Body Form and Soul Form
When you start the game, you are in Body form, your normal living self, but when you die your soul is bound to the Nexus. At this point, you will re-awaken there in Soul Form; the downside of this is that you will have your maximum HP halved in that state. You will do more damage while in Soul Form compared to Body Form if you have White Character Tendency.
Each time you defeat a world boss, you will automatically be revived if you are in Soul Form, which means you are transformed back to Body form. There are items called Stone of Ephemeral Eyes which will also revive you to Body form and full health at any time.
In Soul Form, if you are online, you can lay down a Blue Eye Stone to be summoned into another player's world to help him/her defeat a Demon. Doing so will restore your soul to your body. Alternatively you can invade another player's game as a Black Phantom with the aim of killing the host. If you are victorious you will regain your body. Regaining your body in another player's world will revive you at the start of the world you last died, in your own world. See the Online page for more details.
The Nexus is the town hub, so to speak, in this game. It is where you can use the archstones to access any of the five worlds (multiple access points in each, providing you have been to them at least once).
Table of Contents
Souls are the catch-all in the game, they are both Currency and Experience. You will use these at shops to purchase and repair and upgrade equipment (also need an item to do upgrades — more later on that), and you need them to buy increases to your stats, which is how you level up.
When you die all of the souls you have are dropped in a Bloodstain, if you make it back to your Bloodstain you can get all of your souls back. If you die again before you recover a Bloodstain all souls in that stain are lost. Note that items/weapons/equipment/etc. are not lost when you die.
Don't look for your bloodstain at the exact point where you died, though. It will be left at the place you were about 10 seconds before the instant you died, so if you were running and fell off a cliff to your death, your bloodstain won't be at the bottom, or even just where you fell off, but back in the direction you were running from some seconds before. For example, people who suicide in the Nexus by sprinting up the stairs and jumping off the upper ledge will find their bloodstain almost at the bottom of the stairs near the blacksmith. Your blood stain is easy to distinguish from those of others, since it is larger and more visible, and it has blue wisps of soul mist swirling above it. Touching your bloodstain does not take any time, like picking up an item does, so you can even do it during a heated combat if it is in the middle of enemies. You do need to drop your shield for just a moment, click your bloodstain, and survive the annoying "You Regained Lost Soul" notice obscuring the screen.
World Tendency is a way the game adjusts the individual difficulty levels of each world. Worlds with whiter Tendency will have enemies with less HP, and doing less damage, but also the experience and drops from enemies are less. Darker tendency worlds will be the opposite. Harder enemies and better loot and more souls available. You can get an idea of the light/dark state of each world by the shade of color of the archstone in the status menu screen. See the World Tendency page for more details.
In addition to the alignment of each world, your character has their own personal tendency. See the Character Tendency page for more details.
A number of icons may appear in the HUD just below the main HP, MP, Stamina bars. They indicate your current status. More information here
This is done at the blacksmith. Weapons are usually not very expensive to repair and will last a long time, whereas armor is very expensive and needs repairing often.
When an item's durability degrades close to zero it may break at any time, at which point it loses most of its effectiveness. Make sure to keep your equipment in good condition.
A brief guide to reading weapon attributes
1. Damage Type
The damage types the weapon deals. From left to right Normal, Blunt, Slashing, Piercing. Different enemies are strong or weak to the various damage types. Pure Physical damage is okay against everything, but not strong or weak to any particular enemy. Some weapons can deal multiple damage types. Each attack from a weapon only inflicts one category of damage. For example, straight sword will use pure physical for normal attacks, and will use piercing for a strong R2 attack; daggers likely use slashing for regular attacks and piercing for strong attacks and backstabs.
2. Weapon Type
This affects the actual attacks you perform by pressing R1 or R2, and if it can parry or block when used in the left hand or two-handed. Some smaller light weapons also deal more damage from parry counters or backstabs.
3. Physical attack power
The first number is the weapons base, inherent attack power. The second number after a "+\-" is the bonus damage it is gaining from your statistics (see 6: Stat Bonuses). In the example shown above, the "+2" is the small damage bonus for that character using that weapon.
4. Magic attack power
Some weapons deal inherent Magical damage. Again, as with physical attack power, this inherent damage may be boosted by Stat Bonuses.
If a weapon does NOT already deal Fire or Magic damage, you can enhance it with Sticky White Stuff or one of the weapon enchantment spells to give it a powerful temporary Magic damage boost (only works on enchantable weapons).
5. Fire Attack Power
Some weapons deal inherent Fire damage. Fire damage is only very rarely boosted by Stat Bonuses.
If a weapon does NOT already deal Fire or Magic damage, you can enhance it with Turpentine or Black Turpentine to give it a temporary (but powerful) Fire damage boost (only works on enchantable weapons).
6. Stat Bonuses
The bonus damage your weapon receives from your statistics. From left to right, the 4 symbols are for Strength, Dexterity, Magic, and Faith. A weapon can have a rank in order of greatest to least of S, A, B, C, D, or E in any, all, or none of these attributes. The higher the rank is, the greater the bonus it derives from that stat. This damage is added on to the base damage of the weapon as shown in 3, 4, and 5 on the screen to the right. So, as an example, either a Thief or a Priest could wield the Large Sword Of Moonlight and perform attacks exactly the same way, but the Priest will expect do significantly higher damage because the weapon Stat Bonuses indicate a strong bonus from the Faith attribute where the Priest should excel.
Note: The Stat Bonus values for Strength and Dexterity generally affect the Physical attack power (item 3), and the Magic and Faith Stat Bonuses the intrinsic Magic attack power (item 4).
Weapons with high Stat Bonus ranks scale well with high stats. In the case of some weapons with high Stat Bonuses, they may actually be weaker than a weapon with high base damage attributes and low or no Stat Bonuses until your statistics reach a higher level. This makes them stronger weapons for high level characters, but possibly worse at lower levels.
7. Special attack properties
From left to right: Bleeding, Poison, Plague, and Critical Strike. Bleed, Poison, and Plague all inflict damage over time. The number given for each respective weapon shows how much damage is done over 60 seconds. For example, '360 Bleed' of Magic Sword "Makoto", if victim bleeds (heart beat sound), will deplete 6dmg/sec for 60 sec. Bleeding has a duration of 1 minute, Poison 3 minutes, and Plague 10 minutes. Poison and Plague also cut the effect of healing items, with Plague being the stronger of the two. Critical Strike deal a highly damaging blow to backstabs and ripostes.
8. Damage Reduction %
The percentage of Physical/Magical damage absorbed when you block with Weapons/Shields. If you are holding a large weapon in the offhand and block, or two handing a weapon and block, these are the percentages of physical/magical damage that will be absorbed. Most weapons are greatly inferior to shields for this purpose. An exception is the Large Sword Of Moonlight, which has a huge 80% Magic damage reduction.
9. Guard Break Reduction
The impact resistance of a weapon (or shield) while blocking. The higher this number, the stronger a hit you can take without being staggered or having your guard broken. Blocking an attack essentially trades the HP damage for Stamina, so the highest guard break reduction you can get is good not just for withstanding more hits, but also because it more efficiently dissipates the damage (less stamina depleted per damage absorbed)
10. Stats Needed
Shows the required statistics to use this piece of equipment. From left to right the 4 symbols are for Strength, Dexterity, Magic, and Faith. You may be able to two hand it and get past a slightly low Strength stat score by pressing Triangle (this gives you effectively 1.5 x Strength). If you do not meet the requirements for weapons, the only penalty is reflected in a negative damage bonus as you will see reflected in the numbers shown above. However, this damage penalty is quite high, and you may find that being even 1 point short in an attribute results in such a severe penalty that almost any other weapon is a better choice. For shields, not meeting the requirement will result in a larger stamina impact when blocking, and the shield bash damage can be affected.
NOTE: Bows are always held in both hands when wielded, so you always get the 1.5x strength bonus, thus the actual requirements for using a bow are always lower than stated on the stats needed.
Shown as "Current/Max". The offensive or defensive power of a piece of equipment does not degrade slowly as it is worn down, but when durability hits 30% the item will break. A broken item is 30% less effective, both for attack power and damage reduction, and at 0% durability its effectiveness will be halved. Guard break reduction and special properties is unaffected by durability. Some pieces have exceptionally low or or high durability, so expect to pay often and a lot to repair your Silver Coronet or Blind and Katanas, but a Tower Shield can take a lot of abuse. All can be repaired by Blacksmith Boldwin in The Nexus or by Blacksmith Ed in Stonefang Tunnel, and any hand-held item can be repaired in the field using the "Ed's Grindstone" consumable item. Besides normal use and abuse, there are places your equipment can be degraded dramatically, such as the acid spew from the Giant Man Centipede in the Latria swamps. Get into the habit of visiting blacksmith Boldwin whenever you return to The Nexus to get your gear back in peak shape.
Most important for characters with low Endurance scores, some weapons or pieces of gear are exceptionally heavy, and may impede your movement speed.
Saving your progress
The game autosaves regularly and on most events, such as picking up an item, loading a new area, and dying. You can tell by the small blinking white dot at the top right corner of your screen. You can manually save your game simply by entering the Equipment menu. However, saving the game will not respawn you to a particular location if you die. Instead, your Soul Form will respawn at the Archstone associated with the area your last save was, and subsequently where your Bloodstain will be.
The Load Game option in the Options Menu will record your last position and current state of the world you were in, with some exceptions:
- Crystal Lizards that have disappeared (not dead or had run off a cliff) will be replaced at their regular spawn location.
- Trap triggers (e.g. pressure plates in 4-1) will be reset. Stepping on them again will trigger them again.
- Items dropped on the ground, by the player or by killed enemies, will disappear (apart from a few special drops).
- If you left an item near Sparkly the Crow's tree, the item will disappear and be replaced with your reward next to the tree.
- Wounded enemies will return to their original spawn location, with full health.
If this is your first playthrough, there are a number of issues that you would be wise to consider before killing your last Archdemon. More information here.