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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.




    • Anonymous

      15 Aug 2017 14:21  

      I got 50 STR FUGS (+5) with charcoal pine resin buff ,yet a naked guy with an ultra type weapon can trade hits with this without stagger while i cant even tank a second hit from him.
      the new system is so stupid
      for str builds start attack animation first you will not get staggared yet the dex guy can still take 1 hit and roll away 2 hit for dex guys is mask coz 3rd will kill them...

      for dex its just hit and run and play passively as much as possible that means just roll roll not to mention the str guy cant even tank 1 hit , str guy cant even pull up his sword and refresh stamina because ultra heavy weapon attacks consume absurd amount of stamina

      not to meantion that dex weap attacks are so damn fast sometimes they hit you hit them (as str build) they somehow roll away

      • Anonymous

        09 Jul 2017 14:21  

        Basically poise doesn't work like what it should. It may have been deliberately designed different but that doesn't make it right. People should admit From Software screwed up here.

        Staggering from a punch whilst wearing Havel's armour is ridiculous. Meanwhile, there are enemies with real poise whose attacks cannot be interrupted. The leading result is a game with lots of floaty rolling to avoid uninterruptable attacks and avoid being stun locked by rats.

        GG From Software. You screwed up. Good thing this was the last game in the series. So much wrong with the fanservice expansion of Dark Souls 1 (and that's pretty much what this game was with the exact same copied and pasted animations), it truly is something that needs a rest before being innovated. Bloodborne innovated the formula. DkS 3 didn't.

        • Anonymous

          01 Jul 2017 14:01  

          Situational poise is irrelevant when most weapons hyper armor frames take too long to start up. A lighter weapon can just interrupt you before your arm swings in an arc, which is the issue with "poise"

          But weapons like the Mace and Hollowslayer have their hyper armor frames start immediately, which makes them very good. Yeah, I get it, DS1 poise was over the top. But it was far better than the stunlock fest this game is now. The way poise works is completely illogical and lazy. It seems they didn't put much thought into implementing such a mechanic with player vs player in mind either.

          • 28 Jun 2017 06:03  

            Basically what this means is that while attacking you have "hyper armor" which means you can't be staggered mid-attack unless the damage to your poise is high enough. The table above shows what weapons do how much poise damage and your visible poise stat determines how much of said poise damage is blocked (it's based on a point-by-point percentage). Just remember that even though the highest poise damage is 30 (Greataxes and greatshields) and your poise heath is 100 until your poise is high enough their attacks will get a multiplier on poise damage that's enough to break your "hyper armor" in 1 hit. Only heavy armor really has enough poise to take 2 or 3 greataxe hits before staggering. That's the long and short of poise.

            • Anonymous

              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. :)

              • Anonymous

                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?

                • Anonymous

                  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?

                  • Anonymous

                    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.

                    • Anonymous

                      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.

                      • Anonymous

                        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?

                          • Anonymous

                            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.

                              • Anonymous

                                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

                                • Anonymous

                                  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?

                                  • Anonymous

                                    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.

                                    • Anonymous

                                      28 Mar 2017 03:15  

                                      PSA - patch 1.11 made heavy armor much more viable now, in case anyone has been discouraged from using it due to the odd Poise system in DS3

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