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The 13 Best Dark Souls Weapons For Beginners

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A rare concession Dark Souls makes to players is that weapons don’t become overshadowed or irrelevant as the game goes on. New loot is not necessarily stronger than old loot, it is simply able to do different things. When upgraded, nearly every weapon is viable from the very beginning of the game to the end.


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However, some Dark Souls weapons are more complex, less durable, and/or simply harder to use than others. Conversely, some weapons are well-suited for those still getting used to the game, with simple and broadly-applicable movesets and no obvious weaknesses. For those setting foot in Lordran for the first time, some weapons will never steer them wrong.

Updated on January 14, 2023, by Scoot Allan:The success of 2022’s breakout success, Elden Ring, has brought more eyes than ever to the FromSoftware catalog. As a result, many of their games — such as the original Dark Souls and its two sequels — are experiencing a surge of first-time players. Although the lands of Lordran possess many frightening challenges, the game offers several weapons that will help players during the early part of their journey.

13/13 Heater Shield

Standard Shield

The Heater Shield from Dark Souls

First and foremost, almost every new player will likely benefit from equipping a shield early in the game. There are two major battle strategies for players to find success in Dark Souls. One requires skill in dodging and rolling away from powerful blows while the other relies on a shield to take damage and set up opportunities for parrying.

  • Damage Reduction: 100 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Strength (D), Intelligence (D)
  • Weight: 2.0

The Heater Shield is the lightest shield in the game that also provides 100% physical damage reduction to help protect beginners early in the game. It’s also part of the base set of the Warrior class, giving players an early chance to get proficient with the shield and weapon of their choice. Another benefit of the Heater Shield is the high stability and fast parry speed.

12/13 Longsword

Straight Sword

The longsword in Dark Souls II game

The longsword is a staple of nearly any video game with melee combat. It’s an all-rounder weapon that, unlike its real-world inspiration, is just as easily wielded in one hand as in two. It is exactly this in Dark Souls as well, a simple weapon with no obvious weaknesses.

  • Base Damage: 80 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (C), Strength (C)
  • Weight: 3.0

The Dark Souls longsword is reasonably fast and hard-hitting, and its moveset is usable in many situations. It can also be available from the start of Dark Souls, with the Knight class picking up a longsword almost immediately. Although lacking in any major strengths, the longsword is a weapon that has carried many through their quest to topple Lordran’s most powerful bosses.

11/13 Spear

Spear

A player wielding a spear in Dark Souls II

Owing to the game’s high difficulty, some players can get discouraged simply trying to stay alive in Dark Souls. Enemies hit hard and seem to have nigh-perfect timing to exploit any weaknesses the player presents. In many cases, damage isn’t the issue for new players, but rather survivability.

  • Base Damage: 80 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (C), Strength (D)
  • Weight: 3.5

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The spear is incredibly useful for this. Much as in real life, it can be used in tandem with a shield and is one of the few weapons that can be used to attack without dropping the player’s guard. For players who want to take things slower as they get the hang of Dark Souls, a shield and spear can be useful learning tools that will help them through the game.

10/13 Zweihander

Ultra Greatsword

Zweihander and a knight of Catarina at the Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls 1

Dark Souls has plenty of choices when it comes to big swords. The game not only has an entire weapon category called Greatswords, but also a category of even larger Ultra Greatswords, of which the zweihander is by far the most notorious.

  • Base Damage: 130 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (D), Strength (C)
  • Weight: 10.0

The zweihander initially seems ill-suited to beginners. It swings slowly and requires a lot of wind-up, forcing the player to commit to attacks. However, it does immense damage compared to many other weapons, staggers nearly any enemy in the game, and teaches the player about timing attacks. After an adjustment period, new players could do far worse than a zweihander.

9/13 Balder Side Sword

Straight Sword

The Chosen Undead with a Balder Side Sword at Firelink Shrine Dark Souls

The Balder side sword is a prized early-game weapon dropped by the Undead Parish’s Balder Knights. Similar to a longsword, the weapon boasts slightly less stamina usage and slightly more range in return for a moveset that some players find awkward.

  • Base Damage: 80 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (B), Strength (E)
  • Weight: 3.0

The Balder side sword is widely considered one of the most reliable in the game, being well-suited to most situations and having excellent scaling with the Dexterity stat. The main downside is that it is not guaranteed — the player has to farm it from Balder Knights, and it has just a 1% drop chance.

8/13 Reinforced Club

Hammer

The Reinforced Club from Dark Souls

While it isn’t as flashy as some of the other weapons in Dark Souls, the Reinforced Club is a great starter weapon for beginners. It has incredibly high base damage, is easy to find early in the game, and is enchantable to further increase its usefulness in later stages.

  • Base Damage: 242 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Strength (C)
  • Weight: 4.0

The Reinforced Club also inflicts Bleed, which can be an incredibly useful status effect for beginners. The Warcry skill can also outfit players with a useful early buff in battle when needed. While the Reinforced Club can be slow to recover from a missed hit, it has a powerful jumping R2 attack that can clear the distance and surprise most enemies if timed and distanced well.

7/13 Scimitar

Curved Sword

The scimitar sword as it appears in Dark Souls II

Another starting weapon that many players greatly enjoy is the scimitar, found in the Dexterity-heavy Wanderer starting class. The weapon is an incredibly quick curved sword, able to hit rapidly without costing the player much stamina. Despite its speed, its damage is quite competitive as well.

  • Base Damage: 80 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (B), Strength (E)
  • Weight: 1.5

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The scimitar’s downsides are that it has an incredibly short range, which can force players to get in closer than they want. It’s also one of the few weapons in Dark Souls to be made almost obsolete. Later, a falchion that is nearly identical but slightly stronger can be found. However, it doesn’t appear in Dark Souls for a while, making the scimitar a better-starting weapon.

6/13 Mace

Hammer

The mace in Dark Souls game

The mace is the starting weapon of the Cleric class, which is typically more preoccupied with casting Miracles and improving their faith. Nonetheless, the mace can prove to be a surprisingly lethal weapon even for more physically-inclined warriors.

  • Base Damage: 91 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Strength (B)
  • Weight: 4.0

Quicker than its heavy appearance implies and dealing respectable damage, the mace can make short work of most enemies. It also has a more versatile moveset than most, encouraging new players to experiment with rolling and running attacks. Although not Dark Souls’ most glamorous weapon, the mace is always dependable.

5/13 Broadsword

Straight Sword

The broadsword on a black background in Dark Souls III

In the case of Dark Souls trying not to obsolete equipment, the broadsword is very similar to the starting longsword despite being found much later. The two are both straight swords centered around a reliable series of regular attacks with no glaring weaknesses.

  • Base Damage: 82 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (C), Strength (C)
  • Weight: 3.0

The broadsword trades out versatility for a bit more damage and different scaling. Despite lacking thrust attacks in favor of slashing attacks, it is slightly stronger per hit. It’s the most damaging straight sword and better suited to ‘quality’ builds that focus on both Strength and Dexterity, making it a solid choice for many of Dark Souls‘ toughest bosses.

4/13 Estoc

Piercing Sword

The Estoc from Dark Souls

Piercing swords can take a bit of practice to get used to wielding, but they can be a devastating weapon for new beginners venturing into Lordran. Not only is the Estoc accessible early in the game, but it has the longest reach of all the piercing swords, giving players a nice advantage when thrusting.

  • Base Damage: 187 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Strength (B), Dexterity (D)
  • Weight: 3.0

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One of the Estoc’s greatest benefits to new players is the ability to attack while still under the guard of a shield. The Estoc, like all piercing swords, also modifies the standard moveset slightly. The kick is replaced with a quick slash and back step, and the charge attack features a devastating double stab.

3/13 Uchigatana

Katana

The Uchigatana sword in Dark Souls II

The uchigatana is the first katana found in Dark Souls and is a very lethal weapon. It is fast, deals high damage per hit, and has excellent scaling with Dexterity. In addition, it inflicts bleed damage that can suddenly take out a chunk of an enemy’s health bar, helping to introduce new players to Dark Souls’ status effects.

  • Base Damage: 90 (Physical)
  • Scaling: Dexterity (B)
  • Weight: 5.0

There are two downsides to the uchigatana, however. If the player wants it early on, they’re forced to kill the NPC wielding it — who will use its full might against them. This is a needless early-game fight that new players might want to avoid. In addition, it is very fragile with low durability, potentially forcing players to spend a lot of souls on its upkeep.

2/13 Drake Sword

Straight Sword

The Chosen Undead wielding the Drake Sword in Dark Souls

The Drake Sword seems deliberately placed in Dark Souls to support struggling first-time players. By the time the player discovers it, it will be by far the most damaging weapon they’ve encountered, dealing very high damage with a minimum of investment in it.

  • Base Damage: 200 (Physical)
  • Scaling: N/A
  • Weight: 6.0

The Drake Sword is hidden and requires accessing a slightly out-of-the-way area to shoot many arrows into a drake’s tail, but is well worth the effort. It is also deliberately designed to not scale with the player’s statistics, in addition to being hard to upgrade by requiring very rare Dragon Scales. However, it can help struggling players and help them get used to the basics.

1/13 Claymore

Greatsword

The Chosen Undead wielding a claymore in Dark Souls

One of the more iconic weapons of the Greatsword weapon class in Dark Souls, the claymore is similar to an oversized longsword. It is reasonably slow, but not to the extent of the other heavy weapons in Dark Souls. It also has several attacks that can be chained together to stagger enemies.

  • Base Damage: 103
  • Scaling: Dexterity (C), Strength (C)
  • Weight: 6.0

Ultimately, the Claymore is another good all-rounder weapon, just on the heavier side of the spectrum. As long as a new player is willing to brave a bridge of dragon fire to grab it, they’ll be well-equipped for the rest of Dark Souls.

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