#1 Edited by Thiago123 (382 posts) -

One of the biggest things I struggle with in loot filled RPGs is whether or not to sink resources into upgrading/crafting items or just wait for the next best thing to come around. The combat and DPS requirements in the Souls game is such that your comfort with the weapon move sets make this an easy decision - just upgrade the weapon you are comfortable with. Armor on the other hand, is a head scratcher for me.

Like a lot of people, I was rolling through the early part of the game with the excellent Drangleic Armor. I got a Gyrm Warrior armor drop on my way to Brightstone Cove and rolled with that through that area with no problems, defeating the Big Spider (forget the name) on the second try, but then getting the Vengarl set at the Primal Bonfire. I'm currently somewhere at SL 100-110, rolling with Vengarl's set, except for the gauntlets which are still Drangleic (I don't believe there are bonuses for wearing a complete set??). The point being that I was very close to dropping some twinkling titanite into Drangleic set then received 2 'better' (ignoring weight, speaking of total damage reduction here) sets almost back to back. I'm on my way now to light the last of the Primal Bonfires.

So, the question is, when do you make the decision to sink resources into upgrading armor vs. just waiting for the next drop? I understand that of course there will be situations where you might need better resistance against a certain type of attack or effect, but just generally speaking?

There was a general sense that armor 'didnt' matter' in DaS1, but supposedly plays a more important role in DaS2 - I have yet to see this. Is it all just about "well, I like the look of this armor so I'm going to dump some Twinkling Titanite into it"? Are you reaching a point where you don't want to spend more on VIT so you just look up whats the best armor for that equip load/movement speed range and go all in on it?

#2 Posted by J12088 (443 posts) -

I haven't. In fact i dumped all my titanite into the first weapon i found that i liked stuck with it throughout and just swapped armour when i find something better.

Don't need armour the secret is to not get hit.

#3 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1106 posts) -

You find a lot of armor in this game, a lot better ones constantly. For example, Vengarl's armor is going to be your best armor for a long time. If you dump enough points in VIT, you can keep wearing better stuff. I would hold off upgrading till you get Vengarl's, that's mid-game. You can farm twinkling titanite pretty constantly end-game, don't worry too much. Did you fight the smelter demon yet? That's even better armor.

But be cautious with titanite chunks, you don't get em often unless you're in a certain covenant. You can buy infinite shards & large shards later on in Majula.

#4 Posted by BeefyGrandmole (347 posts) -

I did it when I got havels armor. I think if you're wearing armor that upgrades with plain titanate you should upgrade it because I ended up with a ridiculous amount of titanate towards the end of the game

#5 Edited by Thiago123 (382 posts) -

@trafalgarlaw: Hehe, I'm guessing you didn't read my post, just the question. Thanks for the feedback though, my fault for making it a wall of text! lol PS- I did beat the Smelter Demon, but didn't see a better set of armor there (is it a rare boss drop?)

#6 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1106 posts) -

@trafalgarlaw: Hehe, I'm guessing you didn't read my post, just the question. Thanks for the feedback though, my fault for making it a wall of text! lol

Oh to answer your question: I just upgrade for fun, because I'm not stingy. :P In DKS1 I endedd up with too much unused ores.

#7 Edited by VeggiesBro (120 posts) -

My first play through, I upgraded the farram armor quite a bit. On my second play though on a new character, I have yet to upgrade any armor as I am focusing on dodging attacks rather than blocking (dual wielding). Overall, I am not sure which armor set I'll settle on, especially as they appear to be opening up additional sets in subsequent throughways.

#8 Edited by ElixirBronze (424 posts) -

@thiago123 said:

@trafalgarlaw: Hehe, I'm guessing you didn't read my post, just the question. Thanks for the feedback though, my fault for making it a wall of text! lol PS- I did beat the Smelter Demon, but didn't see a better set of armor there (is it a rare boss drop?)

I believe you can buy his armor from Maughlin or whatever his name is. He's in Majula in the little house by himself. Maybe you need to spend enough souls with him for him to expand his shop, I dunno.

I started upgrading my armor when I had my +10 Archdrake staff done and I was having a souls overload (like 150k+). I found the Imperious Armor and thought it was just too damn cool for me not to +10 it. I generally care more about looks over stats when it comes to armor, which maybe is foolish but I have fun.

#9 Edited by mosespippy (4097 posts) -

Once I stop upgrading my equip load I determine the target weight for my gear. Subtract the weight of my weapons and rings. Determine the best gear I can get out of the remaining weight and upgrade that.

I usually run with a maxed Vengarl Helm, Elite Knight chest & legs and Leather Gloves. If I need to adjust I also have some heavier gear maxed as well.

#10 Posted by Waffles13 (608 posts) -

Honestly, I just waited until I got the Elite Knight set because that's what I used in DS1 and I like the way it looks. I have the equip load for heavier armor now while still light rolling, but I totally don't care.

Beyond special use armor (things like the Sinner's arm thing that boosts Pyromancy), armor seems to have a pretty minor effect on most attacks. Yeah, it'll blunt all damage, but if a boss is going to hit you for 50% damage, does it really matter if it only takes off 40%?

I'd say find some armor you think is cool, then upgrade it. Also, if it's a "regular" set that upgrades with titanite, don't hesitate at all. Titanite Shards, Large Shards, and Chunks can all be bought infinitely from the stone lady by the end of the game. The slabs are limited, but you can still buy a few and even if you don't I wound up with 4 or 5 by the end of the game. Twinkling is more rare, but even that you'll find a fair amount of by the end.

#11 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

If I'm playing a squishy character with light armor and not much HP, I make sure to upgrade a little bit early on, even if I intend to get better armor later. It can make the difference between getting insta-killed or having a chance to back away and heal.

Though I tend not to go higher than +3 until I'm wearing the armor I've chosen to wear permanently.

With a more robust character, I'm not too diligent. If there are shards to spare, then sure. Otherwise, most decent armors can absorb enough damage so that I'm not dead in 2 hits, which is all I need in most cases.

Edit: If I were more geared for PvP, which I'm not, I'd definitely focus my efforts on upgrading armor. It's easier to be cavalier about damage mitigation against AI, but against real players, I take stupid risks all the time.

#12 Edited by StrainedEyes (1323 posts) -

I waited until I got the Faraam armor set, the one from all the trailers, before I upgraded. Mainly because it looks cool, but also because it upgrades with regular Titanite. I have upgraded the chest and helmet so far, the chest is now better than everything I have except Haval's.

#13 Edited by Sterling (2136 posts) -

For my first character I upgraded what ever I liked. I upgraded a lot of armor.

With my second character I am doing a mage/hexer. So I am wearing light armors only. And I've only found one set, the hexer set. And it requires Twinkling. So I haven't upgraded it yet. I'm pretty far into the game on this character and I've yet to find any other mage specific armor sets or pieces.So I might start upgrading this one.

#14 Posted by vikingdeath1 (946 posts) -

If it uses regular Titanite (shards, large shards, chunks) then upgrade it once you've upgraded you favorite weapon to your liking.

the first 6 upgrades just go for it, you get an infinite shard & large shard vendor so go nuts. just don't waste chunks/ slabs on something you aren't sure you'll use in the future.

If it upgrades with Twinkling Titanite (like the Drangleic set) in my opinion those are for beginners to make things easier, if you upgrade a regular-titanite set a few times it will surpass those sets (in weight, defense, or w/ever).

@j12088 said:

Don't need armour the secret is to not get hit.

Or this. This is also valid.

#15 Posted by groin (845 posts) -

@sterling said:

For my first character I upgraded what ever I liked. I upgraded a lot of armor.

With my second character I am doing a mage/hexer. So I am wearing light armors only. And I've only found one set, the hexer set. And it requires Twinkling. So I haven't upgraded it yet. I'm pretty far into the game on this character and I've yet to find any other mage specific armor sets or pieces.So I might start upgrading this one.

I used the Lion Mage set (darksouls2.wiki.fextralife.com/Lion+Mage+Set) for my magicman. Each piece increases casting speed.

#16 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

As a rule, I never upgrade armor with twinkling titanite, unless I know for a fact that I'm going to be sticking with it (so, not until NG+ probably, though there are some farming spots), and twinklies are plentiful. Same goes for regular armor, unless I've got plenty of regular/large/chunks of titanite, which is usually around 3/4 of the way through. But paradoxically, armor actually matter less on NG+, because enemies and bosses do so much damage that you're likely to be 2 or 3-shot regardless of what you're wearing. As long as I'm below <70%, I don't care that much. I'll wear something that looks cool and offers at least decent protection, rather than trying to min/max to squeeze every last drop out of my available equip weight, because it just doesn't matter that much later on.

I did roll around in full Faraam for a while and fully upgraded the chest armor and got the rest most of the way, to +7ish. But I've ditched it since for a new look.

#17 Posted by Sterling (2136 posts) -

@groin: Doesn't seem to be as good as the hexer set. I have a ring that increases speed already. And the hexer hood increases cast numbers and +1 to faith and INT. Also the armor and magic resits are much higher. I remember having to use a branch of yore to get that too.

#18 Edited by SoldierG654342 (1758 posts) -

@sterling said:

For my first character I upgraded what ever I liked. I upgraded a lot of armor.

With my second character I am doing a mage/hexer. So I am wearing light armors only. And I've only found one set, the hexer set. And it requires Twinkling. So I haven't upgraded it yet. I'm pretty far into the game on this character and I've yet to find any other mage specific armor sets or pieces.So I might start upgrading this one.

I'm at the Cypt now with the Hexer set and it's pretty much the best set for casters. More spell uses from the hood and the set gives you +1 INT and FAI. However, I have the entire set +4 right now and it's not making much of a difference in my suitability. Plus, I had to farm Armana to get all the Twinkling and that fucking sucked. You are better off leveling ATN and ADP for the i-frames, though upgrading it isn't going to hurt.

#19 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

@sterling: I did the same, but ended up mixing with pieces of the Lion Mage Armor (which you can obtain as soon as you have 2 fragrant branches of yore). Each piece of this set raises your casting speed and it upgrades with regular titanite. Defense isn't great, but wizards can't be picky.

EDIT: someone beat me to it. But yeah, it is a good set for different reasons than the hexer set. Casting speed stacks, so it'll make you even faster, even with the ring. Defintely keep the hexer hood/rag, but the rest of the set doesn't have that special effect. Personally, I kept the hexer body armor since I like the look, and used the leg and arm components of the Lions set.

Twinkling titanite can be hard to come by (until late game, or so I hear). So I like to combine armor pieces that require both regular and twinkling titanite and spread the wealth.

#20 Edited by Turambar (6709 posts) -

You find a lot of armor in this game, a lot better ones constantly. For example, Vengarl's armor is going to be your best armor for a long time. If you dump enough points in VIT, you can keep wearing better stuff. I would hold off upgrading till you get Vengarl's, that's mid-game. You can farm twinkling titanite pretty constantly end-game, don't worry too much. Did you fight the smelter demon yet? That's even better armor.

But be cautious with titanite chunks, you don't get em often unless you're in a certain covenant. You can buy infinite shards & large shards later on in Majula.

You can buy infinite chunks as well, though only after beating the game, and before starting NG+.

#21 Edited by Yummylee (21464 posts) -

I always leave it till close to the end really. Like you mentioned, there's a lot of armor sets so the idea of upgrading armour only to suddenly come across a better set--be it stats or just visually--is a common one. As such, for my first playthrough I only started upgrading once i found the Faraam set like @strainedeyes mentioned. It looks cool enough that I then decided this is my armour set! Plus I worked hard for it, having to beat all of those Ruin Sentinels one after the other. I was originally trying to farm the Ruin armour set at first, though the pieces are incredibly rare drops, and then I ultimately gave up once I found the Faraam set.

Fortunately because I'm now more aware of what armours are out there, I can plan in advance per character with what armour set I plan to upgrade. For my second character I was initially set on the Throne Watcher, but then settled on the King's armour... For my third cleric character I may finally roll with Vestadts armour, as it looks goddamned awesome, though for the sake of... I dunno, thematic consistency, I waited until I made a miracle character before I take it on as my 'main' armour set.

#22 Posted by freakin9 (1108 posts) -

Started a melee character, and have found myself just running around naked. Might pop on some armor for a boss fight on an occasion. It's freeing, keeps the privates aired out too.

#23 Posted by wemibelec90 (1597 posts) -

I stopped upgrading armor in DS after a few playthroughs and am doing the same thing in DS2 (unless I have a surplus of souls/ore). I would just not wear armor period, for light rolls, if I didn't hate how it looked; instead, I just wear anything that is light and looks cool. The few extra points of armor don't ever really seem that useful.

#24 Edited by Scratch (628 posts) -

So far I've consistently found better armor to equip and really haven't found a reason to stick to one particular set. Right now I've equipped myself with Havel's armor and greatshield. I don't suppose I'm going to find anything that will top Havel's set, but then again upgrading it requires a shitload of twinkling titanites which in turn are quite rare. I would much rather spend those titanites on weapons.

On a sidenote, I'm looking forward to finding Havel's weapon - Dragon Tooth - somewhere later on and then I'll be all set!

#25 Posted by Scampbell (496 posts) -

When I find something aesthetically pleasing and reasonably good, though weapons obviously comes first.

#26 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5352 posts) -

@scratch: It's not too hard to find and it's right where one would expect a dragon tooth to be.

#27 Posted by mlarrabee (2908 posts) -

There was a general sense that armor 'didnt' matter' in DaS1, but supposedly plays a more important role in DaS2

I've experienced quite the opposite. My fully-upgraded Black Iron set in Dark Souls mitigated damage by sixty to seventy percent, literally. It made strolling through NG+ and NG+2 laughably easy.

Meanwhile, my fully upgrade Drangleic chestpiece, with a DR rating of more than 1500, is doing nearly nothing in the sequel.

#28 Posted by development (2207 posts) -

Well, you can make your overall defense go from 500 to over 1000 by upgrading at least 2 armor sets, so to those saying it doesn't make much of a difference... you're wrong in many cases. With unupgraded armor you can walk into Forest of Fallen Giants and still get cut up pretty bad even late-game, but with upgraded armor you can just stand there and watch those hits whittle off tiny little slivers of health. It makes a difference.

These armors I'm talking about aren't too heavy, either, what with the couple relevant rings you may find that boost you equip load.

When defense is more important than stamina regen speed I'll wear heavy armor and still keep my fast roll. I think the Smelter Demon armor looks like something a 2nd grader would tell you looks cool, but the other heavy armors look good.

#29 Edited by Deathpooky (1385 posts) -

I didn't upgrade armor unless I had significant materials to blow and no weapons I wanted to use them on. At that point I'd upgrade whatever armor I'd been using recently, and who cares if I switch it out. But weapons are always more important and even shields are probably a better investment to get your stability and block percentages up over armor.

My experience, not quantified at all, is that getting the first few hundred points in armor makes a difference, but any effect beyond that is marginal. Pumping up physical or fire defense from nothing to 300+ will make you a lot more survivable. But pumping up armor from 500-600 to 800-1000+ really doesn't do that much. You'll still take a ton of damage and can't really tank the way you could in DaS1 going full Havels.

#30 Posted by MildMolasses (3218 posts) -

I've been slowly upgrading what I have, and fortunately I found some decent stuff. I got the leggings from those turtle knights and upgraded it twice. It's pretty strong stuff, and I have the strength and vitality to make good use of it. I do have other heavier stuff, but I've trying to avoid tanking everything, especially since I read things that imply that becomes nonviable later on

#31 Posted by Humanity (9006 posts) -

I upgraded the mastodon chest piece because I was pretty late into the game with a fully upgraded regular weapon and not only did it look cool but had really high stats.

#32 Edited by golguin (3868 posts) -

After I got my 3rd primal soul last night I finally decided to upgrade my armor because I was nearly maxed out on titanite chunks. I finally upgraded two pieces of the Alva set (chest and gloves) and the Alonne Knight leggings to + 9. I had been rolling in base armor since I switch out a lot of pieces, but I really like the look of the Alva set. I guess I'll see if enemies still hit hard as I was getting two shotted by normal enemies.

#33 Posted by Rudeboy217 (1766 posts) -

I know for a fact that I will be sticking with Havel's set and the Smelter Helm so I pretty much will sink any twinking I get into that during NG+. Also there aren't any more weapons that I want to upgrade since the one I'm am currently using does the job so armor is the only thing I would upgrade anyway.

#34 Posted by Karkarov (3054 posts) -

I did it when I got havels armor. I think if you're wearing armor that upgrades with plain titanate you should upgrade it because I ended up with a ridiculous amount of titanate towards the end of the game

Best advice right there. There are too many weapons that use twinkling to waste it on armor, go for normal gear you can upgrade with normal titanite. Also this will sound stupid but.... the best time to do it is after you beat the game but before you start NG+. Why? Because at that point the ore selling in Majula will sell unlimited shards, large shards, and chunks. So can pretty much upgrade anything you want to +9 as many times as you want as long as you can score the souls.

Personally since not getting hit, and or blocking is so critical I actually don't put much stock in armor and just wear what I think looks cool and matches my character concept. I went most of the way through the game using the Wanderer Coat matched with the Royal Swordsman legs, head, and gloves. These days I alternate between Royal Swordsman Helmet (I just like it, one of the best looking helms in game you ask me), the King's Set (minus crown), and the Alva's Set (minus helmet),