Dark Souls Starter Tips: Undead Burg

Getting Dark Souls? Prepare to survive with our essential tips for your baby steps in the Undead Burg.

If you've played the game's prologue, you'll already be well prepared to farm souls and find weapons. However, after this, Dark Souls throws you in at the deep end in an open world. So, if you're brand new to this torturous series, follow our guide to survive the first couple of hours of the game.

After the opening castle, you're dropped into the hub world, Firelink Shrine, and given the freedom to roam wherever you like. However, there's only one area that you are initially skilled enough to explore: the Undead Burg.

Before going off into the Undead Burg, take time to roam around Firelink Shrine and find the hidden treasures that are littered throughout. Dying in the early part of the game costs only a few souls, therefore it's a good time to hone your skills.

Undead Burg

The staircase leading to the Undead Burg can be difficult to locate, but you can find it northeast of the Firelink Shrine bonfire. To survive (at least for a while) in the Undead Burg:

1. Backstab, Backstab, Backstab

To survive against multiple enemies, it's crucial you become effective at backstabbing. This attack does more damage than light and heavy attacks. Backstabs also enter your characters into an animation, which makes them momentarily invulnerable.

Back pain? Try an axe!

The mechanic can be a bit finicky, however, and being directly behind the enemy is no guarantee of success. Being at a slight angle seems to work more reliably. Aiming for the enemy's kidneys (assuming these monsters have kidneys) gets you a higher success rate.

Bear in mind, though: Trying to backstab an enemy when fighting three or more can be risky because running around one leaves you vulnerable to the others.

2. Iron Out the Kinks

Near the first bonfire (spawn point) in Undead Burg, there are two skeleton like soldiers with iron shields. These provide ideal practice for backstabbing. They can take a while to initiate an attack, so try to coax them to fight by kicking their shields. Kicking gives less recoil than a light attack and allows you to run around and backstab.

Great practice in the early hours of the game and right next to a bonfire.

3. Barrel Roll!

When in small rooms surrounded by barrels and other objects that can get in your way, destroy them. This isn't for aesthetic reasons; there is a strategic purpose. If you move into an unexplored area and come across a group of enemies, you will want to backtrack into an open area where you can effectively move and attack. Due to the sometimes finicky lock-on mechanic, knowing your surroundings is vital. Freely moving around the environment is crucial. Rolling around during a fight will waste precious stamina.

Extreme Makeover: Dark Souls Edition

4. Put Out the Fire First

Within the Undead Burg, you come across two similar-looking soldier types. One throws firebombs; the other only uses melee attacks. Take out the guys who throw firebombs first (they never have shields) because they are very annoying when trying to fight groups of enemies. If you are hit by a firebomb, your character tries to fan the flames, leaving you vulnerable to more attacks.

You can't block while on fire.

5. Kill Demons Around a Cozy Bonfire

The ideal place to practice combat is around the first bonfire within the Undead Burg. There are at least a dozen enemies here, and they are all reasonably easy to kill. If you die, you spawn very close to your lost souls. Be warned, though: You have to rest at a bonfire for it to become a spawn point.

It's best to experiment near bonfires. Dark Souls requires you to err on the side of caution.

6. Shields Are Heavy

When running from point to point, always keep your shield up. All it takes is one deadly enemy lying in wait to lose you hours of progress and thousands of souls. A ready shield prevents this, as well as the inevitable crying and broken controller that follows. If you block an attack and there's no sign of another, lower your shield. Your stamina regenerates much more slowly if you have your shield up.

7. Beware the Black Knight

There's a staircase (see screenshot below) that leads either up to the Taurus Demon or down to a Black Knight. The Black Knight is arguably harder than the boss because he is quicker and does greater damage. If you are not a pyromancer, or are low on firebombs, he is best left alone.

Staircase to the left leads to the Taurus Demon. To the right: the Black Knight.

If you do decide to take him on, be aware of his run and stab attack. The best course of action is to stand far away and throw firebombs, due to his speed and reach. Timing and awareness of the distance between you and the knight are vital in this fight. He may take a few attempts to defeat, but the Black Knight doesn't respawn when you die.

Finally, here are some quick pointers on how to tackle the first boss:

Taking on the Taurus Demon

Before taking on this beast, make sure you have at least 10 firebombs or black firebombs. The Taurus Demon is weak to fire, and these will let you maintain distance from his massive mace.

As soon as you traverse the white light, head down the steps, around the right, and up the ladder. Take out the archers once you get up there. If you ignore them, it is almost impossible to fight the boss because their arrows interrupt your attacks.

Once you've dealt with the archers, head back down the ladder and across the bridge. Eventually, the Taurus Demon will drop down and sprint toward you. Don't run away until he begins his attack. He will just continue to charge until you end up back at the staircase with nowhere to go.

If you find yourself trapped at either end of the bridge, wait for the demon to reach the end of his back swing (if he does a side swing) or peak of his downward crush and then quickly roll away. If he is swinging from right to left, roll to his left and vice versa. When at a safe distance, use your firebombs (or fireball, if you are a pyromancer). It should take six to eight firebombs to defeat him.

Want more tips for Dark Souls? Be sure to check out our Starting Block!

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27 comments
drokmore
drokmore

Great game already, quite challenging. I love that death actually means something in this game. Too many games these days are easy mode.

elandcloud
elandcloud

i killed the black knight without any firebombs, it was at least a 15 minute fight D; 

youngfellaslim
youngfellaslim

but hostly this game one of the best RPGs i ever played

youngfellaslim
youngfellaslim

@voice of wisdom even harder haaaaa ... then in the next dark souls we must buy at least 5 controllers =] 2 beat the game lol

Voice_of_Wisdom
Voice_of_Wisdom

best franchise ever. I'm already looking forward to the third iteration, and hoping it'll be even harder than dark souls

ccusick
ccusick

And another thing -- This game is really frustrating at times, but you don't have to go around and collect the items again. I tend to look in every corner in games like this, and I am very grateful that you don't have to hunt and peck each time you die. So - new area, find treasure, and then, after exploring and dying, you make your run to complete the level all in one "life."

ccusick
ccusick

Ok, so last night, I answered my own questions. The key is only a thousand souls, so I bought it and it apparently only unlocks one door. It gets you to a treasure chest that you can see.. but not access.. without the key. So, I got some pine resin or something like that. It apparently adds lightning to a weapon, but I don't have the other pieces to do that yet. So, I would farm/practice with R1 and R2 attacks of different weapons, hone your technique (especially if you did not play Demon Souls, like I -did-not). Then buy the key and maybe get lightning damage on a favorite weapon later. I must recommend the spear (I am wanderer, but bought the spear) for guys with a shield. R1 is a poking attack, and r2 is a big pokey. works really well. Also, for shields, you can find or buy a mace.... and you just bash on the shields and it works. Imagine a club/blunt weapons work this way.

lionclaw20
lionclaw20

The best way to defeat the Taurus demon if you are a sorcerer is to run away, climb the ladder a little more than half way. Then the demon will jump on to the platform above. Now go down the ladder little less than half way and and the demon will jump down,while he is jumping down climb up. the demon will stare at you for like 8 seconds allow you to get off a soul arrow or two. Fire bombs work as well. This works for the black knight also just climb the ladder that leads to the top of the house(over where the undead soldiers are throwing firebombs.) Stand at the top of the ladder,lock on...like fish in a barrel.

spiders213
spiders213

I disagree with the strategy on the taurus demon. I made it though that fight without getting hurt once. you just stay right up in his face as close as possible, 90% of his swings won't hit you, the only one that CAN hit you is his wide swing, just block it and you get pushed backwards, then get right back in his face. With this strategy you don't need firebombs or anything else, also most of the time the demon ends up jumping off the edge and killing himself... you just have to keep his back to a drop off and when he jumps backwards to distance himself it's goodnight ugly. Also with all the bosses after taurus look around before traversing the white light, often times there's summon signs from npc's, you just have to be in human form to see and interact with them. Also get the Short bow and a decent amount of arrows, while under the bridge shoot off the dragons tail to get a REALLY good sword.

ccusick
ccusick

What about the Merchant?! and the key. I read elsewhere that you can link up to this location and get back here. So you could get the key later. But -- is it worth the grind to get to ??3000 souls?? and buy the key on the first time through? Also, I have done some farming and some practicing, and some dying here. It is a good way to get a bow, and practice with other weapons. Heavier armor slows you down. Pros and cons to everything in this game.

BloomerNYC
BloomerNYC

I've played this game nonstop since it released and have seen no summon signs. We're talking 50+ hours and not a single sign.

AlkalineHero099
AlkalineHero099

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

AlkalineHero099
AlkalineHero099

Jumping from the top of the tower and hitting RB/R1 is a much faster way of killing the Taurus Demon. Depending on what weapon you use, you can take out almost a third of his health bar (or 3/4 of it if you use Zweihandler like i did) with one stab. Then slash him a few times and he'll stumble back so you can go back up the ladder and deal another blow from above. This is great if you don't want to use/don't have any firebombs, and I feel like it's safer overall.

Zylaris
Zylaris

On the Black Knight, we know he is protecting a loot behind him, which is a ring that gives you defense when your life is low. You can reach it without having to fight the Black Knight. When you are by the bonfire, you kill the guy on the stairs and the archer. Then there is a bridge where 2 guys through fire bombs at you, at the other end of the bridge there is a missing part of wall, if you jump you can lend on a little balcony where there is a dead body, this is the loot that the Black Knight is protecting. As soon as you land pick it up. The black Knight will charge and throw you down the balcony and you'll die. Then you re-appear at the bonfire BUT with the loot!!! It's a way to get it. Hope it helps you! ;-)

Dark_W4rrior
Dark_W4rrior

As soon as i entered the Fog i climbed the tower to kill the archers, after that i lured the boss out, went back to the tower, equipped a zweihander on both hands, enchanted it with lightning and hit him once falling down and he lost 80% of his health, as soon as i landed i hit him again with a strong attack and he died : D

bonander
bonander

My strategy for the black knight was to lure him back up the stairs you first came down, and then I climbed the ladder that leads to the platform that the three firebomb throwers were standing. The knight can't climb the ladder. So I just locked on to him and fired arrows at him. Most of the arrows get blocked but a few get through.

rpgfandylan1990
rpgfandylan1990

If you get the lightening item wait to use it on the church roof bosses

BloomerNYC
BloomerNYC

Damn. The the black knight didn't drop anything for me. I prefer a nice reinforced battle axe.

aragorn-1
aragorn-1

Ive killed black knight early by backstabbing strategy... backstabbing really works for big enemies like them.

Antagonist8503
Antagonist8503

The Black Knight can be beaten without magic early on in the game. I encountered him and after a series of blows, I realized he was out of my league. I ran all the way back to the bonfire only to notice that he followed me all the way there. So I took my time and fought him at the bonfire. He does a series of moves. Just keep strafing him and wait for one of his heavy attacks. Eventually you'll get around towards his back, then just backstab him. It took roughly 15+ backstabbs for me to kill him. But the rewards are worth it. He drops his sword and the area where he was holds a ring that boosts defense when you are low on health. That was just a tip. Hope it helps. I was a Knight class. Favorite weapon - Spear. Same weapon I used for most of Demon's Souls

shaks101
shaks101

The Black Knight is a boss in its own right. Seriously, I died like 10 times trying to beat it. I ain't giving up though ;) Worse thing is, there are more than 1 of these :@

clint8565
clint8565

Thanks for the tips. You can also climb the ladder and do a plunging attack on the Taurus Demon, 3 plunges and he's dead.

blackmetalwar
blackmetalwar

These are good tips! Also, there's a lightning item that you can use on your melee weapon to temporarily increase the damage. I think the Demon has a weakness to lightning.

Morfessa
Morfessa

Good going! Thanks for the tips!

jecomans
jecomans

@elandcloud I basically backtracked to the bonfire and back during that fight. Took me a similar time. Eventually went up the ladder where you got to the bomb throwers and realised he couldn't get you up there, but I didn't have projectiles left...