Practice Blocking and Dodging
A distinctive aspect of Dark Souls is that it's as much of a defensive game as it is an offensive one. Keeping your shield up the majority of the time could be quite beneficial. This is especially great once you get a solid enough shield to work with.
The game is extremely rewarding, so you'll be extra appreciative of an upgraded shield. The nice thing is that a shield is useful for whatever kind of build you want to make. Whether you're a knight or sorcery build, a shield will always come in handy. Sometimes, sorcerers will use their staff/talisman in their shield hand and a sword in the other, but that's once a player starts getting more comfortable with the game. Some shields allow you to parry your opponents' attacks, which will lead to a punishing blow. Parrying takes some practice if you're newer, but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Dodging is arguably more important than blocking. Timing your dodges well will allow you to score a couple of key hits on your enemies. If you're really shifty, you can roll dodge behind your opponent and go for the always devastating visceral attack. This can kill some enemies in one hit, depending on your attributes and the type of enemy.
Carry Plenty of Arrows
A weapon that is pretty basic but is highly recognizable is the good old bow and arrow. This weapon is an absolute lifesaver in the series, especially the first game. If you have some arrows on you, you can keep your distance from certain enemies and fire away from afar.
If you're in a lucky position, you can trickle away the health of tougher foes. The beautiful thing is that you can really stock up on a bunch of arrows. In fact, you can add up to 999 (!!) arrows in total. And basic arrows are super cheap, so you can easily snag these.
The holy grail of arrows in Dark Souls is the poison variety. These are wonderful, as you can just fire off three to eight arrows (depending on the size of the enemy), and the foe will become poisoned. this will cause their health bars to slowly disappear. So fire your arrows and kick back, relax and enjoy the show. Just know that you might need to shoot a few more if the poison wears off before their health drops to zero. Rinse and repeat as they say. Fill that inventory with arrows and you'll have some extra comfort out there.
Level Up Often
In Dark Souls, the currency that is famously used is called "Souls" and what's a game with a name like that without some kind of soul collecting, right? You earn souls simply by killing enemies, making it one of the most straightforward ways to accumulate wealth in a video game.
Of course, you'll need to battle some tough foes at times to get such currency. But souls are precious as they can be used to make purchases when coming across merchants on your adventure. You can buy things like weapons, armour and those lovely arrows like we talked about.
But most importantly, they can be used to level up. To do so, simply rest at a nearby Bonfire and you'll see an option that'll let you do so. I highly recommend leveling up if you accumulate a chunky amount of souls because, when you die in a certain location (which could be far from a bonfire if you ventured off a bit), you would need to go back to where you died to retrieve your souls.
If you don't do this, they are gone forever, so definitely make sure to spend your souls a bit. Leveling up will also make you a bit more powerful which in turn will make things a little bit easier out there. Oh, and if you have some spare change, head over to your nearest, friendly merchant and stock up on some goodies if you can.