Dark Souls 2 Character Leveling Guide

Dark Souls 2 Character Leveling Guide
Dark Souls 2 can be a very intimidating game, there is a lot of room for customization and just because of that there can be a lot of room for error. Now granted that we can use the Soulvessel to undo any mistakes, it would be nice to save those for trying out new builds instead of correcting our early screw-ups. I will kick the guide off with a list of all the stats and some noteworthy stuff about them.

The Attributes in Dark Souls 2

Vigor

This attribute determines the amount of hit points or health your character has.

  • Grants 30 Health per point invested until 20
  • Grants 20 Health per point invested until 50
  • Grants 5   Health per point invested until 100

Having a lot of health is nice because Dark Souls 2 is a hard game and you will get a hit a lot. With enough Vigor you will be able to get hit a bit more before you die. Now I must note that most bosses hit so ridiculously hard that relying on your health pool over preventing damage is simply foolish. Therefor, I would advise not investing heavily in Vigor.

Endurance

This attribute determines the amount of Stamina your character has

  • Grants 2 Stamina per point invested until 20
  • Grants 1 Stamina per point invested until 100

Stamina is allows you to roll, attack, block, cast spells, and shoot arrows, so leveling this to at least 20 would be a good idea. Leveling Stamina post 20 might only be reserved for the ones who wield heavier weapons and armor because a Greatsword will deplete your Stamina bar in just a few swings.

Vitality

This attribute determines the amount of equipment load your character can carry

  • Grants 1.5 equipment load until 29
  • Grants 1 equipment load until 49
  • Grants 0.5 equipment load until 99
  • Having an equipment load under 70% of your maximum will allow to fast roll
  • There are several rings in the game that can increase your equipment load

The amount of points you decide to invest in Vitality purely depends on what kind of equipment do you want to carry and what  speed you wish to roll at. Make sure that you only invest points in Vitality up until 69% or 99% of your chosen equipment. You will not get any bonuses running around with 25% equipment load.

Attunement

This attribute determines the amount of spell slots or attunement slots you can equip.

  • Attunement raises casting speed
  • Attunement raises agility
  • Attunement yields an extra spellslot at 10, 13, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 75

Strength

This attribute determines how much extra damage you can deal with Strength scaling weapons. Sometimes a certain number of Strength is required to even wield certain weapons or equip certain armor pieces.

  • Strength also increases your physical defense
  • Strength has a softcap of 40
  • 2handing your weapon effectively doubles your Strength
  • Dexterity and Strength are not equal as Dexterity scalings on weapons receive a lesser amount of bonus damage than the strength scalings on weapons

If you wish to wield weapons that scale well on Strength (C+), than investing 40 points in Strength is a good idea; however, if you taken a liking to Dexterity based weapons you might wish to level Strength only to the required stats (For example a katana scales with S on Dexterity, but requires 14 Strength to wield).

 

Dexterity

This attribute determines the extra damage dealt with Dexterity, Bleed, and poison scaling weapons.

  • Dexterity’s softcap is at 40
  • Dexterity and Strength are not equal as Dexterity scalings on weapons receive a lesser amount of bonus damage than the strength scalings on weapons

Similar to Strength only level this stat up if you chosen a weapon that scales on Dexterity or requires a minimum level of Dexterity to wield. There is no reason to level Dexterity up passed 40 as the return per level becomes awful; although bleed and poison scalings are still decent.

Adaptability

This attribute determines your agility which determines the speed of rolling, using items, raising shields, and it increases the parry window.

  • The soft cap for adaptibility is 40
  • Adaptibility also increases poison, petrify, curse, and bleed resistances

Adaptability really shines when you are struggling through poison based zones like The Gutter, The Harvest Mills, and The Earthen Spire. Not only because of the poison resistance, but the ability to heal or cure yourself quickly in certain boss fights is priceless. To be honest I have not noticed a big increase in my roll speed, so I usually do not level it up for PvP Characters. (BECAUSE USING AN ESTUS FLASK IN PVP IS DISHONORABLE!!!).

EDIT:  Agility increase to your iframes while rolling.

Intelligence

This attribute will raise your magic bonus, which in turn will raise your fire bonuses and resistances

  • Intelligence softcaps at 40, and hardcaps at 50
  • Most spells require a certain amount of intellect to cast
  • Having more intelligence will make spells stronger not only through scalings, but by adding more missiles as well
  • Requirements for spells can be lowered with spices
  • Dark magic scales on the lower between your Int or Faith, the tooltip is currently bugged.

Intellect is mostly only leveled on mage characters; however, I do like investing 10, 16, or 18 intellect on certain Dexterity builds as well for the weapon enchants.

Faith

This attribute will raise your Miracle, Bleed and Lightning scalings.

  • Faith grants Dark, Bleed, Lightning resistances
  • Softcap for faith is 40
  • Requirements for miracles can be lowered with spices
  • Dark magic scales on the lower between your Int or Faith, the tooltip is currently bugged.

Faith can be a nice addition to any build because it grants heals, hexes, weapon enchants, and some quality of life spells, just remember to not spread yourself out to thin.

Building your character in Dark Souls 2

These were all the attributes you can choose from when leveling up your character. Now to actually build you character you need to decide what kind of character you wish to play with. It is not a good idea to be a jack of all trades in Dark Souls 2 as this will make it harder for you to find online play. (You get matched with people around your own soullevel).

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of weapons do I enjoy and level according to that. Let’s take a Katana for example. It requires 14 Strength to wield and scales on Dex, so what we do is level up our Strength to 14 and our Dexterity to 40. Now along the way we want to pick up some health and endurance of course.

This would be the skeleton of your build, now you can choose to add a weapon enchant from Intellect or Faith, or maybe you want some more adaptability because the roll-speed is important to you. Maybe you want to wear heavier armor or carry a great-shield, so you will have to invest in Vitality some more. At this point it is all about making the character comfortable for you. You can even level up Vigor to 50 and Vitality to 29 to make a fast rolling, katana wielding, hyper tank.

If you do not yet know what kind of weapons you like I would suggest making a quality build champion. Quality means making the most out of each weapon, so investing points in both Strength and Dexterity.

Dark Souls 2 Build

This is my own Quality Build to test weapons on

Dark Souls II Guides
Description
Links (New Window)
Finding The Blacksmith KeyThe coveted Blacksmith Key. Don't leave home without it!Read More
Starter Item GuideMake sure you pick the right starting items in Dark Souls IIRead More
Estus Shard And Sublime Bone Dust GuideFind all the Estus Shards and Bone DustRead More
How To Upgrade Your WeaponLearn how to develop with the perfect weaponRead More
How To Remove StatuesThose pesky statues getting in the way? Not any longerRead More
How does Multiplayer In Dark Souls 2 Work?Learn how multiplayer works in Dark Souls 2Read More
Newbie Q&A Tips & TricksGet the right start with this awesome tipsRead More
Character Leveling GuideDon't waste any points and make the perfect Dark Souls II characterRead More
Weapon Scalings and Infusion CalculationsMaster weapon scalings and infusionsRead More
Melee Hexing GuideMake a devastating Hex build with this guideRead More
  • Xyopq

    I believe that in order to dual wield, you need 1.5x the stat requirements. So if a sword requires 10 str and 10 dex, you’ll need 15 points of each to dual them. Also Dark damage scales with either Int or Faith, whichever is lower. So if Int is 20 and Faith is 15, it will scale off the faith. The softcap for Dark BNS is 30.

    • Qyntius

      This is correct, I forgot to take those part out of the guide after doing some research (I had written it a while back). I’m actually planning on doing a more comprehensive guide on Dark magic and hexing by itself, and I will link to it from here. Thanks for helping out.