Best Starting Gifts in Dark Souls 2 (All Ranked)

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What if I told you that in the character creation screen, there’s a choice that’s even more important than the class you start as (yes, more important than your character’s name too).

That little inconspicuous box simply titled “Gift” can have a bigger impact on your grand adventure than you think.

If you’re a veteran of the series, you’ll remember that in the original Dark Souls, one starting gift stood miles above the rest – the Master Key. Picking the Master Key as your gift allowed you to open doors and gates that would otherwise require you to go through several other areas (and enemies), saving you a good chunk of precious time, and altering your playthrough entirely (thus not recommended for first timers).

While there’s nothing quite as influential in Dark Souls 2 as The Key, and half of the available options still suck, the remaining few all have good arguments to be made for them.

So join me as we talk further about the best items and trinkets that a fledgling adventurer can start their journey with!


8. Nothing

Receive no gift in Dark Souls 2 screenshot

Yes, you read that right.

One of the “options” lets you start empty handed.

There’s really no reason to ever pick this, other than wanting to prove the world what a “strong” and “proud” warrior you are, who doesn’t need the help of any gifts.

Or you know… by accident!

I considered leaving this entire section blank as a joke, but that’d have probably been more confusing than funny…


7. Homeward Bone

Homeward Bone from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

If you’ve never played a Souls game before, you will quickly realize how bad this starting gift is after using it for the first time.

Homeward bones will warp you to the last bonfire you visited, and are then consumed upon use.

The very first main area of the game contains a merchant that sells ten of them (which becomes an infinite amount later on).

Also, you just won’t have any use for them in the beginning, since bonfires are very close to each other and the areas are relatively easy to traverse.

Not to mention that after a certain point, you get an item that serves the same function and doesn’t deplete.

In and of itself, it’s not a bad item.

It’s just horrible as a starting gift (it’s almost as bad as picking nothing).


6. Seed of a Tree of Giants

Seed of a Tree of Giants from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

Up next we’ve got perhaps the “weirdest” item on our list.

The Seed of a Tree of Giants has a single and very narrow use, and that is to catch invaders off-guard and send them back to the shadow-realm.

Normally, any creatures and enemies in your world will not be aggressive towards any invading dark spirits.

Using the seed erases that rule, making everything hostile towards everyone (even you, don’t forget that) consuming it in the process.

You can see where one would go with that kind of information.

Anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend it since more seeds occasionally spawn under the giant trees around Drangleic.


5. Life Ring

Life Ring from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

It’s a ring, and it gives you life… though the amount given is kind of dreadful.

A bonus of 5% health might save you from dying to a stray arrow, or dagger shank, but it won’t work against any of the heavier-hitting opponents.

Although I got to say, it’s the best option for players like me that suffer from “Consumable Syndrome”, and never use any of them in fear of “needing them later”.

Just slap it on and forget about it (just don’t forget to actually equip it)!


4. Human Effigy

Human Effigy from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

A motto I go by while playing any of the Souls games is “You can never have enough humanities/effigies/embers/etc”.

Using one turns you human, removing any penalties that were currently attached to your health.

Even with their healing ability taken from them (boo I say!), these bad boys are still very useful for any player that wishes to partake in JOLLY COOPERATION!

Or you can take it to the other extreme and use one to cut all ties to the outside world, blocking friends and foes alike from entering your world.

Obviously you can acquire an “infinite” amount by farming the monsters that drop them. But it’s still miles better than a single homeward bone, or nothing at all.


3. Healing Wares

Healing Wares from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

The remaining top three choices are all leagues ahead from what we’ve previously mentioned.

And each one of these is considered as “the best” by different categories of players.

Picking the Healing Wares supplies you with an assortment of curatives (mostly lifegems, but some poison moss is included), in addition to the ones that most classes start with (or the extras of the Explorer).

We’ve all had that feeling of “uh-oh” upon seeing the Estus Flask deplete, while enemies are still on the loose, health is low, and there’s no bonfire in sight.

These lifegems are an invaluable tool for any newcomer, providing a much needed healing alternative to the tiny amount of Estus that is available from the get-go.

More experienced players will tend to avoid these, in favor of one of the other choices.


2. Petrified Something

Petrified Something from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

Are you feeling lucky tonight?

Do you want to get your hands on some very nice stuff, a mere 30 seconds after you’ve created your character?

Well come on down to Dyna and Tilo’s “Smooth and Silky” emporium!

All you need is a Petrified Something and you’ve got the chance to win big!

“How big” you ask?

I don’t know, where do you rank a Demon’s Great Hammer in the largeness scale?

If you really got your eyes on one of the available rewards, you can just remake your character and trade until you get it.

Don’t worry, inflation isn’t a thing in Drangleic.


1. Bonfire Ascetic

Bonfire Ascetic from Dark Souls 2 screenshot

Oh boy, where do I even start with this.

If you didn’t know, using a bonfire ascetic on a bonfire will increase its intensity by 1.

Doing so essentially puts the area in the next level of difficulty (something that naturally happens if you choose to go to New Game+ after beating the game), respawning most enemies, treasures, and bosses (if there are any).

The catch here is that sometimes new and very powerful items can be found, either out around the landscape, or dropped by enemies.

Using an ascetic on your first run through the game allows you to get said items much earlier than you’re supposed to – giving you a considerable spike in power.

The possibilities are too many to list here.

But some of the examples I like to give are the Southern Ritual Band +2 (3 attunement slots) from Scorpioness Najka, and the Cloranthy Ring +2 from the Executioner’s Chariot.

With an ascetic in hand, the world truly is your oyster!

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