15 Essential Tips & Tricks For Dark Souls 3This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
With all talk and memes of Dark Souls being one of the hardest game series ever made, it can be an intimidating franchise to approach.
But truthfully, Dark Souls is just unforgiving.
And unlike truly brutal and impossible games, it is fair – any time you die it’s likely on you.
In that vein, its difficulty can be mitigated if you’re prepared and know what to look out for. So in this list, we’re going over some tips and tricks which can help you on your way!
15. Don’t be greedy
The number one most important thing, in my eyes, is to not overextend.
It can be very easy during fights to just try to fit in that one extra swing, only to be left with no stamina or not have time to dodge the next incoming attack and be flattened.
So practice restraint- especially against bosses. Learn how many attacks you can fit in during their recovery times and plan accordingly.
14. Roll, don’t block
Dark Souls 3 came out after Bloodborne, and it’s often commented that FromSoftware took inspiration from the latter’s dodge-focused combat.
Unlike in DS1, blocking in this game is… weak.
Blocking attacks will take a ton of stamina if you’re not using a greatshield, and if you get guard-broken you’re likely dead.
Conversely, simply rolling costs a fixed amount of stamina, gives you i-frames, and gets you out of harm’s way.
Blocking isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just much, much more situational than in previous games, and shouldn’t be your go-to.
13. An early ‘boost’
Atop Firelink shrine sits a tower with a locked door that typically requires a massive 20k souls to access, and is meant to be a more mid-game point of interest.
But if you have patience, there is a small tree near a lower rooftop that can be run on and jumped off at an angle, allowing early access to some of these goodies.
There’s a crystal lizard, an estus shard, but the main thing you’re after is the covetous silver serpent ring, which boosts soul gain by 10% when equipped!
This will make your early-game so much nicer, with more levels and the ability to buy more consumables.
12. Chest chains
Mimics are pretty rampant in DS3, with a whopping 12 of them in the world!
Thankfully, an old trick from the first Dark Souls installment has carried over, and the proof is in the chains found attached to the right side of every chest.
Real chests have chains that curl backwards. Mimic chains are more straight, and point forwards.
With this knowledge you’ll never be munched!
11. Explore everywhere
There are a ton of hidden nooks and crannies in the world, many of which are easy to miss.
When you’re out exploring, you should be running down every possible route until you hit some sort of dead end.
Along some of the optional paths could be powerful gear and consumables – or even a hidden boss or NPC!
I’m sure I’m not the first one you’ve heard say it, but parrying is very important.
Many of even the toughest enemies you encounter can be completely trivialized with a well-timed parry- allowing you to one-shot your way through areas.
Hell, it even works on a handful of bosses!
And if you’re planning on playing PvP, you’d best start practicing now.
It’s a high-risk high-reward move, but provides some of the most devastating, fight-ending damage in the entire game.
And makes you feel badass.
9. Always have a torch
DS3 introduced a new and extremely unwelcome mechanic:
Getting hit by an ‘infested’ enemy or attack will coat your body in tons of lovely, wriggly maggots.
Similar to poison, maggots will slowly build up bleed over time, leading to huge damage once proc’d.
And the best (and most cost-efficient) way to remove them is by holding a torch!
Swapping to a torch will cause the little parasites to drop off you, ridding you of the continuous bleed build-up.
Unlike red moss, this is free, unlimited, and easy to access, and it’s recommended you equip a torch into one of your weapon slots when approaching an infested foe.
8. Deprived is not bad
A common line I hear when new players pick up DS3 is “why would anyone play deprived?”
And sure, when you look at him with nothing but a loincloth and a club next to other choices such as a fully-clad knight, it may seem like hardmode.
But deprived is actually a fantastic choice for players with no particular build in mind.
It grants 10 in all stats, which is great, and has the lowest soul level of 1, which makes every subsequent level cheaper for the rest of the game, thanks to how level prices are calculated!
If you’re min-maxing, it’s not always the top choice. But for an average playthrough it shouldn’t be overlooked.
7. Emergency heals
Many players will find themselves in the middle of a tough boss fight or encounter with no estus remaining and simply assume death is at the door.
But never say never!
There are a ton of healing options that might not seem immediately obvious.
If you’re out of estus and in trouble, rummage through your inventory- look for Siegbrau or divine blessings- even embers will fully heal you if you’re not already enkindled!
6. Exhaust all dialogue
Every FromSoftware game has the habit of not progressing a characters questline unless you hear everything they have to say.
When talking to an NPC, talk to them over and over again until they begin to repeat themselves – including the ‘talk’ option for merchants.
This’ll mark them as ‘interacted with’, and will allow their plots to develop- moving them to new locations if applicable.
5. Early levels vs raw infusion
If you’ve seen our top infusions list, you know what I’m about to say.
Early-game levels in strength/dex will barely affect the DPS of your weapons.
Unless you’re going for the minimum requirements for a weapon, you’re far better off leveling vigor or endurance for extra HP/stamina and using a raw infusion.
Raw infusions remove the scaling from your weapons but grant a ton of extra base damage!
If your burial gift was the fire gem, that’ll be perfect. But if you picked something else you can get a raw gem from the crystal lizard mid-way through the high wall of Lothric.
4. Two-Handing reduces strength requirements
On the subject of stats, you can save yourself a ton of early levels by simply 2-handing your desired weapon!
2-handing multiplies your strength by 1.5x, and can give you the extra points you need to be able to swing your weapon of choice.
It has the added bonus of more damage, too- as 2-handed movesets typically output more juice.
3. Simple/blessed infuse your off-hands
When looking at the infusion screen it may be easy to ignore simple and blessed infusions as they grant int/faith scaling, and that may not be applicable to your build.
But do not ignore these infusions!
Simple infusions grant slow FP regeneration, and blessed regens HP, while equipped.
For off-hand equipment that you’re not going to attack with, scaling means nothing!
Scaling only applies to the damage something deals. So unless you plan on swinging with your shield or parry tool, you should give it a simple or blessed infusion.
Simple will allow you to spam those weapon skills that little bit more, and blessed could spell the difference between life and death.
2. Fire is good
Fire in DS3 is a standout element. It possesses many more benefits than an element such as dark or lightning – especially early-game.
Fire will cause many foes to panic, granting you heaps of extra time to lay into them – often killing them before they can react!
It completely trivialises those infuriating dogs, but also shuts down most hollow enemies, stunlocks pus of man, and deals bonus damage to Gundyr!
To this end, don’t overlook firebombs, or the fire gem burial gift.
They’ll help make the first areas of the game a breeze – and be useful later.
1. Breathe – don’t get salty
Our final one to end on is something that’s definitely easier said than done.
Don’t tilt. Don’t get angry. Don’t get salty.
Even with all the help in the world, Dark Souls is a tough game! And if you make a mistake, it will punish you for it.
Any time you die, no matter how unfair it was, just breathe. Take it as a learning experience and don’t do it again.
The last thing you need to do is run headlong into the same situation that just killed you, and lose all your souls before you can recover them.
Everybody dies in Dark Souls – even someone like me with well over 5000 hours in the franchise! So keep a clear head and try to play safely.
If you’re absolutely fuming you can always take 5 and come back later.