Players will come across a selection of eight starting gifts in Dark Souls 2, with only one to select and begin the quest of The Bearer of the Curse. Since all items have their respective uses and limitations in the game, a few can be absurdly good and valuable from start to mid or even end game. While a few starting gifts being consumables in nature are bound to run out as early as in the first hour of the game.
That being said, I have categorized all starting gifts in Dark Souls 2 based on their usage and the value they offer to The Bearer of the Curse. The ranking of starting gifts I have made is entirely based on my experience in Dark Souls 2, and it can vary from player to player.
This is why debating or questioning my ranking is entirely not up for further discussion.
If you’ve spent countless hours playing Dark Souls 2 like me, and are looking to start again with a more challenging playstyle, then No Starting Gift is the option you can choose.
Yes, you read that right. Players have complete freedom not to pick any starting gift and still can play the game. Nothing is also an option in the list, but imagining anyone picking that is pretty hard. Mostly, the veteran souls players who love to challenge their skills are the ones who do not pick any starting gift.
If you fancy the extra challenge Dark Souls 2 throws at you from the get-go, then picking up the Nothing option will not offer you any starting gift. It will throw The Bearer of the Curse to venture the Drangleic and fight monstrosities based on pure combat skills.
So, going with this option will be challenging, and you are likely to die more than if you had a starting gift. But then again, it entirely plays out how you want to experience your first playthrough of Dark Souls 2.
Allows you to hone your skills.
You can enjoy pure combat without any help.
More suitable for experienced players.
Not advisable for new players to choose.
Best Gift for a Quick Escape.
Returns player to the last bonfire rested at
Homeward Bone Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Homeward Bone?
Choosing Homeward Bone will allow you to quickly bolt from danger, such as an enemy who is about to decimate you. It will transport you to the last bonfire you rested at.
The Homeward Bone is a common item that can be found in many places, so picking it as a starting gift would be a tad bit absurd choice.
Common Availability: Homeward Bones can be found in various places throughout the game, making them relatively easy to acquire during your journey.
Escape Mechanism: They serve as a valuable escape mechanism, allowing you to return to the last bonfire you rested at. This is especially useful when carrying a significant number of souls and facing powerful foes.
Limited Usage: While Homeward Bones are handy, their utility is limited to specific situations where you need to escape danger or save a large number of souls. They may not provide the ongoing benefits of other starting gifts, such as permanent health increases or valuable trade items.
While Homeward Bone is one of the best Dark Souls 2 best gifts, its usage is limited for the time when you accumulate too many souls and try to escape a strong enemy. This is why I think this starting gift does not offer enough value as compared to the other ones in the game.
Allows for a quick escape.
Best for players carrying a lot of souls.
Easily available throughout the game.
Since it is easily available, you don’t have to choose it as a starting gift.
Best Gift for Human Restoration.
Human Effigy Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Human Effigy?
The Human Effigy allows you to bring back your character from its hollowed state, restoring it to a human form once you die.
The Human Effigy is a valuable item in Dark Souls 2, but its usefulness can be limited due to its consumable nature. Here are some key points to consider:
Restoring Humanity: Human Effigies are used to reverse the hollowing state and restore your character to a human form. This removes the health penalty associated with being hollowed.
Bonfire Use: They can be burned at a bonfire to disable direct multiplayer interactions, preventing both co-op summons and PvP invasions.
Health Restoration: Using a Human Effigy increases your health bar to 100% of your vitality level, but it doesn’t replenish lost health.
Limited Availability: Human Effigies can be found in various locations but are consumable items, meaning you can run out of them. This is particularly important in the early stages of the game.
Purchase Option: You can buy Human Effigies from various merchants, including Merchant Hag Melentia, Magerold Of Lanafir, Darkdiver Grandahl, and Grave Warden Agdayne. However, they are sold in limited quantities at varying soul prices.
Considering their limited availability and the potential to run out quickly, some players may opt for other starting gifts, especially if they plan to use multiplayer features sparingly or prefer a more permanent bonus like the Life Ring or the Petrified Something.
The Life Ring provides you with an instant boost to your overall health points, which your character can avail for the entire playthrough.
The Life Ring is considered one of the best-starting gifts for several reasons:
Permanent Bonus: Unlike consumable gifts, the Life Ring provides a permanent increase of five percent to your overall health points. This bonus remains with your character throughout the entire playthrough, making it valuable for the long haul.
Early-Game Boost: While a five percent increase might not seem significant, it can be quite beneficial in the early stages of the game, where every bit of extra health can make a difference.
Limited Availability: Obtaining the Life Ring later in the game can be challenging, and it may require specific conditions or encounters. Choosing it as a starting gift ensures you have this bonus from the beginning.
Ultimately, the Life Ring is favored by many players because of its long-lasting health boost and the relative ease of acquiring it.
Provides a 5% increase to the overall health points.
Gives a permanent increase and isn’t consumable.
You can use it at the start of the game.
Difficult to find and obtain later in the game.
Seed of a Tree of Giants
Best Gift for Unusual Consequences.
Forest of Fallen Giants
Makes enemies in the area attack invaders.
Seed of a Tree Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Seed of a Tree of Giants?
The Seed of a Tree of Giants is that one starting gift that can cause all hell to break loose, as it causes your enemies to attack invaders. It is a limited-edition item that can give you an edge over your opponents.
The Seed of a Tree of Giants is a one-time use item in Dark Souls 2 that, when consumed, causes enemies to become hostile towards invaders. However, this starting gift has some limitations and potential drawbacks:
Limited Usage: The Seed of a Tree of Giants is a consumable item and can only be used once. Once it is used, it is gone.
Double-Edged Sword: While it can make enemies attack invaders, it also makes them hostile to potential allies, such as Blue Sentinels, who might come to your aid during an invasion.
Uncommon Item: This item is not readily available and can only be found in specific locations, such as the Forest of Fallen Giants.
Due to its limited usage and the potential for negative consequences, the Seed of a Tree of Giants is often considered a below-average starting gift. Many players may prefer gifts that offer more consistent and lasting benefits throughout their journey.
Allows enemies to attack invaders.
Can get rid of your enemies much quicker.
Lasts until you leave the area where you used it.
Can cause enemies to become hostile to potential allies.
Best Gift for Survival.
Various items are used to cure poison and restore HP. Essential for anyone traveling Drangleic.
Lifegem x10, Radiant Lifegem x3, Old Radiant Lifegem x1, and Poison Moss x5.
Healing Wars Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Healing Wares?
Healing Wares is a perfect option for newcomers by boosting their survival chances through various healing options. You can avail of these options throughout your playthrough.
Selecting the Healing Wares gift in Dark Souls II is a smart choice for newcomers as it greatly aids in their journey:
Survival Assurance: It enhances your chances of survival by providing various healing items, which are invaluable in the challenging world of Dark Souls II.
Healing Items: The gift includes three Radiant LifeGems, one old Radiant LifeGem, three Poison Moss, and ten Lifegems. These items replenish your health points (HP) and help cure ailments such as poison.
Class-Dependent Quantity: The quantity of items received can vary depending on your chosen starting class. For example, if you don’t pick Deprived as your starting class, you receive 20 Lifegems, and if you choose Explorer as your starting class, you receive 30 Lifegems.
This gift ensures that you have a valuable supply of healing items to aid you throughout your Dark Souls II journey, making it a wise selection for beginners.
You can use the healing items throughout your playthrough.
The quantity of healing items varies according to your starting class.
Perfect for newcomers.
Experienced players may choose other gifts.
Best Gift for Challenging Playthroughs.
Toss into a bonfire to raise the strength of nearby foes, only for those who seek more significant challenges.
Raises difficulty of nearby area to NG+.
Bonfire Ascetic Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Bonfire Ascetic?
The Bonfire Ascetic is perfect if you seek a more challenging playthrough, and want to receive useful items based on where you are located.
Bonfire Ascetic is argued to be the best-starting gift based on the value and uses it offers. This starting gift is a great item for those who seek challenging playthroughs and want to receive useful items. For example, using the Bonfire Ascetic in an area of NG increases the drop of valuable items that would otherwise be found in an NG+ playthrough.
Other than that, this starting gift can be burned at the Majulabonfire, and in return, you will receive Moon Butterfly Armor Set, which reduces the amount of damage you receive by falling, and also lowers the falling speed as well.
Provides you with useful items based on your location.
You can get various useful items by using the gift.
Helps reduce falling damage, among other benefits.
It can be traded with Dyna & Tillo for a random object
Petrified Something Stats Table.
Why did I Choose Petrified Something?
Petrified Something allows you to access several useful and valuable items at the start of the game – things that aren’t normally accessible or require a lot of effort to find.
This starting item may not seem a valuable gift based on its item description, but if you come to know its uses, you are likely to pick it.
Dyna & Tillo Trade: You can exchange Petrified Something with Dyna & Tillo, the twin sisters in Things Betwixt, for valuable high-tier items.
Early Access: You can access Things Betwixt early in the game, allowing you to trade and acquire powerful items very early on.
Random High-Tier Drops: Trading Petrified Something with the crows yields random high-tier item drops, including Titanite Slabs, Petrified Dragon Bones, Old Whip, White Ring, Demon’s Great Hammer, Channeler’s Trident, Twinkling Titanite, among others.
Increased Survival Chance: These items significantly enhance your survivability, especially in the early game, making it easier to overcome challenges.
Gives you a higher survival chance.
Allows you to access valuable items earlier than expected.
You can get high-tier item drops.
You may have to go through several restarts to get the item you need.
Now that you know about all starting gifts in Dark Souls 2, I have a couple of recommendation that suits each class in the game. Even though you can pretty much pick any starting gift with the classes, there are a few that offer a little bit more value with each class. Otherwise, you can always pick Petrified Something, Healing Wares, and Bonfire Ascetic regardless of the class you pick.
Knight: Petrified Something
Warrior: Healing Wares
Swordsman: Human Effigy
Bandit: Bonfire Ascetic
Cleric: Seed of a Tree of Giants
Sorcerer: Healing Wares
Explorer: Homeward Bone Life Ring
That is pretty much everything you need to know about best gifts. Which starting gift has been your favorite in the game? Let us know more of your thoughts in the comments section below.
Hasaan is an enthusiatic gamer with a particular interest in MOBA, RTS, and story-mode games. He creates quality guides, playing games and sharing valuable information to his readers. Beyond his gaming pursuits, he finds enjoyment in watching animes, movies and TV shows. Additionally, he nurtures his creative side through drawing and continuously seeks personal growth by exploring new experiences, all in an endeavor to understand his life and purpose better. Do find him on Steam to learn more about Hassan’s Gaming Adventures.