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There are two in-game concepts called Poise. The player has the stat Poise, which is obtained from Armor, the Lothric Knight Long Spear, Yhorm's Greatshield and the Wolf Ring. There is also the hidden value "poise health" that determines when your "hyperarmor frames" are interrupted, and the visible stat Poise acts as a defense stat for this poise health, reducing how much poise damage is inflicted by enemy attacks.

The stagger resistance given by the skills Unfaltering PrayerPerseverance, Stone Flesh, and the pyromancy Iron Flesh are unrelated to poise, and simply allow you to take a certain number of hits without staggering. The Great Hammer version of Perseverance, however, does activate the player's poise.

 

 The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form 

How Poise Works

In a nutshell, you are only able to resist stagger during "hyperarmor" frames, and your Poise stat determines how many attacks you can take before you can be staggered out of hyperarmor frames. Because hyperarmor frames are not fully uninterruptible and use Poise to determine whether or not you can be interrupted, it would be more accurate to call them "active poise". In the game's code, the supposedly deactivated value for poise is in fact activated during animations with active poise.

All characters using the player model, including the player character, most NPCs, and non-player invaders, have a hidden poise health of 100. All attacks that hit the character will reduce this value, and when the value reaches 0 the character will be staggered regardless of whether or not they are in the middle of an attack with poise frames. The stat Poise will reduce how much poise damage a weapon inflicts to this poise health, by a percentage equal to the amount of Poise. Your Poise stat is always passively reducing incoming poise damage, whether or not you are using an attack with active poise. However, you are only able to resist stagger during active poise, and at any other time you can be staggered regardless of how much poise health you have left.

Furthermore, all attacks and actions with active poise will give a multiplier to your current poise health (usually negative), allowing you to take more or fewer hits before being staggered. The modifiers for normal R1 and R2 attacks on weapons with active poise were greatly reduced in the 1.08 patch, to the point where characters need very high poise to resist stagger from one or two attacks now. However, as of the 1.08 patch, attacks with active poise will now automatically refresh your poise health back to 80% of full after modifiers. For example, if you are using a Greataxe weapon (maximum poise health for R1 is 27) and you have 0.1 poise health before the attack, then as soon as your attack starts your poise will instantly reset to 21.6.  What this means is you can now resist stagger from one or two attacks every time you attack, which allows tanky, high poise builds to play much more aggressively. Weapon arts with active poise have much higher modifiers than normal attacks do, being anywhere from 0.30 to 2.00 vs 0.10 to 0.27, and weapon arts will refresh your poise health back to 100% of full instead of 80%. Attacks that are blocked by a shield do not reduce your poise health at all.

Your poise health does not regenerate, but will immediately refresh back to 100% every 30 seconds or when it's reduced to 0, whichever comes first. In addition, the 1.08 patch made it so that your poise health resets to 80% of full whenever you use a normal attack with active poise and to 100% of its full value whenever you use a weapon art with active poise.

To use poise, you need to know these things: how much poise damage your opponent's attacks deal, what the poise health of your attacks is, and how much Poise from armor you need to reduce your opponent's poise damage far enough to not drop your poise health to zero. In addition, since your poise health resets back to 80% with every normal attack, it would also be helpful to have enough poise so that 20.01% of your poise health is left over, as this will allow you to resist stagger through your opponent's attack every time you attack. For weapons that only have active poise during their weapon arts, this is less important since weapon arts reset poise health back to 100% instead of 80%.

Active poise is found on certain weapon attacks including, but not limited to, Ultra Greatsword, Greathammer, and Greataxe R1s, Greatsword two-handed R1s, fully charged R2 attacks, most Weapon Skills, and the medium and heavy rolls. The 1.08 patch also gave active poise to two-handed Hammer attacks. Testing is still ongoing to determine which attacks have poise frames and what their poise multipliers are.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/4vnan9/how_poise_works/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ru20/how_poise_works_in_108/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ppik/hard_data_about_poise/

 

Stat Poise Information

Each piece of armor has a Poise rating, and your total Poise is the sum of each of your armor pieces. Naked characters have 0 Poise. In general, wearing heavier or more protective armor increases Poise.

As of patch 1.07. the Poise formula seems to reduce the effects of poise for armor and rings added once the player has any poise. Every piece added that increases poise will be subjected to the following formula:

    

 

So if adding the Wolf Ring (12.5 poise) on a character with 10 poise:

Weapons & Poise Damage

Information via Gamefaqs (Some values were changed in the 1.08 patch and may no longer be accurate. They will be updated as soon as the new values are found.)

 Trivia

For a long time, it was believed that the poise stat either didn't work or was intentionally disabled on release, due to a player finding a value in the game's code that determined whether or not poise was active and seeing that the value was 'off' by default. It was later discovered by other people that this value was only turned on during what was thought to be hyperarmor frames at the time, and that poise damage is constantly being calculated at all times but you are only able to resist stagger during attacks or actions with hyperarmor frames.

Boulder Heave is unique among spells in that it also inflicts poise damage. If an opponent is struck by the debris, it will deal a large amount of poise damage. However, spells and skills that cause knockdown do not take poise into account.

Enemies that do not use the player model, such as Darkwraiths, Silver Knights, and Black Knights, do not follow the same rules for poise that the player character and NPCs do.




    • 26 May 2017 07:44  

      -Heavy weapons: Poise, unparryable.
      -Light weapons: Speed, better stamina management​.
      -A lot of different categories and mechanics to add variety.

      Your build won't offer you everything you dream of. So build your character wisly to match your playing style. And get good. :)

      • 16 May 2017 23:22  

        I'll admit i read the article twice and still didn't understant sh*t :P
        probably it's my fault but just to make sure, considering i'm currently going for a pure strenght PVE only build with Yhorm's Great Machete, would it make sense for me to have a Leo Ring +3 to increase poise or it's pontless?

        • 15 May 2017 15:11  

          How does Stagger work? Are there different types of "stagger"? For instance, sometimes you just get knocked a little bit, but at other times you're knocked completely over: is that just dependant on the weapon type?

          • 11 May 2017 05:18  

            Look at all these dex casuals complaining about massive weapons. If it bleeds, it can die. 500 plus hours talking here. Any weapon can kill any player. Use them right.

            • 21 Apr 2017 00:28  

              ''you can now resist stagger from one or two attacks every time you attack, which allows tanky, high poise builds to play much more aggressively'' it basically allows heavy weapon users to spam hits now and immobilizes all dex type of users, thus making many of them pretty much useless. Plus, hitboxes on most heavy weapons are total crap. UNBALANCE MUCH? that's probably the reason why 90% of the players I come across use heavy weaponry after the latest patch. Game is more unbalanced than ever atm and needs to revert imo.

              • 19 Apr 2017 00:58  

                Poise was and is screwed up, they have changed it based off us, Thanks, but its still not complete. It is based of weapons not Armor, Armor just add the values in short I use a short my 43.41 poise mean nothing... but great weapons and ultragreat weapons, it "works".. I have to use my WA to see poise.. while G & UG weapons R1 and R2 poise just fine.. therefore still screwed up. (Callapse)

                • 11 Apr 2017 19:53  

                  I was under the impression that a higher poise value also allowed you to escape stun lock sooner. So if being attacked with a fast weapon like daggers, if you have high poise, you might be able to escape the stun lock and roll away / counter attack / parry after 3 hits instead of 5 or 6 hits. I even remember testing it last fall with armor sets that have different poise values and finding that it worked.

                  Was I just wrong?

                  • 11 Apr 2017 19:50  

                    I was under the impression that a higher poise value also allowed you to escape stun lock sooner. So if being attacked with a fast weapon like daggers, if you have high poise, you might be able to escape the stun lock and roll away / counter attack / parry after 3 hits instead of 5 or 6 hits. I even remember testing it last fall with armor sets that have different poise values and finding that it worked.

                    Was I just wrong?

                    • 08 Apr 2017 21:45  

                      Allow me to explain why I don't like this system by using the past games as reference:

                      Dark Souls 1: Heavy armor made trading blows viable with any weapon. Lighter armor made being agile and/or using bigger weapons more viable. Pretty much any combination of weapon/armor worked so long as it was built smartly.

                      Dark Souls 2: Same concept. Heavier armor allowed better damage trade while bigger weapons allowed an overruling of big armor. The guard-break system prevented people from hiding behind big shields.

                      Dark souls 3: Doesn't matter what physical build you have, you're still gonna lose to the guy with the biggest weapon/armor because they only need to hit you once to get two guaranteed hits on you. And good luck trying to get quick damage off them.

                      • 05 Apr 2017 23:19  

                        ok so i tested pout poise, compared 45 poise to 20 poise and there is a huge difference, so much easier to get staggered at 20 poise than 45 and also hyperarmor is increased, Btw if you are wondering im using the ringed knight straight sword from the dlc, very useful at +5 with increased poise, idk bout pvp tho

                        • 02 Apr 2017 05:37  

                          How am i suppose to know the poise of a boss, lets take slave knight gael for example, if im using the profaned greatsword and that does around 28 poise damage, and im also using boulder heave. how many hits should it take me to reduce slave knights gaels poise to 0. and also for him damage to me with his weapon, does that mean he also regains his poise back, and i know you can get the armor set and the sword so would that armor set and sword be the same poise for you as it is for him?

                          • 01 Apr 2017 11:46  

                            I might be in a minority here, but I like the current Poise system. It forces you to master the timing of your attacks using heavy weapons; if you want to counter the speed of lighter weapons. In the end both heavy and light weapons can work in pvp if you know how to use them.

                            Poise, as a stat, is not as important as it used to be, sure. Now it only strengthen your Hyperarmor. Does that make heavy armors useless? of course not. Higher protection ( especially after patch 1.11 ) in addition to higher Poise is more than enough reason to use them.

                            • 17 Mar 2017 01:42  

                              Am I the only one whose eyes glaze over when they try to read the info about how poise works in ds3? Calculating number of attacks to relative poise... I came to research & git gud, not do *****ing calculus. I shouldn't need to choose between permanent casul status and getting a math degree from my local community college.

                              Hate to be the stereotypical nostalgic/complaining From gamer but ds2 felt more intuitive and Bloodborne didn't have anything like poise but encouraged a play style that made poise obsolete. Trying to tank in ds3 is pretty boring to me unlike in ds2 but that's just one man's opinion

                              • 02 Mar 2017 15:52  

                                Was it really that hard to add the perfectly balanced poise system that DS2 had? Of course it was. DumbSoftware decided to make this game an uninspired and lazy stunlock simulator.
                                Removed every intellectual technical property DS1 and DS2 had. Good job, no wonder this game is already dead.

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