Tips for a Dark Souls beginner?

#1 Posted by callsignneptune (27 posts) -

Hey guys, I've just started Dark Souls II and was wondering if any of you have any tips or hints for me? I played the first Dark Souls very briefly but got distracted by another game and never went back. I did really enjoy what I played though, so I went ahead and bought the second. Apart from that very brief introduction to the series I have no experience with the game, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

#2 Edited by Spoonman671 (4563 posts) -

If you're ever at a loss for which stat you should be upgrading, it is always safe to level Endurance up. No matter your playstyle, pretty much every character should have their endurance at 20. This raises your stamina, and you can't do anything without stamina, including cast spells. After 20, you stop getting significant increases in stamina, however.

I figure this is good advice for somebody who has never built a Dark Souls character and is nervous about leveling the "wrong" way. It's also important to remember that there isn't really a wrong way. All builds are viable.

#3 Posted by AlisterCat (5484 posts) -

There's already a couple of tips threads.

My advice would be don't get hit.

#4 Posted by Lukeweizer (2611 posts) -

PATIENCE. Can't stretch that enough. The game can go a lot smoother if you have great patience. Don't go rushing into areas, don't go rushing to get your souls back, don't get greedy when attacking enemies.

#5 Edited by callsignneptune (27 posts) -

@alistercat: Oh, I'm sorry. I did search but couldn't find anything

#6 Edited by mosespippy (4046 posts) -

The magics are overpowered. I can't count how many bosses I walk into with my melee build and my co-op partners down in under 30 seconds. I'mm hitting for slivers of damage and the other guys are just cutting through in three hits.

Chloranthy rings and Second/Third Dragons rings are great. Almost everybody uses them.

#7 Posted by RichardQuarisa (40 posts) -

If you ever get stuck, try going back to the hub area and look for another path to explore. Works wonders.

#8 Edited by MannyMAR (411 posts) -

My advice, always be shielding except when running away. Well I semi recommend that. In reality, you should look carefully before entering an area blindly and always maintain good situational awareness both in and out combat.

#9 Posted by RichardQuarisa (40 posts) -

Also, only trust your own experience. What I mean is, if someone says some Stat/item/strategy is bad/good, but you find the opposite to be true, ignore them. A good example of this is that a lot of people argue about the value of adaptability. Personally, I got mine well past 30, and thought it was totally worth it.

#10 Edited by Jaytow (693 posts) -

I'd play the first game before getting into the second but it's upto you. It's gonna take a while to find a playstyle that suites you so just keep dying and trying, that's the main thing. Every time you die, stop for a second and ask yourself why you've died and try not to make the same mistake again. Pay close attenton to each enemies attack patterns as it will allow you to punish them.

#11 Posted by callsignneptune (27 posts) -

These are all fantastic guys, thanks for much for the help! I'm already getting my ass handed to me so will be definitely keeping all your advice in mind. I think my main thing is learning that dying is okay, not letting it get to me and not rushing through. I absolutely love the game so don't want to get frustrated.

#12 Posted by PerryVandell (2103 posts) -

Try to have a particular build in mind when deciding which stats to level up. Do you want a hulking brute who swings a giant club with reckless abandon? Pump points into strength, endurance, and vitality. Do you want a quick katana-wielding ninja? Dexterity is your best bet. Imagine the character you want to play as, and check out the kind of equipment you want to wear. Not all weapons and armor follow the same rules, but generally, heavy blunt stuff requires strength, light sharp weapons require dexterity, though both can be enchanted so they buff with your magic/faith stats (that's for if you're a magician who wants a decent weapon). Lances will be dexterity-based, but heavy lances are a mix of strength and dexterity.

If you're confused about stats and soft/hard caps look them up on the Dark Souls wikia page For example, you get dramatic boosts in health and stamina until you hit 20 in endurance and vigor. Past 20, which is the soft cap, health and stamina go up but as much. Past 40, the hard cap, the stat increases are too low to warrant pouring more points into. This isn't the same for all stats, so don't feel guilty about looking them up online. I mean, you can tell when there's a cap if you note how much your stats increase per level, but I can't imagine many people doing that.

As for battle technique, be conservative. If there's a sizable chunk of your health bar missing, do yourself a favor and hold back on attacking a boss or tough enemy until you heal. Unless you can kill that enemy in one or two shots, chances are you'll get hit and quite possibly die. Sometimes stupid chances will pay off, but more often than not, Dark Souls will punish you for taking them. Also, don't horde souls. If you have a large number (tens of thousands) ask yourself if that's something you're willing to part with. If you can level up multiple times, do yourself a favor and head back to Majula before taking on that boss/new area. It might take longer, but you'll be better prepared to face the challenges that lie in wait — with the added benefit of fewer souls to lose.

I could go on and on, but there are already guides out there detailing what you need to get yourself started. Otherwise, take a deep breath, be patient and don't fight with your back facing an area you haven't cleared of enemies yet. Good hunting.

#13 Posted by TobbRobb (4581 posts) -

Remember that blocking stops your stamina from regaining. You want to keep the shield down whenever you feel safe, and block whenever you have full stamin/know you are gonna get hit. Always, ALWAYS keep a sliver of stamina left in your bar after an attack combo, so that you can roll or block a a hit. That delay when you run out of stamina is lethal.

Fight enemies one at a time whenever you can, and in the many instances where you have to fight several ones at the same time, make sure to move in a way that keeps them all on screen so no one hits you from off-screen.

Trust your intuition, this game has hell of traps.

#14 Posted by Zevvion (1830 posts) -

If you're ever at a loss for which stat you should be upgrading, it is always safe to level Endurance up. No matter your playstyle, pretty much every character should have their endurance at 20. This raises your stamina, and you can't do anything without stamina, including cast spells. After 20, you stop getting significant increases in stamina, however.

I figure this is good advice for somebody who has never built a Dark Souls character and is nervous about leveling the "wrong" way. It's also important to remember that there isn't really a wrong way. All builds are viable.

Don't agree with this at all. Endurance is one of the more useless stats in DSII. It barely raises stamina. You're much better off equipping Third Dragon Ring. That makes more of a difference than having END at 20. On most of my characters, raising Endurance barely made a difference. I haven't leveled it on most of my characters and don't miss it.

Not saying it is a terrible investment. I do have it at 20 on the character I'm using right now. But it's not a necessity nor a priority.

#15 Edited by CreepingDeath0 (176 posts) -

@zevvion Yeah I kind of agree with you. At Amana Shrine at the minute with a SL120 character. Endurance is about the only thing I havent put points in. It's sitting at 7, I've 94 stamina and it lets me swing my mace 5 times. More than enough for most situations.

#16 Edited by JackSukeru (5906 posts) -

Every enemy is the most vunerable after it has swung an attack at you, multiple swings or a big one usually leaves them vunerable longer. If you're fighting a boss, get hit and have low health try to not lose your cool and rush to heal. Instead, wait for a big attack or combo, dodge it and you'll likely have enough time to heal so long as you don't wait too long.

Save a bit of stamina for dodging unless you're confident that you'll kill an enemy with a final attack. For bosses, don't get greedy, learn how many times you can swing your weapon without fully running out of stamina and when you DO get greedy and take a hit because of it, well, it happens, learn from it.

Melee enemies will generally only swing at you when they are in range and swinging their weapon will sort of lock them in place so that they can't move as much while in their attack animation(s). Use this to your advantage and tease out attacks by moving in close and then moving out of range. Let them swing in the air and move in and attack when they are the most vunerable.

#17 Posted by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

The magics are overpowered. I can't count how many bosses I walk into with my melee build and my co-op partners down in under 30 seconds. I'mm hitting for slivers of damage and the other guys are just cutting through in three hits.

Yeah, I tend to melee bosses on my build when I take them on (dual Caestus), but when I go around co-oping, I bust out the Great Lightning Spear and Flame Swath and devastate bosses. Took me like 25 hours to realize Pyromancy worked with Faith (I used Pyromancy all the time in DS1) and that made me really happy.

Anyway, I would say, any time you come to a doorway and you don't know what's on the other side? Stop close enough to see through it and look. Get slightly in the doorway and use the camera to look to the left and right outside of it. FROM loves to put dudes on the other sides of things like that (including pillars and such).

If you ever want an "easy" way to turn human and don't want to use an Effigy, use a White Sign Soapstone to put down a summoning sign to get summoned into co-op (it might take a while or be instant, but like all other things in the game, patience is key). If you run the time limit or kill a boss, you'll get a free refill on everything (gear durability, Estus Flasks, spells) and turn human. It's also a great way to get a ton of souls.

#18 Posted by callsignneptune (27 posts) -

Wow, these are amazing. Thanks so much for all of your help. As I said before, I'll definitely be keeping all of these in mind when I play again. One more question would be is there a best place to start in terms of armour and weapons? Should I save up and buy them from the vendor in Majula or wait to pick things up as I go along? Thanks again!

#19 Posted by JackSukeru (5906 posts) -

@capum15: I'd actually recommend the Small White Soapstone over the regular one if you just want to become human, it runs out so quickly that in large areas that have hard bosses it's a safer bet. You also get a Smooth & Silky Stone as a reward, which can be traded for some goodies.

The only downside I see with dropping a sign every so often while going through an area is that if you frequently fail and die you run the risk of running low on weapon durability. I've started doing a lot of co-op in the middle of my runs and durability has become more of a problem while it wasn't really before. Of course, if you continually succeed and you or the host don't die there's no problem.

#20 Posted by pinner458 (610 posts) -

Just don't get worn down if you keep failing, victory will be achieved eventually.

#21 Edited by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@jacksukeru: I totally forgot about the Small soapstone. I never use it so that's probably why. Durability is never a problem for me simply because I always put down my sign near a Bonfire (only two or three times near a boss gate), so if we fail I just sit down for a second and then replace my sign. But yeah, if you're not near a bonfire and you fail a few times I could see durability being an issue.

@callsignneptune: If you have the spare souls, you could buy weapons from various merchants. But if you feel that's a waste, or would rather spend souls on other stuff, then you should find enough dropping from mobs or in chests to suit your needs. It's really up to you, as I find souls aren't terribly hard to come by when alone and are really easy to get if you do end up co-oping.

#22 Edited by DrZing (72 posts) -

Try to stay human as much of the time as possible. Sometimes it can be hard to tell you're not if you're wearing full armor, so you can easily check in the Player Info menu which shows your face. Use white soapstones as others have said and save effigies as a last resort. Coop in this game is so easy and the rewards are amazing, and there's no substantial risk to dying when you've been summoned. Buy and use the Red Eye Ring from Shalquoir and your coop partner(s) will love you for it, especially for boss fights. Note that sometime a small white soapstone will not let you enter the boss area so use the large one near bosses.

#23 Posted by Zevvion (1830 posts) -

@callsignneptune: Depends what build you have in mind. The best weapons generally can't be obtained from vendors, but there are some exceptions. Just experiment, I'd say. If you like greatswords, then leveling one is rarely a bad idea. Yeah, you'll find a better sword eventually, but I've finished the entire game with a Bastard Sword (one of the first greatswords you'll obtain) and it does more than enough damage at +10 to get through the game properly.

You can upgrade multiple weapons. Bell Keeper covenant is key to obtaining more Titanite Chunks. So investing in one weapon doesn't have to be a bad idea. Just make sure it fits your playing style and you're not doing it because 'you don't have anything else to upgrade'.

#24 Posted by callsignneptune (27 posts) -

@zevvion: That's perfect. Thank you!


I've started to understand the game a bit more and actually made it to the second bonfire in an area. I know that's no big feat but for me the sense of accomplishment was amazing haha. Thanks again everyone for all of your replies, you've really helped me get to grips with the game and I really appreciate it :D

#25 Posted by BBAlpert (1379 posts) -

One of my biggest concerns about DS2 was the finite enemy spawns, but it turns out it's not as big of a problem as I had thought. Unless I'm completely misunderstanding the mechanics of the game (and if I am, somebody please let me know), you can always get a bunch of souls relatively easily by helping other players fight bosses you've already beaten.

I had hit a wall at one point in the game, where I'd burned through the finite enemy spawns in an area but died enough to lose most of their souls. After helping out with maybe 2 or 3 boss fights, I had more than enough souls to get me over that hump and continue making progress.

#26 Posted by Melvargh (489 posts) -

Don't read too many tips.

Relish the time that you know nothing. I miss the early days of learning the systems and exploring for the first time. I'll never have the experience of playing through Dark Souls for the first time again, so don't read too many tips!

#27 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@zevvion: Bastard sword is great. The range isn't as far as I'd personally like, but it does a magnificent job of staggering most enemies and has a vaguely similar moveset to DS1's claymore, and a neat 1H R2.

#28 Edited by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@bbalpert: I've put in 47 hours and have spent maybe 25 just doing that. You get tons and tons of souls for being summoned, and even if you don't kill the boss you still keep the souls you've gotten on the way. I love exploring an area, then setting my sign down near a bonfire (so if we fail, I can reload spells/durability/flasks instantly) and doing that for an hour or two.

It's also fun to just help people, and I've found secret things (doors, things that can be broken, etc) by either the host having them done, or another phantom showing us, and I've even been able to show a few people some hidden or out of the way bonfires.

#29 Posted by The_Ruiner (1019 posts) -

Make a practice character first. Try stuff out, don't be afraid to fuck up. Go everywhere and try everything and when you feel like you're comfortable, make a new character that's more focused.

But, the best advice I can give is don't let anyone tell you what the "right" or "wrong" way to play is. Don't video game machismo stop you from trying everything you can. Play how you want. However you have the most fun. The real strength of this game how many different ways there are to succeed and how much freedom you have. If you want to do a pure solo run? Great. You want to make it a mostly co op thing? Great. You want to go all armored and big weapons? great. You want to just you bows and snipe everything? Great. Just do you son.

#30 Posted by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@the_ruiner: With the Soul Vessels you don't even need to re-roll a character. Well, unless you want specific starting stats or weapons, but I don't really pay much attention to those. I went with Explorer for more items and probably will again whenever I make a new guy.

#31 Posted by SecondPersonShooter (616 posts) -

The best advice I can give you is don't be afraid to use a wiki or external resources. It's easy to say you're not going to use a guide, but honestly it's a little spirit crushing as a beginner and demotivates you to play it. Using a Wiki to help is not cheating, it's kind of what the game is designed around. There is still far too much to see in your first playthrough for you to spoil it all for yourself.

I usually am very anti-guide, but with Dark Souls it's just part of the experience.

#32 Edited by The_Ruiner (1019 posts) -

@capum15 said:

@the_ruiner: With the Soul Vessels you don't even need to re-roll a character. Well, unless you want specific starting stats or weapons, but I don't really pay much attention to those. I went with Explorer for more items and probably will again whenever I make a new guy.

Yeah true. But it's also super easy to just start over and blow through the early content. I'm not just talking about point distribution. Spending souls on weapons and upgrades also. Sometimes just starting over is refreshing.

#33 Posted by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@capum15 said:

@the_ruiner: With the Soul Vessels you don't even need to re-roll a character. Well, unless you want specific starting stats or weapons, but I don't really pay much attention to those. I went with Explorer for more items and probably will again whenever I make a new guy.

Yeah true. But it's also super easy to just start over and blow through the early content. I'm not just talking about point distribution. Spending souls on weapons and upgrades also. Sometimes just starting over is refreshing.

Yeah, I can see that. Nice little reset for all the loot and buy-able but limited stuff too, without making everything harder.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.