Icon In-Game Description
Poise Icon The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form


On May 12th, 2016, Poise was 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 worked 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 were unknown and the stat had little tangible influence on gameplay.

As of App v1.08 Reg v1.21, the Poise system had been massively overhauled. The Armor Poise stat is now factored into Poise Frames during some attacks, previously known (prior to v1.08) as HyperArmor Frames (detailed explanations can be found on Youtube6 and Reddit78).

Armor Poise

The Poise value visible on the player character's stats screens.

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:

\begin{equation} -(currentPoise × addedPoise)/100+currentPoise+addedPoise \end{equation}

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).9

Poise boosting equipments

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

Name Bonus amount
Lothric Knight Long Spear 10
Yhorm's Greatshield 15
Wolf Ring 4 ; 6 (+1) ; 8 (+2)

Poise damage

Base poise damage Weapon and Weapon class
0 Bows, Crossbows, Greatbows (the knockdown ignores poise)
10 Daggers, Spell Tools, Torch
11 Thrusting swords, Caestus
14 Straight swords, Curved swords, Axes, Spears and Pikes, Katanas, Halberds, Reapers, Claws and Fists, Whips, Pyromancy Flame, Bare fists
25 Hammers, Follower Torch, Small shields
27 Greatswords, Normal shields
31 Greataxes, Greatshields, Ultra greatswords, Curved greatswords
35 Great hammers

Source: original research by memory reading. Note that these are base values of 1H R1 attacks.

More detailed poise damage spreadsheets.10

Pre-v1.08 Poise

At launch, Poise was subjected 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 Youtuber Juutas198811. 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 equipment load was increasing roll recovery. Bandai Namco gave a statement to Kotaku insisting that poise is "working as intended" but "works differently than in past games and is more situational"12. It is unclear if it was actually From Software or Bandai Namco, due to previous instances wherein Kimundi stated item durability worked as intended in Dark Souls 2.13

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 poise14 and another person reading the game memory15.
  • Poise allows you to complete hyper armor attacks after receiving damage16. Needs more verification
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