What’s your Dark Souls strategy?

First impressions are important

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I like to run a lot of funky builds in the Dark Souls games. Big guys swinging around huge two-handed clubs and hammers are a favorite. But so are svelte, nimble little assassins with a buckler for parrying and a nasty little spike of a dagger for the stabby-stabby. When I build a character specifically to co-op, I like to really lean into the magic, making the most of all those spells that are just a little too slow to be practical when playing alone.

But those builds are something I get around to later. For the first time out, I always go classic sword and board. Just a sturdy blade, a thick piece of metal, and a whole lot of grit against a world of danger and death.

I’m in good company, this is the classic set-up our own Chris Carter uses whenever he reviews a Souls game. Still, I’ve never actually finished any of the Souls game with the first character I run.

I tend to look at that first run as an exploratory mission, a way to get familiar with the game with a few predictable tools before trying anything fancy. I’ll stick to the basics, try to tackle the bosses solo (but I’m not above summoning in the occasional helpful phantom if I’m stuck) and get a grip on the stat system and whatever new mechanics have been introduced. A few hours in, I tend to restart with that knowledge in mind and make something a little more specialized or wild.

It does make me wonder though, how do you, the collective Dtoid audience, tackle the Souls games? Do you do something similar and run a very classic Knight character the first time out? Do you go crazy and pick something like the Deprived? Do you have a build in mind the first time out, or just use whatever weapon seems good and the coolest looking outfit you can find?

What about multiplayer? How many of you go in for co-op the first time out? Or do you try and slay all the bosses on your own? Any bloodthirsty murderers out there that jump right into PvP and invasions as soon as possible?

Maybe I’ll try something different with Dark Souls III. I could see myself jumping in as a Herald with that jaunty little cape and spear — that wouldn’t be too far off my usual route — but it might be interesting to specialize in spears. Or maybe, for this final adventure, I should shake it up. Start as a Pyromancer or Assassin and try to make a bee-line to Invading and PvP as soon as I can, just to keep it fresh. 

How do you plan to play in the first few days of Dark Souls III?

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Nic Rowen
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