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I have been playing offline, and have started the perilous grind for covenant offerings. I read on here (see revision 38, it has since been removed and I can't link to it directly) that changing one's equipment periodically may help improve one's chances for obtaining items. I also saw some murmurings on other sites that this may be the case. I tried changing torso, glove, and leg armor out of desperation, and it might have worked.

I'm not sure if this was coincidence or not though. I'm also not sure if there is a specific thing I can do to reliably improve my chances (say, maybe changing my rings would be more effective, or maybe changing my headgear would be more helpful than just keeping the Symbol of Avarice on constantly).

Is there any definitive research?

Is this something consistent in other Souls games?

EDIT: I'm looking for ways to increase my odds of finding these items outside of increasing my Item Discovery stat. I may not have made that clear above.

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No, as of right now there is no known and proven way to manipulate the RNG in a way to give you a higher chance of an item drop. The only way is increasing the Luck stat and boosting Item discovery with equipment pieces or consumeables, see Kritners answer for those

As someone who follows the Darksouls-speedrunning community actively, I can tell you that in the first Dark Souls game, one of the fastest routes was based on a random item drop, the only way to increase the chances of obtaining said item (the Black Knight Halberd) was by consuming Humanity, because having consumed humanity increases item drop chances though that maxes out at 10 consumed humanities if I remember correctly, before defeating the enemy that drops it.

And I assume that the developers have probably stayed consistant with the way this works, since no actual RNG-manipulation was found and confirmed in Dark Souls 2 either (Atleast none that i can remember).

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There are several items that can help you with this. It seems you've found the symbol of avarice. There's also an item called the covetous gold serpent ring.

Having a high Luck stat will also help you obtain items. An item you can equip but probably passed over already is the Crystal Sage's rapier

Unfortunately I'm pretty sure you can't improve your chances outside of item discovery short of finding enemies with higher probability of dropping the items you are looking for, and since they are cov items you probably won't find such a thing.

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  • I upvoted your answer, as it may be helpful to those who stumble upon this question who may be new to the Souls series and don't know Item Discovery is a thing, but I did not accept it since I am looking for other ways to increase my odds. I've edited my question to reflect this; apologies if that was unclear before! – zr00 May 31 '16 at 16:24
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as it may be helpful to those who stumble upon this question who may be new to the Souls series and don't know Item Discovery is a thing,

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Item discovery is a stat listed on your status screen, I would think it's pretty hard to miss :O Though there is poise listed on the status screen too, which has a misleading description. In addition to what was said in the answer about item discovery items:

  • Symbol of Avarice +100 item discovery
  • Covetous Gold Serpent Ring - note in NG++ there is a +2 version of this ring which will net you +100 item discovery
  • Crystal Sage Rapier - can be dual wielded (requires weapon trading in ng, or through a second soul transmute in ng+). +50 from each (100 for dual wield)
  • Rusted coins - +50 for "normal", +100 for gold

Luck can also boost your item discovery, +1 item discovery per luck. Though you may benefit from increasing your luck stat, if running with a dual crystal sage rapier, the luck stat might be wasted stats, depending on what level you are it might just be better to increase your int/other stats that scale the weapon.

Some enemies seem like they may have a higher chance to drop their item than others. Swordgrass as an example, some people like the 3 that spawn at the bridge bonfire in farron (forgot the name) - while convenient I don't think I get nearly as many here as I do from the perimeter bonfire - in addition there are darkwraiths here for pale tongue drops. The worst of the items to farm (to me) is the concords, as I simply cannot get summoned for the actual covenant, and knight's are pretty tough and can poise through a lot. :(

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