How to survive Dark Souls 3 [Beginner's Guide]

Lothric is hostile. Survive Dark Souls 3 with these simple tips and tricks.

Anyone that remains determined and vigilant throughout Dark Souls 3 is in for one of the most rewarding video game experiences in recent history. However, getting by in Lothric won't be easy.

There are dangers lurking around every dark corner in Lothric. You'll need every advantage you can get if you hope to survive Dark Souls 3.

Look no further, Champion of Ash. This Dark Souls 3 beginner's guide has all the tips and tricks a budding Unkindled needs to know to survive in the coming apocalypse without spoiling all the fun.

Pick the Class you think is the coolest

In the long run, the class you choose has no effect on the weapons or spells you can use. You are only limited your stats, all of which you can level without restriction.

You may choose a class for its starting stats, or you may choose one for its equipment. Ultimately it doesn't matter, though it will determine how hard of a time you have getting through the first portion of the game.

Imagine it like an early-game difficulty slider. Did you think the first boss was too easy? Go back and play through the tutorial with a Deprived character, you won't be disappointed.

How to Survive Dark Souls 3 Beginner's Guide Starting Class Exploration

Check every nook and cranny

Dark Souls 3 avidly rewards exploration with loot. Not only will you discover equipment, spells, and consumables strewn about, but you'll find important key items and NPCs to expand the utility of Firelink Shrine.

Comb over each area you come across. You never know when you'll miss an important vendor, an Estus Flask upgrade, or an item to expand existing vendor shops.

Remember to return to forks in the road

Dark Souls 3 has the most dense level design of the entire series. There will come points where you must choose which direction you'd like to go. There are no wrong options, but once you reach a new Bonfire or unlock a shortcut, make sure you double back to check out the paths you missed.

There was a path I passed while exploring the second area of the game. I reached a new bonfire, and I could have continued on to the boss, but I decided to double back instead. I found a new NPC vendor, a covenant, and an incredible ring that I would have missed had I forgotten to turn back.

Utilize your consumables

When I pick up consumables in RPGs, my first instinct is always to hoard them until I need them. By the end of the game, my inventory was overflowing with consumables I hadn't even touched. Don't do this.

No matter what, you'll always be able to buy or find more. Don't be afraid to toss a throwing knife or two to pull enemies. By all means, use Firebombs to take out dangerous beasts. And yes, please use the Soul items you find to level up or make a purchase when you're just short on funds. The consumables were made to be used.

Don't be afraid of overfilling your toolbar, either. Pressing and holding down on the D-Pad will return you to the first slot in your quick bar. This way you're not fumbling around and searching for Estus in the middle of a dangerous fight.

How to survive Dark Souls 3 Beginner's Guide Consumables Embers

Remain in Ember form while exploring new areas

Popping off an Ember not only grants you 40% extra Health, it also opens your world up to summoning and invading. Eventually NPCs will also invade your world.

The NPCs that invade drop unique equipment that cannot be found anywhere else. However, they will not invade you if you've already killed the area boss, so make sure you give each area a good sweep in Ember form before doing so.

Spend your Souls

For the love of Gwyn, whatever you do, never hoard your Souls. It doesn't matter how skilled you are, mistakes happen and you will lose them eventually.

Spend your hard-earned Souls on something useful like a level up, a new weapon, or a bundle of arrows. You do not want to be carrying a pocket-full of Souls when death comes knocking.

Return to Firelink Shrine often

You'll be warping to and from Firelink Shrine throughout the entire game to spend your collection of sovereignless souls. However, make sure your visits don't become mechanical in nature. There are interesting things happening around Firelink Shrine all the time.

Firelink Shrine populates much like the Nexus from Demon's Souls. Take your time to poke around and explore. You never know when a new NPC will show up -- invited or not. Don't forget to check the tunnels beneath the stairs or the thrones overlooking the bonfire.

Don't neglect upgrades

I'm not just talking about weapons -- although, don't neglect to upgrade those either. Giving the various merchants and peddlers certain items will upgrade their shops so they can supply you with better wares and services.

Arguably more important, however, are your Estus flask upgrades. Taking an Estus Shard to the blacksmith will increase your flask capacity by one. Additionally, burning a certain material in the Firelink Shrine bonfire will increase the potency of your Estus Flasks. Having a strong supply of Estus Flasks is especially important in the later areas of the game.

How to survive Dark Souls 3 Beginner's Guide Upgrade Ashen Estus Flasks

Allot your Estus as needed

In Dark Souls 3, you can split your Estus charges between Estus Flasks (healing potions) and Ashen Estus Flasks (mana potions). Sometimes it can be tricky to tell how many of each you'll need for your character build.

While playing, if you find you often run out of one type of Flask first, then give it a couple extra charges and see how you do. You'll likely find yourself returning to the blacksmith often to tweak your allotted Estus Flasks until you strike a balance.

Find and equip a 100% Physical Block Shield

A 100% Physical Block Shield is a total game-changer. Some classes start with one in Dark Souls 3, but if you didn't get one, make sure to find one and equip it pronto.

By no means are you required to use a shield. However, without a shield at least nearing 100% Physical Block, your better off dodging enemy attacks anyway.

Seek out the story

There is a deep, rich story in Dark Souls 3 waiting for you to uncover it. Unlike The Witcher 3 or Bioshock Infinite, Dark Souls 3 is not out to narrate a epic plot. Instead, it hides in NPC dialogue, item descriptions, and the environment itself.

Why are these hollows worshiping a dead dragon? Why are hollows turning into trees? Why is there a trail of dead pilgrims all facing one building? The story of Dark Souls 3 will leave you with more questions than answers, and with answers come yet more questions.

What is truly going on here in Lothric?

How to survive Dark Souls 3 Beginner's Guide

May the flames guide thee, Champion of Ash

There you have it, everything you need to know to survive Dark Souls 3. It will be a long and arduous journey, but if you heed the tips and tricks in this beginner's guide, you'll find yourself staring down the final boss in no time.

Look forward to our upcoming guides on Firelink Shrine, NPC questlines, Covenants, equipment upgrades, and more.

Lost, confused, or stuck? Leave a comment below and we'll see how we can help!

Featured Correspondent

Autumn is a freelance writer that grew up on GameFAQs walkthroughs trying to suss out how to get through her favorite PC and Nintendo games. These days she's a capable game pioneer, mapping out guides and tips so players of all skill levels can join in on the fun.

Published Apr. 13th 2016

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