6 Dark Souls Tips For First-Time Players

Prepare to Learn.

If you’re one of the many jumping into Dark Souls for the first time on the Nintendo Switch, you’re in for a treat! As we covered in our Dark Souls Remastered on Switch review, the remastered version is the ideal way to play.

But as you know, this series has earned a reputation for being hard for a reason. This is where we come in!

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Here are some of the best tips to help new Dark Souls players ease into the dangerous and exciting world of Lordran.

Don’t Worry About Classes

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At the start, you’ll be asked to pick a class – don’t sweat your choice a whole lot. Beginners will find melee to be more straightforward, but the leveling system is completely open and each class is completely usable. The one exception is the Deprived. Don’t pick that. You’ll be in for a bad time until you learn the ropes.

Shields Up, But Not Always

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There are two combat tips that are core to the Dark Souls experience. The first is defense. Shields will be a must for first-timers, but don’t overuse it – only keep it up when you’re actively expecting an attack. Keeping it up all the time slows down stamina recovery, so it’s crucial to lower it and allow yourself time to recharge. With or without a shield, dodging is your key to survival. While instincts might say to dodge backwards, fight that. You want to dodge towards your enemies and through their attacks, that way you can immediately follow up with your own attack.

Learn to Backstab

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Backstabbing is the second combat fundamental, and it’s a strong one. Almost all humanoid enemies in the game can be backstabbed by getting behind them and pressing attack. These attacks do massive damage and kick the enemy over, allowing you to then follow up with even more attacks. Always aim for the back!

The Many Uses of Humanity

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One of the most useful items is Humanity. It’s a multi-purpose item, but for a new player, its biggest use will be turning you human. While at a bonfire, you can use a humanity to increase your counter in the top left. Sit at a fire, select Reverse Hollowing, and just like that, you’re human again. Being human allows you access to multiplayer functions like co-op and PvP. You can even go a step further, use a second humanity, and select Kindle Bonfire. Doing so will allow that specific bonfire to boost your total Estus flasks to 10 each time you rest at it, instead of the default 5.

Weapon Scaling

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Most weapons and magic  have a single primary stat that most greatly affects their damage. You can tell what stat this is by going into the weapon’s description, and looking at its stats. See those letters? They represent which stat the weapon most benefits from leveling. Most swords are strength, while polearms and Katanas are dexterity. Magic is generally either intelligence or faith.

Death Is Not the End

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Did you die and lose all your souls? Don’t sweat it. While it may seem like a big loss, you can retrieve them from the spot you died so long as you don’t die again. But even if you do, the most important thing you gained during your adventures is the knowledge of how things play out. Death is not the end, it just means your reseting the area and coming at it again with a whole new level of understanding!

Dark Souls is a punishing experience, but with these tips, you’ll be off to a stronger start than most. Take your time, enjoy the world and everything it’s telling you, and if you need more Dark Souls help, look no further than IGN.

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