embered
- Shut your WiFi off
- Shut your game off
Before explaining the best ways, I’ll explain some of the basic mechanics about invasions.
Different types of invaders
The first thing you need to know about invaders is that not every invading phantom is another player. There are 12 NPC invaders in the game that all spawn at different points in the world:
- Holy Knight Hodrick
- Yellowfinger Heysel
- Longfinger Kirk
- Alva, Seeker of the Spurned
- Knight Slayer Tsorig
- Creighton the Wanderer
- Daughter of Crystal Kriemhild
- Londor Pale Shade
- Livid Pyromancer Dunnel
- Moaning Knight
- Silver Knight Ledo
- Seeker of the Spurned
If you see any of these names pop up in the invasion notification, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. The only option you have is to die by either by the invader or by some other hazard.
The good news is that you can collect your souls afterward. The bad news is that you can get invaded by NPC’s any time you are embered. The most vulnerable time for you is entering a new world immediately after killing a boss.
To prevent this, you could always jump off a cliff right after the boss fight. There really isn’t much of a point to doing this though, because killing those NPC’s is part of the game. You won’t experience everything Dark Souls III has to offer by avoiding them.
Why do you get invaded?
Dark Souls has always been mainly about the PVE experience. Many players argue that the PVP is equally important, but personally I have more fun with the single player experience.
There is one thing I can’t deny about PVE, and that is that summoning a friendly phantom makes the game immensely easier. With just one extra phantom, you can easily annihilate any enemy and boss in the game way easier than on a solo run.
For each friendly phantom you summon, there is a greater chance of a hostile phantom invading your world. This acts as a check and balance to prevent players from blowing through the game with ease.
This is bad news for the co-op lovers out there. If you summon a friendly, just know you are much more likely to be invaded than on solo. You can only be invaded while embered, but unfortunately an ember is required to play co-op.
These 3 methods are the ones that you should always try first. They always work if used correctly, and are much better options than the last 2 methods that are possible.
Don’t play co-op
This may be annoying to some players, but it’s unfortunately the case. You can get invaded at any time during co-op, and are more likely to be invaded.
There is a really long and complicated way to somewhat avoid high level invasions, but they require some long and tiresome methods. They require things such as leveling your character to a high Soul Level without leveling your weapons, or vice-versa.
Doing one of these allows you to co-op while making sure high levels can’t come in and destroy you. In the case of most players, that huge amount of effort really isn’t worth it. Take on the invader with your buddy and have some fun with it.
Playing the game offline is the ultimate solution for not getting invaded. Of course NPC invaders can still come, but at least you won’t have to worry about “noobslayer666” coming in and backstabbing you to death.
The price you pay with playing offline is no co-op and no player messages. Messages left on the ground have always been an icon of the souls series, and offline mode may make you miss out on some important secrets and items.
Some people argue that new players should always play offline for their first playthrough, as bloodstains and messages can ruin the fun of exploration. For me personally, I think they are part of the reason that Dark Souls is such a fun series.
There are several ways to play Dark Souls 3 offline:
- Start the game with WiFi off and reconnect when you load your save.
- Launch Steam in offline mode (PC only)
- Disconnect from PSN or Xbox Live
- Play with your internet off
In my opinion, you should just play in online mode and deal with the invaders. You might actually start to enjoy them when you get the hang of PVP.
Avoid being embered
This one should be a given, as you can’t attract any online phantoms whatsoever while unembered. When you consume an ember, it brings you into “Host of Embers” mode, which allows summoning and invasions.
You always become embered after a boss fight, so you’ll have to die to remove that. Other than that, you don’t ever have to consume any. You will miss out on a 40% health increase and increased item drop rate, but that’s the price you’ll pay for avoiding invaders.
Except for co-op, the only time I ever used an ember in this game was to fight the Nameless King, and even that was a bit overkill. Embers aren’t really a game changer by any means, so you won’t miss out on a lot by not using them.
These next two methods are frowned upon by the Dark Souls community. While they do work, these ways greatly annoy other players. In some cases, they can result in your DS3 character not being able to summon friendly phantoms.
Shut your WiFi off
This was the first method I ever used, and gave me the most success. If you have a wired connection, simply pull the cord until the invader is returned home. A wireless user could also put his PC on airplane mode.
The only reason did this because I didn’t understand the ember mechanic or know any better. Had I known that I would spoil the fun of others, I would have fought them and taken the beating.
I do have to say one thing: never do this when attempting to fight them, or you’re a coward. There’s nothing that PVP players hate more than players disconnecting when they are losing a battle.
If you really hate invasions that much, just pull the plug the second you see that message. The invader might be one of the NPC’s I listed above, and in that case the WiFi pull will do nothing.
When I did this on my first playthrough, I found it to be a better solution than playing offline. I could still see player messages and bloodstains, and could still summon friendy phantoms if I chose.
Shut the game off
The go-to option for console users is to just close the game entirely. This is quite annoying though, as you’ll have to boot up the game again. On top of this, it could mess up the game and cause you to lose a little bit of progress that wasn’t saved.
This method and the last one still aren’t really recommended, as you really should be sticking to the legitimate methods of avoiding invaders in the first place.
A word of warning to those who decide to use the previous 2 methods: there is a penalty for doing these too many times.
The minds behind the souls games thought it would be fitting to give force-closers an ironic punishment: you can get invaded, but can’t summon a friendly player. I am unaware if WiFi disconnections give the pentalty, but it never happened to me in the 2 or 3 times I pulled the plug.
In case you disconnect one too many times, there is a way to reverse the co-op ban. You can reverse it by using the Way of White Circlet. Every new player spawns with one of these items by default, so you do have one.
For the people who have had this ban multiple times, another Way of White Circlet will spawn next to your starting point in the Cemetery of Ash about 12 hours after being banned. This may not be a problem for people who aren’t planning on playing co-op, but even then disconnecting isn’t recommended.
As a new player, it’s really tempting to pull the cord like I did. Once you get better at the game, you’ll realize that PVP is a fun option that a lot of players enjoy.
You may really hate PVP, and that’s okay. The methods given here for avoiding invasions are the best ways to do so. With some basic understanding of how embers work, you won’t have to worry about getting invaded by NPC or PVP player alike.