[Guide] 25 Best Dishonored Tips and Strategies For Beginners

The best ways to maximize your first time Dishonoring

Dishonored isn’t exactly a difficult game. Anyone wanting to jump in can do so without being afraid of a steep learning curve. But that’s only if you’re trying the basic way. And that’s definitely a way to play. But the way to make the most out of the game is to try everything it has to offer.

But I have to be completely honest. The best way to experience the game is by discovering these tricks by yourself. Especially if this is your first time. Nothing wrong with learning them online, but it’s just more fun. So if you’re down to make mistakes, that’s how you should proceed.


25. No Wrong Way

My first tip is that there is no wrong way to play the game. Dishonored has a reactive world, which means your actions will result in noticeable changes. Kill too many people and there will be more zombies.

But that’s okay. Remember that all routes are fun and should be experienced. It’s fine to go for whatever achievement you want to. It’s also fine to let go and enjoy the game as is. After all, fun is the goal.

So go ahead and do it. You can be a ghost. Or have clean hands. Or be a murder machine. That being said, no one will ever be as good as StealthGamerBR. That is talent.


24. …Get Money

Money’s important, there’s no way around it. Most video games have in-game economies which make gathering this resource essential. You won’t have an assortment of items and collectibles to buy unlike other RPGs or Action Adventures. But there are plenty of things to buy.

There’s a lot of money to be found in every level. These can be found as coins of value 1 to expensive paintings. You can gather trinkets that range from 10 to 30 coins, or pickpocket pouches from NPCs.

While every little bit counts, it comes down to your playstyle. Pickpocketing everyone will make being a ghost difficult but you’ll be richer. Either way, keep an eye out for the paintings and other expensive heirlooms. Some levels will have awards as well that are worth a lot.


23. Shopper’s Guide

What is the point of all that money? It’s meant to be spent, of course. And Dishonored gives you plenty of things to buy. The storefronts are in the form of Piero Joplin and Griff. And these shops will sell you an assortment of items and upgrades. Speaking of Griff, that guy will charge you double Piero’s!

We’ll get to the upgrades soon, but let’s talk about items. Pretty much everything is useful, but that doesn’t mean you should buy them. Almost everything you can buy can be found lying around in the world. But if you don’t want to hunt or are low on stuff, what can you do?

With that being said, never buy bullets. Literally every level is full of guards, so you’ll find them easily and in abundance. You’ll find a lot of Crossbow Bolts as well, so forget about those as well. I’m listing the one’s I consider worth it.

  • Sleep Darts
  • Incendiary Dart
  • Sokolov’s Elixir
  • Piero’s Remedy
  • Rewire Tools
  • Spring Razor
  • Rune (only at the start of High Overseer Campbell. Don’t miss!)


22. Upgrades

I said I’d cover the upgrades soon, didn’t I? Well, here we are. While you can play the game without it, there’s no reason why you should. And your money is better spent here. Everything else can be scavenged from the world. Upgrades can only be bought.

These upgrades are separated into two different categories. Weapon and Equipment. And they all help increase the effectiveness of your items, so they’re useful. But not all upgrades were created equally. And these are the ones that I think you should prioritize.

  • Bone Charm Capacity 2. This lets you equip 6 bonecharms. (10 if you have the DLCs. or Definitive Edition)
  • Combat Sleep Dart upgrade is the only way to engage in combat non-lethally
  • Spring Razor Capacity and Radius. These two will make your Spring Razor game deadlier.
  • Mask Optics 2, Crossbow Accuracy and Range. These 3 are a great combo for ranged assassinations.
  • Bolt and Bullet Capacity 2 can’t hurt either.


21. Blueprints


Now let’s talk about the other thing that will cost you money. Blueprints. These are basically the same as upgrades, except you’ll have to find them in the world. After that, you can buy them from Piero.

The game can be played and enjoyed without this. But that’s true for everything else on this list. It’s because Dishonored is such a great game. That being said, these are the blueprints that I thought were very useful.

  • Lens Magnification - Increases your mask’s zoom. | Can be bought from Griff in the Distillery District.
  • Bonded Galvani Weave - Lets you take more damage in combat. | Can be found in Campell’s Backyard area. Look for a locked cabinet in the workshop.
  • Incandescent Paste - Unlocks incendiary darts at Piero’s. | You can get this during House of Pleasure. Look behind the huge, rolling metal door in the distillery.
  • Spiked Grenade Housing - Unlocks sticky grenades. Very fun and useful. | You’ll find this near Lady Boyle’s Mansion in the security office on your way in.


20. Hide bodies    

Let’s take a moment and talk about those bodies you’re piling up. And let’s be honest, you probably have a pile. Unless you’re planning to completely avoid enemies.

You really get nothing out of leaving these out in the open. If you’re lucky, it’s out of the way of any patrols. No enemies get woken up in Dishonored. But if anyone hostile finds you leaving them around, they’ll be alert.

Some of the things you can do is hide them out of the way. Take some time to observe enemy patrols, learn where it is safe. Alternatively, you can find dumpsters of other hiding spots. 

My personal favorite is something different though. I blink up and hide them literally above your enemies. You could say, it’d be going above their heads. Try it, it’s weirdly fun for some reason. Or you could just make them disappear completely.


19. Runes

Runes are not optional at all. Not unless you want to play the game without any power upgrades. You can try that as a challenge, sure. But that would deprive you from all the other awesome things you can do.

Thankfully, finding these isn’t difficult. All you have to do is equip the heart and the little icons will tell you where to go. Which powers to get or not is up to you and depends on what kind of playstyle you’re adopting. We’ll talk about that later on.

One important thing to note, however. There are several runes that you can easily miss. I’ll list them down here.

  • High Overseer Campbell | right after the visit from the Outsider. There are 2 runes you can collect before departing for the Distillery District. One can be bought from Piero. The other is near the sewer entrance.
  • High Overseer Campbell | Speak to Granny rags. Her side quests will give you two runes.
  • Return To The Tower | Speak to Callista before leaving. She’ll start a mini-quest that’ll get you a rune.


18. Sidequests

I probably don’t even have to say this. Gamers love content, and side quests are beloved by all. Unless you’re going for a speedrun, I doubt you’ll skip these to begin with.

Dishonored has some fun side quests that reveal information about the world or characters. These are all concise, so don’t worry about falling into an Elder Scrolls style lore-sink. But these always have nice rewards.

I already covered the runes in the previous point. Most of the other rewards will be in the form of money. Sometimes you’ll get a key that’ll give you backdoor access or combinations to a safe. Other times, they’ll unlock non-lethal solutions to your marks.


17. Generalist

There are two ways to go about buying powers. One of these is getting a slice of everything. With this approach, you’ll be able to do anything. Nothing will be off-limits to you. 

You’ll need a total of 19 runes to be able to do this. That’s pretty cheap, actually. You can get up to 31 runes if you do all the side quests, so you’ll still be left with 12. That’s enough to max out some of the other powers.

This is a great way to test out all the powers. You can try them out individually or mix and match to see how it all plays out. Combining Bend Time with Possession is a great way to force enemies to die by their own bullets. That’s just one of the many possible combinations.


16. Specialist

If you don’t want to buy every power, then you’ll have a different path in front of you. You can decide early on which powers you want to invest in. You can max them out early on, letting you get the most out of them.

But that’s not the only benefit. If you choose to be a specialist, you won’t even need all 31 runes. You can just use the ones you need and ignore the others. Not that I recommend it, but it’s an option. 

Among these powers, Bend Time 2 is almost always recommended. Time literally stops, so you can go about any other shenanigans. Windblast 2 is also another fun way to cause a lot of havoc. 


15. Newer Heights

You already start with Blink, the one power you will really need in the game. With your first rune, I recommend spending it on Agility. I cover this in detail in my other article about Powers. Agility lets you double jump and reduces fall damage. This means your maneuverability is increased.

Agility and Blink is a winning combination. With these, you’ll be able to reach higher than before. Even if heights aren’t your goal, you’ll be able to get there faster. 

When you max out both abilities to level 2, your movement will become even more fluid. Agility 2 increases your movement speed. Blink 2 gives you a longer reach. That means you will be able to get wherever much faster.

Some usage:

  • Easily reach higher platforms
  • Reach higher areas that were previously inaccessible
  • Fast and fluid movements will let you easily navigate rooftops
  • Jump high above enemies to execute a drop assassination
  • Reach Tallboys to kill them from close up


14. Offensive Blinking

Blink is a great ability, and that’s not just for navigation. This ability lets you dash forward in a blink, meaning you’re incredibly fast. And you know where else movement speed makes a difference? That’s right, combat!

Admittedly, this is a little tricky. Depending on how good your reflex and aim are, you’ll have different levels of success with this. Except when you’re playing as Daud. That being said, it is very useful in tough fights.

  • Dodging enemy attacks (swords or guns.)
  • Blink right behind enemies to execute a guaranteed kill.
  • Get above them to drop assassinate your enemies.
  • Close the distance to take out Tallboys.
  • Worst case, escape from combat!


13. Shadow Kill and Rat Swarm 

Remember when I was talking about disposing of bodies? Lethal players have a few more options than the pacifists. Of course, you can hide them the old-fashioned way. But it’s just not nearly as fun!

The powers I’m talking about are Shadow Kill and Rat Swarm. The first disintegrates your enemies when you kill them while they’re unaware. Shadow Kill 2 will turn anyone you kill into a shadow. And the rats you summon will absolutely devour anyone in their paths.

You might think that having both is a little overkill. It’s true that these two powers don’t have any synergy. But in your offensive playthroughs, you won’t always rely on your rats. Whether you kill by sword or summons, the bodies will be hidden.


12. Time Bender

I’m calling it Time Bender, because Bend Timer sounds weird. This is another one that I’ve touched on in my article on Powers. At level 2, this is incredibly overpowered. It costs 8 runes and activating the power almost depletes all your mana.

The earlier you get it, the better. Once you have this, very few things can actually get in your way. Did I say that time literally stops for you? For a small time window, the things you can do are limitless. Well, limited only by your imagination.

  • You can get past Walls of Light and Arc Pylons
  • Enemies can be instantly killed
  • Combined with Possession, enemies can be moved in front of their own projectiles (Credit to StealthGamerBR)
  • Projectiles you shoot at enemies can be rigged with Sticky Grenades or Spring Razors (or Arc Mines)


11. Master Assassin

In Dishonored's DLCs, you play as Master Assassin Daud. You know, the guy who stabbed the Empress and started all of this? And with a title like that, you should be able to do a lot of impressive things.

And you can. One of the powers Daud already has is Arcane Bond. With this, he shares his powers and strength with his assassins. With Summon Assassin, you can deploy one who will do your dirty work. 

But the beauty of Arcane Bond, especially when upgraded to level 2, is that your assassin gets a lot of your powers. With Vitality 2 and Pull, they'll be stronger and can use that power as well. And you might as well get Summon Assassin 2, which makes them stronger.


10. Bonecharms

Bonecharms are these equipable trinkets that give you powers. Unlike runes, they’re not used up. You can wear them or take them off whenever, and you get the powers for as long you’re wearing them.

By default, you can equip 4 of these. You can upgrade the min capacity, which you definitely should. They all play nicely as well, so there isn’t going to be any bad combination. 

Two things to note. First, the game has 36 bonecharms. Of which, you can only 26. They’re randomly spawned, so there’s no guarantee you’ll even get the ones I recommend.

And then there’s the second thing. The DLCs add corrupted bonecharms. These things have both positive and negative effects. Make sure you read them very well. And the best way to find out what works or doesn’t is by trying them out.


9. Murder Machine

Dishonored has some of the most adrenaline fueled first person combat. If you’re starting off, it can be quite difficult. Blocking and dodging are both very vital skills. And timing is an important part of this.

Thankfully, there are a few things that can give you an edge. Let’s talk about the powers first. Blood Thirsty 2 will help build up adrenaline faster. It will also let you execute two insta-kills when you release your bloodlust. You should also buy Vitality 2 for a health boost.

Make sure to invest some hard-earned money in Sword Clashing. You’ll need it. And now, the Bonecharms.

  • Tough Skin - More health, more win.
  • Whirlwind II - Faster sword swinging. Equals damage. 
  • Fleet Fighter - You no longer slow down with weapons drawn. In other words, faster movement in combat.
  • Fencer - This one’s from the Void Walker’s Arsenal. It will give you an advantage in sword clashing.


8. Water Of Life

Dishonored has a lot of sinks. Nothing surprising there, places tend to have them. Water supply is kind of a basic necessity. You don’t really benefit from drinking water though. Or do you?

There are actually two bonecharms that come in handy. One of them is Spirit Water, the other Water of Life. The first will regenerate 20% of your mana. The latter will heal 7.5% health. When you drink water.

It’s not a lot, but it might come in handy. There might be situations where you need to hold onto your Elixirs and Remedies. I wouldn’t recommend keeping them equipped. Just put them on when you need to, then take them off.


7. Fast Feet

Fast movement is a big asset. No matter what you’re trying to do, faster timing will make you more likely to succeed. I’ve already spoken of Agility a few times. Since we are talking about movement, Agility 2 is required.

There are several bonecharms that affect different parts of your speed. They all play along pretty nicely as well. So definitely use them all. Assuming you are lucky enough to find them.

  • Acrobat - Makes you faster at climbing. Very useful for navigating the vertical wonderland.
  • Fleet Fighter - I already mentioned this once. Your speed with swords drawn becomes faster. 
  • Swift Shadows - Your sneaking speed is faster. Great for skulking around or moving from cover to cover. 
  • Strong Arms - You choke out your enemies faster. For non-lethal players, this can be a lifesaver.
  • Undertaker - This one makes you faster while carrying bodies. After all that talk of hiding them, it’s only fair I include this.
  • Swift Stalker (Daud only) - Daud moves even faster with his sword sheathed. Combined with the other speed boosts, he becomes insanely agile.


6. Mana Surplus

If you're going to use powers, mana is everything. More mana is the way to. Unlike with Vitality, no abilities give you a mana boost. Thankfully, we have some bonecharms.

A note before I start the list. None of these bonecharms will give you a huge boost. They're all small enough to just be noticeable. You'll still need to be smart about it and use Remedies.

  • Spiritual Pool - Faster mana regeneration.
  • Blood Ox Heart - Extends your maximum mana
  • Void Surge (Daud only) - There's a small chance that your power won't cost any mana.


5. Death From Above

There are few things as fun as drop assassinations. Assassin's Creed popularized it. And now they're a staple in every game with stealth. 

In Dishonored, you can get bonuses out of jumping your enemies. Two bonecharms come into play.

  • Falling Star - Restores 20% mana on drop assassinations
  • Raven/Bird of Prey - Heal 20% when you drop assassinate an enemy
  • Raven is available for Corvo in the Void Walker's Arsenal. Bird of Prey is available for Daud.


4. Environmental Details

Dishonored has a very detailed world. The devs put so much work in level designing. It’s a crime to not stop, look around and appreciate this creation. Well, not really. But it should be.

World building isn’t the only reason why you should be looking around though. A lot of contextual information is provided through environmental cues. Oftentimes, there will be riddles that will need you to pay attention to your surroundings.

Here are some examples:

  • Level 1 | There is a safe in the sewers. To unlock it, you’ll need the code. It’s very easy to miss, but code is actually right next to the safe. Written on a wall, hidden behind bottles of whiskey. A note pretty much says so.
  • Level 4 | Another safe, in Pratchett’s house. This one has a riddle that describes scenes. You can find the codes for these on paintings in the same house. 


3. Verticality is your friend

Always look up. Seriously. Dishonored has some amazing levels that give us multiple ways to solve our problems. And they are always designed with verticality in mind.

Other than a handful of segments, almost all your problems can be solved by just climbing. The levels where you can’t do this have your objective behind locked doors or something like that, but they’re the exceptions.

I’ll hand out a few examples of where you can do this. You might already know this, or maybe you hadn’t noticed.

  • Level 1 | In the door control room. The normal approach is to sneak through the guards and open the door. Or you could look to the right side of the room. There is a pathway of pipes that you can climb. This way, you can avoid the entire area.
  • Level 2/3 | The Distillery district is full of these. You can enter Clavering Boulevard by climbing above the checkpost. There are several pathways, so you have many options. Both the High Overseer’s Office and the Golden Cat are vertically accessible.


2. Creativity

I’ve thrown in a lot of my opinions regarding what’s great. One thing to understand is that nothing I said is gospel. There are powers I use less and bonecharms that I think are useless. But you might enjoy playing with them. You might even have a great time.

Maybe you don’t want to climb up and avoid enemies. You could be someone who enjoys the challenge of sneaking through enemy lines without using any powers. Everything is fine as long as you’re having fun.

At its core, Dishonored’s game design is about openness. Whether it’s level design or powers, the devs give us initiative in how to proceed. Creativity and curiosity are your biggest assets.


1. Save-Scumming

Let’s be honest here. Nothing in this world is as powerful as the power of quick-saving and loading. With this in your arsenal, you can do anything. Consequences don’t mean much when you can just unmake your doings.

And that’s exactly why I’d recommend you to play Dishonored without this. I know, you can mess up a lot of things. Anyone you kill is dead. Your chaos rating will be what it is and there will be nothing you can do about it. And that’s okay.

I recently started playing like this and it’s made me very cautious. I find myself more immersed in the world because things I do now really matter. And it’s actually made me better at the game.


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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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