Stats make the Slayer, and no one’s going to be beating Demon’s Souls on their first playthrough without leveling up in the process. While skilled players and perhaps even series veterans can get through Demon’s Souls at SL1, most players will be making use of everything at their disposal to get an advantage. Demon’s Souls was a hostile game when it originally released on the PS3, and its PS5 remake is no different.
FromSoftware’s cult classic may be challenging, but leveling goes a long way in Demon’s Souls – so long as players pick the right stats. Just like in Dark Souls, not every stat in Demon’s Souls is all that useful in the grand scheme of things. Worse, it’s considerably easier to mess up a build in Demon’s Souls than a game like Bloodborne. Knowing which stats to level and what they do goes a long way in making Demon’s Souls manageable.
Luck is useful for exactly one build, of which players should know they’re doing before they start the game. All other builds should avoid Luck altogether, as it’s the closest things Demon’s Souls has to a truly useless stat. Even though Luck increases item drop rate and Plague resistance (theoretically useful for the Valley of Defilement,) its benefits are almost utterly useless.
Luck doesn’t increase item rarity, what actually matters about the drop rate, and Plague is one of the most circumstantial status effects in the game – easily preventable through gameplay. Blueblood builds are free to level Luck as that’s their main damage stat, but there are otherwise no tangible benefits to leveling Luck.
Outside of Luck, there are no useless stats in Demon’s Souls. That said, the game itself isn’t particularly well balanced, resulting in several builds fighting an uphill battle throughout the game. Although Dexterity builds can create truly powerful end-game characters (especially for archers using the Sticky Compound Longbow,) the weapon variety available isn’t as outright ferocious as for Strength builds.
On the same token, Dexterity builds have access to the Uchigatana, a katana that scales well with Dex and can be found in 4-1 by Vanguard. Dexterity itself is an attack stat, increasing the offensive capabilities of a Dex based weapon.
Strength, like Dexterity, is primarily an attack stat. Players should only level Strength if they’re looking to use build a melee character who will be equipping heavy weapons. The Dragon Bone Smasher is an excellent example of a high level Strength weapon, doing obscene damage in spite of its limited move set. Strength, like Dexterity, soft caps at 40. While there are weapons that benefit from pushing Strength to at least 50, those are 10 levels that can be comfortably spent elsewhere. For any beginners, they arguably should.
Demon’s Souls may be hard, but it’s nowhere near impossible thanks to the inclusion of magic. When all else fails, a mage will get through the game with little to no trouble. Very few enemies and bosses actually resist magic, and those that do can typically be defeated with unique spells. Even the hardest boss in the game – Old King Doran – can do nothing in the face of spells like Poison or Death Could.
The Magic stat raises the damage output of all spells, an attack stat like Strength and Dexterity. Interestingly, Magic has different soft caps depending on which Catalyst players have equipped. Wooden Catalysts soft cap at 30, whereas Insanity Catalysts soft cap at 50. Regardless of which Catalyst players use, leveling Magic guarantees a fairly easy playthrough.
While there aren’t as many Miracles as there are spells in Demon’s Souls, Faith Builds have a noticeable advantage over traditional mages who stick to leveling Magic & Intelligence: they only have one main stat. Faith Builds will need to raise Intelligence to increase their MP, but the Faith stat has the added benefit of raising Miracle potency while unlocking new Miracle slots in the process. By 36, players will have access to four Miracle slots along with high level Miracles. Rather than damaging enemies, Miracles offer buffs, healing, and status effect removal – extremely useful for anyone consistently taking a lot of damage.
Since Intelligence raises MP – tied to some of the most overpowered spells in the game – it goes without saying that the stat stands out as one of Demon’s Souls’ most useful. Intelligence offers players a max of 6 spell slots at 40, while also only soft capping at 60. It’s debatable whether or not any build needs that much MP (especially since Magic could likely benefit from those extra levels,) but being able to fire off an onslaught of varied magic is never not useful in Demon’s Souls.
Similarly, it always pays to have a high Vitality stat in Demon’s Souls. Not only does Vitality increase item burden (useful for anyone who carries a lot of equipment, or even just Full Moon Grass,) it’s the only means of raising a player’s max health in a game where dying cuts the total health pool in half – without the Cling Ring, of course.
Vitality soft caps 50, but the stat will always offer extra HP and Item Burden up to Level 99, ensuring that levels are never wasted. Whenever a build is set in stone, it’s usually a safe and smart idea to invest heavily in Vitality. Health goes a long way in Demon’s Souls.
Endurance is the single most important stat in Demon’s Souls and ignoring it is a surefire way of ruining any playthrough. Endurance increases Stamina up to 40, equip burden (extremely useful for melee character, especially Strength builds,) and Fire, Poison, & Bleed Resistance depending on the level. Endurance is an all purpose stat that ensures any character can equip what they want, move how they like, and resist virtually everything in their path. It’s more debatable whether Endurance is worth leveling past 40 like Vitality, but the benefits of a light Equip Burden on a heavy character shouldn’t be ignored.
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