A Beginner's Guide to Dark Souls - 7 Steps to Sucking Less

dmonkoff

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Rabidkitten said:
These are all pretty good tips but I will contradict one. The starting class. The biggest pro tip in dark souls is to keep your armor bellow 25 percent, not 50 percent. This will enable the fast roll. The fast roll can be doubled up which dodges almost every boss attack in the game (This is especially true for the super hard expansion bosses).
I don't know about that. For me, a lot of bosses a much easier with heavy armor, because of high resistances and poise. For example, I really don't like fighting four kings/demon centipede/firesage demon in light armor, it's much easier to tank their damage.
On the other hand, fighting in PVP without fast roll is not the best idea
 

teebeeohh

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TheEvilCheese said:
ATmatey36 said:
Dark Souls can definitely be cheesed and just because it's Dark Souls doesn't make it a good excuse. It sounds like a "the game isn't playing fair, so I'm not going to either" -mentality. There are numerous enemies and even bosses (like Manus) who can just be sniped with arrows if you just stand there and shoot and you've got an hour to spare.
If you figure out a strategy yourself (manus sniping) how is that not 'fair'? It's in the game for you to do and you certainly feel one hell of a sense of accomplishment when an outside the box plan comes together.

That said, if you snipe manus because you gave up fighting him and googled it, that's closer to 'cheesing' IMO. I mean, reading walkthroughs or strategy tips beyond some vague starting advice defeats the whole point of the game to me. But there you go.

---

I think the biggest tips I would give to a first time Dark Souls player would be general stuff about paying attention and reading into the environments as well as item descriptions and the like. There are visual cues and patterns that make the game a breeze to predict which people don't seem to look for.
but it's just so satifying to look everything on the internet and then tell people how easy dark souls is because they didn't know where every trap was.

personally, the most fun i ever had is when i figured stuff by myself, i was so damn proud when of myself when i figured out who to not spawn the brdige dragon so i can get the claymore and bonfire early.

OT:
buy a bow and 999 wood arrows, kill havel. one of the best rings in the game
and pick a weapon more based on moveset then stat, you can beat the game with pretty much any weapon at +15 your first time around(damage wise) and being comfortable with the attacks is more important imho. i literally only made a dex build when a friend told me about curved greatswords, because fuck fast attacking
 

Thanatos2k

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I'm sick of people claiming the "barriers to entry" are so high for Dark Souls. Dark Souls demands a few things from you:

1. Patience.

2. A desire to explore.

3. A desire to learn.

4. Don't expect to beat the game on one life.

That's it. They're not unreasonable expectations, but they are things most modern games don't seem to care about anymore.

Also, spears are the most user-friendly weapon. Being able to block and attack at the same time makes for a very safe fighting style.
 

sageoftruth

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ATmatey36 said:
Dark Souls can definitely be cheesed and just because it's Dark Souls doesn't make it a good excuse. It sounds like a "the game isn't playing fair, so I'm not going to either" -mentality. There are numerous enemies and even bosses (like Manus) who can just be sniped with arrows if you just stand there and shoot and you've got an hour to spare.

After you get past the general "obtuseness" of the game there are actually very few parts where it's truly unfair (like Bed of Chaos, especially pre-patch). If you watch a couple of SL1 runs of the game you'll see how straightforward and skill-dependent the game can really be. Stuff like mastering invincibility frames while dodging and learning enemy attack patterns will allow you to beat any boss without much of a hassle, and that is no cheese, only skill.
There's a way to snipe Manus without repercussions? Explain please.
 

sageoftruth

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Chuppi said:
The Gargoyle was not the last enemy, that made me curse and bite my shield.Stepping through a gate and having to fight
that Goat-Demon with so little space to move was another big pain in the ass.
Yeah. Especially because getting to him is such a chore.
 

Weaver

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nyysjan said:
Why are people so exited about lightning weapons? Are enemies specially weak to them or something?
Because they haven't played the game post patch and their knowledge of the game is immensely out of date. Lightning weapons and Pyromancy were both nerfed quite a bit with the Artorias DLC. They're not useless, but they're not hilariously OP anymore.

Prior to the patch a +5 lightning weapon would essentially out damage other upgrade paths, including basic stat scaling. Why get 40 points in DEX and tons of resources for your sword to go +15 when you can just get a small amount of DEX and STR to hold it, make it lightning, and have it be just as if not more effective?

However, that's not the case anymore and pure stat scaling is going to out damage lightning weapons.

It's not that lightning and fire don't have their place. They're great when you have low damage stats and can really help dish out some firepower early game, but they now tail off late game in favour of other stat based upgrades.

That said, most bosses either have a weakness to lightning or not much resistance to lightning. That, along with you get the ability to upgrade lightning weapons way earlier (unless you've really slugged it out to get to Vamos), makes lightning preferred over fire.

-----------------------

OT: To anyone claiming getting any advantage you can is "cheesing", shove it. I remember when Demon's souls first came out and people on the Namco Bandai forums were claiming they were stuck on Flamelurker. A namco representative then posted in the thread with the advice "Try getting him stuck on the geometry and shooting him with arrows".

If you can do something to beat the game (that isn't blatant hacking/cheating), then go ahead and do it.
 

Rabidkitten

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dmonkoff said:
Rabidkitten said:
These are all pretty good tips but I will contradict one. The starting class. The biggest pro tip in dark souls is to keep your armor bellow 25 percent, not 50 percent. This will enable the fast roll. The fast roll can be doubled up which dodges almost every boss attack in the game (This is especially true for the super hard expansion bosses).
I don't know about that. For me, a lot of bosses a much easier with heavy armor, because of high resistances and poise. For example, I really don't like fighting four kings/demon centipede/firesage demon in light armor, it's much easier to tank their damage.
On the other hand, fighting in PVP without fast roll is not the best idea
You used 3 late game bosses as examples. It should noted that the Demon Centipede is a very easy boss as well. Mobility is key to survival in dark souls and every one i know who has taken the "ditch the armor" advice has not regretted it. Sure you can tank the 4 Kings but that isn't what I'd call a beginners guide. Because the increased mobility is going to save you against the Taurus Demon(shots are generally impossible to block early game), the Gargoyles, Capra Demon (have fun "taking" his damage), the Gaping Maw Dragon (can't tank him either), Que'lag (mobility is amazing in this fight), and most of all the Dynamic Duo which is probably "THE" fight for most new players and increased mobility is a boon there more then anything. And then again in the late game bosses like Sif, Manus, Kalamet, Nito, and the Bed of Chaos all benefit from mobility.
 

mavrik

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Thanatos2k said:
I'm sick of people claiming the "barriers to entry" are so high for Dark Souls. Dark Souls demands a few things from you:

1. Patience.

2. A desire to explore.

3. A desire to learn.

4. Don't expect to beat the game on one life.

That's it. They're not unreasonable expectations, but they are things most modern games don't seem to care about anymore.

Also, spears are the most user-friendly weapon. Being able to block and attack at the same time makes for a very safe fighting style.
Sadly you also have to deal with:

1.) One of the worst (and ugliest) UIs I've seen in years
2.) One of the most unintuitive controls I've seen in years
3.) Dying due to camera or opponent lock being silly
4.) Slog through the same opponents over and over and OVER and OOOOOVER again because you died on a (mini)boss due to a mistake.
5.) Deal with your character being responsive like a 90-year-old-grandpa.

I'm really trying to stick with this game due to all the praise... but repeating whole areas due to dying in boss fights, cheesiness of some deaths (random traps jumping out of walls, hidden enemies, which you can't foresee if you haven't died there yet) and awful UI with little to no explanations of icons and stats is really killing the whole experience for me. I'll stick around and see if it gets better... but if the trick to beating this game remains in just dying on every new encounter so I see the opponents attack/trap and then repeating the whole area again... I'll just fire up Bayonetta on hardest difficulty again. At least there you die due to mistakes in skill, not cheesiness.
 

LaughingAtlas

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As what probably qualifies as a veteran Dark Souls player, (I've beaten it twice) I wholeheartedly approve of everything on this list. I would add 'look up strategies on every single boss you fight', if only to know which ones you don't have to bother with if you're not so inclined.

This saved me trouble with Ceaseless Discharge, for whom one of the easiest, 'cheesiest' strategies in the game exists that will ensure you take no damage provided you're reasonably fast and have a decent weapon. (Pick up the gold-trimmed cloak to trigger the fight, run all the way back to the start point, await him to grab onto the ledge nearby, two-hand your weapon and swing for the fences. He should lose grip, fall, and die.) You can only do this strategy the very first time you fight it, I hear, so not knowing about the trick would have apparently forced less fun ways to be experimented with. Not to mention the Bed of Chaos made easy-ish. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdai3D5TZzk&index=16&list=PL897433F2BFD5EFFF#aid=P8RJAlvZDiA]
Note: The strategy these same guys give for the Capra Demon was kindof crap for me, just skip the spell and run to stairs, killing the dogs as they follow you.
 

ATmatey36

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TheEvilCheese said:
ATmatey36 said:
Dark Souls can definitely be cheesed and just because it's Dark Souls doesn't make it a good excuse. It sounds like a "the game isn't playing fair, so I'm not going to either" -mentality. There are numerous enemies and even bosses (like Manus) who can just be sniped with arrows if you just stand there and shoot and you've got an hour to spare.
If you figure out a strategy yourself (manus sniping) how is that not 'fair'? It's in the game for you to do and you certainly feel one hell of a sense of accomplishment when an outside the box plan comes together.

That said, if you snipe manus because you gave up fighting him and googled it, that's closer to 'cheesing' IMO. I mean, reading walkthroughs or strategy tips beyond some vague starting advice defeats the whole point of the game to me. But there you go.

---

I think the biggest tips I would give to a first time Dark Souls player would be general stuff about paying attention and reading into the environments as well as item descriptions and the like. There are visual cues and patterns that make the game a breeze to predict which people don't seem to look for.
I'm all for creative thinking, however I'm not a fan of the game making you waste your time if you choose to snipe Manus from above. If you would prefer a ranged battle, I'd still prefer it to require skill instead of just taking a million years. Actually another creative boss kill that I like a lot more is throwing dung pies over the wall to poison Capra Demon, partly because it's hilarious and partly because he'll die in less than a minute.
 

Trishbot

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I've convinced myself I WILL buy Dark Souls, after talking myself out of it since its release.

And I admit, I'm a newbie to this and worried stiff at the prospect of just not having fun with the game due to the steep difficult and obtuse game mechanics.

I'm almost paralyzed with indecision for what is the "best" starter build for a person like me that doesn't have the best reflexes or skill, and often gets myself killed in other games by exploring outside of the boundaries.

I admit, if the game had a simple "easy" mode, I'd have jumped on this game a long time ago.
 

ATmatey36

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sageoftruth said:
ATmatey36 said:
Dark Souls can definitely be cheesed and just because it's Dark Souls doesn't make it a good excuse. It sounds like a "the game isn't playing fair, so I'm not going to either" -mentality. There are numerous enemies and even bosses (like Manus) who can just be sniped with arrows if you just stand there and shoot and you've got an hour to spare.

After you get past the general "obtuseness" of the game there are actually very few parts where it's truly unfair (like Bed of Chaos, especially pre-patch). If you watch a couple of SL1 runs of the game you'll see how straightforward and skill-dependent the game can really be. Stuff like mastering invincibility frames while dodging and learning enemy attack patterns will allow you to beat any boss without much of a hassle, and that is no cheese, only skill.
There's a way to snipe Manus without repercussions? Explain please.
On the cliff where the fog gate is right before Manus you can point your camera downwards and you'll see his red glowing eyes down below. That's where he can be sniped, even though it'll take forever.
 

Thanatos2k

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mavrik said:
Thanatos2k said:
I'm sick of people claiming the "barriers to entry" are so high for Dark Souls. Dark Souls demands a few things from you:

1. Patience.

2. A desire to explore.

3. A desire to learn.

4. Don't expect to beat the game on one life.

That's it. They're not unreasonable expectations, but they are things most modern games don't seem to care about anymore.

Also, spears are the most user-friendly weapon. Being able to block and attack at the same time makes for a very safe fighting style.
Sadly you also have to deal with:

1.) One of the worst (and ugliest) UIs I've seen in years
2.) One of the most unintuitive controls I've seen in years
3.) Dying due to camera or opponent lock being silly
4.) Slog through the same opponents over and over and OVER and OOOOOVER again because you died on a (mini)boss due to a mistake.
5.) Deal with your character being responsive like a 90-year-old-grandpa.

I'm really trying to stick with this game due to all the praise... but repeating whole areas due to dying in boss fights, cheesiness of some deaths (random traps jumping out of walls, hidden enemies, which you can't foresee if you haven't died there yet) and awful UI with little to no explanations of icons and stats is really killing the whole experience for me. I'll stick around and see if it gets better... but if the trick to beating this game remains in just dying on every new encounter so I see the opponents attack/trap and then repeating the whole area again... I'll just fire up Bayonetta on hardest difficulty again. At least there you die due to mistakes in skill, not cheesiness.
1. ....Really?
2. What is wrong with the controls? The controls are extremely tight, as they should be in an action game.
3. Never had this happen.
4. You only have to do that when you fail. Again, the patience and learning.
5. What do this even mean? Some weapons are slow, some weapons are fast. Depending on how much weight you're wearing you are slow or fast as well. The responsiveness is EXACTLY where it should be.

See, it's complaints like these that really make no sense, and make it appear like people are complaining just to complain. Complaints like "bad UI" and "unintuitive controls" are generic hand waving at problems that are hiding the real reason you're having problems. It's not the UI and it's not the controls, because plenty of other people don't have problems with the UI and don't have problems with the controls. Just be honest - "I don't like failing, and I fail a lot in this game."

You make it sound like the entire game is just one long session of I Want To Be The Guy where you are instantly killed by the slightest thing once you progress past the spot you last got to, then you do it all over again. That's not how it is at all. If you're truly learning then you become better at recognizing traps, recognizing how enemies behave, recognizing when to proceed cautiously, recognizing how much reach your attacks have, how much you can block safely, and so on. If you're dying at every possible new trap and enemy then you aren't learning a thing.

Trishbot said:
I admit, if the game had a simple "easy" mode, I'd have jumped on this game a long time ago.
The whole point of the game is that it *doesn't* have an easy mode. It is intentionally uncompromising.
 

Breywood

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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
...all good things are ruined by their fans.
One of my top five quotations. Every fanboy I know has made me loathe the thing they love because they can't get the idea that my happiness doesn't hinge on their obsession. Be that hockey, pop music, Final Fantasy or cats.
 

k-ossuburb

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I didn't read the above comments because I'm a little pressed for time to write this down before going to bed, but there's an even cheesier way to defeat the armoured boar at Undead Parish, you go towards the spear soldier on the right, just after you cross through the archway and head up the stairs, don't worry about the boar, he can't pass between the pillars so you're safe as long as you stay behind them. Once up the stairs there is another spear soldier and a couple of archers, dispatch them and any longsword soldiers that might try to follow you. Once you're on the bridge overlooking the whole thing collect the item right at the end where the bridge meets the wall, it is an "Alluring Skull", it does exactly what it says it does, it pretty much makes any enemy run to it and attack the empty air where you threw it, there's a spell you can get later on that does pretty much the same thing and I cannot stress enough how useful it (and the skull) is if you're creative.

Anyway, throw all of your skulls into the fire below you, the dumbass boar will attack the fire and kill itself with fire damage, one of its main weaknesses. What this section is, is actually a brief tutorial in being creative and using the environment itself to give you an advantage, remember anything that can kill you can also kill your foes, so try to lure them near ledges and kick them off, there are sections with more fire and, like in Senn's Fortress, traps that you can activate to deal with enemies enough to give you a fighting chance. Try getting the Serpent Warriors to follow you and walk backwards over a pressure plate, the arrow trap will hit at least one of them in the back and either wound or kill them, the same works with the pendulums further in, but it takes practice to have them knock those buggers off the walkway.

Oh yeah, Senn's, ever play Megaman? Castlevania? No? Well, I'm sure you'll be fine.
 

katsabas

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Weird. I am using a thief and while facing the Taurus, I found that going up the balcony limits your movement cause the Taurus' attack arcs are huge and the area doesn't allow you to roll as easily as the pathway does.
 

EvilRoy

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Thanatos2k said:
1. ....Really?
2. What is wrong with the controls? The controls are extremely tight, as they should be in an action game.
3. Never had this happen.
4. You only have to do that when you fail. Again, the patience and learning.
5. What do this even mean? Some weapons are slow, some weapons are fast. Depending on how much weight you're wearing you are slow or fast as well. The responsiveness is EXACTLY where it should be.

See, it's complaints like these that really make no sense, and make it appear like people are complaining just to complain. Complaints like "bad UI" and "unintuitive controls" are generic hand waving at problems that are hiding the real reason you're having problems. It's not the UI and it's not the controls, because plenty of other people don't have problems with the UI and don't have problems with the controls. Just be honest - "I don't like failing, and I fail a lot in this game."

You make it sound like the entire game is just one long session of I Want To Be The Guy where you are instantly killed by the slightest thing once you progress past the spot you last got to, then you do it all over again. That's not how it is at all. If you're truly learning then you become better at recognizing traps, recognizing how enemies behave, recognizing when to proceed cautiously, recognizing how much reach your attacks have, how much you can block safely, and so on. If you're dying at every possible new trap and enemy then you aren't learning a thing.

Trishbot said:
I admit, if the game had a simple "easy" mode, I'd have jumped on this game a long time ago.
The whole point of the game is that it *doesn't* have an easy mode. It is intentionally uncompromising.
1. While not the worst thing I've ever seen, the UI isn't great.

Why is the unequip button the exact same button as the compare equipment button once the equip button has been pressed? Why is the rightmost dialog box filled with information that is largely irrelevant until I press Y to see stats that would generally be considered critical to choosing a situation specific loadout?

Why don't equipment items stack - I have infinite inventory space, but I don't need to see three pages filled with hollow waste cloths when I scroll through. Why isn't the inventory better organized - I shouldn't need to hunt for my currently equipped items in the upgrade screen. Why are new consumables automatically equipped to the fast select menu - maybe I prefer to keep only two or three items in there to make on the fly usage faster.

Why doesn't the weight class just say "Fast/Medium/Slow" rather than make me guess and check to see if there is rounding in % calcs.

When choosing skill points, why isn't there a visual indication of how much stamina or health I will be gaining? - The game has trained me to measure my combat efficiency in "tick marks" on two bars, but expects me to understand numerical representations of those same without visually demonstrating it.

Its great that the game expresses scaling with damages on an easy to read letter basis - but how does a B scaling compare to a C scaling? It's better, but how much better?

2. For reasons no doubt lost to time, the controls actually allow themselves to be stacked in spite of any of the players actual desire. In my experience this has even included attacking, being interrupted with a stagger, and then having my character actually try to complete the command I gave to attack again because I hit the button twice originally.

Also - Why would jump ever be double tap the run button when roll is single tap, and why is the run button the same as the backstep button? I get they all fall under a specific 'movement' banner, but christ almightly, jumping backwards is the exact opposite of what I want when trying to run forward, made infinitely worse by the game delighting in thin walkways, deathfalls and somewhat bizarre hitboxes.

3. Enough people have that there are still existing forum threads on how to deal with the camera getting caught on some of the larger demons loincloths, or getting stuck in scenery for the goat demon fight.

4. A shame then that much of the game is based around a trial and error basis, particularly bosses who rarely have a bonfire nearby.

5. Why does my character still wield a black knight blade like he can barely lift it, when I long ago passed the skill requirements? Why does running or rolling carry the danger of a delay in action? Why does the result of a parry have more in common with the time I press the button to do so than any graphical interaction of shield and weapon - and why does it also have a delay? Why do I still swing Astoras blade like an idiot despite having the dex and str necessary to hold it properly, even if I lack the faith to use its full potential?

I like the game quite a bit, but I won't pretend the game has no problems.
 

Thanatos2k

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katsabas said:
Weird. I am using a thief and while facing the Taurus, I found that going up the balcony limits your movement cause the Taurus' attack arcs are huge and the area doesn't allow you to roll as easily as the pathway does.
You only go up the balcony so you can dive attack him. If HE jumps up on the balcony you flee, or you can try to finish the fight up there.