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‘Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel’ player-versus-player is a duel to the death

Both the Souls series and Bloodborne feature player-versus-player battles through the game’s “invasion” system, but it appears that Dark Souls III‘s first expansion, Ashes of Ariandel,  will be taking a slightly more structured approach for team-based fights.

The Ashes of Ariandel player-versus-player trailer emphasizes the duels that invaders have been setting up themselves for years, with both participants bowing as a master of ceremonies sets the mood. As always, you’re also free — depending on how you were summoned — to betray the player you’re helping and literally stab them in the back, preferably after you’ve defeated a Stray Demon.

But a new competitive play-focused arena, the “Immortal Competition,” is the real star of the show here. Two groups of three players creep forward, staring each other down before they charge in for an attack. The area is desolate, with few obstacles aside from metal pipes and craggy rock around the perimeter.

As you might expect, these battles can turn into absolute throwdowns, with one player utilizing the Nameless King’s powerful Dragonslayer Swordspear. Another character appears to be the Nameless King himself — intimidation is truly half the battle when you’re fighting against a real person.

The decision to implement the Immortal Competition at all appears to be an about-face for developer FromSoftware’s director Hitetaka Miyazaki, who had said during last year’s E3 that there wouldn’t be a specific arena for duels in Dark Souls III. It’s possible, however, that he was only referring to the base game.

Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel is out for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on October 25, and it comes with much more than just competitive enhancements. New gorgeous, snowy areas, aggressive enemies, and grotesque bosses await you, assuming you can actually make progress without getting killed by another player first.

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