Beginning Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin may seem like a daunting task. The game is extremely open-ended, and it's not hard to go to the wrong place and get destroyed. While you don't have to follow an exact order of areas to make it through the game, anyone new to the Dark Souls franchise or coming from Bloodborne may have some issues. That said, this quick start guide will help you understand the game and avoid death, at least for a little while.

Get to Majula

The first area in Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin is called Things Betwixt. Once there, you create your character, select a class and starting stats. There's a small area where you'll come across some notes that teach you how to play the game, but for the most part this is a training area. You'll see a large troll-like enemy in this training area, as well as an enemy that loosely resembles a frog. It's in your best interests to stay away from these creatures since you'll have difficulty killing them at your current level.

Head through the middle of this area to reach Majula on the far side. This is essentially the staging area of Dark Souls 2. If you've played Bloodborne, think of this place as the equivalent of Hunter's Dream. You'll level up your character by speaking with the woman near the bonfire to the right (as you enter). There are also several merchants in the area, and a blacksmith that can be unlocked once you purchase a key from the merchant in the Forest of the Fallen Giants.

You'll encounter quite a few NPCs throughout the game. Many of them can be sent back to Majula where you'll be able to buy things from or interact with them in relative safety. Be sure to speak to every NPC until they start repeating their dialogue. That's the best way to send them back to Majula if there's an option to do so.

Forest of the Fallen Giants

The first area you need to go through is the Forest of the Fallen Giants. As you exit the training area you can loop around to the right to find a path that leads through some ruins and into the Forest. You shouldn't have much difficulty taking out the enemies in this area, but keep a close eye on your weapons to make sure they don't break. If you receive a message stating your weapon is in danger, switch to a different one. You can repair a weapon with Repair Powder, but if it breaks you'll have to wait until you unlock the blacksmith to fix it.

When you reach the old woman merchant near one of the bonfires in Forest of the Fallen Giants, you can speak to her several times to get her to move to Majula. In addition, you can buy Lifegems (health replenishment) and a key from this merchant. The key is required to unlock the hut in Majula that the blacksmith sits in front of. Once you unlock it, rest at the bonfire and the blacksmith will become available. He fixes and enhances weapons and armor, and sells ranged ammo and things of that nature.

The Last Giant and The Pursuer

There are two bosses in the Forest of the Fallen Giants. The first is the Last Giant who you shouldn't have much trouble finding. However, the second boss is easy to miss if you're not paying attention. After you defeat the Last Giant you'll obtain a Soldier Key. This unlocks quite a few doors in the area, but the most important door is the one that leads to the Pursuer boss.

From the bonfire where the old lady merchant is positioned, head down the ladder and through the door to the right. Continue through the next door just ahead and then look to the right. There's a locked door next to some stairs. The key opens this door, which leads to the Pursuer boss. After you've taken down the boss, continue through the opening in the wall ahead, then drop down to the area below to find a stash of armor and a very important Drangleic Shield. This is the first shield in the game that absorbs 100 percent physical damage, which means you can block almost any attack and not take damage.

Pick Your Build

When you head back to Majula after defeating the Pursuer, you should have already leveled up several times. At this point you need to determine what kind of build you want for your character. If you desire a character that is light on his feet, focus on Adaptability to increase your rolling ability. If you want to wear heavy armor, you need to start putting points into Vitality to increase the amount of weight your character can carry.

While most players will opt for some sort of melee weapon build, if you'd like to lean more toward magic you should add points to Intelligence or Faith. Keep in mind that you won't have much in the way of spells until you're a bit further in the game, but it's good to start early if this is the type of play style you're looking for.

If you need help beating the game, read Prima’s free Dark Souls 2 walkthrough. Concerned about staying alive? These are the easiest ways to die.