Dark Souls 2 has many weapons that you can choose from. One of the most overlooked weapons in the entire series are the bows. Not only do they allow you to hit enemies from far distances, but they also give you another way to fight bosses. You can get all types of arrows, including poison arrows and even lacerating arrows.
There aren’t too many bows in the game, 8 to be exact, and within those, only about half of them are good weapons to use. We aren’t including the Greatbows, just the basic bows that you can get in the game. Besides, the Greatbows aren’t that fun to use anyways since they take a lot of stamina to fire.
We have split up the bows into 2 sections. The good bows and the bad bows. Obviously, the good bows are the ones you should be using. The bad bows aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t have the scaling and the range that the good bows have. You will have to experiment to see exactly what we mean, but if you do end up using bows, you might be impressed by how fun they are.
Are bows good in Dark Souls 2?
Bows are actually pretty useful in Dark Souls 2. Not only does it allow you to defeat enemies without even getting close to them, but they also give you another option for boss fights and confrontations with online players. The bows do take some getting used to actually become good with them, but they are totally worth the time you take to learn them.
You can load up your bows with poison arrows, magic arrows, lightning arrows, and many other types. Any bow will do, but there are some that are just not as good as others. This is why we split up the bows to have their own spots. One bow isn’t better than the others, they are all used for different things, so keep that in mind when reading the rest of the article.
What are the 4 best bows in Dark Souls 2?
When we are referring to the “best” bows, we are going by certain criteria. We are going by how many people in the community think of certain bows, how the scaling for certain stats is, and the quickness of firing off a single arrow. You might actually enjoy using some of the “bad” bows, so we just want to clarify that we are going off numbers, not how fun it is to play with a single bow.
There are 4 really good bows that have the potential to be the top bow in the game. Obviously, we aren’t putting in Greatbows because of how slow and hard they are to use. These aren’t in a particular order since some people prefer one over the other, but you get the idea. These are the best bows in Dark Souls 2.
Here are the 4 best Bows that you can find in Dark Souls 2:
1. Hunter’s Blackbow
A black bow designed for long distances. Difficult to handle at first, and requiring some amount of practice to master. The hunting Goddess Evlana was no goddess at all, but rather a brave and highly skilled bow huntress. Long after her demise, the passing of lore transformed her into a deity.
Location: Beneath the Forgotten Chamber bonfire (within the Drangleic Castle area), this bow is found in a chest on a raised floor across from an acid pool.
This is a bow you will want to have if you have a Dexterity build. Not only does this bow have the fastest fire rate of any bow, but it has one of the highest damage outputs of any bow in the game. If you are looking for an amazing bow, this is probably going to be your best bet. It also has a very good stamina depletion rate with it only taking 30 stamina per shot.
You won’t find this bow until much later in the game, but believe us when we say this, it is totally worth finding. You can find this bow in Drangleic Castle and is totally worth fighting the enemies to get. You can find it right before the Dual Dragonrider boss fight.
2. Composite Bow
A bow crafted from various materials. Inflicts more damage than ordinary bows, but has a shorter range, making it unfit for sniping.
Location: Sold by Weaponsmith Ornifex for 5,500 Souls.
This weapon is very annoying to get since you need to find an NPC that sells it. You can get it pretty early on, but it does take a few things. You will have to unpetrify Ornifex in the Shaded Woods, but it is annoying since you will have to go through an area that can break all your equipment. It is worth getting though since it is one of the best bows in the game.
It is insanely good and has a lower stamina depletion rate than the Hunter’s Blackbow. It also has some of the highest damage output of any bow, as long as you have 40 Strength and 40 Dexterity. Getting this bow is not easy, but it is worth going through the hassle since it will take you to the end of the game.
3. Bow of Want
A bow created from the soul of Nashandra. The old one of the Abyss was reborn in death, split into miniscule fragments, and spread across the land. Light and Dark are two sides of the same coin, much like the soul and the curse. The beings who presented themselves to those in search of kinghood were drawn to their awesome strength.
Location: The Bow of Want can be obtained by trading the Soul of Nashandra and 10,000 Souls with Weaponsmith Ornifex.
This is a bow that you can only get if you beat the game. Obviously, Nashandra is the final boss of the game if you didn’t do the Aldia questline, and the only way to get it is to beat her. Once you get her Soul, take it back to Weaponsmith Ornifex that you helped out of the Shaded Woods and transpose the boss’s soul with her.
It has some serious damage output, but the downside to it is that it fires slower than other bows. The upside is that you don’t need arrows to shoot the special attack with it. Some people prefer this bow to the Blackbow since it does really well with Dexterity builds. It is slower, but the damage is worth the slowness.
4. Dragonrider Bow
Bow wielded by the dragonriders, King Vendrick’s royal guard. Merely drawing this bow requires inhuman strength, but each shot has deadly potential. Demands great skill of its wielder, and thus served to test the worthiness of those who aspired to join the Dragonriders.
Location: The Dragonrider Bow can be obtained by trading a Dragonrider Soul with Straid of Olaphis along with 1,500 Souls.
This is another boss weapon. You will have to defeat the Dragonrider, which isn’t much of a challenge, and take the Soul to Straid. You will have to free him from the cell, but once you do this, he will just stay in the general area outside the cell. You can then go up to him and trade the Soul for the bow. Keep in mind that you will need some Souls to complete the transaction.
It is the slowest bow in the good bow section but has the most damage from a single shot. It does take up a bunch of stamina, but the damage will make up for everything else. A lot of people recommend using this bow in the Shrine of Amana because it shoots very far.
What are the bad bows in Dark Souls 2?
When we are referring to these bows as “bad”, we aren’t saying that they are necessarily a bad weapon to use. These are the bows that you will want to swap out with the good bows later on in your playthrough. Unless you really like one of these, you probably will want to stop using them since there will be points in the game that these bows will become hard to use.
When it comes to stats and damage dealt, these bows definitely fall short of the better bows. Not only do they deal less damage, but they also have a serious dropoff with the arrows. It will be extremely difficult to hit enemies at farther ranges. Although they are bad, they are necessary through the beginning of your playthrough since they will be the only bows you can use.
Here are the lesser-used bows that you can get in Dark Souls 2:
The type of small bow used by hunters in training. Equip arrows to use. Equip up to two types of arrows to give yourself immediate options in battle. Use arrows to hit enemies from afar to gain the upper hand by drawing first blood.
Location: Starting equipment for the Bandit class. One is located inside Blacksmith Lenigrast’s shop after you unlock it in Majula. Semi-common drop from the Rogues in Huntsman’s Copse.
This bow is literally a starting weapon. Don’t get me wrong, starting weapons can be used for most of the game, but this bow is one that you should try to replace as soon as possible. Some people resort to selling it for extra Souls at the beginning of the game. If you want a bow that will be great throughout the game, this one isn’t going to be your choice.
A bow built for sea-faring marine warriors. Has an extended range for hunting down sea monsters from afar. A great sea lies to the north of Drangleic, and beyond that is an unexplored continent that is home to things inhuman.
Location: Dropped by Varangian Sailors in No-man’s Wharf.
This bow actually has the farthest range of any bow in the game, that is the only thing going for it. You can get this weapon in No-man’s Wharf pretty early on and it is not that great of a weapon. It does have its uses early on in your playthrough, but it is not something you should stick with your entire playthrough.
A standard bow used by hunters. Equip arrows to use. Equip up to two types of arrows to give yourself immediate options in battle. Use arrows to hit enemies from afar to gain the upper hand by drawing first blood.
Location: A Long Bow is available for purchase from Steady Hand McDuff for 2,000 Souls. Dropped by bow-wielding Hollow Soldiers in the Forest of Fallen Giants.
This is just a mid bow. It doesn’t have the damage that a bow should have. It also uses up a lot of stamina when you try to use it. It is not a terrible bow when you look at it, but you are better off switching to something else unless you are only using the bow for the elemental arrows. Then it doesn’t really matter what you use.
Bell Keeper Bow
Wooden bow used by bell keepers. Very light, and requiring hardly any strength. The bells symbolize forbidden love; the bell keepers, their faithful guardians, ever-ready to annihilate trespassers. They will stand watch, for ever and ever, these determined, if ill-fated, marionettes.
Location: Dropped by Enhanced Undead in Sinner’s Rise. Also dropped by Bell Keepers in Belfry Luna and Sol.
This bow has the lowest base damage out of any bows in the game. It is dropped by multiple enemies and it is just not that good of a weapon. The only upside to it is that it takes the least amount of stamina to fire off a single arrow with this weapon. If you are looking for a bow to use for most of your playthrough, this is not the one you are looking for.
What makes a bow “bad”?
When it comes to determining whether a bow is good or bad, we need to look at a few things: the distance the arrow can travel, the damage that it deals, the time it takes to shoot the arrow, and the amount of stamina it takes to shoot a single arrow. All these things can determine whether a bow is worth it or not.
All the bad bows on this list have some sort of flaw as do the good bows, but the difference is that the good bows have fewer flaws. They shoot faster, farther, and deal more damage to the enemy you are fighting. So when we say a bow is bad, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use it. It is still pretty viable early on and it is necessary to use if you want to get better with the good bows.