Dark Souls
January 17, 2018

Started this a couple weeks ago and, so far, have progressed into the Depths. So, what all has killed me but good in this game! Let's see!

Undead Asylum: Nothing. There are advantages to playing a game 7 years after release AND vetting it to see if I'd think it's fun enough to eat up my time (one of the reasons I decided to trim the number of games I'm playing at once is simply because you do kind of have to focus on this game so you don't lose your edge battling big, armored knights who can kill you with 3-4 hits) AND deciding that since I'm playing offline because I see no reason to pay for Gold when this and DS 2 are probably the only games I'd use it for, I might as well use the Internet for assistance whenever I get overly stumped, I decided to start with the Pyromancer class and Black Firebombs gift. That made the Asylum Demon easy and I got a big hammer I might never meet the strength requirements for! Nothing else here is remotely tricky, except for getting plowed under by a boulder on a staircase.

Firelink Shrine: I've died a couple times getting overly aggressive with the soldiers near the entrance to Undead Burg and falling off cliffs. I died against the little rat near the entrance to Undead Burg because my melee weapon didn't reach low enough to kill it. I died once when I thought I was all tough and could challenge those skeletons to get the loot shining brightly by the tombstones, providing a never-ending source of sweet, sweet temptation.

Undead Burg (Upper): Took a good number of tries to kill the Taurus Demon, as it was the first actual tough battle I'd had and it took a while to figure out that plunge attacks from the tower was a far better tactic than trying to keep my distance and fireball/firebomb it OR melee it. It also took a good number of tries every once in a while before I could devise a good strategy (hit with fireball, run to open area for a duel) and make it work with the town's resident Black Knight. I died a couple times fighting the fire-bomb undead on the roof of that one house, mainly due to still struggling with the controls, in particular locking on. And, most embarrassingly, that little bridge right outside the bonfire room has gotten me 3 or so times. I'd try to get in position to charge the crossbow zombie and back right off the bridge.

Undead Parish: The "getting into it" part resulted in small rats bumping me off a ledge to my death a couple times! And then I died in my first encounter with the big boar, but killed it in hilarious fashion the second try, as I hit attack while falling off the stairs near it and got credit for a full-on plunge attack despite falling roughly almost directly onto its back without any actual plunging happening. I nearly died when I explored the area around the blacksmith and had to run like hell because some big monster is in the room right below his and likes to fire lightning the second you go down said stairs. I still will occasionally die when farming the cloaked knights (and since they seem the most reliable source of free Titanite shards, I farm them regularly). And I think I died once to the horde of zombies on the upper floor of the parish. Sadly, it wasn't even the time when the non-respawning wizard was buffing them up. I haven't died to the Black Knight here, mainly because I slowly was ascending his tower and the second I saw what was there, I just sort of slunk down quietly and haven't returned yet.

Undead Burg (lower): I died once to an ambush of thieves when doors opened, three of them attacked me and I just wasn't prepared for that. I also died roughly 50 times to the Capra Demon before winning. Nothing like a fight where it seems that luck plays a role in simply living for more than 5 seconds, as you never know if the dogs will immediately charge you, making it hell to get around the demon and get up the stairs for a brief reprieve to heal from his first attack which connected nearly every single time no matter what I did to evade it. I'd usually get caught on a dog and slaughtered while impotently trying to roll away. Rarely, I'd get up the stairs and screw something up. Finally, I got things together and got into a good routine of running up the stairs, leaping off, hitting him when he leapt off, running away and doing it again until he was near death. And then standing toe to toe LIKE A MAN to cleave off the final 15% of his health.

The Depths: If I remembered one thing about this place, it's that you need to watch the environment and look up, down and around a lot. So, I didn't fall for the slimes and their "we're super-weak unless we fall on you and eat you alive" attack. Or those small holes that drop you somewhere. Or how one of the big butchers is lurking on a rafter waiting to jump on you. That guy still got a kill on me, though. I shot him with an arrow and killed the other one after he fell off. And then couldn't find him anywhere, so I saved Pyro dude and resumed exploring. Took a long path that let me snipe a huge rat from complete safety and get a key, jumped a hole and eventually got to the bonfire room. Apparently that butcher made his way there, too. I stupidly tried to fight him in a narrow corridor with no real evasion hopes other than "roll back". And died for my folly. Which sucked because dude is an easy enemy, as long as you have ANY room to maneuver in. If anything, it sucks you only fight them once, as they'd be a good soul-farming enemy.

What's next: Interestingly, the bonfire is right next to a nest of comically unaggressive small rats where all I have to do is lock on and throw fireballs while they run into the walls trying to get away. Rats rarely drop humanity, so I'm farming that. After I've farmed enough, I'll take my improved item discovery back to the parish to farm Titanite from the cloaked knights in order to max out everything as much as I can. Oh yeah, and get a bunch of souls so I can visit Pyro guy and start to really invest in pyromancy. Which means I'll also have to start investing level-up points into attunement, I guess, since I can only hold two spells at a time.

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honestgamer honestgamer - January 17, 2018 (06:59 PM)
Sounds like you're making good progress with the game. Before too terribly long, you should be coming up on some of the most difficult segments. Anor Lando (I believe that's how it is spelled) has a battle at the end that I found just plain brutal.
overdrive overdrive - January 18, 2018 (10:29 AM)
I'm pretty sure that after the Depths, everything (at least for a long while) will be really intense. I know enough about the game to know that Blighttown and Sen's Fortress are both really, really hellish. Many more deaths to come!
Genj Genj - January 18, 2018 (03:52 PM)
So I've played a lot of Souls. Like multiple runs & builds in each one. I can do all bosses runs of all of them in the 10-15 hour range. DS1 seems easy compared to the sequels & Bloodborne. Not the biggest fan of casting builds in these games. If you really beef up pyro, you'll have a bit of an easier time on that boss in Anor Londo Venter was talking about, but frankly DEX & quality builds are way better. Casting gets worse with every subsequent game.
overdrive overdrive - January 18, 2018 (06:33 PM)
Now that I finally found a pyro trainer, I'm leaning towards a combination pyro/dex build with enough strength to handle whatever weapon I want (not the crazy 46 strength to one-hand stuff like the Asylum Demon's club, but anything without "you really must want this" requirements). Because while I prefer swords, I do notice my battleaxe breaks the guard of those spear-and-shield soldiers quickly and strength works for them more than dex.

With pyro (or any casting), dex makes sense because it effects casting time and I do notice that two-second pause between casting fireball and it coming off the hands makes it more of a situational spell than an integral part of my offense. And dex scaling just seems more helpful with how it makes bows and a lot of swords better.

I did hear 1 is easier than 2. From what I've read, in 2, you get far fewer Estus charges, the animation for drinking is slower and, overall, the early game is really hellish because every class starts out weaker. And there are more 2+ on 1 fights. And the DLC takes it up to insanity. I almost am looking forward to it, even though at times, I struggle mightily with Dark Souls stuff to the point where I wish everything was as slow as the butchers or the big knight inside the back door of the parish.
Genj Genj - January 18, 2018 (07:21 PM)
Souls difficulty get significantly nerfed by knowledge. I could give you lots of tips that would make the game easy, but that would ruin the experience. Pyro/DEX will work only in DS1 because pyro damage has no stat scaling at all and purely goes by your flame's level. I will strongly recommend not going too crazy with Attunement. You really only need 3-4 spell slots if your melee is decent. Otherwise putting points into Vitality and Endurance is far more useful.

DS2's base game isn't too bad but it does have some rude design (Scholar overall makes some areas easier). The beginning is also rough mainly because of the awful decision to tie iframes on roll to a stat, so all but 1 class ends up with a worse roll than DeS & DS1. Also the hitboxes on enemies attack often extend further than the models for some reason. The DLC is frustrating trash and I've never wanted to play more than the one time I completed all 3 expansions.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 19, 2018 (10:26 AM)
I bought Dark Souls II and III on PS4, as well as Bloodborne, and yet I've never played any of them. Dark Souls was brilliant, so you'd think I would have moved onto the others, but... maybe I'm just not ready to devote myself yet?

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