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We’re going to suggest a few builds that we found to be not only more than formidable in battle; but also quite a lot of fun to play with too (always a good combination). We’ve zero doubts any hardcore Dark Souls fans will have ‘better’ builds that come to mind, and that’s cool.

Melee Character

This is our melee-focused character just after starting New Game +

Weapon of Choice: For us, the Bastard Sword (found for free just after beating the Forest of Fallen Giants boss) is the perfect melee weapon. It’s a Great Sword that uses regular titanite to upgrade with to +10 and its final damage output is around the 400 mark per swing (its move-set is also very powerful with a compliment of both horizontal and vertical slicing attacks).

Shield: Early game the choice can only be the Drangelic Shield that you can find after beating the Pursuer boss as it offers 100% physical damage resistance and isn’t too heavy either.

Although later on though we moved to the Drakekeeper’s Greatshield, as it offers 100% physical damage, greater poise and a much higher resistance to elements such as lightening, fire, magic etc. It does require a lot more strength to hold one-handed; but we felt it was more than worth it.

Armor: We’re big fans of the Alva’s Armor (available to buy from Maughlin the Armorer after spending 16,000 souls with him and resting at a bonfire). It is light in weight, offers good protection and uses regular titanite to upgrade; meaning you can keep your weight down and your rolling speed up.

Long Range: The short bow from the blacksmith in Majula is a great start for picking off enemies from afar and then moving up to Pyromancy is worthwhile as it has a zero INT/FTH stat requirement to use (you just need to make sure your Attunement stat is at 10 to unlock one slot).

For mid/late game playing; we strongly recommend the Dragonrider Bow (from trading his soul with a certain cell-bound merchant) as it hits really hard (but make sure you have plenty of END as it soaks up loads per shot).

Stat Dispersion: We’ll cover the ideal stats you’d need for a solid melee-build that’ll carry you well throughout every encounter in the main game.

  • Vigor: 20+
  • Endurance: 30+
  • Vitality: 30+
  • Attunement: 10 (for pyromancy)
  • Strength: 40 (soft cap)
  • Dexterity: 18+ (for Bastard Sword scaling and Dragonrider Bow)
  • Adaptability: 28 minimum (38 preferred for additional I-frames)
  • Intelligence: 5
  • Faith: 5

Magic Character

Our level 49 early-game Sorcerer magic-focused character.

Weapon of Choice: The Mace (your starting weapon as the Cleric class), is actually a really good weapon right off the bat. You don’t have enough strength to one-hand it yet , but two-handing it is worthwhile.

Shield: Grabbing the Large Leather Shield just before the first boss in the Forest of Fallen Giants is pretty decent being 90% physical damage block, is light and requires little strength to hold one-handed.

Armor: The starting Sorcerer gear is sufficient for the first-half of the game, and then you can add magic-focused armor such as the Hexer’s Hood.

Magic: Soul Arrow (with an appropriate catalyst - like a staff), (Great) Lightening Spear (use a chime) and Great Soul Resonant (Hex).

Stat Dispersion: We’ll cover the ideal stats you’d need for a solid magic-build that’ll carry you well throughout every encounter in the main game.

  • Vigor: 16+
  • Endurance: 20+ (for the bigger spells)
  • Vitality: 20+
  • Attunement: 20 minimum
  • Strength: 18 (to one-hand mace)
  • Dexterity: Default for Cleric
  • Adaptability: 28 minimum (38 preferred for additional I-frames)
  • Intelligence: 30+
  • Faith: 30+

Our Just for Fun Build

Our mid-game brass-knuckles character stats.

Weapon of Choice: After beating the game a few times we heard that it was great fun to try ‘fisty-cuffs’ with Dual-Caestus (ultimately at +10 and poison infused for maximum damage).

Power-stance attacks can prove very powerful (especially the L1/L2 combos) and learning how to roll when you’re used to potentially blocking makes for a very interesting experience. Add on Covenant of Champions (and surprising people in PvP) and you can have quite a lot of fun with this build.

Shield: None

Armor: None (or Alva’s Armor if you’re getting killed too often).

Long Range: Nothing

Stat Dispersion: We’ll cover the ideal stats you’d need for a solid fisty-cuffs-only-build that’ll give you the best odds at survival.

  • Vigor: 20+
  • Endurance: 20+
  • Vitality: 20+
  • Attunement: Doesn’t matter.
  • Strength: 40 (soft cap)
  • Dexterity: 25+ (for Caestus’ scaling is ‘B’ in Dex)
  • Adaptability: 38 (You’ll really need those additional I-frames)
  • Intelligence: 3
  • Faith: 8
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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS3, PS4, XB 360, XB One
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    5 May 2014
  • Last Updated
    7 December 2020
  • Guide Author
    Andrew Mills

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You are an Undead, the bearer of a curse, who has gone “hollow” and half mad searching for a cure to restore your humanity. You have arrived in Drangleic, a place rumoured to harbour powerful souls that can help you regain your humanity and avoid this terrible fate. You must seek out these souls and save yourself and others from a fate worse than death itself. But it will not be easy…

  • A full game walkthrough.
  • The main differences between Dark Souls 1 and 2.
  • Keeping the Grim Reaper at bay with our top 10 essential survival tips.
  • An in-depth guide to the most important thing in Dark Souls 2 - the combat.
  • The character builds that saw us sail through the single-player story mode.
  • Learn what the new covenants do (and what you need to do to be able to join them all).
  • All the bosses made easy with helpful HD videos!
  • NPC info and much, much more!

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