Get the fire longsword early since that will scale with what you're doing.
I actually am going INT/STR so I used a bonfire ascetic on Duke's Dear Freja to get the Moonlight Greatsword which scales with Int. I also got the Blue Flame sword which acts as both a sword and a catalyst/wand to cast spells (you cast spells with R2.) The Blue Flame will drop from an NPC invader on your way to the NG+ version (or using bonfire ascetic on the bonfire before the boss) of DdF.
I found the game to be a little easier than Dark Souls 1 - after they released the patch that allowed you to turn human after helping someone beat a boss. Before that it was tough managing human effigies but after that I would just help someone with a boss, get the tricks down pat, and then take it on myself.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Souls 2 and it was the perfect difficulty for me.
It doesn't happen often in the gaming industry but when it does I'm impressed - they completely revitalized a game and made it better than it initially was. Final Fantasy XIV did it and not Diablo 3 did it. It's the game it should have been and the teams need to be commended.