Dark Souls II [PS3]
Additional Tip: Acquire the Ring of Life Protection|
Human effigies are in limited supply during a walkthrough, or at the very least are uncommon drops, so unless you're an experienced and combat-savvy player, you'll likely end up every once in a while with only a spare few effigies to restore your humanity from the hollowing status. Exploring the kingdom of Drangleic is hard enough, so having your max HP drop by 5% because you've died and turned hollow is terrible. If that weren't enough, you can't summon any help from NPCs or other players with their white summon signs if you're hollow.
Luckily, the Ring of Life Protection will prevent you from the hollow state once before it breaks, but it can be repaired at the blacksmith for a mere 3,000 souls, which is next to nothing near the middle of the game. You might even have some soul items you can spare if you want a quick fix for the ring.
The earliest you can obtain the ring is at the No Man's Wharf, the area right after Heidi's Flame Tower after descending the tower not far from the bonfire. In the center of the area is a large staircase (with a barbarian at the top). Go up this staircase about halfway, make a left, and enter the building. At the top of this building's small staircase should be a several bookcases/dining room cabinets that can be broken with a weapon. Behind one is a corpse with the ring in hand. Grab it and celebrate. Just remember to equip the ring and guard your humanity with your life.
Additional Tip #2: DON'T consume boss souls
I made this mistake early on, so boo-hoo for me. But save the soul item you obtain after defeating a boss. Later in the game, you can trade these boss souls to 2 NPCs for unique weapons and spells. So I would store these in the item box at a bonfire as soon as possible, just so that you don't accidentally use them.
Additional Tip #3: How to safely drop into Majula's pit
Perhaps you've tried dropping into the pit in the center of Majula below, and found yourself dead in a heartbeat. The key here, if you want to descend into the pit before you're really supposed to (apparently, an NPC can build a ladder going down but I haven't encountered this NPC yet...), is to purchase the Silvercat Ring from the talking cat, and then to unequip all items that contribute to the equip load since weight does factor into fall damage.
Having healing items, a Vit of around 14 or more, and health at least around 20, and you'll be fine. As you descend, you'll be able to find the entrance to the Grave of Saints (be careful here, since players in the Rat Covenant can summon you into their world just to toy with you... you may want to play in offline mode for this) as well as the entrance to The Gutter if you're extremely careful. Going through the Grave of Saints will also lead you to the same entrance to The Gutter.
Note: Lighting Torches
Some players have been asking about how the torch system works. So just in case, you have one torch and it has a timer indicated in the inventory screen. You can light the torch at a bonfire (just toggle it) or a standing torch that's lit. From there, the time starts to tick down as you try to bring the fire to another unlit torch stand. It's sort of convoluted, but that's how it works.
Every torch you find adds 5 minutes to your overall time and torches are usually random enemy drops (sometimes you'll find some laying around as minor treasures). Lighting fires isn't that important, though it does hinder some enemies from getting close. Still, from my experience it's not that necessary to light everything, unless you're in The Gutter.