Bloodborne is a fast-paced brutal game that will always get you with its varying difficulty and nasty surprises that are hidden behind every corner. Roaming the city of Yharnam and its gothic surroundings is a grueling task especially when you are facing all these eldritch monstrosities alone but luckily for you, you can take up to two of your friends along the journey through this literally nightmarish hellscape.
Instead of the Dark Souls formula of putting down summon signs for online play, in Bloodborne you initiate the multiplayer aspect with the host ringing the Beckoning Bell and the guest ringing the Small Resonant Bell. Most levels and areas allow for these bells to be rung and multiplayer to begin with the exception of some places which are intended to be played alone, don’t worry these specific instances aren’t that difficult.
The multiplayer aspect is divided in two ways i.e. Co-op and/or PVP, we will discuss both below so read along.
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Multiplayer Required Items
The items that are needed to participate in multiplayer in Bloodborne are listed below and their actual details of how to use them will be mentioned later on.
Multiplayer – PVE or Co-Op
Before we delve into the way these items are required to begin any sort of multiplayer play you have to first know that these items will only be available once you have acquired 1 Insight. Insight is the other currency or a type of stat that can be seen below the Blood Echo counter on the top of the screen indicated by an eye icon.
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Insight is acquired by meeting NPCs and discovering bosses. You can get 1 Insight point just by seeing one of the bosses, and you’ll get 2 points if you beat them. You’ll also be able to earn Insight by consuming an item called Madman’s Knowledge. You can earn a greater amount of Insight by consuming Great One’s Wisdom. The first Insight that you will naturally get is either by encountering Cleric Beast or Father Gascoigne boss, one of the first bosses in the game depending on your progression.
As soon as you get the Insight you will be given the Beckoning Bell the next time you visit the Hunter’s Dream near the Plain Doll. This bell will consume 1 Insight and will essentially open your game up for other players to visit your world and help you out, this bell is for the host to ring and create the party. You can use it in any place where you want online help except for the few areas that are single-player only, this is indicated by a crossed-out Beckoning Bell sign underneath the stamina bar.
If you are or wanted to become a visitor then you will have to use the Small Resonant Bell. The Small Resonant Bell can be bought from the Messengers’ shop in Hunter’s Dream after you have acquired 1 Insight while playing the game. This too needs 1 Insight to use and will start searching for players that needs help.
The exact way it works is:
- You may ring a Beckoning Bell to become the host to a maximum of 2 “Guest” players who have rung their Small Resonant Bell.
- You can call in random players by not setting a password in the Network menu.
- You may determine a specific password of up to 8 alphanumerical characters to be matched with people using the same code.
- You must be standing near the summoner, meaning both the host and the visitor should be in the same location in their respective worlds for an effective match.
- The visitor will spawn at the exact position they left their world from, so try to be in a safe area rather than one where you will surround by enemies from whence spawned.
- Your health gets shortened by 30% when you are in someone’s world.
- Blood Vials and Bullets don’t refill when you return to your world.
- Up to three players can group up together online, with the objective being to defeat the boss in the area.
- All sessions will end if the host dies, but if a guest dies it will only end the session for that particular player.
- The “Silencing Blank” can be used by guests to retreat back to their own world, or the host can use it to send away any summoned guests.
- Matchmaking is done automatically, but passwords can be set to ensure the right players group together as needed.
Something to consider while Co-Oping is that certain oaths prevent coop play. Vilebloods will not summon Executioners and vice versa – at least the chance of being summoned will be very low. If you can’t summon your friend, check your oath runes. As far as I understand the hunter oath does not prevent any coop play. If a Vileblood, does summon an Executioner they will be summoned as an adversary and PvP will follow.
Multiplayer – PVP
The way Bloodborne and most From Software games’ audiences stay active even after years of release is through the PVP side. This allows players to invade others and make their life even more miserable than the game already excels at.
PVP takes place in predetermined areas, where the host’s boss also has to be alive. The player being invaded is the host, while the aggressor is the guest. The way it works is listed here:
- You can ring the Sinister Resonant Bell to become a hostile guest in someone else’s world or you may be summoned by a Chime Maiden.
- Up to two hostile guests can invade a host. The Chime Maiden will appear in the host’s world once they have rung the Beckoning Bell in certain areas of the game.
- PVP will end when the host or the guest is defeated.
- A PVP match is also started when a person of an opposing covenant is summoned as previously mentioned.
- A PVP session can also end if the host enters a boss room, or if the invading guest player uses a Silencing Blank to return to their own world.
- Hosts can not use the Silencing Blank to send away invaders.
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When a player rings a Sinister Resonant Bell in an area where the boss has already been defeated, no Chime Maiden will apparently be summoned into that player’s game, thereby reducing the chance to host a PVP match. Furthermore, Chime Maiden is automatically present in certain areas and will also cease to appear when the boss of that area is defeated, once again drastically reducing the chance to host PvP matches.
Rewards For Multiplayer
Online sessions will typically last until a boss is defeated by the co-op group, or until the host or invader is defeated in a PVP match or died at the hands of an enemy.
Regular Online Play rewards:
- Insight Points
- One for killing the host
- One for killing the invader
- One for killing summoned phantom
- Blood Echoes
- For killing Invader: 30% of the blood echoes it takes the invader to level up
- For killing Host: 10% of the blood echoes it takes the host to level up
Bloodborne has a rather weird and convoluted matchmaking process that is difficult for beginners to comprehend but it gets easier in just one or two tries. This type of system is From Software’s trademark so it’s something the community tolerates. To keep the multiplayer ongoing, just have a steady stream of Insight otherwise you will have to fight your battles alone till you get that single Insight to summon help.