Leveling up: Strength vs. Dexterity

#1 Edited by Mikemcn (6988 posts) -

I'm 40 hours into the game, I have 22 Strength and 23 Dexterity. Leveling is getting expensive so I feel like I need to pick one attack skill and focus on it.

I'm not a huge fan of the Giant Swords (They're just silly and disproportionate to my character.), nor am I a huge fan of the spinning and quick stabbing of the sabers/scimitars/rapiers. My weapon of choice for the first 30 hours was the basic longsword, its still the one I want to use but other weapons I found were stronger and I ran out of upgrades for it. Now i'm switching between a lightning spear and the Iaito. I generally wear heavier armor (Using eastern set now) while keeping my rolling ability intact with havel's ring.

Which type of weapons stat should I focus on? I simply can't make up my mind. Are high Dex weapons trickier to use mechanically? Are High Str. Weapons not worth using if I like to be fairly light on my feet? Is there a higher level Longsword Equivalent or a particular upgrade branch on it that could make it more useful against tougher enemies?

#2 Edited by McGhee (6094 posts) -

The last weapon I used in Dark Souls was a +5 Lightning Zweihander. That thing will fuck anything up.

#3 Edited by Booshka (37 posts) -

You are on a leveling path considered "Qualtiy build" where you have high strength and dexterity, so the best weapons for you are weapons that scale equally with both skills. Longsword is one of those weapons. With your stats, you should be upgrading weapons to +10, then +15 if you have the ember and materials, Slabs are rare, so +14 for most weapons. Claymore, Halberd, Zweihander, Composite Bow and several others are excellent "quality" weapons because they have decent scaling with both STR and DEX. If you want to get the best gains for scaling quickly, level your STR to 27 then Dexterity to 30. Your 2 handed scaling will be boosted by STR and Dex scales equally either 1 hand or 2 hand.

If you really like that Longsword, stick with it and upgrade it to +15, it will do plenty of damage and is one of the most versatile weapons in the game. If you want something similar but with more oomph, the Claymore is one of the best Quality weapons in the game. The best thing about a Quality build is that you can experiment with nearly all weapons and if you upgrade them to +14/15 they will all do very consistent high damage.

#4 Posted by golguin (3912 posts) -

The Uchigatana scales with Dex and is one of the best PVP weapons in the game.

#5 Posted by Ares42 (2661 posts) -

The easy guide is: Strength if you're into blocking, Agi if you're into rolling.

However sticking to a mix build and longsword (or a stronger but slower sword if you want) is also completely viable. You gotta remember that just because a weapon has higher damage it doesn't necessarily mean you'll do better with it. The longsword has an excellent moveset that allows you to do a lot of things harder hitting weapons can't. If you want an "upgraded" longsword I believe the bastard sword and the claymore are pretty similar, but there will always be drawbacks to off-set the greater damage.

On a seperate note though, I'd say your problem isn't that your longsword isn't doing enough damage, but rather that you've (probably) spent too many levels upgrading other stats. Also, considering the weapons you're talking about I'm gonna assume that you're pretty much at the "worst" part of the game where most people meet the wall due to bad choices they made in the beginning and there's a few significant obstacles that stops you from breaching into the next part of the game where things start flowing again.

It may seem daunting, but if you feel stuck I would geniunely recommend starting over. Getting back to where you are will take you way less time than you'd think, and using the things you've learnt so far you'll be much better prepared for taking on the rest of the game.

#6 Posted by Fierrze (172 posts) -

Usually when i play DS i choose if my characters main weapon skill is STR or AGI, because it is usually wise to concentrate on one or another and then choose if i want to have supporting skill like INT or Faith.

Now that you have leveled both skills, may i introduce you Murakumo: http://darksouls.wikidot.com/murakumo

If you can get that thing equipped and level your DEX up to 40 (Because Mura scales on it.) you are gonna be wasting demons and invader fools in no time.

#7 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2561 posts) -

I love dex. Nothing wrong with strength though.

My favourite pve build is ~16 strength for early game, then everything into Endurance -> Dex -> Vitality in that order. (I ended the game with like 40 end, 40 dex, and howevermuch vit I could get)

ED: My favourite weapons, as I shouted at @rorie (sorry!) during his awesome streams are the Great Scythe and Uchigatana in that order. Both are Dex weapons with some of the highest DPS in the game.

#8 Edited by Giefcookie (600 posts) -

I usually only go up to 16ish STR so that I can use a variety of different shields, then pump up DEX. Great Scythe is my favourite weapon, katanas are cool too.

#9 Posted by TwoLines (2810 posts) -

My highest damage build was a samurai man with a Uchigatana. He fucked some shit up. It was a dex build, and almost entirely dex. He has no health, and only some stamina. However- he is not doing well in NG+ (because of the low VIT). My strength builds were pretty cool, but slow as FUCK. Most strength reliant weapons are really slow, so when you push the attack button, you're commited.

So you either go with the fast build, or the slow build, the dps will be mostly the same (well, it may vary depending on the weapon ofc). I like fast weapons- rapiers and katanas. But- that Black Knight Sword is also really neat, and probably one of my faves in the game.

@giefcookie: Shit, never tried the Scythe. Huh. *starts up Dark Souls

#10 Edited by Giefcookie (600 posts) -

@twolines said:

@giefcookie: Shit, never tried the Scythe. Huh. *starts up Dark Souls

I think a lot of people dismiss the Scythe and Halberd weapons after trying them out at a bonfire swinging at air, which exposes their biggest flaw, the slow recovery speed IF you dont hit anything. The move set, attack speed and range is amazing on the great scythe as long as you are hitting stuff. Also if you get the regular version to +14, the agility scaling is A.

#11 Edited by TobbRobb (4639 posts) -

The general idea is strength for heavy weapons, dex for light weapons, both for hybrids and none for elementals. Though that isn't always correct. Believe it or not, there are legit builds where you don't level any damage stats, just let the elemental strength cover the damage loss.

With your stats, I'd say level both about equally and get a +15 longsword, zwei, claymore or bastard sword. That'll be the most cost-effective since you've already invested a lot in both stats.

EDIT: I figured I'd go into some more detail. Mostly because I'm bored, feel free to read all this crap if you wanna.

Bigger weapons generally give more burst damage per hit and have better range to stay safe. On top of that they can have the ability to stun enemies out of animations or just keep them immobile. But they leave you very vulnerable if you miss or overextend your combo. These weapons are fit for a playstyle where you keep a safe distance until the boss/enemy makes a bad move and then you go in to punish it with a single hard hit. Some enemies you can also perpetually stunlock. Weapons like this mostly require decently high strength to use, but if it's elemental or has good base damage, you don't need to put any more points into that, get vitality or something instead.

Small weapons generally have crappy range, which puts you in a vulnerable position a lot of the time and they also have kind of bad damage. But in return, they are lighter so you can equip heavier armor, they have barely any recovery time so you can attack in a million more situations then with a bigger weapon AND they allow to get more hits in when the opportunity arises. Small weapons also scale better with elemental buffs or enchants since the flat damage bonus gets applied on more hits in a combo. The general idea is to stay close to the enemy with dodgerolls or blocks and just relentlessly poke them at every available window. Weapons like this have a low stat requirement to, but might need a little bit more dex. The stats to level could be str, dex, both or none depending on the weapon, but I think dex is more common. Especially since goldpine resin on a +15 with high stats will commonly do more damage than a plain lightning weapon.

Medium sized weapons are usually a mix between the too and have way more gimmicky ways to play, like: Hiding behind a shield with a spear forever and just poke, or the completely overpowered great scythe which is basically a heavy weapon with barely any drawbacks "no stun swould be the major one". This area is way too wide to be specific, but holds a lot of fun weapons. Halberds are really good for a lot of situations, since they give the range, damage and speed, but are punishing for misses. I think there are a lot of hybrid stat weapons in here as well, which is cool when you wanna level str/dex equally.

#12 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5444 posts) -

They're both viable for different reasons; I suppose Heavy weapons are slightly easier since you only have to land a few hits; due to Poise it's not too hard to land them anymore. Albeit the highest potential damage output is Darkmoon Blade + a fast weapon like Iaito/Washing Pole; sort of hilarious when you pull that out on an invader, not a great deal they can do about it.

#13 Posted by Ramone (2965 posts) -

You're 40 hours in? Whereabouts are you in the game?

I only mention this because I finished the game in about 35 hours first time through.

#14 Edited by sub_o (899 posts) -

My build is mainly dexterity, using either Uchigatana or Giant Scythe + Eagle Eye Shield.

It's fairly powerful build, and I've finished the games multiple times using that build.

#15 Posted by Ares42 (2661 posts) -

@ramone: Considering he's talking about changing out his longsword for the lightning spear he's probably at or close to anor londo (which also fits with him finding things getting harder). Took me about 30 hours to get to Anor Londo my first time, I assume you probably had experience from Demon's Souls ?

#16 Posted by Ramone (2965 posts) -

@ares42 said:

@ramone: Considering he's talking about changing out his longsword for the lightning spear he's probably at or close to anor londo (which also fits with him finding things getting harder). Took me about 30 hours to get to Anor Londo my first time, I assume you probably had experience from Demon's Souls ?

I'm not bragging or anything, I suck at Dark Souls. I just don't get how people can spend so much time on their first playthrough, maybe I just blasted through it instead of exploring.

#17 Edited by leftie68 (215 posts) -

If you do go strength build stick with the Black Knight Halberd and eventually graduate to a Black Knight Great Axe. Both are unbelievable PVE weapons with great range and burst damage. You need some dex to wield both (18 I think), and the BKH's damage output will be more than the BKGA until you get your strength passed 38. The BKGA is, in my opinion, the best strength weapon in the game. It is relatively quick, easy to upgrade, and it's strength scaling is great. Both are viable PVP weapons too, although you will have to compensate for the lack of speed with timed hits and good counters. Both weapons are relatively uncommon drops from Black Knights.

#18 Posted by Ares42 (2661 posts) -

@ramone: Well, if you make some bad levelling chioces and don't pick up on how important weapon upgrades are the game starts to drag out quite a bit, even if you're not playing poorly. Looking back at it now even I find it weird, but ye it probably comes down to playstyle too. I went back and checked my first char on the PS3 (which I left hanging in Anor Londo) after having played the PC version quite a lot and his build was just atrocious.

#19 Edited by Mikemcn (6988 posts) -

@ramone said:

You're 40 hours in? Whereabouts are you in the game?

I only mention this because I finished the game in about 35 hours first time through.

@ares42 said:

@ramone: Considering he's talking about changing out his longsword for the lightning spear he's probably at or close to anor londo (which also fits with him finding things getting harder). Took me about 30 hours to get to Anor Londo my first time, I assume you probably had experience from Demon's Souls ?

Yea, i'm in Anor Londo. There, the demon ruins and the tomb of giants are the 3 places I could work on clearing at this point, i've cleared all the other areas.

Wow, There are alot more options than I even considered. I'm thinking I might continue upgrading my longsword and switch back to that, it's by far my favorite weapon, i like it's strong stab attack. Need to find some slabs! But the scythe sounds cool if it still has some of the speed that I like.

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