Since it release earlier this year Dark Souls 3 has confused and disappointed fans in one small area: its "poise" stat has been tweaked in a way that nobody understands. This may be fixed in an upcoming patch, due this Friday, that promises to adjust this variable.
See, in previous Dark Souls games poise affected the player character's response to getting hit. If your armour or shield had a strong poise value, it would mean you wouldn't stagger when struck by a heavy blow. In Dark Souls 3, however, even heavy weapons and armour with high poise would get smacked around just the same as those with low-poise equipment.
Many believed this to be a bug, though publisher Bandai Namco told Kotaku upon release that "The poise stat is working as intended" and that "the stat works differently than in past games and is more situational, which seems to be the reason for the confusion."
Indeed poise does affect one's susceptibility towards staggering in Dark Souls 3, but it's only relevant to context-sensitive animations. The following video by YouTuber tallbeardedone revealed that poise affects one's ability to complete an attack, even if struck mid-animation.
According to the Dark Souls 3 wiki, player's have a certain invisible poise value that decreases each time they're attacked, based on the poise value of the weapon hitting them, and if their poise-value decreases to zero, they'll be staggered even if it's in the middle of an attack animation and they're wearing heavy gear. Allegedly one's poise value also refreshes every 30 seconds or so.
Well, the upcoming 1.08 patch will "Adjust poise values across the board" and make it so "Poise is now more effective for heavier weapons and armour."
It sounds like it's still not going to work the way it did in previous Dark Souls games, where poise was far easier to experiment with and understand, but it will hopefully make it a more useful statistic.
This could be just the thing to get us ready for Dark Souls 3's impending Ashes of Ariandel DLC, due Tuesday 25th October.
If you're already playing, then consult our full Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel guide and walkthrough if you need a hand.