10 Tips for Not Sucking at Bloodborne.

Whether you are new to the game style or not, the Souls series and Bloodborne tests veterans and newbies alike. Here are 10 tips to follow while playing to maximize your success and to, most importantly, have a good time!

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Tip #1 – Redefine Progress

If you are new to the genre, it may seem like you make absolutely no progress in some play sessions. You fight the boss four times, run out of vials, and quit for the day. You are left frustrated and angry, and contemplate selling the game. To you, progress needs to be made to have a good time; whether it be seeing a cool new set piece, beating a certain amount of chapters in a sitting, or progressing the storyline in some way… any way. Well unfortunately…

Thats not how Bloodborne works.

Progress does occur, however, you just need to redefine your view on progress to see it. In Bloodborne, progress isn’t steady like your usual somewhat spoon-fed AAA titles. At its core, Bloodborne and Souls games either have incremental progress, or explosive progress… no where in between. But there is progress. Here’s what progress is in Bloodborne:

  • Learning how to dodge a particularly tough combination that the boss throws.
  • Learning the entirety of the boss’s move set.
  • Taking the boss past half health where you struggled before.
  • Clearing out enemies to level your character or weapon.
  • Gaining a nice stash of blood vials through area grinding.
  • Exploring into a new area (even if you die.)
  • Learning the running route from lamp to boss (more on this later)
  • And much, much more.

Once you start to look at progress from a mechanical standpoint instead of a narrative one, you will find you are making great leaps every time you sit down. Even learning how to dodge one nasty swipe the boss throws is a great discovery. If you find yourself not learning anything, then you need to switch it up and try something new – insanity is practicing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Tip #2 – Take it Slow… Then fast!

As mentioned in one of the progress bullet points, learning the running route from lamp to boss is paramount to success in Bloodborne. Some people will take the time to clear all the way to the boss again and again… and my hats off to them… but in my opinion that is utter madness. Why take the thirty minutes to completely and safely clear an area (using blood vials along the way) when you can simply juke around everyone and not take any damage?? Why clear an area over and over and lose your blood echoes each time you fight the boss? No way.

Every lamp in the game is within a two to three minute sprint of a lamp. If you are absolutely sure you can’t get to the boss within that time, then you haven’t found the shortcut or closer lamp – simple as that. Once you are familiar with the enemies present, their attack and movement patterns, and the correct route to the boss, simply ignore them all and RUN! You know that nice little dream gate you pass through before a boss battle? That’s home base and everyone else is playing tag; activate your step-though animation and you become invincible!

This strategy will shave off huge, huge amounts of time from your play sessions, and will allow you much less frustration and much more time spent with the boss learning its tells and weaknesses. But remember – Always take the time to do a slow and steady clear, check behind every nook and cranny first.

bloodborne top ten tricks tips help guide stop sucking beautiful screenshots

Tip #3 – Separate Your Actions

In Bloodborne you should never just be playing Bloodborne. You need a goal in mind, and you need to separate your actions. Make your mind up; are you exploring, or are you gaining blood echoes? No – you can’t do both. Why? Because those 15,000 blood echoes you just accumulated are bound to be lost to that trap that tricks you once and only once. Here are the various actions you can perform in Bloodborne:

  • Grinding for items.
  • Grinding for blood echoes.
  • Boss Hunting.
  • Exploration.
  • PvP/PvE

You may think, “why separate grinding items and souls?” Various enemies have different drop rates for various items. The best route to grind blood vials is by far not the best place to grind blood echoes and vice versa.

Boss hunting in this list means what it sounds like; discovering the running route to the boss, and trying to kill it over and over again until it becomes a reality.

Exploration, as mentioned before, is exploring a new area three or four times before you know it like clockwork. Once you know and understand the pitfalls and traps, you can start accumulating blood echoes, items, or run to the boss.

Tip #4 – Don’t Get Connected to your Blood Echoes, Don’t Dwell on Mistakes.

It may be easy to covet the 5,000 blood echoes you are currently holding, but don’t get attached to them. As my good friend Kenny Rogers once said, “You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealings done.” Truer words have never been spoken in relation to Bloodborne and the Souls series. So you’ve been exploring successfully and you have 12,000 blood echoes; is it enough for you to level up? Great, go level up immediately. No? Then forget them. Seriously. You’re doomed. No matter how cautiously you think you are playing, all it takes is one slip off a ledge, one massive axe attack that you swore was out of reach, one invasion… Anything. Unless I am grinding blood echoes, I don’t even look at how many I have – it just causes unnecessary frustration and anger.

Going hand and hand with this is forgiving mistakes you made, or “cheap shots” the enemy made. So you were killed through a pillar by a spear… So you you totally dodged that lightning attack!… So your finger slipped from sweat and you swung when you should have dodged. You were one hit away from killing the boss and you fudged and died… Oh well. To be successful in this game you have to remain forgiving and lighthearted. When you are milliseconds from taking down Vicar Amelia and you die, don’t scream, don’t throw something, don’t rage… It’s simply not productive (trust me I know). Laugh. That’s right. Laugh it off, take note of what you did, learn from it, and move on.

Tip #5 – Don’t Practice Bad Habits.

This one should be obvious but the amount of people I hear and see that try the same tactic over, and over, and over, and over is astounding. If backing in to the corner isn’t working out… stop backing in to the corner. If you are being lulled into keeping a distance from an enemy because you are afraid, but it constantly uses a space-closing move… you need to readjust your play style. Bloodborne is all about putting you into an uncomfortable spot and having you work through it. It breaks you down, and builds you back up better than ever before. If you resist this change, you are going to die. I was a heavy shield  user for most of my time in Dark Souls, admittedly, so I totally get the freight of not having some form of safety in front of you – but it has to be done. It might be insanity to jump down and face them all at once… but the other tactic isn’t working at all, so try it!

bloodborne top ten tricks tips help guide stop sucking beautiful screenshots

Tip #6 – Use your Damn Items.

OK people – this isn’t Skyrim. Use your damn potions. Use your damn Coldblood Dews. Use your damn Molotovs and fire papers. I know your inner RPG horder is urging you to keep them, but the truth is that you need to use your items in this game. Its okay if you use up all of your items and die… sure, you don’t have them any more, but you stood a much greater chance of success using them in that attempt than all the others.

Back on to the topic of frozen blood echoes; use them wisely, most often as bank tickets. By that I mean that if you are one or two thousand echoes away from a level, instead of heading out back into danger, simply pop the minimal amount of coldbloods needed to top you off and hit that level. You should always be leaving the Hunter’s Dream with the least souls possible.

Finally, be sure to take the time to actually study the uses and affects of each item. Don’t throw an oil pot and scratch your head as the enemy doesn’t take damage. Don’t throw a Numbing Mist at a wall thinking it may trigger something. Study up.

Tip #7 – Prepare Before you Expend.

This tip goes hand in hand with tip #6. Once you accumulate items and recognize a situation that you would use them in, be sure to practice and practice before hand. So you’ve heard that numbing mist helps against Vicar Amelia… Do you know the exact moment to throw it? Do you know how long it will buy you? Great you’ve purchased some fire paper… Don’t run in and use it on your first, second, or even third attempts. Be sure to learn all of the boss’s tells and movements, be sure you can get it’s health down, and be sure you could make adequate use of your items. Some aids, like fire paper, are very costly in the first half or so of the game… don’t squander them.

bloodborne top ten tricks tips help guide stop sucking beautiful screenshots

Tip #8 – Distance does NOT Equal Safety.

This may have once been true in the Souls games, but not any more in Bloodborne. Enemies are faster, more nimble, and smarter than ever. You also no longer have a shield. For a lot of players this means that distance is a welcome friend between you and an enemy… but this isn’t the case. So many enemies have distance-closing attacks now that circling around them at distance just doesn’t work. To compound this fact is the new healing system that allows you to attack back some of your health… Well you can’t do that if you are timidly staying far away. You have to reprogram yourself to get down and dirty with the enemies; this is Bloodborne! Dodging is much more effective than Dark Souls (especially Dark Souls II), so don’t underestimate the powers of a quick side step or roll at close range.

Tip #9 – Join the Community!

In an almost comical paradox, the community for the cruelest games of all time is actually incredibly friendly and supportive. You’ll find the Souls series and Bloodborne will weed out the trolls, annoying kiddies, and pretty much anyone else who isn’t a determined individual or obsessed Souls historian addict. There is a huge network of forums, walkthroughs, videos, chatrooms, calculators, and so much more… Hell even the artwork and memes that come out of these places are spot on and hysterical/ impressive. Get involved. Get your name out there. Team up with someone. We are all your Sunbros (and now Blood Brothers and Sisters I guess), so come say hey!

bloodborne top ten tricks tips help guide stop sucking beautiful screenshots

Tip #10 – Have Fun.

Ok seriously. I know you just rolled your eyes and maybe even scoffed, but this is literally so important. In all of my tutorial videos I start the boss battles with a funny little wave. A lot of you perceive this as a joke (and I mean it is and it isn’t) but it really is one of the best pieces of advice I can grant you.

If you’re fighting a boss, you better damn be giving it a funny voice. You better be smack talking the hell out of that P.O.S., and threatening it bodily harm. Talk to it like you’re about to get real kinky on it. Hum a nice little battle shanty while you fight… Literally whatever keeps you lighthearted and relaxed in the heat of battle.

Stiff necks and shoulders, sore backs, and cramped hands accomplish nothing. If you are jazzed out of your mind you will not perform well. As I like to say, if you let yourself get worked up you become Bloodborne Trigger Happy (BTH). Trigger happy players are the ones that flub the entire fight in the last three swings. They are the players that are so focused on ending their opponent that they don’t see the ledge behind them until they are falling.

Calm down. Relax your hands. Sit back in your seat. Make fun of the game, the enemy, and how terrifying ugly it is. At the end of the day, Bloodborne is just a game. Redefine your progress, take stock in the little wins, and good luck, Hunter. You’re going to need it.

Check out our boss battle tutorial videos:


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