Elden Ring multiplayer has a group system that makes it easier to find and connect with friends.
Director Hidetaka Miyazaki discussed the game's multiplayer in a recent interview with the Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated by Frontline Gaming Japan (opens in new tab)). We recently learned that Elden Ring multiplayer supports up to four players, and it seems that by registering a specific group ID, you and your friends can, well, group up and share information.
Staple multiplayer elements such as phantoms, bloodstains, and messages can all be assigned to a group. To create a group, you simply set a keyword, not unlike the password system used in the later Dark Souls games. However, Elden Ring groups seem to cut out the resetting, reloading, and other hoops that you sometimes had to jump through to get Dark Souls passwords to work. As long as the player who leaves a message or bloodstain is part of your group, their messages will be prioritized and highlighted in-game.
On the one hand, this means it'll be easier to find your buddy's soul sign, whether you're in front of a boss gate or in the middle of a random field. On the other hand, if you're all in the same group, your friends will definitely find your bloodstains and see all the stupid and embarrassing ways you die. Swings and roundabouts, really.
There's apparently no limit to the number of players that can join a specific group, so you can almost think of them as miniature guilds. Miyazaki says that groups were designed to help players connect with and support each other in the Lands Between, which is right in line with how guilds operate in most games – and in a cool narrative tie-in, it also reflects the camaraderie of the mutually outcast Tarnished. I can already picture a group of dedicated players going out of their way to leave helpful messages and summons all over the map, perhaps with dedicated Reddit, Discord, and social media posts inviting new or struggling players to join their group so that their tips are easy to see.
How long is Elden Ring? Miyazaki estimates it'll take around 30 hours if you do virtually no side-questing and keep exploration to a minimum. But who's gonna do that, honestly?