PREPARE TO DIE LESS
Your journey through Lothric doesn't end here. Be sure to check out the rest of Polygon's Dark Souls 3 guide , which offers everything from tips for beginners and returning masochists to detailed walkthroughs of every area — including all of the secret, bonus content.
At first, Dark Souls 3's Status screen looks like an intimidating chart of mathematical equations, but without much work, you can understand and use it to craft a character specifically tailored for your style. If you understand the mechanics of the Status screen, you will be that much closer to conquering the many challenges in Lothric.
Table of contents
Beginning from the top left, the Status Screen displays a set of very basic information about your character.
When other players summon you for help or you inconsiderately invade their world to wreak havoc, this is the name they will see.
Throughout the game, you may pledge your allegiance to a number of Covenants. Each come with their own optional tasks and most offer a reward for accomplishing them. When you discover a Covenant, you will be given an insignia. You can equip only one at a time on the Equipment screen, and your current choice appears here on the Status screen.
Be sure to read our Dark Souls 3 covenants guide to learn about every covenant, your options and the rewards you can earn by pledging your allegiance.
Unlike a typical role-playing game, you don't automatically level up in Dark Souls 3. Instead, you offer souls to the Fire Keeper to upgrade your attributes. In a way, your current level can be viewed as a ticker for how many points you've assigned to your various attributes.
The number of souls you currently hold. This does not include any souls you may have in your inventory. You must actively use them to add to this number. Souls have many purposes, most notably in leveling up your character and purchasing supplies from vendors. Upon death, you will lose these souls, but you may attempt to recollect them from the place in which you perished.
This is the number of souls you must offer to the Fire Keeper upgrade an attribute by one point. The number of required souls increases each time you level up. The higher your level, the higher the required souls.
When leveling up, you may add a point to one of nine attributes. Before confirming your choices, you will see the particular stats effected on the right of the screen. Generally, your defensive stats will increase no matter the attribute upgraded.
No matter your proficiency at dodging, no matter the efficacy of your armor, your enemies will critically strike you, and in those times, it's good to have plenty of health. Upgrading your Vigor stat will increase your total health. Regardless of your build, it's always prudent to level up the Vigor attribute. Doing so will also increase your frost defense.
Whereas previous Dark Souls forewent mana in favor of allowing a finite use of spells, Dark Souls 3 features Focus Points. The blue bar between your red health and green stamina depletes from the use of magic spells and special weapon art moves. FP doesn't recharge over time, replenished instead by taking a swig of your Ashen Estus Flask. Like Vigor, Attunement governs your total FP. Upgrade it to increase the amount you can use. Additionally, leveling up this ability unlocks more Attunement Slots. More on those below.
Running, dodging, attacking, blocking — nearly every action will require stamina, as denoted by the green bar in the upper left of your screen. Endurance governs the total amount of stamina you have, and it's an essential attribute for any build. Spending points in the ability will increase your total stamina, as well as improve your resistance to lightning damage and devastating blood loss.
You can fill your inventory with as much junk as you want, but equipping armor and weapons can slow you down. If the equipment and armor that you equip increases your Weight Ratio to 70 percent or more, you'll move significantly slower. Vitality increases your equip load, allowing you to wear heavier gear and still stay quick on your feet. Leveling Vitality also helps out with physical defense and poison resistance.
Want to take that obnoxiously massive Cloud Strife sword into battle? Then you will need lots of Strength. Every weapon, armor piece and shield requires a certain attribute level to properly use, and the Ultra > Greatswords, towering Greatshields, and heavy armor of Dark Souls 3 demands a high Strength threshold. Additionally, many weapons scale with the stat, so the higher your Strength, the more damage the weapon deals. The Strength attribute also helps your fire resistance.
You may be able to wield a brute-force weapon like a battle axe, but it takes a bit more finesse to take up a rapier or bow. Just as heavy weapons require high Strength, specialized weapons like Twinswords and swift Scimitars require high Dexterity. The ability is also essential for sorcerers, clerics and pyromancers, as high Dexterity reduces spell casting time. And if you find yourself falling down an inordinate amount of deep chasms, Dexterity also reduces fall damage.
The primary attribute for sorcerers and pyromancers, Intelligence is required to cast magical spells. And unlike the relatively low base requirements for melee weapons, spells can push for high number thresholds. Spells also feature attribute bonuses, so their efficacy scales with the Intelligence attribute. Additionally, Intelligence factors into the calculation of magic defense.
Whereas Intelligence skews toward offensive magic spells for sorcerers, Faith tends to involve healing spells and stat-boosting buffs for clerics. Faith allows the use of miracles through talismans and chimes, and like Intelligence, miracles generally include scaling effects based on your Faith level. Pyromancies often demand a bit of Intelligence and Faith. Dark defense is also calculated from the Faith stat.
Far and away the most random and opaque of the attributes, Luck primarily determines item discovery. Though certainly not the best attribute to specialize in for newcomers, Luck does help in farming for items by increasing enemy item drops. There is a very small subset of items that scale with Luck, including weapons infused with Hollow Gems. The attribute also happens to increase bleeding and poison capabilities, though such status effects work better in Player versus Player (PvP) instead of Player versus Enemy (PvE). Luck bumps up resistance against curse build up, a status effect that instantly kills the player.
Be sure to read our Dark Souls 3 crafting guide to learn more about crafting and gems.
When leveling up, you'll not only be affecting your weapon strength and your defense against damage, but also these more general stats.
HP, FP and Stamina
Your base powers include your red HP, your blue FP for spells and weapon arts and green stamina for actions like running, dodging and attacking. Your golden Estus Flask refills your red HP while your blue Ashen Estus Flask refills your blue FP. You can allocate the number of orange and blue flasks if you talk to Blacksmith Andre in the Firelink Shrine.
Stamina automatically refills after suspending strenuous actions for a moment. Holding up your shield will slow your stamina's recharge.
Equip load and weight ratio
The left number shows the total weight of your equipped armor and weapons, while the right number shows how much you are able to carry before slowing down. The more you carry, the less mobile you become. However, what really matters is the percentage, and you can check that on the Equipment screen.
An equip load of 30 percent or less will provide the fastest and farthest rolls. Between 30.1 percent and 69.9 percent, you'll get normal dodges. Anything between 70 percent and 100 percent makes for slow, ground-trembling rolls. Anything above your limit will stop any rolling or running.
Keep in mind that items, tools, arrows and bolts don't add weight to your overall load.
An extremely vital and often frustratingly esoteric stat, poise dictates the amount of damage you can take before being staggered. If an opponent lands a successive sequence of blows or a massive debilitating power move, you're liable to be stunned for a moment and left open for additional attacks. Theoretically, the higher the poise, the more damage you can withstand, and it's dependent on the armor and weapons in use. Theoretically.
The Dark Souls series is famously cryptic, but poise in Dark Souls 3 still makes little sense. In the original, a viable strategy was wearing a heavy armor set and buffing your defense with a simple pyromancy spell to keep form despite heavy abuse from Lordran's fiercest foes. You were able to drink Estus in the midst of being hit, and you could take damage during the extended wind-up animations for heavy weapons. Now in Dark Souls 3, players wearing the beefiest armor sets can be staggered with toothpick swords. Massive weapons like Ultra Greatswords more reliably provide unshakeable poise, but not so much to fully justify the mechanics of the stat.
A stat that estimates the chance of an item drop from defeated enemies. The number begins at 100 and increases with the Luck stat. A measure of chance, the higher the number, the better shot there is of a drop. A simple way to increase the stat by 100 percent is by wearing the Symbol of Avarice, which is a possible drop from defeated Mimic chests.
These numbers show the amount of damage output by the three weapons equipped in your right and left hands. If you don't have a weapon or shield slotted in, it will display the attack power of your fists. If your equipped weapon scales with your attributes, you will notice the attack power rise when leveling up. With non-scalable weapons like a sword infused with raw gems, the number will remain stagnant.
Defense and Absorption
These numbers display your defense against different forms of attacks. The left number is purely from character attributes while the right number is the accumulation of armor and any other stat-altering items. The above image shows a character wearing armor weak against physical damage but strong against spells. In addition, he's equipped with the Prisoner's Chain, a ring that increases Vitality, Endurance and Vigor but significantly decreases your defense.
Physical VS strike, slash, thrust
Dark Souls 3's weapons have three types of physical damage — strike, slash and thrust. The game calculates the damage you deal and take within these three categories, which all fall under the umbrella of physical defense. You'll get a mild increase to that stat whenever you level an attribute, but Vitality helps the most.
Your physical defense protects against three categories of weapon strikes:
Strike refers to blunt objects like maces, which do best against heavy armor.
Slash damage from swords will cut up the lighter equipment that just barely protects flesh.
Thrust damage comes from spears and crossbows and is more closely related to slash damage, thus very good against light armor.
Magic, Fire, Lightning, Dark
Though strike, slash, and thrust damage all fall under the general umbrella of physical defense, magic, fire, lightning, and dark damage are are categories of their own.
Your Intelligence attribute corresponds to magic, Strength with fire, Endurance with lightning and Faith with dark. However, most armor strong against magic will also negate the other three damage types.
If you're having particular trouble against magic-wielding bosses, consider wearing the cloth sets of sorcerers and clerics. They may not protect well against physical attacks, but they will defend better against magic.
Be sure to read our Dark Souls 3 crafting guide to learn more about crafting and gems.
Resistances: Bleed, Poison, Frost, Curse
Players do not immediately contract these four status effects. Instead, they build up over time until they meet a threshold.
The number on the left shows the total resistance, including character attributes, while the number on the right simply shows the strength of your armor against build up. Leveling up your Endurance helps against bleeding, Vitality against poison, Vigor against frost and Luck against curse.
Leveling attributes to defend against these status effects shouldn't be much of a priority. Holding onto items to cure these rare but harmful effects is far more important.
Bleed damage will chunk health out of the HP bar, but you can cure it with a Bloodred Moss Clump. Also, if leeches are tearing into your flesh, simply pull out your Torch to cease bleed build up. (You can purchase a Torch from the Shrine Handmaid at Firelink for 300 souls.)
Poison slowly burns away health, and you can cure it with a Purple Moss Clump.
Frostbite inflicts damage and slows stamina regeneration, but you can cure it with a Rime-Blue Moss Clump. You can also mitigate it with a torch.
Curses are the scariest. They deal instant death when their skull meter fills up. Use the Cursebite Ring, Deep Protection, the Fleshbite Ring, Mossfruit, Profuse Sweat, a Purging Stone or level up Luck to mitigate the deadliest status effect.
You must equip all spells in Attunement Slot, and you can do that at a bonfire. The number in the Status screen displays how many spells are currently available. The icons represent the spells, miracles and pyromancies that you have equipped. Keep in mind that some spells take up multiple slots.
Obtaining more slots isn't as simple as dropping a point in the Attunement attribute. You must hit a certain level before more become available. Additional attunement slots become at the following levels:
Do you miss looking like you just jumped out of deep fryer as you did in the first Dark Souls? Tired of looking like a normal human? Fear not, the horrifying status of Hollowing has returned to Dark Souls 3, only it's a bit hidden.
If you opt in, this stat will appear on the Status Screen and essentially track how many times you've died since going Hollow. The stat will tell you when another free level is available: at 2, 6, 12 and 16. When the stat goes past 15, Hollow-infused items will increase your Luck .