Dark Souls 3

Poise

Overview

"The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form" - in-game description

Poise in Dark Souls 3 modifies an NPC enemy's resistant to stagger upon being hit by an attack.

On May 12th, 2016, Poise has been officially confirmed as "not turned off" for the player character and "working as intended" by Bandai Namco / FromSoftware.1

As of App v1.04 Reg v1.06, Poise works similarly to how it did in previous Dark Souls titles but only for some NPC enemies in the game2, notably the various Knights in heavy armor345.

The effects of the Poise stat on the player-controlled characters are currently unknown and the stat has little tangible influence on gameplay.

Diminishing Returns

Each piece of gear can add a flat amount of poise. However, if the current poise of the player is above 0.0, it receives diminishing returns. The diminishing returns formula is as follows:

(1)

(currentPoise×addedPoise)/100+currentPoise+addedPoise

currentPoise is whatever is currently displayed.
addedPoise is what the new piece of gear will add.

With this formula, each new piece of gear has the added poise reduced by a percentage of the existing poise. For each 10 points of current poise, reduce the added poise by 1 point (or for each 1 point of current poise, reduce the added poise by 0.1 points).

Poise damage

Base poise damageWeapon and Weapon class
0Greatbows (the knockdown ignores poise)
5Spell Tools
7Daggers
10Pyromancy Flame
15Torch
17Demon's Fist
20Normal shields
23Hammers
28Curse Ward Greatshield
30Gundyr's Halberd

Source: Original research by memory reading.

Note that these are base values of 1H R1 attacks. More testing is required for 2H attacks that do increased poise damage, and for spells, projectiles.

Poise boosting equipments

In addition to many armor pieces, the following equipments also give bonus to Poise:

NameBonus amount
Lothric Knight Long Spear10
Yhorm's Greatshield45
Wolf Ring12.5 ; 17.5 (+1) ; 20 (+2)

Rumors

At launch, Poise was subject to many community rumors that it affected resistance to stun while attacking with large weapons or "hyper armor". These rumors have been proven false by Youtube user Juutas19886. Instead, weapon hyper armor is disabled if the player has 0.0 poise but the system becomes enabled once poise is greater than zero (0.1+). Additionally, rumors circulated that poise increases roll recovery frames, which would allow characters to return to neutral much faster. However, Juutas1988 disproved their own findings when they admitted that lower 8

Speculations and Hypotheses

  • Poise is used with roll recovery frames: as above, False. This is based on equipment load.
  • Poise is used when pressing R1 (two handed or one handed) with some large weapons, or R2 with specialty weapons: False. This is referred to as "hyper armor", which appears to have its own rules for staggering.
  • Poise is turned on briefly while swinging large weapons and turned off again at the end of the animation: False. Weapon breakpoints in the above table show that poise does not affect stagger during swings. Hyper armor favors whomever struck first, even by one frame.
  • Poise is the length of frames a weapon's hyper armor is granted: False. Hyper armor is disabled while a player has zero poise on certain weapons: Inconclusive. Hyper armor is enabled at above zero poise on some weapons but has not been shown to increase frames by any amount.
  • Poise dictates how many rolling iframes you will lose after getting hit: False. Confirmed false by both the guy who turned on poise9 and another person reading the game memory10.