New Player Help in Dark Souls II is dedicated to providing helpful information to new Dark Souls 2 Players. While it does not attempt to replicate or summarize the playthrough guides or other information found elsewhere in this wiki, it intends to give new players the basic tools to have success at playing Dark Souls 2.


What can I find in New Player Help for Dark Souls 2?

This page includes FAQs, tips for PvE (player versus engine or environment) and PvP (player versus player), a dictionary of common acronyms unique to the Dark Souls community, links to helpful pages such as character creators and damage calculators, and lastly a list of Wiki members who have volunteered to be available to help players with simple questions that often clutter the message boards. Also, before you ask a question, try to find the answer by searching on the wiki. Almost everything you need to know about the game is contained in this wiki. Feel free to add to this page as you see fit (see "Notes" at the bottom of the page before editing please)

Please Read These Pages Before Getting Started!

The following pages include a lot of information not shown on this page that can help or guide new players to important concepts for Dark Souls 2.

  • Weapons: This page shows all weapons and their stats/requirements. It can help you when planning out a character
  • Classes: Learn about the 8 available classes in the game, their strength and weaknesses, starting equipment and how they compare to each other.
  • Combat: Learn about combat mechanics and how they work.
  • Shields: This page shows all shields and their stats/requirements. It can also be very helpful.
  • Armor: This page shows all armor and their stats. It also has a link to a useful page that compares armors by ratio.
  • Tools and Calculators: Sortable tables, Summon Range Calculator, and other useful pages for character and play optimization and assistance are linked here.
  • Builds: Check out this page to learn about our Builds as well as builds by our Dark Souls 2 community.


Dark Souls 2 New Player Help


New Player FAQs
General Guide
PVP/PVE Beginner's Guide

New Player FAQs

This is a list of commonly asked questions by new players and the answers to each. If you don't see a question you have to refer to one of the members listed at the bottom. If a question is asked enough, we will add it to this section. Please also see the Wiki's FAQ for questions not answered on this page.

What weapons or armor should I use?

It all depends on your preferred playstyle, which you will have to figure out for yourself. While every player will have their preferences, there is no true "ultimate" Weapon or Armor in the game, and mixing and matching is the norm. When you are just starting, you can view an image of your character's starting equipment during character creation. You will also encounter many other kinds of equipment and armor during the game. As a very general rule, heavier armor tends to offer better protection at the cost of increased weight, which can slow your character and make it more difficult for you to evade or escape. Other kinds of armor may offer better resistance to different kinds of damage, such as magic or elemental damage. Similarly, weapons with greater reach and damage may swing much more slowly, have higher stat requirements for effective use, be unwieldy in close quarters, or have other negative aspects such as a poor attack style or high weight. Finding the right mix of physical and magical defense as well as encumbrance is part of the fun and challenge of the game, as is deciding what weapon combat styles you like. To preview what armor and weapons may or may not work for you check the Armor and Weapons pages out.

I'm having trouble with a Certain part of the game, how do I beat it?

Having trouble with a particular enemy or portion of a level is an almost constant state of affairs in Dark Souls 2. For every player, there will be something they find insurmountable at some point. Do not despair. Nearly every challenge has more than one way to be met, as the game is carefully designed to accommodate many different kinds of tactics and playing styles. If what you keep trying does not work, you should try something else. If an enemy seems too difficult to take on, they may have hidden weaknesses in certain weapons or tactics, or there may be something in the environment that will help you defeat them. You can also try to summon other players to help you or refer to this wiki for more specific hints. But we recommend that you do everything you can to beat it on your own first, as this will (we swear) maximize the amount of satisfaction you eventually get from the game. And who knows, you may discover a new approach no one else has thought of yet.

I've got my weapon to +10, now what?

After a weapon is upgraded to +10 you could try infusing your weapon with an element or different scaling, in a fashion similar to Demon's Souls. Only one blacksmith in the game can do this, however, and it requires a piece of rare elemental ore. You can always change the infusion type if you have the appropriate ore, or remove it with a Palestone.

  • For more information see the Upgrades page.

What weapons can and cannot be upgraded?

All Weapons and Armor can be upgraded. However, Unique weapons/armor and Boss Soul weapons do not follow the normal upgrade path. Special upgrade stones are required, and they only go up to +5.

I messed up my character by upgrading a stat too high, how can I fix it?

You need to find an item called a Soul Vessel and take it to one of the Fire Keepers in Things Betwixt. It will reset all your points and you will be able to reallocate them as you wish. Be warned that there are only a handful of Vessels in the game.

What's the best starting class or build to use?

You'll find as you play the game that you develop your style of play. The starting classes are all fairly well-balanced and all are viable from the start. As you play, you may find yourself using a pure strength character or combining melee with magic. In terms of how you then develop your starting character, think carefully about how you level up as Dark Souls 2 does not allow you to undo any points you spend on your statistics until much, much later. Many items, particularly weapons and items used for casting spells or miracles, have minimum statistical requirements to be used effectively. Learning what weapons and equipment you prefer can give you guidance as to what your character statistics should be developed into.

Why should I master rolling in Dark Souls 2?

Rolling is a fundamental mechanic in Dark Souls 2 that can mean the difference between life and death in the perilous world of Drangleic. Understanding the nuances of rolling and the different types available is crucial for surviving encounters with formidable enemies. Rolling provides a brief period of invincibility frames (I-Frames) during which your character becomes impervious to damage. Properly timed rolls allow you to evade enemy attacks, making it an essential skill for any adventurer. 

There are three types of rolls in Dark Souls 2: Fast Roll, Medium Roll, and Fat Roll.

  • Fast Roll: Can be achieved by maintaining an equipment load below 30% of your maximum capacity. It offers the longest invincibility frames and the fastest recovery. It is ideal for characters focused on Agility and Dodging.
  • Medium Roll: Occurs when your equipment load is between 30% and 70% of your maximum capacity. It provides a balance between mobility and defense. It is suitable for characters wearing moderate armor sets.
  • Fat Roll: Triggered when your equipment load exceeds 70% of your maximum capacity. It is the slowest and least effective roll in terms of invincibility frames. Only advised for heavily armored character, that decide to sacrifice agility.

I'm bad at PvP, every time I get invaded I die. How can I get better?

Practice, practice, practice. Believe it or not, dying a lot at PvP is itself a form of practice and something most players go through. Whenever you are killed, think about what happened and why. Think about the equipment or tactics your killer used, and how you might beat them next time (or copy their tactics). It also can be helpful to summon other players to help you and to show you how to defeat certain tactics. See below for more specific PvP tips.

I'm trying to summon a phantom to help me beat a boss but I can't find any soul signs. What am I doing wrong?

There are certain spots in each level that are "hotspots" for soul signs. They vary from level to level but are most often next to the bonfires, and in some cases near the boss doors. The last problem you could encounter is you are out of the common Soul Memory range in your area. If you have obtained too many souls through excessive grinding or fighting the boss much later in the game, there may be fewer people available to summon. Refer to this wiki's Guide to Being Summoned for more specific information. Also, there is usually an NPC to summon as well.

What weapon upgrade path should I choose?

This all depends on what kind of character you are building. The Regular path is great for a pure melee character while the Lightning path is good for faith/melee characters, and Enchanted is helpful for spellcasters with high Intelligence but low physical stats. Refer to the link in the answer above for information on each separate path. If you want information on the individual damages check out the links in the section near the bottom, or check out the weapons page.

I hear all this talk about "character building". What does that mean?

Character building is how you level your character up. You essentially build the kind of character you wish to use. You can base this on a playstyle you wish to use, or off of a Weapon that you love. Your first few "Builds" will often be experimental and have little direction and this is ok. From them, you will learn what you want and what you don't need with a character. Every time you start a new build it will usually be better than the last.

What Are Bonfire Ascetics in Dark Souls 2?

In Dark Souls 2, a Bonfire Ascetic is an item that players can use to increase the difficulty of a specific area tied to a bonfire. It has both positive and negative effects, providing an additional layer of challenge and reward. It is a unique mechanic in Dark Souls 2 that allows players to further tailor their experience in certain areas of the game.

Using Bonfire Ascetics is ideal for Farming rare items and equipment that are only available in NG+ or higher, challenging yourself by facing tougher enemies and bosses. or unlocking specific covenant-related events or encounters tied to certain bonfires.

WARNING! Do note that burning a Bonfire Ascetic is irreversible for that specific bonfire. Once used, the associated area is PERMANENTLY elevated in difficulty. The effects of Bonfire Ascetics stack, meaning if used repeatedly, the area's difficulty will continue to increase with each use. The irrevible nature of burning a bonfire ascetic, make it a an unrecommended feature for newcomers and beginners to the series, but a great addition for veterans and players looking for an extra challenge.

External Links and Further Reading:

These are pages not on the wiki that can help you out. If you find a helpful source of information, feel free to add it here.
Walkthroughs hosted by this wiki: Here are some helpful guides and videos that can help you out.
A brief overview of some early game items that will help you get started on your journey in Drangleic:
- Dark Souls II Getting Started Guide - Created by NightHawk
- Comprehensive Beginners Guide

Wiki Members to Contact With Basic Questions:

These members have volunteered to be available to contact (personal message) with questions that are not answered by this page or this wiki. Questions such as "my stats are like this... What weapon would you recommend for me". Before you post on the bulletin board please message one of these people. If you're interested in helping out please post your username on the wiki, and if you're willing your psn and or xbl username.
Slangor_Nexus- both my psn id & wiki name.
Black dragon- Both my Xbl Gamertag & wiki name.
Notes for editors: This page is supposed to serve as a non-biased source of information for new players. If you are adding information please make sure it doesn't favor one style of play over another. Also, we would like to keep controversial subjects out of this page. So if you're posting tips, FAQ or external links make sure they don't introduce these subjects. If you find any redundant information that is posted somewhere else on this wiki please remove it and replace it with a link to the page it is located on. Please do not erase the names of people who have posted their ID's in the contact section. This exists to clean up the message boards and provide new players with the information that they want. Feel free to make additions, edit information, and even add new sections that you feel are needed.

Picking a Class in Dark Souls 2

In any of the Dark Souls games, choosing the class that you want to start with is always the first step. Dark Souls II gives you 9 different classes that you can choose from depending on your play style. Each of the classes gives you different starting stats depending on the player's preference. If you want to be a magic user, players would typically select the Cleric or the Sorcerer class. If you want to be a close-range type of player or a melee type, players would typically choose Warrior, Knight, or Swordsman. An advanced type of players, or players with experience with Souls games, would likely choose the Deprived class for its balanced distribution of stats.

We would highly suggest using the Knight class if you're completely new to Dark Souls games. This class allows a certain amount of starting stat points for you to build your character from. It has enough starting points to make a magic-based character, Strength, and dexterity. Here's a complete list of the available classes in Dark Souls II:

Best Time to Rest while playing Dark Souls 2

One difficult feature of Dark Souls II is the lack of a pause function or the ability to freeze the game to rest for a bit. Your character will always be vulnerable to attacks by the environment, even when selecting items from your inventory. The only time where you can sit down and pause is when resting at a Bonfire. Not only can you rest or do some errands off-game at checkpoints like these, but you can also save your progress here and respawn at the place of the Bonfire when you die.

What are Souls in Dark Souls 2?

Souls are currencies within Dark Souls II. These can be obtained by defeating enemies and bosses within the game. Souls retrieved from Bosses are called Boss Souls. Souls can be used to upgrade weapons and buy items within Dark Souls IISouls can be consumed to gain additional souls, which can then be used to level up or buy items. You can also use these to trade with a merchant for unique boss weapons or spells within Dark Souls II.

Best Way to Spend your Souls in Dark Souls 2

One of the best ways to increase the damage of your weapons is by upgrading them. More damage can result in a faster time to kill towards foes within Dark Souls II. So we would recommend spending your collected souls on upgrading your weapons using collected Titanite.


Understanding Stat effects in Dark Souls 2

In Dark Souls II, there is a huge number of stats that players will encounter inside the game. New players might think that some stats are not that important for the playstyle that they aim to build, but in this case, each stat has its importance for any playstyle in Dark Souls II. For stats, each one has its effects towards an in-game mechanic. If you level up your strength stat, it increases weapon strength damage of weapons and increases your equipment load. If you increase, Intelligence, or endurance, this will improve the players casting ability with spells. Here is the list of primary stats within Dark Souls II.

Derived Stats in Dark Souls 2

Derived stats are stats that improve or level up as you increase the points of your Primary Stats. It's important to understand Derived Stats so that you can see a better picture of which path you want to build your character on. 

  • HP - Overall damage a character can absorb.
  • Stamina - Overall ability to resist fatigue.
  • Equipment Load - How much the character can carry
  • Slot - Number of available slots for spell attunement
  • Cast Speed - Speed spells are cast
  • Attack Strength - Attack damage based on Strength
  • Attack Dexterity - Attack damage based on Dexterity
  • Magic Bonus - Attack damage based on Sorcery
  • Fire Bonus - Attack damage based on Fire
  • Lighting Bonus - Attack damage based on Lightning
  • Dark Bonus - Attack Damage based on Dark
  • Poison Bonus - Attack damage based on Poison
  • Bleed Bonus - Attack damage based on Bleed
  • Physical Defense - Defense against physical attack
  • Magic Defense - Defense against Sorcery
  • Fire Defense - Defense against Fire
  • Lighting Defense - Defense against Lightning
  • Dark Defense - Defense against Dark
  • Poison Resistance - Defense against Poison
  • Bleed Resistance - Defense against Bleed
  • Petrify Resistance - Defense against Petrification effects
  • Curse Resistance - Defense against Curse effects
  • Agility - Overall mobility and dodge
  • Poise - Resistance to stunning and staggering

PvP Tips for Beginners

PvP is Player versus Player. PvP is quite different from PvE (although the two can take place together) and many other factors come into play with PvPing. PvP occurs when you are invaded by another player who enters your world as a dangerous phantom. Alternately, in time you will be able to invade others as well or be summoned to defend a "host" player against other player invaders. Your first few times being invaded you are likely to die, but, just like PvE, every death is a learning experience. You are likely at some point to create a character specifically for PvP and this page is not here to help you with that. You are also likely to be invaded at a low soul level, or some point during your first playthrough while you are not prepared. These tips can help you survive invasions or at least learn something from them.

  1. If you don't want to get invaded, you can simply disconnect in the event of an invasion prompt. Online banning from disconnecting is not enforced heavily, contrary to initial reports. Human invasions in NG will be rare enough that disconnects will not warrant a ban. In NG+, however, you should exercise caution. A good way to nullify a potential death from an invader (if you choose to not disconnect), is to use a Ring of Life Protection or Ring of Soul Protection. Both of these rings will allow you to keep your souls and humanity in the event of death. While you are human or hollow you are vulnerable to invasions. At all times, you should be prepared to be invaded sooner or later (normally in later levels and especially in NG+) and pay attention to where you are as well as any warnings that you have been invaded. Those warnings include a specific message that a particular character has invaded you, a faint summoning sound that is unrelated to any summons you may have triggered yourself, and/or the sudden appearance of fog gates that do not permit you to pass through. It is possible to miss these signs particularly if you are moving quickly or have to idle for a few minutes, so pay attention. There is no pause button in Dark Souls II (except the Xbox dashboard and PS button) and you can end unwanted invasions using those options at any time. The primary rule is when you have already defeated the boss of a particular level, in which case you can no longer either be invaded or summon other players in that area even if you are in Human form. Note too that certain Covenants are believed to reduce the frequency of PvP invasions, as well as make it easier to summon other players in the same Covenant to help. 2.
  2. Always try and have a friendly phantom or two along with you. They can help you deal with an invader, including flushing the invader out or triggering ambushes, causing the invader to waste precious time, health, and spells fighting them, or even defeating the invader outright. These helpful phantoms may be summoned by their white or gold summoning signs on the ground, which when approached will show an image of the person you may be able to summon. Those signs, which are placed by that player in their own world for you to find in yours, can appear anywhere but are most often placed near bonfires. Having your own phantoms can even the odds, and you should let them take the lead in engaging your invader. Remember: your Estus flask will heal only yourself, your Phantoms are responsible for healing themselves. Staying out of the fight and healing can be a safer way to survive invasions. Also, note that summon attempts are not automatically successful due to anything from network connection issues to someone else managing to summon that player into their world first, so you may need to be patient and continue circling the area looking for new summoning signs until someone appears in your world.
  3. Keep an eye on the environment, look for possible places to hide and ambush your invader, or give them a fatal fall. While invaders will be ignored by the other computer enemies in the level (and may try to use that against you by hiding behind them or tricking you into fighting both at once), they are just as vulnerable to falls and other fatal environmental effects as anyone. At the same time, be wary of places you can be ambushed. A common tactic by invaders, particularly when they know or suspect they face not only you but up to two more summoned allies, is to hide around a blind corner so that you cannot see them but by rotating their camera they can still view your approach. A well-timed spell or attack may catch you and/or your summons unawares. You, of course, can also do the same thing to them.
  4. Pay attention to the invader's weapon and equipment when you see them. If they have heavy gear and are moving slowly, while you are much faster and use small weapons, a normal attack won't do much. Whereas if you are slower and they are faster you won't want to try and backstab them. Over time, you will learn what sorts of tactics an invader will often use if they are showing a particular type of weapon and equipment, and can try to counter it appropriately. Some basic builds to look out for are 1) Tanks, these guys are usually wearing heavy armor and large weapons. You have to be faster or hit harder to outdo these builds. 2) Casters. These guys are often carrying a catalyst and a smaller weapon. They rarely have heavy armor on and they usually have low vitality. However, they can put out a lot of damage so stay on your toes. 3) Dex builds. These builds are all about being fast, nimble, and scoring critical hits. If they can't get you by poking and dodging they're going to backstab you. They often rely on criticals or bleed effects to kill because their weapons often don't hit hard. Keep on your toes and try and stop them in their tracks. Also, keep in mind there can be hybrids between these three builds and many other build types exist.
  5. If you need to escape the invasion, you can head through the fog gate into the boss area, as doing this will send the invader home. However, you will still have to face the boss, so be prepared! At the same time, be wary of making an all-out sprint to the fog gate when someone invades. In most areas, invaders will spawn at certain set locations, and at least one location is often near the boss fog gate so you may run right into an ambush. Even if the invader appears elsewhere, they will usually do their best to get between you and the boss fog gate as soon as they can. Always assume you may run into the invader even if you are very close to the boss's gate.
  6. Items like Dung Pies and Poison Throwing Knives can destroy an unprepared invader. Also, always be prepared yourself. Keep at least a few bits of Poison Moss on hand if possible.
  7. As a beginner don't worry about "Honorable PvP Rules". These generally only apply if you summoned the opponent yourself or they summoned you for the purpose of a 1v1 duel. If you are invaded by force, don't be afraid to heal yourself or use cheap tactics to dispatch the invader who is trying to ruin your day.
  8. While not a direct combat tactic, you should also farm up Human Effigies whenever possible. The frustration of being killed by an invader can be lessened if you can quickly revive yourself into human form and obtain more summons by using one of your Human Effigies. This can also help you get through a level during the approximately 15-minute grace period you have following an invasion in which you can't be invaded again. A large supply of Effigies can make a big difference and is a common "must-have" for experienced players. Such items can be farmed from a variety of sources, but the easiest for beginning characters is any collection of Undead Dog enemies located near a bonfire for easy healing or resetting. The group after Lucatiel halfway through the Lost Bastille is one example. Keep in mind that they will despawn over time. Even if you are defeated, each fight will bring you valuable PvP experience in a more controlled manner than when you are frantically trying to get through a level. Just don't use them too much.
  9. Do some research or Youtube viewing on how to avoid ripostes and backstabs. Backstabs in particular can be very frustrating and sometimes very difficult to avoid due to certain gameplay characteristics, but you can at least reduce the number of times you are backstabbed through some research and practice.
  10. Burn a Human Effigy on the nearest Bonfire. This will temporarily disable all online interactions, preventing invasions, but you will also lose the ability to summon players for help. Plus, burning them is kind of a waste of a valuable resource.
  11. Try using a Giant Tree Seed; this will make enemies attack the invader as well. They're extremely rare though, so use them with caution. The invader can still kill the enemies too.
  12. This is the final solution: use only if you want to put an end to the invasions and none of the other tips have helped. The only foolproof way to stop invaders is by playing offline. By playing offline none of the invaders will ever invade you again. Of course, this also means no summoning your fellow players for help and no helpful messages to show you the way. Plus, you will still be 'Invaded' by NPCs at certain areas. Invaders are a tradition in Dark Souls, and being killed by one is a rite of passage.
  13. Wear a Ring of Life Protection at all times unless you are playing as a phantom/shade (and therefore unable to lose your souls). That way being killed by invaders will be just a minor setback. You can even suicide if you don't want to give the invader pleasure. It will only cost you the ring repair souls.
  14. Have your White Sign Soapstone (or the small one) in your equipped items and keep an eye on it. If you see it shaded (not useable) and you are in an area where you are normally able to do so, means you're going to be invaded. Knowing this gives a little more time to prepare for invader: recharge spells, disengage monsters, get your PvE gear... Also note if you have planted your summon sign and you see the message "Your summon sign has disappeared" also means you're going to be invaded.
  15. Keep in mind there are certain areas where an invasion can't happen, like Majula or a boss room (places where you are unable to use your Soapstone). There are other areas like Belfry Sol and Belfry Luna where you will be invaded constantly by the Bell protector covenant. Finally, you will be transported to another player world (even if you die you won't lose souls) at Doors of Pharros and Grave of saints, home for the Rat covenant, to teach you a lesson.
  16. Be wary of lag. Even if you see your opponent far on the screen that doesn't mean he is. Therefore, keep a distance from your opponent equivalent to a spear range even if he's got a sword. Also, always roll back (instead of side) if you are in a melee fight, to avoid seeing yourself teleported and being backstabbed even when you were facing the foe at all times.

Simple PvP Build Tips for Beginners:

At some point in the game, you may want to create a build specifically for PvP. Much like PvE builds these builds take some thought to create, but unlike PvE builds PvP builds need focus and finesse to execute. Some simple tips to create a good PvP build are:

  1. As much as possible, plan the build-out beforehand. Some of the links below let you do that.
  2. There is no more set Soul Level for a PvP build like in Dark Souls. Your total souls ever obtained, or Soul Memory is used for matchmaking. As such, you will want to continue leveling up as you play so that you are not outclassed by players who are matched to your higher Soul Memory. As your Soul Memory increases, you will inevitably be matched with stronger players unless you create a completely new character.
  3. Make sure you have a high amount of HP and Endurance since it can be harder to easily dodge hits from an opponent than from an AI-controlled enemy. Hybrid builds (melee+magic) are also a lot more powerful in Dark Souls 2 than in the original, so you will most likely want to have some type of elemental weapon and/or magic weapon buff available. It is not, however, recommended to use ultra-powerful ranged attacks (e.g. Sunlight SpearCrystal Soul Spear) in a duel, since it involves little strategy and is not very fun for either side.
  4. Planning a build around a weapon can be extremely successful, especially if you know the weapon very well. It can also be helpful to become skilled at weapons with relatively low stat requirements, freeing up points for use elsewhere. For example, remember that two-handing a weapon gives you a 50% strength bonus in terms of stat requirements, meaning if you only plan to two-hand a weapon you can save yourself some Strength points if you wish.
  5. Equipment and PvP experience matter far more than your character level. You'll learn what rings work and don't work, what armors suit you best and what weapons you find most effective. It just takes time. A careful arrangement of specific equipment can cover up for deficiencies in builds or make them relatively more powerful than others at the same level, by doing anything from increasing hitpoints to spell power to attunement slots. Fine-tuning a build with equipment can be very fun and rewarding. At the same time, pay attention to your PvP experiences during your first playthrough. It is common to die a lot when first learning the game, but you will see what other PvP builds have been created, and how they work without having to first make the character design yourself. Viewing invasions inflicted on you as a sort of audition for your future builds can help turn them into proper learning experiences.


PvE Tips For Beginners:

 PvE is player versus environment. This is you against the game. While there are no strict guidelines for playing the game, here are some simple tips to make it easier for you.

If you are the type of player that falls in every single hole in the game, therefore dying a lot, it is highly recommended you do this (NOTE: this will not work in Scholar of the First Sin, since the Ring of Life Protection does not appear in No Man's Wharf in that version):

    • Finish Things Betwixt tutorial.
    • Loot Majula.
    • Go to Heide's Tower of Flame and get a couple of phantoms.
    • At the platform with three giants, go right and face Dragonrider Boss.
    • Access No Man's Wharf.
    • Get a couple of phantoms.
    • Go to the top of the main stairs, turn left to the lighted room, break the bookshelf and get the ring of life protection.
    • Equip it at all times to avoid losing souls or humanity whenever you die. If you die, go back to Majula (you'll need to have freed the blacksmith by getting the key from the merchant at Cardinal's tower in Forest of Fallen Giants) and repair it. You'll get a larger supply of these rings as you advance to the game. Provided you're using them they work as arcade lives.
  1. Equipment upgrading is more important than leveling up. Since you use souls to pay for both, most times it is better to prioritize upgrading your equipment, plus leveling up will be much more expensive. That being said you have to judge when your character needs to level up. Also keep in mind that your level counts for very little in the long run, although it will gradually increase your overall resistances, and increasing Vigor helps with your overall HP. To upgrade equipment, you generally need two things: one or more pieces of Titanite of an appropriate size, and access to an NPC blacksmith. Keep your eyes open for all these things as you play.
  2. Learn enemy locations and attack patterns. While enemies can become aggressive when they see or hear you, the vast majority do not roam around on their own, and remembering where they are can make it much easier to avoid ambushes or group fights, and generally progress more easily through a level. All enemies, including bosses, also have a specific and limited moveset that is predictable to an extent.
  3. Be patient and cautious. You are rushing through can more often than not result in death. If you are new to the game, using a good shield can help a lot, and allow you to carefully observe opponents before attacking, or learn about their attack moves.
  4. I repeat: BE PATIENT AND CAUTIOUS. This game is all about careful observation and detachment while you learn about each opponent or situation/area. Don't rush to counter-attack the second you see a swing finish, wait and see if the enemy is doing a 3-swing combo. Learn and practice dodging, blocking, locking onto enemies, and circling foes. Do not get complacent; even the lowliest enemies tend to punish players that get overconfident and think they will just breeze through a particular area on the way to bigger and better things. Also do not make any assumptions about the safety of a particular travel route or jump. If the cliff looks a little dangerous or the fall looks a little too far, it probably is. Sadly, all the vigilance and temperance in the world will not save you in this game, which brings us to...
  5. Don't panic if you're going to die, as almost every death is a learning experience. Everyone dies, that is one of the main characteristics of the game. When you die, think about how it happened and how it can be avoided the next time. Also become accustomed to the idea that you will often lose your accumulated souls and health so that you remain calm and collected when you die. One of the easiest ways to make death worse and end up losing your accumulated souls is to panic after death and try to sprint back to your bloodstain as quickly as possible. Be patient and doubly cautious the next time; your souls will still be waiting for you.
  6. Avoid fighting enemies in groups if possible. Even the weakest monsters can be troublesome in groups. Try to lure foes to you one at a time, or use narrow doorways or corridors to bunch them up. If you do have to fight a group, try to have some spells or weapons that can hit multiple targets at once, such as a weapon with a wide horizontal swing, or firebombs.
  7. Magic or other similar abilities such as pyromancy can help a lot. Creating a build using one of the three types of magic: PyromancyMiracles, or Sorcery, can make a huge difference to how difficult you find the game. Even many characters focused on melee will nonetheless have some backup magic, pyromancy, or miracle ability just in case. This can also make the elemental weapons you find that much stronger if you have one, like Heide Knight Sword, that scales with one of your magic stats.
  8. Whenever you can upgrade your Estus Flask. That will increase the amount of healing it provides and can very well save your life in combat. You will need Sublime Bone Dust for this, which are rare items you will find throughout the game and that should be burned at the Majula bonfire to upgrade your Flask's healing power (max of +5). Also, keep an eye open for Estus Flask Shards, as they increase the number of uses you get (max of 12).
  9. Bows can be extremely helpful for drawing enemies out. Even if they don't do much damage, using one to draw enemies one by one out of a pack can make dealing with them much easier. Bows can also be an effective way to stand off and attack enemies who can't reach you. Crossbows are now a viable alternative for Strength-oriented characters, as they can now be aimed similarly, though they are a bit slower.
  10. Keep an eye open for shortcuts. Dying and returning to a bonfire just to face the same group of foes again is a common event and can be demoralizing over time. Thankfully, game designers have placed many different shortcuts throughout the game that can make your life a little bit easier. As you advance through a level, always be on the lookout for anything that might be a shortcut, such as opening locked doors from the other side, starting elevators, or raising gates. These shortcuts will remain open after your death and will let you get back through the area more quickly the next time.
  11. Don't be afraid to do a 'suicide run' to grab that shiny item surrounded by enemies. Even if you die, you still get to keep the item (just be sure you've spent your souls first, or put on a death-nullifying ring.).
  12. Studying the statistics and information attached to each piece of equipment can sometimes make a world of difference. Having trouble dealing with fire-based attacks? Switch to a shield with 85% Fire Damage reduction. The designers of the game were harsh, but not unsympathetic (we'd like to believe at least). For every enemy, there are multiple pieces of equipment to help.

Simple Build Tips for Beginners:

These are some simple tips on how to build a character for PvE. On your first playthrough, in particular, don't get too wrapped up in "perfect" build optimization. Instead, see what kinds of weapons, armor, and spells you like, and keep track of their state requirements for a better-designed second character.

  1. Think of how YOU like to play the game. Are you more of a mage-type character? Or do you like using massive weapons? Thinking about what stats you want to invest in is very important.
  2. When leveling up, level up stats that are relevant to how you want to play. If you want to wield massive weapons, putting points into faith may not be the right way to go. All weapons have minimum requirements to wield so keep this in mind also. Leveling up to use the dagger you just found may prove to be a waste of time. It also may prove to be the best decision you ever make.
  3. Don't neglect "necessary" stats. Having high Endurance and Vigor can oftentimes keep you alive. Also, pay attention to how stats affect your attributes. You may find that upgrading one stat gives you a set of bonuses, but another gives you the same rewards and then some.
  4. As hard as it may be, try and stick to a few stats. Leveling up everything equally may seem like a good idea, but often leaves your character spread out and weak.
  5. You will find that certain stats (Vitality, Attunement, and Adaptability) are useful in exact quantities. Figuring out, for instance, exactly how many spell slots you need and then setting your Attunement to the minimum you need will help you save on wasting souls and SL. In terms of Vitality, figure out what you need your equipment load to be (what percentage) and how much your equipment weighs, and then figure out the minimum Vitality you need. As far as Adaptability, most melee characters will want 15-20, while other characters may not need any. Although all three of these stats have other uses, you are generally better served by limiting your expenditure to what you need for your build.
  6. As far as PvE goes, the soul level doesn't play a large role. Being too high or too low in level may affect how easy it is for you to summon/be summoned but in the end, it really doesn't affect the game a lot. Becoming skilled with your favorite weapon(s) or spells and learning how to react to foes is far more important. No amount of levels will save you in the long run if you don't play carefully and intelligently, but if you do you will be surprised how far you can get even with very low levels.
  7. Finally, remember that in Dark Souls 2, you can respec your character using a Soul Vessel. This gives you greater leeway in figuring out which stats you need and when and allows you to make mistakes and try out different concepts.


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