It goes without saying that Dark Souls 3 is one of the most challenging action titles made in recent memory. Timing weapon attacks, dodges, parries, and the usage of various items is key to survival. For some players, this difficulty curve can be extreme.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Underrated Weapons That Most Players Never Bother Using, Ranked

While the game doesn't have difficulty settings, it does allow for online play to make the game much easier through co-op or much harder thanks to PvP invaders. For any player that wants to experience the joys of summoning phantoms, they must have a Soapstone item and have internet access. That would be it for most games, but Dark Souls 3 has many more factors to consider. If players can't find a friend's summon sign, here are ten things to try.

Updated December 30th, 2020 by Josh Davison: Few games can claim the replayability and hardcore fanbase that FromSoftware and the Dark Souls franchise has. Dark Souls 3 has been out for well over four years, but players still frequently return to the game to face its challenges, memorable monsters, and hauntingly gorgeous world. Its New Game Plus system makes the game (relatively) easy to step back into and kick off a new adventure with your old character and gear. The slight increase in difficulty in each New Game Plus run-through means that each experience will be at least a little different. That said, it's never easy to go it alone in a Dark Souls game, and you are going to want the help of your friends. Let's dive back into the world of Dark Souls and think of five more solutions for when you can't get your friends to appear.

15 Cry And Rage

Dark Souls 2 Trailer

This list will kick off with what can be called the worst-case-scenarios of the situation. So, you keep getting killed by the environment or the local boss of Anor Londo, Irithyll Dungeon, Archdragon Peak, or The Ringed City. It's Dark Souls, it definitely happens. Worse yet, you can't summon your buddies to help you power through. It's okay to let it out, cry, rage, scream curses in languages both modern and long dead.

After that, cool down, maybe get a beverage, and get your head back into the game. This is Dark Souls after all; you're going to need a level head and focus.

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14 If All Else Fails, Find Help From Strangers

Dark Souls 3 Summon Signs

If you try everything else in this list but still have no luck, then scroll back up here and try this step. It's okay to accept help from strangers in Dark Souls. Most of them have likely been where you are and can help you in your hour of need. Griefing isn't unheard of when summoning allied phantoms, but it's not as common as one might fear.

Stranger phantoms can often be as helpful as the phantoms you know. Everyone struggles with Dark Souls at one time or another, so people are often willing to lend a helping hand to even the hosts they don't know.

13 If That Fails, Become The Conquering Hero

Dark Souls 3 Trailer

This is the absolute worst-case scenario and should only be tried if the prior step failed. Sometimes, you may just have to knuckle down and try to win the day on your own. No area or boss in Dark Souls 3 is completely unbeatable. Each has a pattern, a rhythm, and a weakness.

So, don't despair if you can't get any phantom to summon into your world. You have the power within you to take down even the likes of the Nameless King and Slave Knight Gael.

12 Check Your Internet Connection

Dark Souls Connection Error Occurred

Now, to move onto what isn't a worst-case scenario situation. You should probably check your internet connection if you can't get your buddies to summon, especially if you can usually get them into your world without issue. It could be a problem with your router, your modem, or your ISP.

Sometimes the solutions to our problems lie outside the game itself. This is an obvious suggestion for most gamers, but we all miss the obvious every once in a while.

11 Make Sure You're Online

Dark Souls 3 Offline Mode

We all want solitude every once in a while, so we choose the offline mode of Dark Souls 3. However, we can also sometimes forget that we are in offline mode when trying to summon our friends into our worlds to help us with the boss.

With that in mind, it doesn't hurt to check the menus and ensure that we haven't left ourselves in offline mode while trying to get some phantoms into our world.

10 Compare Character Levels & Gear

Dark Souls 3 Invasion

Assuming players are not using passwords to summon others, one of the most important considerations they must make is their character's overall power. This includes both the character's level and gear. Players that are a much higher level than their friends will be unable to summon them.

The same applies to gear as weapons with higher upgrade levels will also restrict a player's phantom summoning options. The range for player levels is around plus or minus 10 normally with some slight variation when not aligned with a Covenant. With a Covenant, this shifts towards either plus or minus 15 or 20 levels. To circumvent this issue, use a password.

9 Use A Password

https://www.vg247.com/2016/04/12/dark-souls-3-the-complete-guide-to-summoning-and-playing-co-op/
Via: VG247

Passwords are a new feature introduced in Dark Souls 3 that allows players to connect to the same world instance without filtering through other signs. To use a password, players must head to the options menu and look for the "Password Matching" option under the network settings tab.

As long as both players have the same password, their summoning sign should appear near-instantly while hiding other player's signs.

8 Set The 'Summon Sign Visibility' To Unrestricted

Dark Souls 3 Praise the Sun

If players still can't find each other while using passwords, it could be a simple setting in the options menu.

RELATED: 10 Great JRPGs Without Turn-Based Combat

Open up the options menu and head to the network tab. From there, a setting under "Password Matching" should read "Summon Sign Visibility." This should be set to "Unrestricted" so summoning signs are present. Both players must have this set to unrestricted for summoning to work.

7 Make Sure Both Players Are Embered

Dark Souls 3 Spell Cover

Summoning in Dark Souls requires players to be in a human/upgraded state. In Dark Souls 3, this state is having a player's Ember restored.

Slaying a boss or using an Ember consumable will restore a player's Embered status, granting increased health and the ability to interact with phantoms online. Both players must be Embered before any summoning sign will appear.

6 Replace The Summoning Sign

Dark Souls 3

One of the easiest fixes a player can do if a summoning sign doesn't appear is to simply replace it. To do so, first walk towards the summoning sign and interact with it.

Players can then remove the sign and should be able to place a new one. Place it down, rest at a bonfire, then leave the bonfire menu for the summoning sign to update.

5 Check For Invaders Joining

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA3XnpFAoew
Via: Mad Scotsman (YouTube)

Under certain circumstances, players might be getting invaded by another player while summoning a phantom. Players that see fog walls near the entrance and exit of the current zone are likely being invaded.

If that isn't enough evidence, players that are unable to rest at a bonfire are also about to have an unwelcome visitor.

4 Limit The Number Of Phantoms

https://www.vg247.com/2016/05/03/dark-souls-3-invader-trolls-hosts-hard-with-obscuring-ring/
Via: VG247

It could be the case that the lobby a player is trying to summon their friend into is full. World instances in Dark Souls 3 can only allow 6 players at any given moment, provided they use the Dried Finger item.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Fan Made Challenges That Make The Game Even Harder

However, this player limit doesn't allow for say 5 white phantoms. Players can have up to 3 white phantoms, a blue phantom, and 2 invaders in a match at a time. Having more than 3 white phantoms will prevent further summons. Focus on summoning friends first before adding other NPC or player phantoms into the instance.

3 Make Sure The Boss Isn't Dead

Dark Souls 3
Via: Dark Souls 3 Wiki - Fextralife

Many players forget that summoning friends for cooperative PvE activities requires the boss of said zone to still be alive. Summons are meant to assist the player in taking down the boss of the area, so if it is already dead the game will never show white phantom signs.

This does not apply to red phantom PvP signs, but players looking for jolly cooperation with their friends should make sure the boss of the zone isn't already dead.

2 Check For Softbans

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/7z500f/you_have_been_penalized_warning_help/
Via: u/xkoutax (Reddit)

When Dark Souls 3 detects that a player is using a hacked item or is cheating in any way, FromSoftware will issue a ban to that player called a "Softban." Softbans prevent players from playing with others that are not banned.

To check if a player has been Softbanned, simply load up the game up and it will display a message saying a Softban has been issued on the account. Removing a Softban can be done by either removing all cheated gear and waiting a week or using a Way of White Circlet. Way of White Circlets spawn after a player has been on a character for a total of 10 to 14 hours.

1 Restart The Game

Dark Souls 3 Cover Art

As with most issues related to software, a simple restart can fix the issue. Provided nothing else works, simply close out of Dark Souls 3 and launch the game again.

While it's rare that a player would need to resort to this, not every game is without issues. It is possible the game itself is bugged and just needs a restart.

NEXT: Dark Souls 3: 10 Crazy Pieces Of Cut Content

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