Game Guides

Dark Souls 3 Beginners Guide: Tips for Getting Started and How to Stay Alive

by Kyle Hanson


You’ve heard all of the rumors about how hard Dark Souls 3 is, but you want to try it out anyway. I get it, and it makes total sense. The game is really fun, though you will likely be frustrated and angry at multiple points throughout the game. Fighting enemies is almost always tough, figuring out where to go and what to do can be tougher. To help you out, we’ve put together this Dark Souls 3 Beginners Guide, giving you tips for how to stay alive, and also pointing you in the direction of some other helpful guides.

Which Class to Pick

Relevent Guides: Dark Souls 3 Class Guide, Which Burial Gift to Pick

So, this one is actually fairly easy for Dark Souls 3 beginners. The thing about classes in Dark Souls is that they have a big impact on the beginning of the game, and a smaller one later on. This is because your class determines your starting stats and equipment, but nothing else. Later in the game, you can apply your Souls however you want, shifting your character’s abilities as needed.

Still, getting started can be tough, so if I had to make a recommendation it would easily be the Knight class. This plays much more like other RPG characters, making you a tough fighter with a sword. You also have a nice shield and can block almost all damage dealt if you have enough stamina, so use it well and wisely. Your armor is also really great, and should stick with you for a good portion of the game, unless you decide to change your focus to magic or anything. And really, you should avoid magic for a while if you’re a true beginner to Dark Souls 3.

What are Souls and How to Use Them

Relevent Guides: How to Level up in Dark Souls 3, How to Farm Souls, How to Use the Transposing Kiln

Dark Souls 3, as the name implies, is all about Souls. These are essentially XP, but they also function as your currency. They’re sort of a one-stop shop for all things that might help you in your adventure. You gather Souls in a few ways, but the most common is taking out enemies. Each enemy that you defeat will give you Souls, and some items will as well. If you pick up an item that says the word Soul in its title, you can probably use it to gain more Souls for your character. However, don’t use them unless you need them right then and there, because you always risk losing your collected Souls as long as you haven’t used them to level up or buy something.

However, don’t do this with the larger Souls you get from a boss character. Anything with a title is important and can be used in other areas to either unlock items, or perform certain tasks. This usually involved the Transposing Kiln, so check out that guide for more help there.

How do you level up in Dark Souls 3? Well, luckily we have a standalone guide for that. Why is it so important to use your Souls when you can? Because when you die in Dark Souls 3 you drop your currently held Souls pretty much right where you died. This means that if you want to get them back and use them to level up, you have to get back there, fighting off the newly respawned enemies, grab the Souls, get out, and go use them. If you die at any point before regaining your lost Souls they will disappear forever.


What is Ember and Why Should You Care

As you are a beginner, I’ll assume you don’t know about the whole hollowing and humanity stuff. Ember kind of works like those in previous games, so if you know about them then you should be good to go. Really, for Dark Souls 3 beginners, the answer to this question is “don’t worry about it.”

Essentially, any time you die you become hollow, losing some health and other stuff. The big thing you lose out on, really, is the ability to summon NPCs and other players into your game. Sounds great, sure, but any time you die you lose the ability, and Embers are difficult to come by. To make everything simple, essentially you only want to use your Embers when facing a tough boss or area that you just can’t get through without the extra boost.

The downside is, if you don’t complete the boss on that life you just wasted the whole thing. Also, other players are able to invade your world while you are in this state. If they do, you’ll likely have trouble facing off against them, as they have likely focused on PvP. You can always use another item to banish them, so keep an eye out for those and be ready to use them if you need to.

How do Bonfires Work

Relevant Guides: How to Save and Quit Dark Souls 3

Bonfires are probably the most important spots in Dark Souls 3. These refuges act as teleportation points, checkpoints, and refill stations. They reset your character back to full health and refill your Estus Flasks. However, they also have a downside. They reset the world as well, reviving any non-boss enemies that you killed throughout the game. This means you can use bonfires if you’re in trouble, but you’ll still have to fight the same enemies that caused you to be in trouble in the first place.


Combat Tips for Dark Souls 3

Alright, so that covers a lot of the mechanics and other stuff that you need to know about in Dark Souls 3. So, how do you actually stay alive? Fighting enemies is all about looking for their weak spots, and waiting for the right moment. Stay back a bit at the beginning of fights and try to figure out if there is a discernible pattern to their attacks.

Use your shield often, blocking incoming attacks, but also be sure to use your roll maneuver. The timing of the roll is key, as it will avoid all damage and put you in position to strike if you do it right. If you get into trouble, don’t be afraid to roll away a few times, letting your stamina recharge, and chugging some Estus Flasks to refill your health.

Once you have an opening though, don’t hesitate. It will likely only last a few seconds, and you need to get in there and do as much damage as you can, while you can. Many giant bosses have tiny weak points near their body, so find them and focus on them.


That’s about it as far as the Dark Souls 3 Beginners Guide goes. It may not be all the info you need throughout the game, but it will get you started on the right path. Just remember that dying in Dark Souls 3 is just a thing that will happen. It will happen suddenly, often, and usually at the worst possible time. You just need to get used to it, and power through it. The true key to winning at Dark Souls 3 is to improve yourself, your strategy, and your character all at the same time. Once you do that, you should be on your way to beating Dark Souls 3.

- This article was updated on:February 21st, 2018

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