Dark Souls 2: ultimate armour guide

Ben Griffin

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Dark Souls 2 is one big fashion parade. Whether you want to resist fire, boost intelligence, or up the intimidation factor online, what you wear matters. Others have already written exhaustive checklists of the game's armour sets, so instead PC Gamer's resident fashionista Ben has devised some fabulous custom ensembles—some for form, others for function. Check them out below.

There's a sizeable selection, so we've broken it into chunks so you can find the fashion you're looking for.

Page 2: Ben's favourite outfits

Page 3: Dark Souls 2's weirdest outfits

Page 4: Outfits for farming rare items, raising equipment load, more effective magic, tougher tanking and surviving high falls.

Page 5: Outfits for boosting fire resistance (great for Iron Keep), dressing like the enemy, dressing like a phantom, one-off armour pieces and becoming a humble pot.

My favourite outfits

There's a reason the Faraam set took centre stage in Dark Souls 2's promotion—just look at that fur lining. To get your hands on it, proceed to the King's Gate bonfire in Drangleic Castle. Then turn right into the room with the statues and head towards the far left door. Fall through the floor in this room to find the armour waiting for you. Note: to open the door you'll have to kill an enemy near the statue.

Fashionistas, pay attention: the Tights of Judgement go with anything. After the first Drakekeeper in the Dragon Shrine, stick a stone in the Pharros' Contraption, destroy the fake wall, and pop open the chest for the entire Judgement set. Top off the look with a gold and burgundy Mask of Judgement. I've upgraded mine with Twinkling Titanite to raise defence and complete the look.

The Dark Mask adds a certain Hot Topic twist. Find it in a chest behind the wooden hut housing the first bonfire of Aldia's Keep (oh, be warned, it's a Mimic). As for the torso, remember seeing those depressed knights sitting with bowed heads? They're called Heide Knights, and they drop armour. You may have to kill them a few times to get the piece you want, but unfortunately they don't respawn without the aid of a bonfire ascetic. There's one after the Crestfallen's Retreat bonfire in the Forest of Fallen Giants, one after the Exile Holding Cells bonfire in the Lost Bastille, and one after the Ruined Fork Road bonfire in the Shrine of Winter (take the left path).

Uh, I had a little accident in makeup. See the black face? This happens occasionally. It seems to occur when I swap between the White Ring and the Ring of the Dead, but so far I've found no consistent way to replicate the glitch. To deflect attention away from it, I've accented Velstadt's glimmering gold armour with scarlet Leather Gloves and Falconer Boots, and topped it with a Bone Crown. That's my one fashion rule: always show off your best assets.

Maughlin in Majula sells both the Falconer Set and Velstadt's Set (you must defeat Velstadt in the Undead Crypt for the latter), while Titchy Gren sells the crown after you defeat the Skeleton Lords. Titchy is located in the bonfire after the Executioner's Chariot boss. Finally, the gloves are found in a chest near the Soldier's Rest bonfire. You'll need the key from the Last Giant to access this area.

The runways of Milan wouldn't baulk at this selection of classy, co-ordinated armour styles. Now we enter the realm of the avant garde with a round-up of Dark Souls 2's most bizarre outfits. PREPARE THYSELF.

My weirdest outfits

Maughlin in Majula sells the Moon Butterfly set on two conditions: you've already spent 16,000 souls with him, and you're on NG++ (alternatively, simply use two bonfire ascetics). Careful, it's poisonous, so talking to any NPC with the set on turns them hostile. The set also allows you to jump without sprinting.

Buy the Smelter Demon set from Maughlin the Armorer after defeating it in the Iron Keep. With its hooves and horned head, you look like a sort of fancy dress bull without the back end. But, you know, from Hell.

There's something unsettling going on here. I can't work out if it's the creepily impassive Manikin Mask, the Bandit Armour with sheep skull-lined shoulder, or the barely-there loincloth. Probably all three *shudder*. The mask drops from Manikin in Earthen Peak, and Magerold in the Iron Keep sells the Bandit Set.

There are two headpieces to the Dragon Acolyte set—a mask and a hood. The former can be farmed, along with the rest of the set, from Dragon Acolytes in Aldia's Keep. They jump out from behind giant paintings. The latter (pictured) is a little rarer, a drop from the giant caged basilisk just before. To ensure better drop rates, turn the page for a series of pragmatic armour for all occasions.

Farming rare items

The Jester's Cap, Prisoner's Hood and Prisoner's Tatters make rarer items drop with more regularly. You can also consume a Rusted Coin for a 300-second, 1% luck boost (hey, every little helps) and wear the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring to further raise item discovery. Magerold in the Iron Keep sells a +1 ring after you spend 10k souls on him and have the Travelling Merchant's cap in your inventory, and the the Belfry Gargoyles drop a +2 version on NG+ (bonfire ascetics don't count).

Raising equipment load

Sure, you could buy the Penal Mask off Maughlin the Armorer, but he flat out gives you the transparent Aurous set once you spend 16,000 souls with him. Both raise equip load. Effects stack with the Third Dragon Ring and Royal Soldier's Ring, so this lets you lag around rock-heavy weapons and armour such as the Fire Giant Warrior Club, Looking Glass Knight's mask, and Wicked Eye Greatshield I'm currently modeling.

The best for casters

The Hexer's Hood, which increases the number of casts for each spell by 10% and adds +1 Faith and Intelligence, is sold by Merchant Hag Melentia in The Forest of Fallen Giants after you kill Felkin the Outcast. Alternatively, buy it from Felkin himself near the first bonfire in Huntsman's Copse - you'll need 20 Intelligence and 20 Faith before he talks to you, mind. I've combined it here with the King's Mirror, which can reflect spells if you correctly time a shield bash, and the Lion Mage robes, cuff and skirt, which increases casting speed with each piece.

Also, look up the Black Hood, which Straid in the Lost Bastille hands out if you trade him four boss souls, and the Chaos Hood, which can be purchased from Navlaan upon completing his quest (or Merchant Hag Melentia after you kill Navlaan). It grants +3 intelligence.

The best for tanks

At a combined weight of 60.3. somethings (Dark Souls 2 doesn't seem to like units of measurement), you're looking at the heaviest outfit in the game. It comprises of Havel's Helm, leggings and gauntlets, and the Old Ironclad armour. Technically, the Smelter Demon has the heaviest headpiece, but I've already given it some love. Find Havel's set by unlocking a door in The Gutter with the Forgotten Key (this is obtained by killing the giants under Black Gulch). The Old Ironclad Armour, meanwhile, drops off Old Ironclads in the Forest of Fallen Giants and the Iron Keep. Goodbye, manoeuvrability.

Surviving high falls

Sweet Shalquoir lives in Majula (she's easy to spot because she's a talking cat) and sells the Flying Feline Boots for 6,000 souls. On the plus side they reduce fall damage, allowing you to drop into the deep hole in Majula without buying a ladder from Gilligan. On the downside, they're furry hot pants. Make sure to purchase the Silvercat Ring from her for 134000 souls, too, which has the same effect. All parts of the Lion Warrior set, dropped from Lion Warriors in the Shaded Ruins, also stack to reduce fall damage.

Resisting fire

Have you seen those chests in the Iron Keep? The ones on lava? They're impossible to reach without the fire-resistant Alonne Knight or Alonne Captain set, nabbed off the area's titular enemies. Combine this with the Flame Quartz Ring, a Small Orange Burr consumable, a Lifegem to slowly regenerate health, and the pyromancy spell Flash Sweat. Finally, either use the Pharros' Contraption in the vicinity to unleash water, or break any nearby jugs, then roll in it. Even after all this, you're still not immune, but it's just enough to reach the first chest containing a Phoenix Parma shield, and the second containing the Chaos Storm pyromancy.

Dress like the enemy

Fancy fooling online opponents by dressing like AI? Farm the Hollow Solider Helm, armour, gauntlets and leggings off Hollow Royal Soldiers in the Forest of Fallen Giants, then grab an appropriate weapon like a halberd, bastard sword, estoc or longsword. Nobody will know the difference! This works on any enemy whose armour you can farm - Alonne Knights in the Iron Keep or Archdrakes in the Shrine of Amana, for instance. Make sure to kill an enemy then stand sentry in his spot until your opponent arrives for added deception.

Dress like a phantom

You can also fool players who summon you as an invader into thinking you're a friendly phantom instead. Slap on the White Ring and you'll glow with a deceitful white aura. I've paired it with the Leydia White Robe and Grave Warden Mask for a ghostly touch. Trade with Dyna and Tillo in Things Betwixt for the ring. As for the robe and mask, farm Leydia Apostles in the Undead Crypt and Grave Wardens in Earthen Peak.

One-off armour pieces

Most armour comes in sets consisting of head, arms, legs and torso, but one-off specialties exist. Find this Singer's Dress in the Shrine of Amana by going to the third bonfire and heading back towards the second while keeping to your right. It's hidden in the cliff wall behind some breakable roots. An ogre guards it, and he's particularly tasty in the water, so bait him out and rush past him if you don't feel like having your head chomped on

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My Engraved Gauntlets are found in a room in Brightstone Cove Tseldora, accessed using the Tseldora Den Key. This key is received after saving either Mild Mannered Pate or Creighton the Wanderer when they have a scrap in the same location (you must exhaust all their dialogue options for this to happen). Finally, there's Durgo's Hat (an ultra-rare drop from invaders at the King's Gate bonfire in Drangelic Castle, provided you've used an ascetic), the Red Lion Warrior Cape (drops from Red Lion Warriors in the Shaded Ruins), and the Flying Feline Boots.

Become a pot

Use a Silver Talisman consumable to transform into an object. It's contextual, so in one area you might look like an aged vase, and in another a rock, or a crate, or even a painting. Sorcerers can cast the Chameleon spell for the same effect. You can actually block while transformed, as long as your guard doesn't break. I've got those dragons fooled.

And that's as much as I've mustered so far. What's your favourite armour set from Dark Souls 2?

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