Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

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    JSPrestonEsq
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    Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:59 am

    Hey guys- just joined the forums. I played Dark Souls when it first released for about 2 months. For reasons I won't bother getting into I wasn't able to play for a while, and now I've started a new character, and I'm getting back into the game.

    Now- a bit of background on my first character. I wanted a super tanky character, who was fast and wore light armor. Tanky as in bleeds, poison, toxin, curse did nothing to me. You can see where this is going.

    Anyway - me being the pigheaded lout that I am, refused to look into any guides whatsoever when I started playing. No research on stat scaling, stat caps, anything. I had this high and mighty attitude of "I'm going to do it all on my own ahurrdahurr."

    To give you an idea of where my first character wound up, He had about 60 End and 25 Res... yeah. That bad. I was stupid.


    Anyway I've come back to the game with a new sense of purpose. I started a Deprived, and I'm in Blighttown at the moment, about to face Queelag, and my character looks something like this:

    link

    Didn't bother listing gear because that's kind of the point of this post!

    Last time, I did the whole Gold-Hemmed thing after beating Queelag. It was great for a while, but I didn't like the fact that I looked like a Ringwraith and couldn't find anything better at all all the way up to the Crystal Cave (where my first journey ended thanks to a bugged Seath fight).

    Basically, I want to do a str/dex/pyro build... but I want to use heavy weapons and have quick-casting pyro for backup. I have the 3 points in Faith so that I can use the Artorias Straight Sword for the time being, but I plan on making Queelag's Furysword once I get to Anor Londo.

    My thinking is... Max End to 40 to cap it, then max Dex at 45 for casting speed cap, then max strength to 99. Right now my target weapons once I get 45+ strength are the True Greatsword of Artorias, or a Chaos Zweihander. Since I plan on maxing Dex after End, I was planning on using the Artorias Straight Sword/Lightning Spear/Falchion+10 until I get the Furysword, then relying on that until I have my True Greatsword of Artorias.

    So my questions are:

    What armor sets should I keep an eye out for? I want to be durable but not sluggish. Think pyromancy spellsword. Guts with fire magic.

    How does my plan sound as far as SL points go?

    Should I max my Pyromancy Flame to +15 or Ascend it?

    Any and all feedback to this would be very much appreciated.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Alara78 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:37 am

    With all those points invested in Str/Dex it's pointless to have chaos/lightning weapons, you're better of with +15 versions of those weapons.
    40 end, 45 dex is good....maxing str is a waste of points. You may go to 50 in order to 1 hand every weapon in the game, but you're better of investing those points in Vit/End.
    Ascend your pyro flame if you want it to be better, do'h.
    Don't really know what advice to give to you on armor. Hard Leather is pretty good when upgraded I guess.
    Also, I don't know if you're planning on stopping to level at some point but it seems like you're going for a 200+ character.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:43 am

    I know I definitely want 50 Str- I want to be able to use the Dragon Greatsword among other things.

    When it comes to ascending the Pyro flame, I was under the impression that keeping it a regular pyro flame +15 is better for some build than others, because it scales from Str, whereas an ascended flame scales off Int. I could be wrong.

    So if I want the True Greatsword of Artorias to be my main weapon, I don't have to max Str?

    And as for target SL - I want to complete the game and NG+. I'm not too worried about PvP at this point. I quit out from invasions if I don't like where I am.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Alara78 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:50 am

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:I know I definitely want 50 Str- I want to be able to use the Dragon Greatsword among other things.

    When it comes to ascending the Pyro flame, I was under the impression that keeping it a regular pyro flame +15 is better for some build than others, because it scales from Str, whereas an ascended flame scales off Int. I could be wrong.

    So if I want the True Greatsword of Artorias to be my main weapon, I don't have to max Str?

    And as for target SL - I want to complete the game and NG+. I'm not too worried about PvP at this point. I quit out from invasions if I don't like where I am.
    Pyro flame doesn't scale with anything, just ascend it to +5 for max damage.
    The points invested in stats will yield little to no improvement after 40. The higher you go, the less it will add to the AR of your weapon.
    If you want to use the Greatsword of Artorias (which is a lousy weapon as far as scaling goes) than you could go max, but it just isn't worth it.
    Besides, with all those other stats being as high as they are, you'll have no trouble clearing the game multiple times.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:02 am

    I thought the TGSoA scales with all 4 parameters?

    item link

    If not.. given what you know about my intentions what sort of weapons/shield would you recommend?
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Frank Poole on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:03 am

    The scaling of the pyro flame is always off of INT, and that only affects the punch, which is useless. Ascend it to +5 for the most damage.

    The only thing I can tell you about light armors is that the maidens skirt has some some of the highest defenses in the game. If you're going for poison resistance, I would also try a piece or two from the painting guardian set.

    Epicnamebro has a good guide for armor sets. Be wary of spoilers though. This vid specializes in light armor: http://tinyurl.com/8s5p788


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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:15 am

    Frank Poole wrote:The scaling of the pyro flame is always off of INT, and that only affects the punch, which is useless. Ascend it to +5 for the most damage.

    The only thing I can tell you about light armors is that the maidens skirt has some some of the highest defenses in the game. If you're going for poison resistance, I would also try a piece or two from the painting guardian set.

    Epicnamebro has a good guide for armor sets. Be wary of spoilers though. This vid specializes in light armor: http://tinyurl.com/8s5p788

    What about the Gold-Hemmed Set? I got it on my first playthrough and didn't replace any of it except for the gloves by the time I got to Seath. I know it doesn't upgrade, but it was amazing when i got it before.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Alara78 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:37 am

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:
    Frank Poole wrote:The scaling of the pyro flame is always off of INT, and that only affects the punch, which is useless. Ascend it to +5 for the most damage.

    The only thing I can tell you about light armors is that the maidens skirt has some some of the highest defenses in the game. If you're going for poison resistance, I would also try a piece or two from the painting guardian set.

    Epicnamebro has a good guide for armor sets. Be wary of spoilers though. This vid specializes in light armor: http://tinyurl.com/8s5p788

    What about the Gold-Hemmed Set? I got it on my first playthrough and didn't replace any of it except for the gloves by the time I got to Seath. I know it doesn't upgrade, but it was amazing when i got it before.
    Gold Hemmed set has been nerfed in a previous patch, it's not as good as it used to be. That ninja armor found in Blighttown has very high poison resistance if that's what your mostly going for.
    As far as weapons, I would focus on one that scales with just 1 stat
    , i.e. only Strength or only Dexterity. This way you'll have more points to spend in Vit or End, or maybe even Int or Faith.
    Good Str weapons are: Demon Great Machete, Demon Great Axe....actually all Demon weapons I guess. Zweihander, Man-Serpent Greatsword, Black Knight Greatsword/Axe or large/great Club.
    Good Dex weapons are: Balder Side Sword, Uchigatana, Iaito, Falchion, Rapiers, Knives or Flamberge if you still want that heavy weapons feel.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Siegfried. on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:08 pm

    The Greatsword of Artorias is only a good call for characters that are intentionally spread out; the Cursed version has more focused damage, but it still requires a lot of Faith/Int investment to use in the first place.

    If you want Berserk's Guts plus incendiary death-dealing, I'd suggest something like this at around SL90:

    • Vitality 20
    • Attunement 14
    • Endurance 40
    • Strength 27
    • Dexterity 35


    Everything else can stay at its current level. 14 Faith is enough to use the Force and Heal miracles if you have a mind to. Heal is great for collecting yourself after a fight, saving you some Estus use -- basically, it eases the Humanity and Estus economy of the game by providing you with five free heals after every bonfire rest. Force doesn't deal damage, but knocks back man-sized enemies and can stagger some larger enemies as well. You can use this when fighting in high places to get some instant kills, plus it can ease battles that are set against you by giving some breathing space.

    As for gear, I recommend the zweihander as you great big bloody sword. It does excellent damage for its weight and strength requirements, plus it scales with both strength and dexterity. 27 strength is the most you'll want, because you count as having an extra 50% strength when two-handing (not counting decimals). So 27 strength is equal to 40 strength when using a weapon two-handed, and 40 strength is where damage scaling stops being considerable. 35 dexterity allows you to use any dexterity weapon in the game while also getting almost optimal scaling out of it.

    Attunement provides three spell slots. 'Nuff said.

    As for equipment?

    My advice is to use Havel's Ring and the Wolf Ring. Havel's Ring increases your equipment burden by 50%, giving you a total of 120 equipment burden at 40 endurance. That means you can equip 30 points of gear while remaining at fast roll speeds. The pyromancy flame takes up no weight, so it's a freebie when it comes to keeping weight down. As for your main weapons, I recommend using the zweihander and the heater shield; the latter item only costs two points of weight, with the zweihander being ten. While the heater shield has low stability and therefore can't be used to tank heaps of hits, a lighter character should be using dodges to get through a lot of situations anyway. This leaves you with 18 points of weight for armour. This should be enough for one moderately heavy chest set with very light pieces elsewhere.

    The Shadow set you pick up in Blighttown, I think, has the lowest weight of any set in the game, so you can use its hand and perhaps leg pieces to give you some resistances. The gold-hemmed (lol Ringwraith) set is also very low weight, and just looks damned cool combined with pieces of heavier armour. I think the lightest of the heavy sets is the default Knight armour, which can be found right near the hydra in Darkroot Basin.

    The Wolf Ring gives you 40 extra points of poise. Combined with the basic Knight torso piece, this gives you a total of 60 poise. It's enough to walk through a reasonably heavy blow (equivalent to a two-handed greatsword strike) or a few lighter hits, but you can still be overwhelmed if careless. Given the low vitality and comparatively low defense, though, your poise is for getting out of tricky situations unhampered by enemy interference more than for simply tanking blows (although you could do that, too, if you're careful and conscious of your HP).

    I've taken the liberty of putting all this in the character generator, and while I haven't selected a head piece yet, this leaves you with 2.7 points of weight to spare while maintaining the fastest movement and rolling speeds.
    Here it is.

    Hope this was helpful.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:32 pm

    Siegfried- that was extremely helpful. That sounds like the kind of build I'm going for.

    Any advice in terms of progression after Queelag? I was planning on cheesing Ceaseless Discharge, then heading to Sen's > Anor Londo. Any items you recommend I pick up along the way?

    Also, in what order should I level my stats?
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:58 pm

    Status report: Just cleared Queelag's Domain and cheesed Ceaseless Discharge. Skipping Great Hollow/Ash Lake for now. Got my Zweihander up to +7 and Heater Shield to +3. Next is Undead Asylum then Sen's Fortress happy

    thanks again for the tips guys. It'll take getting used to the Zweihander's slow attacks, but I dig it so far.


    Last edited by JSPrestonEsq on Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : oops)
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Siegfried. on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:02 am

    Glad to be of assistance.

    Note that when two-handed, the zweihander deals something like 75 points of poise damage, staggering most adversaries with extreme ease. It also clears enemy hordes like a champion.

    Have you been to Darkroot Garden yet? I'd definitely recommend going there before heading to Sen's Fortress or Anor Londo. You can find the Elite Knight armour set (which is a bit heavier than the Knight set but still really nice), the Wolf Ring and the Divine Ember (for taking on skeletons in the Catacombs). Off to the side and downwards (a lot!) is Darkroot Basin, where you can find the Knight armour set and, if you have the Master Key or have defeated the Moonlight Butterfly, you can open the tower door for Havel's Ring.

    As for stat leveling, leave your vitality until last. Your current priorities are strength and endurance, since these are the most relevant stats to your objectives -- that is, you want to move fast while being moderately well-protected and wielding a massive sword. So right now, strength and endurance will bring you closest to your desired play style, after which you can fill out dexterity and vitality.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Back Lot Basher on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:51 pm

    Wow, Siegfried, that was a great post you left to help him. I felt like I had to give you a rep vote even though it wasn't for me! Kudos. I may use that info myself.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:57 pm

    I've already defeated Havel, and have his ring. Currently using that and the Ring of Favor and Protection (which I don't want to remove until I have a replacement or it's a big upgrade). I was going to clear the Undead Asylum before moving on to Sen's.. but now that I think about it I'll probably clear Darkroot Forest/Basin first. I had zero trouble with that zone when I did it after Anor Londo on my first character. Also got one-shotted by Stray Demon on my first attempt silly

    I've upgraded my Zweihander to +7 so far.. I've read that the Lightning Zwei +5 does obscene damage, but no longer scales. Would it be better to keep it Normal +15 and perhaps use Gold Pine Resins when the extra damage is necessary?

    Also - I'm pretty sure the answer is no as I've found no info on it - but just in case I'm missing something, is there anything that increases the speed with which you swing your weapon? The only thing I'm iffy about with the Zweihander is how slow it is. The damage is wonderful though.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Back Lot Basher on Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:19 pm

    The Zwie is slow, but my what a hammer it is. You should see it flatten the silver knights in anor londo...a thing of beauty. About the only thing I couldn't cave in with it was the ginormous skellies in the ToG. You need poise though, or your attack will get interrupted.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:05 am

    Yeah - the build he suggested sets me up with 30 poise. I was also considering going a bit heavier with my armor on NG++ once I'm more comfortable with the weapon and the build in general... I want to do multiple playthroughs for the achievements. I'll eventually get into PvP but for the time being I'm going for progression.

    And the "flattening" you mention... I've seen the R2 move squash zombies... will it actually do that to any humanoid enemy?? If so, I'm sold already.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Siegfried. on Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:36 am

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:I've already defeated Havel, and have his ring. Currently using that and the Ring of Favor and Protection (which I don't want to remove until I have a replacement or it's a big upgrade). I was going to clear the Undead Asylum before moving on to Sen's.. but now that I think about it I'll probably clear Darkroot Forest/Basin first. I had zero trouble with that zone when I did it after Anor Londo on my first character. Also got one-shotted by Stray Demon on my first attempt silly

    The Ring of Favour and Protection is great, but limiting. While it boosts your combat abilities very well, it prevents the use of other rings that might actually be better for your build. For instance, with the build I suggested, you only have 20 poise. So if you want to keep the FaP ring, you either have to stay at that poise (or a little higher, given the increased equip load) with fast roll, or lose fast roll in the interest of additional staying power. Your call -- and it's a tough one, innit?

    You can actually get a second FaP ring, though. In the Painted World of Ariamis, you need to open the shortcut to the bonfire (the big gates at the beginning) by coming from behind them. Well, you don't actually need to, but it's convenient. Just to the right of those doors from the bonfire is some stairs down to a field of rocks and spike-mounted corpses. If you're in human form, you'll be invaded by an NPC Black Phantom upon exploring the area towards the bottom. Defeat the bastard and continue on through the level until you find the exit. Just before the exit (right inside the optional boss arena) should be a corpse with an armour set on it. If not, quite and reload, which should make it appear. The headpiece can be traded to Snuggly the Crow for a second FaP ring.

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:I've upgraded my Zweihander to +7 so far.. I've read that the Lightning Zwei +5 does obscene damage, but no longer scales. Would it be better to keep it Normal +15 and perhaps use Gold Pine Resins when the extra damage is necessary?

    Normal +15 is better if you intend to advance your strength and dexterity. Elemental weapons are only really optimal if you stay at the minimum stats for a weapon.

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:Also - I'm pretty sure the answer is no as I've found no info on it - but just in case I'm missing something, is there anything that increases the speed with which you swing your weapon? The only thing I'm iffy about with the Zweihander is how slow it is. The damage is wonderful though.

    There's nothing that increases your attack speed. However, you can try thinking of combat in terms of different timings. What helps me is using the medieval German sense of combat timings, those being "before", "during" and "after" in relation to an enemy's action.

    It's pretty much what it sounds like; your "before" action comes before an enemy's action and ideally interrupts them, "overwriting" their action with your own. The zweihander's high poise damage makes it good at this, although perhaps not as good as the faster greatsword class of weapons.

    Your "during" is a simultaneous action with the enemy. High poise builds excel at this kind of combat timing, because they can interrupt without being interrupted at any stage.

    Your "after" is a response to an adversary's action. Given the zweihander's slow speed, waiting until an enemy has spent their attack is often a good option.

    Also take into account how distance alters the best timing to use. At closer ranges, fighting "after" is a good idea so you can ensure that an enemy poses no risk when you strike. When using the full reach of the zweihander, however, fighting "before" or "during" to interrupt an enemy from a position of geometric safety allows it to be used very aggressively. Remember that its heavy attack does a bit of a running charge, too, gaining you some distance while attacking. This is great for those "before" or "during" actions against an advancing enemy.

    Back Lot Basher wrote:Wow, Siegfried, that was a great post you left to help him. I felt like I had to give you a rep vote even though it wasn't for me! Kudos. I may use that info myself.

    Thank you. big grin
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:18 pm

    Siegfried. wrote:
    FaP ring

    lol

    Siegfried. wrote:There's nothing that increases your attack speed. However, you can try thinking of combat in terms of different timings. What helps me is using the medieval German sense of combat timings, those being "before", "during" and "after" in relation to an enemy's action.

    It's pretty much what it sounds like; your "before" action comes before an enemy's action and ideally interrupts them, "overwriting" their action with your own. The zweihander's high poise damage makes it good at this, although perhaps not as good as the faster greatsword class of weapons.

    Your "during" is a simultaneous action with the enemy. High poise builds excel at this kind of combat timing, because they can interrupt without being interrupted at any stage.

    Your "after" is a response to an adversary's action. Given the zweihander's slow speed, waiting until an enemy has spent their attack is often a good option.

    Also take into account how distance alters the best timing to use. At closer ranges, fighting "after" is a good idea so you can ensure that an enemy poses no risk when you strike. When using the full reach of the zweihander, however, fighting "before" or "during" to interrupt an enemy from a position of geometric safety allows it to be used very aggressively. Remember that its heavy attack does a bit of a running charge, too, gaining you some distance while attacking. This is great for those "before" or "during" actions against an advancing enemy.

    This is... a simplistically brilliant way of thinking about it.. Wow dude, seriously you've been an amazing help and you are excellent at putting examples into perspective.

    My plan of action now is...

    Skip Asylum visit for now -> Darkwood Basin for Knight Set/Hydra kill -> leveling endurance to 40 while I work Pyro flame to +15
    -> Finish Darkroot Garden, killing all Forest dudes and Shiva/Bodyguard for DWGR and Pharis' bow -> After Sif is dead, Sen's Fortress. By this time I should have 40 End, so I'll be getting 35 Dex with my levels and continuing to level my Zweihander and Heater Shield.

    By the time Ornstein and Smough are dead, I should have 40 End, 35 Dex, and 27 Str. Once I get 4 Attunement slots (I want 2 fireball spells and Heal, and another spot for Iron Flesh/Power Within), I'll sink point into Vitality to 30, then just start dumping points into Strength.

    When I leave Anor Londo and finish the Painted World, my goal is to have my Zweihander to at least +12, Shield at +6 or higher, Pyro Flame ascended, Knight armor +5, Shadow Boots/Leggings +5, and Gold Hemmed Hood (which I have). At this point I'll go back to the Asylum and kill the Stray Demon for my Zweihander's slab.

    At this point, does this sound like a solid path to take, and are there any tidbits I should be careful of/look out for along this route?

    Thanks again for your awesome counsel.

    edit: also I tweaked the build a bit in terms of armor. I don't like the fact that I can't upgrade the Gold-Hemmed Set, and I think this would be a good setup (and will help the whole Guts RP thing xD):

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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Siegfried. on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:41 pm

    Thank you for the kind words. big grin

    I think your plan's a good one. The only thing I'd advise against is taking your strength above 27 -- two-handing has benefits above and beyond extra damage. In the zweihander's case, one advantage is extra speed. Try attacking one-handed and then two-handed, listening for the impact sound effect against the ground. You'll notice that the two-handed attack impacts sooner. Given the speed difference, it's probably just as fast to drop your shield, switch to two hands, and then attack as it is to attack one-handed right out of a block.

    Remember that two-handed, 27 strength "counts as" 40 strength anyway, plus there's an "invisiible" damage boost not represented in the stats screen. And 40 strength is where the damage scaling stops being much use compared to other things. So I'd suggest putting the points you're thinking of putting into strength (post-27) into vitality (or dex). Just make sure you end up with 20-25 vitality, at least.

    Edit: Your proposed build looks good, except I wouldn't upgrade the bow via the fire path -- just take the regular one. Split damage weapons have to go through two different defenses (in the base of the bow, regular defense and fire defense), so even though a regular weapon might look like it deals less damage, it'll deal more with a character that has optimisation for it. And with 35 dexterity, you're definitely more optimised for a regular bow than a fire one.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by JSPrestonEsq on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:54 pm

    Ok. After I get 30 vit, 40 end, 27 str, and 35 dex, I think I'll get dex to 45 - I think that's the casting speed cap for my pyromancy, then probably go for a 5th attunement slot. After that, I don't think I'd need extra faith since I'm just using Heal as a backup - and Vit gains soft cap at 40 (I think).. so after that, would increasing Str past 27 boost 2h power as well? If 27 = 40 2-handed, would it be logical to assume that 50 Str = 75 2-handed? I think it's a 50% bonus, right? At that point it would just increase how much damage I do per swing. I figure if I have my other stats at their proper places, and I won't see much of an investment return for Dex/Vit/End at the aforementioned stats, would leveling Str still be waste? I imagine I'll have my stats at 30 Vit, 19 Att, 40 End, 27 Str, and 45 Dex by the time I face Gwyn. If that's the case, wouldn't it serve me best to just start maxing Strength? I realize it's not a great return in terms of the stat points spent, but I plan on taking this character through multiple playthroughs to get all the achievements and eventually max all stats at 99.

    edit: and yes - I don't know why I elected fire for the bow. I plan on making is normal +15.
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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

    Post by Siegfried. on Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:02 pm

    JSPrestonEsq wrote:Ok. After I get 30 vit, 40 end, 27 str, and 35 dex, I think I'll get dex to 45 - I think that's the casting speed cap for my pyromancy, then probably go for a 5th attunement slot. After that, I don't think I'd need extra faith since I'm just using Heal as a backup - and Vit gains soft cap at 40 (I think).. so after that, would increasing Str past 27 boost 2h power as well? If 27 = 40 2-handed, would it be logical to assume that 50 Str = 75 2-handed? I think it's a 50% bonus, right? At that point it would just increase how much damage I do per swing. I figure if I have my other stats at their proper places, and I won't see much of an investment return for Dex/Vit/End at the aforementioned stats, would leveling Str still be waste? I imagine I'll have my stats at 30 Vit, 19 Att, 40 End, 27 Str, and 45 Dex by the time I face Gwyn. If that's the case, wouldn't it serve me best to just start maxing Strength? I realize it's not a great return in terms of the stat points spent, but I plan on taking this character through multiple playthroughs to get all the achievements and eventually max all stats at 99.

    You might eventually want to raise strength, but the diminishing returns are really, really hardcore. I'd say it would be viable after hitting 40-45 dexterity and 40-50 vitality, but no sooner -- since you're already hitting the cap at 27 by two-handing, you definitely want to max out all the caps you're not hitting before you proceed with your stat.

    One of the major advantages of the zweihander is that it's only of the only really, really massive weapons that requires 27 strength or less to use with one hand, so by hitting the "semi-cap" of 27, you get both optimal damage for investment and have the versatility to use it in one hand. Compare it to the greatsword -- both deal the exact same damage, but the greatsword is heavier, gets a thrust as its heavy attack and requires 28 strength to use one-handed. So by the time you can use the greatsword with greatest versatility (one-handed and two-handed), you've already passed the cap.

    The zweihander holds this advantage over every other strength weapon in the game, making it not only hard-hitting, but intensely efficient when it comes to building a character.

    So if you plan to rise high in soul level? Go right ahead and get a bit naughty with your strength value -- just ensure you do it after your other relevant stats are at their caps (apart from attunement, which just gets unwieldy at high levels).

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    Re: Starting fresh after 8-month hiatus

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