There are quite a few elements of the Dark Souls series that make them incredibly difficult games. One thing that has persisted across all three — and is especially prominent in Dark Souls 3 — is the weight and equipment ratios, which you’ll need to know how to calculate if you want to fight optimally. And fighting optimally is really your only choice, being that everything else in the game is on a mission to wipe you out. It was one of the most eagerly-awaited games of 2016, and with a recently-released DLC package capping off the game in 2017, there’s never been a better time to dig into Dark Souls 3.
Many fans of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series are thought to be masochists. These games are extremely punishing, but fans of the trilogy will be quick to tell you that even failure is a rewarding experience in Dark Souls. And players should be prepared to fail. A lot.
There’s a reason that the definitive release of the first game was subtitled the “Prepare to Die” edition. They’re dark, grisly, and difficult, but also some of the most remarkably orchestrated gaming experiences that you can get your hands on. And luckily, the Dark Souls games are available on a variety of different platforms, from PC to PlayStation 4.
Of course, the crushingly painful bosses are the most vivid element of Dark Souls games, with regard to their difficulty. Each is an experience in and of itself, and you’ll die dozens of times while trying to formulate a tried-and-true strategy for conquering them. But there are other, tertiary elements to the gameplay that come with their own struggles, and one of those is managing the combined weight of your equipped items. In Dark Souls 3, you’re able to equip your character with a wide variety of weapons, armor, and accessories, but you always have to pay attention to how much they weigh. Put on more than your character can carry, and you’ll end up hobbling yourself during combat — those moments in Dark Souls when snappy movement is crucial!
Below, we’re going to show you how to calculate your weight ratio and equipment loads, but we’re not going to stop there. We’ll also examine some of the best ways that you can take advantage of this gameplay mechanic, to better succeed against Dark Souls 3’s many challenges. And furthermore, we’ll talk a little bit about the downloadable content that recently arrived for Dark Souls 3. It’s a significant piece of game content, due to the fact that it is the definitive end of the stories Dark Souls games, according to FromSoftware.
Difficulty Incarnate – Dark Souls
Nobody who enjoys the Dark Souls games holds their difficulty in contempt. It’s an intrinsic part of the experience, and while other big, modern games are filled with tutorials, save points, and forgiving gameplay elements, the Dark Souls series takes an entirely different approach. Each death that you suffer has repercussions for your gameplay, usually requiring you to backtrack through dangerous areas, and fight your way back to the challenge that defeated you. There are no tutorials to be found. No “waypoints” that will show you the correct direction to go in. Just weapons and armor that can be discovered and equipped, along with a world of monsters and other enemies that are actively trying to kill you.
It’s a dangerous game space, but the oppressive risk and eventual thrill of success are what make them great games.
Dark Souls 3
It was widely known, when the game first launched, that Dark Souls 3 was going to be the final entry in the series. Nevermind that Bloodborne — exclusive to the PlayStation 4 — had many of the same gameplay mechanics, most fans recognized that the third game was the capstone for a trilogy. Therefore, hopes were high and they have largely been fulfilled. FromSoftware has taken the best elements from across all three Dark Souls game and combined them into a legendary, compelling experience. Storylines were wrapped up, “final bosses” (in the truest sense) were revealed, and fans were allowed to say “goodbye” to one of the most important franchises from the past decade.
Dark Souls 3 has left a massive footprint in the gaming landscape, and given its popularity and success, we should expect to see parts of what made it fun appearing in other games, going forward.
Weight & Equipment Ratios
RPGs have used item weight as a gameplay mechanics for quite a while, but it’s possible that it matters more than ever in Dark Souls 3. Your equipment’s weight ratio isn’t determined by what you’re carrying — only by what you have equipped. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you’re not overburdening your character with the armor, weapons, and accessories that they’re carrying into the next fight. Lightning-quick reflexes and fast movement will save your life in this game, meaning that poorly balanced equipment weight can cause serious problems.
How Weight & Equipment Affect Gameplay
In Dark Souls 3, your weight ration and equipment load are measured in percentages. Certain thresholds will affect your character’s ability to move, as well as their speed. The breakdown below will give you a good idea of how your character can be hampered:
- 100% or higher will keep your character from being able to roll, backstep, or sprint. If you hit this point, unequip something immediately!
- 70% to 100% equipment load will make your character abysmally slow. Rolling and dodging will cover shorter distances, and your stamina will replenish more slowly. Not good!
- 30% to 70% is when movement is first affected. Your ability to dodge and sprint won’t be hampered, but your rolls will cover slightly less distance. This is rough against particularly fast enemies.
- 30% and lower will keep your character moving at their absolute fastest. Rolling and dodging will be lightning quick, and you’ll be able to sprint at full speed. Stamina replenishes at its normal rate.
As you’re changing up your character’s kit, maybe to try a different playstyle, or maybe to suit a different encounter — be sure to keep an eye on your equipment load. You might feel like the slower movement won’t affect you that much, but you’ll sure notice it when a dodge doesn’t take you fully away from a monster’s swing!
Of course, there are steps you can take to offset the punishments of equipment load, primarily by giving your character better vitality to carry more equipment.
Only a handful of methods will help you to improve your equipment load, without simply unequipping items that are overbalancing what your character is currently capable of carrying. However, they’re pretty straightforward, and some of the necessary items aren’t terribly difficult to get.
- Firstly, you can always level up your Vitality. This stat will increase your equipment load ratio, and also improve your character’s defenses and poison resistance. If you want to play a character that’s always equipped with heavy weapons, you’ll want to focus on this stat.
- You can equip the Havel’s Ring item, which will greatly increase your equipment load percentage. Of course, equipping this will block you from equipping a different ring, which probably has its own benefits. Check out the Dark Souls 3 Wiki for instructions on how to acquire this item, as well as the ring’s New Game+ versions.
- The Ring of Favor will increase your HP, your Stamina, and also your equipment load (though, not as much as Havel’s Ring.) You can find out how to get it, here!
Overall, leveling up your Vitality is going to give you the best method of improving your equipment load, mostly because it involves the least sacrifice to other parts of your character. There are some fairly powerful rings and other items out there, and forgoing one of those for the sake of being able to carry more might cost you in the long run!
The Ringed City
Funnily enough, the most recent DLC package for Dark Souls 3 is going to give you all kinds of methods to further complicate your characters weight ratio management. The new weapons and equipment are a hell of a lot of fun. Ever fancy wielding a gigantic pair of double doors as a shield? I know, it satisfies my darkest Dark Souls fantasies, too.
On top of that, the Ringed City is the decisive, final end to the Dark Souls 3 trilogy. If you’ve been a fan of the series for all three games, there’s a good chance that you’re invested in the storylines and outcomes that have been building up thus far. Oh, and the bosses are incredibly fun, rewarding for the same old reasons, and also because they offer closure to an amazing franchise of games.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you to better understand weight ratios and equipment load in Dark Souls 3. If you want to know how to calculate it, simply equip and unequip items in your inventory, to get those percentages to adjust — it’s the only way that you’re going to figure out the appropriate set of kit for the character you’re currently building. If there’s anything else Dark Souls-related that we can help with, let us hear about it in the comments below!