Getting Started

From SpeedSouls - A Dark Souls Speedrunning Wiki

This page is meant for people trying to get into Dark Souls III speedrunning.

General

Before you consider speedrunning, you want to be quite familiar with the game, its mechanics and the level/map layouts.
Trying to start after only one playthrough can be frustrating and only makes things unnecessarily harder.
Especially in Souls games, in which most people are used to taking their time to approach enemies or other obstacles, it can be difficult to play with time pressure on you even after a few playthroughs.
Here are some suggestions for challenge runs or playthroughs that might help you getting used to speedruns more quickly: No Armor, No Shield, SL1, No Healing (or combinations of those). In the following chapters, you will find core concepts that apply to Dark Souls III speedrunning.

Youtube Tutorials

Tutorials on Speedrunning Dark Souls III by Nemz38 on YouTube

Resources to Speedrun Dark Souls III

Download the Ultimate Dark Souls III Speedrun Pack created by DarK.
This pack provides all the tools necessary to speedrun Dark Souls III. Below you can find additional information and various tools explained which are also included in the mentioned pack.

  • A Good Computer. Dark Souls III makes a fair bit of use of the system's processor and (v)RAM. Area's like Lothric Castle and other area's that are meshed more heavily will often drop the game's FPSFrames per second.
  • A Keyboard or Controller. Most Dark Souls III speedrunners prefer controllers, commonly Xbox or Playstation controllers. Controllers in Dark Souls III make the game more friendly to play, but it is all up to preferences of course. Keep in mind that at high-level play, a mix of using both your controller and keyboard is way more favourable.
  • Timer / Split Program. The most common one and advanced one is LiveSplit.
  • The Crash Fix modified executable to fix the crashes which occur while speedrunning Dark Souls III.
  • Install Durazno which is a tool for adjusting and compensating the Deadzone of controllers. In Dark Souls III, it is used to compensate the deadzone angles created by the Controller's Left Analog stick for movement in setups, such as the alignment to throw Firebombs.
  • The Downpatching method through Steam Console to download older patches or the Dark Souls III Downpatcher to downpatch your game to an older version.
  • The SpeedSouls - Save Organizer. The Speedsouls Save Organizer lets you easily make saves and practice Bosses / Segments with the click of a button.
  • The No-Logo Mod which skips the intro logos from the game. These are the logos seen when starting up the game and saving & quiting.
  • The Practice Tool is a general-purpose configurable practice tool for Dark Souls III intended to provide speedrunners with various features to help improve and speed up practice.

Common terms in Dark Souls III Speedrunning

When learning Dark Souls III, you might find out a lot yourself about the game, but when starting off with speedrunning, there might be some terms you will not be aware of when starting running this game.

The common terms used Dark Souls III are mentioned here below upon expanding the tab.
Common terms in Dark Souls III speedrunning
  • IGTIn-Game Time , Dark Souls III runs on an In-Game Timer which LiveSplit takes over through a plugin you activate in it and is the timer you see on the screen. The game keeps track of the time you are 'inside of the game', meaning whenever you are outside of the actual game, like in the Main Menu, the timer will pause and resume when you are back in the game.
  • RNG stands for Random Number Generator and is based on whatever events are randomly generated in the game. An event being everything like an enemy animation, attack, or game behavior even. The term applies a lot for Dark Souls III in a heavy way because of the nature of enemies and bosses that have moves that are considered Good RNG and Bad RNG. Moves that you have to dodge or roll are always bad. Moves you can strafe and are punishable are considered good.
  • AoE stands for "Area of Effect" and is used to describe an area or zone in which an effect takes place. For DS3, in most cases this will be referred to an enemy attack. Examples being the Fire Blast that the Dancer of the Boreal Valley does, or the attack Aldrich does when he bashes his staff on the ground and warps away.
  • iFrames stand for Invincibility Frames and are commonly referred to the amount of frames in which in event, the player is invincible. This can be through a dodge. A roll for example (depending on its duration) provides iFrames to roll through.
  • Hitboxes stand for a 'volume' which is created by the game during the event of an enemy or boss attacking you. The length and width of the hitbox volume of that specific attack determines in what range the attack will register on the player. In some cases in Dark Souls III, such as in older patches, hitboxes can behave strange and still damage the player while they should not.
  • Menu Delay is a small forced time delay during actions in the menu to prevent unintended actions in the menu.
  • Quitting out the Game is a proficient way to deal with long animations which can be skipped in your Speedrun. Quitting out and reloading the game back in during most of the animations will result in the animation getting skipped. It is used for Doors, Levers and other action based events which take up in-game time. It is also used to reset Enemy positions within the world. Enemy starting positions are always the same, but what enemies do in Dark Souls III will always be different.
  • Dying is bad, really bad. Dark Souls III uses the Embered Form/State in which, if you are alive, boosts your Max HP, making tanking / absorbing hits easier. If you ever die, it is recommended using an Ember if you have one.

Movement in Dark Souls III Speedrunning

Movement is a key element in souls games. The more efficient your movement is, the more time you will save obviously.
Movement and enemy behaviour.
  • Movement in Dark Souls III Speedrunning
Enemies and Bosses in DS3 often have a variety of attacks. Some of their attacks involve rather precised ranged hitboxes which allow you to strafe the attack.
Some attacks can therefore be strafed without the necessity of rolling for iFrames to dodge the attack.
By learning what attacks are strafable, fights will get easier and you as a player will preserve more stamina in the process.
Strafing and dodging go hand-in-hand with locking on and off to enemies and bosses in Dark Souls III.
Most of the boss fights are generally easier locked on. Though, some boss fights are a lot easier locked off.
This is mostly because locking on causes bad behavior of the enemy / boss or it makes up for a bad camera.
In some cases, boss fights get easier when they are partially done locked on, and then locking off at the right moments.
Stamina Management.
  • Stamina Management
Stamina managament is by far not a hard thing to learn, but throughout a whole run it can lose you a lot of time if not done properly.
The basic concept is that you neither want to fully run out of stamina nor let your stamina regen to full at all times while running.
Running completely out of stamina forces you to wait the whole time it takes until your full stamina bar is regenerated.
Being at maximum stamina on the other hand wastes time, when it could regenerate or be used for actions like attacking or running.
As long as you stay between 0 and max stamina, you will not lose time while running.
For using objects like doors or levers, or using items from your hotbar, it is best to be as low on stamina as possible while doing so.
This is to maximize the use of the time where you would not be sprinting anyway and to, therefore, minimize the time loss.
This is probably the most important part of stamina management and can lose you the most time if done incorrectly.
Menuing.
  • Menuing

Menuing partly goes hand-in-hand with stamina management. Menuing during Dark Souls III runs is important because of a couple of reasons:

  • Your item slots want to be as empty as possible. So be sure to unequip items you do not use anymore and equip the items you need on beforehand.
  • You want to equip or unequip Armor in Dark Souls III during parts where needed. Sometimes, it's better to unequip armor to increase roll speed and maximize iFrames where needed.
  • Quitouts are a part of menuing too. Learn to quickly and efficiently get to the Quit Game screen so you can prevent losing time on quitting out.

This is especially important in scenarios such as doing Spook Quitouts, where if you do not quit out in time, you will die.

Generally, it is best to shift your menuing to places where the game forces you to wait in any way, like while climbing a ladder or on an elevator ride.
If you do it while having enough stamina, make sure you keep sprinting and hold the Sprint button / key while you are busy in the menu.
When you do not have any stamina left anymore, make sure you try and do your menuing as much as your stamina is regenerating.
If you still need to menu after your stamina regenerated, close the menu, start sprinting and finish your menuing.

Tips & Tricks

  • Play on Low settings for the best FPSFrames per second boost. Some area's are cluttered and unoptimized (such as Lothric Castle) where even in good rigs the FPSFrames per second can drop to 45-50
  • Where the Graphics Config is stored in a text file, the Keybindings are stored in the save files itself. If you load a practice Save File and decide to do a run afterwards, its very possible your keybindings are incorrect when you start a new run.

The best way to ensure you have the correct keybindings is to create a blank save file (No characters) with the appropriate key bindings set and load them when you are planning to do a run. Please refer to the Save File Organiser for this.

  • Using controller grips such as Claw Grip makes menuing for Dark Souls III (or any other Souls game, in fact) considerably easier. Consider learning the traditional one or one that fits your playstyle: http://imgur.com/a/n0rfx
  • Also check the Frequently Asked Questions