She's SL 66.
Her starting class was cleric.
I'm a fan of the cleric/paladin archetype in games, and in a setting like Dark Souls, playing the holy/divine warrior seemed especially cool. So mostly I have a +5 Raw Zweihander (Raw because I couldn't get to +15 Normal), I used the Eagle Shield, Stone Knight Armor, and use a Canvas Talisman to perform miracles. For rings I usually have my Darkmoon Seance Ring for the extra slot and use one of the defense-boosting rings (like Ring of Steel Protection).
But I'm worried that I am just doing everything the hard way. Not to imply I'm surprised in the game's difficulty or anything. I just got the Lordvessel and so am at a crossroads. I've been in the Darkroot Garden far enough to get the armor set and kill the Moonlight Butterfly, but haven't actually completed the place.
The heavy armor's poise seems only effective half the time, and when it comes into effect it's against weak enemies I didn't need it for anyways. My sword is so slow it seems I can never hit something (the stone guards in Anor Londo could pivit 180 degrees before I could hit them with it most of the time) and my shield won't block anything useful without my Stamina draining to zero or close, resulting in me being unable to attack or just getting killed anyways.
Miracles have been a huge letdown... Heal is just about the only useful thing, and that feels like a crutch at best since the only thing it lets me do is be more sloppy against the weak undead in the area, since it is too slow to be used in combat, against a boss, or in PVP. Meanwhile, Lightning Spear is laughably slow and unhelpful, while Gravelord Sword Dance is the most astonishingly bad thing I've ever witnessed-- It takes great efforts to miss even the largest of enemies, whether they're moving or completely stationary while being only half-decent damage (similar to my Lightning Spear or just a strong attack) and a slow casting time.
I've joined a bunch of different covenants, but have no idea what would work the best for me. I have a passing interest in PVP, but my own attempts with the Darkmoon Blades and Gravelords just results in a whole lot of nothing and then me getting completely schooled by literally everyone I come across. Enough that I've assumed such thing as a "fair challenge" or even "basic victory" exist for anyone who isn't the most hardcore PVPer.
I'm assuming this is because PVP is entirely speed-based, with defense being next to meaningless as my armor and poise has done absolutely nothing for me. Not to mention, everyone I fight has either been hacking or using items I couldn't access yet (like flaming weapons, used by literally everyone on the planet). Pyromancy has consistently one-shot me even with all the fire defense I can muster... Why are the things that don't scale with stats so overpowered? Not to mention, since I have no way to utilize my Faith in PVP (offense miracles will never hit, can't heal, everything else is static and doesn't benefit from increased Faith, divine weapons seem just bad) I prettymuch have 15 dead levels making me weaker than I should be.
All I'm really asking is for some advice. What kind of equipment should I try to get and use to synergize with my build? What covenants would you suggest to someone who's new to the game and making a melee Faith character? Should I try using a Divine weapon, and if so, what should it be? Or have I just screwed up and should just make a new character and use nothing but pyromancy and fire daggers?