I'm pretty early on, saved at the fire at the bottem of the square spiral staircase after the cathedral near undead burg. There's a dude with no head and lightning attacks downstairs that I can't kill. I've killed the cathedral knight once, but can't get up the stairs there, the enemies are too hard. Should I grind and farm, go get the drake sword, look up tactics I'm not using? I am playing on PC with a controller and DSFIX.
Stuck in a rut
You do have to get upstairs in the cathedral. The first bell is up there. As far as the lightning dude downstairs you can run around him for now because hes optional. The drake sword will help for a while early on but it doesn't take long for it to be surpassed once you start upgrading a weapon that scales well with your main stat. Grinding will help but knowledge of the game and enemies is more important :). Hope that helps!
You can safely run by the headless demon near the blacksmith but the area beyond him is harder than the cathedral. The place you need to clear out next is the top floor of the cathedral. If you're having trouble, grind a few souls and upgrade your weapon and armor at the blacksmith.
You can take out the caster on the second level by parking your ass on the altar and chipping him down with arrows. He won't respawn. The rest of the enemies sadly will, though. Thankfully, you can use the layout of the area to your advantage and fight pretty much every enemy one-on-one. Don't be afraid to retreat to a more favorable position.
The cathedral is also a good place to get familiar with using the bow to pull single enemies away from a pack: Get a bead on an enemy from a safe area and plug a single arrow into him. Usually this will only aggro that one enemy and you can deal with him without putting yourself in unknown territory.
If you're still having trouble after messing around a bit more, post your class and equipment and the forums can make some more tailored suggestions. Good luck and don't forget to praise the sun!
If you want to grind some souls and buy enough arrows to cheese the dragon and get the drake sword do so but also realize the Drake Sword is only good pretty much in THAT one area. It quickly quickly becomes pretty ineffective as the stats don't scale like other weapons. And don't bother wasting rare upgrade materials like Dragon Scales on it. Commit to making either a Dex build for faster striking weapons or a STR build for heavy hitting weapons and stick to it.
If you decide to go heavy I'd go down where the skeletons are just down from the Firelink shrine and make a suicide run to get the Zwheihander down there as its one of the best big heavy swords. If you don't feel confident in your fighting yet you can go with the safe yet boring option of a polearm/spear. That way you can keep your shield up while fighting.
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