How to Start 'The Ringed City' in 'Dark Souls 3'

A survival guide for your first few hours of the final 'Dark Souls' DLC.

Bandai Namco Entertainment

It’s been nearly a year since Dark Souls III was unleashed on the public, captivating players with hundreds of interesting lore implications, some of the most rewarding boss encounters of the whole series, and dozens of wonderful weapons to use against the twisted enemies you encountered. Now, following the release of the game’s first expansion, Ashes of Ariandel, a new addition has arrived. The Ringed City hopes to bring the Dark Souls series the satisfying conclusion it deserves as From Software moves on to their next big project.

In a way, The Ringed City is a love letter to the Dark Souls community. But that doesn’t mean From Software has gone easy on everyone for the sake of posterity. Make no mistake, The Ringed City features some of the most challenging encounters available in Dark Souls III which will test your resolve in more ways than you can imagine. So, if you’re having a difficult time getting through the first few hours of the expansion, here are a few tips we learned while playing to help you out.

Minor spoilers beyond this point.

Nicholas Bashore

How to Start the DLC

Like previous downloadable expansions available in the Dark Souls series, The Ringed City doesn’t give you much direction when it comes to accessing the new areas it adds to the base game. As always, you’re expected to find out how to enter them on your own, but we’re here to tell you that you can reach it from two bonfires unlocked near the end of Dark Souls III: Kiln of the First Flame and Sister Friede. Both require you to have cleared their respective areas, which means you’ll have to come close to beating the entire game before you can dive into The Ringed City. Simply travel to their locations in game from the Firelink Shrine, and look for a new bonfire added nearby which sends you down into the Dreg Heap.

Nicholas Bashore

Beware of the Angels

Easily one of the most frustrating enemies added to Dark Souls III with The Ringed City DLC, angels are extremely large and aggressive aerial creatures which continuously barrage you with beams of light until you’re lying dead on the ground. Each volley begins with a loud scream followed by a sizeable amount of damage that can kill you in seconds if you aren’t actively dodging, making stamina-enhancing items like Green Blossoms a worthwhile consumable to carry. The trick here is to refrain from standing still, otherwise you’ll be barraged with beams of light or cursed until dead. To put a stop to this assault, you need to find the host each angel is linked to. While they’re well hidden, killing the host will knock the angel out of the sky, giving you the freedom to explore the area around you for items without the constant fear of death from above.

Nicholas Bashore

Strike from Above

While not as deadly as the angels slinging light beams from above throughout the Dreg Heap, the knights of the Harald Legion are formidable foes which can take quite a beating regardless of the weapon you have equipped. Even if you’re around the recommended level for the new downloadable expansion, always be looking for ledges you can use to drop down on these bulky foes from above to perform a jump attack. Doing so not only locks them into a stun where they cannot react, but allows you to deal a massive amount of damage (roughly 80 percent of their health) quickly before finishing them off with a few swift strikes from your weapon of choice. Performing these jump attacks makes the Harald Legion encounters during the beginning of the expansion much easier to deal with, especially if you’re below level 100.

Nicholas Bashore

Defeating the Demon Prince

The first boss fight present in The Ringed City is one of the more intimidating challenges present in Dark Souls III because it throws two separate bosses at you immediately once you drop into the large area. These baddies, known as the Demon in Pain and the Demon from Below, will take turns throwing fire and poison damage at you, depending on which one is empowered by chaos flame. If you’re having a tough time, consider equipping a shield with high fire resistance such as the Black Knight Shield or Dragon Crest Shield, allowing you to eat fire damage from the empowered demon while you whittle down the one throwing poison damage at you from behind.

Once you kill both, the actual boss will appear — the Demon Prince — who will have a different moveset based on which demon you killed first. Killing the Demon in Pain first is the best way to go if you’re looking for a more manageable boss encounter, which will empower the Demon Prince with a set of laser attacks that can easily be dodged while you tear him apart slowly. If you kill the Demon from Below first, however, you’ll face a much more sporadic moveset where the Demon Prince will continuously bombard you with chaos flames. Pick your target carefully, and best of luck getting through.

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