Many Dark Souls 3 players will say that any style of play, if used effectively, can be devastating in both PvE and PvP. This may be true, however, here are some tips and tricks to help newcomers become grossly incandescent when it comes to battling other players.
For the optimal PvP (Player verses Player) experience you need to go to certain areas of the game and be at specific levels.
The ‘meta’ level cap that is widely used by the community is usually 125 or 150. This is to try and eliminate ‘overpowered’ builds which can use any spell/miracle/pyromancy and any weapon in the game, forcing players to choose a play style.
The main hot-spot areas for PvP in Dark Souls 3 are; right after the Pontiff Sulyvahn boss fight (this is the main unofficial PvP arena), the Road of Sacrifices (the swamp with the giant crabs), and towards the end of the game. Invasions can take place at almost any time time if you are online and embered, so be careful if you are only wanting PvE (Player versus Environment).
The difference between an invasion and a duel can be defined by two things; summoning and ‘honour’. If the player summons the invader to their world, it is likely that they want to duel. Honour is a mutual respect that Dark Souls players have for each other when dueling (not all players share this however). This includes bowing before fights, and not resorting to ‘cheap’ tactics such as using the AI for help or abusing estus healing. Invasions on the other hand are pretty much fair game when it comes to defeating your enemies by any means necessary. The duel feature, located at the bonfire in Firelink Shrine is a good way to test your skills.
A build is what your character specialises in. This is important and needs to be taken into consideration when allocating points, however, this can be daunting at first as you may not know what equipment to use.
Strength builds will focus on large weapons such as clubs to slay their enemies. This will allow them to deal high damage at the cost of agility. Dexterity builds tend to use fast-striking weapons like rapiers, and are the opposite of strength builds. Other builds include sorcery users, who need high intelligence, miracle users, who need high faith (insert faith build joke here…), and pyromancy users who need both. The most effective builds are those who specialise heavily in one category, or those who pair categories together, for instance a mage who can also use a dagger or short sword if the need arises.
There are those who help, and those who hinder. The easiest way to tell is to look out for the colour of the summon sign. Red means they want to fight you, white and gold means they want to help, and purple means, well, anything could happen.
Warriors of Sunlight
The sun bros are there to help. Always willing to fight and help out those in need, summon a Warrior of Sunlight if you need to take a boss down (there’s a sunlight medal in it for them), or if you need PvP or PvE assistance, aka “jolly cooperation.”
Blade of the Darkmoon
These brooding guardians of Anor Londo have one objective; help those who have been invaded. These deep blue phantoms are usually extremely effective when in trouble, although playing as one will get frustrating due to the inconsistent summons and sheer grind.
The Fingers of Rosaria are out to kill you. The invading covenant of Dark Souls 3, they hunt mercilessly to bring their silent mistress the tongues of their prey. Whether they are treacherous or loyal to the cause these assassins are a common sight when progressing through the game.
A new addition to the Souls series, the Mound-makers serve no masters, and have no purpose other than to kill at their own discretion. Treat the purple phantoms with caution as they may choose whether to help you in a fight, or stab you in the back.
Watchdogs of Farron
The Watchdogs guard the territory held by Farron’s Undead Legion, also known as the Abyss Watchers. These members will be summoned to defend their land viciously as soon as a wondering ash enters their domain.
The Aldrich Faithful protect their master, so that he may feast on gods in peace. Much in the same way as the Watchdogs, the Faithful are summoned when players stumble upon the city of the gods.
Way of Blue
A staple since Dark Souls 2, the Way of Blue are a simple covenant who simply require aid to traverse the lands of Lothric. Equip this insignia to receive extra support from the Blue Sentinels.
The Blue Sentinels are the protectors of the weak. Sharing the same goal as the Blades of Darkmoon, these phantoms will be summoned when a member of the Way of Blue is threatened.
Spears of the Church
When summoned by the Judicator, the Spears of the Church help to defend Princess Filianore from trespassers. This covenant was added in the Ringed City DLC, and acts similarly to the Dark Souls 2 boss fight with the Looking Glass Knight.
So what can you do in the heat of battle to ensure victory? Well these tips are designed to aid greenhorns, and will roughly translate to all the games in the Souls series, with the exception of Bloodborne, as the combat system there differs with an emphasis on speed.
Baiting is key to catching players off-guard, it’s a psychological battle of do or don’t which, if you are observant, you can win. Fishing for backstabs and parries is always an option and has been present since Demon’s Souls. This allows players to deal critical damage, and can be buffed by equipping a certain ring. These rings will dramatically change how you approach certain situations, so it is wise to spend some time sorting them out. Well-suited rings can boost performance, such as increasing the power of spells or increasing elemental resistance.
General tips for success; be confident but cautious, try and learn your opponent’s attacks so you know what to expect, and most importantly, try rolling (the best form of dodging in Dark Souls. Just make sure your character isn’t over-burdened).
Watch the video below for further help, including a clear, simple break-down of PvP covenants.