I've been playing Dark Souls 2 on XBox 360 for over a year now and have logged over 150 hours. I do not play online and I do not have XBox Gold. Every time I start Dark Souls 2 I see a message, "You do not have privileges to be in online mode" and then I play though in offline mode.
But, every now and then, I get to start in online mode. This weekend for example, I started the game and I was online. I could see all the messages, bloodstains and I was even invaded and participated in the PvP arenas.
I reset the game a few times throughout the day and each time I came back I was still online. But yesterday (Monday) and today, I was unable to go online or participate in the online features like invading or dueling in the brotherhood of blood arenas.
This has happened a few times over the last year and even happened in Dark Souls 1 once.
So does Dark Souls allow everyone to play online every now and then or is XBox 360 temporarily giving access to gold features for a weekend promotion or something? What is allowing me to participate in online mode when I clearly do not have access to online play?