Dark Souls 2 Challenge Runs

Dark Souls 2 Challenge Runs

Chances are you might have been around Drangleic a bit by now, and you might have gotten a bit bored or aggravated by the current trend of hexers and brutes in PvP who make inappropriate gestures at you when you die. If you have, trust me, you’re not alone.

However, that doesn’t mean you should put down the game just yet. As you will see below, the game never truly ends for anyone – it only gets more challenging. If new game plus wasn’t enough for you the first hell-knows-how-many-times, there are still some challenge runs for you to try out.

So sit down, relax, and find out some all new ways to indulge your sadomasochistic side!

The No-Bonfire Challenge Run

If you haven’t heard, From Software took one look at the maddened state of the forum goers that had created the ‘No-Bonfire Run’ and decided to, well… run with it. This is one of those runs that doesn’t just give you a sense of accomplishment, it will unlock the Illusory Ring of the Exalted.

So what’s the big deal with the ring? The ring in question actually allows for you to turn anything in your right hand invisible, thus making you one of the top five most annoying things in the player versus player world. So have fun on your journey without rest and remember; using this with Santier’s spear might just make you worse than Stalin.

Fist Only Challenge Run

Relatively straight forward, a run that would challenge you to be the next Street Fighter champion. Since the damage of the fists has had a bit of an upgrade since the original game, and since this exists, a run through the game without your favorite weapon seems to now be in order. However, keep in mind that rings are still readily available for your bruised knuckles, if you can get to them.

No-HUD Challenge Run

An essential part of getting throughout the level is knowing how far you are from dying by the guy in the next room, who might have a weapon that is bigger than you are. This run would take that away removing your health bar, stamina bar, and everything else you confide in when you normally fight your surprisingly slow enemies. Though everything else is permitted to be used, this might bring a bit of a challenge to any new player that has yet to mess around in the options menu.

“Boycott the Blacksmith!” Challenge Run

Has anyone noticed that Lenigrast is right by an open window in Majula when we first see him? Yet, we still have to throw away 1000 of our hard-earned souls. Yeah, screw him; we can get through the game without his fancy and incredibly helpful weapon upgrades. So instead of doing the sensible thing and helping out that other Blacksmith, let’s just make it harder on ourselves and not upgrade our weapons at all. Why you may ask? Well, because this is Drangleic, and the only thing more popular than death is going mad.

The Solo Challenge Run

This is without a doubt directed towards the incredibly new players that used phantoms the first time around in this game. So here it is: Whether we’re talking about NPC phantoms or competent player-used phantoms, you’re connection with them is now gone. Now go through the game again without their help.

Meet the Community Challenge Run

This is a strictly NG+ run right here, seeing as so much player versus player goes on in NG+. For this run you’ll need to grab a ring called ‘Delicate String’ from an odd bloke that you find after the fight with the Undead Chariot. After you’ve entered into your second time through Drangleic, put the ring on and meet the community. Because of the ring, players will start invading you much more frequently, which will definitely hone your PvP prowess – and probably cause you to invent a whole new list of curse words and insults.

The Champion’s Challenge Run

You might know that there is a stone right outside of Majula that let’s you enter a covenant. You might also have figured out the hard way that entering this covenant makes the game enter into NG+ if you’re on NG. So after figuring out that bit of information you probably left the covenant, well start a new game up and join back in you pansy because this whole article is about trying to get you killed as many ways as possible.

The Nude Challenge Run

Assuming you’ve put a lot of hours into this game already you might not have that much shame left in you, so take off your clothes and do it again. You heard me, now that you’ve done this once you should be able to do this again without that shiny armor of yours on. Just think of this as practice for the next challenge run on this list. Enjoy the breeze!

The No-Death Challenge Run

Yup, this is actually possible. In fact, as many know, there is an actual ring that can be unlocked just like the no-bonfire run after completing the game without dying. So hopefully you’ve got some time on your hands so you can sit in your dark room and do this all over again, because the Illusory Ring of A Conqueror ring makes whatever you’re holding in your left hand become invisible. Totally worth it, right?

The Collector’s Challenge Run

Here to drive you crazy is the second to last run on this list. Here bonfire ascetics will be your best friend and Lucatiel as a phantom will be your worst enemy. Here you’ll find yourself having to collect every piece of armor found within the game whether it be rare, common, or unique armor before you square off with that last boss at the Throne of Want you’ll have all the options to look as fabulous or downright ugly as possible.

The White Hollow Challenge Run

This might be a bit unique to the list, so let me explain a bit about this run. Here you’ll find yourself at a constant health rate of fifty percent so the punishment for death will haunt you throughout the rest of the game. Along with this there are a few other things will also be imposed on you through out the run like:

  • Upgrades for weapons only go up to +5
  • Body and head armor cannot be worn on your character
  • Weapons found throughout the game using different forms of titanite cannot be used, regardless if unupgraded.
  • HUD must be disabled throughout the run.
  • Infusions won’t be available on the run, along with weapons that have already been infused.
  • No starting gift will be available on the run.
  • Magic, Pyromancy, Miracles and Hexes won’t be available for use on the run.
  • Phantoms cannot be used in order to help on bosses or clear out stages.
  • All of the bosses optional and non-optional bosses must be dead by the end of the playthrough.

Also, yes, while this run was in construction I was imagining someone crying over their fight with the Royal Rat Authority while doing this.


Someone that plays too many videogames and sometimes writes a few articles.

View my other posts

18 comments on “Dark Souls 2 Challenge Runs”

  1. Avatar Myztyrio says:

    Currently doing a run with one estus, no healing items, and only using equipment and items particular to each roleplay build. It’s a co-op challenge run including a mage, tank, and marauder(myself). Each type only gets a small list of available equipment/spells and all equipment cannot be upgraded. Mage must handle healing the others, and the one estus is used in extreme emergencies.

    True hardcore = limiting what’s available and then limiting the usefulness of what little is then available.

  2. Beneloth says:

    Pretty nice article. But what about combinations? For example: no death, no bonfire (standard), fists only, no equipment except the delicate String ,CoC memberships and obviously 1SL :twisted: . That is what I would like to see.

  3. Satan says:

    Those challenges are insane… I only completed the no bonfire/no death due to taking advantage of the online storage. But these other things… nude challenge ( perhaps as a attractive female) but the rest? Madness

  4. Avatar Fexelea says:

    That’s a great list of challenges! We should have an update when some community members complete them and add their names on the post for posterity :P

  5. Avatar TheKleen says:

    I really like the last one, seems really intense. I’m currently working on a Company of Champions run with no magic or shield or projectiles, only dual greataxes. I usually always play solo so that one isn’t really a challenge run to me, I like to think of it more as summoning is a crutch.

    I tried a bow-only run but it was so mind-numbingly slow at the start I abandoned it.

  6. pointchiz says:

    Company of Champions melee only is quite challenging. Currently at NG+4.

  7. Avatar JohnnyHarpoon says:

    My first playthrough fulfilled 2/3 of the White Hollow requirements.

    How about a Big Boss emblem playthrough? No deaths, no health items, no enemies killed (except for bosses, and I guess one has to be ok when you need to open doors that require souls), in the Covenant of Champions (‘Extreme’ difficulty) all in under 5 hours?

  8. Satan says:

    Also need to wear Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring for silent footsteps to be Big Boss.

  9. Avatar GrinTwist says:

    Honestly, I only put these down because of all the challenge runs these seemed more accessible for players that are new to runs with self-imposed restrictions. Admittedly I should have put the sl 1 playthrough down since it’s a relatively popular thing for people to do but this was more like an introduction to some of the challenges players can do.

  10. Avatar Serious_Much says:

    Scavenger challenge is the most fun I remember.

    However details I can’t remember now..

    Found it. Needs adapting to DKSII though


  11. Avatar AEMIII says:

    I don’t know about the last one. It seems very artificially difficult, like you’re tacking on everything you can to make the run more difficult. Maybe it’s just me and I apologize for it.

  12. Yoshi121 says:

    I like the scavenger run sort of thing, it makes you kind of think outside the box.

    Rules (Tweaked for DSII
    -start as deprived
    -Unable to buy ANYTHING, weapons, equipment, items (Including life gems), etc.
    -Only able to upgrade equipment from what you scavenge from, unable to buy upgrade stones.
    -You must disregard the Dagger in things betwixed, since it is practically given to you and is rather cheap due to it’s critical.
    -You can not get the weapons the crows in Things Betwixed or get weapons specific to a covenant since they are given to you.

    Easy Mode:
    -Scavange items, *cannot buy anything (*For all difficulties.)
    -You can summon for aid, but cannot ask them to give you weapons or armor. You can also allow yourself to get summoned to help you level.
    -Level as you wish
    -Gift Options: Any
    -Rings: Any you can scavange, that means NO cat ring from Shelquoir
    -NPC invader drops are acceptable.
    -You can do whatever you want with weapons, as long as you have the required items for it that you’ve scavenged
    -Estus Flask: Upgrade it as you see fit, 12 drinks +5 or just 1 drink no upgrade, it’s up to you.

    Normal Mode:
    -You can scavenge items from enemies you’ve killed and corpses, but cannot use items found in Mimics or any equipment dropped from Dragons.
    -Only NPC summons or others doing this type of build along with you. You may get summoned to help grind to level and upgrade.
    -You can only level up to soul level 80 (Due to Adaptability being an issue, I’ve given 20 extra points to allow a bit more variety)
    -Gift Option: Any
    -Rings: Any you can scavenge.
    -NPC invader items are still acceptable
    -Upgrade as you see wish with your weapons
    -Estus flask: You can only upgrade the drinks to 8, and only to +3

    Hard Mode:
    -You can only get items from Enemies you’ve killed and corpses on the ground. You cannot use items from Mimics, Dragons, or Treasure Boxes.
    -ONLY scavenger builds are able to be summoned, You can assist others to help you grind.
    -Only up to SL 60
    -Gift: Anything except Healing Wares, Seed of the Tree of Giants, Petrified something.
    -Rings: Can only use Dragon Rings, Soldiers Rings, or any of the Tearstone Rings.
    -NPC Invader items are now restricted.
    -Can only upgrade your weapons with Regular Titinite, only to +10. (Or if you use a soul item to get a boss weapon) Dragon Bone to +5. Twinkling Upgrades are no longer able to be used.
    -Estus Flask: Can only be upgraded to 5 uses and only to +1

    -Must join the Covenant of Champions (Can not awestone farm using Ascetics)
    -Scavenge Rule is same as Hard Mode
    -Summons are now disabled, and you cannot be summoned.
    -Soul Level 1 only, have fun
    -No Repairing of your equipment. can only restore durability at a bonfire. If it breaks, it’s broken for good.
    -Gift: Bonfire Ascetic or Nothing.
    -Rings: None, no rings for you
    -NPC invader items are still restricted.
    -Only regular titinite upgrades. Boss weapons are restricted.
    -Estus Flask: Only ONE DRINK and no upgrade.

    Weapon Trades are RESTRICTED with anyone on Insane Difficulty. Hard Difficulty can only give healing items or recieve healing items from other scavengers Hard and below. Medium Difficulty can only trade Healing Items and Weapon Items (Firebombs, Throwing Knives, etc.) with other Scavenger builds Medium and below. Easy Difficulty can trade whatever they desire, as long as the other is on easy mode as well.

    This is an adaptation from the scavenger build provided above. If anyone wants to tweak it, you may do so. Just remember to have fun! :D

  13. Avatar Myztyrio says:

    The hard mode seems balanced enough. Why those rings though? To have 4 rings equipped then, every scavenger will end up with the optimal setup of TDR/SR+2/RTSR/BTSR.

  14. Yoshi121 says:

    Because it’s the most akin to the original rules. "Ring of Favor and Protection, Havel’s Ring, and the Tearstone rings" Were the only ones you can use. The Red Tearstone ring doesn’t add that much damage in the first place, the Blue Tearstone Ring can save your life, but it’s hard to predict. Third Dragon Ring is the equivalent of the RoFaP, and the Soldiers Rings are the Havel’s Ring Equivalent. Though I said it’s up to be tweaked, what do you propose?

  15. Theouin says:

    Nice stuff!

    I’m currently on an SL1 run with no specific rules other than no summoning. Im basically naked all the time anyway since equipment makes dodging more difficult, but the blue wooden shield has been used at times although it hasn’t really done much for me, but I have it. It’s never been used in any successful boss attempt though, two-handed mace all the way.

    Other than that I set out to kill every boss (optional included). I actually didn’t know about the Darklurker until I went onto NG+, so I "modified" that rule to all bosses including optional ones, but not the ones bound to a convenant.

    I’m currently on NG+ struggling with the Flexile Sentry (going nuts is more accurate).

    So all in all I guess this is an SL1 run with no summoning that goes beyond NG, as far as I can get really, and it’s fun.

  16. ParanormalZane says:

    I’m going to try this,Idk how long it’ll take but I’ll do it m8.

  17. Avatar claydough says:

    next run i want to tackle after my sl1 run is swordsman/starter class run:

    overall rules:
    pick any starter class (i think swordsman is probley the most challanging and fun)
    no stat investment
    no removing armour or replacing it. what you start with you wear the entire time.
    no additional weapons
    no bonfire ascetics

    easy mode: can replace weapon with any of the same class (straight sword, axe, dagger, ect ect)
    normal mode: only use the the starter weapons, upgrades allowed
    hard mode: dont touch anything from when you start to end lol no upgrades to anything

    i think it’ll be harder than the sl 1 build due to the low damage out put (on hard mode)

  18. Avatar GrinTwist says:

    Starter class runs are a lot of fun Clay, I did those in the first Dark Souls and they ate up a lot of my time. Though that hard mode sounds like a hell of a time, especially if you plan on choosing one of the less endowed classes.

    I’m looking at you, deprived class. :waiting:

Log in to leave a Comment