Could I get some spoiler free advice for a dark souls n00b?

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#1 Edited by CookieMonster (2517 posts) -

Hey I just got this yesterday and, like most other people, have no idea what I am doing. Any spoiler free tips would be great!

PS One thing I'm confused about is keeping souls or using them. Is there any benefit to keeping them?

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#2 Edited by impartialgecko (1867 posts) -

Souls are your currency and XP all rolled into one. Dying will cause you to lose all your souls and will leave a bloodstain that you'll have to make your way back to in order to get them back. They are kind of a finite resource. You use them to level up, purchase and upgrade gear and buy items. Don't treat them like they're crazy valuable though, because that will lead to some stupid mistakes. You can spend souls with the lady by the fire in Majula to level up. This should be your first port of call. Hope that helps!

In addition, don't get hit. Or if you do get hit, make sure you have your shield up. The souls games are all about having a shield on your left and sword on your right, at least for me they are. Try blocking a new enemy's attacks and/or rolling around them before you attack to get a feel for all their moves. Knowing your enemy's capabilities and patterns is arguably more important than knowing your own move-set.

Take your time. Be patient and don't take dying too hard. You're going to die a lot, it's not worth getting worked up over.

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#3 Posted by xdaknightx69 (480 posts) -

finish the tutorial and just go from there i guess, for Boss fights try not to rush and kill them, take your time and learn the animations and when you can get your damage in, there is no benefit to keeping souls, you might lose them anyway, better to use them to level up or buy life gems or items.

oh and talk to the NPC venders after killing boss's and exhaust their dialogue options, they might give you items in return or get new ones in their inventory.

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#4 Edited by Karkarov (3385 posts) -

@cookiemonster said:

PS One thing I'm confused about is keeping souls or using them. Is there any benefit to keeping them?

Since multiplayer is now based on soul memory (meaning how many souls you have collected over the history of the character) and not soul level (your actual level) then no, there is no reason to "bank" souls. At least not until new game + when there could be a couple reasons for it, I won't spoil those though.

For starter advice I would just say go to the forest of giants first. Don't feel like you have to do "everything" there though, some later parts of it can be very hard to new characters. Once you are satisfied with that I would go off to the Hiede Tower which is actually much easier than it looks, don't let it intimidate you.

General advice!

Experiment with weapons and use what works for you, any weapon even a lowly cestus can become really strong in this game with the right stats so use what you like.
Don't hesitate to summon help if you are having a hard time, there is nothing wrong with using a few allies to clear a challenging section.
If you run into something you feel is just too strong for you leave and come back later. There are tons of places to explore in game and you might have missed other areas that would be more suited to you.
Also @xdaknightx69 is 100% right, talk to all npc's until they have nothing else to say. This includes the "Talk" option in their menu if they are merchants.
Lastly there are one or two NPC's in game who won't talk to you if you don't have certain levels or higher in the spell casting stats. So if some npc gives you the cold shoulder and looks like a caster this is probably why.

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#5 Edited by Make_Me_Mad (3227 posts) -

Keep a close eye on your stamina bar, don't be afraid to spread your stat points out when you level up, upgrade your weapons and armor, and use select on menus to find out what all those damn icons actually mean. Being patient is more important than being 'good' at the game. If you can wait for the right time to attack you've got 70 percent of the game in the bag.

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#6 Posted by dudeglove (12728 posts) -

Basically the same tips as DS1

1. Examine/talk to everything multiple times until they repeat themselves.

2. Raise your adaptability stat to make rolling better.

3. If you're sword n'shield, keep an eye on your stamina. Without stamina you can't dodge, drink estus, or do anything really. In fact running out of stamina is bad times.

4. If you're a caster, use the binoculars to aim spells.

5. Keep your shield up at all times.

6. A bow and arrow is super useful for drawing out enemies.

7. Keep an eye on your surroundings, enemies can and will hide anywhere (on roofs, hanging off cliffs etc.), although not nearly as bad as in the first game.

8. Be summoned successfully for a free refill of estus and equipment repair, as well as boss practice before tackling the area boss yourself.

9. Use whatever weapon feels good to you.


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#7 Posted by Bane (730 posts) -

In no particular order:

  • Don't hoard your souls. Unless you're saving souls for a particular reason spend them or lose them!
  • Smart observation and patient exploration is the name of the game.
  • Don't button mash. If you button mash, you die.
  • Talk to people until they start repeating themselves. Talk to them again after notable events.
  • If you're exploring a new area keep your guard up at all times. There's no sense in giving an unseen enemy a free hit!
  • All the different weapon types have different movesets. Some weapons have different moves than the others of the same type. Try them all at least once and use the one that has the moveset you like the most.
  • Some weapons, axes and polearms in particular, have a sweet spot. Hitting an enemy with the head of the halberd does more damage than hitting it with the shaft.
  • If mobility is important to you pay close attention to your equip load. I always kept my equip load below 70% so I didn't "fat roll".
  • Before fighting a boss for the first time put down your summon sign and wait to be summoned. It's a good way to practice the boss, and if you're successful in helping to defeat it you get fully replenished: turned human, health and spells restored, and gear repaired.
  • Read all the item descriptions. Some things have effects that aren't obvious on the stats screen and can only be seen in the description. Besides that, item descriptions are where most of the lore comes from if you're interested in that.
  • Pay particular attention to what you're getting for leveling a stat. Eventually you'll start seeing diminishing returns, and at that point you may want to think about branching out into other stats. Adding some faith to your melee character for heals and the ability to throw lightning spears is always a good time!
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#8 Posted by Capum15 (5749 posts) -

If you ever need some extra, risk-free souls, drop a White Summon Sign near a bonfire and get summoned to help others (most bonfires should be fine, though some have low traffic). In addition to getting to know an area / boss, you won't lose anything if you die (or the host dies) except for weapon/armor durability and items/spells that you used, which you can refresh instantly (well, not items obviously) if you are at a bonfire.

Obviously only works if you are considering the online stuff. You can get an absolutely stupid amount of souls if you put time into being summoned, so it's not such a finite resource.

Also, it never hurts to learn to dodge. My first run was a dual Caesti run so I had to dodge. I'm not sure if I could ever do a non-dual Caesti run now, it's just so fun.

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#9 Posted by development (3013 posts) -

There is always money in the banana stand.

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#10 Posted by jacksukeru (6582 posts) -

Spend some time digging through the menus and try to make sense of what they tell you. It's kind of a lot to take in, in the beginning but DSII is a long game anyway. There is no reason to rush to learn everything.

Use summoning liberally, it's fun and good practice when you get summoned to help others, only stay away from it if you want to experience every area on your own first. You should also know that bosses get a health boost for every summoned player (a player can summon a maximum of 2 helpers) so sometimes it can be easier to fight a boss on your own or with a single other player than with two additional people.

Take note that each death slowly reduces your maximum health, down to a minimum of 50% of your regular max health. You can use items to restore your max health to its original level, but these items are somewhat limited. Therefore the easiest way to restore yourself in most cases is by being summoned to another player's world to help them for a bit, using either the white soap stone or the small white soap stone. These are found early in the game.

Summoned players are summoned on a time limit. The white soap stone is designed for going through most of a level and taking out a boss, so its time limit is generous, while the small white soap stone lasts a much shorter time so you can get your life back quicker. Every time an enemy is killed when you've been summoned and you its souls the time limit is reduced a little bit, when the timer runs out or when you defeat a boss you are sent back to your world and your life meter is restored to its max value. Your items' durability are also repaired, unless they were broken, and your spell uses are restored. If you or the host dies before your time limit runs out you are simply sent back in the state you are in.

You need to be "alive" to summon other players, that is, you need to have your max life at 100% and not reduced by any deaths. You can easily tell by the look of your character since they change significantly between being fully alive and having died once.

Good luck.

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#11 Edited by Tennmuerti (9136 posts) -

Kill the bitch next to Mejula bonfire with the green cloak you get an infinite return teleportation item, from the very start!

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#12 Edited by Loafsmooch (545 posts) -

Don't forget to praise the sun!

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#13 Posted by CookieMonster (2517 posts) -


Seriously though, I'm enjoying it. Thanks for all the advice guys. However, I'm barely into the game and all this soul management is giving me a headache. Also, I don't have xbox live gold so I guess I can't do that summon stuff?

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#14 Posted by inevpatoria (7090 posts) -

Kill the bitch next to Mejula bonfire with the green cloak you get an infinite return teleportation item, from the very start!

"Bearer . . . Seek . . . Seek . . . Lest . . ."

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#15 Posted by Sweep (10201 posts) -

Huh. I'm not sure how summoning works in regards to Xbox Live membership. That could make your adventure somewhat more problematic. While it is possible to solo every boss, some are understandably harder than others, and while attempting to solo the entire game is very noble, I have neither the patience nor skill.

Two bits of advice:

  • There's no "right" way to play. There are dozens of weapon, item and magic combinations which are all equally effective. Find a weapon and playstyle that works for you. Lots of players force themselves into a weapon that does more damage, but if you find something obscure that has an animation and range that best suits your playstyle, it's just as valid.
  • If you get lost, or stuck, look elsewhere. There are lots of areas which you might think you have cleared but that will have changed slightly if you ever revisit them. The central path tends to occasionally split, which means there's usually an alternative to whatever bottleneck you're stuck behind. I managed to complete almost the whole game without ever visiting No Man's Wharf. The only reason I found it was because I stumbled into the exit of that area in the lost Bastille. I'm kinda glad though, as that area looks like a total ballache...
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#16 Edited by Zevvion (5238 posts) -

@sweep said:

Huh. I'm not sure how summoning works in regards to Xbox Live membership.

No summoning if you don't have Gold. Obviously. Same as Watch Dogs if you don't have Gold or PS Plus. Same as Destiny Strikes if you don't have Gold or PS Plus.

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#17 Posted by dudeglove (12728 posts) -

@sweep said:

I have neither the patience nor skill.

Two hand a great shield + butterfly set + circle strafe = poison everything.

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#18 Posted by Capum15 (5749 posts) -

@sweep: No Man's Wharf is pretty easy if you have a spare Pharros Lockstone or an abundance of torch time.

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#19 Posted by Sweep (10201 posts) -

@zevvion: Not as simple as that though, is it. Can you still read other people's messages, for example? Not having access to stuff like that is potentially game breaking.

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#20 Posted by Zevvion (5238 posts) -

@sweep: There is nothing game breaking about it. You can play Dark Souls and Dark Souls II entirely offline and not miss any quest or item. You just won't be able to play online. Which makes sense.

For the record, you will be able to see bloodstains and messages since those features don't need to pass a subscription check. They just require you to be online (for obvious reasons).

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#21 Posted by Kaos999 (57 posts) -

Dont get stuck on shield and sword tactics, experiment around with different styles until one feels right for you. No wrong way or right way when it comes to playstyles. Also there's an item that resets your stats so no need to worry about being stuck with a playstyle you dont like after playing for a while, though it is limited in amount of uses.

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