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I recently started playing Bloodborne and I am completely hooked. Having never played a Souls game before, or any From Software games, at first I was shocked at how difficult the game is compared to the usual triple A garbage out there. To give you some context, I’ve been a bit of a workaholic the past 5 years so my gaming has really suffered, fortunately I’m in the process of changing that – starting with Bloodborne.
Upon entering the world of Bloodborne I experienced a range of emotions, the primary one being ‘wtf’ for the first hour of playtime. After getting thoroughly demolished by the first enemies I encountered in Central Yarnahm, I rage quit turned off the console and wrote the game off as ‘too hard’.
Thankfully however, I was still way too intrigued with the game to quit and did a bit of reading and came back to the game fresh the next day, to lay a smack down on those annoying villagers. It wasn’t until several days worth of play time had passed that I discovered how to level up in Bloodborne (the first couple of days I spent chain dying and figuring out parrying, dodging etc). I want to save you some frustration and help you out the same way I was helped out by other veteran Bloodborne players, by teaching you how to level up in Bloodborne.
How To Level Up In Bloodborne
The system in Bloodborne is a bit different from what you may be traditionally used to. Bloodborne is a stats based system and you level up by increasing your stats.
Here’s how the system works in simple terms:
- Kill enemies to receive Blood Echoes
- Cash in Blood Echoes in the Hunters Dream to level up and increase a chosen stat
- Each time you level up, you increase a stat
If you’re just starting you need to unlock 1 insight before you can start levelling up in the Hunters Dream.
The Hunters Dream
You unlock this area after getting your ass handed to you at the start of the game, by the hungry snarling blood beast thing. This is where you actually go to level up, by talking to some old woman who holds the key to your progression in the game.
You can find the old woman sitting on the wall where the little lamp is at the front of the picture. Sometimes you don’t see her, if that’s the case just leave the Hunters Dream and come back, that works for me.
Blood echoes are your levelling up currency that you acquire everytime you kill an enemy. Generally the bigger the enemy the more echoes you’ll receive.
So, to level up and grind in Bloodborne you need to farm those punk ass enemies trying to fork, slash, stomp and burn you at every chance they get.
The stats you are assigned and level up in Bloodborne are super important and determine whether you are going to be a leet killing machine, or a little snack for one of the local giants.
Here are the stats you can use and level up in Bloodborne:
- Vitality – determines how much health your character has, more vitality is more health.
- Endurance – determines how much damage you can take and your resistances, increase your endurance to stop your character getting one shot by a Netherbeast with a hemorrhoid problem.
- Strength – manages your gains. Just kidding, strength determines your physical attack, this is useful at the beginning for claiming back health by attacking your enemies inside the window immediately after they attack you.
- Skill – determines which weapons you can use and also the physical attack for more specific weapons, not very useful in the beginning.
- Bloodtinge – determines your mastery of weapons that use quicksilver bullets (guns etc) and whether you can use certain weapons.
- Arcane – determines your arcane attack damage and also whether you can use certain equipment, this is not useful in the early game but a stat for the later game.
Which Stats To Level Up
In the early game you should level up the following stats:
These three stats will make your character more durable, have more health and do more damage.
Doing more damage also allows you to heal yourself and is useful for boss fights and bigger enemies. After you take damage there is a short window where you can gain back a portion of the health lost if you deal damage to your opponent, and the more damage you deal, the more damage you get back.
I guess you could say strength helps govern your lifesteal.
Being more durable is kind of self explanatory. If you are more durable your enemies attacks do less damage and increasing your vitality gives you a bigger health pool so you can stay alive longer and heal up using blood vials.
Gaining Your First Insight
You need 1 insight to level up for the first time and you can get this in one of two ways at the start of the game.
- By entering the area where the first boss is (The Cleric Beast)
- By picking up a Madman’s Knowledge
The video below shows you how to get the first Madman’s Knowledge so you can start levelling up without finding your way to the Cleric Beast pit.
Dying In Bloodborne
Bloodborne is not like other casual games where if you die it’s no big deal. If you die in Bloodborne you lose all of your blood echoes. As blood echoes are what you gain from killing enemies and what you use to level up, this adds an extra layer of difficulty and complexity to the game.
When you die in Bloodborne any blood echoes you have acquired up to that point will either drop on the floor and remain there or be picked up by one of the enemies who killed you.
If an enemy steals your blood echoes, they will be glowing or their eyes will glow.
If you want to retrieve your blood echoes you will need to make it back to where you died without dying before you retrieve them. If you die a second time before retrieving your blood echoes, they will be gone for good!
Where To Level Up?
If you’re just getting started out, there are a number of places and ways you can level up to get started. Below, I’m going to share with you a few strategies that worked with me.
To level up in this level range I would recommend you do the following:
- Start at the Central Yharnham lamp
- Follow the stairs down to the right
- Kill the two villagers
- Go down the next set of stairs and kill all of the villagers on the road connecting the back gate to the fire area with the hunter mob.
- To start with, edge close to the large groups and lure away 1 or 2 of the villagers. Lock onto them and wait for their attacks, which are very slow, then kill them using your fast weapon mode.
- Always use fast weapon mode, which can be changed using L1
- For the really big mob, you’re going to need to lure away the main villagers a few at a time, then run up the stairs to the left of the fire and kill the villager shooting at you, before you can clear all of them away.
- Once you’ve wiped out the villagers in this area, go back to the Hunters Dream and spend your blood echoes
- Don’t try fighting any of the big monsters until you are levelled up a bit and have figured out how to parry (shooting the enemy as they are mid swing).
- Repeat this process to level up your character and increase your stats
If you’re a grinder like me and enjoy leveling up your character, you may want to level up your character to around level 20 before defeating the first boss. The combat is so fun in Bloodborne why wouldn’t you want to savor every moment? The villagers sure as hell savor munching on your corpse each time they wipe you.
So here’s the strategy I used to grind my character from level 10-20:
- Unlock the shortcut gate in front of the Central Yharnham lamp.
- Now you can easily farm the monsters who give a good amount of blood echoes without having to take the long route. This cuts down the time running back and forth between the enemies and Hunter’s Dream, and also makes it easier if you die to recover your lost blood echoes.
- Go through the shortcut gate to the left and you have a good supply of monsters at your disposal all dropping good amounts of blood echoes. Down the stairs to the left you have two trolls, who give good echoes and are great for practicing your parrying.
- Go into the house at the bottom of the stairs and climb to the top floor and you will be on the road that connects you the Cleric Beast.
- On this road you have several high item blood echo beasts, including two Netherbeasts, who I would recommend farming if you want to get good at parrying and general game mechanics. They also give a around 1000 blood echoes if I remember correctly possibly more.
- The other end of the road you have a troll and some crows just before the entrance to Cleric Beast.
- I used this route to run back and forth farming the trolls, Netherbeasts, and anything in between. Once you’ve gathered enough blood echoes to upgrade a stat, go back to the lamp and return to Hunter’s Dream to level up.
For leveling up between 20-30 there are a few options, but here’s how I leveled up in Cathedral Ward:
- Once you are sufficiently leveled up, go destroy the Cleric Beast and Father Gascoine.
- If you struggle with Father Gascoine, because he is one fast and angry son of a beetch, then you may want to grind up to about level 25 before going any further.
- After beating Father Gascoine go up the stairs and keep following the route up to unlock the Cathedral Ward lamp.
- Outside of this safe zone you have two exits open to you when you arrive. Take the exit to the left.
- This route will allow you to farm the two villagers in the courtyard then go down the stairs to farm everything in front of the church. You can also then run to the left of the church and farm the guy shooting down at you and his two dogs.
- This will net you a nice amount of blood echoes for you to run back to the Hunter’s Dream with and repeat.
If you arrived at the Cathedral Ward already around level 25, maybe because you decided to level up to defeat Father Gascoine, I’d recommend you farm Old Yharnham until you beat the Blood Starved Beast.
- Old Yharmham is a bit of a confusing place, not made any easier by Djura trying to mow you down with his gatling gun the minute you kill anything, but, it’s a great place to level up in Bloodborne.
- Enter Old Yharnham and kill the two Beast Patients you encounter.
- Proceed forward to the rooftop where Djura first starts shooting at you, then drop off it to the right.
- Next, you want to through this small building up the stairs and then go right to another rooftop ledge. You have to be a bit careful here, but you want to drop off this rooftop onto the roof in front of you with the Hunter and torches.
- Run straight through this section to the back right corner of the rooftop, which is going to take you towards the best place to farm right now (the big church building).
- Inside this building there is a metric f-ton of monsters that will easily allow you to net a good amount of blood echoes. Exercise caution in how face them and make sure you funnel them into hallways and don’t get too cocky.
- Once you’ve done one run, there is a ladder you can use to make it back to the Old Yharnham lamp and get into the Hunters Dream.
- After you kill the Blood Starved Beast this route gets a lot easier for you, and it also opens the Netherbeasts for easy farming who give great blood echoes.
After you beat the Blood Starved Beast, I’d recommend you head over to Hemwick Charnel Lane for your next level up session.
There are various guides that suggest you can do Hemwick Charnel Lane between level 25-35, but as a recent new player to Bloodborne myself I’ve realised that leveling up compensates for the lack of skill that time to accumulate in this game.
Plus, I’d rather not wipe on the bosses 20 times in a row and just steamroll them because I ate my Weetabix and got good and levelled up first.
So here’s how I leveled up in Hemwick Charnel Lane:
- This area is great for leveling up. There’s a super efficient route you can run from the first lamp to a short way into the zone that will net you a level each run to start with.
- From the Hemwick lamp, run down and kill everything in the first area (the crazy witch women who rush over each other to stab you to death).
- Run straight through to the next area and there’s another blood echo fiesta. Pull the mobs from the main enclosure into the little passageway and they are easy to kill. You’ll want to get the dog first and then the main enemies are fairly easy to dodge, jump back from their attack then pwn them.
- Go up the stairs until you reach the path with the giant on. Bait the giant off the path back towards the previous area, hit him with a couple of good parries and kill him. Be careful to avoid the villager throwing molotov cocktails down at you – which is why you should pull the giant off the path.
- Go up the path, kill the pyromaniac then turn left to go down toward another enclosure where you’ll find another bundle of blood echoes.
- This is a good place to stop, as you can sprint back to the lamp quickly and cash in your echoes and repeat this route painlessly as you get better at killing the mobs.
Some things that you will find useful whilst navigating Yharnham in your journey to level up:
- If you die and leave behind blood echoes you can recover these blood echoes by returning to the spot you died and collecting them off the floor, or killing the enemy who picks them up. Sometimes enemies pick them up, sometimes they don’t.
- If any enemy has stolen your echoes, their eyes will be slowing and you know that this is the enemy you need to kill to recover your echoes.
- Careful not to die again before you recover your echoes, or they will be gone for good.
- If your weapon becomes at risk go to the Hunter’s Dream and repair it using blood echoes.
- Level up vitality, endurance and strength
- Everything you will fight in Central Yharnham is either super slow (mostly) or too quick for you, so use your fast weapon mode
- Just before you fight Father Gascoine you have to cross a bridge with a hoard of villagers on. Run into the middle of the bridge then sprint back to the end to allow the giant boulder (that is on fire) to hurtle down the bridge and kill all of the villagers.
I also found these videos really useful when I was getting started.