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Dark Souls Top Ten Rings

May 5, 2012

Dark Soul characters have ten fingers but are only allowed to equip 2 rings.  What gives?  In Dark Souls rings provide powerful buffs.  While some buffs can be duplicated or stacked with other items, most are unique to a particular ring.  Some rings even break if they are ever taken off.  These complicating factors add a delicious strategic layer to outfitting your character for a boss fight or area.  During your Dark Souls playthrough, you will likely try out rings more often than a teenage girl at a mall.  Eventually you will find the perfect combination that compliments your build and play style.  Here are my top ten rings.  What do you think?

#10: Rusted Iron Ring

This is a “one-trick-pony” of a ring negating slow movements in swamp and water.  It is very useful for the Hydra fight in Darkroot Basin and in the swampy Blighttown.  This item is a perfect example of a ring that provides a specific buff for only a small part of the game.  But the buff is so useful, that it just makes my top ten list.  Once you have experienced the joy of running through the swamp, you will never wander Blighttwon without it.  You can get it immediately after tripping the elevator to Undead Parish and collecting the Undead Asylum F2 West Key (on the roof above Petrus of Thorlund).  Fall off the elevator on the open side and roll onto the wall that leads to the ascending stone stairs with the giant crow’s nest.  Crouch into an egg-shaped ball to be transported back to Undead Asylum.  Assuming you opened the door leading to the courtyard right at the beginning of the game, retrace your steps past the rolling boulder and into the room with the locked bar gate.  The ring is just past it.

#9: Covetous Silver Serpent

This ring increases the number of enemy souls dropped by 20%.  It is available later in the game in the Tomb of the Giants.  Go to the area where you fight the Halberd-wielding Black Knight.  You will have to take a blind jump into the darkness close to the area with the Giant Skeleton Archer and kill several Bone Towers.  You will likely wear this ring during farming runs in late game of your first playthrough as you complete your build.  It is also very useful in NG+ or later for extra rewards on boss fights.

#8: Red Tearstone Ring

An homage to the true Dark Souls spirit, this ring makes your attacks 50% stronger when your life bar is at 20%.  Expert players equip this ring and just don’t get hit once the buff is triggered.  You will feel exhilaration the first time you are able to easily KO a Black Knight after taking a shot in early game.  This ring can be paired with other rings and spells for some very interesting outcomes (read on for some recommendations).  Try it and you will be hooked!  To get it immediately after reaching Lordran, you must have the Master Key.  Head to the Valley of Drakes and run past the guardians after the bridge. Continue up the ladder to collect it.

#7: Hornet Ring

The Hornet Ring is spectacularly powerful against any enemies that can be parried or backstabbed.  Your critical attacks will be boosted by 50% making them almost a guaranteed one-hit-kill with a decent upgraded weapon.  It will work with any weapon but it is especially effective when paired with one that does thrust damage.   If you want a rewarding challenge, wear this ring when taking on the Lord Gwynn final boss fight.  He can be repeatedly riposted for massive damage but his attacks are lightning quick and very difficult to parry.  To get it, buy the Crest of Artorias and open the sealed door in Darkroot Garden.  Run past the enemies, Alvina and bound down the stairs.  Continue until you find the door to the Grave of Sir Artorias.  The ring is on the back of the grave.  It can be reached without triggering the boss fight if you circle around the grave.  This ring also periodically changes the parry animation against NPC’s and in PVP.

#6 & #5: Lingering and Bellowing Dragon Crest Rings

In a virtual tie on this list, both of these rings buff sorceries: the Lingering ring increasing the effect length, the Bellowing ring increasing the strength by 33%.  While obviously useful for magicians, any build can and should take full advantage of both of these rings.  Since they are considered sorceries, these rings will also buff pyromancies (which can be equipped by any character).  The fun begins when you pair one or both of these with sorceries or other rings.  Want to be a butt-kicking bully tank who can mash all day: Lingering + Iron Flesh.  How about a suicidal pyromaniac: Lingering + Bellowing + Power Within+ Great Combustion. Or a crazed kamikaze but super powerful magician: Bellowing + Dusk Crown Ring + Crown of Dusk armor piece + Homing Soul Mass + Tin Crystallization Catalyst.  And a melee mage with a prolonged buff: Lingering + Red Tearstone + Power Within + Crystal Weapon (use Power Within to trigger the ring effect while using a buffed weapon but over a longer time).  Here is my personal favorite good for any build: Bellowing + Power Within (simple but effective if your vitality is over 20 and leaves you with an open ring slot).  You can buy the rings from Griggs of Vinheim for 20000 souls a piece, after you free him from Undead Burg.

#4: Havel’s Ring

Your first impression might be that this ring is only good for tank builds.  How wrong you are!  The ability to handle 50% more equipment weight gives you options.  And in Dark Souls, options are a god thing.  If you like to move at a quick pace but have low endurance, equip it along with a full light armor set.  Otherwise, load up with your fave heavy armor, heavy shield or heavy weapon.  This ring can be situational (equip it for a specific boss fight) or a “set-it-and-forget-it” item that never leaves your melee tank’s inventory.  To obtain it, you must kill Havel the Rock in the Watchtower Basement.  This can be done in early game with the Master Key and the Drake Sword (a high stability shield and the Hornet Ring really help!).  Havel can be backstabbed easily.  The trick is to circle counterclockwise with him as he swings and then immediately score the critical.  With the Drake Sword and Hornet Ring equipped, 4 backstabs and a poke will yield the ring.

#3: Covetous Gold Serpent Ring

My precious!  This aptly named ring will supercharge the item drop rate.  This buff is invaluable and will cut dozens of hours of farming time.  Humanity also increases the drop rate but is capped at a much lower level.  The value of this ring is highlighted by the resultant frequent chunk, twinkling, green and large titanite drops.  These are very expensive but necessary upgrade materials required in large amounts.  Rares such as the Balder Side Sword are quickly found with this ring.  Even if you are speeding through the game, make a point to get it from Sen’s Fortress.  Go to the bottom room with the Mimic chest holding the Lightning Spear.  Wait until enough boulders have filled up the hole outside this room.  The next one will crash open the wall revealing a body with the ring.

#2: Ring of Favor and Protection

Do you remember the first time you tried on a ring that was a bit tight?  You got it on but you could not take it off.  Thoughts of gnawing the finger off quickly gave way to the rational use of some soapy water, and the ring was off but with some scraped skin as a testimony to your stupidity.  This ring is a bit like that except that you will not want to take it off.  You see this ring breaks if ever removed!  But it also increases vitality, stamina and equipment burden by 20%.  Because it is available in early game, you will likely be seduced by its powerful multiples buffs.  Worst yet, you will come to rely on them.  The realization that taking it off will prevent equipping a needed weapon/shield/armor and sizably decrease the stamina and health bars will give anyone pause.  Your character immediately becomes more than 20% stronger when you put on this ring but alternatively weaker if you take it off.  That is because of the multiple buffs.  You have to pump both VIT and END to offset its effects.  Removal of this ring is painful in early game because your character is severely downgraded.  But it is just as painful in late game, when the level upgrades are very expensive and hard to achieve quickly.  Do not despair or vacillate.  Put on this ring and never take it off.  It is good enough to warrant a permanent ring slot in your inventory.  To get it, kill Knight Lautrec of Carim when he appears in Firelink Shrine.  You can also trade a Xanthous Crown with Snuggly or invade Lautrec’s world in Anor Londo (if you don’t get him earlier) but these event happen much later in the game.  Try your hardest to get this fantastic ring in early game.

#1: Dark Wood Grain Ring

I wonder how many of you have this as your top choice.  For me it is an absolute no brainer. This ring removes the roll and movement penalty normally experienced when equipment burden is >25%.  Furthermore, the roll animation changes to an agile gymnastic flip.  Your character is almost impervious to attack when doing this “ninja” flip.  The added defense and evasion is critical for most boss fights, especially Smough and Ornstein or Lord Gwynn.  The ring is dropped by Shiva’s ninja bodyguard.  He can be killed in Darkroot Garden after immediately joining Alvina’s covenant, or in Blighttwon (if you want to buy from Shiva first).   Put on this ring to run and flip past enemies, bosses or PVP’ers while loaded with equipment.  The ability to run and flip adds a tremendous sense of freedom and agility to the game, as if you could fly.  Once you put it on, you will never take it off.  The game can be finished without it but at a great loss and detriment to the overall gameplay experience.  The Dark Wood Grain Ring is unquestionably the best ring (and possibly the best item) in Dark Souls.

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4 Comments
  1. Joshua permalink

    DWGR? Seriously? Ever since the nerf, it’s just a ring that makes your roll cooler. The extra 2 frames barely make a difference. And if you need it for O&S, you really just suck at dodging.

    • I wrote the list prior to the patch before the nerf of the ring. But you know what, the ring is still awesome even now. It is great for PVP. I am doing a bow-only no-shield walkthrough on my Youtube channel where evading is key and the DWGR is proving its value. So I completely stand by my list.

      • Kaotivik permalink

        DWGR shouldn’t be best anymore though, I would, IMO, replace DWGR with Cloranthy ring and change the order up a bit. IMO.

  2. smugglingplums permalink

    No love for the Cloranthy Ring? I think it’s awesome for tough boss and fights where you’re swarmed by numerous enemies. The stamina boost it provides is a huge plus. Especially of you’re a tank build like me lol.

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