This guide will serve as a walkthrough of the first location of the game, the Cemetery of Ash. Follow along with our guide to begin your harrowing journey into Dark Souls 3.
Upon completion of the opening cinematic, players will be taken to the character creation menu. There are various customization options available, allowing you to adjust the minute physical details of your character. Feel free to spend some time refining your character's facial structure, hair style, and overall appearance.
Although you may spend quite a while on shaping your character’s aesthetics, choosing the right Class and Burial Gift are even more important. Review our Character Creation Guide for details on the attributes of each Class and Burial Gift to determine which class best suits your play style.
Tour the Cemetery of Ash
The game begins when your character arrives in the Cemetery of Ash. The only way to go is forward. Read the messages on the ground along the path to learn movement controls. If you are playing online, messages like these will appear from other players throughout the game. Some messages are helpful, while others will lead you astray. You can trust these initial messages in the Cemetery of Ash however, as these are mostly meant to acquaint you with the controls.
Prepare to face your first two foes. Defeat the undead enemy on the right, then take down the enemy who was sitting near the large stone goblet in the center. Approach the orb near the goblet to receive an Ashen Estus Flask.
Ashen Estus Flasks are separate from the traditional Estus Flasks. Ashen Estus Flasks are used to replenish your Focus Point (FP) meter, which is the blue bar in the upper left corner of your display. FP is consumed upon performing weapon arts or magic spell attacks.
Head down the lengthy path to the right of the first enemy, and pillage the remains on the left to receive a Soul of a Deserted Corpse. Return to the goblet where you received the Ashen Estus Flask. From here, there are three paths that branch out from this center location. The left and right paths contain enemies and loot to help familiarize you with combat, while the center path ahead leads to an open area, where you will find your first bonfire.
Begin by going up the small stairs to the right. Heed the message, and use your Critical Hit to take down the enemy from behind if you wish. Watch out for several more enemies on the path ahead, including an archer near the center. Eliminate these hostile foes to earn more souls.
Following the narrow path to the right, you will find a large crystal lizard that you can optionally fight. You may not be ready to face this enemy just yet, but you can try if you wish. We recommend returning to this area at a later time to fight this creature when you are better prepared.
When you do fight this crystalline lizard, keep your distance and pay attention to its movements. It will perform various close range attacks, including a forward bite, side swipe, and tail attack. Watch out for crystal shards that will protrude from the ground around the creature.
When you see the large crystal lizard rear its head or stand up, prepare to dodge its incoming roll. This creature is very dangerous up close, so you can likely only get in a couple strikes before having to back off. Continue to dodge its movements and squeeze in attacks whenever possible to eventually destroy this massive crystal reptile.
Head over to the path on the left, and defeat the next two enemies found here. Pillage the remains of the corpse to receive a Titanite Scale, then pick up the Soul of an Unknown Traveler nearby.
Now you can take the main path forward through the center. Walk along the cliffside to the left to reach the Cemetery of Ash Bonfire. Light the bonfire, then rest at the bonfire to replenish your health and receive the Rest gesture.
Continue along the path, and eliminate the enemy just ahead of the bonfire. Prepare to face another two foes along the path to the right. Kill the enemies to clear the path. Follow the path as it curves to the left, and watch out for the two enemies standing at the end of the path. The furthest enemy has a crossbow.
Get the attention of the front enemy, and lead them away from the narrow cliff. Try to avoid or block any incoming crossbow bolts fired from the second enemy. Eliminate the spear wielding enemy, then proceed to take down the one with the crossbow. Pillage the corpse at the end of the path to collect a set of Firebombs.
Return to the path near the bonfire. Head forward from where you faced the first enemy near the bonfire earlier. The path on the right leads to a large brick structure with a ranged enemy out front. Don’t go that way just yet.
Continue straight along the path toward a drop off. Read the message to learn how to jump, then practice the move here. There’s a collectible on a coffin below the drop. Jump off the ledge to land on the coffin, then pillage the corpse to gather another Titanite Shard.
Continue toward the next ledge and read the message. Perform an attack as you drop down off the cliff to eliminate the enemy below. Proceed toward the doorway of the brick structure to fight another crossbow wielding enemy. Avoid the crossbow bolts, and land a few strikes as the enemy is reloading to take them out. Enter the doorway to the courtyard, and prepare for your first boss battle.
Boss Battle - Defeat Iudex Gundyr
Approach the kneeling statue in the center of the courtyard, and remove the sword from the Iudex Gundyr’s side to begin the battle. If you’re quick, you can sneak in a few strikes on the kneeling boss before it stands up. Once Iudex Gundyr is fully standing, back away quickly so that you can analyze this boss’ movements.
Iudex Gundyr has tremendous range. Keep your distance, and try to avoid being within range of his large halberd by dodging left or right. Iudex Gundyr’s attacks mainly include wide sweeping swings, a shoulder push, and a downward plunge that can fling you into the air if you’re not careful.
Lock onto Iudex, and move along the right side, opposite the boss weapon. This allows you to get close enough to deal damage while avoiding the halberd. Monitor your stamina use, especially if you are using a shield to block or mitigate damage. Stamina will drain when performing attacks, rolling, running, and blocking, so make every movement count. Wait for Iudex to attack, then quickly move in to deal a couple damaging strikes before his next move.
When Iudex Gundyr’s health is reduced to half, he will morph into a second, more grotesque form. Iudex’s range increases greatly while in this new form. If you move too far away, Iudex will launch into the air and slam down on your position to close the gap.
Stay close to Iudex while he’s in this form, as he will have more difficulty attacking you. Keep your guard up and manage your stamina in order to dodge when necessary. Note that you have bombs at your disposal as well, which can be highly effective on Iudex in this second form.
Once you have defeated the Heir of Fire, you will receive the Coiled Sword and will have your Ember restored. Ignite the Iudex Gundyr Bonfire in the center of the courtyard, then proceed through the door on the far wall.
Head through the doors to the next area. Loot the corpse sitting at a tombstone on the left ahead of the doors to obtain a Broken Straight Sword. Continue up the stairs on the right, and kill the two enemies sitting amongst the graves. Two more enemies are further ahead on the path: one wields a spear, and the other fires a crossbow. Eliminate both enemies, and proceed up the stairs to the right.
The stairs lead to the entrance to the building, but don’t go inside just yet. Head around the corner to the right, and fight off the undead hound. Loot the corpse behind the hound to receive an Ember. Return to the entrance, but this time head up the path to the left.
There are two sets of stairs: one straight ahead, and one on the right. Eliminate the two enemies on the stairs to the right, then follow the path to loot a corpse holding another Ember. Follow the path along the cliffside on far right, and search behind a coffin to find a corpse that contains a Homeward Bone. This item allows you to travel back home without using a bonfire, so be sure to collect this useful item for future use.
Return to where you discovered the two branching staircases. Go straight up the left staircase this time, and look for a corpse doubled over in a tree. Pillage the remains to obtain an East-West Shield.
The staircase ahead of the tree leads to a very swift and strong enemy, who will prove difficult to fight at your current level. Although it’s possible to defeat this enemy, we don’t recommend taking the risk this early in the game. Instead, make note of this enemy and remember to return to it at a later time.
Return to the building entrance at the top of the cemetery hill. Proceed through the entryway to discover Firelink Shrine. The details of Firelink Shrine will be covered in the next segment of our walkthrough. Continue on to USGamer’s Dark Souls 3 Firelink Shrine Walkthrough, or return to our Dark Souls 3 Walkthrough and Guide for more tips and features.