10 Tips for Dark Souls: The First 10 Hours
Posted on Monday, October 3 @ 14:54:44 PST by Nicholas Tan
6. Know your merchants and think about getting Soul Arrow.
There are two additional NPCs to be aware of in addition to the cleric in Tip 3. If you take the staircase down near the first bonfire, you will find a mute woman who can bolster Ester Flasks. Once you obtain the necessary item to upgrade your Ester flasks, come back here to improve the healing power of each flask.
Further down is an elevator to the New Londo Ruins. Explore the area a bit, and you'll come across a staircase near the underground lake with an undead lying on its side with its head propped up on its elbow. Go down this staircase a little and you'll meet your first blacksmith. He will repair all of your weapons and armor for several souls. If you don't have an offensive spell (like a Fireball if you're a Pyromancer), also think about purchasing the Soul Arrow sorcery and the Sorcerer catalyst to cast it. It doesn't do a lot of damage, but you can use the spell up to a whopping 30 times before it needs to be recharged.
7. You'll die, but get these awesome items anyway.
If you explore the Firelink Shrine beyond the small flooded castle lake, you'll encounter a graveyard. You can also reach the graveyard by going past the cleric at the Firelink Shrine and drop down the elevator shrine, where you'll also get to open four chests, with one path leading to the graveyard. Here you'll find several skeleton enemies that are extremely tough, and even if you have the skills to bring them down, they don't drop any souls. So don't bother. However, you should be able to run through the graveyard fast enough to get two large Lost Souls (for 400 souls a pop) and a two-handed Zweihander (that requires 24 strength to wield, but hey, why not?).
If you have the Master Key (as a thief or the extra gift at character creation), you can also unlock a gated door in the New Londo Ruins to the Valley of Drakes. Cross the plank and walk along the edge of the valley, and you'll come across a dragon that's napping. It will wake up and one-shot-kill you if you take any of the treasures he's protecting. But you have time to collect Astora's Short Sword and a Dragon Shield if you're quick enough. Both items are awesome early on, particularly when you have enough Faith and Strength to wield Astora's Short Sword, which has both standard and magical attack power.
8. Use bonfires as grinding spots.
You'll notice that whenever you use a bonfire to heal, all of the enemies respawn. It may be annoying, but that's how you grind.
The best grinding spot early on is reached by kicking down the ladder at the top of the second bonfire, which means having to kill the Taurus Demon and making it past the red dragon's fire on the bridge. Of course, you'll notice that the dragon's fire will kill all of the undead on the bridge as well... for 300 souls. So guess what? If you need to, that's your perfect grind spot. Get to the bonfire, go up the ladder to the bridge, bait the dragon by walking out on the bridget (watch out for the spearmen who get in the way), walk down the staircase to avoid the blast, collect 300 souls, and then go back down to the bonfire. Rinse, repeat, until satisfied.
9. Be careful of your equip load.
While you have seemingly infinite item capacity, you do have an equip load to worry about. Everything you equip as a weapon and as armor will be added together by weight, and if you don't have a high enough Endurance rating, your character just won't move as quickly and that can easily mean the difference between living and dying. Either increase your Endurance or go without some weapon or armor until you really need it.
10. Upgrade armor when you can... if you can defeat the Black Knights.
Titanite Shards are difficult to come by. The only time I saw one was when my roommate killed an incredibly tough Black Knight; there is one protecting a ring in the Undead Berg and another at the top of the tower right before the Undead Parish. To kill them effectively, get them into an open space and try to get behind them for a backstab... three times. I told you they were tough.
If you do get them to drop a Titanite Shard, go to the blacksmith in the New Londo Ruins (or elsewhere) and upgrade your best armor. Doing this is just as important as increasing your physical defense and vitality to stay alive as long as you can. Eventually, all those zombies in the Undead Berg won't be able to do anything to you.
For more tips, check out our cheats page for Dark Souls.
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