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Dark Souls 2: 10 Essential Beginner Tips

Dark Souls 2: 10 Essential Beginner Tips

Are you prepared to die? No? Well you are in luck, weary traveler. We’ve already explored the treacherous worlds of Dark Souls 2 from front to back and come up with ten essential tips that every new adventurer should keep in mind.

Conserve Estus
Since bonfires respawn all enemies in the area, you need to be careful where you rest and restore your Estus supplies. When exploring, use Lifegems or curative magic to slowly recover lost life rather than Estus as much as possible – the quick fix from your flask will prove far more useful should you wander into a boss room by mistake and get battered. Top tip: there’s an easy Estus Shard in the well in Majula.

Travel Light
Weight isn’t quite as crucial or as clearly defined as in Dark Souls, but it’s still an important factor. The lighter you are, the quicker your dodge roll will be, the less Stamina it’ll cost and the more invincibility it has – in some situations, nimbly rolling through multiple attacks will serve you far better then simply keeping your shield up and inevitably having your guard broken. Try to stay below about 75 per cent capacity and keep some light armour spare, just in case.

Hit Chests
We know that you want the treasure and we know that you want it now. But get into the habit of tapping chests with a weak weapon before you open them and you’ll probably avoid all manner of horrible deaths, from rude gas traps to devious Mimics. The latter are the worst – traps you can roll away from as they activate if you’re quick enough but as soon as you see the teeth, you’re Mimic food.

While you can quite easily spread your progression points around and make a balanced character, you’ll likely find the ordeal far easier if you focus on a few key stats – ideally those that are already strong on your starting class. Pour the majority of your upgrades into your primary damage stat, be it STR, DEX or INT. In an ideal world, you won’t be getting hit anyway, so this will help maximize your damage output.

Tech Bonus
Keeping your guard up isn’t the only way to avoid damage, you know. In some cases, the two flashier options – rolling and parrying – actually work better. A heavy slam will often shatter your guard but a well-timed roll will leave you plenty of stamina with which to launch a counter-attack. Similarly, even though the parry no longer guarantees a free critical, it can be used to interrupt predictable combos.

Learn Bosses
You might think you can take a boss first go, but it’s seldom worth the risk. Bank whatever souls you can if you think a boss is coming, then spend much of your first run sizing them up. Keep your shield up and learn each of their attacks, combos and variants, pushing in and pulling back to see what they do at all ranges. Once you feel you’re fully educated, go in for the kill!

Mix It Up
As much as we’d advise you to focus on one particular attack stat, it pays to have multiple offensive options. Whatever your proficiency, you’ll likely stumble across a different weapon type that still plays to your strengths – the Dragonrider Bow, for instance, scales with STR making it an awesome ranged option for melee builds, and these kinds of crossover weapons aren’t too uncommon. Keep your eyes peeled…

Grind Away
Once you’ve got a half-decent weapon and have put a few points into your main stat, head down the tunnel from Majula to the Tower Of Flame – the Old Knights here may hit hard but they’re so slow that they’re dead easy to kill and yield 400 souls a pop. Which, early on, is a big deal. You can always burn a Bonfire Ascetic to bring them back, but bear in mind that they’ll be tougher forever.

Well Open
The Cat Ring should be an early purchase – visit the cat in Majula and pick it up for 13,000 souls and once your health is looking good, equip the ring and carefully drop down the gaping hole in the main hub. There are some great items to be found and first area ain’t so bad, although The Gutter is a pain. Still, the Fragrant Branch Of Yore near the bottom will open a new route from Majula, so get on that and expand your horizons.

Scale Mail
Raw power isn’t the only item stat you should be looking at. Particularly as your base stats improve, scaling (that letter at the bottom) matters more and more – the letter shows how much bonus damage/defence you’ll get based on the stat the item scales to. With scaling ranging from none (awful) to S (amazing), keep an eye out for gear that confers bonuses to your specific build.

Need more Dark Souls 2 help or advice? Head over to our Help Hub and see if we’ve got the answer you need. And if not, ask us on Twitter and we’ll see what we can do to help!


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  • Hates bad writers.

    These aren’t tips at all, it’s basic shit you learn the moment you start playing. Bad article is bad. Why write garbage that they’ll learn within minutes of playing? Oh that’s right, you’re an ad whore.