Because Dark Souls 3 tosses you in with little in the way of a tutorial the basics of gameplay can only be learned through the messages in the Cemetery of Ash.
Health & Death
Your character’s health is determined by your Vigor, with the red gauge at the top left of the screen indicating your overall health. When your health reaches 0 your Champion of Ash will die and return to the last bonfire you activated, dropping your Souls on the ground.
There are a few ways to regain your health:
- Rest at a bonfire to refresh your HP, FP, etc.
- Use an Estus Flask, which is automatically refilled each time you sit at a bonfire.
- Cast a spell that restores your HP.
- Use an Ember to increase your max HP pool and restore you to full HP.
Note that death while Embered will result in becoming unkindled, losing a large portion of their max HP pool until you become human again.
Souls & Leveling Up
Souls are the form of currency in Dark Souls 3, used for purchasing everything from items at the Merchants to leveling up your character.
They are obtained by killing enemies or using items and will be stored on you until you use them or you die. If you die, your Souls will drop on the ground near the area of your death, marked by a glowing green bloodstain, so make sure to pick them up before you die a second time or you will lose them forever.
In order to level up you’ll need to hear to Firelink Shrine to speak with the Fire Keeper, who will allow you to exchange a certain amount of Souls for 1 point in any stat of your choice. Each time you exchange Souls for a stat you’ll be required to exchange more the next time, no matter which stat you are leveling, as your overall character Level determines the cost.
Saving & Loading
Dark Souls 3 uses the auto-save feature, saving periodically at random points in the game. This means that if you die you can’t simply reload the game and try again and you’ll need to fight through the area again.
The only exception to this is backing up a save file to an external device, such as a USB Flash Drive. This will allow you to beat the final boss, obtaining the ending trophies/achievements, and then overwrite the save file with your old file to complete another ending, without having to play through the whole game again.