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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

While I Wait For Dark Souls 3: Beginner's Tips

UGHHHHH. This game is taking forever to come out! I was not one of those few lucky people to get to play the demo nor was I one of those people who got the Japanese version of the game so I have to wait with everyone else till the game comes out two weeks from now. Two. Weeks!
But... the show must go on. Or... blog as it were. In the meantime, I've been torturing myself watching playthroughs of the game on YouTube. Most people will chastise me saying I should just wait and shut myself away so I can get a proper blind play of the game, but I fear that will only make me go more insane. So instead of moping around, I'm going to help teach you guys how to play this game or at least give you some tips so you won't have to spend hours 'Gitting gud' to impress all those online summons. Dark Souls 3 is a bit different from previous games in the franchise so we all may need a refresher. I'll try to stray away from stuff the previous games have already established and focus on the new mechanics (relatively spoiler free).

1: Weapon Arts! Best use: PvP
While PvP hasn't been implemented (as far as I can see given the walkthroughs I've seen which all feature the Japanese version as I'm lead to believe), PvP is Dark Soul's bread and butter. While it really came down to who could trade the most hits or get the drop on someone, Dark Souls 3 does it a bit different. Weapon arts are a thing that have been brought over from Bloodborne. While Bloodborne had unique weapons with their own unique 'awakening' modes, Dark Souls 3 has similar but different things. While, unfortunately, not every single weapon could have their own unique weapon art they do make combat a bit more interesting. For starters, you now have a new bar called Focus Points that appears just below your health and above your stamina. Focus Points are determined by your Attunement stat which previously gave you more spell slots and made spell casting times shorter. The stat still does that, however your spells are now dependent upon this blue bar as a sort of mana pool like in Demon's Souls. However, this bar is also used for weapon arts. Every single weapon has them and they vary from a different stance to simply being used immediately. After you defeat the first boss and go down a separate path, you can meet up with an NPC who will attack you on sight with a katana. During this fight, you can see the NPC use their unique weapon art with the katana which makes the person using it walk slowly and then deliver a powerful strike. When this blue bar is emptied, you still can use weapon arts however not spells. As far as I've seen using a weapon art when you have no more focus points simply makes the attack less powerful. I haven't seen all of the weapon arts or experimented with them but I would presume they work in the same way either making the effect less powerful or simply stopping you from using it all together. The effect of an art can be easily seen if you just look at the weapon's description. The reason I say this is best for PvP is because it can be a way to change up the fight. Your opponent can be difficult to handle but a weapon art could surprise them and possibly make all the difference surprising them with a feature they may have not suspected.

2: Firelink Shrine is the most important place ever
In Dark Souls 2, you were forced to level up via the Emerald Herald in Majula. In Dark Souls 3, the same is true. You need to beat the first boss and then get to Firelink Shrine to spend souls on gear, items and even the ability to level up. The place is more akin to Demon's Souls Nexus where it was a place cut off from just about every other area and had multiple NPCs who stayed there as the story progressed. You will find various people throughout the world, some of which can be found again in this area, ranging from the simple person going side by side on a quest with you to vendors who will make a permanent stay.

3: Pick up everything
While this may be a pretty easy idea to grasp, its more important in this game than in the previous titles. A lot of the vendors require certain items to get a better stock. Magic trainers require tomes so that they can teach more spells, Andre needs more embers so he can get a greater range of refining your items and another merchant requires ash so she can sell different equipment. Ash can be gained from killing friendly NPCs as well as being found in various places around the world. As a side point, talk to everyone. You may not be a sorcerer yet, but I think it would be better for you to get the sorcerer vendor immediately should you change your mind down the line. Alternatively, you could open up new paths, gain new items or even have the ability to summon NPCs during fights.

4: The game is significantly harder
Dark Souls? Hard? Nooooo... Alright, alright. Fair enough but this game is harder than previous games in a few ways, in my opinion. The game gets progressively more difficult as it goes on, which I like, and it doesn't do this in cheap ways. In the first bits of the game, the enemies will be less varied and relatively easy. Going forward adds in new spikes of difficulty. An area with powerful enemies where your mobility is limited and moving too close to something will trigger more enemies into the fray. Bonfires are fewer and farther from one another, especially when it comes to boss areas. Using sensible tactics will make it so you can go into the boss fight of an area with more health or healing items. You probably want to sweep over an area a few times before going to charge at the boss or at the very least to plan accordingly. Having an assortment of weapons and items can ensure that the best weapons and items will make it relatively unscathed on your journey. Every single boss has at least a second phase which you will have to deal with changing up the fight in some way whether it be a change of scenery or an added mechanic they didn't have previously. Some people might want to research on the particular boss they are coming up against while others will choose to throw themselves at it and use their wits and intelligence to combat the situation. Keeping your wits about and being wary of areas will keep you from being ambushed by enemies or finding more useful items for later use. Everywhere around you could be danger. Make sure to look around and even up to plan ahead. It could either be an enemy, an item or even the possibility of a short cut later on. Enemies are more varied than before as well. One particular enemy looks like a standard knight with a shield. However, it can buff itself to either do more damage and even heal itself. This particular enemy can also buff itself so that when it strikes the ground mines form to protect it. A healthy amount of fear or trepidation is definitely needed to tackle this game in order to beat it.

And that's about it. I could talk more about how to handle the bosses, however, that would be going against what I would have said about the minor spoilers. If you really want to spoil the game for yourself, feel free to check out Dark Souls 3's "Fextralife" wiki page (, a website I've found invaluable in every single Souls game I've ever played.

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