Dark Souls 2 mini-guide

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My grossly incandescent tips for you young souls:

  • Learn to die and laugh at yourself. Playing any Souls games with a bad temper will diminish your lifespan by 70%, and I'm not talking about your character.
  • Always remember that dying is part of the game, but it's never the game's fault -- you die because you made a mistake. Learn from it, and don't blame the stupid controller or any of the mechanics of the game.
  • Learn from the tutorial near the first bonfire. Do not skip it. 
  • Allocate 80% on offense, 20% on defence. Defence does not matter much when you die a lot anyway. Might as well bring the other down before it brings you down. It wouldn't matter a lot if you wear the starting armour set from beginning to end. Consider it more aesthetic than necessary. But consider a sturdy shield as part of the offence. This applies on all Souls games.
  • Evading is better than blocking, but not always. Learning how to manoeuvre your movements to your advantage is a plus. 
  • On the other hand, if you think your timing is impeccable, learn to parry.
  • Do not carry too much souls at one time. Losing more will only hurt more.
  • All is fair in love and war. You can be the resident asshole black/blue phantom or the invadee who fires a cheap, devastating spell while the other party waves hello. Who cares?
  • Visit the Emerald Herald often. She's Dark Souls 2's version of the Maiden in Black. You can increase your level through her or increase the number of Estus flasks that you can carry in exchange for Estus shards.
  • Exhaust all conversations with standby NPC's. You just never know what to expect in return. Read item descriptions. It is the key to understanding the game and its lore.
  • Take advantage of the hint system; the bloodstains and messages left by other players are fun to see and at moments helpful.
  • When feeling too much stressed going at one level on the lonesome, never forget that jolly cooperation eases things tenfold.
  • Take your time fighting a black phantom. Anyone willing to invade your game and wants to take your humanity and hardwork will abide to the invadee's world's rules.
  • As a black phantom -- when fighting multiple phantoms in one world -- try taking them on a tight spot. A wide open space will be your biggest problem after two or three of them decides to flank on you.
  • If you make a mistake, one of the old women you meet early on will reset your stats in exchange for a rare Soul Vessel.
  • Do not linger trying to raise souls in one place for too long. The difference in gameplay in this game compared to previous ones is that enemies disappear the more you kill them. I personally haven't grinded my characters in any of my playthroughs, it kind of cheapens the game in the long run. If they do disappear, you need a Bonfire Ascetic to revive the monsters at a harder difficulty. This includes treasures and bosses, too.
  • Upgrading your gears is usually better than levelling up, so find your own balance.
  • Join a covenant. Cool things happen. Speak to the cat in Majula if you want to abandon one.
  • Fight anything on single combat as much as possible. Taking on more than two at a time will not only cause you stress, it will kill you faster.
  • If you want to do an int build, attunement is a vital stat. It not only increases your spell slot, it also speeds casting.
  • Always attack treasure chests before opening it. Enough said.
  • Train yourself to fight enemies and eyeing your stamina bar at the same time. Do not let yourself be carried away. Patience pays well in this game.
  • If conflicted as to where to allocate your stat points, vigour is always the better idea.
  • Explore and experiment. There's always something new to discover.
  • Never forget to praise the sun.
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