Bandai Namco has revealed a patch going live for Dark Souls II on February 5th that brings a number of gameplay alterations.
It's all part of the preparation for the release of Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin in April.
Chief amongst the changes is a method through which players can address the Soul Memory matchmaking system. Soul memory matches players online according to the total number of souls they have accrued in the game and not the level of their character. Thus, those who play lots of PvP over time become locked out from facing similarly levelled characters who have not played as much online.
However, a new item – the Agape Ring – absorbs souls won via PvP kills, preventing them from being added to a user's overall soul level.
Hard to find Twinkling Titanite will now be a possible reward for victory in PvP when playing as a Bell Keeper, which will likely lead to a surge of activity in the two Belfrey areas of the game.
Blue Sentinels will also level up when vanquishing dark phantoms after a summon while Brotherhood of Blood members will get an additional level point when vanquishing a summoned Blue Phantom.
The bonfire screen will now highlight the top three areas where players are most likely to find PvP or co-op connections as well as improve online connections in general.
Human Effigy effects can now also be cancelled at bonfires. Also coming in the update is a new character – The Scholar of the Lost Sin itself.
Other changes of note include the fact that joining the Covenant of Champions now stops the game's limited enemy respawn count. The full list of changes can be found here.
Elements of Scholar of the First Sin will be patched into the game for free upon its release on April 3rd. However, certain features – such as the enhanced graphics – will only be available to those who buy the PS4 or Xbox One versions, or pay (an as of yet unspecified amount) to upgrade to the new release on PC.