There's no way to simply join a specific game in Dark Souls — it's all random matchmaking. The randomisation is part of the charm, but for fans still playing the game more than five years after its release, it's a little wonky. Fortunately, modders on the PC have come up with a pretty clever solution. Dark Souls can technically drop players into one of 15 different multiplayer "channels". By default, people are put into channel seven. People are grouped into the same channel to increase the chances of making a connection with someone, but it also means it's really hard to play with people you know.
Wanna meet up with a friend and fight through Blighttown together? Drop into channel three, and you'll significantly increase your chances at meeting up.
illusorywall was a little hesitant to release the mod, though. By design, the mod is meant to split the Dark Souls userbase.
"I feel like with the game's age that this would be acceptable," he wrote on reddit yesterday. "Most game communities would probably welcome a mod like this, especially since we're well beyond the game's prime lifespan, so easy matchmaking would be welcome. But then again, some people will be pissed if you do anything to harm the already-dwindling random matchmaking."
In a few months, the third Dark Souls game will be released, and Dark Souls 2 was technically released twice, thanks to Scholar of the First Sin. Since people tend to gravitate to what's "new", it makes sense Dark Souls' multiplayer population continues to fall. illusorywall's mod hopes to make the remaining fans happier.
It's technically already been possible to do direct matchmaking with a debug version of Dark Souls that leaked some years back, but it's complicated to use.
"I think people tend to forget that this game is turning 5 years old this year and has successors in the form of Dark Souls II, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls III," wrote another user, FunkyLobster. "It would be a shame to see random invasions happen even more infrequently than they already do, but at this point in the game's lifespan, I think we're fortunate we get as many spontaneous invasions as we do, and I think this tool may be helpful in terms of keeping the PvP scene alive with tournaments, fight clubs, and planned beforehand 1v1s being easier than ever. I really think you'd be doing more good than harm."
So far, the community seems to be embracing it.
It's not time to die yet, Dark Souls.