There are many ways to play Dark Souls 2 succesfully, but even more ways to get yourself killed fast. This page is dedicated to terrible gameplay strategies.

Avoid doing this in PvE:
  • Trying to block everything. Even with a good stability shield, blocking an attack is slow, will drain stamina and gives you less time to counterattack than rolling. Repeatedly blocking attacks will leave you with barely any stamina to hit back. If you HAVE to block, it's much better to retreat after a round of blocked attacks than to use your last bit of stamina for an attack!
  • Blindly trusting messages from other players. There are many trap spots in Dark Souls 2, where it looks like you could jump to some hidden path, although in reality the hidden path is accessed from an entirely different spot altogether. This is most apparent in Majula, where lots of players try to jump to the exit point of the hidden path with the chime and morning star, resulting in mass bloodstains on this spot. It should go without saying that if you see a message saying "try jumping" surrounded by 10 bloodstains, you watch some of those bloodstain deaths before trying to jump.
  • Risky healing. There's nothing that will get you killed more often than bad timing on your estus flask. Especially without adaptability, drinking estus is pretty slow and is something you deliberately have to create an opportunity for. It's not a panic button.
  • Being dependant on 1 damage type. There are many different enemies in Dark Souls 2, with different strengths and weaknesses. Unless you expand your arsenal of upgraded weapons and spells beyond 1 damage type, you will find yourself with a crippling disadvantage at some point in the game.
  • Forgetting/Refusing to use the Ring of Binding. On the bridge before the Old Dragonslayer boss battle there is a chest with the Ring of Binding in it. Using it will allow you to keep your max HP at acceptable levels for progressing through the game, even after repeated deaths. As an alternative to Ring of Binding you can use the Ring of Life Protection to prevent hollowing, but it has to be repaired at a blacksmith after every death. Not using rings to preserve humanity will cause you to run out of Human Effigies fast.

Avoid doing this in PvP:
  • Spamming attacks or blocking. If you miss one or two attacks, stop attacking and play it safe until your stamina bar is full again. If you block a couple of attacks, try rolling away. If you don't conserve stamina you're a very easy kill in PVP.
  • Casting lightning spear. I know it works on players who are absolutely clueless, but most players know by now that you can roll through lightning spears easily and land some easy hits on the fool using them. Emit Force is better in PVP.
  • Getting greedy. Don't use your last bit of stamina for an attack unless you're absolutely sure your opponent will not be able to retaliate. Use your last stamina for a roll or short sprint instead to avoid being completely vulnerable for a while.
  • Spamming Avelyn. This should go without saying. Although not a bad strategy for simply winning duels, spamming this thing is the polar opposite of honorable combat and should be avoided, unless you like receiving 'fanmail'.
  • Underestimating opponents. Try to find out ASAP which weapons and/or spells your opponent uses, and also look at his armor and guess whether he has low/medium/high resistances and poise. Don't play too agressively before you know what you are facing, and whether you have the advantage or not.
  • Playing with fire. Pyromancies such as Flame Swathe and Firestorm should ALWAYS be avoided. Both can one-shot you, are available to everyone relatively early and are easy to dodge. Do you see your opponent raising his fiery hand and slamming it on the ground? That's Firestorm, keep a healthy distance or you die.

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