After recruiting Yoel at the Undead Settlement and sending him to Firelink Shrine, the player can accept his offer to draw the Ashen One's true strength out. Accepting this offer allows the player to level up at total of five times at no soul cost. Accepting a level from Yoel will grant the player with a Dark Sigil each time, which in turn affects the rate of Hollowing. Each subsequent level-up with Yoel will require a higher level of Hollowing before it can be accessed, meaning that the player must die a few times between each session.
When the player has at least one Dark Sigil in their inventory, their Hollowing will increase with each death, by a multiple of the number of Dark Sigils carried. Once Hollowing reaches 15, the player will take on the appearance of a Hollow, just as in previous games, though the effect is purely cosmetic.
There are two different "cures" for Hollowing, one temporary and one permanent:
The process of reversing Hollowing will remove all levels of Hollowing from the player. However, because they still possess Dark Sigils, they will resume Hollowing with each subsequent death, making the effect temporary. Thus, this "cure" is only cosmetic in nature, as well as losing access to the bonus Luck of Hollow-infused weapons.
- Consumption of a Purging Stone will immediately remove all Hollowing. Purging Stones may be found as loot across Lothric, or purchased from Yuria of Londor for 4,500 souls.
- Praying at either the Statue of Velka or the Purging Monument will present the option of "Request Dissolution," which will also remove all current levels of Hollowing at a cost of the player's Soul Level times 100. This option is cheaper than purchasing a Purging Stone so long as the player is below Soul Level 45.
Healing the Dark SigilEdit
The more permanent option for curing Hollowing is to obtain the Fire Keeper Soul and give it to the Fire Keeper. The player must then pay a soul cost equal to the amount of souls they would pay to level up from their current level, by a number of levels equal to the amount of Dark Sigils held. Thus, if the player is high level and has accepted the additional Dark Sigils from Anri of Astora's wedding, the price for healing the Dark Sigil can be extremely high.
Healing the Dark Sigil is permanent, as it will remove all held Dark Sigils and reset Hollowing to zero. Because of this, it will break the alliance with Yuria of Londor, as the Dark Sigils are required for obtaining the Usurpation of Fire ending.
- Equipping the Untrue Dark Ring will give the player the appearance of a human, regardless of Hollowing level, allowing the player to appear human and also retain access to the bonus Luck of Hollow-infused weapons. However, this comes at the cost of using up one of the player's four precious ring slots.
- When entering a new NG+ cycle, all held Dark Sigils are removed, but Hollowing level is retained.