From Software Says Dark Souls 3’s Seemingly Useless Poise Stat Is Working As Intended

From Software Says Dark Souls 3’s Seemingly Useless Poise Stat Is Working As Intended

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 after Dark 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 theorised,” 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 armour, 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 that claim to upgrade poise, it doesn’t appear to do anything. The video below is a late game character using some of the heaviest armour, yet they’re knocked around like a doll by one of the game’s earliest enemies.

Video Credit: SteamBoy27

If players equip the fist-based Heavy Caestus weapon, which features a weapon art called perseverance, they can temporarily enable proper poise.

Video Credit: SteamBoy27

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 that From Software had, at one point, included poise the way it had operated in every other version of Dark Souls.

Video Credit: ANDELE3025

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.


  • What a load of horse shit.

    Even IF the PR guy isn’t talking out his ass, repeating outright lies on a subject they don’t know shit about, even IF (and it’s very unlikely) what they say is actually true and poise is actually having some kind of in-game impact that no-one can actually figure out and which they won’t deign to tell us out of fear it’ll be immediately disproved in videos…
    that doesn’t make it OK.

    If a major stat doesn’t match its description in in-game help, and seems to add an element of ‘cost’ to gear, has entire items built around it exclusively, and a legion of anal-retentive fans STILL can’t figure out what the fuck it does, then it doesn’t matter if it’s working as intended because it means your intentions are bullshit and need to be fixed.

    Edit: I mean, I’m not as mad about the loss of poise as I sound; swearing has an amplifying effect for what is actually a more laid-back bitterness. Hell, I’ve switched to lighter, low-poise armour, an outright broken OP straight sword, and am exploiting the mechanics in the Bloodborne’esque way that From obviously decided the game should be played. What does turn me sour is them lying, obfuscating, equivocating about this kind of thing, which is just showing off some horribly disappointing weakness of character on the part of everyone who could step up and do otherwise. If the devs didn’t like how Poise affected the dynamics of play and preferred to encourage a more agile playstyle, then they should have the stones to just fucking say so. Admit they couldn’t figure out a way to balance what they wanted AND remove all the items, character sheet entries, and other values which rely on poise at such a late balancing stage. Slap a warning up somewhere, and fucking own it. Deception, though… that’s weak. That’s a direct insult to the intelligence of the person you seek to deceive.

    • Agreed. Don’t forget the exact same line, “working as intended”, was trotted out regarding Dark Souls II weapon durability bug until enough people made enough noise and it was eventually acknowledged as a bug and fixed.

      I get the sense that this is a similar attempt at saving face because Bandai Namco don’t want to pay for the fix – the old “it’s a feature, not a bug” defense. It may hold more weight if they actually made an attempt at explaining how poise actually works, the fact that they haven’t says it all really.

      • We used to jokingly call these ‘Undocumented Features’ when I was in dev work, not a bug, just an undocumented feature, so what if the feature breaks the software…. ITS NOT A BUG!

      • Bugs come from the same budget.
        Change requests on ‘intended’ features get a new budget allocated.

    • Your points about them seeming to want people to play the game like Bloodborne above anything else is probably my biggest disappointment with the game.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been having an absolute blast with the game… My issue is that occasionally I still like to play a tanky character with a nice shield, heavy armour, etc, but in this game that playstyle absolutely feels nerfed into the ground compared to what it once was. To the point where it feels not merely a little underpowered, but actually pointless.

    • Not to mention there’s an expectation of what poise does based on the precedent the previous 2 games set.

  • Step 1: Insist the problem is a feature working as intended – Complete
    Step 2: Quietly patch it when nobody is looking – In progress (ETA 7 months)

  • I’ll never understand this. They know we know they’re full of crap. I don’t believe they think their audience is stupid enough to fall for this so what’s the point? They come out looking way worse than if they admitted it was broken. The only reason I can see for this is if they legitimately didn’t want poise in the game but decided so late in development that they couldn’t figure out what to do about all the items, and then decided to just leave it all in there but turn it off. Even that would still be an upgrade over the obvious lie.

    • Corporate rule #1: Never EVER admit you’re wrong.

      This could lead to all types of ungodly things like: Being wrong; being seen to be wrong; not being right; and litigation of some sort.

  • Ok, so maybe it is working as intended? Then tell us what the hell it does/is. Why are you keeping features of your game that no one understands secret. That’s stupid.

  • “Working as intended”, must have learned from the Bungo school of game PR.

    Coming soon: 0.04% buff to poise. “No we meant to do that”

  • I’m hovering around the 50-ish level range trying to optimise a dexterity playstyle but still working out the kinks.

    Maybe I should just go hell for leather and boost those numerous dark swords and estocs I have in reserve, wear hard leather armour with a parry shield and call it a day?

    Yes? No?

    • Try two-handing a bandits knife with the grass crest shield on your back. Side step works even when you run out of FP. It’s fast and fun.

      • Its decent PVE, in PVP poke them or dark sword it. Daggers in general are terrible at PVP.

  • Poise according to the game guide is related to not being interrupted in your attacks in DS3, not your stagger rate.

    • Given the awful details reported in the game guide, I’m not sure I’d trust that over, say… all the experimental video tests posted on reddit.

      From testing? That’s not poise. That’s ‘hyper-armour’ and is tied to the weapon, not to your armour-influenced poise stat. (Sort of. I’ve read that you need to have more than 0.01 poise for it to kick in, but after that there’s no difference between 1 poise and 60 poise.)

      • This.

        They clearly buggered up and people that went through the files and found it to be a literal binary option that was turned off. So clearly it was either decided late in the development to be overpowered or its just typical old FROM and it was an oversight/bug.

        I just want to go on record as some one that has being playing FROM games since AC1 and its completely within reason that they balls-ed up an aspect of the game.

  • I’m guessing it’s a combination of:

    1) it isn’t breaking the game

    2) they’d rather work on the DLC and make more money

  • This is exactly the sort of shit that makes me reluctant to buy the game. I will probably just wait till its patched.

  • I’ve put in over 100 hours now into Dark Souls 3, and this issue with poise has been the biggest problem for me. For example after spending 3 hours picking off the sniper white knights on the rafters after the pontif bonfire only to kill one shot killed because another white knight smacks my shield breaking my poise and staggering me then killing me is enough to make me want to throw the game in the trash and never support another Fromsoft game. There is a difference between challenging and this nonsince Fromsoft pulled with DS 3. I put in 400+ hours in DS and DS2 so i’m not some noob I knew what I was getting into but there is a HUGE difference in DS3 between player and enemy and my character is level 79 so I have the stats to be able to defend a single swing from a White Knight. Its bullshitz like this that causes me to loose respect for a company because this is just a total disregard for the player base.

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