- Main article: Weapon types
Bows are the only ranged weapons in the game that allow direct control over aiming. This can allow for much higher precision than relying on the lock-on system. With a bow equipped, press either the appropriate hand's weak attack button, or the stance change button to hold the bow in two hands. There is the option to fire the arrow normally by locking onto an enemy, or by entering a first-person aiming mode by pressing L1/LB/Left-shift. While in aiming mode, players can still move around freely to avoid incoming attacks, although they may only roll and walk slowly, unable to fire while doing so. They may also use "up" and "down" on the directional pad to zoom in and out. Aiming manually allows the player to have full control over where the arrows are fired, which helps to strike specific parts of an enemy's body. This enables the arrow to get around any defenses they may have. Headshots score automatic critical hits, even against certain bosses. It is when executing headshots at maximum range that the power of bows truly shine.
All bows have a range mechanic. The greater a bow's range, the further and straighter arrows will fly, and the more damage they will inflict. Certain bows, like the Black Bow of Pharis, possess very high range, making them appropriate for sniping distant targets. Other bows, such as the Composite Bow, have relatively short range, regulating them to closer quarters.
There are no "general attacks" for Bows, short of aiming, pulling the bow string back, and shooting, as described above. Most actions unrelated to attacking will cancel or de-nock an arrow, including any form of movement while releasing the attack trigger/button.
Bows come in one of three categories: Short, Long and Great. The category the bow is in will define the bow's firing animation and mechanics. While the Great Bows clearly stand apart from the others, the difference between a short and long bow is more subtle.
Includes: The Short Bow, the Composite Bow and the Darkmoon Bow. The short bows are the smallest of all the bow types. They are more geared toward "combat". Their fire rate is slightly higher than that of the long bows, allowing them to deal higher DPS. More importantly, the short bows draw their arrows much quicker, and fire much earlier in their "fire cycle animation". This makes it better suited for combat (and PvP), where a single arrow can be loosed, followed by an immediate roll.
Includes: The Longbow and the Black Bow of Pharis. These are geared toward long range combat. They tend to have higher maximum range, but have lower fire rate, and (generally) lower damage. They work well in PvE where they can take out an opponent from a long range, or at least, before it comes too close. Unfortunately, they do take a fair amount of time to draw their arrow before firing. This makes them not as well suited for short range, mobile combat.
Includes: The Dragonslayer Greatbow and Gough's Greatbow(AotA). Huge bows with massive single-shot damage. They have a very low rate-of-fire. They are more often useful for their knock down ability, rather than the damage they deal.
|Bow||Shot Range||Attack Values||Stat Requirements|
|Damage Reduction||Parameter Bonus|
Black Bow of Pharis
|Black Bow of Pharis||65||34||–||–||–||100||E||S||–||–||100||1.0|
|Black Bow of Pharis +15||65||85||–||–||–||100||E||S||–||–||100||1.0|
|Composite Bow +15||38||137||–||–||–||100||C||C||–||–||100||1.0|
|Darkmoon Bow +5||50||127||127||–||–||100||E||D||–||D||400||1.0|
|Dragonslayer Greatbow +5||50||135||–||–||–||100||C||C||–||–||100||10.0|
|Gough's Greatbow +5||55||127||–||–||–||100||B||C||–||–||100||13.0|
|Short Bow +15||50||77||–||–||–||100||D||S||–||–||100||0.5|
- The damage on bows is affected by what type of Arrows the player has equipped.
- Bonus damage is dealt if the player acquires a head shot, and a special stun animation will occur if the hit connects.