Dark Souls 3 is almost here, and while some of you folks may have ordered the Japanese version early on for your PC, PS4 or Xbox One consoles, others will patiently wait an extra couple of weeks before they get their hands on the latest title from From Software.
The game will continue the trend of the Soulsborne series of being brutally difficult yet extremely immersive, and promises hours of awesome PvE and PvP experience. The quality of the experience really depends on the player though, and it’s easy to do silly things in the game and completely kill off its charm.
Here are 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for both newcomers and veterans of the series that you should keep in mind in order to get the best experience from your copy of the game.
Dark Souls 3 Dos and Don’ts
Dark Souls 3 Dos When You Play as the Unkindled
Now a lot of PvP folks who like to boast about their skills will behave extremely judgmental based on what you’re using, especially when it comes to shields. The ‘git gud’ squad often has the false belief that shields are for noobs in Dark Souls games, and that ‘pros’ use rolling and all to win.
That’s as far from the truth as possible.
You see, there’s a reason for shields to be in the game, and there’s absolutely no shame in using them. The Dark Souls games are designed in such a way that they will eventually force you to try out different strategies. Sometimes you’ll be forced to play with a shield, while other times shields will be practically useless.
For most quality builds and Faith-Strength builds, shields are important and useful to defend yourself, and there’s no shame in using them in both PvE and PvP. The truly skilled players won’t yell ‘git gud’ when they see you with a shield, but they will punish you if you don’t use it properly. So relax and equip one when you play Dark Souls 3, and learn how to use it with timing and effectiveness.
Learn How to Parry
One of the biggest issues players will face when they transition from PvE to PvP for the first time is parrying. Heck, it’s not only PvP – often there are bosses and enemies that are very, very difficult to kill without parrying.
Parrying in Dark Souls is much tougher and riskier than riposting players/enemies in Bloodborne, because you have to do it at melee range. This ensures that you’re punished if you miss and you don’t have the liberty to abuse the technique.
Learn how to parry against different enemies, then expand it to PvP whenever you feel you’re up for it. You have to time it perfectly, and the speed of parry is different with different equipment. Parrying shields (the smaller wrist shields) make it way easier to parry, so practice with those, then try it with your standard equipment.
Explore Every Nook and Cranny
Dark Souls 3 is a dense game, meaning it’s littered with secrets, items, NPCs, and unique monsters everywhere. Due to the game’s immense difficulty, it’s extremely intimidating to try and explore every area.
However, you’ll benefit greatly if you do. In addition to interesting NPCs, some of the best items are found in the unlikeliest of places. Try to explore the entire area before killing the relevant boss, and discover as much as possible.
Yes, you’ll die a lot more by exploring more, but it’ll all be worth it when you come across an absolutely amazing weapon or some super-unique armor piece.
Talk to Every NPC
NPCs in Dark Souls 3 are more important than ever, because most of them have unique questlines. You don’t have to follow all the questlines, but doing so for many will result in getting awesome rewards. NPCs will also aid in unlocking unconventional features, while some will be able to sell you really special items.
Make sure that when you talk to every NPC, you exhaust all their dialogues. They all have deep stories and often reveal plenty about the cryptic lore of the game.
Infuse Multiple Weapons with Different Elements
One of the bigger mistakes I tend to make in any Soulsborne game is sticking to one weapon throughout. While such loyalty does have its benefits and allows you to master it, you’ll come across situations when you need other types of weapons as well.
The biggest mistake though is having multiple weapons with the exact same infusions. I was always a Lightning/Faith junky who would infuse everything with that element. It’s a bad idea. Use different elements with different weapons to give you the best arsenal possible.
It will definitely require more resources and further exploration, but why in the world would you ignore a feature that will greatly boost the longevity of a Soulsborne game?
Dark Souls 3 Donts When You Play as the Unkindled
Be a Havel Junky
No Souls PvP player hates anyone more than a Havel junky. Those who have abused the Havel armor set know what I mean when I use that phrase. It’s not that it’s overpowered – far from it, it’s just that it spoils the experience of the game.
In NG PvE, you can get away with it, but in PvP any half-skilled player will greatly punish you for wearing that set. Use it circumstantially only during PvE, and avoid wearing it in PvP unless you want to get spanked badly.
The real downsides to the Havel set and a heavy weapon is that it will completely destroy your skills, and you’ll greatly suffer against certain bosses and enemies who won’t take your shit.
Go Backstab Fishing
Backstab fishing was one of the worst parts of the original Dark Souls. Since then, it seems to have been balanced out. Despite that, I’m sure some of you will try to fish for backstabs in PvP despite knowing that.
Backstab fishing in PvE is fine, because some enemies will allow it and are easily dealt with because of it, but if you try this nonsense in the Dark Souls 3 PvP, you’re going to get punished hard. Besides, it’s really no fun playing against a guy who is constantly just rolling and moving sideways to catch you off-guard. Seriously guys, it doesn’t work in Dark Souls 3, so don’t bother.
Become a Pure Mage for PvE
Playing as a pure caster in Dark Souls is the closest thing to an easy mode you’ll ever come across in a Soulsborne franchise. So what’s so bad about players want an easier time in an incredibly difficult game?
In theory, there’s nothing bad about it at all. In actuality though, it’s killing the thrill of the game. The game’s magic is designed in a way that it works best when paired with a weapon, not as an exclusive.
You’ll eventually come across baddies who will beat the living crap out of you simply because they’re too fast and too tenacious to use magic against. Some will be heavily resistant to magic altogether.
It also doesn’t translate very well to PvP. You’ll get your butt kicked if you’re trying to cast spells while the other player charges with his/her Washing Pole towards you.
Rush Through the Game
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to rush through the game, especially Dark Souls 3. Many of the bosses and areas in Dark Souls games are optional, and rushing through them completely destroys the experience. Don’t be that person.
Explore everything and go everywhere. Rushing will have you greatly under-leveled against some bosses, making your progressing almost impossible. Yes, you’ve probably heard of those ‘challenge’ play-throughs by hardcore Souls fans who play a naked character with nothing but a dagger.
The very reason they’re called ‘challenge’ playthroughs is because it’s not normal, and it’s not something you’re supposed to be doing in the first place. Maybe when you reach NG+10 like those folks with normal playthroughs and having explored every corner you could try a rush challenge.
Just Use the Hub for Leveling/Purchasing
‘Then what in the world am I supposed to do in this boring Firelink Shrine?’
Firstly, the Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls 3 is anything but boring/uninteresting. Secondly, without spoiling much, I’m just going to say that there’s more to the area than what meets the eye initially.
Exploring Firelink Shrine every time you go to a new place and come back is definitely going to be worthwhile as you progress in the game – From Software has made sure of that.