WEAPON ARTS: A new addition to the Dark Souls series, it adds a special move to every weapon, such as spinning attacks, sweeping strikes, or self buffs. You need Focus Points (blue bar on your HUD) to perform weapon arts attack and it can be tremendously useful in turning the tides of a battle. To use weapon arts, equip your weapon with two hands and press left trigger to perform the weapon art. Read the item description to learn the weapon arts skill for every weapon.
BACKSTAB: As the name says, you have to position behind an enemy and hit the standard attack button to perform a backstab, hitting the enemy with a critical attack and extra damage. Backstabs also create invincibility frames during the animation, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit by other enemies while the animation plays of you taking down an enemy from behind. You can usually land a strong attack on the enemy as they rise from a backstab attack.
PARRY AND RIPOSTE: As an enemy is about to hit you, press the left trigger to swing your shield and perform a parry. This requires precision timing and hence is a very risky move. The reward though is entirely worth it. Parrying leaves your enemy staggered which allows you to perform a riposte (press standard attack up close), which is a critical attack doing massive damage. You need to have a shield equipped with parrying capability to use this skill. You can also parry many of the bosses, which makes learning this technique highly rewarding.
BLOCK: You can block attacks by having your shield up. However, keep in mind that your rate of stamina recovery goes down significantly if you have your shield up, so only keep your shield up when necessary.
KICK: A kick does no damage, but it can be immensely useful. Kicking an enemy can send them tumbling back and possibly off a bridge or cliff. Kicks can also break a guard if an enemy has their shield up, which you can follow up with a critical attack. Press forward and standard attack to perform a kick on an enemy you are locked on to.
STATS UPGRADE: Confused about which stat to increase as you level up? Take a look at the weapon you want to use and check the Attribute Bonus. If the weapon has a scaling on Strength, then you want to increase your strength stat to improve damage on that weapon. This scaling ranges from E to S, with S being the best scaling. Conversely, if you’ve been stacking on Strength or Dexterity, then to get the most damage output, you should use a weapon that scales really well with the stats you put the most points into.
GEAR UPGRADE: Don’t be stingy with your Titanite materials. If there’s a weapon you like using, reinforce it! Talk to the Blacksmith Andre at the Firelink Shrine to reinforce your weapon and shields to improve damage and resistance.
WEAPON INFUSION: It’s good to have weapons of different damage types handy. Some enemies and bosses are weak to fire, so use weapons infused with a Fire Gem. Some will take more damage from lightning, so use a weapon infused with a Lightning Gem. Your build focused on Strength? Infuse your weapon with a Heavy Gem to improve its strength scaling. You get the idea. Play around and find out what suits your playstyle.
BOSS ITEMS: Don’t open the souls of bosses. Rather, take them to Ludleth at Firelink Shrine to transpose them into powerful and unique weapons and other items.
EQUIP LOAD: If your character’s equip load is 70% or above, you’ll move and roll slower, making dodging enemy’s attacks extremely difficult. So always keep an eye on your equip load when changing gear and keep it below 70%.