When I first played Dark Souls 2, I went in blind like everyone else. As I progressed through the game, I realized that it was much different from the other games in certain ways. One way it was different was the way the health worked in the game.
There were many things that I tried; but once my health started dropping, I was very confused about how to bring it back up again. It seemed like I was just losing health every time I died. I finally got tired of this and looked up the solution.
The reason your health is dropping in Dark Souls 2 is because of the hollowing mechanic in the game. Basically, the more you die, the less health the game is going to give you when you respawn. There are many ways that prevent your health bar from dropping.
Here are many ways that prevent your health bar from dropping in Dark Souls 2:
- Use a Human Effigy
- Help other players through co-op
- Equip the Ring of Binding
- Don’t die
- Defeat bosses
- Don’t get cursed or petrified
- Watch your health bar
Related: Best weapons in DS2
Use a Human Effigy
Human Effigies are probably going to be one of your most valuable possessions in Dark Souls 2. As you keep dying, your health bar will drain slowly and give you less health each time. When you use a Human Effigy, your humanity will return and allow you to regain full health back when you rest at a bonfire.
I have noticed a lot of people are burning Human Effigies at a bonfire and getting mad because other people told them to use one to heal their health. When you burn a Human Effigy at a bonfire, it stops you from getting invaded. It does not make your health bar return to normal.
You have to use a Human Effigy as you would an Estus Flask; any other way won’t give your humanity back. There are a limited number of Human Effigies in the world that you could find on the ground or buy from a merchant. Try not to use too many however because you will run out and be stuck at 50% health.
Help other players through co-op
Another way to regain full health is to help other players through co-op. To help someone, you must first find a White Sign Soapstone which is found in the Forest of Fallen Giant. When you finally receive it, go into your inventory. Click and use it in an area that you know there is a lot of people in.
After you put a summon sign on the ground, it allows anyone who has their humanity to summon you to their world. When you are finally summoned, the only thing you have to do is help the host defeat the boss of that specific world. Once you beat the boss your duty will be fulfilled, and you will be sent home.
When you get back to your world, your humanity will have been restored and you will be back to full health again. It won’t give you health if you die before the beating of the boss though. Keep in mind that, with every person the host summons into the world, it doubles the boss’s health by every phantom summoned.
Equip the Ring of Binding
The Ring of Binding is a very important equipable in that you only lose up to 25% of your health in total when you die instead of 50%. In the long-run, it will help you if you finally run out of Human Effigies.
If you don’t want to or you can’t get this ring, then you can settle with finding the Ring of Life Protection or the Ring of Soul Protection. The Ring of Life Protection allows the player to keep their humanity when they die. The Ring of Soul Protection allows the player to keep their souls when they die.
The only downside to having these rings is that they break whenever they are activated and must be repaired every time. In the original Dark Souls 2, it takes 3,000 souls each ring to fix. In Scholar of the First Sin edition, it takes 14,000 souls each to fix.
I would highly recommend going with the Ring of Binding because with the other two rings, it can be very pricey if you die a lot in the game. I am not a huge fan of the hollowing mechanics in Dark Souls 2, but that is how the game was made.
The main reason you are losing the health is that whenever you die, 5% of your health is taken away because of the character’s hollowing. A total of 50% of all your health will be taken if you have died enough. I know I had a lot of trouble with dying, because I was not very good at the game.
I would constantly be using Human Effigies, which is a huge mistake; and, when I got toward the end of the game, I found myself needing them more and more. What I would recommend to not die as much in the game is constantly upgrade your health, stamina, and weapon damage to help fight against those harder enemies.
Keep grinding for souls, and try not to use Human Effigies as much as possible; and in the long-run, it will save you a lot of trouble later on. If you are able to, try to play the game with half health and see how you fare against all the enemies. Don’t worry too much about your death penalty.
Defeating a boss is a super helpful way to regain your humanity back. Every time you defeat a boss, your humanity is given back to you. There are a total of 42 bosses in Dark Souls 2, including the DLCs, and each of them give your humanity back to you.
Since there are just so many bosses, try not to use a Human Effigy because you can just beat a boss every once and a while and regain your health back. The bosses are very easy in Dark Souls 2, except maybe the DLC bosses; and it is a very easy way to get your humanity back.
My favorite boss fight in the game was the Looking Glass Knight just because of the mechanic that allows other human players to come and help the boss fight you. There are tons of different bosses to fight in Dark Souls 2. After all, Dark Souls 2 would not be the game it is without the bosses.
Don’t get cursed or petrified
Getting cursed is very annoying if you don’t have the right things to deal with it. What it does is drops your health by 30% and, if you die again, a total of 50%. You can’t cure Curse, and there are only a few ways to get rid of it. You can be Cursed by certain enemies like the Lion Claw Warriors, and the Cursevessel Traps can also Curse you.
Curse buildup can be cancelled through spells and Divine Blessings; and, if you equip the Ring of Resistance or Cursebite Ring, it will slow it down drastically. If you get the Hollow Skin Helmet in the DLC, then you will be immune to Curse. You can also use a Human Effigy to reverse the effects of the Curse.
Getting Petrified is worse than dying in that when you get Petrified, your body turns to stone and you automatically die no matter what your health bar says. It also takes 30% of your health away when you respawn instead of the initial 5%.
Watch your health bar
Watching your health bar is crucial and pretty self-explanatory when you think about it. The biggest mistake of any Dark Souls 2 player is not using the Estus Flasks at the right time and not watching their health bar. I have run into many boss fights where I have ignored my health bar, and it cost me the battle.
Why should I watch my health bar? Well, firstly you should watch it so you can plan your next move with what the enemy or boss is going to do. Secondly, you should watch it because you need to find the perfect opportunity to heal. Thirdly, you should watch it so you know specifically how much health you lost because of Hollowing from the last death.
Dark Souls 2 is my least favorite Dark Souls game. The health mechanic was very different from the others, and I was not a huge fan of it. All I am saying about it is at least play through the game once, then see how it fares compared to the others.
Don’t let my opinion stop you from playing the game, and don’t give up once you first try the game. There are many things that allow for a player to bring their health up back to normal, but some of them are more difficult to do. If you are having trouble with the game, consider buying this Dark Souls 2 guide on Amazon here.
Either heal your health bar or don’t. Some people like the challenge of having less health, and I would highly recommend to anyone that they play the game for the challenge.