Game Progress Route in Dark Souls II tackles a recommended route for the main story of the game. This guide shows the optimal path to take to avoid missing objectives, important NPCs, and many more without too much backtracking. This page only contains an overview of the game's main quest that will lead the player to reach the ending of the game. For a detailed guide on fully completing the game, visit the Guides & Walkthroughs page.
Dark Souls 2 Game Progress Route
Once the Cinematic intro finishes move forward towards the undergrowth, then head up the stairs leading to the bridge. Once you arrive at the bridge, make your way across and get inside the hut in front of you. As soon as you enter the hut, another cutscene will play through which then will lead you to the character creation section. For character creation, visit the Starting Classes page to further determine which starting class you want to start with. Once you're done creating your character, make your way outside the door and head toward the cart located to your left. Grab the torch and the soul of a lost undead, then make your way toward the Bonfire to save your early progress. Once the Bonfire ignites, go through the right-hand side through a gap and you'll see some mist on your left. Head through the mist and this is where you'll start your tutorial toward combat mechanics. Once done, collect your dagger on the top of a hill to your left and slay the pair of enemies there. Afterward, make your way back to the path you took earlier and walk towards a new patch of mist where combat mechanics will begin. After the tutorial, head to the far end of the area to collect your Amber Herbs.
Move your way downwards through the path and enter the next patch of mist that you encounter. Once inside, you'll find a tree to the right where you'll have to clatter down to get to the top of it. Upon reaching the top, kill the enemy nearby and jump right down to fight a monster ready to take you out. Once the monster dies, climb up the ladder just ahead of you and then make your way through the next patch of Mist.
Turn left and slay enemies that spawn. You'll have to clatter down near a tree again to get over the gap. Keep heading left until you reach the end of the path and you'll find yourself the Hub of Majula.
Once you reach Majula, take your time to explore the area to make the most out of the items that you can retrieve in the area. Move forward, then walk towards the fallen knight to the left to retrieve a divine blessing. Now, make your way in the opposite direction of the Fallen knight and head to an opening ahead. You'll find yourself in a tunnel where you can retrieve Homeward Bones and Lifegems. After a bit of exploring the tunnels, you'll come across a set of stairs that you need to go to enter a structure. Immediately head left towards a door where you'll need to slay an enemy waiting for you inside. Once you defeat the enemy, grab the item nearby which is called "Lloyd's Talismans". Once you retrieve the items, just leave the area the same way you came in and walk straight ahead. You'll come across a new bonfire where you can save your progress and take a quick break. Once you light up the bonfire, talk to a woman in green to the right of the bonfire, and you'll receive the Estus Flask which will allow you to heal yourself. Now, make your way over to the hut behind you and you'll encounter a stranger who's locked out of the hut. Make your way to the right side of the hut to find a LifeGem and a soul of a nameless soldier. Once done, head over to the far left to find another LifeGem beneath a tent. Head over to the right of the tent to find a door, and take the stairs going down. You'll come across an item called the "Crimson Parma" in the middle of the stairs. Once your reach the next floor, turn right and head to the hallway. You'll come across a lever that you need to pull, so press it and pass through the doorway that appears. You can pick up a "Broken Thief Sword" and a Soul of a lost undead at the very end of the room you enter. After looting, turn back and head to the stairs on the right-hand side and pull the lever when you see it again.
Head back outside to Majula and walk to the left path leading to a hill. You'll eventually run into a stone that you can kneel before to become a member of the Company of Champions Covenant. Once done, head back to the bonfire then make your way to the right near the cliff until you reach a new hallway. Just keep hugging the corners until you reach and get your hands on a Rusted Coin. Continue down the hallway until you see a passage to your left where you'll need to pull a lever which will end up opening a gate. Keep going on this path and walk over the bridge before moving left. You'll come across a plank that you can cross which will have a chest that you can open to retrieve the "Human Effigy".
Once you finish looting the items, this is where things will start getting a bit more interesting. head down to the river and you'll find yourself in the Forest of Fallen giants which is the first main area of Dark Souls 2.
This is where you'll encounter your first ever Boss Fight in Dark Souls 2. But before any of this, you'll be doing some exploring around the Forest of Fallen Giants. Start by heading down the river and retrieving a LifeGem to the right as your moving. You'll also find a Bonfire that you can use to save progress. Once done, travel through the river until you obtain another Soul of a Lost Undead. Carry on and slay any enemies that you encounter on the way to a ladder up front. make sure to pick up the Broken Straight Sword and some LifeGem items around the area. You'll find a gap in a wall that you need to pass through while being cautious about an enemy firing arrows at you from above. Once you get through, climb up the ladder on the other side and do not communicate with the knight nearby for now. You can get a chance to win a Heide Knight sword if you defeat the knight, but you are not worthy to take him on just yet. Once you reach the top of the ladder, be prepared to take on a duo of enemies waiting to attack you from a corner. After killing both enemies, walk up the stairs and then across the section. Turn right when you come to a small fork in the path, retrieve another Soul of a Nameless Soldier, and then move to the left path to reach the enemy firing arrows at you earlier. A Soul of a Lost Undead and a Shortsword are lootable items at the path's finish. Head through the mist and down into the area immediately below you. At the first chance, turn left, but keep a sharp lookout for the enemy who's lurking just around. Kill the three enemies who are lingering up ahead after dealing with the beast. Take the Wood Bolt from the chamber to your right that's just behind the barrels at the end of the room. Keep moving forward but be prepared for another enemy that's firing arrows, and an enemy that's throwing bombs. You'll find a ladder at the other end of the area as well as a buckler. Grab the item, and be prepared for the ambush of the enemies. After looting the item, climb up the ladder then move to the other side to get to the witching urn. Another enemy will be waiting for you here, so move back to the middle of the room and fall down the gap where the ground and walls have a crack.
After dropping down, deal with the enemies below quickly and head over to the opposite side to pick up another Human Effigy. To retrieve this item, you'll need to leap over the gap. Locate a nearby tree and grab the torch and a Soul of a Lost Undead below. Make your way down to the ground level and pick up a set of life gems. You'll find a Central cave up ahead that has 2 enemies waiting for you from the back, so be prepared before entering the cave. You can retrieve a soul of a Proud Knight here. Open the door to your left and take the Fire Longsword from the coffer on the other side. Retrace your steps up the tree, then pass through the wall opening. To return to the area's higher level, climb the stairway. After returning to the top, ascend the ladder and enter via the opening in the middle of the right-hand balcony. Upon getting inside, make sure to save progress by going to the bonfire. There will be a woman selling items nearby so, spend some of the souls that you've acquired from your earlier progress. When ready, climb down the ladder on the opposite side which is going far from the bonfire. While climbing down, be prepared for enemies that you'll encounter below. You'll also find a door that you can't enter from the side you're currently on, so make your way in the opposite direction and slay the enemy that you encounter until you reach a set of stairs that you need to climb to get to the bridge that leads to the other side. Upon crossing the bridge, kill the enemy that's waiting for you and make sure to pick up another soul of a lost undead. You'll find a locked door as you move forward, so make your way up a set of stairs and kill an enemy lurking once you enter the doorway. After slaying, the enemy, move through the mist and run to the tree to get to the wall upfront. Descend to the wooden platform that is directly below you. Kill the enemies that you come across as you make your way into the area, and be sure to take the torch. Return outside, and when you get to the door, leap down. Slay any monster that you encounter, then move up the ladder to the platform above you, up the ramp, and cross the roof. Jump to the next platform where another enemy awaits you. Turn right and jump to the platform below, then slither your way into an opening at the end of the platform you're currently on. Avoid running at max speed until the boulder passes by. Once the boulder has passed, go straight and pick up the Human Effigy. Continue on until you reach a man named Cale. Talk to him to retrieve a house key that you can use back at Majula. Now, exit the cave the same way you entered and head for the area where you need to climb the Stone Sword. Get rid of any enemies that get in your way once you get to the top. Once done, go through the mist and enter the room to your right which will have enemies for you to kill. Once dead, loot the items nearby and leave the room, then make your way towards a ladder which will take you back to a bonfire where you can save progress. After saving. you'll find a lift up ahead which will lead you below to a mist that you can enter, which will trigger a boss fight with The Last Giant. After defeating the giant, collect a large number of souls that's a reward for slaying the boss. Now, make your way back to the Bonfire and you'll discover a merchant waiting for you where you can retrieve the Lenigrast's Key and the Pharro's Lockstone.
Once you're back at Majula, go to the locked hut that you encountered at the start of the game and speak with the Blacksmith. Once done, go to a house to the right and use the key that you picked up earlier to open the door. Once inside, continue down the hallway until you reach a pile of books that has a Pharros Lockstone inside the pile. Retrieve the item and continue down the corridor that's to the left entrance of the building. Once you follow the path, head up the stairs that you'll see at the end. Loot the items that you'll retrieve in the area, and slay any enemies that spawn.
Once done, exit the building and walk to the left where you'll need to enter a chapel. Inside, take the stairs going down and walk through the hallway below. You'll eventually find another set of stairs which also leads down to a lever that opens a door. Pass through the door and go to the stairs on your right. At the very top lies the starting point of Heide's Tower of Flame.
It's essential to take note that the enemies in this area are a lot tougher than the enemies that you encountered in The Forest of Fallen Giants. So be a lot more prepared in terms of combat before entering this area. These 2 sets of enemies that you'll encounter before you reach the Boss Fight, so take care of those first before proceeding. Once you eliminate the first enemy, you'll encounter a Bonfire where you can save progress. After the second enemy has been defeated, there's a third optional enemy that you can fight. It's not necessary to fight against the third one, so feel free to just ignore that. Up ahead, there's a group of enemies that you can also ignore by just sneaking around the area, which can help you progress faster. It's up to you if you want to take the fight or choose to ignore it.
Once you reach the new area, you'll find the mist leading to the boss fight guarded by a creature. You can choose to fight the creature, or lure the creature out of the Mist's way and enter the Boss Fight with the Dragonrider. You'll also find a path on the left side that leads to The Cathedral of Blue which has the Old Dragonslayer boss Fight. We recommend taking the Cathedral of Blue path first before taking on the Dragon Rider.
After defeating the Dragon Rider boss, you can access the Wharf from this area near the bonfire past the Dragon Rider. Just head straight until you reach a spiral staircase and make your way down until you reach the walkway. Kill the enemies that you'll encounter until you reach a room with a lift. Take the lift and head below, then head forward until you reach a hole in the wall at the end of the walkway. Once through, this is where you will see another Bonfire and will meet Lucatiel of Mirrah once again who you can summon to assist in the boss fight later on with the Flexile Sentry.
This is where you'll start to make your way through the Wharf area. Do take note that you'll need to have a Pharros Lockstone in your inventory during the first area of the Wharf. You'll eventually meet Merchant Lonesome Galvan at the next area of the wharf. Feel free to sell junk to this merchant for resources.
After going through the houses from the areas in the Wharf, just continue to the edge of the pier and locate the bell at the end. Ringing this will summon a ship to the docks below. Don't forget to pull the chain that you'll encounter, so that it opens a door which is a shortcut back to the first area of the Wharf. Now, while progressing through the next parts of the area, you'll find Carillion of the Fold, a Sorcerer, sitting by the docks. He can sell you spells or Sorcery catalysts if you have enough intelligence. Afterward, head over to the ship to face the Flexile Sentry boss. Take note that in human form, you can summon Lucatiel of Mirrah to assist you with the boss fight. To summon her, just find the sign near the shortcut doorway.
After defeating the Flexile Sentry in the Wharf, you'll be transported by ship to the Lost Bastille. Upon arriving Rocky Shoreline, enter the cave and you'll find a lift that will take you up to the Lost bastille. Once up, this is where you'll find the first Bonfire of the area to save your progress. As you move on, you'll encounter a harmless Heide Knight(Unless provoked) that you can just ignore. On the otherside below is a Sentry enemy that you can drop attack which will lead you to a court yard where you can also explore. Now, make your way through the obstacles of the first part of the Lost bastille area until you reach a large room where you can either climb up the stairs and jump through a hole leading to a bridge with enemies, or backtrack to where you drop attacked the Sentry enemy and continue down the main pathway. You'll find an elevator that will take you up. Be prepared for exploding enemies at the top though.
Further more to this path, you'll eventually discover a new area with a bonfire to save progress. To the right of the boinfire is a workshop owned by McDuff. This workshop contains multiple items such as Titanite Shard x5, Large Titanite Shard x2, Iron Arrow x10, Heavy Bolt x10, and a Craftman's Hammer. Talk to McDuff after collecting the items and rest at the Bonfire. Afterward, continue progressing through the area and deal with any enemies that get in your way. Make sure to collect Gold Pine Resin on the way since these items can be useful for the upcoming bosses in this area. As you progress through the area, you'll eventually reach a small room leading to a misty gate that leads to the Boss Fight against the Ruin Sentinel.
After Defeating the Ruin Sentinel, make sure to collect the treasures in the room where you fought the boss. There are 5 rooms at the lower level which may contain treasures. So make sure to check them. Now, jump to a platform and head to the staircase on the left. Travel through the hallway until you reach the Servant Quarters Bonfire. From here, you may proceed to Sinners' Rise. Or, to the left of the Servants Quarters which leads to Belfry Luna.
After defeating the Ruin Sentinel, Head upstairs from the Bonfire and make your way to the door at the end of the Walkway. Turn in the opposite direction and head inside a tower where there are stairs that you can see leading up. Don't go up for now, and go through the archway to the left. To the right is a rooftop, now run and jump across to an adjacent roof. You'll find a ladder here, so climb up and enter the room with Barrels. Continue down the hallway until you reach the next room. Nearby, you'll encounter a hidden door that leads tp a hall that has another hidden door somewhere on the left wall. On the other side, you can retrieve a Bracing Knuckle Ring. You'll also be able to loot other items like the Golden Wing Shield in this area. Now head back to the room before you discovered the hidden door and go upstairs.
The next room will let you retrieve Skptic Soice which is used to lower Faith for a miracle, and also other items. This area also contains a Bonfire blocked by a petrified sorcerer. You'll be able to free him with an item inside the Sinners Rise area, so hold on for now. Head back downstairs and pull the lever that leads you out of the gate to cross a bridge. Run forward and ignore the enemies firing at you until you reach the mist that leads you to Sinners' Rise. Once inside, climb up the ladder and save progress using the Bonfire nearby.
Progress through the Sinners' Rise area until you reach a path to a massive castle with a mist door. This is where the Boss Battle with the Lost Sinner will occur.
Speak with Licia of Lindeldt at Heide's Tower of Flame to be able to get to Huntsman's Corpse. You'll need to finish all of her dialogues so that she will move to Majula. From Majula, you'll find her next to the cat's house and she will open the way to Huntsman's Corpse for the price of 2,000 Souls.
Upon entering, follow the dirt ramp until you reach the first Bonfire in the area to save progress. There will be a handful of enemies in the area, both melee and ranged enemies so be prepared for combat. Just progress through the area until you reach the 2nd Bonfire then proceed to the next area by crossing the bridge. After crossing, you'll need to find a key that unlocks a small building containing a Bonfire. Head over to the small bridge and follow the path until it splits into two, take the path to the right until you reach a hut guarded by enemies.
This hut contains the key that opens the small building from earlier. As soon as you grab the key, continue progressing through the oath until you reach the NPC invader. After taking it down, move to the path across the waterfall until you see a fog gate. Continue moving forward and you will eventually discover a cave with skeletons and cursing gasses. Eliminate the enemies in the area and this cave will clear a safer path for you toward the area Boss Fight. This cave leads back to the Third Bonfire that was mentioned earlier. Rest up and prepare for the Boss Fight beyond the Fog gate earlier. You will be battling the Skeleton Lord.
This area can be accessed using a long bridge that can be accessed through Huntsman's Corpse area. This is a zone that contains a Boss FIght with the Executioners Chariot and an NPC named Titchy gren that will offer membership to the covenant named Brotherhood of Blood. After defeating the boss, this is where the NPC will appear and offer you to join the Covenant. Afterward, light the Bonfire nearby and then proceed to Harvest Valley.
Harvest Valley can be accessed after defeating the Skeleton Lord. This area contains stronger enemies consumed with Dark magic. Be sure to prepare some Poison Moss before entering this area due to the area being filled with poison that builds up fast. Upon entering the area, just follow the path until you see a cave to your right where it has the first Bonfire where you can save progress in the area. This is where poison will start to build up in this area, so have your poison moss prepared. Keep moving forward and you will eventually encounter an NPC named Stone Trader Chloann. Exhaust her dialogue to get her to move to Majula.
After progressing a bit in Harvest Valley, you will encounter once again Gavlan the Merchant. Make sure you have items or junk that you want to sell since Gavlan will buy it all from you. Exit the cave afterward and deal with the Giant enemies that you encounter. Once defeated, enter the gate that the two giants were guarding and turn right to gain access to the second Bonfire in the area. From the Bonfire, head out to the open space filled with enemies and clear it. From here, you can either go left or right. The right side will lead you to items that you can loot such as treasures and chests. The right side path will contain an Estus Flask Shard and a statute that you can join by kneeling called the Heir of the Sun. head back to where you encountered the 2 Giants and to the right, you will see a ladder heading up. After a few encounters with enemies and obstacles, you'll eventually find a metal gate leading to a Fog Door to the Boss Fight with the Covetous Demon.
Earthern Peak is where you'll encounter the Baneful Queen Mytha Boss Fight. After defeating the Covetous Demon, continue moving forward until you reach the first Bonfire in Earthen peak. Lucatiel of Mirrah will also be there to talk to you. Now, head upstairs and head out towards the walkway. Eventually you will reach a room in which you need to turn right immediately after entering. While walking through the hallway, climb up a ladder that you come across and walk out to the ramp. Bring out your torch and set the Windmill on fire. Doing so will vanquish the poison around the area and also the area where you will fight the Baneful Queen Mytha. From the hallway, go right and go through the fog gate to discover the Central Bonfire.
On this path, you'll eventually run into Laddersmith Giligan who will ask you to pay if you want to use the ladder. Do take this offer because, at the top, you can retrieve a Pharros Lockstone and a Twinkling Titanite. Afterwards, speak with him again and exhaust all dialogues so that he can return to Majula and teach you the Prostration Gesuter. Backtrack to where you entered and from here, you will meet Mild Mannered Pate again who will help you recover a certain treasure which is accessible some place else in the area.
Head back to the Central Bonfire again and head up the stairs and climb up the ladder. You'll eventually reach a another bonfire near the entrance to the Boss Fight with the Baneful Queen Mytha. Save progress at the Bonfire and proceed with the Boss Fight.
After defeating the Boss, continue on to find the first bonfire of Iron Keep, down the stairs on the left, before the large bridge.
After defeating the Baneful Queen Mytha, head over to the next Bonfire located in Iron Keep to save your progress. After saving, continue on to the bridge until you reach the castle that you need to enter. Deal with some enemy Knights on the way. Once you enter the castle, turn right and into the hallway until you meet a merchant. Afterward, continue your progress by heading upstairs and making your way to an area where you need to press a switch that lowers a bridge leading to the Boss Fight. Once done, head over to the Fog gate and get ready to face the Smelter Demon Boss.
After defeating the Smelter Demon, go through the newly opened iron gate and save progress at the Bonfire inside. Now, proceed to the end of Iron Kee while slaying any enemies along the way, and you'll eventually encounter the oath to the final Boss of the area which is the Old Iron King.
Belfry Sol is an optional area within Iron Keep for players without online access wishing to level up the Bell Keeper Covenant. It's accessed by unlocking a wall using a Pharros Lockstone within the third area of Iron Keep.
Shaded Woods cabn be accessed back at Things Betwixt. Head right and you'll encounter Rosabeth of Melfia, a student of Carhillion of the fold. You can get her to upgrade your Pyromancy flame if you help her with the petrification. Enter the gate, and deal with the Goon enemies that come your way. Enter the room that you first encounter then go up the stairs until you reach the Shaded woods. You'll eventually reach a bonfire that has 3 paths near by. Take the left patyh going to the fog and progress further through the Shaded Woods. Upon nearing the end of the Shaded Woods area, you'll find the path to the Boss Fight in between two ruined towers. Go through the path and this will start the battle between you and the Scorpioness Najka Boss.
DLC in Dark Souls 2
To get to Drangleic Castle as the Emerald Herald asks of you, you must collect four Great Souls: The Lost Sinner, Old Iron King, The Rotten, and The Duke's Dear Freja. Alternatively, you can have a Soul Memory of 1,000,000 souls and be allowed access through the Shrine of Winter Located in Shaded Ruins
The 4 Great Souls:
- The Lost Sinner is reached by first going through Forest of Fallen Giants, taking the bird's nest to The Lost Bastille (after defeating The Pursuer) then going through Sinners' Rise. Obtain the Bastille Key to light the far left and right of the arena and make the battle easier.
- The Rotten is reached by going down the pit in Majula. To do so, buy the Silvercat Ring from Sweet Shalquoir and jump down the well (or pay Laddersmith Gilligan 3,500 souls to set up a ladder). You can proceed through the Grave of Saints, or simply fall to the lowest platform to skip that area. Continue on until you reach The Gutter, and go downwards until you reach The Black Gulch. The Rotten is at the end of this area.
- Old Iron King is more complicated; in Majula, go into the tunnel right of the mansion, go down and pull the lever on the left to open the floodgate, and continue on until you reach Heide's Tower of Flame. Defeating the Dragonrider will lead you to a cleric merchant named Licia of Lindelt. Exhaust all talk options with her and she will return to the moving contraption before the entrance to Heide's Tower of Flame. For 2,000 souls she will move the contraption and allow passage to Huntsman's Copse. Enter Huntsman's Copse and go through there to Harvest Valley. You will need to defeat The Skeleton Lords (Executioner's Chariot is optional) to proceed to this area. Then to Earthen Peak by defeating Covetous Demon. Once you have made it in to Earthen Peak and have reached the second bonfire, you will see a small stone walkway leading up to the center of a large windmill, light a torch and approach this area to burn the windmill and drain the majority of the poison pools in this area. This will make the area boss Mytha, the Baneful Queen dramatically easier. After defeating her, proceed through the opposite end of the room you entered to reach a lift that will bring you to Iron Keep. Progressing through this area will eventually lead you to Old Iron King.
- The Duke's Dear Freja is located in Brightstone Cove Tseldora. To get there, first, you must go through the Shaded Woods, a zone which is unlocked by unpetrifying Rosabeth of Melfia who blocks the contraption north of Majula, where Benhart of Jugo sits. Through the Shaded Woods, go to the Shaded Ruins, fight Scorpioness Najka and proceed through the Doors of Pharros zone and reach Brightstone Cove Tseldora.
Accessing the Shrine of Winter:
- Start at Majula, go to the Shaded Woods, and to the Ruined Forked Road bonfire. Near where you fight the second Flexile Sentry, there is a slightly hidden path that leads to the Shrine. The Shrine of Winter will open after you have defeated the four bosses listed above and lit the primal bonfires associated with them. If you have collected (not possess) a total of 1 million souls in your playthrough (or 6 million in NG+), you can enter the Shrine of Winter WITHOUT killing ANY of the 4 Primal Bosses, though it is easier to kill them.
Finding the King:
- Follow the path to the end to reach Drangleic Castle. Lead the Royal Swordsmen to the two golems and kill them in front of them to open the door to the castle.
- Continue through the castle, and you will find Nashandra, who beseeches you to find Vendrick. Kill enemies near the switch golem until you enable the elevator, and take the key that opens the passage to the Looking Glass Knight.
- You can now access the Shrine of Amana. Defeat Demon of Song to proceed through to the Undead Crypt. After defeating Velstadt, the Royal Aegis, collect the King's Ring in the room behind him, ignoring the large roaming hollow Vendrick for now. He is an optional encounter made possible later on.
- Equip the King's Ring near Vendrick's door in the Shaded Woods to open it. You will find it by going to the Ruined Forked Road bonfire and taking the middle path. Continue into Aldia's Keep. Which will then lead into Dragon Aerie and then Dragon Shrine. Here you will find the Ancient Dragon who will give you an important key item called the Ashen Mist Heart.
- Go back to the Forest of Fallen Giants, Cardinal Tower bonfire, go down the ladder, take a right across the small bridge the halberd-wielding Hollow Royal Soldier resides on, use the Soldier Key on the locked door and make a left from there. Equip the King's Ring near Vendrick's door to open it. Interact with the dead giant to enter the Memory of Jeigh. Kill the Giant Lord for the next key item, Giant's Kinship.
- Warp back to the Drangleic Castle, King's Gate bonfire, use the same method as before to open the door and fight the final bosses: Throne Watcher and Throne Defender, and Nashandra. Congratulations on making it this far! Though, the game is hardly over... greater challenges await you in New Game Plus and beyond. Good luck, and happy hunting!