Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Discuss the multiple items and magic and miracle abilities of Drangleic.

Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:12 pm

So, they changed the magic system for the sequel. Kind of a lot, as it turns out. Continuing with my completely unplanned series of mechanics mini-guides, I'll attempt to summarize what is currently known of these changes and how they impact character building.

The Stats

There are three stats tied to casting spells: Attunement, Intelligence, and Faith. Raising any of these three will give a boost to your casting speed, with Attunement giving the largest boost per point of the three.

Attunement's primary function is to give your character more spell slots with which to equip more spells, with new slots being given at the following points:

10 = 1
13 = 2
16 = 3
20 = 4
25 = 5
30 = 6
40 = 7
50 = 8
60 = 9
75 = 10

Some spells require more than one slot to equip, so keep this in mind when planning a build.

Attunement has a secondary, unlisted function of boosting the number of times you can cast each spell. I do not yet have a list of the number of bonus casts each spell can get or what point they get them at, nor do I expect to anytime soon.

Intelligence's primary function is to boost your Magic BNS (bonus) substat, which is what will determine how much magic damage your sorceries and magic weapons will deal, and to increase your Magic Defense stat, which determines by how much the magic damage you take is reduced. As a secondary benefit, raising Intelligence will also raise your Fire BNS and Fire Defense substats, which are used to determine the power of pyromancies/fire weapons you wield and by how much the fire damage you take is reduced, respectively.

Fire BNS and Fire Defense scaling is based on your Intelligence stat added to your Faith stat, and heavy diminishing returns kick in after the total equals 60. Therefore, 10 Intelligence and 50 Faith will give you the same Fire BNS/Defense as 50 Intelligence and 10 Faith or 30 Intelligence and 30 Faith.

Intelligence has a sort of synergy effect with Faith in that raising them together will increase your Dark BNS and Dark Defense substats (dark damage you deal and dark damage you take), but Dark BNS/Defense will only increase when you raise the lower of the two stats. And, as previously mentioned, putting levels into Intelligence will give a boost to your casting speed, though not as much as levels into Attunement would.

Faith's primary function is to boost your Lightning BNS and Lightning Defense substats, which like all the other substats determine how much lightning damage your miracles and weapons deal and how much lightning damage your character will take, respectively. Leveling up Faith will also raise your Fire BNS, Dark BNS, Fire Defense, Dark Defense, and casting speed in exactly the same way as levels in Intelligence would.

Endurance, while not being terribly important to a pure casting build, can still have some use since spells cost stamina to cast now. Basically, if you want to spam your entire allotment of Soul Spears in one go, you'll need to invest in Endurance to do that. But if you're okay with one or two spells every couple of seconds, because, like, you're already killing 90% of mobs in one hit anyways, then you might not find extra Endurance all that useful.

Additional stamina may have more value in a pvp setting on the basic principle of "My physical defense is crap anyways so might as well dump everything into attacking", or perhaps even as a way to give your character some physical defense.

The Tools

One of the biggest changes to spellcasting is that all catalysts can be upgraded now, not just pyromancy flames. Staffs and chimes upgrade with titanite (either normal, twinkling, or petrified dragon bones, as applicable), and each time you upgrade the catalyst its spell damage will increase. Staffs and chimes can also be imbued with elements in much the same way as normal melee weapons, although staffs can only be imbued with magic or dark and chimes can only be imbued with lightning or dark. Somewhat surprisingly, imbuing a catalyst will affect its spell damage: Imbuing a staff with magic will make it deal more damage with sorceries than it normally would, but less with hexes, whereas imbuing it with dark would do the opposite. Catalysts that are unable to cast a school of magic that they otherwise normally would, like the Caitha's Chime's inability to cast miracles, can still be imbued with the element type that they are completely incapable of utilizing, and all this will do is decrease the damage of what spells they can cast.

Pyromancy flames can also be upgraded, but they upgrade with fire seeds at certain merchants and cannot be imbued. The two different types of flames, the normal Pyromancy Flame and the Dark Pyromancy Flame, both max at +10 and there is no way to ascend them like in the previous game.

There are also certain weapons that can be used to cast spells, namely the Blue Flame, a longsword that can cast sorceries, the Mace of the Insolent, a mace that can cast miracles and hexes, and the Disc Chime, which, although it's technically classified as a normal chime, otherwise behaves exactly like a shield that can cast miracles and hexes instead of parrying. As you would imagine, none of these weapons comes close to the casting power of a real catalyst (although the Disc Chime makes a good effort), but somewhat unexpectedly you can buff the Blue Flame and Mace of the Insolent, which will boost the damage of spells cast using them. This still doesn't let them reach the power levels of a real catalyst and is probably a bug that will be patched out later, but it's worth noting if you intend to use these weapons.

And of course, all three of these weapon-catalysts can be imbued to modify their spell scaling. Note that the Blue Flame can only cast sorceries and not hexes, so imbuing it with dark would be kind of a waste.

Lastly, all catalysts have their own casting speed, which is modified by your own casting speed. So a build that wants to spam spells as quickly as possible would want to use a completely different catalyst than a build that wants the most damage per hit... usually. Some catalysts, like Caitha's Chime, are both extremely fast and very powerful, but come with other drawbacks.

Other Relevant Equipment

In a very unexpected turn of events, certain armors (namely helmets/hoods) will give an unlisted bonus to your Intelligence and/or Faith. For example, the Chaos Hood will give +3 to your Intelligence, and the Hexer's Hood will give +1 to Intelligence and +1 to Faith. These stat bonuses will show up in your character sheet, of course. I've yet to make an exhaustive list of items that do this because I haven't found every headpiece in the game yet, so for now it'd probably be a good idea to try out new hats as you find them.

The ones I do know about are:
The Chaos Hood gives +3 to Intelligence
The Hexer's Hood gives +1 to Intelligence and +1 to Faith
The Saint's Hood gives +1 to Faith
The King's Crown gives +3 to Intelligence and +3 to Faith
The Moon Hat gives +2 to Intelligence
The White Priest Headpiece gives +1 to Faith
The Archdrake Helm gives +1 to Intelligence
The Dragon Sage Hood gives +1 to Intelligence and +1 to Faith
The Insolent Helm gives +2 to Faith
The Dark Mask gives +1 to Intelligence and +1 to Faith
The Black Hood gives +2 to Intelligence and +2 to Faith

There are also other hats that give other bonuses, such as the Witch's Hat granting an additional attunement slot and the Black Hood boosting your casting speed. And beyond hats, some rare non-head armor will also grant bonuses, such as the Lost Sinner's gauntlets (I forget their name) buffing your pyromancy spell damage or the Lion-Mage's entire armor set, each piece of which will increase your casting speed.

And then there are the rings and their myriad effects. The two major ones are the Ring of Knowledge, which boosts your Intelligence by 5 when worn, and the Ring of Prayer, which boosts your Faith by 5 when worn. The Clear Bluestone Ring and its upgraded forms boost your casting speed, the Lingering Dragoncrest Ring and its upgraded versions boost the duration of all your spell buffs, the Northern Ritual Band will boost your spell charges in exchange for maximum Hp, the Southern Ritual Band will grant an extra attunement slot, the King's Ring will buff your fire damage by 5% (unlisted bonus), the Sun Seal will boost miracle damage by 5%, and the Abyss Seal will buff the damage of your hexes by 20% but make them cost 30 hp per cast.

Any equipment that boosts your stats will allow you to attune and cast spells you don't otherwise meet the requirements for, making them very useful for casters who don't want to have, say... 65 Faith just so they can cast Blinding Bolt. Stat-boosting equipment will also boost all substats tied to that stat (or stats) just as if you had raised that stat normally.

Last but certainly not least, we have the Simpleton's Spice and Skeptic's Spice items. When taken to Magerold of Lanafir, these two items can be used to permanently reduce the Intelligence requirement (for Simpleton's) or Faith requirement (for Skeptic's) of any spell except pyromancy, but pyromancy has no requirements anyways so that doesn't really matter. A spell's Intelligence or Faith requirements cannot be reduced below 10 in this way. So, hypothetically speaking, with enough Simpleton's Spices even the mighty Soul Geyser with its 65 Intelligence requirement can be used by a starting-level sorcerer. These will be very useful for min/maxing purposes, I'm sure.

Spice farming tips:
Both simpleton's and skeptic's spices can be farmed off the Leydia Witches in the Undead Crypt, though the drop rate is low.

Skeptic's spices can be farmed in the Belfry Luna area, by burning a bonfire ascetic in the Upper Ramparts bonfire. This will refresh the loot corpses in the area, some of which will have spices on them. Note that you must kill the gargoyles before burning another ascetic, and that you will most likely be invaded by bellkeeper covenant members the whole time. This method yields a guaranteed 3 skeptic's spices per run.

Simpleton's spices can be farmed in the Belfry Sol area, by burning a bonfire ascetic in the Belfry Sol Approach bonfire. As with the Luna bonfire, this will refresh the loot corpses in the area. Belfry Sol does not have a boss thankfully, but it does have a number of strong npc phantoms and of course the bellkeepers will be present. This method yields a guaranteed 3 simpleton's spices per run.
Last edited by Tsmp on Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:46 am, edited 10 times in total.
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Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby WarGolem2011 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Ah head hurts now. Anyway those spices are really great. I think they stay in effect permanently. so mages save ur spices for that really high level spell needing 68 intel. you can literally save those spices through new games and keep buying the spells even tho you dont have the intell to use them. then permanantly reduce the spells intel requirement to like 20 intel or 0 if you wanted and have all the multiple extra casts have the same requirement. I did it to strong magic shield on my tank mage and its great. I have 3 spells of strong magic shield / 12 casts and all of them only require 14 intel instead of 18.

Its gonna be a hybrid high leveler so i got a little bit of intel. Also wanted to use my Crypt great sword so yay for hybrids. Also gonna get Great heal in there soon. There are so many skeptics spices. i literally have like 20 last i checked
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:19 pm

Oh yeah, I should probably mention that the spice's effects are permanent. Thanks.

You can also sort of farm spices by using a bonfire ascetic at either of the two belltowers, which re-spawns the loot corpses in the area. Watch out for buffed bell guardian npcs, though. I say sort of farm because bonfire ascetics themselves are tricky to farm, so that kind of limits how many spices you can get from this method.
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Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby dunkmonk » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:24 pm

Tsmp wrote:Oh yeah, I should probably mention that the spice's effects are permanent. Thanks.

You can also sort of farm spices by using a bonfire ascetic at either of the two belltowers, which re-spawns the loot corpses in the area. Watch out for buffed bell guardian npcs, though. I say sort of farm because bonfire ascetics themselves are tricky to farm, so that kind of limits how many spices you can get from this method.


Maybe off-topic question, but I've heard that bonfire ascetic use ups the NG rating for an area (so using once in NG goes to NG+) - Does this effect last into NG+? So by using it in NG, then moving to NG+ is the previously ascetic effected area at NG++?
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:46 pm

It sure does. Happy farming! :D
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby scourgicus » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:49 pm

Am I understanding correctly that upgrading your staff with magic ore causes the staff's damage to scale with INT? That would certainly increase the damage and make me very, very happy.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:54 pm

Yeah it does. I upgraded my Catalyst with Lightning and my Sun Spear now hits for a frankly rude amount.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby scourgicus » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:26 pm

Where do you go to get your equipment upgraded with different ores (like Magic ore etc)? Lenigrast (Majula) doesn't do it.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Dellusions » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:35 pm

Well written and informative. I'm guessing you're as into mages as I am this time around then? XD
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Dellusions » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:36 pm

scourgicus wrote:Where do you go to get your equipment upgraded with different ores (like Magic ore etc)? Lenigrast (Majula) doesn't do it.


Hint: look for embers, and mcduff's workshop.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:47 pm

King's Crown provides +3 to both INT and FTH. I think it will be integral to a few builds.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:23 pm

Hashmal wrote:King's Crown provides +3 to both INT and FTH. I think it will be integral to a few builds.

Oh wow, what? That's a biggie, I'll go ahead and add that in. Thanks!

Edit: I went ahead and updated the list with all the hats/hoods/helmets I currently have. Also, it turns out that Velstadt's helmet boosts Endurance and Vitality by 1 each.

Dellusions wrote:Well written and informative. I'm guessing you're as into mages as I am this time around then? XD

Let me put it this way: My favorite character in Demon's Souls had 40 intelligence, 50 magic, and 50 fth. :D
Last edited by Tsmp on Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rest in pieces, Manus.

Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Alois2 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Before Dark Souls II every build I ever made ended with stats like 40 in intelligence (magic in Demon's Souls), 25 in attunement (intelligence in Demon's Souls) and just enough of others to wield toe washing pole (or simply the uchigatana in Demon's Souls). Now that there are SEVEN katanas and many have Dexterity requirements ranging from 20-28, I started buffing Dexterity accordingly. And with awesome hexes in the game, I'm now using Faith as well as Intelligence. And in the end I found myself a mostly well-rounded jack-of-all-trades.
Except in strength which the neediest katana only needs 18 for. Also my Vigor, endurance, adaptability, vitality and attunement are remarkably low. But since I only need 25 atunement for 5 slots and health goes up naturally, adaptability is redundant since I'm used to the new pace, equip-load is much less difficult to satisfy because it isn't until above 70% that I start moving slowly and 90% that I move like a turtle, I don't really pay much attention to the other stats UNTILL I've hit the ceiling with my main stats--which is thankfully tough because I'd have to be circa Soul Level 150. But then again it's a lot easier to level up and the value of each individual level is much lower (Level 50 in Dark Souls II= Level 20 in Demon's Souls, 120 in Dark Souls II= Level 70 in Demon's Souls etc.). AND AGAIN thankfully the strength of enemies have been made to match that, so the difference between the weakest dregling to the strongest demon is greater than ever before.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:55 pm

Tsmp wrote:
Hashmal wrote:King's Crown provides +3 to both INT and FTH. I think it will be integral to a few builds.

Oh wow, what? That's a biggie, I'll go ahead and add that in. Thanks!


Yep. The King's Set is pretty freaking awesome. Downside (or upside, depending): you look like Jon Snow. I need a way to cast WINTER IS COMING.

Question: what do you think the best starting class for a dark mage is? I'm a Cleric and wondering if I should create another character for min/maxing purposes. My next character will likely be a Deprived, just so I can (mostly) tool around with every build this game offers without being off in any one particular area.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Submarine_2 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:05 pm

:gp:

I am going to start a pure caster tomorrow and this post is pretty helpful. I have one more question though:
I think I read somewhere that casting uses up stamina now. Is this true? And does this mean that pure casters have to level up their endurance, or are they fine with baste stamina?
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Alois2 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:20 pm

Hashmal wrote:
Tsmp wrote:
Hashmal wrote:King's Crown provides +3 to both INT and FTH. I think it will be integral to a few builds.

Oh wow, what? That's a biggie, I'll go ahead and add that in. Thanks!


Yep. The King's Set is pretty freaking awesome. Downside (or upside, depending): you look like Jon Snow. I need a way to cast WINTER IS COMING.

Question: what do you think the best starting class for a dark mage is? I'm a Cleric and wondering if I should create another character for min/maxing purposes. My next character will likely be a Deprived, just so I can (mostly) tool around with every build this game offers without being off in any one particular area.

I figure the best would be sorcerer so to be starting off offesively. While faith may start low it is not hard to bring up and with the Soul Arrow spell you'll have an easy time defeating most early enemies (most of all the ogres in Things Betwixt) and you'll be able to capitalize on Felkin (earliest found spot being at the start of Huntsman's Corpse, available just after Heide's Tower) and his Hexer friendly gear and spells. If you don't mind a minor investment in strength and dexterity you can also make use of Heids's Longsword's lightning parameters with FTH. (Found on the White Kinght early on in the Forest of the Last Giant). And with a little more some long-term swords for emergencies. If not then focus on developing ordinary sorcery until you have access to Falkin and the miracle lady from Heide's Tower (forgot her name...)
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:48 pm

Submarine_2 wrote::gp:

I am going to start a pure caster tomorrow and this post is pretty helpful. I have one more question though:
I think I read somewhere that casting uses up stamina now. Is this true? And does this mean that pure casters have to level up their endurance, or are they fine with baste stamina?

It is true, yes. I haven't really had a problem with it myself, and so long as you aren't spamming spells non-stop you should be fine. That said, if you do want to spam spells non-stop then by all means.

I should probably find some way to fit that in the first post.
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Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:07 pm

Alois2 wrote:
Hashmal wrote:
Tsmp wrote:Oh wow, what? That's a biggie, I'll go ahead and add that in. Thanks!


Yep. The King's Set is pretty freaking awesome. Downside (or upside, depending): you look like Jon Snow. I need a way to cast WINTER IS COMING.

Question: what do you think the best starting class for a dark mage is? I'm a Cleric and wondering if I should create another character for min/maxing purposes. My next character will likely be a Deprived, just so I can (mostly) tool around with every build this game offers without being off in any one particular area.

I figure the best would be sorcerer so to be starting off offesively. While faith may start low it is not hard to bring up and with the Soul Arrow spell you'll have an easy time defeating most early enemies (most of all the ogres in Things Betwixt) and you'll be able to capitalize on Felkin (earliest found spot being at the start of Huntsman's Corpse, available just after Heide's Tower) and his Hexer friendly gear and spells. If you don't mind a minor investment in strength and dexterity you can also make use of Heids's Longsword's lightning parameters with FTH. (Found on the White Kinght early on in the Forest of the Last Giant). And with a little more some long-term swords for emergencies. If not then focus on developing ordinary sorcery until you have access to Falkin and the miracle lady from Heide's Tower (forgot her name...)

As a personal preference, I found the fire longsword more useful when building my hexmage, due to the dual int and fth scaling and non-dark damage type. It can be found in that tunnel with the giant fireball salamander thing, just outside and down the edge from the second bonfire.
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Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby DruvosCaecus » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:00 am

So does pyromancy scale with Fire BNS or just the glove?
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby CptCosmic » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:57 am

I am thinking about how to add some miracles to the bandit with minimal investing to attributes to get out the most of a quality build.

arent there rings that give slots? you could bring down the faith requirement of some spells to 10. greater magic barrier maybe or what about the "War" spell I saw in the demo? those spells would be 2 great pre combat buffs.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:51 am

CptCosmic wrote:I am thinking about how to add some miracles to the bandit with minimal investing to attributes to get out the most of a quality build.

arent there rings that give slots? you could bring down the faith requirement of some spells to 10. greater magic barrier maybe or what about the "War" spell I saw in the demo? those spells would be 2 great pre combat buffs.


That Miracle exists (it's called Sacred Oath) and is available from Straid for a Boss Soul—Velstadt. It eats up 4 spell slots, though, so it's not something you're going to lightly splash.

DruvosCaecus wrote:So does pyromancy scale with Fire BNS or just the glove?


Both.

Alois2 wrote: I figure the best would be sorcerer so to be starting off offesively. While faith may start low it is not hard to bring up and with the Soul Arrow spell you'll have an easy time defeating most early enemies (most of all the ogres in Things Betwixt) and you'll be able to capitalize on Felkin (earliest found spot being at the start of Huntsman's Corpse, available just after Heide's Tower) and his Hexer friendly gear and spells. If you don't mind a minor investment in strength and dexterity you can also make use of Heids's Longsword's lightning parameters with FTH. (Found on the White Kinght early on in the Forest of the Last Giant). And with a little more some long-term swords for emergencies. If not then focus on developing ordinary sorcery until you have access to Falkin and the miracle lady from Heide's Tower (forgot her name...)


All good advice, but my Cleric is SL 150, so this is why I was wondering what the optimal class for a Hex-based build is. Starting over is no issue for me in terms of damage or difficulty, so I'm not worried about being able to easily defeat early enemies.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Submarine_2 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:35 am

Hashmal wrote:
CptCosmic wrote:I am thinking about how to add some miracles to the bandit with minimal investing to attributes to get out the most of a quality build.

arent there rings that give slots? you could bring down the faith requirement of some spells to 10. greater magic barrier maybe or what about the "War" spell I saw in the demo? those spells would be 2 great pre combat buffs.


That Miracle exists (it's called Sacred Oath) and is available from Straid for a Boss Soul—Velstadt. It eats up 4 spell slots, though, so it's not something you're going to lightly splash.

DruvosCaecus wrote:So does pyromancy scale with Fire BNS or just the glove?


Both.

Alois2 wrote: I figure the best would be sorcerer so to be starting off offesively. While faith may start low it is not hard to bring up and with the Soul Arrow spell you'll have an easy time defeating most early enemies (most of all the ogres in Things Betwixt) and you'll be able to capitalize on Felkin (earliest found spot being at the start of Huntsman's Corpse, available just after Heide's Tower) and his Hexer friendly gear and spells. If you don't mind a minor investment in strength and dexterity you can also make use of Heids's Longsword's lightning parameters with FTH. (Found on the White Kinght early on in the Forest of the Last Giant). And with a little more some long-term swords for emergencies. If not then focus on developing ordinary sorcery until you have access to Falkin and the miracle lady from Heide's Tower (forgot her name...)


All good advice, but my Cleric is SL 150, so this is why I was wondering what the optimal class for a Hex-based build is. Starting over is no issue for me in terms of damage or difficulty, so I'm not worried about being able to easily defeat early enemies.

You need some intelligence to be able to speak to Straid, though. Sorcerer NPCs are as arrogant as they have ever been this time around. But since we can use soul vessels to respec now it should be possible to level up your intelligence to talk to the NPC, get your spell and respec afterwards. Four spellslots is quite a lot, but there is a hat which gives you one slot and - according to the wiki - you can find an upgraded ring in NG+ which gives you 3 spell slots.

Regarding starting classes for pure casters, sorcerer is definitely the way to go if you do not want to use a weapon. By ignoring endurance, vitality strength and dexterity the sorcerer saves 3 soul levels compared to the deprived, 6 levels compared to cleric and explorer and more than 10 levels compared to everyone else. If you choose to level up your endurance to cast more spells in succession, the sorcerer is still the best starting class and saves even more levels: 9 levels compared to the cleric. The cleric always wastes at least one level, even if you leave his dexterity at 5 and raise his strength to wield a weapon, unless you increase vitality as well. If you go 11STR/10DEX for the Heide Knight Sword, the sorcerer is STILL the best starting class, better than or on par with the cleric, depending on your desire to raise vitality.

So TL;DR: The best starting class for a caster is definitely the sorcerer.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:07 am

I like how they did the Deprived in this game. It's extremely synergistic with the ability to redo your build. The Deprived allows you to test run every build in the game, albeit slightly suboptimally. There's a legit reason to create one (which I will be doing) aside from early challenge and lols.

I would definitely pay attention to Endurance—if you're not leveling Vitality, you're going to need to roll a heck of a lot because you won't be able to effectively carry all you need to (shield, weapon, catalysts, staves, armor, rings). Plus, being able to shotgun a couple of spells and still roll once or twice puts a lot of pressure on opponents.

Good to know on the Sorcerer, though. My Cleric, for the most part, will probably be my PvE character, seeing how high his SL already is without having gone over to NG+. My first character usually is my achievement completer.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby CptCosmic » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:44 am

Submarine_2 wrote:You need some intelligence to be able to speak to Straid, though. Sorcerer NPCs are as arrogant as they have ever been this time around. But since we can use soul vessels to respec now it should be possible to level up your intelligence to talk to the NPC, get your spell and respec afterwards. Four spellslots is quite a lot, but there is a hat which gives you one slot and - according to the wiki - you can find an upgraded ring in NG+ which gives you 3 spell slots.

well that sucks but I dont need to absolutely minmax and milk every point out of the character, I could start with the knight class.

on the other hand, 4 slots for 50 attack power? the investment of slots and whatnot seem like it isnt worth, there is a ring that gives 50 attack by itself. I could use other miracles though (like greater magic barrier)
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Submarine_2 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:54 am

CptCosmic wrote:
Submarine_2 wrote:You need some intelligence to be able to speak to Straid, though. Sorcerer NPCs are as arrogant as they have ever been this time around. But since we can use soul vessels to respec now it should be possible to level up your intelligence to talk to the NPC, get your spell and respec afterwards. Four spellslots is quite a lot, but there is a hat which gives you one slot and - according to the wiki - you can find an upgraded ring in NG+ which gives you 3 spell slots.

well that sucks but I dont need to absolutely minmax and milk every point out of the character, I could start with the knight class.

I think it's okay, even if you want to minmax. Respeccing is really easy this time. I think I found around 5 soul vessels during my first playthrough and there are no additional costs involved.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Hashmal » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:28 pm

I think the reason it's so many slots is because it also buffs all white/gold phantoms on your side as well and can be stacked with personal weapon buffs, like Sunlight Blade, and rings like the Bladed Ring you're referring to.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby plaintomato » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:28 pm

Will stat boosting gear allow you to talk to those snobby NPCs, or do they require actual stat stats?

Edit: Nevermind. Answer: they require actual stat stats.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Alluboy » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:51 pm

Am I the only one disappointed in sorceries? There are so many cool looking sorceries, but they all have ridiculously low amount of casts, and the damage just doesn't make up for it.

Soul bolt 2 casts, Soul greatsword 3 casts (it's a multitarget spell though), Soul vortex (horrible against small enemies, but decent againts large ones) etc. The damage isn't even great, so you're better off with just loads of great heavy soul arrows. They do good amount of damage (maybe even too much), and are just slightly slower than regular soul arrows, AND you can cast them 10 times per slot.

I would have preferred maybe slightly weaker spells but with more casts.
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Submarine_2 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:47 pm

I have beaten 3 quarters of the game with my ToB build now and I almost never used sorceries. 3 casts for soul spear is disappointing, 4 for HSM as well. In addition I did not find any sorcery catalyst until now which was worth to be upgraded. Instead the hexes merchant gave me a sunset staff directly after i beat the tower of flame so I used it to dark orb my way through the game...

Until I bought the bell he offers, lightning spear and emit force. I like miracles much more than sorceries this time around. Lighting spears deal great damage, they one or two shot most mobs and make short work of bosses as well. I got, upgraded and lightning-infused the Witchtree Bellvine as soon as I could and I bought and found some scrolls of great lightning spears. It destroys everything, except for the lions in the shaded woods, which seem to have crazy elemental resistances. The sunlight spear does even more damage. I just killed the dragon rider duo in the castle, The first one died to 3 sunlight spears, the second one, apparently weaker, to 2 great lightning spears. I don't even remember why I leveled up my intelligence...
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Re: Dark Souls 2 Magic: The New Rules

Postby Tsmp » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:29 am

Updated this guide with new information on pyromancy.

Your Fire BNS and Fire Defense scales with your Intelligence and Faith added together, with heavy diminishing returns kicking in after the total is 60. So, 50 Int and 10 Fth gives the same amount of Fire BNS/Defense as 10 Int and 50 Fth or 30 Int and 30 Fth. Pretty spiffy.
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Useful notes for Dark Souls 2, by yours truly:
Magic System Guide:
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=19416

Dual Wielding Power Stance how-to:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19381

Bonfire Ascetic Guide and Explanation:
viewtopic.php?f=82&t=19345&p=185263#p185263

Invading in the Dark Chasm of Old:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=19608
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