Poise, which allows players to take hits without staggering, has been one of the more important stats in the previous Dark Souls games. In the weeks afterDark Souls 3‘s release, players discovered the poise stat doesn’t seem to impact anything. Was it glitched? From Software has an answer: no.
“The poise stat is working as intended and is not ‘turned off’ as some fans have theorized,” a spokesperson for Bandai Namco told me. “The stat works differently than in past games and is more situational, which seems to be the reason for the confusion.”
Bandai Namco is the publisher of the Dark Souls games, and passed on my questions about the poise stat to From Software several weeks ago.
One popular strategy for playing Dark Souls (especially against other players) is to wear a bunch of heavy armor, allowing you to take a bunch of hits without having your attacks interrupted. Dark Souls 3 doesn’t allow this.
Despite being able to upgrade the poise stat and use items and equipment thatclaim to upgrade poise, it doesn’t appear to do anything. The video below is a late game character using some of the heaviest armor, yet they’re knocked around like a doll by one of the game’s earliest enemies.
If players equip the fist-based Heavy Caestus weapon, which features a weapon art called perseverance, they can temporarily enable proper poise.
That’s how poise is supposed to work, but it’s not supposed to be limited to a temporary buff; it’s been integral to building certain characters.
There’s a reason Bandai Namco’s statement acknowledges a fan theory about it being turned off: players discovered a way to turn poise back on by modifying the game code. It suggests From Software had, at one point, included poise the way it operated in every other version of Dark Souls.
The folks who discovered this modification haven’t widely released how to turn it on, but even if you did, it’d get you banned from playing online.
I was told From Software had no further comment about how the poise stat works, so we’re left to wonder what “situational” means. Have players simply not figured out how it works? Maybe, maybe not.
Either way, this has a big impact on the future of Dark Souls 3.