Here are some useful Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin Hints, Tips and Tricks submitted by DuneMan, our staff and a few other visitors.
Random useful item at the start - In the first tutorial area, once you get to the stone that teaches you how to move the camera, you will encounter a nest. When you first start a new character, if you choose the Petrified Something, you can drop it at this nest for a random high quality item. In order to drop the item, go into your inventory, choose the Petrified Something, or another item you can use, and choose "leave".
You can trade a Prism Stone for the lowest quality item, a Small Smooth & Silky Stone for a low quality item, a Smooth & Silky Stone for a medium quality item and the Petrified Something that you can choose during the character selection for the highest quality item. Remember that you can come back to this area by traveling to the Things Betwixt bonfire. Note that in order to easily trade your stones, you can "leave" them on the ground 1 by 1, all in a row, then pick up all the items traded instead of doing it 1 by 1.
Picking a Knight for your background class gives you an easier time starting out if you want to focus on melee. The Cleric can be a potent choice for someone new who wants to use magic while learning the game.
Most classes start without a shield. If you have 10 Strength, the Silver Eagle Kite Shield sold by Maughlin the Armorer in Majula has great stats for such an early shield and costs enough souls to give Maughlin new armor when you return to Majula later. Otherwise the Crimson Parma is a decent free shield inside an Iron Chest just outside of Majula as you head toward Heide's Tower of Flame(no need to fight enemies).
Once you reach the ballista trap room in the Forest of Fallen Giants you can get the Blue Wood Shield, which has the same requirement but better stats.
Always carry more than one usable weapon on you in case one breaks. A lot of times in this game you will be stuck in a place where you won't be able to repair your items, so having only one weapon will leave you stranded without any way of defending yourself. Carry at least two weapons on you at all times, and make sure you check their durability often. Nothing like running into a boss room only to realize your weapon only has 4 durability left!
2 Handing Weapons - Take note that 2 handing a weapon only requires half the stat requirement for that weapon! So you can use weapons a lot earlier as long as you 2 hand them. This is great for weapons like the Greatsword, which you can get very early in the game but requires 28 strength to use. With just 14 strength you can equip and use this weapon effectively early in the game.
Save your human effigies - When you die in Dark Souls 2, you become undead and your HP permanently reduces by 10% (or less if you have Ring of Binding) all the way to 50%. Using a Human Effigy will turn you back into a human and restore your lost health from death to 100%.
Illusionary Walls - Unlike in Dark Souls 1 where you had to attack a wall to find a secret area, in Dark Souls 2, you only need to press A (or which ever button you use for opening doors on your platform) to find illusionary walls.
Friendly help - Sometimes can use NPCs to farm areas. For example in the Earthern Peak, before the boss, you can summon the Jester, instead of going directly to fight the boss, you can run back and farm all the enemies up until the first Lower Earthen Peak bonfire. Then Jester will "return to his world" and you can summon him again after using a bonfire to help you defeat the boss once you're done farming.
Hammer power - Don't underestimate Hammers, Maces and Clubs in Dark Souls 2. They are the only weapons that are very strong against heavily armored enemies (which are also most of the time the most powerful and hard to take down enemies in Dark Souls 2.) Also, hammers, maces and clubs are great against the Ruin Sentinels boss fight.
Boss Soul Weapons Secondary Usage - Keep in mind that a lot of the boss soul weapons that you can get from Weaponsmith Ornifex or Straid have useful secondary attacks. For example, the Defender Great Sword 2 handed L2 is a free Sunlight Blade buff (at the cost of some durability, keep repair powder on you to prevent the weapon from breaking). This is very useful as you can use the attunement slot that you would have used for Sunlight Blade, for another spell instead.
Another useful secondary attack boss soul weapon is the Curved Dragon Sword. It has a large AOE attack which can be great in both PVE and PVP. Especially useful for boss fights that have a bunch of enemies attacking you at once. Not only does it do a lot of damage, but it also knocks enemies down, giving you precious time to pull back, and attack again.
A free Chime for casting miracles can be found in Majula alongside a Morning Star. As you exit Things Betwixt keep an eye cast down off the side of the cliff in front of you as you head left and look for a platform to jump down toward.
Near the previously mentioned Chime is a set of Binoculars, which can be used alongside a spellcasting tool to aim spells in first person (equip them in the opposite hand).
A free Catalyst for sorcery and hexes can be found in the Forest of Fallen Giants. When you meet Pate and walk into the trapped area indicated, either through the front gate or by climbing over the wall to flank the enemies, look for a spot with 3 Hollow Infantry at the bottom of some stairs. Press X on the PlayStation 3 (or A on Xbox 360) along the wall here to open a secret passage to claim the Catalyst.
Ranged Weapon Usefulness - Many people neglect the usefulness of bows and crossbows in Dark Souls 2. Keep in mind that not only can they be used to take out dangerous enemies at range, they can also be used to pull enemies to you if they are bunched up, and you want to only take one at a time. Many areas like Shrine of Amana have powerful enemies that are bunched up together. Using a bow to pull them one by one can be a life saver.
For Dex-focused characters, a free Shortbow can be found in Majula, but requires Lenigrast's Key to open his workshop (which is found in the Forest of Fallen Giants with Melentia the Hag, costs 1,000 souls).
For Str-focused characters a free Light Crossbow can be found in the Forest of Fallen Giants near the ballista trap room (once you go down the ladder.)
Quick Knight Attributes Tip - A quick tip for those playing or interested in playing a knight, go full on VIT and Endurance at first, and get Strength to whatever number the weapon you want to use requires, not any more.
For strong early elemental weapons that scale with Intelligence or Faith you have two choices: first the Heide Knight Sword has lightning damage and drops from the Heide Knight resting against a tree early in the Forest of Fallen Giants (after you climb the ladder after the first part with the bonfire next to the river) this sword is very powerful and can be used for a long time if upgraded at the blacksmith.
The second is the Fire Longsword which can be found past the Crimson Tower bonfire in the Forest of Fallen Giants, drop down the platforms to ground level, fighting through all the Hollow Infantry swarms, and look for a tunnel with bits of fire inside, a fire lizard will try to burn you but you can time it to reach a door on the left of the tunnel and the sword is inside.
Don't consume the souls you get from bosses. They can be traded for unique weapons or spells with two different NPCs later in the game. The basic souls laying around as treasure can be consumed whenever you wish; though it might be best to save them for when you're just shy of a level up, or short on a purchase you wish to make. Always having a few of them is handy.
Don't attack wooden chests as they will break - This reduces the item to nothing and you'll have lost your prize forever. Instead simply roll away at a slight diagonal as you open the chest to avoid any traps inside (putting some points in Adaptability can help by giving you more time to respond). Some of the wooden chests and urns can have poison in them. So attacking them may poison you instantly. When fighting enemies in rooms with these chests and urns, it's best to lure them out to an open area first before engaging them as they can attack these chests and urns, and instantly poison you if you're near.
More space - If you find yourself running out of space in your inventory, don't forget to use your item box at a bonfire. If you have 99 of an item, you can move it over to the item box (which can also hold a max of 99 of a certain item), this way you can hold a total of 198 of each item in the game.
Adaptability is much more helpful later on - It helps increase invincibility frames when rolling as well as estus flask drinking speed. Around 20 points in this skill is recommended.
Fast rolls - Keep equipment load below 70% to be able to roll quickly. Note that the higher the percentage of equip load you have, the slower your stamina recovery is.
You can buy arrows from the smith in the hub, hundreds for a few thousand souls. Mid game and end game especially.
Buffing an infused weapon further - Take note that you can further buff an infused weapon with Sunlight Blade. Although you can't use Resin on infused weapons, Miracle buffs like Sunlight blade still work. This can make weapons very powerful.
Buffing others - This is an important thing to remember, some spells like Sacred Oath not only buff you, but people around you as well! So if you have a co-op partner in the game, make sure they are nearby when you use miracles like Sacred Oath so they get the benefits too.
Ring of Life Protection - Tired of losing your souls to invaders and random deaths? Don't forget to use your Rings of Life Protection to protect your souls. When you die, the rings break, but you can go back to Majula and repair each one for around 3000 - 6000 souls each. This is very useful if you have a ton of souls saved up, and don't want to randomly lose these souls. The rings also protect you from losing your humanity and going hollow. This basically means you can buy human effigies for 3000 souls each by using the rings.
Talking to merchants you meet repeatedly usually makes them move to someplace adjacent to or in Majula. It can also give them infinite stock on basic items, such as Lifegems from Melentia.
Doing business with merchants tends to either increase their available stock, or grant you specific rewards when Talking with them afterward.
Consider purchasing the Traveling Merchant Hat from Melentia to increase your Item Discovery Rate (especially since most classes don't start with headgear, aside from their pre-class hood).
Before leaving Majula, be sure to attack the stone on the well to receive an Estus Flask Shard. Take this to the Emerald Herald to get an additional charge for your Estus Flask.
Don't be afraid to use life gems, they seem semi uncommon early game but that changes.
Ring of Sacrifice is much better this time around. Its also repairable and doesnt disappear when its used! And lets face it, you are going to die, so this ring will save you souls.
Everyone should head to Heide Tower of Flame early on for two key items. Firstly, one of the initial Old Stone Knights, the second, is a non-respawning enemy that drops Sublime Bone Dust. Burn this the bonfire back in Majula, it only works in Majula, to add +1 to the efficacy of your Flask. Secondly, head toward the large cathedral on the left side of the level, lowering the drawbridge, to claim the Ring of Binding.
This ring halves your HP loss as you hollow from repeated deaths. Fighting these giants isn't that hard if you stay close, and roll to their left or right when they attack. Most of the time they use a three swing attack, after the third swing, hit them a few times, then back off and dodge their attacks again.
An early 100% physical reduction shield can be found past the Pursuer at the end of the Forest of Fallen Giants. Instead of inspecting the nest, look for some broken stones that drop down into a hole. Here you will find the Drangleic set, aside from the helmet. the shield requires 16 Strength.
How to Power Stance in Dark Souls 2 - In order to power stance, first you must have double the attributes required to wield each weapon. Then, equip both weapons and hold down the "Change Weapon" button for a bit, your character should show a visible change in stance. At this point, attack once, if your character swings with both weapons at the same time, you are now power stancing!
Finding Petrified Dragon Bones - Petrified Dragon Bones in Dark Souls 2 are used to upgrade boss soul weapons, and therefore are some of the most sought after materials. There are two places to get them easily. The first being in Dragon Aerie, once you defeat the three dragons in the area, kill each blue lizard for a bunch of petrified dragon bones, and explore the area to find some as well.
Another great place to farm the petrified dragon bones is in the first DLC area called "Lair of the Imperfect". The dinosaur enemies in this area have a high chance of dropping the petrified dragon bones, but be prepared for tough fights. Equip a jesters hat and a covetus silver serpent ring +2 to get a much higher drop rate chance.
Farming faster - Don't forget to use your feather to farm faster. You can clear out an area and then instead of having to run all the way back, you can just feather back to your last bonfire and keep farming again. When you use the feather, all enemies respawn, so unless you need to heal or refill your estus flasks, you can just farm without having to rest at the bonfire again.
Farming Bell Keeper Offline - If you want to farm the bell keeper covenant offline, you can do so by killing the mad warrior who spawns around the corner when you go up to the bell tower. He has a low spawn chance, so it may take a long time to farm the covenant, but on the plus side you won't be invaded by other people. Don't forget to use your feather to get back to the bonfire quickly once you defeat the mad warrior or if he isn't there.
Using the feather resets him, so there is no need to rest. Also, try to defeat all the enemies on the way to the mad warrior, so that eventually they won't spawn anymore, making farming the covenant faster and easier. Don't forget to talk to the bell tower covenant leader at the top of the ladder for your rewards.
Dragon Aerie Eggs - Try not to break any of the eggs in the Dragon Aerie area. Breaking the eggs makes the dragon enemies in the area tougher.
Majestic Great Sword - Ever wanted to use the Majestic Great Sword that Artorias uses in Dark Souls? Head over to the Iron King DLC, and from the Foyer bonfire head to the left and up some stairs, then after defeating the enemy in the way, make a right and go down. Cross the large chain bridge and get ready to get invaded. You won't be able to kill this invader since he will run away downstairs. This part is very hard since you have to fight many enemies and you get constantly cursed. But if you can fight your way (or just run..) to the bottom, there is a chest with the Majestic Greatsword there.
Defeating Blue Bugs - Don't you hate how those little blue bugs which drop useful crafting materials are hard to hit with melee weapons? Many times not locking on to them will make it easier to defeat them. But did you know that you can also use a bow to take them out? This can be very useful if you have a high dex skill and an upgraded bow, as you can probably one or two shot the bugs before they even get a chance to get away.
Repair Powder Upgraded - From Software upgraded repair powder to be a lot more powerful in a recent patch. So keep some in your inventory at all times, as it can quickly repair not only your current weapon but everything else in your inventory with one use!
Poison Statues - The best way to take out the poison statues in Dark Souls 2 is to use a whip.
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