The initial or game cycle, created upon starting a new character, is called "New Game" or "NG". Upon killing the final boss, and choosing either ending, the player's character will be thrown into the next game-cycle, known as "New Game+", or "NG+".
If the player continues to play through and beat the game with that same character, the cycle continues, with the third cycle referred to as 'New Game++', or NG++, and so on. NG+ is a significant jump in difficulty from NG, but from NG+ to NG++ the difficulty will only increase slightly. Difficulty will continue to slowly grow with each game cycle, until it plateaus at NG++++++ (NG7/NG+6) and beyond.
Moving into a new game cycle such as NG+ will reset all killed Bosses and NPCs, just like it was in the first game-cycle. The difficulty will also increase, because enemies will have more attack power and health points, and they will yield more souls
- The next game-cycle will start back at the Northern Undead Asylum, with the player retaining all the gear and items they had at the end of the prior game (and all items in their Bottomless Box will also be kept).
- NG+ will not let the player create a new character or choose a new gift.
- On the first NG+ many enemies have doubled HP, and will also deal significantly increased damage. This becomes more and more noticeable the farther the player proceeds into NG+, and can be particularly challenging with respect to bosses.
- The more powerful foes often yield up to three or four times more souls than NG, including some bosses.
- Souls yielded in NG+ vary from one area to another, but it's usually a multiplier of 2x, 3x or 4x compared to NG.
- After NG+, enemy souls and HP increase with a static percentage of the NG+ values. NG++ increases 7%, NG+++ 10%, NG+4 14%, NG+5 19%, and finally NG+6 (7th playthrough) and onwards has a 25% increase in souls and HP over NG+.
- Visit all locations and kindle all bonfires to the max.
- Make sure you have obtained all unique items like Titanite Slabs from treasures around the world, and killed the various Crystal Lizards.
- Purchase all spells, miracles and pyromancies as they will carry over to the next game and may be stacked with multiple copies.
- Visit the blacksmiths and upgrade your weapons as much as you can, as you will lose all the embers at the start of the next New Game.
- Farm the Kiln of the First Flame Black Knights for materials: they consistently grant Titanite Chunks of various kinds and respawn. It is also recommanted to farm the New Londo Ruins Darkwraith Knight for Titanite Slabs.
- Trade everything you can with Snuggly.
- Visit every merchant and buy items in preparation, as well as Humanity, Rings of Sacrifice, and Gravelord Eyes if you saved Patches the Hyena.
- Kill NPCs: You will get humanity, weapons, armor and Fire Keeper Souls. Besides, they will all revive for NG+.
- Killing any of the Fire Keepers will reset the Kindle on their respective fires in the next New Game.
- Killing Gwynevere will reset the chamber of the princess bonfire kindle.
- Most items and equipment will carry over, along with character Soul Level and Humanity, to the next game-cycle.
- Magic already obtained will also carry over.
- Current covenant membership and rank will carry over.
- Kindled Bonfires will retain their level.
- Estus Flask upgrade level will remain the same.
- All sins are absolved.
- Some Keys are kept:
- Most keys and key items will be gone.
- The Repair and Smithboxes will be gone.
- All the Embers have to be found again.
- The Covenant of Artorias Ring will be lost.
- The Orange Charred Ring will be lost.
- The Rite of Kindling will be lost.
- The Lordvessel, and its warping abilities, will be lost.
- Any costumes unlocked to purchase from Domnhall of Zena must be earned again (with the exception of Great Lord Armor).
- Sin will be lost, so the new game starts sin free.
- All unlocked doors and shortcuts will close.
- It is speculated by some players that progressing to NG+ or beyond (possibly all the way up to NG7/NG6) may eventually enable or unlock access to hidden material in the game, given that some objects or spells (such as the Great Lord Armor or the Sunlight Spear, or various different Boss Soul weapons each requiring the same boss soul) were apparently only intended to become available in subsequent game cycle playthroughs, and certain statements made by FromSoft game designers suggest multiple playthroughs might be required to unlock potential secrets related to the Pendant or other items. Despite extensive searching and effort by many players, to date these theories have not been validated.
- Optimally Ng++ is required for the Platinum trophy (up to Great Wolf Sif), because you need at least 3 Souls of Sif to make all 3 of Artorias' items: Greatshield of Artorias, Greatsword of Artorias and Greatsword of Artorias (Cursed). These weapons are required for the Knight's Honor trophy/achievement. Note: If you play online, you can receive a Soul of Sif as a gift, if another player drops it.