OK - Just bought Dark Souls - What do I need to know?

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#51 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@leebmx: Yeah! Greataxes are for men! I'm more of a sword guy, but big weapons with big damage is a recipe for success. :D

Also yeah, the issue of choosing what information to give to a new player is really tricky. I tried to make sure to only give mechanical tips while spoiling as little as possible and without guiding you anywhere. A lot of the fun is the exploration and trying things out.

#52 Posted by Tarsier (1056 posts) -

dont open chests that are lying sideways on the floor. punch them first.

#53 Posted by gogosox82 (424 posts) -

@j0lter: Because its a crutch weapon that will get him killed later in the game (Sen's). Sen's is already hard enough for new players without having to deal with a weapon that is basically useless against enemies.

#54 Edited by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

My phone just rang while I was in the middle of my best streak yet, I hit the pause button to answer it, and the game... doesn't pause and a skeleton kills me with two blows?

Whoever decided not to let players pause a game so methodical and difficult can go fuck his mother with a rusty iron rod. Yes, I'm quite upset right now.

So I guess my tip here is: The game doesn't let you pause, so make sure to turn off your phone, close your door and ignore anything urgent that happens while in combat.

#55 Edited by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@officegamer: The pausing is related to the always on multiplayer, and also gives a bit of tension. But yeah, that can be annoying...

#56 Edited by Sackmanjones (4652 posts) -

There is a human you find in the undead parish. He is behind a hidden door covered by wood, you will easily see it. It's right before the gargoyle boss (2nd floor I believe). He is wearing gold armor and is in a jail cell. Do whatever you can to kill him, the ring he drops is one of the best rings in the game. It gives you a large boost of health and stamina. He's a pretty tough guy to kill but it's more than worth it

#57 Posted by MrXakaRebel (58 posts) -

@mrxakarebel: Hey man, I definitely understand where you're comin from. I been gaming all my life and some of the hype around DKS difficulty definitely had me being extremely cautious about how I approached it. DKS was the first game I've used a walkthrough on in years and I thoroughly regret it now, that's why I said what I said. There's definitely a learning curve involved that most modern games try to avoid at all cost but it really is the most rewarding part of the game.

You go into it and you immediately learn, run don't walk, don't blindly run around corners, always search for the path of least resistance, don't even open a chest without hitting it first lol. But after a few hours when you finally get used to how things work you invariably feel like a bad ass for sticking it out and rising to the challenge. Another great part is how you piece together the game's narrative as well through item descriptions, NPC dialogue and just general observation of the game's world. Then you take those pieces you have and share them with others to try and come up with a more clear picture.

I can't wait for Dark Souls 2 and I absolutely will not be touching any walkthroughs at all this time...

#58 Edited by ThomasG666 (154 posts) -

Bought it recently too. Didn't knew that killing NPCs can break your game. I discovered, that you can attack them, basically after accidentally hitting the guy in Londo Ruins. Didn't kill him, although he is attacking me now when I approach him. I killed the guy in the Firelink Shrine though. Hope I didn't mess anything :/

#59 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@thomasg666: Which guy in Firelink? Also, the dude in londo ruins doesn't matter that much. You can actually sequence break the game heavily by killing him early.

#60 Edited by ThomasG666 (154 posts) -

@tobbrobb: I killed The Crestfallen warrior. Also I read somewhere that it is possible you can remove the aggro from NPCs, by paying the required amount of souls in the guy on the bell tower (after the gargoyles). Didn't try it yet because it was about 15,000 souls. Too much for me now.

#61 Posted by Snarkasaur (27 posts) -

Yeah if you accidentally whack a merchant or something, Oswald in the bell tower will reset all the NPCs for you, for a price. It's actually quite useful, especially if you want the Wood Grain Ring but still want Shiva as a merchant, for example.

To the original poster, I strongly recommend playing online as much as you can, even if the invaders become frustrating. I finally started playing online and co-op'ing some bosses and the game is so fun that way. I feel like I missed out on a lot by playing offline (just to avoid asshat griefers).

#62 Edited by cloudnineboya (764 posts) -

how/when/where do you get magic weapons? where can i get pyro glove . really was not expecting the world to be so huge. if only there was a map for this game.

#63 Posted by dahlis (44 posts) -

Pro tip:

Whenever you are faced with a decision, ANSWER YES

You will never be screwed IF you just pick the "YES" answer in a conversation. (Except for that one time in a certain dark place with a certain somebody, but don't worry about that).

#64 Posted by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@superwristbands @sackmanjones @lordxavierbritish Hello again. Back on a roll after almost giving up the game (and smashing the controller, and throwing my tv out the window and biting off my own fist in frustration) after spending three nights, and about 6 hours trying to kill the Capra Demon.

I am now down in the depths and I think maybe my progress is being helped somewhat by the fact I have done lots of exploring before getting back on the main route and feel reasonably leveled up for what I am facing. I have been to Nando's Ghost World and the underground garden bit for example, only giving up when it became obvious I wasn't really strong enough.

Anyway a couple of quick questions, what is the difference between the humanity I can see in the top left of the screen, which gets left behind when I die and the stuff I have permanently in my inventory and can use when I like?

I can't really see any benefit of being human apart from kindling the bonfires and getting people to help with the bosses - is there anything else?

@tobbrobb Also I mislead you about my weapon, it is actually a battle Axe (+5at the moment) rather than a Great Axe. i just found the great Axe and its 20 Strength which I am nowhere near yet. Although I am mostly using the Drake Sword currently. Speaking of strength I am dumping most of my leveling into Endurance and Vitality. Should I be thinking of other things as well? There are a lot of nice looking weapons in my box which require lots of strenght and dexterity and it is getting expensive to level up.

#65 Edited by golguin (3843 posts) -

@dahlis said:

Pro tip:

Whenever you are faced with a decision, ANSWER YES

You will never be screwed IF you just pick the "YES" answer in a conversation. (Except for that one time in a certain dark place with a certain somebody, but don't worry about that).

I'm not sure what you mean by saying yes in a dark place, but you can lose a pyromancer trainer by answering yes in a very bright and sunlit place.

#66 Posted by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

@leebmx: The humanity items in your inventory will heal you 100% when used and add to the humanity number next to your life bar. That humanity number has a couple uses in addition to kindling. 1. It increases the percent chance of item drops by enemies. 2. You can offer humanity to certain covenants in exchange for things.

Note that you can use a weapon 2-handed if you do not have the strength requirement as listed for that specific item. The strength requirement listed is for 1-handed usage. The 2-handed strength requirement is 2/3rds of the listed req. So if you have, for instance, 16 strength, you can 2-hand a weapon that has a requirement of 24. Press Y to switch between 1-handed and 2-handed weapon usage.

#67 Posted by dahlis (44 posts) -
@leebmx said:

1. Anyway a couple of quick questions, what is the difference between the humanity I can see in the top left of the screen, which gets left behind when I die and the stuff I have permanently in my inventory and can use when I like?

2. I can't really see any benefit of being human apart from kindling the bonfires and getting people to help with the bosses - is there anything else?

1. You have to actually consume that humanity to benefit from it. When you consume humanity from your inventory, your top left number will increase. The benefits of having a high number on your top left screen are:

- Item discovery value; the more Humanity you have (up until 10 humanity), the higher the value is.

- Increases the power of chaos weapons, ie Quelaag's furysword (up to 10 humanity) and curse resistance. In other words, some weapons scale with humanity.

2. Yes, when you're human, you sometimes have the pleasure of killing NPC-invaders. They will often reward you with precious loot, sometimes a cool armour, sometimes a silly headgear. If you never go human, you will surely miss out on some of these invaders.

#68 Posted by dahlis (44 posts) -

@golguin said:

@dahlis said:

Pro tip:

Whenever you are faced with a decision, ANSWER YES

You will never be screwed IF you just pick the "YES" answer in a conversation. (Except for that one time in a certain dark place with a certain somebody, but don't worry about that).

I'm not sure what you mean by saying yes in a dark place, but you can lose a pyromancer trainer by answering yes in a very bright and sunlit place.

My bad, haven't rolled a pryomancer yet so I had no idea!
I was referring to Patches in Tomb of the giants...if you answer him 'NO' both times he will give you a twin humanity and be all "friendly merchant" with you once you return to Firelink Shrine after Nito.

#69 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1735 posts) -

Consuming Humanity also increases your defense and curse resistance. It's never a bad idea to have some soft humanity (unless you are dying without recovering a lot).

#70 Posted by Sackmanjones (4652 posts) -

@leebmx: The humanity items in your inventory will heal you 100% when used and add to the humanity number next to your life bar. That humanity number has a couple uses in addition to kindling. 1. It increases the percent chance of item drops by enemies. 2. You can offer humanity to certain covenants in exchange for things.

Note that you can use a weapon 2-handed if you do not have the strength requirement as listed for that specific item. The strength requirement listed is for 1-handed usage. The 2-handed strength requirement is 2/3rds of the listed req. So if you have, for instance, 16 strength, you can 2-hand a weapon that has a requirement of 24. Press Y to switch between 1-handed and 2-handed weapon usage.

This pretty much sums up everything you asked.

Think of the humanity and souls in your inventory as your savings in a bank and the humanity and souls in the corners as your wallet.

#71 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

@leebmx: Everyone always manages to get your questions answered before I can get in here. That's a good thing though!

#72 Edited by Clonedzero (4091 posts) -

Be patient.

When facing a new enemy or boss, play defensively, learn how they fight so you can react and counter accordingly.

Don't kill any NPC's. Sure some of them outlive their usefulness and can give you neat items for killing them, but unless you look it up, its not worth the risk. (don't look it up till you beat it the first time.)

If you're having trouble with a boss, don't be afraid to turn into a human and summon another player (white or gold markers on the ground). usually they're around / just outside bonfires in areas, or outside the boss fog.

Being human in an area that you haven't killed the area boss in yet will leave you vulnerable to being invaded by enemy players. However if you're in an area where you killed the boss, you can't be invaded. Keep this in mind if you plan on doing any farming.

Hit every chest. As a precaution of course.

Most bosses with tails can have their tails chopped off for a special weapon drop.

Don't use Fire Keeper Souls, they are used to upgrade your healing potions. (give them to a firekeeper.)

Don't use any Boss souls, they're used to make unique weapons. (you'll find a blacksmith for that)

Generic soul items, suck as "Proud Knights Soul" or whatever, save those for when you're at a bonfire and want to level up, or buying things at a merchant/blacksmith. no sense risking those souls.

The trick to parrying and riposting is to watch the HAND not the weapon. When the hand is moving towards you thats when you parry and follow up the successful parry with a quick light attack. Black knights are now a joke for me. Still its often times not best to tempt fate and go for the easier backstabs and normal attacks.

It's almost always better to upgrade your gear rather than leveling up.

Thats all i can think of at the moment, i love dark souls and i hope you enjoy it too!

OH! and don't use a guide if you can, only if you're SUPER stuck on a part.

#73 Posted by GreggD (4477 posts) -

If you're unsure about anything, partner up with a friend who knows what they're doing during the early goings. That's what I did, made the game a lot easier to understand.

#74 Posted by Bass (692 posts) -

Here's my beginner tips to Dark Souls, but only because the game does a bad job at informing you of this stuff:

- You should upgrade your weapons. Using un-upgraded weapons past the Taurus Demon is absolutely silly. Upgrade at blacksmiths with different kinds of titanite. There are different kinds of upgrade paths that favor certain builds, but the most important thing is to upgrade (I suggest the normal path, personally).
-Upgrade your armor, but after you upgrade your weapon.
-Upgrading weapons is more important than leveling up.
-When leveling up, concentrate on Vitality, Endurance, and your attacking stat (Dex, Strength, Intelligence, Faith). If you are a caster, you should put some points in Attunement too. Most people recommend not leveling any particular stat to more than 40 because you get diminishing returns, but there are some exceptions. Don't level resistance. It's useless.
-You will die. It will not be a big deal. Any amount of souls can be recovered and humanity can be farmed. Invest in a couple rings of sacrifice and wear them after death to make corpse runs for a particularly high number of souls, if you are that worried about it.

That's it. I know I'm kind of late to the party, so you have probably read more information than you need to know, but this is the only information that I thought would have been nice to know before I started playing. Most everything else takes away from the experience.

#75 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

If you decide to use a heavy, slower weapon like the greataxe make sure you also have some armor that gives poise, otherwise any quick stab will take you out of your windup animation.

There are certain usuable items or spells that will let you put lightning, fire, magic or poison on your weapon, this only works on weapons of the "normal" upgrade path and is unusable on fire, chaos, lightning, magic, enchanted, occult, unique or dragon weapons.

Armor doesn't need to be "ascended" to be fully upgraded and can be upgraded to +10, similar to "normal" weapons, though with steeper material requirements. Certain types of armor requires the rare "Twinkling Titanite" material and can be upgraded to +5, but there are also a few armor sets in the game with high stats that cannot be upgraded at all.

Also the "Item discovery" stat is your droprate, it starts at 100 and can be increased by carrying humanity in your humanity gauge. There is a hidden ring later in the game that will give you an additional 200 Item discovery when equipped, useful when grinding for certain items. The maximum amount of Item discovery one can have is 400.

#76 Posted by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@leebmx: Everyone always manages to get your questions answered before I can get in here. That's a good thing though!

Next time I will come up with a special question just for you...

#77 Posted by leebmx (2216 posts) -

If you decide to use a heavy, slower weapon like the greataxe make sure you also have some armor that gives poise, otherwise any quick stab will take you out of your windup animation.

I'm probably not doing it 'right' at the moment then, if there is such a thing. I am generally switching between a battle axe (just got the great axe and I have nowhere near enough strength to wield it) and the drake sword, generally using the axe when I want to put some flames or other spell on it. However I am wearing really light scorcerer's armour, I think the stuff I got off that guy in the lower Undeadburg, because I like to be able to be nippy and move around quickly.

I suppose its a begginers thing steming from underconfidence because at first you just want something which kills in as few blows as possible and you also want to be able to get out of the way fast - should I change up? What did you go through the game with?

#78 Posted by Nicked (246 posts) -

@leebmx said:

@jacksukeru said:

If you decide to use a heavy, slower weapon like the greataxe make sure you also have some armor that gives poise, otherwise any quick stab will take you out of your windup animation.

I'm probably not doing it 'right' at the moment then, if there is such a thing. I am generally switching between a battle axe (just got the great axe and I have nowhere near enough strength to wield it) and the drake sword, generally using the axe when I want to put some flames or other spell on it. However I am wearing really light scorcerer's armour, I think the stuff I got off that guy in the lower Undeadburg, because I like to be able to be nippy and move around quickly.

I suppose its a begginers thing steming from underconfidence because at first you just want something which kills in as few blows as possible and you also want to be able to get out of the way fast - should I change up? What did you go through the game with?

Poise will help a lot, I found it really useful on my first playthrough. The Wolf Ring will give you a little poise without adding to your encumbrance if you don't want to change gear. If you enjoy fast rolling keep at it, but don't worry that if you mid-roll you'll be clobbered. Mid-rolling works fine and gets an undeserved bad rap.

I am playing a poiseless build right now and one thing I've had to learn is to take fights slowly. If you are trying to kill stuff as fast as possible and having trouble, consider slowing down and toying with the enemies more. They are kind of dumb so sometimes it pays to just wait for them to give you an opening.

#79 Edited by Legion_ (1256 posts) -

Start with the knight!

Go for a faith knight build if you want a good all-round build capable of taking on every situation. My current character is a faith knight at SL 120. Faith/End at 40, Str/Dex about 25. Four attunement slots with Lightning, Great Lightning, Wrath of the Gods and Great Heal.

As for equipment I'm sporting the Elite Knight armor +9, Crest Shield +5 and the amazing Greatsword of Artorias +5. Fucking unstoppable.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. You're new...

Just stay human ALL THE TIME, even if you get invaded a lot. It makes the game a lot more fun. And play coop ALOT. Always have a brother with you, as it makes both PVP and PVE a lot more fun. You still get all the experience and equipment you normally would.

And join the Warriors of Sunlight. It's hella fun to help other players, and it nets you both experience and tokens of sunlight, which you can use to get one of the best PVE spells in the game, the Great Lightning Spear.

#80 Posted by Legion_ (1256 posts) -

@leebmx: Two things.. first off be absolutely deliberate with every choice you make in the game. The game isn't so much tough as it is a game that very much gives you reactions for all of your actions. Both good and bad. Sometimes extra exploration will result in finding cool gear then again it could also result in you getting yourself way over your head. Secondly, and sort of related to the last point is just get used to dying and dying a lot. Its just simply part of the game. I would also say don't ever bother going into "human" form unless you are trying to summon blue phantoms for boss fights. When you're human you can be invaded by other players and there really isn't a ton of other benefits to being in human form other than being able to summon blue phantoms of other players to help you.

Higher droprate is a major perk. On top of that you get invaded by certain NPCs only if you are human, and they give you great benefits when you defeat them, and they're HELLA easy to defeat. For instance, Maneater Mildred turns Quelag - one tough as nails boss fight - into a breeze.

And it's fun to encounter other players. PVP is the endgame, and it's truly where the fun lies. It's just important to remember to always have a buddy with you, so that you outnumber the invader. And don't commit sins, as that will make blue phantoms of the Darkmoon Blade hunt you down to repent your sins. I should know, I'm a Darkmoon Blade!

#81 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

@leebmx: I've tried a lot of different stuff, even on my first playthrough I made several characters to try different things, though this was also because I was fearful of pressing into new areas so I kept "starting over". Spent way too much time in undeadburgh in those days..

The character I eventually stuck with and finished the game first with used a lightning greataxe and a heavy greatshield, one of the best in the game, while having medium-lightish armor with no poise except the helm (also pyromancy, cause fuck yeah). This was a bad idea and how I learned the importance of poise. I had a hard time fighting groups of smaller enemies and couldn't get heavier armor as my weapon & shield already weighted me down, even with two rings that increased my equipment weight capacity.

That's another tip I have for you, don't become dependant on the two rings that increase your equipment weight capacity.

Back in those days I usually went for medium roll as it generally worked for getting out of the way with a single roll pretty quickly while letting you invest in some of the cooler armor types and heavier shields, without going out of your way to dump ton of points into stamina and only using the equipment rings. I often do this when using heavy armor + heavy weapons though because running in heavy armor feels sooo slooow!

Lately I've gained an appreciation for the fast roll and have used that more liberally. My current character is one I'm trying to play through the game without a shield with, and fastrolling, as well as plain ease of movement, have been a great asset. I do use a heavy helmet and the wolf ring for some poise though. There are these enemies that have a long 4 hit combo and you can't get out of the first hit without poise ( while the rest of the hits will kill me easily).

Overall my favorite builds have been the Strenght and Faith ones, using heavy armor and bigger weapons or heavy armor and offensive miracles. I'm thinking I'll go into Dark Souls II using one of those.

My advice would be that if you find yourself just moving and using your shield a lot and only dodging as a last resort, then you're probably fine with using the medium roll if the upshot is that you could tank a hit or two. The main advantage of the fast roll is a longer invincibility window and spamability.

Speaking of shields, what are you using? I don't think anyone mentioned this but the 2 things you should pay attention to about shields is Damage Reduction (%), make sure you have one that blocks 100% physical, and Stability. Depending on the foe you could also chose to equip shields with high fire or magic resistance. Trivia: Generally metal shields have higher fire resistance while wooden ones have higher lightning resistance, makes sense right?

When upgrading a shield follow the "normal" upgrade path, generally you don't get increases to Damage Reduction percentages but your shields "Stability" goes up. The more Stability you have the less stamina it takes to block a hit, it might not look like much of an increase numbers-wise when you upgrade but it does make a difference.

There are also 3 classes of shields: small, standard and great.

  • Small shields have low stability and physical damage reduction, but are light and are a bit easier to parry with.
  • Standard shields have good stability and often have 100% physical damage reduction, but are harder to parry with and weigh a bit more than light ones.
  • Greatshields are heavy, usually require quite a bit of STR to wield and cannot be used to parry but have great stability and are able to deflect (make a enemy's weapon bounce off your shield when you are blocking) even very heavy strikes.

Standard and even small shields also have some amount of 'deflection' but less so. Simply put the amount of deflection is tied to the size (class) of the shield.

Phew, I think that's everything.

#82 Posted by GnomeonFire (696 posts) -

For your first playthrough, go in blind. It's a good learning experience, and a "sublime" experience of the games mechanics aka lots of dying.

#83 Posted by sub_o (837 posts) -

Here's how I played the game:

  • Pyromancer is probably the easiest class to start with. Pyromancy flame is helpful for beginners. Don't upgrade INT, find Laurentius / Quelana to upgrade your pyromancy flame.
  • Go up to undead burg first, don't go to Anor Londo or the graveyard until you're confident enough.
  • Investing in DEX works for me. Endurance is also important
  • Be patient when facing enemy, fight one at a time, circle around it.
  • Keep your shield up all the time, early on you will find Eagle Shield which is arguably one of the best shield in game.
  • At first I'd keep my equip load below 25%, so that it's faster to dodge roll.
  • Get Drake sword first by unloading tons of arrows at the Drake's tail. But abandon it later on, since it doesn't scale with your stats. DEX weapons such as Uchigatana or Great Scythe is better, but again, depends on your play style
  • Find humanity or farm it from the sewer rats in Depths. Reverse hollow so that you can kindle bonfires (increase number of estus flasks), and sometimes you can summon NPC to battle.
  • Lautrec is not a good guy
  • Double check wiki before upgrading items or spending souls. Some items are one shot only, some are very very rare.
  • Capra demon is the first truly frustrating boss in the game if you're a newcomer. Check wiki if you're stuck.
#84 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@leebmx

: I know you've gotten into the game, but I'm inspired to right up an "Intro to Dark Souls" and I figure there'll be plenty of people dropping by this thread for similar advice occasionally.

Rule Number 1: Don't kill anyone that talks to you to start. That's a really bad idea. Eventually you can get away with it, but there are a lot of very important characters early on. If you really want to, do it, but leave the shop keepers and anyone with a Sun insignia alone.

The next bit, is to figure out all of the attacks you can do. Different weapons handle very differently, even between one handed and two handed use.

  • R1/RB is a normal attack. It's usually relatively quick unless it's a very slow strength weapon. It will do less damage, and usually have less range. It's probably also some sort of standard attack with that kind of weapon. swords slash, spears pole, axes hack, etc.
  • R2/RT is a heavy, slow attack. It's usually more situational because of the timing required but also because it tends to be an animation that is more situational. Some will have significantly better range, some will work better in tight spaces than a wide light attack, some will knock down enemies, some in the late game will even have very special effects. Some of these will also have extended animations with multiple hits. Excellent for dealing damage but risky as they leave you open for a counter attack.
  • When timed correctly: R1+Forward will usually do a kick. This is useful against blocking enemies and enemies near ledges. However, some weapons have unique animations for this such as a jump back for a rapier.
  • When timed correctly: R2+Forward will usually do a heavy jump attack. This is useful for dealing a lot of damage and often knocking an enemy to the ground or back away from the player. This is very useful against smaller enemies that don't give many openings for attack, or high health enemies that take a lot of abuse before going down. It's a good way to open a fight when you are confident it won't open you up for counterattack, usually when you're dealing with a group of enemies.
  • If you manage to get directly behind an enemy, R1/RB will execute a backstab. Backstabs are extremely powerful and do a large amount of damage. For example, while my greatsword may normally do 3-400 damage, it might do 900-1000 damage with a properly executed backstab. When in the animation, you will not take damage so you're safe to pull it off with other enemies assuming you have time to move out of the way of a well timed attack coming out of your animation. I'd suggest avoiding trying these early on as it can be tricky to find the magic spot with them. They are extremely particular to pull off and if you don't pull it off it might cause trouble. A tip though: Run into the enemy's back so your character is pressing up against them, and try to be as directly behind them as possible, possibly very slightly to the left. Once you get the feel for the spot you should be able to pull these off with relative ease and with much less risk than parrying but it can take some time to find the sweet spot to wait until you've leveled and geared up a bit and go practice on the raggy old corpses in the early game area so you aren't constantly dying trying to get a handle on the mechanic.
  • If you are equipped to do so, some wieldable equipment will allow you to "parry" an incoming blow, which not only staggers the enemy you parry but also opens them up for what is essentially a backstab but without the need to worry about positioning. Damage may differ from backstabs, but it's generally the same idea: a whole hell of alot of damage. However, parrying is extremely risky. If you fail, the hit will land and deal full damage, and failure is to be frank, fairly likely. The timing is very difficult to get down because of the nature of the move. There's a lot of animation priority that you have to take into account when timing the parry: the animation of your parry, and the animation of your opponent's attack. Even for experienced players parrying can be risky, so be sure to practice before trying it in a real fight with a wallet full of souls. It's even possible to practice against a human player by summoning them as a friendly spirit and having them "attack" you while you attempt to parry. No damage will be done but it is possible to stagger the other player if you correctly parry.

Try different weapons. Spears are very useful in the early game because with a good early shield (ie one that blocks 100% of physical) because you can poke at enemies without lowering your shield, which makes death a lot less common. However, it's best to find the weapons you enjoy best and that work for you. Spears are easy enough early on but it can be difficult to find good spears later in the game as enemies ramp up. Also keep in mind that you can pick between wielding a weapon in a single hand (letting you have a shield or magic in the other hand, or even another weapon [not advisable sadly]) and with both hands. Both hands is usually more powerful but it greatly reduces your ability to block damage. Usually this is only advisable if you're fighting enemies that you can one-hit or stagger or you are playing a nimble, light character that can easily just avoid damage. But because you can do this very quickly on the fly by pressing "Y"/"Triangle" you can switching things up in the middle of a fight. This stance change does more than simply make you attack harder, it often comes with entirely different animations, with different timing and different ranges and of course different (higher) damage. Even if you don't really use the two handed fighting style, you should at least try it with every weapon you use seriously in case there happens to be a useful attack like one that greatly extends your range or a powerful overhead attack that has the potential to knock enemies to the ground.

Figure out early on if you want a quick, nimble character that avoids damage, an agile but well protected character that redirects that damage with a shield and good armor, or a hulking beast that absorbs ammo with massive shields and thick, impenetrable armor or forgoes defense in the face of damage and wields a mighty greatsword with both hands. I prefer a balanced build using a relatively quick strength weapon in one hand (Claymore/Giant's Greatsword), but with light enough armor that Havel's Ring lets me "medium roll." I also typically use a shield along with my sword that completely blocks all physical damage, but I also frequently use the two handed sword fighting style when fighting lone enemies or when traveling in areas with weaker enemies. It can also be useful to switch to powerful two handed swings during boss battles when the chance presents itself. A couple of heavy swings with two hands can really help along the boss fights as long as you don't let the boss take advantage of the opportunity you are presenting when you do that.

One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind for this is the "equip load." This is sort of like encumberance in Skyrim or Fallout in that if you go over that, you'll be slower. But not in your normal walking around and running. Your roll move will be significantly slower if you go over certain thresholds. Generally speaking, you want to be under half of your equip load to keep from "fat rolling" which is the slowest roll possible and is pretty well and good useless. This is fine if you plan on taking the abuse head-on but if you need to go up against a big bad boss that'll smack you around no matter how much armor you have on, it's a good idea to at least be able to do a medium roll, which is plenty fast enough to get you out of the way of an attack. But again, if you don't need to roll, don't worry about this number. Go as high as you'd like to. You have to work around the character you want to end up with.

You'll need to build into that character, and focus on getting and improving gear that extends your capacity in that direction. While stats are important on your character, the most important ones are usually on your gear. They will provide for the bulk of the progression in the game especially for melee users. Pretty much anything you can wear can be "reinforced" to be tougher, sharper, heavier, or even imbued with unusual effects. Most gear can be reinforced a number of times, so try to avoid throwing away crafting items on random gear just to get more numbers. Eventually just about any resource for reinforcing can be farmed, but it's still best to be smart with those items. Upgrading gear has a massive effect on it's effectiveness, especially gear that has a high potential for upgrading. For example, the Claymore can be reinforced up to +15, which is a very, very significant boost to damage while still maintaining the weapon's stat scaling with the character's strength and dexterity. It can also be upgraded to states such as "Divine" which is effective at keeping the dead down, or "Raw" which prevents the weapon from scaling with your stats but greatly increases it's raw damage (useful if you want to play around with a weapon that you have poor stats for but NEVER do this for something that has decent scaling under a stat you have been improving. Even if the damage seems to massively outgun that of a scaling weapon, it is unlikely that it will actually be any where near as effective. A fully upgraded Claymore may have a lower raw damage stat than the Dragon Greatsword acquired along the shores of the Ash Lake, but if the character wielding them has a high strength rating and a decent bit of dexterity, the Claymore will completely outclass the Dragon weapon because of it's lack of scaling. However, if it can be wielded, the Dragon Greatsword is excellent for those with low strength but still wish to have the option to use a strength weapon. That weapon in particular has some useful tricks up it's sheath as well, which can make it a valuable tool as long as you don't have stats that allow far greater damage output on a scaling weapon.

But stats still play a role in your character, and a pretty significant one at that. As I mentioned before, weapons scale based on certain stats. That means if you use a weapon that scales with strength, you'll be able to swing it harder and therefore do more damage with it. There are different grades of scaling, indicated by letters E-A+S from lowest to highest. Each has a varying degree of influence over the damage of the weapon being scaled. Some weapons even scale based on more than one stat. I'll go back to my trusty Claymore as an example, which has pretty good strength scaling, but it also has a bit of dexterity scaling. So if I level up either my strength or my dexterity, my damage will increase with that weapon. Very handy for keeping a weapon around into higher levels. The better it scales, chances are the better it'll be when you get into the late game PVP of Dark Souls or get into your second playthrough as most weapons stop improving at the raw level well before that.

Stats are also very important in raising your hit point total, one of the most effective and simple ways to improve your survivability. While your health bar starts out relatively small, you can get it to be pretty damn big depending on how you depend to build out your character.

Depending on how you want to experience your first playthrough, you can do one of two things: you can look at the general style you feel you want to go for (fast roll with fast weapons, heavy armor and lots of health with a 2H greatsword, etc) and build in the approximate direction of that kind of build and evolve it as you go (what I did) or you can look for a particular weapon/gear set through a wiki and decide the best way to optimize your build that way. I'd suggest just sort of winging it the first time through, and then try and optimize a build from there (don't just copy someone elses, it's a video game, make it be interactive! And if you still want to play around with goofy builds go crazy). Generally, faster characters who want to use weapons like spears and rapiers will want to build up their vitality, stamina, and of course dexterity. Dexterity will be the stat that has the most influence on damage for that kind of character so make sure you don't skimp out on it. The rest just go based on what you feel you need. If you think you are taking too much damage, get some health. If you want to be able to attack a few more times, invest in some more stamina. Most of the archetypes should be pretty easy to find out. If you want to straddle the line, and play a knight, focus on health and strength but get some dexterity and stamina as well to keep things balanced and improve damage. If you want to be untouchable, go all strength and vitality to get as much health as possible and be able to use the biggest damn shield you can find (or two, if you want to be really something special) and stamina to keep you from getting staggered by heavy hitters. If you want to pound things into the damn ground, just focus on health and strength so you can take the one or two hits they manage to get in before you crit some eyeballs and destroy everything you touch. If you want to be a caster, focus on intelligence or faith or whatever fits the magic you want to use and get whatever you need to compliment that gear-wise.

Beyond all that, in terms of just general gameplay, I really don't have much to say other than to be patient, cautious, and curious, and in that order. Don't go rushing into a fight, keep your eyes open, and explore. If you see a shiny off in the distance, don't just displace directly towards it. Take a careful look at where it is and what might be done to make it harder for you to survive nabbing the item. Remember that while it may be an awesome new weapon, it's probably just some Souls in a bottle or a ball of dung. So don't risk 50,000 souls on a bright light in the distance. That pretty much applies to everything.

Oh, and open every chest you see. They pretty much always have extremely useful and awesome gear. A number of them contain full sets of armor.

As for the rest, just try to figure it out. Explore the world, and don't be afraid to turn back if you can't handle an area. The game isn't linear but there are certainly areas that will be pretty much impossible until you become more powerful. And seriously, investigate everything. Learn to be curious about little things. If a wall looks odd or like it shouldn't be there, smack it. If there's a ledge leading somewhere, it's probably leading to something. Exploration will almost always be rewarded, and it's a key facet of the game.

Man, that turned out a lot longer than I expected o.o

#85 Edited by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@mordeaniischaos: That is a pretty hefty set of tips. Its thinking I expect of a man who wants to plan adventures and battles for real :). At the moment I am not really sure how I want to play and I think I might be 'winging it' as you say. Sometimes I will try and get my weight under 1/3 so I can move quickly, and the rest of the time I just kind of block and then swipe and see what happens. At the moment I am making my way through Blightown and have just found a load of really, really light armour that makes me look a bit like a ninja so I am wearing that.

I am also slighty worried that I might be getting too attached to my Drake Sword and want to find another weapon which I can feel as comfortable with, but the only thing close I have is a Battle Axe which is now +7 but it feels a little sluggish compared to the Drake.

What I will say is that I am so pleased I finally gave this game a try. For tension, satisfaction and a feeling of acheivement nothing comes close - oh and for frustration as well. I spent three nights trying to kill one boss and the feeling of having to turn the computer off having achieved nothing in 3 hours play for the second night in a row is, well, i'm sure you've been there. To make it worse, I lost all the souls I got form that boss straight afterwards from being careless.

I also worry that it is taking me ages to play it. I am about 40 hours in and have done Undead Burg, Parish, The depths and am in Blighttown. I have also had some pretty big diversions into the place with the ghosts and the underground garden - how does this compare for time on your first playthrough. Not that it matters so much - I was just interested?

#86 Posted by gogosox82 (424 posts) -

@officegamer: You can always quit out real quick. The game auto saves every time you quit out so you can quit, answer the phone call, and go back in after your call is done.

#87 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@leebmx: 87 hours in and still haven't technically beaten the game. I think I just hit level 100. I'm trying to see if I can reach max level eventually. Very close to the end of the game though, I have basically one big fight between me and the end. I haven't even done that much grinding/farming, just a couple sessions (most recently to fight a particularly annoying boss in the Crystal Caves. Pro-tip: you need poison resist before you even try that shit) to get the equipment I needed upgraded to be competitive or just so I could top off a couple things when I found a place I could farm what I needed for it. Especially Twinkling Titanite which I farmed the hell out of because nearly all of my stuff needs it.

I just keep running around to investigate the areas and find the nooks and crannies. Most of what I've discovered has been on my own, just being thorough, so I didn't just read where the good stuff is, otherwise my time would probably be wayyyyyyy lower lol. You're talking to someone who took about 70 hours to beat Mass Effect 2 the first time through.

If you play like me and spend a lot of time exploring and trying to find every little item and figure out how to get to every shiny thing you see off in the distance, the game can be very very time consuming. lol.

And as for the Battle Axe, it's pretty slow. Awesome when you just need to get really fuckin heavy hits in, but I never really liked the super slow items much. You might want to try the Claymore. It's faster, but it's not "fast." That Drake Sword is a dangerous thing to get attached to. It's totally outclassed even pumped up by the claymore if you level for it. And you can get it to +15 without too much trouble, I think I had it at +10 around where you're at. Maybe +12. With good strength and dex it's an awesome weapon. Pretty quick, works well with one hand, but still hits nice and hard. Good range on it's strong attack as well.

Just play around with weapons to find one you like the "feel" of and then look up the spots to farm the stuff you need to reinforce it, and get it up to the point of being competitive. With the right weapon, you can make it last most of the game like I did with the Claymore. If you want more of a medium sword, the Silver Night Straight Sword is almost as good as the drake sword in terms of raw damage, and then it has a bit of scaling (not great but better than nothing) plus you can upgrade it to do a good bit of damage. I'm guessing you haven't had a chance to grab any scales so you probably still have a stock Drakes sword?

If you can get to Anor Londo and fight the Silver Knights in there it should be easy to find the thing, and then you'll have to go somewhere like Ash Lake and farm Twinkling off of the clam guys, which is pretty easy if you can do a decent bit of damage, and they are very slow so it's easy to take them out as long as you don't let them hit you (they have a "grab" that is more time consuming than anything, depending on how much vit you have). And it shouldn't take much to upgrade the sword. I've heard good things about it, and I think it's a bit faster than the Claymore, although because of it's limited and costly upgrades, it won't last as long and could take some effort to get to max reinforce (+15 as with all Twinkling upgrades). No sweet shockwave but you can get a free greatsword that does that and a HELL of alot more damage by hitting a dragon's tail in Ash Lake.

You can also get a pretty good spear from the Silver Knights that will be helpful for fighting undead as it does have a Divine effect. It's decent on damage too if you have good Dex.

I'd also suggest making sure you can't make anything with a boss soul before selling it to rabbit snake guy. There are some decent weapons you can get from those souls. A lot of them suck but they can be fun to play with and Souls aren't all that hard to come by.

If there's one part of the wiki I think people should check out after they get into the game, it's the page with the weapons. There are a ton and it can be hard to figure out which ones are worth looking into and all that.

#88 Edited by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@mordeaniischaos: Ugh, I have to go to bed and I spent ages sending you political rubbish instead of reading closely the post that really matters - will have to check in detail tomorrow. What I will say is that it sounds as if we have a very simillar style of playing games. It always takes me ages, my ME2 playthrough time was probably about the same as yours once you take off all the times I dozed off in bed with a controller in my hand at 4 in the morning.

Anyway just found a Katana type thing which looks nifty but my dex is too low at the mo. Might see how this is once I can use it properly, I like the ninja/knight thing I have going at the moment. I'm a bit stuck in Blighttown at the moment. Can see places to get to but they are either over a swamp which poisons me or down a big drop - i'll figure it out tomorrow.

#89 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I just caved and bought this on PC - I tried it on my 360 before I had a gaming PC and I got massacred. This time around I didn't die until I reached halfway up the castle to the left of the guy sitting in the grass in the second level (memorizing the names is so hard in this game). Killed the first boss from my first try, and have succeeded in parrying just fine so far.

I feel fucking GREAT. However, there are stairs up and down everywhere around every corner, it's like an open world but it isn't, I dunno where to go. And the game is so QUIET! The clanking of my armor in the complete silence is creeping me out.

Don't mean to hijack the topic, gonna read the tips and everything :)

Just go everywhere. It's not an open world in the way that GTA is, but that's because it's not taking place in a City, it's taking place in much more confined areas.

As for the jerky looking guys with the really terrible iron armor at the beginning? They are basically what you are: Hallowed. Easy to remember! Everything else, just call em what they are: "Lizard Bugs" or "Crystal dude." The in game names are usually pretty much that anyway, lol.

#90 Posted by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@superwristbands @jacksukeru @tobbrobb @mordeaniischaos I think I might have hit a bit of a wall. I am stuck at the Boss fight in Anor Lando. Basically I either fight at <25%encumberance so I can nip about in +3 Shadow Armour with a Fire Iaito x5. Or sometimes I go heavy with a basic Havel or Stone armour and +3 Black Knight Sword. I am about level 60 with 18 dex 20 strength. However this fight is proving impossible with either build. Also I can never find anyone to summon into the battle for this boss fight and this has really helped with previous enounters- any tips? I really don't want to give up but it is getting mad frustrating. Do I need to grind? What were your experiences with this boss?

#91 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@leebmx: That one can be pretty tricky. I needed a bit of help for that one. If I had a character that could help I'd offer my services but I don't think I have one in the right level range sadly. My one bit of advice is to focus one of the buggers down so you can more easily deal with the other. And get good at avoiding the attacks because there's a lot of lightning in that fight so you won't be able to just block your way through the encounter.

#92 Posted by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -

This seems especially relevant.

#93 Edited by MentalDisruption (1618 posts) -

@leebmx: You're talking about the 2 on 1 fight, yes? You could always try summoning sunbro before you go in. He is almost guaranteed to die before or a little after you take out one of the two bosses, but he will provide a nice distraction while you're trying to focus one of them down. Depending on how you prioritize the bosses, getting past the 2 on 1 portion of the fight can mean the difference between winning or losing this fight. The only problem with this is that you'll have to kill the enemies in the room before the boss. If you don't, there's a chance sunbro will get into a fight with them and not follow you through the fog. Those giants that heal themselves can be a real pain in the ass to kill every time, so depending on how much patience you have, you may or may not want to actually summon him. If you don't mind doing something that may be considered a little cheap, you can always go into offline mode to avoid the constant invasions that happen in this area. That would make it easier to summon solaire at least.

If you choose not to summon him or anyone else then you absolutely must take this fight extremely slow. Learn to roll instead of block due to the electrical attacks piercing through blocks. Make them chase you by constantly moving along the perimeter of the area. When they're chasing you they should both be visible in your camera, and getting sight of them both is critical. Depending on who you want to attack, this may or may not leave openings for you to attack. The pillars are your friend as well.

Aside from that, it should be fairly easy to spot which one of these guys is going to be easier to fight in the one on one portion. I'm not going to insist that you kill one or the other. Depends on if you are going for achievements or not. If you plan on getting the achievements or want specific gear, then I highly recommend you bite the bullet and take the tough route now instead of in a second playthrough. It'll only be harder later on. If you're just a one playthrough kind of guy and don't care about the gear/achievement, then take the easier route and you should be near guaranteed a win as soon as you get into the second portion of the fight.

I can be more specific on what to use and do, but I thought I'd make this post a bit general since its hard to know how much Dark Souls players really want spoiled in a fight. Don't get too discouraged about this fight. In my experience it was the biggest hurdle I faced in the game. Everything is harder when the numbers are against you, and this fight is designed to emphasize that. The adrenaline rush of beating these guys is worth it though.

#94 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

@leebmx: My last experience with those guys was taking them down with my fists wearing only pants and gloves, like a man! ...Um, maybe don't try that, the Cetsus fist weapons have poor range and it's easy to miss consecutive attacks, it was a real pain.

Seriously though, unless you want to hunt more Twinkling Titianite and upgrade your Black Knight sword (if you find your way to Ash Lake you should be able to farm them...slowly) there's not a lot that you can do in increasing your DPS. I'd say go light and learn their attacks, then try to separate them and focus on taking down just one. This is not easy, but it's your best bet if you're going at it alone.

Once there's only 1 left the fight becomes easier to read, even if one of them can be tougher to face than the other. You should probably also be able to summon Solaire, but Anor Londo is a popular invasion spot so making it all the way over there and clearing out the giant knights so they won't aggro him takes time.

I'll say it again, if you're going at it alone, run around until you can separate them, don't try to face both of them at once.

#95 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

It's by far the most difficult obligatory boss in my opinion. I'd say grinding won't do you much good if you are already 60. What it comes down to now is almost entirely your ability to stay safe and take them down carefully. Co-op helps a LOOOOOT in that fight. So if you can get sunbro or a player it'll make all the difference.

Good luck.

#96 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@leebmx:

Smough and Orenstien are assholes. Summoning one or more white/gold phantoms will help you a lot since the hardest part of the fight is trying to keep the two separated. You can also summon Knight Solaire on the stairs with the archer in the long room immediately before the boss.

If you absolutely have to do this fight on your own, the key is to abuse the level to your advantage. Use the pillars around the room to separate Smough and Orenstien, get some hits in, and repeat. Checking out some YouTube vids of this fight will give you some great insight into how to handle this fight.

And remember: Amazing chest ahead.

Seriously though, unless you want to hunt more Twinkling Titianite and upgrade your Black Knight sword (if you find your way to Ash Lake you should be able to farm them...slowly) there's not a lot that you can do in increasing your DPS. I'd say go light and learn their attacks, then try to separate them and focus on taking down just one. This is not easy, but it's your best bet if you're going at it alone.

Just to make it easy, you can buy Twinkling Titanite from the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo.

#97 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

@ravenlight: Right, I keep forgetting, at 8000 souls a pop it'll still take some time to grind.

I recommend using Bombcasts to make the time fly.

#98 Posted by leebmx (2216 posts) -

@jacksukeru @ravenlight @mentaldisruption @mordeaniischaos Thanks guys I didn't think anyone would give me a tip which magically made it all easy but nevermind.....

Also I have the chance of upgrading my Iaito +5 to a Chaos weapon. What would you do? Have you used Chaos, I understand it gets more powerful depending on how much humanity you are using. Is it better than sticking to the Fire upgrade path?

#99 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@leebmx said:

@jacksukeru @ravenlight @mentaldisruption @mordeaniischaos Thanks guys I didn't think anyone would give me a tip which magically made it all easy but nevermind.....

Also I have the chance of upgrading my Iaito +5 to a Chaos weapon. What would you do? Have you used Chaos, I understand it gets more powerful depending on how much humanity you are using. Is it better than sticking to the Fire upgrade path?

Stick with Fire. Chaos is only better if you can keep a constant stock of soft humanity. Plus you can go up to +10 with Fire.

#100 Edited by MentalDisruption (1618 posts) -

@leebmx: I've never really liked chaos weapons a whole lot, but I don't have much experience with them beyond initially trying them out. Fire is never really a bad choice anyway. It gets the job done and doesn't require you to manage your humanity. I'd go with Quelaag's weapon if you want something that scales on humanity assuming you still have her soul. That way you can save your Iatio for fire or whatever you want.

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