New Player Help is a page dedicated to guiding new players on their first steps. While it does not attempt to replicate or summarize the playthrough guides or other information found elsewhere in this wiki, its intention is to give new players the basic tools to have success at playing Dark Souls.
This page includes FAQ's, 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 page before editing please).
They include a lot of information not shown on this page.
- About Dark Souls: This page includes basic information about Humanity, Bonfires, Covenants, Stats, Classes and Combat.
- Weapons: This page shows all weapons and their stats/requirements. It can help you when planning out a character
- Shields: This page shows all shields and their stats/requirements. It can also be very helpful.
- Armor: This page shows all armors and their stats. It also has a link to a useful page that compares armors by ratio.
- Character Building For Dummies: Tips and tricks on how to make a great pve/pvp build, while not giving you strict guidelines to follow.
- Recommended End Game Weapons: List of weapons to use at endgame.
Table of Contents
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 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.
A: It all depends on 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 out, 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. 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.
A: You'll find as you play the game that you develop your own style of play. The starting classes are all fairly well balanced and all are viable from the start, although the most challenging for a new player is the "Deprived" class which starts with little equipment. 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 does not allow you to undo any points you spend on your statistics. Many items, particularly weapons and items used for casting spells or miracles, have minimum statistical requirements in order 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. In addition, a common convention among players is to not put points into the Resistance statistic, as its benefits are usually minimized or lost as your character grows more powerful.
A: Having trouble with a particular enemy or portion of a level is an almost constant state of affairs in Dark Souls. 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 to 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.
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: First, you'll need to make sure that you are in human form; you cannot summon players (or be invaded) if you are Hollow and look like a zombie. Next, 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 level range in your area. There are often many players who are low level so typically the lower your level the easier summon signs are to find. If you are "over leveled" you may have a harder time finding summon signs because few players within your summoning range may be in active in that area. Refer to this wiki's Guide to Being Summoned for more specific information.
A: After a weapon is upgraded to +5 you have many options. To upgrade it further you must Ascend or Modify the weapon. To do this you go to one of the blacksmiths and choose the option "Modify Weapon". Some modifications can be done immediately by certain blacksmiths, others require embers to perform. For more information see the Upgrades page.
A: This all depends on what kind of character you are building. The normal path is great for a pure melee character while the divine/occult path is good for faith/mêlée characters. 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.
A: All weapons can be upgraded. Unique, Dragon, and Demon weapons however do not follow the normal upgrade path. Special upgrade stones are required.
A: Character building is how you level your character up. You essentially build the kind of character you wish to use. You can base this off of 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.
A: You can't; the game doesn't allow you to re-allocate points after you've leveled up.
PvE is player versus engine/environment. This is basically you against the game. This may be experienced if you play the game completely while Hollow (meaning you cannot summon others or be invaded), or in offline mode. While there are no strict guidelines to playing the game, here are some simple tips to make it easier for you.
- 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. 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 Vitality helps with your overall hitpoints. To upgrade equipment, you generally need two things: one or more pieces of titanite of various kinds, and access either to an NPC blacksmith, or an upgrade box (an item you can purchase during the game). Keep your eyes open for all these things as you play.
- 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.
- Be patient and cautious. 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.
- Be patient and cautious, yes that's a repeat. 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 around foes. Do not get complacent; even the lowliest enemies have a tendency 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, they probably are and you will die which leads to...
- 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 Humanity points and souls, so that you remain calm and collected when you die. One of the easiest ways to make a death worse and end up losing your accumulated souls and Humanity is to panic after a death and try to sprint back to your bloodstain as quickly as possible. Be patient and doubly cautious the next time; your souls will wait 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.
- Magic or other similar abilities such as pyromancy can help a lot. Creating a build using one of the types of magic: Pyromancy, Miracles 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.
- 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 Firekeeper souls for this, which are rare items you will find throughout the game and that must be given to certain NPCs in order to upgrade your Flask. Also remember that you can drink multiple Estus Flasks during one drinking animation, which can save you precious seconds of healing time.
- 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, and it is often worth a few points into Dexterity simply to be able to use a basic bow.
- 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, the 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 opened after your death, and will let you get back through the area more quickly the next time.
- 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).
- 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.
PvP is Player versus Player. PvP is quite different from PvE (although the two can take place together) and there are many other factors that come into play with PvPing. PvP occurs when you are in Human form, and 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 at 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.
- If you don't want to get invaded, don't make yourself human. While you are in Human Form you are vulnerable to invasions, and at a minimum will effectively lose 1 point of Humanity when slain by an invader and revived in Hollow form. When you are in Human form, assume you will be invaded sooner or later 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 and you can be invaded and killed even if you are resting at a bonfire. The primary exception 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, such as Way of the White, 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. Knight and Cleric characters start the game in the Way of the White Covenant, and it may also be joined very early in the game by others.
- If you are in Human form, 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 not only yourself, but your phantoms. Staying out of the fight and healing your phantoms can be a safer way to survive invasions until you gain more experience. 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 own world first, so you may need to be patient and continue circling the area looking for new summoning signs until someone actually appears in your world.
- 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.
- 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 they're 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.
- 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 gate.
- Items like Dung Pies and Poison Daggers can destroy an unprepared invader. Also, always be prepared yourself. Keep at least a few of every kind of moss on hand if possible.
- As a beginner don't worry about "Honorable PvP Rules". In fact unless you're in a specific area for the purpose of PvP don't worry about them. So don't be afraid to heal yourself or use cheap tactics to dispatch the invader who is trying to ruin your day.
- While not a direct combat tactic, you should also farm up Humanity consumable items 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 Humanity consumable items. This can also help you get through a level during the approximately 15 minute window you have following an invasion in which you will not be invaded again. A large supply of Humanity consumable items 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 Rat enemies located near a bonfire for easy healing or resetting. The group under the wyvern bridge at the beginning of the Undead Parish is one example, and another is in the passageways near the bonfire in the Depths. Notably, consuming a large number of Humanity items to increase your overall Humanity rating will also greatly increase your defensive ratings, aiding with invasions as well. You can also rely on such items to purposefully be invaded repeatedly. 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.
- 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.
Please learn these before going onto the Almighty Majestic Exotic Luxurious DARK SOULS WIKI CHAT
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 weapon, armor, and spells you like, and keep track of their stat requirements for a better designed second character.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't neglect "necessary" stats. Having high Endurance and Vitality can often times keep you alive. Also, pay attention to how stats effect your attributes. You may find that upgrading one stat gives you a set of bonuses, but another gives you the same and then some.
- 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.
- The Resistance stat is generally ignored by most players, as its benefits disappear as you level up normally. Unless you are doing a very low level build or have some other specific plan in mind, do not spend points on Resistance.
- Lastly, as far as PvE goes, soul level doesn't play a large role. Being too high or too low in level may effect how easy it is for you to summon/be summoned but in the end it really doesn't effect the game a lot. Becoming skilled with your favorite weapon(s) or spell(s) 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.
- Remember, level ups are permanent. There is no re-spec. Think about every single point you decide to spend on your stats. It is very easy to "outlevel" an area such that you can no longer summon or be summoned, or worse level yourself up to a point where you are exposed to invasions by much more powerful and seasoned players without having the proper experience to deal with them.
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:
- As much as possibly, plan the build out beforehand. Some of the links below let you do that.
- Typically builds are capped at soul level 120, so take this into consideration when you are leveling up. You'll probably get to the point where you'll choose a certain starting class because it works best for that build. Soul level 120 is the typical PvP level cap because at that point players will have enough levels to have high Vitality and Endurance (making PvP matches longer and usually more fun) as well as their specific preferred combat stats to be considered a full "build." Anything higher tends to blur the build by letting the character use any weapons or spells they wish. Keeping a build at or around level 120 also ensures that you will be able to invade or be invaded very frequently throughout the game, particularly in areas unofficially designated for formal PvP (such as the Kiln).
- Focus on 3-4 main stats. In many full level 120 builds, 40 Vitality and 40 Endurance are considered mandatory, particularly for melee builds that will require a lot of Stamina for attacks, blocking, and rolling. 40 is typically the point at which serious diminishing returns set in for stats such as Vitality or Endurance, meaning it is more efficient to spend other points elsewhere rather than push a stat beyond 40. The other one/two stats are up to you.
- 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 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.
- Hybrid builds (mêlée and magic typically) are harder to execute than other kinds of builds, but they can be deadly.
- If you plan to try to PvP in lower level areas, you will have to be even more careful not to level out of the typical level range for that area. Play the area a few times with test characters to find or confirm the level "sweetspot" for invasions or summoning, and then design your build accordingly.
- 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. 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 own future builds can help turn them into proper learning experiences.
- Many people recommend over leveling your very first character, this way you can try out all the weapons and spells and see what you like, then use that in a more focused build for PvP. A common practice is to keep your first, usually overleveled and/or "spread out" character around for testing purposes once you move on to another character. That lets you go back and try out other weapons, spells, or tactics as well as check upgrade statistics and the like without having to create and possibly then scrap a new character each time.
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.
- Dark Souls Wiki Forums: Players, Chat, Trade, Events, Help and Lore discussions.
- Dark Souls Character Creator: This page lets you create character builds. It lets you choose a starting class, add stats, calculate finishing level, predict defense, equip burden, resistances, weapon damage, equipment effects, spell, item discovery and just about anything else you can think of. Great for creating strict builds.
- Dark Souls Stats: This page offers more advanced engines for calculating the best starting class for a build, calculating damage, magic adjust for every weapon and catalyst as well as things like souls gained from pvp.
- New Character Creation: A helpful discussion started by UltimaZero regarding new character creation.
- Walkthroughs hosted by this wiki: Here's some helpful guides and videos that can help you out.
- Nightwatch: User made group dedicated to co-op. If you're having trouble with a boss or area these guys help.
- SeishinKizuna - Xbox360 - Vast knowledge of all Dark souls content, including PVP.
- Serious_Much- Varied builds ranging from Level 20-120 and human encyclopedia of dark souls. Just message here for help or add: PSN- HolyPK9
- ErrJon6661- Dexterity builds with some faith and pyro. Experiments with other builds and is beginning to use low level builds. Frequently invades as a Darkmoon and Darkwraith.
- UltimaZero (XBLGT: Ultima Zero) Characters are level 1-20 commonly found in Undead Burg or Parish teaching new players and protecting them from invaders.
- LordRevan - Xbox360 (GT: DaDrunkDucky) Lot's of builds up to Level 150. Message here or XBL for help with answers to any Dark Souls questions.
- Devokai - PS3 (PSN Devokai) Build optimization is my specialty. Vast knowledge of the game, please contact via Chatango PM or the wiki chat if you wish, thanks.
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 to your PSN and/or XBL username.
Notes for editors: This page is supposed to serve as a non-biased source of information to new players. If you are adding information please make sure it doesn't favor one style of play over an other. Also I'd like to keep controversial subjects out of this page. So if you're posting tips, FAQ's 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 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.