Game Progress Route
This guide will help new players understand a potential and recommended first route to Dark Souls 3. Keep in mind many areas link together and sometimes you will have to go back to other areas to access new areas. This will all be covered in this guide. Many areas can be done in an either-or situation, this has been condensed into a route easier for newer Souls players.
1. Cemetery of Ash - TUTORIAL AREA
The introductory zone. Must progress through here to reach Firelink Shrine. The right path before the first bonfire contains an engorged crystal lizard. These drops Titanite Scales, which are used to upgrade Boss Weapons.
Boss(es): Iudex Gundyr
2. Firelink Shrine
The main hub. Buy and sell items, check up on quests or level up here.
3. High Wall of Lothric
Must teleport here via the Firelink Shrine bonfire. Leads to several areas depending on how progressed you are. Speak with Emma in the church opposite Vordt to gain the item to be able to be transported to the Undead Settlement. You will also be teleported to this same church after defeating three Lords of Cinder. Alternatively, you could just kill Emma in the church to skip this requirement - but the Dancer boss is scaled to be done at the later period regardless.
Boss(es): Vordt of the Boreal Valley; Dancer of the Boreal Valley (revisit)
7. Farron Keep
Head north from the Road of Sacrifices Crucifixion Woods bonfire, past the two NPC's. It is another swampy area. You must extinguish the three sconce's to be given access to the boss area. Contains the location of the Watchdogs of Farron covenant, which leads to an elevator to the Stray Demon mini-boss.
Boss(es): Lord of Cinder: Abyss Watchers; Stray Demon (mini-boss; drops Soul of a Stray Demon)
9. Smouldering Lake - OPTIONAL AREA
Found after destroying the bridge just before High Lord Wolnir. Contains the ruins of Izalith and a lot of Large Titanite Shards. The shards alone make it worth it to come here before Irithyll. It also contains two Undead Bone Shards, several pyromancy tomes and an Estus Shard.
Boss(es): Old Demon King (optional); Giant Worm (miniboss; drops Undead Bone Shard); Demon (mini-boss; drops Soul of a Demon)
10. Irithyll of the Boreal Valley
Requires the plain doll dropped by Deacons of the Deep to enter the mist at the end of the bridge. You also must have killed Wolnir in order to reach the area. NOTE: you will be ambushed by a giant crocodile-werewolf on the bridge before the second bonfire! One of the most challenging areas in Dark Souls 3 due to the monsters' attack patterns. Also contains one of the more challenging bosses.
Boss(es): Pontiff Sulyvahn
11. Anor Londo
Not as long as its Dark Souls 1 counterpart. Filled with DS1-style Silver Knights, except they are far more difficult. Still guarded by archers. Found after a small path leading from the church in Irithyll, where Sulyvahn is fought.
Boss(es): Lord of Cinder: Aldrich, Devourer of Gods
12. Irithyll Dungeon
Just to the left of the archway that leads to the path to Pontiff Sulyvahn is the 'Distant Manor' bonfire. This contains Irithyll Dungeon. This can be done either before or after Anor Londo. It contains several hidden secrets as well as jailor mobs that drain your health, similar to, but faster than, hollowing from Dark Souls 2.
13. Profaned Capital
Guarded by a gargoyle. Relatively small area owing to Irithyll Dungeon containing no bosses. Contains a large number of mimics, so be mindful.
Boss(es): Lord of Cinder: Yhorm the Giant
14. Consumed King's Garden - OPTIONAL AREA
After defeating the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, placing the basin and being given access to Lothric Castle, head on the left path, past the sentinel down the elevator. This area is filled with toxins - so be careful! Contains a hidden path directly back to Lothric Castle to act as a shortcut. Be sure to pick up the emote in the room just before Untended Graves for later use.
Boss(es): Oceiros, The Consumed King (optional)
15. Untended Graves - OPTIONAL AREA
Almost a carbon copy of the Cemetery of Ash. Contains more difficult mobs, and two crystal lizards as opposed to one. This area could prove challenging at this stage, but it seems the easiest option. It contains an abandoned version of Firelink Shrine for you to plunder. Pick up everything. Give the Eyes of a Fire Keeper you find where Irina would be in the real Shrine (behind a hidden wall in this version) to the Fire Keeper to give access to the 'End of Fire' ending.
Boss(es): Champion Gundyr (optional)
17. Grand Archives
Re-imagining of The Duke's Archives from Dark Souls 1. It is about as annoying as well; it is equally as long and sprawling as its predecessor. Contains a Crystal Sage mini-boss and several gargoyles.
Boss(es): Lord of Cinder: Lothric, Younger Prince and Lorian, Elder Prince; Crystal Sage (mini-boss; drops a sorceries scroll)
18. Archdragon Peak
Gained via Irithyll Dungeon. use the 'Path of the Dragon emote found in the room before the Untended Graves (otherwise known as the room found just after Oceiros) at the area located a few steps in front of the elevator shortcut. This area is relatively short but difficult. The first boss requires a drop attack to kill - it will one-shot it. Also contains Havel's Greatshield, which drops from an enemy wearing the Havel's Set. the final boss is fought atop a floor of mist by the third bonfire.
Boss(es): Ancient Wyvern; King of the Storm and The Nameless King (both optional)
19. Kiln of the First Flame - FINAL AREA
Upon presenting each throne its Cinder of a Lord, speak with Ludleth then rest at the bonfire in the middle of Firelink shrine to be ported here. Use the bonfire just outside the Flameless Shrine to be teleported to just before the boss room. This is the final area.
Boss(es): Soul of Cinder
After defeating the Soul of Cinder, you have the choice to enter New Game+ immediately, or to wait and finish anything you may have missed beforehand.