A Comprehensive Guide to Starting Dark Souls II: Tips and Tricks You Don’t Want to Miss


The world of Dark Souls II can be a treacherous place, whether you’re a seasoned player or completely new to the series. With its intricate systems and subtle changes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. But fear not, because we’re here to help you get started on the right foot. In this guide, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and tricks that will make your journey through Dark Souls II a bit easier and more enjoyable. So grab your controller and let’s dive in!

Vanilla or Scholar of the First Sin?

Before we delve into the game itself, it’s important to know which version of Dark Souls II you’re playing. There are two: the vanilla version from 2014 and the updated edition called Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. While both versions share the same DNA in terms of mechanics, Scholar of the First Sin offers a host of differences, including improved visuals, enemy placement, and quality-of-life changes. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be referring to the Scholar of the First Sin version.

Character Study

Creating your character in Dark Souls II is a crucial decision. While the choice of your character’s appearance is purely cosmetic, the class you select determines your starting abilities and attributes. Whether you prefer heavy weapons, fast weapons, spells, miracles, or a versatile build, there’s a class that suits your playstyle. Additionally, keep in mind the importance of stats such as vigor, endurance, vitality, strength, dexterity, intelligence, faith, attunement, and adaptability. Plan your build accordingly and level up the stats that correspond to your desired playstyle.

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The Right Tools

Choosing the right equipment in Dark Souls II requires a different mindset compared to other RPGs. It’s not just about acquiring the most powerful weapons and armor; it’s about understanding the unique properties of each piece of gear. Experiment with different weapon types and find the moveset that suits your style. Consider the stat requirements of weapons and choose ones that match your character’s strengths. Don’t forget to pay attention to armor and shields, as they play a crucial role in your overall defense. Prioritize managing your equipment load to maintain agility while balancing defense.

Know Your Enemy

Combat in Dark Souls II is challenging and rewarding. To succeed, it’s essential to study your enemies’ attack patterns and animations. Timing is crucial—wait for your enemy to finish attacking, then strike. Manage your stamina bar effectively, as almost every action consumes stamina. Lock onto your enemies to maintain focus and choose your targets strategically. Use shields to block and parry attacks, but be mindful of your stamina. Master the mechanics of light and heavy attacks, dodging, and backstabbing. By understanding your enemies, you can anticipate their moves and emerge victorious.

How Being Hollowed Works

In Dark Souls II, the hollowed/human system adds an extra layer of challenge. Each time you die, your total health decreases by 5% up to 50%. To reverse this state, you need Human Effigies, which restore your health to its maximum and allow you to summon other players for assistance. Use Human Effigies wisely, especially in tough areas or before facing challenging bosses. Remember, you can only summon other players while in human form, but you can be summoned while hollowed. Embrace the challenge of being hollowed, but don’t hesitate to regain your humanity when necessary.

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No Stone Unturned

One of the key aspects of Dark Souls II is exploration. Venture off the beaten path, explore every nook and cranny, and don’t overlook seemingly empty or uninteresting areas. Dark Souls II is filled with secrets, illusory walls, hidden paths, and lever-operated mechanisms. Take notice of messages left by fellow players, as they often indicate hidden secrets. Be cautious when opening doors, as some may be traps. Remember, if you ever feel stuck, it’s likely because you missed something—so leave no stone unturned.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

Don’t shy away from playing online in Dark Souls II. Despite the game’s age, you can still find other players to assist you or engage in PvP combat. Be mindful of your Soul Memory (your cumulative total souls acquired) when attempting to co-op or invade other players’ worlds. Experiment with items such as the Cracked Red Eye Orbs and the White Soapstone to engage in multiplayer interactions. Join covenants to further enhance your online experience and read messages left by other players to gain valuable insights.

You Can De-Spawn Enemies

Unlike previous games in the series, Dark Souls II allows you to de-spawn enemies. By defeating an enemy around 12 to 15 times, they will eventually disappear permanently, even after resting at a bonfire. This mechanic can be advantageous when facing particularly challenging areas. Take your time, clear out enemies strategically, and gain souls in the process. However, keep in mind that using a Bonfire Ascetic resets enemies, making the game more difficult.

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Some Final Tips

Here are some quick tips to set you on the right path:

  • Obtain the Estus Flask early on from the Emerald Herald in Majula.
  • Remember that enemies respawn whenever you rest at a bonfire.
  • Make use of environmental interactions, such as climbing ladders and activating switches and levers.
  • Prioritize shields with the best physical damage reduction.
  • Look out for Pharros’ Lockstone items to reveal hidden locations and secrets.
  • Talk to NPCs until their dialogue repeats, and be cautious not to make them hostile.
  • Keep chests in mind, as some may be traps.
  • Manage your torches wisely, as they can be crucial later in the game.
  • Be prepared to face enemies from unexpected directions.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore challenging areas, but know when to backtrack and attempt them at a later time.
  • Practice perseverance and learn from your mistakes.


With these tips and tricks in mind, you’re now equipped to start your Dark Souls II adventure on the right foot. Remember, perseverance and adaptability are key to overcoming the challenges that lie ahead. Keep exploring, honing your skills, and discovering the secrets of this perilous world. And if you ever need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to summon a fellow player or engage in jolly cooperation. Embrace the darkness, and may your journey through Dark Souls II be a rewarding one.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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