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Guide to Character Stats in "Dark Souls III"

Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.

As much as Dark Souls III is a game about combat prowess, it's also a role-playing game with a heavy emphasis on choosing the correct stats for your character. There are a ton of different builds you can pursue while building a Dark Souls III character, from dedicated melee attacker to dedicated sorcerer to something in-between. Knowing which stats to improve will help you make the most of your build.

This guide will help you learn what each stat does in Dark Souls III. Some are obvious, while others... less.

All images copyright by FromSoftware.

All images copyright by FromSoftware.

Attributes vs. Other Stats

Before we start, it's important to make a distinction between Attributes and other stats. When most players talk about 'stats', they're actually talking about your character's Attributes. These are the categories where you can allocate your levels upon spending Souls. Changing your Attributes or changing your gear will often affect the rest of your stats. We'll spend most of our time talking about Attributes in this article, as they form the backbone of your character.

Vigor

Vigor is an expression of your character's health. Increasing your Vigor Attribute will add to your HP. Pretty simple.

How many points you want to pump into Vigor depends on your level of comfort with the game. Dark Souls III beginners may want to lean into Vigor more, as you're more likely to get hit when facing an enemy. Vigor can go a long way towards keeping you alive. Vigor is also useful for players who intend to tank hits with a heavily-armoured character. In general, however, the better you become at Dark Souls III, the less you'll need to allocate points to Vigor.

Attunement

Attunement is an expression of your character's magical range. The higher your Attunement, the more spells you can equip on your character at any one time. The number of Attunement points needed to add a spell slot to your character rises with each level, maxing out at ten slots at level 99. Attunement also increases your character's Focus Points (FP), allowing them to cast more spells before requiring a swig of Estus.

Attunement is an important stat for magical characters, whether you plan on using a large array of spells or just two or three. Even melee-centric characters can benefit from some Attunement if you plan to use restorative Miracles. If you're not interested in magic, avoid Attunement altogether.

Endurance

Endurance is an expression of your character's overall stamina. Each point you add to Endurance will improve your Stamina meter, allowing your character to perform more actions before requiring a break. Endurance will also improve your character's defenses and resistances.

Endurance is important for every character, as rolling to avoid attacks is a minimum necessity in Dark Souls III. Getting caught with an empty Stamina meter as the enemy is winding up can really ruin your day. That said, Stamina's usefulness tapers off significantly after level 40, so going over that point isn't recommended. Low Endurance can also be mitigated by carefully monitoring your Stamina in combat.

Vitality

Vitality is an expression of your character's ability to wear heavy equipment. The more Vitality you have, the higher your character's Equipment Load. This will allow your character to wear heavier equipment without being downgraded to a slow-rolling state. Vitality also improves all of your defenses by a small amount, most notably your Physical Defense, and your Poison Resistance.

Vitality's usefulness will vary significantly between playstyles. If you plan on creating a hefty tank of a character, you'll want heavy armor, and a high Vitality score will allow you to maneuver the battlefield without any slowdown. If you prefer a slighter, faster character with light armor, however, you probably won't need much Vitality. In many cases Vitality is a 'dump stat' where otherwise-useless points go when your character reaches high levels.

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Strength

Strength is an expression of your character's physical might. Improving your Strength stat will allow your character to proficiently wield heavy weapons and shields. Strength also improves your character's damage when wielding Strength-scaling weapons. As a small bonus, Strength will also improve your Fire Defense.

If you plan to make a physical powerhouse, then Strength is a must-have stat. Heavier melee weapons draw on Strength to determine damage output, and capping your Strength out at 60 will allow you to quickly obliterate even the toughest of enemies. Even if you prefer a hybrid weapon that scales with both Strength and Dexterity it's still wise to pump up Strength. The less you rely on melee attacks, in general, the less you'll need to boost your Strength.

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Dexterity

Dexterity is an expression of your character's deftness with their hands. Like Strength, raising your Dexterity will allow you to proficiently wield certain weapons, notably those that are lighter and require more finesse. Dexterity will also improve the damage inflicted by weapons that scale with Dexterity. Weapons aside, Dexterity also improves casting time for magic users, and decreases falling damage.

An important stat for a wide array of builds, you'll probably have to level Dexterity at least a few times just for equipment purposes. On the whole, weapons relying on Dexterity won't do as much raw damage as weapons that scale with Strength, but swift weapon-wielders can't do without this stat. Whether you prioritize Dexterity as a magic user will depend on how often you cast spells in combat, and offensive wizards will want to pump up their Dexterity more than healers. On the whole, not an Attribute you can ignore.

Intelligence

Intelligence is an expression of your character's proficiency in casting certain spells. Intelligence is a requirement for casting Sorceries, Pyromancies, and Dark Miracles, and each spell type will be stronger with a higher Intelligence level. Intelligence also increases your character's Magic Defense, and contributes damage to weapons that scale with Intelligence.

Intelligence is a no-brainer if you want a sorcerer-type character who casts spells often. Pair it with Attunement to create a casting beast with great offensive capabilities. You'll require 50 Intelligence to cast all Sorceries, though 60 is recommended to make the most of your damage output. Most other builds won't find Intelligence to be all that useful, unless you require it to equip a specific item.

Faith

Faith is an expression of your character's proficiency in casting certain spells. Faith is a requirement for casting Miracles, Pyromancies, and Dark Miracles, and each spell type will be stronger with a higher Faith level. Faith also improves your character's Dark Defense.

Faith is a necessary stat if you plan on making a Miracle-heavy character, whether you focus on restorative or offensive Miracles. (Or both.) You'll need 45 Faith to cast every Miracle in the game, and how much you need to cap out your damage depends on the Catalyst you have equipped. Faith will probably get more utility with melee attackers than Intelligence, since you can use Miracles to heal yourself, though if you plan on using offensive spells alongside melee attacks Sorceries will prove more useful.

Luck

An expression of the good fortune that shines upon your character. Improving your character's Luck Attribute will improve their Item Discovery stat, increasing the chances that an enemy will drop an item upon death. Luck also improves Bleed and Poison application speed, and a few weapons scale with Luck.

Though it has its uses, Luck should be a last-priority stat for most builds. Aside from the swiftness of applying Bleed and Poison to your weapons Luck only grants you increased item drops, and even then item drops are still subject to, well, luck. If all you want is more items, then you're better off looking into the Crystal Sage's Rapier as an off-handed weapon.

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Base Power

After Attributes are the Base Power stats. These numbers dictate your basic combat capabilities. They are as follows:

  • HP: Your Hit Points. Once you run out of HP your character dies.
  • FP: Your Focus Points. Focus Points are used whenever you cast a spell or use a skill. When you run out of FP your character can no longer use either.
  • Stamina: Your level of fatigue. Every action besides walking requires a small expenditure of Stamina. Running out of Stamina will prevent your character from taking actions. Stamina rejuvenates on its own when actions are not being taken.
  • Equip Load: Your level of encumbrance. If your equip load is too high your character's actions will be slowed, determined by your Weight Ratio percentile. Generally players want to keep their Weight Ratio below 70%, to avoid 'fat rolling'. A Weight Ratio of 100% or above will almost completely debilitate the character.
  • Poise: Your level of sturdiness. Poise contributes to a hidden Poise value that decreases whenever you block a hit. If a character's Poise is depleted they will be staggered for a few seconds, allowing their opponent to perform critical attacks that can lead to a swift death.
  • Item Discovery: Your level of luck. The higher your Item Discovery value, the more likely an enemy will drop an item upon death.
  • Attunement Slots: The number of spells your character can equip. The Attunement Attribute affects this value, as do a number of items.

Defense

Next are your Defenses. These values determine your character's ability to defend against a variety of different attacks. The higher the value, the less damage your character will take. Defenses include:

  • Physical Defense (with individual values for strikes, slashes, and thrusts, usually dictated by your current equipment)
  • Magic Defense
  • Fire Defense
  • Lightning Defense
  • Dark Defense

Note that the Fire, Lightning, and Dark values will not always apply against magic attacks. There are plenty of non-magical attacks in Dark Souls III that apply these three elements, such as bombs, urns, or resins applied to ordinary weapons.

Your Defenses will improve with each level you take in every Attribute, so your character will never be overly weak to enemy attacks. That said, some Attributes - such as Endurance - will raise your Defences more overall each level.

Resistance

Last are your Resistances. Occasionally when an enemy attacks or you fall into a trap a meter will appear on your character. When this meter fills up the associated status ailment will go off and adversely affect your character for a period of time. Your Resistances will have a positive affect on this status ailment meter. The four status ailments your Resistances guard against are as follows:

  • Bleed: Inflicts an immediate, significant amount of damage to your character when the meter is filled. The damage inflicted is a percentage of your health.
  • Poison: Inflicts a slow health drain on your character when the meter is filled. Another meter appears when poison is inflicted, indicating how long your character will suffer from the effect before it wears off.
  • Frost: Inflicts an immediate, significant amount of damage to your character when the meter is filled. The damage inflicted is a percentage of your health. Also slows Stamina regeneration for a time, and slightly increases damage inflicted to the character.
  • Curse: Immediately kills the character when inflicted. Be wary if you see the Skull icon being filled on your character.

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