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. My only choice was to attempt to fight the phantom, only to die at the hand of a skilled PVP player.
Invasions are terrifying 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 and accept your fate. Don’t ruin other people’s enjoyment of the game because you aren’t winning.
The top ways to avoid invasions are not to play co-op, play offline, avoid being embered, shut your Wi-Fi off, or shut your game off.
Before explaining the best ways, I’ll explain some of the basic mechanics of invasions.
Different types of invaders
The first thing you must 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 much you can do. The only option is to die by the invader or some other hazard.
The good news is that you can collect your souls afterward. The bad news is that NPCs can invade you whenever you are embered. The most vulnerable time for you is entering a new world immediately after killing a boss.
You could jump off a cliff right after the boss fights to prevent this. However, there isn’t much of a point to doing this because killing those NPCs 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 I have more fun with the single-player experience.
One thing I can’t deny about PVE 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 easily blowing through the game.
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 annoy 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 long and complicated way to avoid high-level invasions somewhat, but they require some long and tiresome methods. They require 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 ensuring high levels can’t come in and destroy you. For most players, that huge amount of effort 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 for 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. 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 while unembered. Consuming an ember 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 a game changers, 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 being unable to summon friendly phantoms.
Shut your WiFi off
This was my first method, which gave me the most success. If you have a wired connection, pull the cord until the invader returns home. A wireless user could also put his PC on airplane mode.
I only 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 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 hate invasions that much, just pull the plug the second you see that message. The invader might be one of the NPCs I listed above; in that case, the WiFi pull will do nothing.
When I did this on my first playthrough, I found it a better solution than playing offline. If I chose, I could still see player messages and bloodstains and summon friendly phantoms.
Shut the game off
The go-to option for console users is just to 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 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 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 penalty, 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 have one.
For the people who have had this ban multiple times, another Way of White Circle 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 tempting to pull the cord as I did. Once you get better at the game, you’ll realize that PVP is a fun option many players enjoy.
You may 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 embers, you won’t have to worry about getting invaded by NPC or PVP players alike.