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The magic upgrade paths, Moon, Crescent, and Blessed are bonkers. You can pump the relevent scaling stat and wreck everything. Crescent and Blessed add passive MP and health regen respectively. Also the level "curve" in this game is lower than later ones (your character starts feeling "complete" around level 70-80 as opposed to 100+ in later games). The differing types of physical damage (strike, slash, pierce) make a much larger difference in this game as well when accounting for weaknesses.
Demon's Souls upgrade paths won't start showing their worth till you get a little deeper into them because generally when you're able to go into Sharp/Heavy/Quality you're still a good ways from the cap, and you may be early enough that your stats can't force the scaling to catch up early. The scaling curve is also quite a bit steeper than in Elden Ring because ER stretched the bonuses over 25 total upgrade levels on its non-unique weapons whereas in Demon's Souls you typically get between 0 and 10 total upgrade levels for nearly anything. Also don't upgrade your weapons on their default path once you see the specific upgrade path you want because they're only available at the specific upgrade level they first appear at, no earlier and no later. If you upgrade too high, you gotta use a Meltstone to degrade the weapon back to +0 unless you can find another copy of the weapon (or you can just finish upgrading it to the default +10 max, that's fine too)
If you don't have a blunt weapon just punch them. For reals. They are the only time in all of Souls where fisticuffs is a viable option.
Although there is also a mace in 5-1 that you can make a run for that makes farming the skelymans easier. For that, you have to deal with Depraved though, which is its own battle.
Oh, two other things I am none too fond of: Carrying weight limit and equipment durability. And the durability is so goddamn expensive to fix! And I'm not even sure what's eating up all of my damn inventory carrying capacity but it's Quite Bothersome!
It's not those, I diligently put them into my storage box. Also, I dunno if this is only in the remake but I can craft upgrades with materials straight from storage! I don't need to pull them out each time!Might be your upgrade materials. I unload them into storage every return trip to the nexus and only bring them out when I need them. I also only carry the gear I have equipped on every trip unless I know I'll need to switch damage types at some point. It's annoying maintenance, but that's Demon Souls!
Oh, importantly, I'm aware of a guy who goes around killing merchants or something? I want that to Not Happen. How do I do Not That?