Dark Souls: Weapons

One thing I’ve found fairly impressive about Dark Souls is the variety of melee weapons available. It isn’t just a matter of varying some stats and which damage types they do. Weapons vary in how they move. You have to learn how to effectively handle them.

That’s a large part of why I’m still sticking to my trusty halberd in most situations: it’s familiar. But another part is its versatility. See, weapons generally have two attacks, one that’s faster and weaker and one that’s slower and stronger. (They can also be wielded one-handed or two-handed, but this usually only affects the resulting damage.) For some weapons, the fast attack and the strong attack are essentially the same: a spear just gives you a fast poke and a strong poke. But a sword might give you a a fast poke and a strong swing, for example. Or it might give you two different swings, the strong attack being slower because it goes wider. The halberd’s fast attack is a slow poke, more or less like the strong attack on a spear, and its strong attack is a swing that goes in a full circle around you, hitting everything close by and things directly in front of you twice. I like to fight just one thing at a time when possible, but it’s good to have options when you’re suddenly mobbed.

I’ve seen two main places where the halberd isn’t the best option, though. One is in Blighttown, where you encounter giant flies that spit poison. They move fast enough to sometimes dodge the halberd, but more importantly, they’re frequently simply above where its attacks go! Target-locking an enemy lets you poke it when it’s below your normal line of attack, but there’s a limit to how far the halberd can rise. A lighter weapon solves this, but sorcery solves it even better: the best way I’ve found to deal with them is to take them out is at a distance, before they can spit poison at me, using magic missiles.

The other is in the Tomb of Giants, where your main enemy is giant skeletons. Skeletons are traditionally more vulnerable to crushing than to slashing or piercing damage, and so it is here. For normal-sized skeletons, I don’t really have to worry about this, but the giants take enough more damage that I need to optimize. And so my main weapon against them is a Greatclub — essentially, a tree trunk, taller than you, that you carry over your shoulder. Its fast and strong attacks are both ponderous but unstoppable overhead blows. A more nimble enemy could easily step out of the way of such an attack, but these giant skeletons are just as slow as I am. Essentially, it turns the fight into a contest between two similar opponents, trying to out-giant each other.

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