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I've recently gotten Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin for PS4, as I had heard good things about it and wanted a challenging game.

It took a while for me to get my head around how it works, and eventually had to look at the wiki to make sense of it. I found that right from the beginning in Things Betwixt, one of the tutorial areas is closed off as there is a statue in the way.

As I never played the original, this was pretty frustrating, as I would have liked to get a full feel for the game before I set off to Majula and got into the main portion of the game.

I'm currently quite far into the Forest of the Fallen Giants, and have only just found out from this website how to level up in Majula. I realize now why it was so difficult. I've been spending my souls on weapons & armor rather than levels.

I have no idea if the tutorial area explained any of that. I quite like being sent off into the unknown (like being able to enter any quest area first), but at the same time I feel like I have missed explanations because I am playing the expansion and things are different.

I don't really want to start trawling through the Dark Souls 2 Wiki, because I don't want to start finding things out from the walkthrough or anything that I want to discover for myself. However, at the moment I feel like I'm a bit too disadvantaged by not playing the original version.

So is there anything else that I should know before playing further, without revealing spoilers or helping too much?

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If I recall correctly the tutorial mainly consisted of teaching you the controls. If you have those figured out you haven't missed much. The full control list can be found at the wiki here.

Upgrading Equipment

You've learned how to level up so the next most important thing is learning how to upgrade your equipment. As you explore you will encounter several blacksmiths who will give you the option to upgrade your equipment when you talk to them. Upgrading equipment will cost souls as well as upgrade materials. Different weapons require different materials to upgrade, some materials can easily be bought from the smiths that upgrade your weapons and some must be found. Each weapon only has one upgrade path unlike in past Souls games.

Eventually, you will find a blacksmith who will be able to infuse weapons when you give him a key item. Infusion just means adding an effect to your weapon such as fire, lightning, magic, or poison. This infusion upgrade is independent of upgrading a weapons level. So infusing a +4 long sword with lightning will result in a +4 lightning long sword. Materials for infusion can be found or bought in limited quantities.

NPCs

On your travels you will encounter several NPCs. You should talk to them. However, they will not reveal everything they have to say at once. Talk to NPCs multiple times until they start to repeat themselves. Once the dialogue of NPCs is exhausted they will often be of some benefit to the player. Some give you items, others will sell you items, some even move into Majula for easier access.

Messages

You will often see orange mark on the ground. If you interact with them they will bring up a message left by another player. Some player messages are useful warning you of danger to come or giving hints about secrets in the area. However, some players leave messages to mislead you so always exercise caution. You too should leave messages for other players by pushing start and navigating to the message menu. Share your knowledge, or cause a bit of mischief. Or leave funny messages in front of skeletons.

Finally

This should be enough to get you started. Always remember that the wiki is your friend if you are confused about something. Dark Souls 2 really likes to withhold information (hidden effects on some equipment, random walls open up to secret rooms, etc.) so there's no shame in using outside resources.

  • Thanks! I actually don't go online, but knowing I can leave messages for other players I will definitely do that now! That sounds like tons of fun. And whilst on the wiki I accidentally found out how to open up a secret door. It proved very useful, and now I know that sort if stuff is in the game I'll keep an eye out, but I would now rather have the challenge to find it out myself. I was actually wondering how to use infusing items, I've managed to find a couple, so that helps too. I think the exhausting dialogue is probably the most important thing I've learned though. – Mike.C.Ford May 14 '15 at 16:01
  • Infusions come later in the game, there's a tricky spot to open up that has the guy you need to talk to for that. – GnomeSlice May 14 '15 at 18:24
  • do infusions do anything for spell casting? – Maslow Nov 26 '16 at 19:11
  • @Maslow Infusing a spell casting inplement (staves, chimes, etc.) will increase the scaling of the infused type. So infusing chimes with lightning will increase the damage of lightning miracles cast, infusing magic on a staff will increase it's the damage of sorceries that deal magic damage, etc. – MonkeezOnFire Nov 29 '16 at 15:20
  • I like the point about the wiki. Use it to the limit that still allows you to have fun. If that means don't use it at all, then so be it, but prepare for a lot of painstaking trail and error and exploration, and even then the most completionist players most likely won't discover everything by themselves. There's just a ridiculous amount of stuff hidden in Bloodborne/the Souls games, and the lore is especially suppressed. For me the wiki is definitely a must-have compliment to the game (as long as I'm not using at a step-by-step walkthrough). – Broots Waymb Jun 14 '19 at 15:56
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Dodge. Dodge a lot. Enemies telegraph their attacks well ahead of making them. This isn't to tell you when to dodge, but where. Don't be in the spot your enemy is going to be hitting.

Don't use a shield to block anything from anyone bigger than you. If they're taller than you, you're just going to get knocked down. Also, don't turtle attacks too much.

Dark Souls is largely a game of movement and positioning. Superior positioning is key. A naked man with a stick is more dangerous than the Pursuer, as long as he's never where you swing, and he's always hitting you. Never be still for long.

Keep an eye out for any advantages the environment can give you. Undead are mindless, and will follow you into narrow spots where they lose the advantage of numbers. Their ambushes will fall to rot if you funnel them all over a bridge that you smack them off of, or retreat to a wide open place that gives you plenty of room to move around.

You'll also hear some complaints about "Dudes in armor". Understand that anyone in armor follows the same movement rules you do. Four legged enemies and other behemoths do not. Duels to the death, mano a mano is more Dark Souls II style than any other Souls title.

That's as much as I can say about it right now. Have fun, and don't give up! There's a way through everything.

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