- Beasthood Guide and Explanation 2.0 -
So you killed Laurence and farmed your way through chalice dungeons for a shiny new set of Claws, and now you want to know what that little meter at the top of the screen does. Because somehow, despite the game being out for nine months now, the majority of people still don't know how beasthood works. But that's okay, because this guide is here to give you entirely too much information on the subject when you could just be mashing R1 instead for exactly the same effect.
First and foremost, let's quell an enduring rumor: contrary to what you've heard, maxing the beasthood meter doesn't actually do anything. Do not pay any heed to how close that bar is to the end, because hitting that point will not affect your damage in any way. Instead, focus on hitting things enough to keep the bar rising, because your physical damage increases and defense decreases as the meter rises and passes certain breakpoints.
1 beasthood : +20% phys damage, -20% all defenses
25 beasthood: +30% phys damage, -30% all defenses
50 beasthood: +40% phys damage, -40% all defenses
100 beasthood: +50% phys damage, -50% all defenses
200 beasthood: +60% phys damage, -60% all defenses
300 beasthood: +70% phys damage, -80% all defenses
For example, let's say you have 400 beasthood, you've got the claws out, and you don't see the meter because it's currently at zero. So you hit something and a tiny sliver of beasthood goes into your meter. Right at this point, with just that tiny sliver, you now have a +20% bonus to your weapon's physical damage. If you were to claw stuff all the way up to 300 beasthood, you've have the +70% damage boost even though the meter isn't filled. And if you were to completely fill the meter, you'd still have just the +70% damage boost because there isn't anything after the 300 breakpoint.
Second: if you're running an Arcane build, stay the hell away from beasthood since it doesn't affect arcane, fire, or bolt damage and using it would only give you the defense penalties. As for bloodtinge builds, I know beasthood doesn't modify bullet damage but don't know if it boosts blood-based melee attacks. This guide will be updated later when I get around to making a bloodtinge build. Basically, beasthood is only really worth considering for strength and skill builds. Strength builds will use it to make their R1 spam disgustingly lethal, and skill builds will use it because the beasthood bonus also applies to visceral attacks and, along with three Clawmark runes and 50 skill, will let them dish out a fucking 5-digit visceral.
So how much beasthood do you want if 300 is the last breakpoint? You actually want slightly more than 300, probably about 350. Since the meter is constantly depleting, if you were to have exactly 300 beasthood then your +70% bonus would only last the half second it takes for the meter to drop from 300 to 299, meaning you'd never really get that sweet 10% more damage. Having the extra 50 gives you time to dodge or recover stamina when you aren't mashing R1, because believe it or not there are some situations where just pressing R1 can get you killed. There is a reason to have more than 350 beasthood if you want it, though; having over 600 is exceptionally useful for PvE when you want the maximum bonus to carry over between enemy encounters. But if you don't expect to need any beasthood after killing whatever's directly in front of you, such as with PvP or if you're using a Beast Blood Pellet, then 350 is exactly enough for your purposes.
So now that we know why we want the meter to go higher, how do we go about doing that? It's just a little bit more complicated than simply hitting things. How much beasthood you gain per attack depends on what type of attack you use and what type of weapon you're doing the attacking with. Heavy attacks like R2s, L1 attacks, and L2s (for weapons with a two-handed trick mode) will produce more beasthood than light attacks like R1s and dodge attacks, and large weapons like the Kirkhammer and Ludwig's Holy Blade in trick mode will generate more beasthood per hit than smaller weapons like the Threaded Cane or Blade of Mercy. Weapons with attacks that hit multiple times will give beasthood off each individual hit, so something like the Whirligig Saw or Logarius' Wheel can boost the meter at an alarming rate with their multi-hit R2s and L2s. The one exception to this rule is the Beast Claw while Beast's Embrace is equipped: on its own the Beast Claw is pretty terrible at building beasthood compared to something like Ludwig's Holy Blade, but with the new oath rune it gets a massive bonus to beasthood per hit and, combined with its naturally fast attack speed, makes it easily among the best weapons to use with beasthood, second only to the Whirligig Saw.
Speaking of beasthood and other weapons, let's briefly go over Beast Blood Pellets. These things will let you gain beasthood with any weapon in the game instead of just the Beast Claw, but their duration is limited to only a minute. Any strength or skill build can benefit from using them though, and even if your weapon is some foppish noble's toothpick like a Reiterpallasch it'll still get a +20% damage boost after just one attack. And if your weapon is something massive like the Kirkhammer, I want you to take a moment and consider what 1,700 AR means against that one chalice boss you've been having trouble against. Beast Blood Pellets can be bought for Insight after you find the Cosmic Eye Watcher Badge, or they can be farmed off Scourge Beasts fairly consistently in the lower half of Old Yharnam.
Please RHEE responsibly.