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Elden Ring - chortlesome japes


Broker
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6 minutes ago, Broker said:


No armour upgrades, you can modify them to slightly change the appearance but you can’t dump shards into them to improve them anymore.

 

 

Ooh, that's new. Glad I don't have to pour upgrade materials into armour, and I guess it means finding something decent will be all the sweeter.

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2 hours ago, Ry said:

Decided to head south from the starting area as the castle after Margit fight was kicking my arse.

 

Although I'm getting annoyed with the game and mechanics regarding the attributes. I don't have a clue what these numbers mean and I have minus numbers next to plus and other convoluted nonsense. So much is not explained I feel the game is wasting my time. I am still using my starting sword at plus 4 strength and no idea how to upgrade further. 

 

I just constantly have that nagging feeling my character could be much stronger and I don't know where to begin. 

 

As much as I love a ton about the game, it feels like a bloody chore at times. 


What class have you chosen? Forget how “powerful” you are. First thing would be to make sure you have lots of stamina and are able to fast roll. The more Stamina you have, the more you can attack, block, roll, run etc in battles, which is the most important thing imo. If you can’t get out the way, or block you’ll get killed no matter how “powerful” you are. Also, most of the enemies require patience and countering, so if you use your stamina up dodging and blocking you’ll have none left to counter attack with!
 

To increase your stamina upgrade “Endurance”. To get fast rolling, decrease your weight load and also upgrade your endurance. The lighter your load the faster your quick roll and movement will become. Most of the enemies out in the world can be easily avoided. You don’t have to fight them unless you choose to do so.

 

As for your weapon. It’s not all about power. You might prefer speed. It all comes down to finding a weapon that you gel with. If you’re a Vagabond the standard Halberd is awesome, especially two handed. Reasonably quick light attacks and its strong attack is powerful and also will deal with groups of enemies. Combine that with the jump attack and spinning charged attack and it’s pretty tasty. Most of the enemies down the South coastline and heading east can be one shotted. The others only take a couple of attacks. I’d advise heading there, if you want to smash some stuff up. :)

 

Otherwise I’d advise just wandering and unlocking lots of the Grace points, whilst exploring around and only fighting stuff you feel comfortable fighting. You’ll then end up with loads of Runes to upgrade with. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Davros sock drawer said:

 

 

Ooh, that's new. Glad I don't have to pour upgrade materials into armour, and I guess it means finding something decent will be all the sweeter.

 

That and Fashion Souls, FROM Software know their audience :lol: 

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Can you upgrade your spirit summons, and if so how? 

 

I think this game is just amazing. Like just the design of the world is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, it’s not just; here’s the open world and here are the settlements and so on, it’s how they all sit in the world itself and intertwine with one another, above, below, through, under, over, etc. 
 

I can honestly see me playing this and not much else until BOTW2 arrives, that’s the kind of top tier experience we’re at with these From games now IMO - there’s them and Nintendo doing this thing not just better than anyone else, but so far ahead it’s astonishing. I don’t just rank them as some of my favourite video games, I rank them alongside my favourite books, films and art period.
 

There’s a lot of shit things going on in the world right now, but this is just that little bit of sunshine. 

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6 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Can you upgrade your spirit summons, and if so how? 

 

I think this game is just amazing. Like just the design of the world is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, it’s not just; here’s the open world but and here are the settlements and so on, it’s how they all sit in the world itself and intertwine with one another, above, below, through, under, over, etc. 
 

I can honestly see me playing this and not much else until BOTW2 arrives, that’s the kind top tier experience we’re at with these From games now IMO - there’s them and Nintendo doing this thing not just better than anyone else, but so far ahead it’s astonishing. I don’t just rank them as some of my favourite video games, I rank them alongside my favourite books, films and art period.
 

There’s a lot of shit things going on in the world right now, but this is just that little bit of sunshine. 

I can tell you 

 

Spoilers for upgrading Summons  Stormveil and the boss

Spoiler

If you defeat Godrick or get to the lake by using the secret way around then activate the grace point there. It starts the NPC story that allows this. 

 

The woman in Stormveil shack who gave you the Jellyfish summon will have disappeared and left a gift. 

 

Warp to Roundhold. She will be by the fireplace. 

 

Chat to her and the Smithy till the chat is exhausted. 

 

Warp to anywhere on map. 

Warp back 

 

Spirit tuning unlocked. 

 

You need items found in the places where the Undead tend to wander.  Can't recall the item name at hand. 

 

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22 minutes ago, hmm said:

I would be fascinated to know what exactly GRRM contributed to this. Very strong suspicions that he was given a large bag of cash just to let them associate his name with it. More than happy for them to garner a wider audience that way, of course - the game certainly deserves it!

 

And there's also the fact that if they had been genuinely dependent upon him for the storyline then this magnificent creation would still be at least two years away right now.


Here's an in-depth summary of his contributions to the game lore.

image.png.115ede9eaca187f86a2787c6b406467d.png

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9 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Can you upgrade your spirit summons, and if so how? 

 

I think this game is just amazing. Like just the design of the world is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, it’s not just; here’s the open world but and here are the settlements and so on, it’s how they all sit in the world itself and intertwine with one another, above, below, through, under, over, etc. 
 

I can honestly see me playing this and not much else until BOTW2 arrives, that’s the kind top tier experience we’re at with these From games now IMO - there’s them and Nintendo doing this thing not just better than anyone else, but so far ahead it’s astonishing. I don’t just rank them as some of my favourite video games, I rank them alongside my favourite books, films and art period.
 

There’s a lot of shit things going on in the world right now, but this is just that little bit of sunshine. 

 

To upgrade your spirit summons

 

Spoiler

you need to visit Roderika at Stormhill Shack.  She'll remain there for a bit and eventually go to the Roundtable, an area you go to later.  Then you go between her and the blacksmith conversation wise and eventually she'll learnt to upgrade your summons

 

EDIT - (or what cassidy said in better detail above!)

 

My favourite moment so far is when:

 

Spoiler

I go on to a round stone elevator and get on it, wondering what catacomb or dungeon it will take me too.  It starts going down....and keeps going........feels endless like for 20 - 30secs or so and all enclosed, then it goes into the open and you just see this wide expansive view of a massive dungeon you are entering into with the lift still going down until it stops.  Not gonna lie, it completely took me by surprise and I was like 'fuck, this will take a while'.  Was great.

 

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40 minutes ago, Cosmic_Guru said:

The woman who will upgrade summons appears to have died from neglect in my game.....

 

Anyone who's finished DeS will probably raise an eyebrow at that.

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Come on then, what's people's best-voted messages?  Someone had a really good one earlier in the thread who was it?  Hundreds of upvotes.  You bastard. 

 

My two best are 'Don't give up, skeleton' in front of a skeleton corpse in one of the crypts with about 100-and something, and a simple, "behold - door!" in front of a boss door, also in one of the crypts, with about 60-something. 

 

I've also put some actual helpful ones (e.g. "ladder - left" for sneaky ladders etc) which get a good amount of upvotes while I'm pootling about online. 

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5 hours ago, Hello Goaty ♥ said:

 

 

And i did it too :) 

 

On a different note -  one thing i would have liked to see -  When you are wearing the same clothing as the Soldiers.... A brief little second or two for them to  realise you are not one of them, giving you time to do a super surprise attack on them!   For example when dressed like them, i would like the Trumpeter man to come and check me out before sounding the horn.  That would take it to another level.

I think that kind of AI is a little way off with the soldiers; they just nonchalantly walk past their mates laying on the ground that I’ve just massacred 5 seconds earlier 😂 Though it’d be impossible to clear out areas otherwise.
 

I’m not very far into this and feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time messing, but just got a bow from a hidden away merchant near the starting area and it’s so cool! Currently silencing sine time gathering supplies for arrows ☺️
 

Spoiler

Merchant is to the south of the starting area, on the beach under an alcove near those mental little monkeys 🐵

 

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32 minutes ago, cassidy said:

Great post and very helpful to those starting out. Tbh though I think most of this does get explained in the game and the help menu really does help.  And I still think this is less Byzantine in its complexity compared to starting Monster Hunter as a noob. And before all the QOL improvements made to the last gen game. 

 

Yeah Monster Hunter is by far the worst culprit for this sort of thing, and yeah the help menus in Elden Ring are a good addition, although there are still some things I think they should have added into the help menu, as seen in this thread. Monster Hunter though, even though I put over 100 hours into World, there were still menus and mechanics I didn't properly understand! Even World 2 is still confusing as all hell.

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40 minutes ago, Doctor Shark said:

The tailor's kit doesn't let you upgrade armour, it lets you alter the look of some armour sets for cosmetic purposes i.e. adding/removing capes.

 

There is no way to upgrade armour.

 

Ah makes sense. What's interesting is that since picking it up I've started finding the alternate versions of armour dropped by mobs too. 

 

I've made a few additions to the FAQ help thread. If people have common questions like how to upgrade weapons, scaling, using/upgrading ashes and spirits, direct them to the post with this url:

https://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/310906-elden-ring-chortlesome-japes/&do=findComment&comment=13501201

 

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3 hours ago, robdood said:

Come on then, what's people's best-voted messages?  Someone had a really good one earlier in the thread who was it?  Hundreds of upvotes.  You bastard. 

 

My two best are 'Don't give up, skeleton' in front of a skeleton corpse in one of the crypts with about 100-and something, and a simple, "behold - door!" in front of a boss door, also in one of the crypts, with about 60-something. 

 

I've also put some actual helpful ones (e.g. "ladder - left" for sneaky ladders etc) which get a good amount of upvotes while I'm pootling about online. 

 

I do lots of "grace ahead" or "watch out for ambush" types.

 

Mostly if I find a highly rated tip I go 5 foot back and say the same thing :P

 

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2 hours ago, Cyhwuhx said:

 

Multiple people have explained this now. Have you read those posts?

 

Basically: weapon have number; smith weapon to get higher number; get extra + or - numbers depending on your stats; letter tells you how much stat will influence +/-; add Arts to influence letters.

 

See...I have read what people have said. And I'm still confused. 

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1 hour ago, Alan Stock said:

For those struggling with progressing their character like @Ry. Here are some basics. Note I know some of you newbies will already know some of this stuff, but I'll be going over it all just in case I can cover any gaps.

 

Character Level / Menus

- Save up runes and spend them at grace sites to level up your character stats. VIG (Vigour) for HP, END (Endurance) for stamina, and STR or DEX depending on what weapons you want to use. Magic users will also put points into INT (Intelligence) for sorcerer spells or FTH (Faith) for miracles. MND (mind) increases your FP (mana) but you probably won't need to do that until later unless you are a sorcerer. I would ignore (ARC) Arcane unless you are going for specific builds/goals.

- Note that on any menu screen you can press touchpad (or non-Playstation equivalent, check the prompts on the bottom of the screen), to bring up a submenu. Choose Explanations (not Menu Explanations) and now you can move the cursor over each stat and it tells you what each means. Useful for level up screen, Status screen, and weapon/armour screens.

- Press Square on Playstation (or equivalent) on any item/armour/weapon to cycle to a detailed description which has lore and more details of the item, for weapons it also details the special attack it has.

 

Weapons

- Weapons have a stat requirement to use you can see on the Equipment screen. Sometimes you might want to put a few points into the relevant stat to get that tasty weapon. Compare stats with weapons you have equipped by selecting your weapon on the equip screen, making sure to use stick click (or PC equivalent) to bring up the relevant window, that will show you how the highlighted weapon compares to your one.

- You can only upgrade weapons you currently have equipped, so don't miss that. Do this at the anvil (like the one at the church with Santa) or blacksmiths.

- Weapon stat scaling basically works like this: If a weapon has STR D - then its damage will slightly increase as you raise your STR stat. If it had STR A, the damage will increase a lot more as you raise your STR. If you are going for a primarily STR or DEX build, stick to weapons which have better scaling letters for the relevant stat. Previous posts go into more detail.

- Essentially if you want to cause more damage, look at the weapon you're using, or want to use, and pick the highest letter you can see (with A being the highest and E being the lowest). Then bump up the stat that letter is on. STR C and DEX E sword? You'll do more damage with that if you put points into your character's STR, but still get a bit of a damage boost from boosting your DEX.

- If there are equal letters on a weapon like STR E/DEX E, either stat will do.

- Note that upgrading weapons eventually can actually upgrade the letters too, so keep an eye out for potential gains on the blacksmith/anvil screen when you hover over upgrades you can buy.

- Upgrades require stone shards which can be hard to find initially, so choose carefully. But keep exploring the world and you will find some. I got about 20-25 stones in Limgrave alone, enough to upgrade my sword to +6 and another to +2. Eventually you can unlock the ability to buy stone shards too.

 

Armour, Shields and Weight

- Armour and Shields don't have letter scaling like weapons. But they do have stat requirements to wear. Armour is generally dropped from mobs, but you can buy full sets from some vendors, like the chainmail from Santa Claus in the church. Like weapons, you can compare stats with your current armour in the same way.

- You can go for light armour (magic users/rolling gods), which lets you move faster and dodge faster. Medium gives better protection but slower rolls and movement. Heavy armour generally means 'fat' rolls, slow movement, but better protection.

- If you are going for heavy armour using a shield or eventually a Greatshield is a good idea, because you won't be rolling out of danger.

- For beginners I would probably recommend going for medium armour and a shield, unless you enjoy/are good at rolling out of danger. Note that rolling makes you invincible during the roll, so you can literally roll through enemy attacks, even towards them if you time it right (something that I never realised until my second Souls game!).

- Keep an eye on the equip load in the right of the equipment screen, it will say light, medium or heavy. That dictates the speed of your character and rolls. Most equipment has a weight value which is listed near the top of its stats, the weight of everything you are wearing is added together to give your equip load.

- Unless you want to be slow and wear heavy armour, keep the equip load on medium or less. Bear in mind that having multiple weapons equipped (i.e. cycling between multiple right hand weapons for example) will still add them to your equip load. Don't have 3 weapons equipped in each hand unless you need them or can handle the load. I believe Endurance stat increases your max equip load. Note that items in your items 'bar' (like consumables, ashes, telescope, etc) don't weigh anything, so equip them to your heart's content.

- For shields, look for the physical protection stat, it will generally be the most important. At 100 or more you won't take any damage when you block. Less than 100 means you may take a bit of damage when blocking (still much better than taking the full hit!). Better Endurance means a bigger stamina bar, which means taking more hits before your shield posture breaks (when your character staggers).

- Remember if you let go of the block button when using your shield, your stamina will regenerate much more rapidly, so do that if you aren't in immediate danger.

- In general I don't advise using any shards to upgrade shields (feel free to correct me, pros).

- For fights against specific element types, shields and armour have protection values for stuff like fire, the higher the better the resistance, so you can always try swapping them out for better protection.

 

Weapon Ashes

- Assign them at grace sites, they replace whatever the default weapon skill is with whatever the ashes do (Left trigger on console to activate in combat). You can change or remove them whenever you want (at a grace site).

- When assigning you usually get a menu. This shows how it will affect the weapon stats, and allows you to do stuff like changing the letters for the weapon scaling. So if you are using a DEX based character, you could use the Quality option for example to raise the weapon from DEX D to DEX C, making it more powerful if you have a good DEX score. 

 

Spirit Summons/Ashes

- Find these in the world or often as rewards for bosses/dungeons, allowing you to summon spirits to help in boss fights/hard encounters

- You can only use them once you speak to a certain NPC, or failing that buy a special item in the Roundtable, a location you will unlock after a while. Spoilers for finding these NPCs:

  Reveal hidden contents

If you rest at the church where the Santa Claus vendor is, it should turn night time and a glowing witch will appear sitting on the church wall. She will give you the bell to allow you to summon (note its a key item that you don't have to equip).

 

If you miss this or can't get the witch to appear, in the Roundtable (should unlock after a while in-game after resting at a site of grace) find the finger ladies, a vendor who will sell the bell.

- Spirits can only be summoned in specific locations, usually bosses or hard encounters, where a grave icon appears on the left of the screen. They cost varying amounts of FP (mana) to cast, and once summoned they can't be summoned again in that fight even if they die. If you die or the encounter resets, you can summon again. Note that you can't have different spirits out at once, or summon a different spirit after one dies.

- You need to assign the spirit ashes to your inventory slots or quick menu (the hold down Triangle on PlayStation menu) and use the ashes to summon them.

- You can level up the strength/HP of your summons via a little quest chain starting with:

  Reveal hidden contents

The girl who you find in the shack in the windy area, just to the right of the main road leading up to Stormwind castle, past the massive gate with the giant ambush. Exhaust her dialogue, and she'll bugger off to the Roundtable when you next go there. Then do a little back and forth between her and the blacksmith and she will become your spirit upgrader.

- To upgrade you will need runes and special flowers which I've generally only found in dungeons. The higher the level to upgrade, the more flowers you will need.

- Spirits are a big help in distracting enemies and causing a bit of extra damage, try out different ashes to see what works best for each encounter.

 

NPC and Player Summons/Helpful Items

- You can summon player co-op to help in fights, although I won't go into it here as I haven't dabbled in it yet! But suffice to say if you are struggling doing a boss, bring in some help!

- Some boss fights also have a story related NPC who you can summon to help in front of the boss door. Usually you will need to find the NPC in the world first, where they will offer to help. Look out for a glowing golden sign on the floor by the boss door similar to player messages, and it will ask you whether you want to summon them. They will act similarly to a player co-op partner in a fight, tanking and dealing damage and are even better than spirit summons. If they die in the fight, it doesn't kill them in the world, you can summon them again and even though they vanish after victory, you can usually find and talk to them in the world, usually somewhere different to where you first found them.

- Sometimes you can find special items or weapons that are specifically to help with certain bosses. Keep your eyes out and read your item descriptions. A good general tip is to always go through all of a vendor's inventory and read up on the items even if you can't afford them - you may find stuff that will be useful to buy later.

- Its also possible to find items called Talismans in the game, which give little buffs, for example I have one which reduces fire damage and other which increases my jumping attack damage. These can be equipped in the Equipment menu in the talisman slot/s. Note they also have a small weight value. 

 

Hope this helps. My first Souls game (Demons Souls original) I had many of the same issues, and I agree the series is still frustratingly byzantine for newcomers in terms of upgrade mechanics. 

 

Thanks for this. Clears up a lot of confusion. 

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Finally started exploring the castle, it's massive! Some of the doors are sealed off with white smoke? Do I need to kill a boss first or something? I am exploring the rooftops etc. around :

 

Spoiler

the courtyard with all the dudes pointing ballistae at the gate. I've come to a bit where I could drop down and murder some of these guys but there is also a door to inside that is sealed off with smoke.

 

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1 minute ago, Kzo said:

Finally started exploring the castle, it's massive! Some of the doors are sealed off with white smoke?

 

I don't recall anything specific examples where you're talking about but

 

Spoiler

White smoke doors normally have Goblin statues to use Stoneshape keys (or close to that) to open don't they?

 

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1 hour ago, Alan Stock said:

 

For the first crab you find on a beach I wrote 'Beware of Pincer attack'. Only 3 upvotes for grade A hilarity. Bloody ingrates!

 

Rated poor ;)

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48 minutes ago, hmm said:

I would be fascinated to know what exactly GRRM contributed to this. Very strong suspicions that he was given a large bag of cash just to let them associate his name with it. More than happy for them to garner a wider audience that way, of course - the game certainly deserves it!

 

And there's also the fact that if they had been genuinely dependent upon him for the storyline then this magnificent creation would still be at least two years away right now.

GPRM

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20 minutes ago, robdood said:

Come on then, what's people's best-voted messages?  Someone had a really good one earlier in the thread who was it?  Hundreds of upvotes.  You bastard. 

 

My two best are 'Don't give up, skeleton' in front of a skeleton corpse in one of the crypts with about 100-and something, and a simple, "behold - door!" in front of a boss door, also in one of the crypts, with about 60-something. 

 

I've also put some actual helpful ones (e.g. "ladder - left" for sneaky ladders etc) which get a good amount of upvotes while I'm pootling about online. 

How do you see this in the game as I've had loads of free heals playing this the past few nights and was wondering if there is a log in the menus somewhere. 

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4 minutes ago, Hexx said:

 

I don't recall anything specific examples where you're talking about but

 

  Hide contents

White smoke doors normally have Goblin statues to use Stoneshape keys (or close to that) to open don't they?

 

 

Aye, couldn't see one but probably just missed it. Will have a look when on again later. 

 

Just content myself with thinking about Elden Ring until then 😆

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1 minute ago, cassidy said:

How do you see this in the game as I've had loads of free heals playing this the past few nights and was wondering if there is a log in the menus somewhere. 

Start button > messages > R1 to middle tab :)

 

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1 hour ago, Alan Stock said:

For those struggling with progressing their character like @Ry. Here are some basics. Note I know some of you newbies will already know some of this stuff, but I'll be going over it all just in case I can cover any gaps.

 

Character Level / Menus

- Save up runes and spend them at grace sites to level up your character stats. VIG (Vigour) for HP, END (Endurance) for stamina, and STR or DEX depending on what weapons you want to use. Magic users will also put points into INT (Intelligence) for sorcerer spells or FTH (Faith) for miracles. MND (mind) increases your FP (mana) but you probably won't need to do that until later unless you are a sorcerer. I would ignore (ARC) Arcane unless you are going for specific builds/goals.

- Note that on any menu screen you can press touchpad (or non-Playstation equivalent, check the prompts on the bottom of the screen), to bring up a submenu. Choose Explanations (not Menu Explanations) and now you can move the cursor over each stat and it tells you what each means. Useful for level up screen, Status screen, and weapon/armour screens.

- Press Square on Playstation (or equivalent) on any item/armour/weapon to cycle to a detailed description which has lore and more details of the item, for weapons it also details the special attack it has.

 

Weapons

- Weapons have a stat requirement to use you can see on the Equipment screen. Sometimes you might want to put a few points into the relevant stat to get that tasty weapon. Compare stats with weapons you have equipped by selecting your weapon on the equip screen, making sure to use stick click (or PC equivalent) to bring up the relevant window, that will show you how the highlighted weapon compares to your one.

- You can only upgrade weapons you currently have equipped, so don't miss that. Do this at the anvil (like the one at the church with Santa) or blacksmiths.

- Weapon stat scaling basically works like this: If a weapon has STR D - then its damage will slightly increase as you raise your STR stat. If it had STR A, the damage will increase a lot more as you raise your STR. If you are going for a primarily STR or DEX build, stick to weapons which have better scaling letters for the relevant stat. Previous posts go into more detail.

- Essentially if you want to cause more damage, look at the weapon you're using, or want to use, and pick the highest letter you can see (with A being the highest and E being the lowest). Then bump up the stat that letter is on. STR C and DEX E sword? You'll do more damage with that if you put points into your character's STR, but still get a bit of a damage boost from boosting your DEX.

- If there are equal letters on a weapon like STR E/DEX E, either stat will do.

- Note that upgrading weapons eventually can actually upgrade the letters too, so keep an eye out for potential gains on the blacksmith/anvil screen when you hover over upgrades you can buy.

- Upgrades require stone shards which can be hard to find initially, so choose carefully. But keep exploring the world and you will find some. I got about 20-25 stones in Limgrave alone, enough to upgrade my sword to +6 and another to +2. Eventually you can unlock the ability to buy stone shards too.

 

Armour, Shields and Weight

- Armour and Shields don't have letter scaling like weapons. But they do have stat requirements to wear. Armour is generally dropped from mobs, but you can buy full sets from some vendors, like the chainmail from Santa Claus in the church. Like weapons, you can compare stats with your current armour in the same way.

- You can go for light armour (magic users/rolling gods), which lets you move faster and dodge faster. Medium gives better protection but slower rolls and movement. Heavy armour generally means 'fat' rolls, slow movement, but better protection.

- If you are going for heavy armour using a shield or eventually a Greatshield is a good idea, because you won't be rolling out of danger.

- For beginners I would probably recommend going for medium armour and a shield, unless you enjoy/are good at rolling out of danger. Note that rolling makes you invincible during the roll, so you can literally roll through enemy attacks, even towards them if you time it right (something that I never realised until my second Souls game!).

- Keep an eye on the equip load in the right of the equipment screen, it will say light, medium or heavy. That dictates the speed of your character and rolls. Most equipment has a weight value which is listed near the top of its stats, the weight of everything you are wearing is added together to give your equip load.

- Unless you want to be slow and wear heavy armour, keep the equip load on medium or less. Bear in mind that having multiple weapons equipped (i.e. cycling between multiple right hand weapons for example) will still add them to your equip load. Don't have 3 weapons equipped in each hand unless you need them or can handle the load. I believe Endurance stat increases your max equip load. Note that items in your items 'bar' (like consumables, ashes, telescope, etc) don't weigh anything, so equip them to your heart's content.

- For shields, look for the physical protection stat, it will generally be the most important. At 100 or more you won't take any damage when you block. Less than 100 means you may take a bit of damage when blocking (still much better than taking the full hit!). Better Endurance means a bigger stamina bar, which means taking more hits before your shield posture breaks (when your character staggers).

- Remember if you let go of the block button when using your shield, your stamina will regenerate much more rapidly, so do that if you aren't in immediate danger.

- In general I don't advise using any shards to upgrade shields (feel free to correct me, pros).

- For fights against specific element types, shields and armour have protection values for stuff like fire, the higher the better the resistance, so you can always try swapping them out for better protection.

 

Weapon Ashes

- Assign them at grace sites, they replace whatever the default weapon skill is with whatever the ashes do (Left trigger on console to activate in combat). You can change or remove them whenever you want (at a grace site).

- When assigning you usually get a menu. This shows how it will affect the weapon stats, and allows you to do stuff like changing the letters for the weapon scaling. So if you are using a DEX based character, you could use the Quality option for example to raise the weapon from DEX D to DEX C, making it more powerful if you have a good DEX score. 

 

Spirit Summons/Ashes

- Find these in the world or often as rewards for bosses/dungeons, allowing you to summon spirits to help in boss fights/hard encounters

- You can only use them once you speak to a certain NPC, or failing that buy a special item in the Roundtable, a location you will unlock after a while. Spoilers for finding these NPCs:

  Reveal hidden contents

If you rest at the church where the Santa Claus vendor is, it should turn night time and a glowing witch will appear sitting on the church wall. She will give you the bell to allow you to summon (note its a key item that you don't have to equip).

 

If you miss this or can't get the witch to appear, in the Roundtable (should unlock after a while in-game after resting at a site of grace) find the finger ladies, a vendor who will sell the bell.

- Spirits can only be summoned in specific locations, usually bosses or hard encounters, where a grave icon appears on the left of the screen. They cost varying amounts of FP (mana) to cast, and once summoned they can't be summoned again in that fight even if they die. If you die or the encounter resets, you can summon again. Note that you can't have different spirits out at once, or summon a different spirit after one dies.

- You need to assign the spirit ashes to your inventory slots or quick menu (the hold down Triangle on PlayStation menu) and use the ashes to summon them.

- You can level up the strength/HP of your summons via a little quest chain starting with:

  Reveal hidden contents

The girl who you find in the shack in the windy area, just to the right of the main road leading up to Stormwind castle, past the massive gate with the giant ambush. Exhaust her dialogue, and she'll bugger off to the Roundtable when you next go there. Then do a little back and forth between her and the blacksmith and she will become your spirit upgrader.

- To upgrade you will need runes and special flowers which I've generally only found in dungeons. The higher the level to upgrade, the more flowers you will need.

- Spirits are a big help in distracting enemies and causing a bit of extra damage, try out different ashes to see what works best for each encounter.

 

NPC and Player Summons/Helpful Items

- You can summon player co-op to help in fights, although I won't go into it here as I haven't dabbled in it yet! But suffice to say if you are struggling doing a boss, bring in some help!

- Some boss fights also have a story related NPC who you can summon to help in front of the boss door. Usually you will need to find the NPC in the world first, where they will offer to help. Look out for a glowing golden sign on the floor by the boss door similar to player messages, and it will ask you whether you want to summon them. They will act similarly to a player co-op partner in a fight, tanking and dealing damage and are even better than spirit summons. If they die in the fight, it doesn't kill them in the world, you can summon them again and even though they vanish after victory, you can usually find and talk to them in the world, usually somewhere different to where you first found them.

- Sometimes you can find special items or weapons that are specifically to help with certain bosses. Keep your eyes out and read your item descriptions. A good general tip is to always go through all of a vendor's inventory and read up on the items even if you can't afford them - you may find stuff that will be useful to buy later.

- Its also possible to find items called Talismans in the game, which give little buffs, for example I have one which reduces fire damage and other which increases my jumping attack damage. These can be equipped in the Equipment menu in the talisman slot/s. Note they also have a small weight value. 

 

Hope this helps. My first Souls game (Demons Souls original) I had many of the same issues, and I agree the series is still frustratingly byzantine for newcomers in terms of upgrade mechanics. 


Gonna link to this in the how do I? thread, lovely stuff

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