Category: Dark Souls


Dark Souls Episode 2: Garden Variety

So after finals, I’ve finally gotten around to uploading this bloody thing. It took forever, but here you go. This time, and this is probably the only time, you’ll get to see what it’s like to be summoned into someone else’s world. Remember, you can’t use an Estus Flask if you happen to be a Phantom, so you will need to rely on other methods to heal yourself. Other items still work perfectly find though.

Sadly, I picked the worst time to be a phantom. Darkroot Garden is littered with loot for you to pick up, but players summoned into another world can’t see any of it. Probably to keep people from griefing one another, but it does make filming from someone else’s world a little difficult. That said, I like the Garden. It’s a nice little place that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, and branches off into some other nice places. You can go to join the Forest Hunter Covenant (or just use them as good soul farm), or go to fight Great Wolf Sif. Ultimately, we decided to go to Catacombs to show off the Gravelord Servant covenant and the Pinwheel boss. We’re also going to show a bloody ton of shortcuts and cheese to get through a confusing level, so pay attention.

As for the two bosses in the video, Hydra is probably the most boring. If you don’t have a magic build or a ton of arrows, you’re going to be stuck wadding back and forth in the water trying to smack his heads, and as you saw in the video, that gets progressively harder the more heads you cut off. You can mitigate this by getting the Rusty Iron Ring from Northern Undead Asylum, but neither of us are quite ready to go back there. Plus you aren’t allowed to summon in the Asylum, so it’d just be me.

As for Moonlight Moth Butterfly, I do apologize for how rediculously buggy the boss is for online play. It almost never syncs up between host and client, so you have instances where I’m standing still and it’s shooting off into the aether, but is still able to hit me. Other than it’s obvious bugs, this boss is 100% magic damage, which can be a death call to anyone without either high magic resist or high health to tank it. But, do you remember those broken wooden shields some of the classes started with? Yeah, those things have about 70% magic resist on them, and are extremely useful during this fight. Other than that, block it’s needle spam, and dodge the slow moving triple shot. I was almost 1-hit killed by that in my world, so it will be worth it to strip down if you’re in heavy armor to have better dodge rolls. Once you kill the moth butterfly it’s off to Andrei to hand over the Divine Ember. But where does that key go… I wonder.

Final note: Moonlight Butterfly has some of the best music in the game. Hauntingly beautiful, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a latter boss. Until next time!

Church Vandalism

So it was finals week. Still not done, with another test tomorrow. But I’ve been quiet for way too long. Maybe I’ll get rilled up and angry enough to rant on about some other games Tuesday. Assuming I’m not stuck blowing my first day of break screwing around with the new champion in League of Legends. So it could be more Skyrim, now that I have some game time under my belt, or another RPG I’ve played and had sever issues with, Dragon Age: Origins. And trust me, that won’t be a pretty one to go through. So, how about something simple to cap off the week.

First true episode of our Dark Souls LP, staring myself and my good friend Telnia. Or Kaedia. She flips between the two frequently enough. Hopefully even without voice chat our antics will be clean enough to see, though you’ll have to wait until later on in the game to see us really start trolling one another. I think I actually covered almost everything in the Parish in the video, so instead of pointing out things I missed, let’s talk about the zone itself.

Personally, I think the Parish is extremely under-utilized. It’s extremely short and entirely skipable once you reach the shortcut, while almost all of the latter short-cuts require the player to back track slightly. So you don’t really get to explore and will almost never really come back unless you’re on route to Firelink from Andre’s. It could have served as a secondary hub, smaller but at least with some sanctity in the world to show the player that their actions are having a meaningful effect. Though I say that, even after all your deeds, the church remains haunted by the damned and the cursed, which puts a rather dour mood on the game,  which is consistent with the overall tone.

One thing I love about the Parish though, if the player is online, they may hear church bells in the background. That’s not random ambient noise, that’s another player ringing the Bell of Awakening in their world. If you’re going for Warrior of the Sun (“Sunbros”), you might find farming the boss here to be convient and profitable, no to mention so very, very satisfying when you help another player beat the area boss and then 30 seconds later hear church bells ringing. Such a touching moment in an otherwise dreary zone. Speaking of area bosses…

The first challenging fight you may run in to. If you are having trouble, Knight Solair’s symbol is always next to the door to lend a hand. Overall straight forward, the gargoyls only have two real attacks on land and two in the air. Once one reaches 50%, the second flies down. Both begin to spew flame under 50%, so watch out for that. If you’re able to dodge all the fire, it’s possible to get in quite a few free hits on the gargoyle currently casting. Just make sure o keep an eye on the other one. Next time we’ll hit up Darkroot Garden, and things will get more… interesting.

Bonus Knight

 

This should hopefully be the last of the lowish quality uploads. Finally got the connections, so the Parish should be looking a whole lot better. In related knews, I may or may not have forgotten to record my way across the bridge at the end of the Taurus video. It’s not a terribly far way, but you will run smack into a certain little Hellkyte. Just run to the burn spots, then run back and into the door until the fire passes. Book it to the middle of the bridge and then down the right side path. From here there are two hollows and three rats to the front between you and the start of the parish. To the left is a side path that goes to a ladder, which will take you to the first bonfire of the Burg. Going to the bonfire and then running back up the ladder to the bridge is a nice way to farm up 555 souls every time, making it the best early game farm spot. Grab a few levels (or heal!) and then head on over to explore the parish.

On the subject of the video today, it’s mostly just show and tell for a few things. But I do want to talk about the Black Knights in Dark Souls a little bit. Every Black Knight is a one-time enemy that will not respawn, and each has a chance of dropping whatever weapon they have. So far, I’ve lucked out incredibly and gotten both the Black Knight Sword and the Black Knight Greatsword. The Sword counts as a greatsword, and you can get a Claymore on Hellkyte’s bridge if you can up to the loot before melting. The Greatsword counts as an ultra greatsword, and you can pick up a Zweihander in the cemetery behind Firelink Shrine as the first bit of loot you come across. I’ll be using the Sword and Greatsword a bit, and both do much higher damage, but can only be upgraded 5 times and by the (at this point) very rare Twinkling Titanite. Claymores and Zweihanders can be upgraded like any other weapon along a variety of paths. So look into those if you are building strength.

On fighting the Knight itself, they are honestly a little disappointing once you have the rhythm down. Any time they lunge with the sword, they have a crippling weakness to backstabs. Sometimes they’ll launch into a three-hit combo, which can also be avoided by sticking close and walking into their shield, and then grabbing another free backstab. It can be time consuming, but it’s easily possible to kill these mini-bosses without taking any damage. Whenever you come across a strong and rare enemy, take a minute or two to watch it, study it’s movements and try to get a read on it. Once you know the pattern, there is nothing in this game you can not defeat. Likewise, if you’re having trouble blocking, don’t worry about holding your shield up all the time. Stamina regens faster when it’s down, so lowering your guard when it’s safe and then bringing it back up when an attack starts is a great way to get a little more stamina out.

Or if you’re feeling gutsy, you can parry the Knight to death. It’s possible, and it feels amazing. Starting Monday we’ll crash through the Parish, and get our first Bell of Awakening. Wonder what it’ll be waking up? Who can say.

Dark Souls LP

Hey guys. Wanted to give you a heads up on whats going to be happening very soon. A friend of mine and I started throwing around ideas a couple days ago and decided to grab the equipment and just go nuts, starting with an LP of the game that’s taken up huge chunks of our life recently: Dark Souls. It’ll be a fairly informative and playful LP, but we’re also going to be doing most of the game as a duo-play through instead of just one person going on. We’re only going to record one play through of each zone, but probably switch to let people see two different play styles and all the zones and bosses. There will be a couple rules, however…

  • No min/maxing for the best stuff. It’s been decided what we’re going to play and we’re going to stick to that. I’ll be primarially a Strength/Endurance name with a smattering of faith (mostly just for heal) to show off the most effective way for new players to get into the game. My friend will be running Faith/Intellect to show off the magic of the world, and will be going at it in a more advanced way.
  • No farming for souls. Almost all of the footage will just be straight play. We’ll probably cut out all the load screens, but things like Invasions, Boss fails, and everything else will be in there. We’ll be showcasing one or two zones at a time, and the last thing we want is to open an episode with the caption “So I’m about 20 levels higher than I was last time…” and then stomp on the content.
  • Following a (relative) order of difficulty. On our main play through, we didn’t even get to the Catacombs until we were ready to fight one of the end-game bosses. I’m pretty sure my Pyromancer straight up 3-hit killed that boss by that point. We’ll try and keep things in the order they were meant to be.
  • Show off secrets and Covenants. This one is going to be a killer, but shouldn’t be too bad. We’ll try and devote an episode a piece to each Covenant and detail what they are and do. We’ll show off whatever secrets and tips we know.
  • Try not to fail horribly on every single boss.

We’ll also try to show off some PvP outside the Covenants, invasions and spirits of vengeance. If we are incredibly lucky, maybe even some Gravelord footage, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Tends to be extremely buggy and extremely rare. You’ll see plenty of ninja though, we plan on sinning. A lot.

So that’s hopefully going to be up in the next couple of days. First Episode will probably be just me playing both of our characters up the the point where we can actually join consistantly. So my character for Asylum Demon (tutorial zone) and the Sorcerer for the Tarsus Demon (upper Undead Burg), and then after that it’ll be the two of us horribly failing on our way to end-game. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do!

Sound of Nothing

Now, this is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a little bit, so to start, we’re going to hop media for a second. I’ve watched an anime by the name of ‘Lucky Star’ and absolutely adored the entire show. The characters were cute, animation was great, personalities were full, but for the life of me I couldn’t ever remember more than one background song, and that was only rarely, but it strangely didn’t bother me. Flash forward to when I bought the actual anime OST and found out there is a lot of music in that anime. What does that have to do with games? Well, mostly that video game music can actually be really, really bad.

Right now, we’re more or less stuck in this ‘must-have-epic’ mindset for a ton of games. Games have to have this big, amazing boss fight at the end of them. Yeah, how’d that go for you, Dead Space? Games have to have a billion weapons, even when the game isn’t designed to handle more than a couple. Duke, looking at you. Rebalance your stuff. Most of the time, the sound track is over looked, but it suffers the same problem.  Music is just over the top, subtlety is becoming a foreign concept. That’s starting to hurt the players enjoyment of the game, more than anything. What happens when you hear this epic, live orchestra rendition of a battle-theme… while in town? Or just walking through the woods? What if it’s night?

What if it’s at night, in the woods, with a puppy?

It creates a disconnect, pulling the player from the game as things start becoming just a little off. If it gets to its worst, the player can just pause and open the menu, going straight in to disable the music in general. But that can’t be a good solution, right? The game was made to be played with that score! Actually…
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Something To Die For

Death is very rarely a fun thing, but it’s often not how often you die, but why you die in the first place. Which is one of the things I absolutely adore about Dark Souls, death is often a combination of inattentiveness and sneaky design, rather than the game cheesing you out of a life because of some arbitrary desire for difficulty. So we’re going to look at a couple of places in the game for examples. One is a minor spoiler, so you’ve been warned!

Sen’s Fortress:

Later on in the game (and I’ll not say when!), you unlock a special place called Sen’s Fortress. The entire fortress is made of traps, evil snake guys, and will either have you raging at the traps or laughing hysterically with glee. Why is that? Well, the fortress is loaded to the brim with traps. Massive pendulums swinging about, pressure plates that fire horrible arrow barrages, massive boulders flying down corridors, and more. These are only a few of the traps you’ll encounter in the Fortress. Sounds like a pain, right? Not really, because like before: all of the traps may be borderline evil, but they are fair.

There are no traps in the fortress that will ever insta-gib you. There are traps that will surprise you, but they will rarely outright kill you. Every arrow trap has a pressure plate, the boulders have long ago rounded the corridors down and do make a lot of noise while they travel. Even the enemies that hide to ambush you will hiss and rattle once you’ve been seen. The beauty is that to a perceptive player, the traps are all right there and in plain sight, especially once you know what to look for. But that’s not what makes Sen’s Fortress such a blast to play through.
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Darkness Calling

As some of you might remember, I mentioned buying Dark Souls before, and now that Ive finally gotten out of the spot I was in before, I think it’s time to chat a little bit about the game proper. Rather than go too in-detail about anything specific, and we will later on, I’m just going to give an overall coverage of the things that really stick out to me. Consider it a review if you like, just don’t pretend there will be a number attached at the end!

The World:

Probably one of the greatest things the world of Dark Souls has going for it, well, the world itself. The backdrops are massive and picturesque, and the detail on the varying levels always creates a beautiful aesthetic. The feeling of the world is further punctuated by the very infrequent and often slightly-off meetings of NPCs, which creates a mix of solitude and lonliness. In a truly creative way, the world can make being alone feel good and bad at the same time, setting the world around you up as a harsh, but fair, companion to your travels. In a lot of ways, the world around you captures the feeling of Rapture which had a similar comforting and yet antagonistic feel. But through it all, no matter how dark and bleak the future looks, the world of Dark Souls always offers hope, that you can succeed and push forward.

Don't let the beauty distract you from killing.

In a way, the game world is very telling but without having to overtly say anything. The sheer solitude by lack of friendly npc shows just how bad the world has gotten, but once the enemies have been cleared away, the feeling quickly switches to loneliness as the world becomes more and more empty. The fact bonfires revive all standard enemies almost becomes a blessing in the end.
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