DARK SOULS HOW TO MAKE A BUILD: General aspects, basic concepts and practical examples Ver. 1.0 Welcome to my first FAQ... Created by Melchaios Copyright 2012 Melchaios Disclaimer: This FAQ is intended for new players, and intermediate players who still have trouble making builds. If the concepts described here seem to elemental or conventional for you, then you should start spicing things up by getting creative and making unconventional combinations :). You can also just check the APENDIX section to watch seasoned players from Dark souls giving advice and insight into advanced techniques. The FAQ just covers the fundamentals, and doesn't delve into specific gear. This FAQ is intended to be used closely with one of the Wikis for additional information: http://darksoulswiki.wikispaces.com/, http://darksouls.wikidot.com/. Credit for the development of this document goes to Melchaios, credit for additional information taken from other players either literally or as base material is given to the respective authors either by stating it in the document, or sharing a link to the original post. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. English is not my natal language, I've tried to prevent grammar mistakes as best as I could, but if I missed anything I apologize beforehand. I also apologize if the FAQ ended up being too long for its own sake, just give it a shot would you. Feel free to write suggestions, questions and impressions to firstname.lastname@example.org; however, I won't receive suggestions to add glitches, hacks or any other form of foul play. INDEX: [GENCON] 1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS [STATRI] 2. GET YOUR STATS RIGHT: Classification, scaling, Physical stats, Ethereal stats, Constitution stats, Other stats. [WILCAR] 3. WILDCARDS WILCAR.A) Pyromancy: i) Fire balls ii) Combustions iii) Fire discharge spells iv) Storms v) Buffs vi) Status inducers. WILCAR.B) Elemental refinement WILCAR.C) Family masks [SUITUP] 4. SUIT UP SUITUP.A) Poise: i) Toughest ii) Tough iii) Average iv) Weak. SUITUP.B) Mobility: i) Fastest ii) Fast iii) Normal SUITUP.C) The burden of armors i) Light sets ii) Medium sets iii) Heavy sets SUITUP.D) How to make a suit: i) Poise oriented ii) Mobility oriented SUITUP.E) Suit categories i) Light suits (LghS) i.a) LghS 1 i.b) LghS 2 i.c) LghS 3 ii) Medium suits (MedS) ii.a) MedS 1 ii.b) MedS 2 ii.c) MedS 3 ii.d) MedS 4 iii) Heavy suits (HvyS) iii.a) HvyS 1 iii.b) HvyS 2 iv) Super suits (SupS) iv.a) SupS 1 iv.b) SupS 2 iv.c) SupS 3 [ARMTHE] 5. ARMED TO THE TEETH: Stunlocking, Weapon speed. ARMTHE.A) Daggers i) Bandit's knife ii) Parrying dagger iii) Priscilla's dagger iv) Dark silver tracer ARMTHE.B) Straight swords i) Sunlight straight sword ii) Balder side sword iii) Darksword ARMTHE.C) Great swords i) Claymore ii) Flamberge iii) Moonlight Greatsword iv) True Greatsword of Artorias v) Man Serpent Greatsword vi) Stone Greatsword vii) Obsidian Greatsword ARMTHE.D) Ultra Great swords i) Zweihander ii) Greatsword iii) Demon Great Machete ARMTHE.E) Curved swords i) Falchion ii) Painting guardian sword iii) Shotel iv) Gold tracer ARMTHE.F) Katanas i) Uchigatana ii) Laito iii) Washing Pole ARMTHE.G) Curved Great swords i) Murakumo ii) Gravelord sword ARMTHE.H) Piercing swords i) Rapier ii) Ricard's rapier iii) Velka's rapier ARMTHE.I) Axes i) Various ii) Golem axe ARMTHE.J) Great axes i) Greataxe ii) Demon's greataxe iii) Stone Greataxe/Dragon King greataxe iv) Black Knight Greataxe ARMTHE.K) Hammers i) Various ARMTHE.L) Great hammers i) Great club ii) Large club iii) Grant ARMTHE.M) Fist weapons i) Claws ARMTHE.N) Spears i) Winged spear/Spear ii) Partizan iii) Dragonslayer spear iv) Demon's spear v) Channeler's trident ARMTHE.O) Pole weapons i) Gargoyle's halberd ii) Black Knight halberd iii) Giant's halberd iv) Scythe v) Great Scythe vi) Lifehunt Scythe ARMTHE.P) Whips ARMTHE.Q) Bows: i) Various ARMTHE.R) Great bows: i) Dragonslayer Greatbow ARMTHE.S) Crossbows: i) Avelyn ARMTHE.T) Shields [COMPLE] 6. COMPLEMENTS COMPLE.A) Rings: i) Oriented at melee and mobility: i.a) Cloranthy ring i.b) Havel's ring i.c) Red Tearstone ring i.d) Leo ring i.e) Wolf ring i.f) Hornet ring i.g) Darkwood grain ring i.h) Ring of Fog i.i) Ring of Favor and Protection ii) Oriented at spells: ii.a) Bellowing Dragoncrest ring ii.b) Lingering Dragoncrest ring ii.c) Dusk crown ring ii.d) White seance/Darkmoon seance rings ii.e) Ring of the Sun's firstborn ii.f) Ring of the Sun Princess COMPLE.B) Special clothing: i) Family masks ii) Crown of Dusk iii) Crown of the Dark sun iv) Armor of thorns COMPLE.C) Shields: i) Target shield/buckler ii) Heater shield iii) Tower Kite/Caduceus Kite shields iv) Sunlight shield v) Black Knight shield vi) Crest shield vii) Dragon crest shield viii) Grass crest shield ix) Status resistance shields x) Sanctus xi) Eagle shield xii) Havel's greatshield xiii) Artorias' greatshields xiv) Giant's shield COMPLE.D) Casting items: i) Catalysts: i.a) Ooacile ivory catalyst i.b) Sorcerer's/Beatrice's/Izalith catalysts i.c) Logan's catalyst i.d) Manus' catalyst i.e) Tin Crystallization catalyst i.f) Tin Darkmoon catalyst ii) Talismans: ii.a) Thorolund talisman ii.b) Canvas talisman ii.c) Ivory/Sunlight talismans ii.d) Darkmoon talisman ii.e) Velka's talisman COMPLE.E) Consumables: i) Healing items: i.a) Estus flasks i.b) Humanities/twin humanities/Fire Keeper soul i.c) Mosses ii) Attacking/nerfing items: ii.a) Dragon stones ii.b) Firebombs ii.c) Poison throwing knives ii.d) Lloyd's talisman ii.e) Dung pies iii) Defensive/buffing items: iii.a) Repair powder iii.b) Green blossom iii.c) Weapon buffs iii.d) Silver pendant [SORCER] 7. SORCERIES SORCER.A) Projectiles: i) Soul Arrows ii) Soul Spears iii) Dark orb iv) Dark bead SORCER.B) Buffs: i) Magic weapons ii) Concealing spells SORCER.C) Tracking: i) Soul masses ii) Pursuers SORCER.D) Other: i) Dark fog ii) White Dragon breath [MIRACL] 8. MIRACLES MIRACL.A) Projectiles: i) Lighting spears ii) Emit Force MIRACL.B) AoE: i) Forces ii) Gravelord swords iii) Vow of silence iv) Tranquil walk of peace MIRACL.C) Buffs: i) Barriers ii) Miracle weapons iii) Karmic justice MIRACL.D) Heals: i) Heal ii) Great Heal Excerpt iii) Great Heal iv) Soothing Sunlight v) Replenishment [COVNAN] 9. COVENANTS COVNAN.A) Way of White COVNAN.B) Princess Guard COVNAN.C) Darkmoon Blade: i) Blue eye orb ii) Darkmoon blade covenant ring iii) Darkmoon talisman iv) Darkmoon weapon COVNAN.D) Chaos servant COVNAN.E) Forrest hunters: i) Darkwood grain ring ii) Murakumo iii) Cat ring iv) Fog ring COVNAN.F) Warrior of Sunlight: i) Lighting spear ii) Great lighting spear iii) Sunlight spear COVNAN.G) Gravelord Servant: i) Eye of Death ii) Gravelord sword dance iii) Gravelord greatsword dance iv) Gravelord sword COVNAN.H) Path of the Dragon: i) Dragon head stone ii) Dragon torso stone iii) Dragon eye COVNAN.I) Dark Wraiths: i) Cracked Red eye orbs ii) Red eye orb iii) Darkwraith set and sword iv) Dark hand [OBUILD] 10. OVERALL BUILDS OBUILD.A) Hybrid builds: i) Primary physical: i.a) Mage Knight i.b) Cleric Knight i.c) Rogue Sorcerer i.d) Rogue Priest ii) Primary ethereal: ii.a) Paladin ii.b) Battle Mage OBUILD.B) Pure physical builds: i) Polar oriented: i.a) Barbarian i.b) Ranger ii) Even oriented (Quality build): ii.a) Mercenary OBUILD.C) Pure constitution builds: i) Pure constitution: i.a) Heavy knight OBUILD.D) Pure caster builds: i) Polar oriented: i.a) Saint i.b) Warlock ii) Even oriented: ii.a) Sage OBUILD.E) Environmental builds OBUILD.F) Weapon oriented builds: i) True Greatsword of Artorias: i.a) Slayer Artorias ii) Havel's Greatshield: ii.a) Havel's acolyte iii) Greatshield of Artorias: iii.a) Defender Artorias iv) Lifehunt Scythe: iv.a) Crimson reaper v) Golem axe: v.a) Iron Lumberjack vi) Grant: vi.a) Mighty Maiden vii) Dragon weapons: vii.a) Dragon slayer OBUILD.G) Other builds i) The all or nothing build: i.a) Kamikaze Dragonoid ii) Status inducing build: ii.a) Toxic Crusader OBUILD.H) Evening out stats OBUILD.I) Conclusions [APENDX] 11. APENDIX APENDX.A) Backstabs APENDX.B) Parrying APENDX.C) Other advanced tactics APENDX.D) Pyromancy techniques APENDX.E) Lore APENDX.F) Dex stat and casting time APENDX.G) Best places to PVP APENDX.H) PVP youtube channels APENDX.I) Walkthroughs/Humor 1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS [GENCON] What is a build?. Seasoned gamers with experience in RPGs know that in order to get the most out of a character class, you have to optimize stats, weaponry and equipment to cater for your specific needs as a player. The wrong abilities for the right character can result in an unstable combination, maximizing your weaknesses for the sake of having a particular strength that is just not for you. All this will eventually hold you back once you go into competitive ground, turning your apparently capable char (at least against CPU enemies) into a mediocre competitor. Hence the need to define a particular area of strength for your char, boosting stats and finding equipment that will exploit so called strength; and dumping all other factor that are just in the way. This last phrase is the definition of a build. What is different in Dark Souls (DkS) in terms of building a char?. Contrary to other RPGs in which abilities and equipment are restricted to the class you chose at the beginning of the game, DkS allows you to equip any spell, weapon or armor as long as you have the needed stats. Hence, you can expect a great deal of mixed builds in this game. Great! Does that mean I'll own PVP once I get my build right?. NO!!!. Similar to a car race, a well-tuned machine is nothing without a competent driver to use it. To be a good online player first of all you need to master the game and its many eccentricities. A good build is the cherry at the top of the cake, a tool that will give you the edge you need to survive a match, but be wary that it is neither indispensable nor absolute in your experience as a player. It is also true though that in a race between equally skilled drivers, the one with the best car will probably win the match. In one simple phrase: a good build will give you the best results at your current skill level. 2. GET YOUR STATS RIGHT [STATRI] For purposes of classification, Stats will now be divided into 4 broad categories: physical stats, ethereal stats, constitution stats and other stats. Scaling: refers to the capability of a weapon or skill to improve its efficacy with the raise of a particular stat. There are 6 grades of scaling (from top to bottom): S, A, B, C, D and E. The scaling benefit is also dependent on how much a stat has been raised, after 45-50 points you will start to get "low benefits" with each point raised. We will also give each category breakpoint values, "Minimum" are the least values you should have, "Average" is the usual value most builds occupy, "Maximum" is the maximum value recommended and is usually coupled to the low benefits breakpoint. Physical stats: Strength (Str) and Dexterity (Dex) will be reviewed here. These stats serve two main purposes for your build: the weapons you will be able to wield, and the scaling damage of such weapons (remember that two handing your weapon will raise your Str by 50%). Minimum values: the necessary to wield the primary weapon you choose; Average value: around 25-35, the objective is to optimize weapon damage or have backup weapons of different classes; Maximum value: 45-50, this will allow you to wield nearly all weapons 1-handed and makes the breakpoint for the low benefits scaling. Ethereal stats: Intelligence (Int) and Faith (Fth) will be reviewed here. These stats serve 4 main purposes for your build: the weapons you will be able to wield, the sorceries/miracles you will be able to use, the scaling damage of some weapons, and the magic adjustment obtained by catalysts/talismans. Minimum values: baseline values, they could be 0 and you could still have a viable build; Average value: the necessary to use certain weapons/sorceries/miracles you may want (example: heal), 25-30 will allow you to use nearly all of the most useful sorceries/miracles for PVP; Maximum value: 35-50, allows use of advanced miracles and sorceries, gives you the best magic adjustment for the best catalysts/talismans (logan's, tin crystallization, Manus', darkmoon), breakpoint for the low benefit scaling of weapons. Constitution stats: Vitality (Vit), Endurance (End) and Attunement (Att) will be reviewed here. Vit is only useful for giving you a larger pool of HP. Minimum value: 20-25, having less than this will greatly increase the chances of getting one-shot by the enemy; Average value: 35-50, gives you a generous HP value and is the breakpoint for low benefits; Maximum value: anything above 50, some dudes like the absolute maximum HP even if it's not convenient to raise Vit that much. End serves 2 purposes for your build: raising the stamina bar, and raising equip load. Minimum value: 15-25, if you're a pure caster this value could be enough for your build, otherwise it is not recommended; Average value: 30-40, stamina bar maxes out at 40, this value should be enough for almost any melee based char; Maximum value: 45-65 and sometimes above, these values are just intended for very heavy builds who want faster movement speed. Att sole purpose is to raise the number of slots you get for sorceries/miracles/pyromancies. Minimum: 10 = 1 slot, 12 = 2 slots, 14 = 3 slots; Average: 16 = 4 slots, 19 = 5 slots, 23 = 6 slots; Maximum: 28 = 7 slots, 34 = 8 slots, 41 = 9 slots, 50 = 10 slots. Other stats: Resistance (Res) and Humanity (Hum) will be reviewed here. These stats rarely have a particular role in any build, hence they're usually left aside. Res raises all your defenses, the benefits are underwhelming none the less and as such nobody bothers with it. Average value: baseline; Maximum value: anything above. Hum is a very particular stat, it is not dependent on leveling up and as such shouldn't be considered towards your total soul level. It's useful for the Chaos pyromancies and the scaling of some weapons, it also gives the benefit of light resistances to all kinds of damage (the equivalent of a medium torso armor at the max 99 Hum). Your immediate goal in these circumstances is to get Hum to 10, which is the breakpoint for Chaos scaling; after that just try to maintain Hum as high as you can to get the additional defense. 3. WILDCARDS [WILCAR] These are gameplay tools that any build can use, hence the title. They're used for complementation of your build, as they allow either variety or more efficient use of your equipment. WILCAR.A)Pyromancy: You only need an attunement slot (a lousy 10 points in Att) , a pyromancy flame, and an actual pyromancy spell to use. It doesn't have stat based scaling, it doesn't ask you to sacrifice anything in return, it's highly effective in the right hands...It's the Mother Teresa of spellcraft!!, it always provides and asks nothing in return. Given the high potential and low requirements, it's fitted for everybody, from the hulking full Giant's armor Greatsword wielding brute, to the methodical Dusk Crowned magic based spellcaster. It is always recommended you get your Pyromancy flame to the highest level, the only exception is when using Power Within for which you need an additional ungraded flame (this seems to be unnecessary after the last patch, tested it and Power within seems to do the same damage regardless of the flame's grade). The best pyromancy tools for PVP are these (Watch the APENDIX section for a good tutorial about techniques designed for pyromancy). i) Fireballs (Great Chaos Fireball, Great Fireball and to a lesser extent Fire Orb): Although you can use them as direct ranged attacks, hurling them to the ground without lock-on will probably give you better results. This will make an explosion with an area of effect (AoE) that gives these spells its true power; you can even cast them to your own feet if an opponent tries to charge at you. Great Chaos fireball is the best in terms of damage and it will also leave the ground soaked with lava. The drawbacks are the fact that it takes up 2 attunement slots, and the need for humanity to pump the damage. Great Fireball is also a good option, it may not do as much damage but it only takes 1 slot. Fire Orb isn't the most recommended of the bunch, but you could use it if you don't have access to the previous ones; or if you really like fireballs and would like extra casts. ii) Combustions (Great Combustion, Combustion, Black Flame): Fast melee pyromancies that have a very decent radius. Great Combustion/Black Flame are the most recommended because of their higher damage. Normal Combustion however is also very useful, especially if you're just trying to finish off an enemy with low health. iii) Fire Discharge spells (Fire Whip, Chaos Fire Whip, Fire Surge): These are mainly to extract some casual damage out of unwary opponents, and to finish them off when low on health. Whips and surge have different animations. All are equally recommended, just remember Chaos Fire Whip scales with Humanity and occupies 2 slots. iv) Storms (Chaos Firestorm, Fire Tempest): Fire Tempest is the most recommended as it only takes one slot and still makes brutal damage. Chaos Firestorm takes 2 slots and leaves lava residue, I personally prefer the first one. v) Buffs (Power Within, Iron Flesh): Power Within raises your damage by 40%, but drains your health at an alarming speed. It is ideal for aggressive players who don't mind losing health for the sake of pumping damage. To make it more tolerable there are some precautions you should have: Use with ungraded pyromancy flame (again, this no longer seems to be true, I'll still mention this in future references to the spell since some gamers may play an unpatched version while offline), Lingering Dragoncrest ring and Sanctus shield (combine as preferred). Iron Flesh isn't the colossal spell it once was, and it doesn't have much use in PVP now a days. However it still grants you amazing resistance and infinite poise, it can still be viable when used at close quarters with a horizontal swinging weapon, or with AoE spells. vi) Status inducers (Toxic mist, Poison mist): Toxic and Poison are mainly targeted as surprise attacks that will give you a slight advantage if they manage to induce the status. They don't deal immediate damage, and so they see favor in the eyes of patient players (See a specific build aimed at causing status in the OVERALL BUILDS section). WILCAR.B)Elemental refinement: I found this cool weapon and I have the stats to barely wield it, but my scaling is so poor I can't use it effectively... worry not, that's the reason elemental refinement was created. The Lighting treatment from the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo, or the Fire/Chaos treatment from Vamos in the catacombs, gives you the chance to broaden weapon choices to new horizons. The only price to pay is not being able to enchant such weapons. Example: Str build that has a wide arrange of Great Weapons, but little choice for spears (Dex based); make a lighting spear and problem solved, it may not be a powerhouse of a spear but it's at least effective. Integrate these refinements to your build, and never restrict yourself to a limited set of weapons. WILCAR.C)Family masks: So useful, and yet so damn hideous. Mask of the Father raises your equip burden, and it's basic in allowing you to achieve fast rolling when using heavy gear. Mask of the Mother boosts HP, and it's ideal for tank-like characters. Mask of the Child boosts stamina recovery, and it finds favor in quick builds that roll all over the place. The only downside is their awful design!. If you can get past this fact, and the low resistance they give, you will surely find some of the finest headgears the game has to offer. 4. SUIT UP [SUITUP] Contrary to most RPGs in which the choice of equipment is based solely on the amount of resistance they give, gear tendencies in DkS give priority to other factors: Poise and Mobility. The combination of different headgears, torsos, gauntlets and leggings with the goal of reaching certain breakpoints is the essence of dressing up your character. From now on we will always refer to these combinations of armor and clothing as "suits". There are 5 rules you should always consider when making a suit: * Always try to achieve fast rolling speed as long as it doesn't break your build. * Never, under any circumstance leave your character on "fat rolling" movement. * Poise is nearly always inversely proportional to speed, and vice versa. The only exception being the use of the Wolf ring. * When torn between 2 armor pieces with the same weight, choose the one with the best poise no matter the resistances. Only if they also have the same poise you can choose the one with the most resistance. * If aesthetics are too important for you... Ignore all of the above rules and the rest of this section for that matter. SUITUP.A)Poise (Description and values taken straight from EWGF's GameFaqs post on Poise): [Quote] "Well, Poise still essentially works like a modified buildup meter. Every time you take a hit, that hit reduces your Poise by a set amount. It's in a constant state of regeneration however. When it reaches 0 you will be susceptible to stuns. Damage and other things don't modify Poise damage. Some R2s and Dashing/Roll/Jumping attacks do inflict greater poise damage however (notably many swings that cause knockdown). In these cases adding more Poise will modify a few into stuns." There are 4 major Poise breakpoints depending on the weapons that can be tanked at such poise value (All weapon categories are taken as if they were held with 2 hands and exclusively with R1 attacks, you can see the 1 handed values between the parentheses): i) Toughest: 76 poise (51 for 1 handed attacks): Ultra Greatswords, Great Axes, Great Hammers. ii) Tough: 53 poise (36 for 1 handed attacks): Great curved swords, Greatswords, Axes, Hammers. iii) Average: 31 poise (21 for 1 handed attacks): Curved swords, Katanas, Straight swords, Whips, Spears, Pole weapons. iv) Weak: 8 poise (6 poise for 1 handed attacks and Fist weapons): Rapiers, Daggers. 0 Poise will also be included here. SUITUP.B)Mobility: Contrary to other RPGs in which the ability to evade attacks is dependent on fixed numbers and chance, DkS decides to leave it all in your hands (ok... and maybe a little bit of luck sometimes). With that in mind, good mobility will play a key role not only on your evading tactics, but also in your capacity to engage the opponent at close quarters. As you may already know, moving speed depends on the percentage of equip burden you're carrying: 25% or less grants fast speed, 25-50% grants medium speed, 50-100% will give you slow speed ("fat roll"), and above 100% leaves you unable to roll and run ("broken"). Although it has been proved that there are more rolling speeds than meets the eye: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22jsJ8D2WKw; for purposes of classification we will only integrate 3 into our suit (fat rolling and broken speeds are out for obvious reasons): i) Fastest: It requires less than 25% burden and the Darkwood Grain Ring. The special animation given by this ring (backflip) has the fastest rolling execution and recovery (see below for more info on this ring). It gives decent benefits over the next speed cluster, and it's a great option if you don't mind sacrificing a ring slot. ii) Fast: It just requires less than 25% burden. The normal fast speed anyone can achieve even without the use of special rings. This is the speed you should always try to achieve. iii) Normal: Burden between 25-50%. The medium speed is the slowest common denominator you should aim at, slower speeds are unfit for serious PVP. SUITUP.C)The burden of armors: Armors can be divided according to their weight burden in three categories. i) Light sets (0-18.5 pounds per full set): Wanderer, Thief, Bandit, Hunter, Sorcerer, Pyromancer, Cleric, Warrior, Shadow, black sorcerer, channeler, Maiden, Antiquated, Painting guardian, all Hollow sets, Dingy, Gwyndolin Moonlight, Big Hat, Gold Hemmed, Crimson, Black, Witch, Xanthous, Chain, Great lord, Chester, Lord's Blade. ii) Medium sets (18.6-36.9 pounds per full set): Knight, Iron, Eastern, Adventurer's, Balder, Thorns, Dark, Elite Knight, Ornstein, Crystalline, Brass, Favor, Catarina, Silver Knight, Black Knight, Paladin, Way of White, Steel, Artorias, Gough's. iii) Heavy sets (37-76.9 pounds per full set): Black iron, Giant armor, Havel's, Smough, Iron golem, Stone knight, Stone Guardian. SUITUP.D)How to make a suit: Choose a focus on your suit, whether Poise or Mobility oriented. Then set a specific breakpoint as your goal, and try endless combinations of clothing until you find the set perfect for your build. Remember that weapons wielded are an important part at this point, since they will also go into your total burden. Auxiliary gear including Mask of the Father, Havel's ring, Ring of Favor/Protection, Wolf ring and Darkwood Grain ring, are essential for achieving your goals. The Endurance stat plays a primary role too, and you should raise it to the threshold you see fit for your suit. i) Poise oriented: Aiming to a higher poise at the expense of sacrificing mobility is good for 4 things: priority when you swing your weapon at the same time the enemy does (he gets staggered but you don't), generally higher defense values, prevent interruption while casting spells, and of course facilitation of lock-on/pivot backstabbing (although you may know by now this is heavily frowned upon by many players, check the APENDIX section to learn about backstabs). The most sensible breakpoint without much mobility compromise is either 31 or 36, as this will tank most weapons without the need for heavy gear. The golden rule of poise: a little poise is always better than no poise... What I mean is that if you're going for the super light nearly naked clothes, at least wear a piece with decent poise, it won't break up your mobility and will prove useful when you least expect it (more so if you use Wolf ring). ii) Mobility oriented: Aiming at a higher speed at the expense of sacrificing poise will give you some advantages too: better evading technique, much better rolling attacks, higher likelihood of fleeing an ambush, and of course facilitation of rolling backstabs (also frowned upon, check the APENDIX to learn about backstabs). The most sensible tendency without much poise compromise is to aim for Fast-speed with the help of auxiliary gear. The golden rule of mobility: it's about skill, not speed... If you've tried endless combinations of gear and you just can't get the fast/fastest speed without screwing up your build, worry not; remember that in this game a decent player will always hold his own against anyone regardless of speed. SUITUP.E)Suit categories: Once you have put together your set of clothes, the resulting suit will end up in one of the next categories depending on 4 factors: the poise breakpoint (P), the mobility breakpoint (M), the amount of auxiliary gear required (AG), and the End value used (see above in the GET YOUR STATS RIGHT section). Note: I tried to stratify suits as best as I could, but though in the next paragraphs I make it sound strict and mechanic, the reality is that this is a very inventive and dynamic process. Bear in mind it is very likely some combinations you come up with won't exactly fit into any of the descriptions given below. i) Light suits (LghS): When judging a build by its cover, these guys with their pajama like clothes and light weapons are usually regarded as "light builds". As the name suggests, they excel in mobility and their game revolves around rolling all over the place and squeeze damage during very tight opening windows. Wizards may like these too for their evading capabilities. Low End requirements are a plus, since you can sink the points in more important stats for your build. i.a) LghS 1 (P. weak, M. fastest, AG. Single item, End minimum/average): Darkwood Grain ring is necessary. This suit is more along the lines of ninja/assassin builds who usually resort to melee fighting. i.b) LghS 2 (P. weak, M. fast, AG. None, End minimum/average): Two ring slots free for whatever you want. More compatible with mages who want the extra slots for rings that will pump their damage. i.c) LghS 3 (P. average, M. fastest, AG. Single/multiple item, End average): Good for melee fighters, Darkwood necessary, if help is needed to reach the mobility breakpoint you can resort to other auxiliary gear. They will usually carry light weapons like rapiers. They have the benefit of being able to tank most weapons, and being incredibly fast. A "LghS 1" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring + Dark wood combo. ii) Medium suits (MedS): A big portion of the PVP community will be around this level. They can absorb hits from most weapons without staggering and still have decent speed. End investment is usually higher than the above, but it's still pretty moderate. ii.a) MedS 1 (P. average, M. fast, AG. None/single item, End average): Contrary to the "LghS 3" suits, these ones are not as fast but they compensate by having more ring slots for build purposes. They tank most weapons except Great and Ultra Great ones, and they will usually wield light weapons too. Dex builds usually aim for this. A "LghS 2" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring. ii.b) MedS 2 (P. average, M. fast, AG. Single/multiple item, End average/maximum): Same as "MedS 1" suits, but because of their tendency to carry heavy weapons they need extra help either by using additional auxiliary gear, or pumping End to levels above average. Str builds usually fall in this category. A "LghS 2" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring. ii.c) MedS 3 (P. average, M. normal, AG. None, End average): Less End investment and more disposition of ring slots, you can also wield heavy weapons. ii.d) MedS 4 (P. tough, M. fast, AG. Single/multiple item, End average/maximum): They get to have even higher poise which means only Ultra Greats will stagger them, and they can move fast at the cost of the generous use of auxiliary gear, as well as some End points above the 40 average. They usually carry light weapons, since heavy ones will usually screw up their suit and take it to a "HvyS 1". A "MedS 1" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring. iii) Heavy suits (HvyS): Given the label of "heavy builds", they excel in poise tanking at the expense of losing mobility. They still can get away with moderate Endurance investment, and they don't have the need to over rely on auxiliary gear. iii.a) HvyS 1 (P. tough, M. normal, AG. None/single item, End average): A very good choice of suit if you don't mind the speed. It allows for very liberal choice of clothing and weapons regardless of weight, and you'll still have at least 1 ring slot to complement your build. A "MedS 3" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring. iii.b) HvyS 2 (P. toughest, M. normal, AG. Single/multiple item, End average/maximum): Your average full Giant's set, heavy weapon wielding opponent. They usually need a fair amount of help to pull it off though, whether auxiliary gear combos or a supra normal amount of Endurance. A "HvyS 1" suit can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring and complement with End. iv) Super suits (SupS): There are some people who want the whole package, a full poised and fast tank that will stop at nothing to meet its target. It doesn't come without a price though, they always need to pump End at least to average and many times to very high levels. Given the potential these suits have to break a balanced build, it's necessary to use much if not all the auxiliary gear available. There are exceptions to these rules if you manage to be clever enough in your mixing of equipment and rings, but overall it is very viable to make these suits. Constitution builds (see the "OVERALL BUILDS" section) have the best chance of pulling it off without sacrificing too much. A very common SupS used: End at least to 40, Mask of the Father, naked torso, Brass gauntlets, Havel's leggings, and different combinations of rings to meet your needs. iv.a) SupS 1 (P. tough, M. fastest, AG. Multiple item, End maximum): High poised and backflipping. The Havel's + Darkwood grain ring combo is imperative, as well as complementation with Mask of the Father and End as needed. The LghS can turn into this with different combinations of auxiliary gear, including the Wolf ring, Darkwood grain, and End/Mask of the father as necessary. iv.b) SupS 2 (P. toughest, M. fast, AG. Multiple item, End maximum): Same as before, just take out the Darkwood grain ring and add the ring of Favor/Protection. Some MedS can be turned into this one if you use a Wolf ring. iv.c) SupS 3 (P. toughest, M. fastest, AG. Multiple item, End maximum (maybe way above the 65 max recommended)): The ultimate tank!! It requires the Havel's + Darkwood combo, Mask of the Father and a lot of End to complement. Under very specific circumstances LghS can turn into this one by using a Wolf + Darkwood combo. 5. ARMED TO THE TEETH [ARMTHE] Weapon choice is probably one of the most important, if not THE most important, factor that will determine your fighting strategy. The amount of weapon classes and variety of attack animations makes finding the right weapon for you a soul searching experience. You will actually make bonds with certain weapons, stubbornly taking them into the battlefield even if it has caused you to lose the last 20 matches. Eventually you will get comfortable in your own shoes, you will learn your weapon's strengths and weaknesses, and finally you will be able win. Finding the right weapon or weapons is up to you, I will just name weapon classes with the best examples for each class. Stunlocking: refers to the ability of a weapon to land consecutive hits (combos) after a successful stagger of the opponent. Stunlocking capabilities depend on several factors: weapon class, the refinement grade of the weapon, the enemy's poise, and the way you exchange R1/R2 strikes. Check out the next link if you want to know more, again EWGF has given us some insight into the game's mechanics: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/608635-/61725574. Weapon speed: Although it is obvious that some weapon classes are faster than others, some people don't know that among a given class of weapon there are exemplars that stand out from their brothers. These particular weapons are faster in their swing by miliseconds, but that's more than enough to determine if they'll be able to stunlock or not. The next tests were conducted by BalderKnight, with the original experiment being performed by EWGF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTe89nVm3wg, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMVzEIl_rs0, (watch the descriptions to look for the fastest weapons of each category). As general rules for weapon selection: if you're torn between 2 weapons of the same class, your money should go with the fastest one; if they're equally fast, then choose the one that can be enchanted; if they're both enchantable or you don't have/need weapon buffs, choose the one with the best raw damage. ARMTHE.A)Daggers: The place for dagger weapons in serious PVP is quite a controversial point. Some supporters claim the speed, the high critical rate, and the good bleed buildup make for a good backup weapon. They have some big low points though: they have little damage, short reach, null stunlocking and can only stagger weak poised opponents. I seldom see them used in PVP, and when I do it's not much for straight up fighting but for landing criticals. i) Bandit's knife: is the usual choice. ii) Parrying dagger: not meant to be used as an actual weapon, but as an offhand complement capable of parrying and dealing chip damage. It's not the wisest choice though, even for a parrying strategy. iii) Priscilla's dagger: has some unique animations and it's the only weapon besides Lifehunt scythe that can cause 50% bleed damage. iv) Dark Silver Tracer: The nasty toxic builup is the main appeal of this weapon. ARMTHE.B)Straight swords: Usually underused, Rapiers and Katanas tend to overshadow this weapon class. However they are pretty good choices: they're very light, with good stunlock capabilities, most are enchantable, decent reach and good animations. i) Sunlight straight sword: The choice for Str based chars. ii) Balder side sword: For Dex based builds. It has more combos than the previous. iii) Darksword: It's a good option too if you like the R2s. ARMTHE.C)Great swords: One of the PVP favorites. They have very good speed for their weight, good damage, good stunlock, and they can stagger most opponents. Contrary to Ultragreats, they are competent with both 1 and 2 handed styles. Though they were nerfed recently, they still make one of the best weapon choices for PVP. i) Claymore: The prototype for this class. It's one of the lightest great swords, enchantable, fast for its class and with great animations. If you manage to stagger with 1 handed R1s you can make infinite combos (same is true for weapons of similar speed in this class). ii) Flamberge: Same as the above, but more suited for Dex builds. iii) Moonlight greatsword: A must have for mages. The raw damage may not be anything special, but the R2 attack makes this unique among other great swords. Special attack: a projectile attack that knockbacks opponents most of the time. iv) True Greatsword of Artorias: Although it's slow for its class it still has great reach and it scales with all your stats, giving you a pretty good raw damage. It has nearly no stunlock capabilities, and the R2s are pretty useless. Further down we present a specific build aimed at this sword, but I still think you're better off with a Claymore or its equals. v) Man Serpent Greatsword: Many Str based players probably have their eyes in this sword because of the neat scaling. However it's really slow and thus can't combo as effectively. I would choose the Claymore over this any day. vi) Stone Greatsword: Slow, heavy, unenchantable, and nothing special going on in terms of raw damage. Its special ability however makes this a very viable (albeit cheap) choice. Special ability: it casts Tranquil Walk of peace (Watch the MIRACLES thread below). vii) Obsidian Greatsword: One of the best dragon weapons. It doesn't demand much in terms of stat requirements, it has great damage output for a non-scaling weapon, is enchantable, and the special attack is truly amazing. Special ability: A majestic AoE fire attack that really places this sword high among the ranks. ARMTHE.D)Ultra Great swords: They may be slow, but in compensation they have many other great features. They stagger all but the highest poised enemies (and even they won't resist 2 consecutive attacks), amazing stunlock capabilities (R1 infinites), high damage, enchantable and on top of that, they have the strongest block of all weapons. One of their biggest flaws however is their relative incompetence when used one handed. i) Zweihander: The quintessential example of this class. It's the lightest of them and is fast among their class. Probably the one you should go for. ii) Greatsword: Identical to the Zweihander except for 2 features: it's 2 pounds heavier and it has a better R2. The strong attack makes a nice thrusting move that is both faster and less punishable than its Zweihander equivalent. iii) Demon Great Machete: I'm sorry to break it to the Str based players, but this weapon has too many flaws to give it priority over the previous examples. It is slower and hence can't stunlock, it's way heavier, it has much higher stat requirements and it's harder to get. The only thing it has going on is the amazing Str scale, but in my opinion it's not worth it. ARMTHE.E)Curved swords: Weapons of choice for many Dex based characters. They have a lot of things going on for them: they are super-fast, very light, good spammers, and useful even in the left hand. i) Falchion: Probably the most used out of this category, it has all weapon upgrade paths and it can be enchanted. Scimitar is a good substitute if for some reason you don't have this sword. ii) Painting guardian sword: As fast as Falchion but with the ability to produce bleed. It has all weapon upgrades and can be enchanted too. I still prefer Falchion any day. iii) Shotel: The best feature it has is the ability to bypass shields with the strong attacks. The terror of turtles. iv) Gold tracer: It's getting a lot of PVP action lately. With its crazy attack animations, bleed buildup and super speed, a lot of players are favoring it. It's also probably the best weapon to be used in the offhand. ARMTHE.F)Katanas: All the PVP scene is crawling with these weapons, especially among Dex based players. They have the best speed/damage ratio and they all produce bleed effectively. The only drawback compared to the curved swords previously mentioned is their higher weight and lower durability. i) Uchigatana: The prototype of this class. ii) Laito: Makes less raw damage than the Uchigatana but let's face it, it's just a 5 point damage difference, hardly a valid argument for choosing weapons. The thing that would eventually sell you this sword is the unique R2 attack, a samurai like sheath draw attack. iii) Washing Pole: It's the slowest of all katanas, but the higher reach makes it a tempting option too. ARMTHE.G)Curved Great swords: In terms of speed they are somewhere between Greatswords and Ultra Greatswords. That said, they have great stunlock capabilities, good reach and nice damage. i) Murakumo: King of this category. It has all weapon upgrade paths, and can be enchanted. It's better suited for Dex characters though. ii) Gravelord Sword: Inferior to Murakumo in every way. It just has one thing going on: the ability to cause toxin. ARMTHE.H)Piercing swords: Also popular among Dex characters. They pack less damage than previous weapons, but just like spears they can poke from a shield stance. They also have the advantage of being very light, just marginally above daggers. i) Rapier: Default choice if you fancy this class ii) Ricard's Rapier: Overshadows the regular rapier in my opinion. It has better Dex scaling and a crazy R2 move that you never forget once you see it. iii) Velka's rapier: Hybrid Dex/Int builds should consider this option. It's unenchantable however, and ranks a distant third place in my eyes. ARMTHE.I)Axes: To be brutally honest, I don't see the appeal on these ones. They're relatively light and pack a decent punch, but the attack animations just seem a little off. The exception would be the Golem axe with its amazing ranged R2 attack. i) Various: If you've decided to try them, just choose the one most compatible with your stats. Gargoyle axe for Dex, Butcher knife for Str, Crescent axe for Fth. ii) Golem axe: The 1 handed R2 attack takes it apart from the bunch. It's probably the only one in this category I would consider suited for PVP. Special ability: creates a ranged projectile air-wave attack. ARMTHE.J)Great axes: Great PVP weapons too, one of them in particular is the Str-build's choice. Same as ultra greats, the slow pace of the weapon is compensated with good stagger, high damage and in some cases infinite combos (Greataxe). i) Greataxe: One of the prime examples in this class. This is the only Great axe capable of doing R1 infinites, and it also has all weapon upgrade paths. ii) Demon's Greataxe: Another letdown for Str builds. It's slower than the previous and hence it can't combo, it's heavy as hell, and weapon requirements are very high. The R2 attack is kind of good, since it catches a lot of people off guard. Overall, I recommend the regular Greataxe over this. iii) Stone Greataxe/Dragon King Greataxe: Same as Demon's, but they are even heavier and with higher weapon requirements. Their special attacks are their only saving grace, however they're not even that good to sacrifice stats for the sake of wielding them. Only recommended if you're trying to reach maximum Str levels anyway. Special ability: Stone Greataxe creates a tremor like attack that shatters the floor; Dragon King smashes the ground and creates an AoE explosion. iv) Black Knight Greataxe (BKGA): The other great recommendation for this class. The BKGA is so unique among Great axes that it should have its own weapon class. The swing speed is faster than its great axe siblings, and more akin to the speed of Curved Greatswords. The animations are unique, with no other weapon in the game having them. It has a high Str scaling and it's also competent as a 1 handed weapon. The only downside is that it can't be enchanted, and it only has twinkling titanite upgrade. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be at the top of the heavy hitters list in PVP. ARMTHE.K)Hammers: Same as axes, I don't see much appeal in them when you have so many other better weapons. However, I have heard from PVP fellows that they are quite capable as a dueling weapon. The weapon combo list linked above claims they have infinite R1s, so I guess that makes for a good deal (EWGF even praises them). Many of them scale amazingly with Str. i) Various: Can't make a fair recommendation here as I lack experience with them. If it was me, I would probably choose one with high Str scaling like the Mace, or one with bleed buildup like the morning star/reinforced club. If this doesn't fancy you, just turn them into elementals. ARMTHE.L)Great hammers: Great hammers are a mixed bag, on one hand they have great damage, good staggering and an amazing rolling attack (probably the best in the whole game). On the other hand they are very slow of course, and they just can't stunlock on any way. Achieving fast/fastest speed is paramount to exploit the rolling attack mentioned, and so it just complicates matters a bit more. Overall they are still a good weapon choice especially for Str builds, and if you were a fan of the meat cleaver in Demon's souls you will probably find a favorite among these. i) Great Club: The prototype on this class. ii) Large Club: Lower damage than the above, but it has poison buildup in compensation. iii) Grant: Slower than the above, but it is to date the unbuffed weapon with the most raw damage. It has very high requirements however, and it's only viable in the hands of a Str/Fth hybrid. ARMTHE.M)Fist weapons: Similar to daggers/axes/hammers, I have some reserva- tions for these weapons. They seem pretty useless to me compared to other weapons, but still I have seen some adopters on the PVP scene. i) Claws: The only one I have seen in action. Users usually exploit rolling attacks, chipping away damage and then returning to safety. It has some combos apparently (watch EWGF's combo list above), try at your own expense. ARMTHE.N)Spears: Another PVP favorite. They have the best risk/benefit ratio ammong all weapons, they have long reach, amazing speed, and it can be used behind a shield. They have mediocre damage however and they seldom stagger. Many of them are intended for Dex builds, but anyone can use them really. i) Winged Spear/Spear: The common denominator for this class. Both of them are nearly on par, difference in damage is trivial but the normal spear is 1 pound lighter. Choose whichever you like most. I'm leaving the pike out of the list since it weights an unnecessary 10 pounds, and damage is same as the above mentioned. ii) Partizan: The R2s are the real beauty of this weapon. It's the most accomplished spear as far as animations go, since it can make sweeping attacks to punish backstabbers or engage multiple enemies. iii) Dragonslayer spear: The reach on this thing is insane, and it also has ranged attacks included. A great option for all Fth builds, although Dex/Fth hybrids could pump raw damage a little bit more. Special ability: shoots bolts of lightning that resemble the Light spear miracle. iv) Demon's spear: Also has great reach, and with lighting damage included. Though it doesn't have a ranged attack included, it's on par with the Dragonslayer spear if you don't have points to spare in Fth (and it's much lighter). v) Channeler's trident: Every magic build should have one of these. Damage is pretty decent and on top it has a very useful special ability. Special ability: Justlike the real channelers you can perform a dance that will buff damage for you and your allies. vi) Moonlight butterfly horn: The damage is pretty bad. The Channeler's tri- dent or a Magic/Enchanted spear is better in this regard. The only thing it has is the long reach, comparable to Dragonslayer spear. If you've an Int build and you desire a spear, my advice would be to leave this aside and search somewhere else. ARMTHE.O)Pole weapons: Gone are the days in which pole weapons ruled the PVP world (in Demon's souls I mean), for in this game they've been severely nerfed. They still have great reach and pack decent damage, but they are kind of slow, and on top of that they have a really awkward delay if you fail a swing. They are capable as PVP weapons however and you can still see adopters every once in a while. i) Gargoyle's halberd: The prototype of this class at least in my book. The R2 is the classic 360? spin, it has all the upgrade paths, and it's enchantable. Overall it's a decent choice. ii) Black Knight halberd: Damage output is good, but if you're choosing this weapon over other poles it's probably because of the attack animations. R2's are unique among halberds and not that hard to connect. The main drawback is that it can't be enchanted. iii) Giant's halberd: While you can say it has the benefit of having both physical and lighting damage, the truth is a Gargoyle's halberd with lighting treatment can pump more damage and weights considerably less. The only thing going on for this one are the R2s. They are savage, kind of slow thrusting attacks which can lead to combos. I still prefer Gargoyle's. iv) Scythe: A Gargoyle's halberd specific for Dex builds. v) Great Scythe: A Dex weapon also. It has completely different animation set, with insanely effective R2s and bleed buildup. Probably one of the favorites for this class. vi) Lifehunt Scythe: Similar to the above, but with a better bleed buildup and once the status sinks in, it deals 50% HP damage. Further down this wiki we present a specific build for this weapon. ARMTHE.P)Whips: They are sooo bad. No reason to have any of these as your main weapon. If you want them too badly, this guy gives a demonstration of how to use them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip0kXkqR7Hs. ARMTHE.Q)Bows: I am not a fan of bows, and I never use them in PVP even with Dex builds. They can be competent weapons in the right hands of course, watch this player use a bow to complement his offensive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjWzCDWBzWw&feature=relmfu. (Also check the APENDIX section to learn secret techniques for bows). i) Various: Can't make a good recommendation. Black Bow of Pharis and Long Bow can reach S scaling with Dex. Long bow seems to have higher raw damage, but Pharis' has a shorter loading time, making you capable of shooting more arrows in less time. Composite is more suited for Quality builds (see below in OVERALL BUILDS). And Darkmoon Bow is shitty, don't even bother with this last one. ARMTHE.R)Great bows: They have high requirements for a bow, and weight quite a bit. But unlike normal bows they pack some punch. Once the arrow connects with its target it will create a nasty knockback effect, giving you time to back up a little bit and maintain your distance. i) Dragonslayer Greatbow: Out of the 2 options, this one gets the thumbs up. It's lighter and has a lower Str requirement. Gough's Greatbow may pick the interest of Str builders for its B scaling, but once again as with other Str based weapons it turns out to be a disappointment. Although it does have higher damage than Dragonslayer's, the difference is trivial and doesn't justify its higher weight. Dragonslayer all the way on this one. ARMTHE.S)Crossbows: When compared to bows, crossbows have some strengths and weaknesses that should be noted. Among its flaws the fact that you can't aim manually makes them useless in long distance, but the biggest sinner during a fight is the infuriating habit they have of reloading after each shot. On the other hand they only require 1 hand to be used, making it viable to have a shield up in between shots. I have seen them all being used in PVP with different amounts of success, and never as a main weapon; nevertheless there is only one crossbow you should set your eyes upon... i) Avelyn: It fires 3 consecutive shots, making the damage achieved quite useful. Among all kinds of bows/greatbows/crossbows, this is probably the one I see most on PVP. It is ideal for stopping enemies on the run, and for putting an abrupt end to anyone who tries to heal during a fight. It is a little bit towards the heavy side in terms of weight, but it is worth it. ARMTHE.T)Shields: Shields????. Yep, you can also use some shields as weapons. Not that I recommend it though, but if you want to try, this is pretty much how it would look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHeIKqlM0ZE. 6. COMPLEMENTS [COMPLE] We will review Rings, special clothing, shields, catalysts/talismans and Consumable items in this thread. COMPLE.A)Rings: Indispensable when making a build. They don't grant active abilities, but their importance is so paramount that the combinations you decide to wear will forever influence your performance as a player. i) Oriented at melee and mobility: i.a) Cloranthy ring: Stamina regeneration +20%. Who doesn't want more stamina?. After all it is the most precious resource in the game, as without stamina you can't do anything other than walk. This ring will find favor in speedy melee characters with light equipment. i.b) Havel's ring: Maximum equip load +50%. Since the nerfing of the Darkwood grain, Havel's ring is once again a must have. An essential part for creating your suit (see above in the SUIT UP thread). i.c) Red Tearstone ring: Attack +50% when HP is below 20%. A gamblers ring, this one will make your last moments a truly worthy experience. Changes in the tide of battle are not unusual when you equip this. i.d) Leo ring: Counter damage +40% (Counter: successful attack while your enemy is mid swinging). This only applies to thrusting weapons, and of course, getting a counter is not as easy as it sounds. That said, I only recommend this ring for players who plan on turtling up and poking through the shield with spears/rapiers. i.e) Wolf ring: Poise +40 points. Like Havel's, a must have to tweak your suit as you like (see above). i.f) Hornet ring: Critical attack (backstabs, ripostes) +50%. You all know what the idea behind this ring is. It can be devastating under the right hands. i.g) Darkwood grain ring: Changes fast rolling action to a better one (ninja flip). It's been nerfed recently, now it only works when your equip load is <25%. It's still a pretty good ring, and grants the fastest speed in the game. Check the SUIT UP section above to find out more. i.h) Ring of Fog: Makes the player transparent. This ring is more for deception than it is for fighting. Its true strength relies on using it in crowded environments, making you tougher to find and allowing surprise attacks. i.i) Ring of Favor and Protection: Maximum HP, stamina and equip load +20%. One of the best rings in the game, its only drawback is the fact that it breaks once removed. And the fact that you can only get 2 per playthrough makes for a long term relationship if you decide to put it on. ii) Oriented at spells: ii.a) Bellowing Dragoncrest ring: Magic damage +20% (includes sorceries and pyromancies). Part of every spell oriented build. Note: it doesn't have effect on buffs. ii.b) Lingering Dragoncrest ring: Increases the length of magic effect by 50% (includes sorceries and pyromancies). Mainly used for prolonging your Magic weapon buffs and Power Within. ii.c) Dusk crown ring: Amount of sorcery spells +50%, maximum HP - 50%. Only apt for the most extreme of spellcasters. The main objective of wearing this ring is to counteract the effects of the Tin Crystallization catalyst (it halves the amount of sorceries you get) without losing the damage benefit. ii.d) White seance/Darkmoon seance rings: Attunement slots +1. Use only if absolutely necessary for your build. For instance, if you require a particular spell but you don't want to invest in the Att stat. ii.e) Ring of the Sun's Firstborn: Miracle power +20%. Same as Bellowing Dragoncrest but for miracles. Note: doesn't have effect of buffs either. The wiki says it increases the power of healing spells, but as I present in an experiment a couple of paragraphs below, this doesn't seem to be true. ii.f) Ring of the Sun Princess: Boosts synergy of miracles and grants additional power to specific miracles (exact percentage not stated anywhere). The selected miracles that get buffed are: all the heals, Force, Emit force and Wrath of God. So, how much exactly does this ring add to the power of such spells?. I leave you with a little experiment I made: Wrath of God: no ring = 429, only sun's first born = 532, only sun princess = 449, both = 579. Emit force: no ring = 344, only sun's first born = 445, only sun princess = 366, both = 469. Force: Both rings increase range, and these range bonuses stack. Heal: no ring = 678, only sun's first born = 678, only sun princess = 734, both = 734. Sun's first born didn't add healing power. Replenishment: no ring = 10HP/sec, 600HP total; only sun's first born = same as before; only sun princess = 12HP/sec, 720HP total; both = same as with only sun princess. Again Sun's first born didn't boost healing. COMPLE.B)Special clothing: There are very few pieces of clothing that speak for themselves once you take out the suiting properties (weight, poise, defense). i) Family masks: already reviewed in the WILDCARDS thread. ii) Crown of Dusk: Boosts spell power by 20%, reduces magic defense by 30%. iii) Crown of the Dark sun: Boosts spell power by 10%. iv) Armor of Thorns: The simple action of bumping into an enemy creates damage. The damage output is pretty trivial, but it still can stagger a 0 poise adversary (pure caster mages). The defense and poise it offers makes for a good deal when choosing gear. COMPLE.C)Shields: What would a knight be without his shield?. Shields are an important part of the game too, they are not indispensable however. Aside from their defensive properties, a lot of shields have special attributes that make them desirable even if you don't actively use them. They're also the best way to get a parry without much compromise if you fail. i) Target shield/Buckler: They are intended for builds aimed at landing criticals. Their unique parrying animations, combined with slight blocking capabilities make them ideal for fishing ripostes. ii) Heater shield: It offers amazing value for being so small and light. Just 2 pounds heavy, with 68 stability, complete physical resistance and good fire resistance. iii) Tower Kite/Caduceus Kite shield: Practically same as the previous. It has better stability (72) but weights 1 pound more. iv) Sunlight shield: Has 5% more resistance to fire than the above, but also weights 1 pound more taking it to 4. v) Black Knight shield: Offers complete physical resistance and an amazing 95% fire resistance. It also has good stability (74) but weighs 6 pounds. vi) Crest shield: Grants full physical and high magic resistance. Weighs 3 pounds. vii) Dragon crest shield: Very similar to Black Knight's, but with 5% less fire resistance and only 66 stability. It also weighs half (3 pounds) making it a very good option (maybe even better than Black Knight's). viii) Grass crest shield: Probably the most prevalent shield in PVP. The special ability to speed up stamina regeneration makes this compatible with any build imaginable. Its blocking properties although subpar, are still competent. This is probably THE shield you should go for, unless you have other priorities. ix) Status resistance shields: The Spider shield and the bloodshield are more or less along the lines of the Kite shields. They offer additional toxin/poison (spider) and bleed (bloodshield) resistance, but at the expense of having slightly worse numbers. x) Sanctus: Restores 2 HP over 2 seconds. In my opinion it should only be used to counter (slightly) the effects of Power Within. Alternatively it can be used along Replenishment for a very little boost in progressive healing (see the last part of the Rings thread). xi) Eagle shield: it's so light (6 pounds) that it should count as a medium shield. Nearly complete physical, good lighting resistance and an amazing stability (84) make a good deal when choosing a shield. xii) Havel's Greatshield: Don't use this at home kids. More than a shield it's a whole damn fortress, with uber resistance percentages (100/90/80/80), 84 stability, and an additional special ability that grants extra poise (Stone skin). It's the heaviest shield in the game however and has a whopping 50 Str requirement. If you can put up with this, then you will find out it is possible to fall in love with an equipment piece. It's one of the best counters against dark sorceries (including pursuers). This is to date the single best reason to take the Str stat as far as 50. xiii) Artorias' Greatshields: The Greatshield of Artorias and Cleansing Greatshield respectively. Greatshield of Artorias offers 100/50/80/40 (270 total) resistances, 88 stability, blocks most status effect attacks and weighs 16 pounds. Cleansing Greatshield has 80/80/80/70 (310 total) resistances, 77 stability and weighs 14.5 pounds. Best choice depends of personal preference. xiv) Giant's shield: A perfectly reasonable choice if you ask me. It may be heavy (18 pounds) but grants a nice resistance disposition in compensation (100/60/75/75), and an 81 stability bonus. COMPLE.D)Casting items: Each kind of spell requires a specific casting item in order to take effect, this you probably already know, what you may not know is what catalyst/talisman is better for your soul level. i) Catalysts: i.a) Ooacile ivory catalyst: At 22 Int and below, it is the best catalyst. Between 23-26 it gets overwhelmed by Manus', but still ranks as the best catalyst without penalty. At 27 and above it becomes irrelevant. i.b) Sorcerer's/Beatrice's/Izalith catalysts: At 27-40 Int they are the best catalysts without penalty (still outclassed by Manus' and Tin Crystallization). Above 40 they are irrelevant. i.c) Logan's catalyst: At 41 Int and above, it becomes the single most powerful catalyst without penalty (outclassed by Manus' and Tin Crystallization). i.d) Manus' catalyst: From 23-31 it becomes the most powerful catalyst at the cost of halving your amount of sorceries. At 32 and above, it gets owned by Tin Crystallization. However, Manus' is still better at Dark sorceries if you have a high Str stat. This catalyst is also the only one competent at close quarters combat. i.e) Tin Crystallization catalyst: At 32 and above it becomes the most powerful catalyst in the whole game (except for Dark sorceries, see above). It also halves your sorceries. i.f) Tin Darkmoon catalyst: The only one that scales with Fth instead of Int. It can't compete with Int based catalysts, however it is the most effective way for Fth builds to access sorceries. ii) Talismans: ii.a) Thorolund talisman: At 26 Fth and below it's the best talisman. Becomes outclassed after that. ii.b) Canvas talisman: Best talisman from 27 to 39 Fth. It still manages to outclass Ivory/Sunlight until 42 Fth. ii.c) Ivory/Sunlight talismans: Some players may struggle to raise their covenant rank to get the Darkmoon talisman (see below in COVENANTS), in these cases Ivory/Sunlight talismans become the best option at Fth 43 and above. ii.d) Darkmoon talisman: At 40 Fth and above it becomes the best talisman in the game. However it may be difficult or nigh impossible to get for some players. ii.e) Velka's talisman: The only talisman that scales with Int instead of Fth. It can't compete with Fth based talismans, however it is the most effective way for Int builds to access miracles. COMPLE.E)Consumables: A very important part of warfare lies in preparation, and choosing the best consumables for your build is essential for this end. Note: The items most recommended for hotlinking will be signaled with an asterisk. i) Healing items: Some of your duels may be honorable and there will be an unspoken code of not healing midfight. For all the other ones, you better be prepared. i.a) Estus flasks*: Do I need to point out the importance of this item? i.b) Humanities/twin humanities/Fire Keeper soul*: Pop one of these and you will fully replenish your health. Better suited for situations in which you can't use your estus flask (phantom form, ran out). i.c) Mosses: It's convenient to have them in your inventory for a given emergency. However, few are the duels in which you'll actually need them. ii) Attacking/nerfing items: Actively thrown items that either produce direct damage or a status on the enemy. ii.a) Dragon stones*: Explained latter with more detail, look in the COVENANTS thread. ii.b) Firebombs: Though not that amazing as weapons, they may be effective for killing low health opponents. ii.c) Poison throwing knives: They can poison opponents with few shots. A good complement if you're into it. ii.d) Lloyd's talisman*: Great for using against estus choking hosts. A great companion when you're an invader. ii.e) Dung pies: Causes toxin buildup. Watch out, as it will toxin you too. iii) Defensive/buffing items: Unlike the above, they are not actively used to produce damage. Nevertheless, they can give you the edge during battle. iii.a) Repair powder*: If you're using a weapon with special attacks, it is likely the durability will be lowered quickly. Of course, the weapon can break during battle all of a sudden, hence the importance of this item. iii.b) Green blossom*: A must have for melee fighters. It grants better stamina usage and stacks up with other items (Grass crest shield, mask of the child). iii.c) Weapon buffs*: Some characters may have enchantable weapons but without the ability to actually buff them (sorceries, miracles). In these cases charcoal pine resin, rotten pine resin and golden pine resin, offer a decent alternative. Charcoal pine resin adds +80 fire damage and it's easy to get. Rotten pine resin gets you poison buildup, and it's also easy to get. Golden pine resin adds +150 lighting damage, but unlike the previous is a bitch to gather since you'll need to farm it from the mushroom parents. iii.d) Silver pendant: It nullifies the effect of some dark spells. Recommended only in case you're facing heavy dark magic opposition. It creates a Force like explosion around you that dispels dark sorceries for roughly one second, the best use for this would be during Dark Bead spamming. Note: It's useless against pursuers. 7. SORCERIES [SORCER] Spells that rely on the use of a catalyst and the Int stat (Fth can be used under specific circumstances). They excel at offensive capabilities. Note: I won't include sorceries that have little use in PVP, if you want to know more search the Wiki. SORCER.A)Projectiles: i) Soul Arrows (soul arrow, heavy soul arrow, great soul arrow, great heavy soul arrow): Although I consider soul arrows to be outclassed by Dark sorceries now a days, they can still be of some assistance. As soul arrows grow in power they also grow in casting time, making this casting/damage relationship the main focus when choosing one of them. I advise you take the fastest ones, they may not do a lot of damage, but for damage output you already have soul spears. As such, in my opinion the role of these sorceries in PVP is as fast casting chipping damage spells, instead of the backbone of your damage output. ii) Soul Spears (soul spear, crystal soul spear): Regular soul spear you should only choose in case you don't have access to the crystal one, in every other case, take the latter. Crystal soul spear is one of your most damaging spells, it has a fast cast time for its power, and is capable of draining a full 40 Vit HP bar with the right stats. A must have for magicians capable of using it. iii) Dark orb: One of the recent entries to sorceries. Very similar to soul arrow and with comparable damage too, not much to say about it except it can be more damaging with Manus' catalyst and high Str. That means it's more devastating at lower soul levels if you have such requirements. iv) Dark bead: One of the best spells in the game. It works similar to a shotgun, at close range it deals heavy damage, at long range it has low damage but covers a lot of ground as it spreads out. It has the shortest casting time, and contrary to soul spears it doesn't require a lot of Int to use. A real beast of a spell and one that shouldn't be missed in your attunement slots. SORCER.B)Buffs: i) Magic weapons (magic weapon, great magic weapon, crystal magic weapon): These spells offer an amazing edge at different soul levels. At the bottom we have Magic weapon, a spell that buffs your main weapon with fixed magic damage dependent on the next formula: catalyst mgc adjust * 0.8. That means that at minimum Int requirements to use Ooacile ivory catalyst, it adds +144 mgc damage; similar to having a regenerating Golden pine resin buff. Great magic weapon adds: catalyst mgc adjust * 1.1. At minimum Int requirements (15) it adds +198 mgc dmg with Ooacile ivory catalyst. And last, Crystal magic weapon adds: mgc adjust * 1.4. At minimum Int and with the best catalyst at the time (Manus') it will get you an additional +275 mgc dmg; with best non penalized catalyst (still Ooacile ivory) it adds +252 mgc dmg. Taken to top Int (50) and with the best catalyst possible (Tin Crystallization), it will add +410 mgc dmg (a very close match to Darkmoon weapon). Note: Though Tin Crystallization will limit Crystal magic weapon to 1 use, you can switch to an additional non penalized catalyst (Logan's, Izalith, etc) after the first cast, this will grant you an additional use of the spell. Lingering Dragoncrest ring will prolong the time you have the buff active on your weapon. ii) Concealing spells (Hidden body, Chameleon, Hidden sword): If you're like most players and all you want is to deal with your opponent as fast and effectively as you can, then these sorceries aren't for you. If on the other hand you want to have a good time messing with your opponents mind and goofing around, then you will find good assistance with these sorceries. Hidden body makes you harder to detect, making you transparent similar to the effect of ring of fog. The only PVP application for this spell is to nullify tracking sorceries (see below), as they won't fire even if you're standing next to the caster. Chameleon is a very fun spell to use, it will turn you into an object characteristic of the area you're in. Great to ambush unsuspecting enemies, but remember they're not going to fall for it twice. Hidden sword is basically a weapon buff but instead of adding damage, it makes your weapon invisible. What's the use of that you ask? Well, as a PVP player you'll pretty much react to the kind of weapon your opponent is wielding. From the first time you gaze at your enemy and see his sword, you're already plotting the best ways to take him down; figuring out in your mind the advantages and flaws of such weapon. Making it invisible will give you the edge of being more unpredictable, it will also make you harder to parry and awkward to evade as your opponent won't exactly know the best moment to make the button input. That said, it's more for challenge than it is for effectiveness. In this video you can see a guy using hidden weapon as a main buff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwm7nESKKUY&feature=related. SORCER.C)Tracking: i) Soulmasses (Homing Soulmass, Homing Crystal Soulmass): Soulmasses are magic orbs that surround you and target the enemy if he gets close enough. The number of orbs summoned depends on your Int stat: 18=2, 19=3, 25=4, 31=5. Your aim at using soulmasses is to get at least 4 orbs in order for the damage to be worth it. This is why I believe regular Homing soulmass to be irrelevant, since the 25 Int required to summon 4 orbs will already grant you the far superior Homing Crystal soulmass. ii) Pursuers: Soulmasses on steroids!!. Many people believe them to be overpowered, and with good reason. The tracking they have is insane, and the damage is similar to Crystal soulmass. It is also used for cheap tactics (hence the bad reputation), like spamming projectile sorceries or fishing backstabs while you desperately try to run away from the orbs. Overall an amazing spell, it will already grant you 5 orbs once you unlock it, and it's immune to the dispelling of the Silver pendant (see COMPLEMENTS above). SORCER.D)Other: i) Dark fog: The sorcery equivalent of Poison mist, not much to say about this. ii) White Dragon breath: The last sorcery you'll ever acquire, 50 Int needed. I will shoot a straight beam of crystal light directly into the ground, capable of hitting multiple enemies at once. It has a fairly fast casting time, and it can be quite a deterrent under the right hands. Watch this guy use the spell in PVP sessions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpZFy1mX5ho. Magic builds will just pump Int to the top and get all the sorceries eventually. But what if I don't want to raise Int all the way to the top?, what if I just want the best value for the less investment?. Depending on how much repertoire of sorceries you want, there are fixed breakpoints of Int at which you'll get the best sorceries without investing unnecessary soul levels. Int 12: the minimum you should invest if you're interested in sorceries. It grants the use of the Ooacile ivory catalyst and its fixed Magic adjustment. It also allows the use of the next spells: Soul arrow, heavy soul arrow and Magic weapon. Int 16: Allows use of Great magic weapon, Dark orb, dark bead and the next additional spells: All concealing spells, great soul arrow, great heavy soul arrow. Int 25: Allows use of Crystal magic weapon, Homing crystal soulmass (4 orbs) and Dark Fog. Int 32: Allows use of Tin Crystallization catalyst, Pursuers and Homing crystal soulmass (5 orbs). Int 36: Allows use of Soul Spear. Int 44: It's essentially a Magic build, but among accomplished magic builds it's the minimum amount of Int you can invest. It grants the use of Crystal soul spear. 8. MIRACLES [MIRACL] Spells that rely on the use of a talisman and the Fth stat (Int can be used under specific circumstances). They excel at defensive capabilities. Note: Same as sorceries, I won't include the ones less fit for PVP. Check those at the Wiki. MIRACL.A)Projectiles: i) Lighting Spears (Lighting spear, Great lighting spear, Sunlight spear): Lighting spears with the exception of the Sunlight version are not as powerful as their sorcery counterparts, they provide however the most competent projectile spells for miracle users. They also have a lower entry barrier than the soul spears (Lighting spear 20 Fth vs Soul spear 36 Int; Great Lighting spear 30 Fth vs Crystal Soul spear 44 Int). Lighting spear and Great lighting spear are effective ranged weapons that deal lighting damage (duh!), they have a slightly unnecessary casting time in my eyes and null tracking capabilities (contrary to Soul arrows and spears that at least have a slight tracking motion). Apart from these minor defects, they are highly recommended if you feel they'll make a good complement to your build. Sunlight spear on the other hand distinguishes itself from the pack by having much more damage, occupying 2 slots and a more prolonged casting time. The time it takes to cast the spell is quite awkward, making it very tactical in its execution since spamming the damn thing will make it an easy target to evade. It is most recommended in tight spaces and against slow rolling opponents, using it without lock on is also a good option if you have the skill necessary. The biggest drawback for Sunlight spear is the fact that you have to remain tied to the Warriors of Sunlight, which means sacrificing Darkmoon weapon and other goodies provided by the Darkmoon blade covenant. Few Fth builds will be willing to make this exchange (especially with the required 2 slots), as the Darkmoon buff is much more effective in PVP than the Sunlight spear. I personally only recommend it for pure casters, all other builds should be fine with the lower Lighting spears. ii) Emit force: Probably more suited to keep enemies at bay than to make damage. It is slow casting and easily avoided by most players. The force ball produced will explode upon impact making an AoE attack that allows for interesting applications. For once it is best suited to be used without lock on, and you can even drop it on your feet to stop charging enemies (similar to the use of Fire balls, see WILDCARDS thread above). Overall it's a competent spell under the right hands. MIRACL.B)AoE: i) Forces (Force, Wrath of God): Force is a very fast casting AoE explosion send from within the casters body, it covers a 360? range and has no damage output. You get a lot of casts (20), making it suitable to be spammed and stopping your enemy's charge. When it connects it has 2 outcomes: a knockback which gives you time to rethink your strategy/heal or to apply more damaging spells with less risk (Fire tempest, Gravelord swords, etc); or they will get staggered, allowing for additional attacks with your weapon or even backstabs. It is ideal for fast opponents that just like to dance around you spamming the rolling action. It has the added benefit of reflecting sorceries if you time it right, making a viable option against projectile spammers. Wrath of God on the other hand, is probably the best offensive miracle in the game. It has all the characteristics of Force but in addition it makes generous damage, and has more range. It only has 3 casts though, so you better use them wisely. ii) Gravelord swords (Gravelord sword dance, Gravelord greatsword dance): Fth players expecting these to be the miracle equivalent of Firestorm will be sorely disappointed. Just like its pyromancy equivalents they are slow casting and with a wide area of effect, but unlike them they sport lesser damage and there is just something off with the way the gravelord swords spawn. For once they seem to be too far apart from each other, and on top that they give the impression of being too random for their own sake (I've experienced occasions in which the swords just spawned to my right, with my left side being completely uncovered). All this makes the spell unreliable and easy to escape from. They are still viable options if you lack the better alternatives, and since they have a 0 Fth requirement they are apt for the lowest soul levels. iii) Vow of silence: DkS version of anti-magic field. It will stop spell casting in a specific area, including your own. It is obviously designed for melee fighters trying to gain advantage during a fight with a heavy casting opponent. It's a good counter against players that enjoy spamming any given spell (Dark bead, Wrath of God, etc), but be aware that it only lasts 25sec. iv) Tranquil walk of peace: God, I really hate this miracle. Though it's pretty good in its own rights, the only application it has is for using cheap tactics. Casting this miracle to stop your enemy's movement and then spam sorceries/Wrath of God, or fish for backstabs is the usual tendency among users of this spell. The only justified use I have for it is when fighting gank squads, in which fair play has already gone down the toilet. Note: The Stone Greatsword is capable of casting this spell if you hit the R2 button when 2 handing it. MIRACL.C)Buffs: i) Barriers (Magic barrier, Great magic barrier): Probably the best character buffs in the game. Magic barrier will block around 70% magic damage and Great magic barrier will block 90%. It's an amazing feat if you take into account that the best weapon buffs deal magic damage, on top of the added benefits against spell casters. Highly recommended. ii) Miracle weapons (Sunlight weapon, Darkmoon weapon): Darkmoon weapon is the best weapon buff in the game, at least in terms of raw damage. The formula is as follows: Mgc adjust * 2.1 (at max covenant rank, see below in COVENANTS). That means a 50 Fth character with Darkmoon talisman would add nearly 500 points worth of magic damage to any enchantable weapon. Its only downside is the fact that it just allows 1 cast, not only that, but you will only get 1 copy of the miracle regardless of how many times you complete the game. It also demands you to be tied to the Darkmoon Blade covenant. Sunlight weapon is a less powerful version that adds lighting damage according to the next formula: Mgc adjust * 1.8. It works well as a backup in case you wasted your Darkmoon weapon cast, or in case you don't want to be part of the Darkmoon blades. A good indication for the use of Sunlight weapon is in case you desire the Sunlight spear miracle too (see above). Sunlight weapon can also be stacked during multiple playthroughs, giving you additional casts depending on your attunement slots and the amount of times you've completed the game. iii) Karmic justice: The sad thing is this could've been a great buff, but it is too flawed to be recommended as a serious spell. When casted, it gives you a buff that will make an explosion similar to Wrath of God if you receive too much consecutive damage. So far so good, but it just lasts for 1 minute and works only against some kinds of damage. This makes it an unreliable spell, since the exposure you need to get the explosion going is very high risk, and it's very likely you'll die before the miracle kicks in. It may save you occasionally from certain death by stunlock, but these instances will be so far in between that it's not worth the effort (especially when you have better buffs in your repertoire). As it stands I can't recommend it as a competitive spell, but more of a curiosity. The next video shows a guy using Karmic justice exclusively on invasions, as you can see it's a pretty suicidal tactic that works well because at the lower soul level the opponents have little health and die after 1 cast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9qOiQ1HmmQ&feature=related. MIRACL.D)Heals: i) Heal: Healing spells have the bad habit of taking too long to cast. That means that if you're going to risk using it you at least want it to be worth it. This heal is the most unfit for PVP, it's only advised in case you manage to retreat to a safe point and heal multiple times (1 cast will not heal you completely). In any other case the punish damage administered by your opponent will far outclass the amount of HP recovered. ii) Great Heal Excerpt: Decent heal for low levels. It has the same power as the Great Heal but only grants 1 cast. Advised for PVP unless you have Great Heal. You'll still have to retreat in order to use it, but at least 1 successful cast should be enough to heal you completely in most cases (50 Fth + Darkmoon talisman will heal 1800 HP). iii) Great Heal: The best healing spell you could achieve. Same as before but it grants 3 casts. iv) Soothing Sunlight: A healing spell that has little place in PVP. It heals a little less than Great heal, it demands you to have 48 Fth to use it, you must be tied to the Princess Guard covenant, and it takes 2 of your attunement slots on top of it all. The only benefit is the fact that it heals yourself and all allies. This makes things complicated, since a PVP match based on fair play rules is 1 on 1 most of the time. That means that if you're willing to make all this sacrifices to get the miracle then you probably intend to use it as part of a gank squad (you bastard!!). The only fair use I have for this miracle is for the odd team match in Battle of Stoicism. v) Replenishment: More than an actual heal, replenishment is more of an investment. Once casted it heals 10HP/sec for 1 minute, that means that overtime it heals 600HP (1/3 of your health for most players). Imagine a deadlier version of the toxin status but inversed as a healing effect and you'll get the idea. We all know it is easier to cast buffs at the start of a match, whether because your opponent lets you or because he's distracted. And while casting a regular heal in the middle of a fight is very risky, you can safely (at least most of the time) cast replenishment before the fight and heal progressively just by evading attacks. It's certainly a buff that should get your attention and priority. Note: Stacked with ring of the sun Princess and Sanctus, it will heal 780HP over those same 60 seconds. Depending on how much repertoire of miracles you want, there are fixed breakpoints of Fth at which you'll get the most benefits without investing unnecessary soul levels. Fth 14: the lowest entry barrier for the miracle aficionado. It grants: Heal, Great Heal Excerpt, Force, Magic barrier, Gravelord swords. Fth 18: Adds Tranquil Walk of peace, Replenishment and Emit force to the mix. Fth 20: You get Lighting spear. As a small bonus you may also use Karmic justice. Fth 24: Adds Great magic barrier and great heal. Fth 28: Grants the one and only Wrath of God, and signals the point to change from Thorolund to Canvas talisman. Most players not interested in Fth builds should probably stop here. Fth 30: Adds the rest of the goodies: Both Miracle weapon buffs, Vow of silence and great lighting spear. 9. COVENANTS [COVNAN] There are many covenants in the game, but for PVP purposes few of them are worth raising the rank, and even less of them are tempting enough to stay in. These are general indications as to what covenants to take, nurture and eventually maintain. COVNAN.A)Way of White: Dump it, it's the most anti PVP covenant there is as it actually minimizes invasions. COVNAN.B)Princess Guard: Enter, get the Ring of the Sun Princess (see above) and get the hell out. Bountiful/soothing sunlight are co-op mechanics, not very useful in one on one PVP (and you're no ganker, are you?). COVNAN.C)Darkmoon Blade: Essential for Faith builds with heavy melee fighting, if you enter in this category you should raise it to max level and stay there for good. Raising it can be quite challenging if you're new into this PVP thing. Since it requires souvenirs of reprisal for its leveling, you actually need to win some duels as a darkmoon blade before you manage to get the goodies. This is why some players may opt for the less powerful, but easier to get Sunlight weapon miracle. It gives 4 precious gifts: i) Blue Eye Orb: Active invasion of players, and you don't have to be alive to use it. ii) Darkmoon Blade Covenant ring: If you don't want to lose your time waiting to get into somebody else's game, you can wear this ring, carry on with whatever you're doing and you will be summoned to another player's Dark Anor Londo. iii) Darkmoon Talisman: Best Talisman for High Fth values, and basic for any Faith build. iv) Darkmoon weapon (See above): I already said everything about this amazing buff. COVNAN.D)Chaos servant: My advice is to enter, receive Chaos Great Fireball and dump it. If you really want to try Chaos Firestorm then raise it to rank 2, take the shortcut to lost Izalith while you're at it and leave. COVNAN.E)Forest Hunters: It is a viable covenant to stay in, as there is a lot of action in the forest. It has a very, very amazing plus, but you'll have to betray them in order to get it. i) The Darkwood Grain Ring (see above in the COMPLEMENTS section): is a one of a kind ring that is dropped by a Ninja NPC that always stays next to Shiva of the East. My advice is to kill him in Blightown as they will have less backup, he will be behind the plank Shiva is leaned against. Remember to buy all the stuff you want from Shiva before doing this. ii) Murakumo (see above in the ARMED TO THE TEETH section): An added bonus for facing Shiva and his body guard, a one of a kind sword that ranks among the best greatswords available. Afterwards absolve your sins with Oswald and return to the covenant if you like. iii) Cat ring: Similar to Darkmoon Blade covenant ring, you just have to use it and Alvina will summon you if there's a trespasser... and there are always trespassers. You can wear the ring while actively seeking invasions with Cracked red eye orbs to maximize productivity. iv) Fog ring: (see above in the COMPLEMENTS thread). COVNAN.F)Warrior of Sunlight (Sunbros): Directed at Faith/caster builds too. It allows the use of 3 miracles, if you're fine with the first two you can raise the rank to 1 and leave. If you fancy the third though, you better get comfortable since you'll be spending much time with these guys. i) Lighting spear (see above in MIRACLES) ii) Great lighting spear (see above in MIRACLES): requires rank 1. iii) Sunlight spear (see above in MIRACLES): requires rank 1 and the soul of Gwyn. COVNAN.G)Gravelord Servant: Active PVP has some productive points, but a long term relationship with this covenant is very reliant on your tastes. If you're in for the goodies just raise to level 2 and cash out. i) Eye of Death: The unique PVP matching for gravelord servants, it is very convoluted and I'm not going to talk much about it. See the wiki if you want more info. ii) Gravelord sword dance (see above in MIRACLES) iii) Gravelord greatsword dance (see above in MIRACLES) iv) Gravelord sword (see above in ARMED TO THE TEETH): not an amazing damage, but still one of the only weapons capable of dealing toxin (see specific build later). COVNAN.H)Path of the Dragon: This one may have a lot of appeal to many players, and some builds may benefit from its treasures (see below). Remaining on the covenant after you received the gifts will depend on some points given below. i) Dragon head stone: turns your head into Dragon's, and grants you the ability to breathe fire. Not useful in serious PVP. ii) Dragon torso stone: turns your whole body into a Dragon's, and grants you an AoE roaring attack. This attack staggers the enemy (even if high poised) and raises your attack power at the same time for a few seconds. The buff damage increases with covenant rank, which is one of the appeals of staying on such affiliation (+1=27%, +2=30%, +3=35%). The roar burns a huge amount of stamina though, and a full 192 stamina bar will only resist 2 consecutive roars. The low resistance and 0 poise may be a drawback to, and players will have to rely on the generous spamming of the roar in order to be more highly competitive. iii) Dragon Eye: Covenant members leave a sign on the ground similar to the red soapstone's, it is an arranged invasion as you must be summoned by the opponent. This last handicap may detriment some players from staying for good, as they may not see as much action as other invaders. If it doesn't please you, you can raise rank to 2, gain the dragon torso and leave. COVNAN.I)Dark Wraiths: The invading covenant by excellence, not only does it provide its members with highly active PVP, but primary users of other less active covenants may join transiently to buy Cracked Red Eye orbs and invade themselves. Dark Wraiths have the advantage of gaining Humanity if they beat their opponent, and as we've seen so far, the Hum stat has many offensive and defensive capabilities. i) Cracked Red Eye Orbs: Consumable items with no covenant specificity. It's a feature aimed at foreign covenant members who like Dark wraith invasions but don't want to leave their respective factions. ii) Red Eye Orb: Permanent item for exclusive use of Dark Wraiths. This makes it a permanent guild of high value for PVP seekers. iii) Dark Wraith set and sword: Nothing extraordinary, but it definitely looks badass. In any case it doesn't hurt having it on the locker. If this is the only thing you like from the dark wraiths, raise rank to 2 and leave the ship. iv) Dark hand: Looks awesome but it has low value for PVP. The Humanity snatching ability is slow and doesn't have much point as the common PVP player knows it is best to finish off the opponent if you see an opening instead of going for this attack. Normal fist attack is underwhelming and the shield ability is mediocre at best. So, no real incentive in this one. 10. OVERALL BUILDS [OBUILD] Note: this is an approximation of how most builds work, that is not the same as saying they are the only builds that exist. General stats are an approximation and you can change any of them if it suits you well. We won?t give any specific equipment suggestions, that is something entirely dependent on your tastes. Names given below (Mage Knight, Barbarian, etc) are a pure approximation of how the embodiment of such build could be viewed, they are not actual titles in the game. Always remember to use a stat planer, you can search for one in the Wikis. Remember that all of the builds presented below still need further tailoring for your weapon tastes, estimated soul levels given will probably be higher once your character is done. OBUILD.A)HYBRID BUILD This is the most prevalent build you will find in PVP, it is well rounded and gives a little bit of all worlds. It is understandable for these builds to be so popular, with DkS being a game with so much variety and yet so few restrictions, most players will usually try to cover as many pitfalls as they can. The heavy focus on melee fighting coupled with high investment in ethereal stats, makes these builds the ones most benefited by Holy, Occult, Enchanted, Magic refinement. Since this is such a mixed bag, there are many subdivisions you can make for this build: i) Primary physical: The most prevalent incarnation of this variation is having a main physical stat with a +15 weapon, a weapon buff dependent on a secondary ethereal stat (crystal magic weapon, sunlight weapon, darkmoon weapon), and 1 or 2 backup spells dependent on the same secondary ethereal stat. The undisputed champions of damage per second output, they are lethal at close quarters and they also have backup spells if things don't go as planned. The only letdown is that such power is finite, buffs will end up over some seconds and recasting it (if you have another cast) may prove fatal if you're not careful. The Dex versions of this build have the added bonus of casting faster, becoming THE Magic/Faith builds to go for. They even surpass their pure caster/ethereal oriented equivalents in some aspects(Watch the APENDIX for more info). Physical stat: Choose either Str or Dex and take it to Average or Maximum, leave the other one on minimum. Ethereal stat: Choose either Int or Fth and take it to Average, leave the other one on minimum. Constitutional stat: Get Vit and End to Average, Att to a max of 3 slots. i.a) Mage Knight (Melee Str oriented with magic support): i.a.1) Low level: Pyromancer lvl 88. Vit 40, Att 10, End 30, Str 35, Dex -, Int 25, Fth -. i.a.2) Mid level: Pyromancer lvl 124. Vit 45, Att 12, End 40, Str 45, Dex -, Int 36, Fth -. i.a.3) High level: Pyromancer lvl 155. Vit 50, Att 19, End 40, Str 50, Dex -, Int 50, Fth -. i.b) Cleric Knight (Melee Str oriented with miracle support): i.b.1) Low level: Cleric lvl 89. Vit 40, Att 10, End 30, Str 33, Dex -, Int -, Fth 30 i.b.2) Mid level: Cleric lvl 122. Vit 45, Att 12, End 40, Str 40, Dex -, Int -, Fth 40 i.b.3) High level: Cleric lvl 154. Vit 50, Att 19, End 40, Str 50, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. i.c) Rogue Sorcerer (Melee Dex oriented with magic support): i.c.1) Low level: Wanderer lvl 88. Vit 40, Att 10, End 30, Str -, Dex 35, Int 25, Fth -. i.c.2) Mid level: Wanderer lvl 124. Vit 45, Att 12, End 40, Str -, Dex 45, Int 35, Fth -. i.c.3) High level: Wanderer lvl 155. Vit 50, Att 23, End 40, Str -, Dex 45, Int 50, Fth -. i.d) Rogue Priest (Melee Dex oriented with miracle support): i.d.1) Low level: Knight lvl 88. Vit 40, Att 10, End 30, Str -, Dex 30, Int -, Fth 30. i.d.2) Mid level: Knight lvl 126. Vit 45, Att 12, End 40, Str -, Dex 40, Int -, Fth 40. i.d.3) High level: Knight lvl 157. Vit 50, Att 23, End 40, Str -, Dex 45, Int -, Fth 50. ii) Primary ethereal: Variation that relies a little bit more on spellcasting and weapon scaling dependent on ethereal stats. They may not have the brutal melee damage their primary physical brothers have (since they don't invest as much in physical scaling), but they make up for it with more HP, equip burden and attunement slots. They too have the chance of pulling weapon spell buffs, but total damage won't be as high as if it was pulled by the primary physical variation. To get things to perspective: A Paladin (see below) with minimum requirements for an uchigatana, and Darkmoon weapon spell buff with covenant at top level will make 714 damage with each strike (highly lethal); but a Rogue Priest (see above) under the same conditions will make 858 (144 more!). Physical stat: Both on minimum or average. Ethereal stat: Choose either Int or Fth and take it to Maximum, leave the other one at minimum. Depending on the stat you choose your build will end up being a "Faith build" or "Mage build". Constitutional stat: Get Vit to average, End to average or minimum, and Att enough to have 3 to a max of 5 slots. ii.a) Paladin (Miracle spellcaster with melee capabilities): ii.a.1) Low level: Cleric lvl 88. Vit 40, Att 16, End 30, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 45. ii.a.2) Mid level: Cleric lvl 120. Vit 50, Att 23, End 40, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. ii.a.3) High level: Cleric lvl 156. Vit 60, Att 34, End 55, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. ii.b) Battle Mage (Sorceror spellcaster with melee capabilities): ii.b.1) Low level: Sorcerer lvl 88. Vit 40, Att 16, End 30, Str -, Dex -, Int 45, Fth -. ii.b.2) Mid level: Sorcerer lvl 120. Vit 50, Att 23, End 40, Str -, Dex -, Int 50, Fth -. ii.b.3) High level: Sorcerer lvl 156. Vit 60, Att 34, End 55, Str -, Dex -, Int 50, Fth -. OBUILD.B)PURE PHYSICAL Pure physical builds are seldom used in high level PVP, mainly because they lack the tremendous aid sorceries and miracles give (hence the general preference for their hybrid siblings). They don't have the highest damage output either, mainly because the uber int/fth weapon buffs outclass any stat scaling that str or dex may give. As substitutes for this buffs they have 2 options: they can use the less powerful consumable weapon buffs (charcoal pine resin +80 fire, gold pine resin +150 lighting); or make a minimal investment into Int to get it to the 12-15 breakpoint to allow use of the Ooacile Ivory catalyst (fixed 180 mgc adjust), plus the less powerful variants of magic weapon (magic weapon + Ooacile catalyst = +144 mgc dmg; great magic weapon + Ooacile catalyst = +198 mgc dmg). They don't have a specific weapon refinement arm, aside from the general Normal, Crystal, Lighting, Fire, Chaos weapons that any other builds may achieve. They have room for a lot of HP and equip burden though, giving out an agile pure melee/bow fighter who can take quite a beating. They can also have a little bit of pyromancy here and there. All this means that these builds are intended only for skilled players, and they are to be viewed more like a challenge than a highly competitive build. i) Polar oriented: It revolves around having a "pure str" or "pure dex" build. It doesn't have the damage output or the versatility of mixed builds with their weapon buffs and spells, it's just you and your weapon against anything that comes along. This also means that you'll have a bunch of remaining soul levels to put into constitutional stats, so feel free to pump Vit to the top or getting enough End to wear high poised gear and still backflip. If you fancy you can also get some attunement slots for pyromancies. Overall the high HP pool and poise level, makes this build ideal for the most risky maneuvers in the game, namely Power Within and Red Tearstone Ring combo. You can even go with Dragonoid Body if you don't mind the low defense in favor of extra damage. Physical stat: Choose either Str or Dex and take it to Maximum, leave the other one at minimum/average. Ethereal stat: Minimum Constitutional stat: Vit and End to Maximum, Att not above 3 slots. Aditionally you can leave either Vit or End in Average range so you can get more attunement slots. i.a) Barbarian (Physical pure str based): i.a.1) Low level: Bandit lvl 89. Vit 55, Att -, End 40, Str 30, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. i.a.2) Mid level: Bandit lvl 134. Vit 75, Att -, End 55, Str 40, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. i.a.3) High level: Bandit lvl 159. Vit 85, Att -, End 60, Str 50, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. i.b) Ranger (Physical pure dex based): i.b.1) Low level: Warrior/Hunter lvl 88. Vit 50, Att -, End 40, Str -, Dex 30, Int -, Fth -. i.b.2) Mid level: Warrior/Hunter lvl 133. Vit 75, Att -, End 50, Str -, Dex 40, Int -, Fth -. i.b.3) High level: Warrior/Hunter lvl 158. Vit 85, Att -, End 60, Str -, Dex 45, Int -, Fth -. ii) Even oriented: This variation revolves around evening out Str and Dex to their higher common denominators, also known as "Quality builds". It is not for the sake of maxing out the damage of a particular set of weapons, but for the purpose of expanding your weapon choice horizon and being able to have the right tool for every job (and using all of them effectively). 25 is the highest Dex requirement for any weapon, while 30 Str will allow you to two hand any weapon up to 47. Further increase to 36 Str will grant you the chance to wield the infamous Black Knight Greataxe one handed and nearly all shields (the exception being Havel's). The higher 40 Dex value comes from the premise that Dex scaling weapons are better-rounded and have higher versatility. This build will demand you to experiment a little bit and determine what weapons will benefit more from a +15/Crystal treatment plus Buff item (Gold Pine Resin), and which ones are better left as elemental weapons (lighting, fire, etc). Take also into account that there are weapons "ideal" for this build because of their decent scale with both Str/Dex (mostly greatswords, curved greatswords and ultra greatswords). Physical stat: Both Str and Dex to Maximum. Ethereal stat: Minimum Constitutional stat: Vit or End to Maximum, leave the other in Average range, Att not above 3 slots. Additionally you can leave both Vit and End on Average, so you can get more attunement slots. ii.a) Mercenary (Physical mixed str/dex): ii.a.1) Warrior/Bandit lvl 90. Vit 50, Att -, End 40, Str 25, Dex 20, Int -, Fth -. ii.a.2) Warrior/Bandit lvl 125. Vit 65, Att -, End 40, Str 30, Dex 35, Int -, Fth -. ii.a.3) Warrior/Bandit lvl 156. Vit 75, Att -, End 50, Str 36, Dex 40, Int -, Fth -. OBUILD.C)PURE CONSTITUTION (also called "Gouge builds" sometimes) This one is very similar to the ones mentioned above, and they may have a lot of overlapping once you start sinking points in Str/Dex for wielding purposes. The only difference is the sacrifice of physical stats for the benefit of pumping Vit and End even more. A little stat investment can be done for the sake of wielding a specific weapon, or gaining a low level sorcery/miracle. All in all, the offensive capabilities of this build rely heavily on elemental weapons (lighting, fire, chaos) and 1 or 2 pyromancies. This one is also intended for skilled players only and it would be the most broad definition of a Tank, it's straight forward and it doesn't have subdivisions. i) Pure constitution: It's been already explained. This one can also benefit heavily from Power Within/Red Tearstone/Dragonoid Body combo. Physical stat: Both Minimum. Ethereal stat: Both Minimum. Constitutional stat: Both to Maximum, Att not above 3 slots. Aditionally you can leave one of the former in Average for the sake of having more attunement slots. i.a) Heavy Knight (Physical elemental with a lot of resistance): i.a.1) Low level: Pyromancer lvl 85. Vit 65, Att -, End 40, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. i.a.2) Mid level: Pyromancer lvl 124. Vit 89, Att -, End 55, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. i.a.3) High level: Pyromancer lvl 155. Vit 99, Att 23, End 65, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. Note: 65 End (plus a little help from rings/father mask) should be enough to wield nearly anything with great speed, no need to pump it more at least in my book. Sink the rest of the soul levels in anything that fancies you, in this case I chose attunement for the liberal use of pyromancies, but you can put those 11 remaining points wherever you want. OBUILD.D)PURE CASTER Pure casters revolve around attacking with as many spells as they can, giving them some degree of hate mail during matches because of their spamming and powerful offensive. They are frail however, and can die easily at the hands of an aggressive melee opponent, and even one-shot by a well placed backstab. Though they can deal good damage in melee with the aid of weapon reinforcements (Holy, Magic, Enchanted, elemental, etc) and buffs, they generally have little close quarters capabilities until they reach higher levels. This is because the below average HP, the low equip burden, and the short stamina bar make for a mediocre melee combatant at the low-mid range. If you don't like giving up melee fighting capabilities, check hybrid builds above. Hybrid Dex builds also have 1 particular advantage over pure casters, and it's the casting speed. They can save up a couple of precious miliseconds during the casting process, it may not seem like much, but against high opposition a couple of miliseconds can be the difference between success and failure. If this last step feels crucial for your build, you can sacrifice points in Att, Vit, End, and why not Int/Fth in favor of Dex; all for the sake of being a faster caster (see Evening out stats below) i) Polar oriented: Similar to the Hybrid primary ethereal classes mentioned above, the polar oriented casters will end up as either a "faith build" or a "mage build". Out of all the spells, sorceries have the best offensive capabilities, and miracles have the best defensive capabilities. Hence, pure intelligence casters excel in offensive damage while pure faith casters excel in buffs with a slight array of offensive spells. Choosing one ethereal stat will give you the basis for your build, whether Int for sorceries or Fth for miracles. Velka's talisman gives pure Int casters the chance to add slight miracle capabilities to their char if considered necessary. While Tin Darkmoon Catalyst allows the same for Fth casters. Complementation with pyromancies is also essential. Physical stats: Both Minimum. Ethereal stats: Take one to Maximum and leave the other in minimum. Constitutional stats: Take Att to maximum. Leave the others somewhere between minimum or average, unless you go to higher soul levels. i.a) Saint (Fth pure caster): i.a.1) Low level: Cleric lvl 84. Vit 35, Att 34, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 30. i.a.2) Mid level: Cleric lvl 127. Vit 45, Att 50, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. i.a.3) High level: Cleric lvl 157. Vit 60, Att 50, End 40, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. i.b) Warlock (Int pure caster): i.b.1) Low level: Sorcerer lvl 87. Vit 35, Att 34, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int 36, Fth -. i.b.2) Mid level: Sorcerer lvl 127. Vit 45, Att 50, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int 50, Fth -. i.b.3) High level: Sorcerer lvl 157. Vit 60, Att 50, End 40, Str -, Dex - , Int 50, Fth -. ii) Even oriented: By raising both Int and Fth you'll get the best of both worlds, the only price to pay is not being able to use the most advanced spells and giving up either some attunement slots or HP. The best sorcery tools are unlocked at 44 Int (Crystal Soul spear being this breakpoint), while best miracles unlock at 28 Fth (Wrath of God being this breakpoint). That said, Velka's talisman is recommended for casting miracles in this scenario. If you're willing to spend a little more points, True great sword of Artorias may become a viable option (see later Weapon builds and Evening out stats). Physical stats: Both at minimum. Ethereal stats: Take one to maximum, leave the other one on average. Constitutional stats: Att to near maximum, rest on average. ii.a) Sage (Mix Fth/Int caster): ii.a.1) Cleric/Sorcerer lvl 87. Vit 30, Att 23, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int 32, Fth 28. ii.a.2) Cleric/Sorcerer lvl 127. Vit 40, Att 41, End 25, Str -, Dex -, Int 44, Fth 28. ii.a.3) Cleric/Sorcerer lvl 155. Vit 50, Att 41, End 35, Str -, Dex -, Int 50, Fth 30. OBUILD.E)ENVIRONMENTAL BUILD Not much to say about these ones, they are small variations of the ones mentioned above, with the exception that they are meant to exploit certain terrain conditions. With this in mind, you'll have to invade in very specific places in order to prepare effective ambushes. Good options are the top of Sen's Fortress, Tomb of the Giants, Catacombs and Lost Izalith. I won't dwelve much longer into these builds since they don't have any prototypical pattern, if you're interested try invasion in different places of these levels, experiment with various spells, get the necessary backup from local enemies and have fun. Overall these builds are not intended for direct confrontation, but more for surprise easy wins, hence it ends up being a little bit dickish. Watch the link to see an example of an environmental build: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE1H6gH-rwM&feature=context-shows&list=SL OBUILD.F)WEAPON ORIENTED As you may have noticed, there is a huuuuge array of weapons in the game for you to wield. That said, there are some that stand tall above the others whether because they are powerful or they have a particular skill. It is true that generally you shouldn't adjust your stats to a particular weapon, and instead adjust your choice of weapons to your particular stats; but in this case we can make an exception. Please note that these are builds for low soul levels, in which during the stat raising process you can speed up weapon requirements and scaling. At high soul levels however there won't be any true weapon oriented builds, since any of the above builds mentioned will be able to wield such items. Overall, the next are essentially hybrid builds with focus on exploiting one particular piece of equipment. i) True Great sword of Artorias: Though it's slow for a great sword besides having some awkward R2s, this weapon can still be considered one of the best unique items in the game. It scales with all stats and has both physical and magical damage integrated. This build gives you the additional benefit of spells including Wrath of God, all soul arrows, homing soul mass, most dark sorceries, among others. It also grants you the use of Darkmoon weapon if you want to pump a little bit of damage once in a while. BKGA can be used if wielded 2 handed. HP is nothing extraordinary, has only 2 attunement slots and stamina is not optimal (can be countered with ring of favor/protection), but overall it is pretty effective. Note: For casting use Tin Darkmoon catalyst for sorceries and Canvas talisman for miracles, they give the best magic adjustment at these values. i.a) Slayer Artorias (Melee fighter with spellcasting support): Pyromancer lvl 107. Vit 40, Att 12, End 35, Str 24, Dex 18, Int 20, Fth 30. ii) Havel's Great Shield: This is by far the best shield in the whole game, 100% resistance to physical, 90% to magic, 80% to both fire and lighting. His high Str wielding cost and very heavy nature make the entrance barrier a little bit high. This build is essentially a strength build with little spell support. You can use pyromancy or you can get an Ooacile ivory catalyst with magic weapon (+144 mgc dmg). The high Str investment will allow you to use all heavy weapons in the game, but your main game should be the "turtle game", get a low requirement spear/rapier, give it lighting treatment (or get a Demon's spear) and poke all the way. Watch your foes health bar get chipped away one poke at a time, while they desperately try to get around your shield. Your main enemies though: Shotels, altered status and backstabs, neeeever get too confident. Note: PVE will be a total joke with this build. ii.a) Havel's acolyte (Heavy defensive melee fighter with minimal spellcasting): Pyromancer lvl 101. Vit 40, Att 12, End 40, Str 50, Dex 10, Int 12, Fth -. iii) Great shield of Artorias: Also an amazing shield, it may not have the damage reduction capabilities of Havel's but it's still great against physical/fire and it has the highest stability in the game. It plays very similar to the Havel's greatshield build, with the exception that the higher Str allows for a bigger weapon variety including 1 handing the Black Knight Great axe, and the slightly higher Int gets you the Great Magic Weapon spell (+198 mgc dmg with Ooacile catalyst). The lower weight of the shield allows for faster movement too. If you're not convinced by the shield's properties under certain circumstances, you can switch to equivalents like the Cleansing shield or the Giant's shield. iii.a) Defender Artorias (Defensive melee fighter with minimal spellcasting): Pyromancer lvl 98. Vit 40, Att 12, End 40, Str 36, Dex 18, Int 15, Fth -. iv) Lifehunt Scythe: (Original credit: Crimson_Reaper) This build focuses on the liberal use of the bleed status from this scythe, as the base damage of the weapon is nothing special. This weapon has the highest bleed buil-up, and once the status gets in the opponent will lose a whopping 50% HP. More important than the stats is the concomitant use of bleed resistance gear, as each successful hit from the scythe will also raise your status bar. This gear is basically the bloodshield, the bloodbite ring, and armor with good bleed resistance (Dingy set, Black sorcerer set, Shadow set, Chester's set, etc); use whatever combinations feel good, the shield seems the most imperative of these though. It is also advisable that you carry bloodred moss in case you feel you're getting the worst deal out of the bleed process. High Dex investment allows the use of other backup weapons if you feel a change of pace would favor you in the duel. If done properly, this build can take down any foe, no matter how armored he is. Other bleed inducing weapons can be used to complement the bleed buildup, if you feel the Scythe hits are difficult to connect. Of course, patience also plays an important role. iv.a) Crimson reaper (Melee status inducing fighter with minimal spellcasting): Pyromancer lvl 100. Vit 50, Att 12, End 40, Str 16, Dex 35, Int -, Fth -. Watch the link to see the Crimson reaper build in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msM6W_XYgiI. For roleplaying purposes the user wore a full Dark Wraith set. Watch this video for KnewGaming's variation in which he used Dark Wraith helm, Armor of thorns chest piece, and parts of the crimson set: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sex-flJnAZI. v) Golem Axe: (Original credit: Xskulled and Rosie) Though the Golem Axe in terms of raw damage output is absolutely nothing to brag about, it does have one particular and very useful technique. If you hit R2 while wielding it one handed, it produces an air proyectile similar to the boss counterpart, it has quite some reach and is pretty fast too. It is heavily melee oriented, although with an attunement slot for pyromancy and the above mentioned R2 attack you won't have to fear enemies who are far away. Note: the R2 attack will consume 60 durability, it is recommended for you to have Repair powder at hand. v.a) Iron Lumberjack (Melee/ranged fighter with minimal spellcasting): Bandit lvl 102. Vit 60, Att 10, End 40, Str 36, Dex -, Int -, Fth -. Watch the link to see the Iron Lumberjack in action, although at a higher level cap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DYsQvMo2iM. For role playing purposes the users used a full Iron golem set with no shields. vi) Grant: (Original credit: KnewGaming)The Grant is the unbuffed weapon with the highest damage output, if you have the stats to wield it of course. A Str/Fth hybrid in essence, you'll have to sacrifice some endurance for the sake of pumping damage at lower levels. For this reason, it is recommended for you to have a ring of favor and protection to raise the stamina bar as much as you can. The best attack of great hammer weapons in general is the Rolling attack which smashes the hammer in the ground and creates a small AoE, hence it is also recommended that you attain fast rolling. The cherry above the cake however, is Grant's special ability to create a Wrath of God's esque attack while holding it with both hands and hitting R2. High Fth allows for great miracle capacity, but you'll only have one attunement slot, so pick carefully. A good option would be Wrath of God, Force, lighting spears or Darkmoon blade in case you want to buff a backup weapon. Note: the R2 attack will consume 200 durability, after 2 attacks (400 durability) the ability won't work anymore and you'll need to repair the hammer. It is also recommended for you to have Repair powder. vi.a) Mighty Maiden (Heavy Melee fighter with slight miracle capacity): Cleric lvl 105. Vit 40, Att 10, End 35, Str 34, Dex -, Int -, Fth 40. Watch the link to see the Mighty Maiden in action, although at a higher level cap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvN3qNTNK4s. For role playing purposes and personal preference, the user used a full Maiden set. vii) Dragon Weapons: Dragon weapons usually have the advantage of having a special attack similar to the Grant and Golem axe mentioned above, however when said special attack is balanced against the requirements the weapon demands few of them are worth it. That said, the best dragon weapons after this cost/benefit ratio is applied are 2: Moonlight greatsword and Obsidian greatsword. Moonlight greatsword... well what can I say about it, a PVP favorite for some time now, the R2 attack fires a magic blast that has amazing range and decent damage. Obsidian greatsword, a recent addition with the DLC, has an amazing AoE attack when you hit R2 while wielding it 2 handed (and it's enchantable). This build will allow use of these weapons, with 3 additional attunement slots and a wide magic selection at 32 Int (pursuers would be a good choice). Crystal Magic Weapon is a must, with Tin Crystalization catalyst it will add 355 damage to whatever weapon you like (hemm...your obsidian greatsword +5 for a total of 835 dmg, and further with the special attack). If you mind halving your sorceries you can also use Beatrice's/Izalith/Sorcerer's catalyst at the cost of lower damage. Note: Again, Repair Powder. Moonlight's attack does between 20-40 durability damage (around 10 uses), Obsidian's attack is 50 durability (6 uses). vii.a) Dragon slayer (Melee/ranged fighter with magic support): Pyromancer lvl 104. Vit 45, Att 14, End 40, Str 20, Dex 16, Int 32, Fth -. OBUILD.G)OTHER BUILDS i) The all or nothing build: (Original credit: Caroso964) A suicidal build that revolves around having the highest damage output in the game even if it will cost your life. Let's get clear about this, you will die with the first hit you receive, and even if nothing touches you, you will still die in about 1 minute. You'll need the dragon torso stone (enter Path of the Dragon covenant, raise it to the needed level and leave), that will raise your attacks by 25% for a few seconds after you roar. Darkmoon weapon miracle is also a requisite (Enter Darkmoon blade covenant and raise it as high as you can), it's the best buff in the game (at least in raw damage output) and with 50 Fth and max covenant rank it will add 474 mgc dmg to any weapon you use. Power Within (+40% dmg) is also necessary, you should use it with an ungraded pyromancy flame (no longer true if you have the last update), a sanctus shield and a Lingering Dragoncrest ring to give you as much time as you can. And finally, the Red Tearstone Ring which grants you +50% damage once your health gets to 20% or less. To put it into numbers: This build plus a +15 shortsword with baseline stats (a bad weapon choice overall) will give a huge 1506 damage output (227 shortsword + 474 Darkmoon weapon + 175 dragon roar + 280 power within + 350 red tearstone) per swing... enough to one-shot most fellow players and it wasn't even a critical. i.a) Kamikaze Dragonoid (Melee fighter): Cleric lvl 70. Vit 10, Att 12, End 40, Str -, Dex -, Int -, Fth 50. 70 is a pretty low soul level, which means you still have a lot of room to catter for your personal tastes. If you don't like the build being so extreme, you can raise the HP to decent levels and change one of the rings for a Hornet ring. This will allow for truly devastating backstabs without the fear of being one shot at the first mistake. Watch this video to see the build in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fotfic6bu9Q. ii) Status inducing build: Some items in the game are particularly effective in inducing altered status. This build's main purpose is to induce poison/toxin with the objective of applying constant damage, and pressure on the opponent at the same time (forcing him into tight situations in which he may commit mistakes). Two weapons will be your base, Gravelord sword (toxin buildup) and the large club (poison builup). Although the Gravelord sword is no Murakumo, it's still effective as a weapon and the toxin buildup is pretty good. Large club on the other hand is one of the best Great hammers you will find, it ranks among the fastest of his class, it has almost as much raw damage as the Great Club, and the rolling ground pound attack is as good as always. Not only that, but you can give the Large club any weapon refinement you want and it's enchantable, quite a jewel if you ask me. Offensive complements to this build include consumables and spells. Spells that will aid you for the status buildup are toxic mist, poison mist and dark fog. Useful consumables on the other hand are Dung pies (toxin), poisoned throwing knives, poison arrows and rotten pine resin (all produce poison) should all be in your inventory. Rotten pine resin will broaden your weapon choices, as it can turn any enchantable weapon into a "poison weapon" for a set amount of time; you can even apply it into the large club and raise its poison buildup even further. Defensive complements are also advisable, blooming purple moss is recommended if you're planning to use dung pies, as well as high toxin resistance gear. Lloyd's talismans are recommended for every build, but even more so with this one. Since you're going to play the waiting game once the target gets a status, you'll surely want them not to heal after your efforts. Remember being patient and use a good shield to turtle up if needed. Note: remember you can get both the toxin and poison status into the same opponent, if you've already sunk one in, you can switch weapons and strategy to try induce the other one. ii.a) Toxic Crusader (Melee status inducing fighter with spell support): Vit 50, Att 14, End 40, Str 26, Dex 13, Int 18, Fth -. OBUILD.H)EVENING OUT STATS So, what happens when I've already reached the recommended "High level" stat values and I still want to improve my build?. The only expected thing that could happen, you need to start raising the other stats to reduce weak spots in your build. You have a pure caster? Raise constitutional and physical stats to make him a good fighter; you have a tank build? Spray some ethereal stats around so you can get the weapon buffs you so badly needed. You want to get creative? How about raising that weird Resistance stat you never touched?. You get the idea, just look for the things you envy about other builds and incorporate them to your own. The evening out process can start from the mid level or even the low level range if you're not liking the way things are going so far (it's a dynamic process). I do have to mention that once you decide to "even out", your build will end up being a hybrid most of the time. There's one thing you have to be aware about, the more you raise your soul level, the less distinctive your build will be. Above the soul lvl 160-170, practically all builds are more or less hybrid. As you get around the 200 lvl mark, all builds will start to look like each other, they will all have lots of HP, great stamina, all kinds of spells, weapon buffs...and very little to tell them apart, besides particular player preferences. And above lvl 250-270, "true" builds become obsolete since anyone can have any build with a simple change of equipment. You want to be a barbarian? Grab your club and get into your heavier clothes. You prefer assasins? Switch to lightgear and Dex weapons. You want a heavy armored mage with a Greataxe, a backup rapier and some miracles to spice things up a little bit? Done. Just think that the soul level any starting class would need to get all their stats to the 50 breakpoint (minus Resistance) is 279, and you can get the idea of how generic things get at this point. AND WE'RE NOT EVEN HALF WAY INTO THE 710 MAX LEVEL CAP!!! OBUILD.I)CONCLUSIONS So Melchaios, it's cool and all that you gave us advice on the bazillion ways we can make a build. But we came here searching for THE best build. In your opinion what's the best build? Interesting question, let's analyze that by looking at our choices: - Hybrid vs non-hybrid: Hybrid all the way. A good hybrid build will have more or less the combined benefits of various non-hybrid builds, and at the same time it will minimize deficiencies. With the right stats you will get the best of both the physical and magic world at the same time. - Strength vs Dexterity: Dex is the winner here. Once you get your Str build to the top you'll find out your weapon selection is quite underwhelming. Few exemplars of a small arrange of weapon classes scale handsomely with Str: Great swords, Ultra Great swords, Great axes, Great hammers, Hammers. The specific Str weapons of these classes are usually flawed in one way or another (too heavy, too slow, not enchantable, no stunlock, bad animations, etc), and they drag behind other non-Str equivalents. Such is the case of many weapons including: Man serpent greatsword, Demon great machete, Black Knight Greatsword, Demon's Greataxe, Smough's hammer, Dragon King greataxe, Dragon greatsword, Demon's Greathammer, among others. The only things Str builds have going on for themselves are: the shields (Havel's, Artorias', Giant's), Black Knight Greataxe, most Great hammers and some Hammers. Dex characters on the other hand have an amazing scaling with a wide arrange of weapons: All Daggers, Straight swords (Balder side sword), most curved swords, most katanas, Curved greatswords (Murakumo), all piercing swords, fist weapons (the claws), all spears, pole weapons (scythes), and the best bows. And if that wasn't enough, 45 Dex grants you the best casting time available (watch the APENDIX thread for more info). When you pile the benefits against the inconveniences, it is obvious that Dex is the best choice as a main physical stat. - Faith vs Intelligence: So, which way should I go, Sorceries or miracles?.This is a tough one, and probably a point of controversy, but knowing what I know now I think Intelligence is the way to go. We've already seen that sorceries have the best offensive abilities, while miracles are known for their defensive features (there are some good exceptions of course). But in this game the proverb "the best defense is a good offense" is the reigning mantra of PVP. Though Wrath of God and the lighting spears are competent and damaging spells, they get owned in terms of variety and raw damage by sorceries. If you don't believe me try going into PVP with a pure miracle caster and without the help of pyromancies, you'll see what I mean. Pure sorcery casters on the other hand are very capable and lethal, since they have a much larger array of options to attack. But Darkmoon weapon is the best buff in the game, you said it yourself... Yeah, it is, but just in terms of raw damage. Take into account that a 50 Fth character with the best talisman will gain 474 mgc dmg with Darkmoon weapon; while a 50 Int character with the best catalyst will gain 410 mgc dmg with Crystal magic weapon. It's hardly a crucial difference, and if you add the fact that you can prolong the active effect of Crystal magic weapon by using a Lingering Dragon Crest ring (something for which Miracle casters have no equivalent), then you can say that they are at least on par. Bottom line is, unless you have a thing for miracles, go with sorceries since they give the best benefits. Having reached these conclusions, we can safely assume that a Hybrid Dex/Int build will have the most benefits, and the best disposition of tactics to be competent in nearly every situation. It gives great versatility, as a simple change of gear can turn you from a heavy casting machine, to a deadly melee fighter. The resulting build would end up looking a lot like these: Vit 50, Att 23, End 40, Str 14, Dex 45, Int 50, Fth -. Pyromancer lvl 159. If you're fine with being an exclusive sorcery caster, this is what you should aim for. The 14 Str is for wielding the Obsidian great sword 2 handed, as it has one of the best AoE attacks in the game. Vit 45, Att 23, End 40, Str 14, Dex 45, Int 44, Fth 28. Pyromancer lvl 168. If you also want the best benefits from miracles, you can alternatively aim for these values. 28 Fth will give you Wrath of God and all the Heals/Buffs. Adding Crow of dusk and spell specific rings, combined with your higher casting capabilities will make you a lethal mage. On the other hand, combining gear/rings to aim for a Super suit, selecting 1 or 2 of your many Dex scaling weapons, and backing up with fast casting pyromancies will also make you an incredible melee fighter. The possibilities are nearly endless, and all are very effective. So, you're saying I should make this build?. Absolutely no!!! You wanted to know what the best build was, I gave you the best build I know. But building a character from scratch should be about creating the hero (or villain) you always wanted to be, it's a role playing game after all. And the fact that this game is more about skill than numbers, gives you the chance of using whatever you want and still be able to hold your own against anyone. Skill will always make up for thousands of souls spent on stats, and at the same time, the best build available will never make up for your deficiencies as a player. My main characters are a Fth build, and a Str/Int hybrid, hardly close to the uber build I mentioned before. Nonetheless I can hold my own against anyone, and I've defeated a lot of Dex/Int hybrids that are supposed to be better... and the fact is they're only better on paper. Even the underwhelming Str weapons I talked about before are very capable in the right hands, many people still use them and they win duels...hell, I've used them and I've won a lot of duels. That said, the only message I want you to get into your skull after reading this FAQ is this: Don't choose a number, choose a character. While you're in the character customization screen, ask yourself the most important question "If I had an alter ego, ?What would it be like?". 11. APENDIX [APENDX] This FAQ is designed to cover just one aspect of the game, making your character. If you're curious about other aspects like actual combat techniques, skills and general knowledge of the game, many other players have already covered all those aspects in ways that I can only dream of. I leave the links below, have fun. APENDX.A)Backstabs: It doesn't matter if you like or hate backstabs, you have to get used to the idea that they are an integral part of PVP (since Demon's souls actually). You can sit there and bitch about how unfair backstabs are, or you can learn how to do them, how to prevent them and finally how to counter them. And once you know everything there is to know, you can create your own code of honor regarding backstabs. Meanwhile you can check EWGF's channel for backstabbing wisdom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpZeX-RCat8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsp6k4830a0 APENDX.B)Parrying: One of the best techniques an accomplished fighter will ever achieve. First check EWGF's general instructions about parrying. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKwaL9v5wqg&feature=relmfu jblackmel also gives some advice on parrying, with practical examples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YQ1TdfV_ZU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juY8rvI_-xY APENDX.C)Other advanced tactics: EWGF also explains a lot of PVP's hidden features that you probably never knew existed. If you manage to dominate these techniques you'll have a huge advantage over most opponents. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EVdvduhI6E&feature=relmfu. This one covers Toggle scape, Instant Block and Buildup reset. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y48dZJ8NALU&feature=relmfu. This one covers Pivot cancelling casts, Frame parry, counter hits and some more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wk7-Iy7-8A&feature=relmfu. Dead angle attacks for the turtles. APENDX.D)Pyromancy techniques: advanced pyromancy tricks courtesy of DarkSoulsMindEye. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhUKI2-- 6V8&list=UURVgff2mwDzwrBd3pCPfEnQ&index=20&feature=plcp. APENDX.E)Lore: You don't understand the story of the game??, well you're not the only one. Check this link for some enlightment courtesy of EpicNameBro. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4825DBA198EBE9B9&feature=plcp Besides his lore series, EpicNameBro has many useful Dark souls shows, check his channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/EpicNameBro APENDX.F)Dex stat and casting time: Useful experiments on how Dex affects spellcasting, and just how much Dex is enough Dex for casters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHfPcu_B0nQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UlFLieJKDc&feature=related APENDX.G)Best places to PVP: Although all places can be used for PVP, there are certain areas famous for their online activity. i) Undead Burg (1 on 1): The area next to the first bonfire is heavy with PVP action. The usual matchup is 1 vs 1. ii) Darkroot forrest (1-3 vs ?): The area after the door opened by the crest of Artorias is an infamous place to search for duels. The usual matchup is 2-3 hosts vs any invaders that show up. A no quarrel place that will test your masochistic abilities if you decide to take the challenge alone. It's probably the most frequent place you'll find Gankers. iii) Anor Londo (Bright: 1-3 vs 1; Dark: 1 vs ?): In Bright Anor Londo things usually go better for the host as he has the chance to summon phantoms. The usual PVP setting is around the area of the rotating bridge, although any place is susceptible to invasion. If the PVP encounter occurs in the castle area, then the invader may level things up by relying on heavy help from the local monsters. Dark Anor Londo is a different story. Since the bosses (Ornstein and Smough) are already dead, the host has no chance of summoning phantoms. On top of it all, the number of invaders is not restricted and you can have continuous chain invasions on a good day. Don't know if it's just me, but this area seems to have been abandoned quite recently. I have remained on Dark Anor Londo for around 30-40 minutes without a single invasion, on 2 separate days. It's still worth a try though. iv) Kiln of the first flame (1 on 1, occasionally 2-3 vs 1): A lot of PVP action at the entrance. The usual matchup is 1 vs 1, but gankers aren't rare once you stay a while. v) Battle of Stoicism (1 on 1, 2 vs 2, free for all): The newest addition to the PVP scene. It allows for a great variety of matchups and on top takes away one of the most annoying PVP tendencies: healing items. Most action takes place in the 1 on 1 arena. 2 vs 2 and free for all are harder to accomplish since getting the 4 players is a difficult task, I've just managed to get a couple of duels in these categories. vi) Ooacile township (1 on 1): Just past the battle of stoicism you'll find a bonfire. This place has seen a lot of invasions now a days, possibly the result of a new trend because of the DLC being relatively new. It's worth a shot if you like the level layout. APENDX.H)PVP youtube channels: If you want to see advanced PVP combat check the next channels. You may learn a thing or two. DarkSoulsMindEye: http://www.youtube.com/user/DarkSoulsMindEye Peeve Peeverson: http://www.youtube.com/user/peevepeeverson?feature=results_main Sansviedotcom: http://www.youtube.com/user/sansviedotcom/videos AM1800: http://www.youtube.com/user/AM1800/videos APENDX.I)Walkthroughs/humor: A hilarious walkthrough made by Squiiddish. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD165D73513CDE7FF&feature=plcp Thanks for sticking up with me to the end of this FAQ, I hope it has all the information you need to get your character going. Remember to E-mail I you have any tip that you think would improve this FAQ, don't worry I will give you the respective credit on the revisions, just state the name or alias you would like to appear. Also, if you still have doubts I'd be more than happy to answer them (in case I know the answer of course). E-mail: email@example.com. I'd like to thank all the players/authors that served as inspiration or base material for some sections of this FAQ including: -EWGF. Gave me and many other players a huge insight into ingame mechanics. His FAQ on Demon's Souls PVP is probably the one of the best I've ever seen, and certainly an inspiration for the creation of this FAQ. So far he's author of the next videos/concepts shown in this FAQ: Combos, weapon speed, backstab, parrying, advanced tactics, poise, among others. -knutaf0. Author of the video showing rolling speeds. Also author of many PVP videos, including the one showing use of hidden blade in active PVP. -BalderKnight. Author of the video that expanded on weapon swing speed. -KKobra. Author of the video showing PVP with whips. -PeevePeeverson. Author of many PVP videos, including the one posted on the bows thread showing the proper use of a bow in PVP. -Xskulled. Author of the video showing PVP with shields. Co-author of the Iron lumberjack build. -DarkSoulsMindEye. Author of many PVP videos, including the one showing proper use of the White Dragon Breath spell on PVP. He's also responsible for the advanced pyromancy tecniques video. -Sansviedotcom. Author of many PVP videos, including the one showing use of Karmic justice for PVP. -Codemanster0. Author of the video showing an enviromental build (Rooftop defender), with the original idea being from Swashy. -Crimson_Reaper. Author of the crimson reaper build. -KnewGaming. Author of many PVP videos including one also showing the Crimson Reaper build. Author of the Mighty Maiden build. -Rosie. Co-author of the Iron Lumberjack build. -Caroso964. Author of the Kamikaze Dragonoid build. He never stated the name of this build. -jblackmel. Author of PVP videos showing parrying examples. -EpicNameBro. Responsible for the Lore series, among others. -PeachPurin. Author of one of the videos showing Dex influence on casting. -iGBxRated. Author of one of the videos showing Dex influence on casting. -AM1800. Author of many PVP videos. -Squiiddish. Author of the Derp Souls walkthrough series. -Special thanks to all the authors responsible for the Wikis, we would be lost without them. Any other concept or description covered in this FAQ has been developed by myself, if some of them seem similar to your own it is the product of pure coincidence. Titles like "Battle Mage", "Barbarian", "Ranger", etc, are of public dominion. So don't send requests asking me to give you credit under these cumstances. THANK YOU!!