- Soft Caps Vs. Hard Caps
- All Stat Soft Caps
Dark Souls 3 is the Dark Souls of Dark Souls. It's possibly the hardest game in the series and you will want to scrape together each and every advantage you can when facing off against its toughest foes and most fearsome bosses.
One thing you'll probably want to do is learn how to level up properly. You level up in Dark Souls 3 by spending souls to increase your various stats – Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, and so on. What you might not know, however, is that there are limits to the usefulness of these stats and towards the end of the game you might be throwing your souls away without realizing it.
Soft Caps Vs. Hard Caps
In this context, a "cap" is the upper limit of a certain variable, such as a particular stat. In Dark Souls 3, there are two types of cap:
- Hard caps: this is the very upper limit of a stat. Once a stat has reached this high, it cannot get any higher – it is a cap enforced by the game engine. In Dark Souls 3, stats have a hard cap of 99.
- Soft caps: when a stat reaches a soft cap, increasing it stops being as useful as it used to. It is a cap that serves a few purposes:
- To stop you from getting too powerful through accident or through level grinding and subsequently making the game too easy.
- To encourage diversity in character builds.
- To have different scales of power for different stats so they don't all have to be balanced around the hard cap.
All Stat Soft Caps
The table below details every stat's soft cap as well as what benefits there would be were you to increase them past this cap.
Stat Soft Cap Explanation Vigor 44 Every level of Vigor provides HP, but at higher levels, each incremental increase will provide less of it. At 44 Vigor, extra levels provide less than 10 HP.
At 44 Vigor you will have 1,260 HP. Increasing your Vigor to 99 will only increase that value to 1,400.
Attunement 30 / 40 Once you hit 30 Attunement, you will only get one more Attunement Slot per 10 levels. 30 Attunement provides 5 slots, while 40 provides 6 and so on.
It is possible to reach 10 Attunement Slots with 99 Attunement, but this is never likely to be useful, even for the most magically aligned.
Endurance 40 Endurance's main quality is to upgrade your Stamina. At 40 Endurance, your Stamina growth will halt severely, as will your resistances.
At 40 Endurance you will have 160 Stamina, and at 99 you will have only 170 Stamina.
Vitality 40 Vitality affects your Equip Load and your Defense stats. Every single level will improve your Equip Load by 1, but your Defense stats will stop improving well at 40 Vitality.
At 40 your Equip Load will be 80 and your base Defense will be 135. Going up to 99 will improve your Equip Load to 139 but your Defense to only 177.
Strength 27 / 40 / 60 The normal soft cap for Strength is 40 – this is when you will start getting diminishing returns on your damage.
When wielding a weapon is two hands, your Strength is multiplied by 1.5 automatically. This means that if you use two hands for one weapon, the soft cap is lowered to 27.
60 is the highest Strength requirement to be able to use a weapon effectively, attached to Ledo's Great Hammer.
Dexterity 40 / 50 Dexterity will, like Strength, stop providing a good return on investment once you reach 40.
Dexterity also affects spellcasting speed, however, and this will soft cap at 50 instead. This is worth considering for optimizing mage builds.
Intelligence 40 / 50 Magic damage and defense scale well with Intelligence until you hit 40, though some Sorceries require 50 Intelligence to be equipped. Faith 40 / 45 / 60 The damage scaling of Faith-based weapons (read: lightning infusions) scales well only until 40 Faith.
The effectiveness of Miracles, Pyromancies, and Dark Magic scale with Faith, but only Miracles cast with certain Catalysts reward going over 45.
A Faith of 45 is required for casting the strongest Miracle in the game.
Luck 50 / 99 Certain weapons such as Anri's Sword and any weapon with a Hollow Infusion scale with Luck, with the damage bonus falling off at 50 Luck.
Item Discovery never stops scaling, and therefore for treasure hunting purposes Luck is useful all the way to the hard cap of 99.
A character with all of these soft caps reached will be around Level 395, depending on which class they began as. With every stat at the hard cap of 99, they would be around Level 800, though this is entirely overkilling it even with this game's difficulty level.
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