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I have noticed while playing that sometimes there is a loud cracking noise and my character glows white, after which I get an additional Estus Flask. Why is this happening? Is it related to being near areas where there are bosses?

Example: I idled right before the entrance to the Gaping Dragon boss fight. During that time, I gained two Estus Flasks for a total of 12.

Another time I was fighting one of the knights in the Undead Burg church below the Bell Gargoyle area when this happened.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

From IGN:

If someone strengthens a bonfire, this will be transmitted to people "nearby" (in network terms) who are using the same bonfire, giving them an extra Estus Flask.

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