“Gankers” in Dark Souls lingo are groups of three or four players who get together to murder invaders for fun and profit by taking advantage of the strength of their numbers. With my favorite new PVP build I have been observing the community of gankers in Dark Souls for the last month or so. Now, I am by no means the best at fighting against three and four hostile human players at once, yet I observe that I can win a fairly decent percentage of these encounters. It seemed to me that most of the squads that lose to me are making the same kinds of mistakes, so as a service to the ganking community I will catalog these here.
On the face of it the PVP area in Oolacile Township is the perfect spot for engaging in the group killing of invaders. It has several characteristics that make it so:
It’s easy to camp the top spawn point.
There is not much room to move around and escape area-of-effect spells near the spawn.
If the invader wants to be a troll and enlist enemies from the level for help, they are far away.
With good timing and a reasonable deployment of your soliders, you should be able to stun lock and murder anything showing up at the spawn point in a matter of seconds.
This is good ganking technique. The red never manages to make a move past the group, and is dead fast enough that a second red can’t get in and make trouble for you.
Tip 1: Trap the invader at the spawn and hit her when she can’t hit back until she dies.
A refinement of this technique uses the Tranquil Walk of Peace (TWOP) to further paralyze the invader. If you get three friends together and have two people casting TWOP off of the sword and the other two stun locking invaders to death with Gold Tracer spam it’s unclear to me how you could ever lose.
Even better, if you are anti-social solo gankers can use TWOP and take advantage of the glitch that makes the Pursuers and Homing Soul Mass spells invisible to invaders to win 100% of the time. It’s easy!
There was one afternoon where I repeatedly invaded a single person doing the Invisible Soul Mass thing. I probably landed in that world 15 times and I never came close to even hitting the bastard.
Surprisingly, as straightforward as this sounds, groups consistently get it wrong. The tricky part is timing the stun lock so as not to give the invader even a second or two to get off an attack that might kill you. Inevitably when gank squads get bored or lazy they will get sloppy with the TWOP and stun locking strats, and this will cost them dearly:
In this video we see the usual progression. The squad starts out disciplined and with good timing, but eventually they leave a small sloppy window through which you can get just one attack out, and then they lose.
Thus tip #2.
Tip 2: Don’t get sloppy with the TWOP and stun locking.
Sometimes a group will let the invader get completely past them and run into the level. This opens up all kinds of problems for the gankers.
For example, the invader can run away and heal up and buff and then come back and murder you:
Or, the invader can run away and heal up and buff and then come back and murder you. Oh sorry I repeat myself. It’s so fun to do this that I had to record another video when it worked for me:
Even worse, while you are chasing the first asshole who ran past you, a second asshole could invade you and then you have to deal with two WOG spamming assholes at the same time!
Don’t let this happen to you. Under no circumstances should you ever allow more than one invader into your world at the same time. This will tip the numbers too close to even, and then you might not win.
Tip 3: Never allow the fight to be against more than one invader at once. Especially if the invader is a WOG spamming asshole.
Another silly example:
Speaking of WOG … this spell is the main tool of players like me who are not actually good at fighting ganks, but like to try and win anyway. All it takes to be effective with this spell is good timing and a sense of where to stand in order to hit the most people at once. But, if you see the spell coming it’s pretty easy to counter:
You roll as you hear the sound and see the cast animation start.
Better yet, when you see it coming, roll behind the caster for an easy backstab.
Even better yet, carry enough poise (heavy armor) to be able to walk right through the WOG for a backstab.
If you can roll almost every cast of WOG and get a backstab out of it you will beat me every time. I can only carry six of these at once so in general if you roll four of them and the other two miss because I’m going after others, you will then be able to win. Alternatively, if you carry about 1800 to 2000HP if will take too many casts to kill you and one of your team will probably backstab me, giving you time to heal.
Tip 4: Roll the WOGs or carry enough HP to absorb two or three, or carry enough poise to just backstab me through the cast. Any of these things will allow you to ignore what I am doing to you and get back to murdering me.
This video has a fairly optimal example of this scheme:
The host is:
Fast rolling in Havel’s.
Rolls my first WOG (very good).
Takes my second WOG right in his face, but walks right through it because of his Havel’s level poise.
Hornet ring backstabs me to death. Perfect.
Then his friend who has contributed nothing to the fight but getting summoned and running down the stairs is so proud of himself that he jerky-emotes and then does the point down. Just thinking about that makes me want to WOG him to death.
Also note that this strat even works great if you are by yourself:
Finally, I’ve also been seeing a few gank squads carrying WOG into the fight rather than the usual (and very dodgeable) magic spells like Homing Soul Mass or Soul Spear. WOG spammers are usually pretty bad at dodging their own stuff, so this is a good idea.
Tip 5: Bring your own WOG to the WOG fight.
Just make sure you can survive trading hits.
My final tip is an obvious move that no one makes. One should observe that three people can kill one guy just about as easily as four people can. So what you should do is hide the host where I can’t do damage to him and then just murder me in peace.
Tip 6: Don’t let the host fight.
I’m not sure why I don’t see this done more often. Presumably it’s not much fun for the host.
With all these tips in mind, I leave you with one final video where the group does almost everything wrong. The host is in harm’s way. They let me get off the spawn point and spam my spam. They let me spawn into the world before killing the other red that’s chasing them around, eventually leaving the host to fight two on one. The host almost recovers with a nice poise-stab, but he’s doomed.
This fight also also contains a rare sighting of me backstabbing someone. Given how common this tactic is in Dark Souls PVP and how easy it apparently is to exploit, I am really bad at getting backstabs and hardly ever land one. But here I land not one but two, and the final one is also the killing blow. WOG into backstab for the win. Yay.
Last Tip That I Forgot
I remembered this one after I pushed the publish button, so it has to go down here.
Tip #7: Don’t use Firestorm. It doesn’t work.
In this video it’s actually the other red phantom that casts the spell. But the spell hits nothing so it illustrates that if you just stand out of the way you are never in any danger. So when squads try to use it on me the result is basically the same as here: