Monday, 16 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Unholy Ground

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!


After defeating the Abyss Watchers I was back in Firelink Shrine with enough souls for the Firekeeper to cure my dark sigil, so I did. Yuria was not pleased at this, saying I was a "false lord" and simply left. Eygon showed up in her place, though just to check on Irina. Ser Sad is also chattier than usual, telling me about the history of the Abyss Watchers and how they got corrupted by the very thing they defended against. He also speaks of another Lord of Cinder: Saint Aldrich, who was once just a simple cleric with a penchant for eating people. He gained a lot of power (and visavisfollowers) when he started eating gods though! I instantly thought of any chubby clerics I'd met in the past... no way, can't be him.

Since it was adventure time again, I then decided to face the Crystal Sage once more, this time while embered and with Eygon as my helper we smash him and his little mirror images. Past him was a pair of bandits and a hollow hunting party, and then the Cathedral of the Deep where I and am promptly invaded by Yorams (player). We had a good duel, complete with the exchanging of "welcome gestures", and for a change I'm pretty sure I had this guy - but our fight was cut short as Chara (player) of the Blue Sentinels arrived. I backed off and let the two duel with Chara eliminating Yorams without much incident. Thanks Chara, and good fight Yorams! :)

With the Cathedral doors locked, I explored the grounds in a lengthy detour through a graveyard with endless zombies and a challenging rooftop section with many midget assassin ambush spots. Inside it only gets worse as the midgets are reinforced by pretty tough evil paladins, and a pair of giants who guard the main, flooded hall. In one ominously large yet empty room I am also jumped by a terrifying spider monster who easily kills me in my panicked state - good thing I've found ways to open the shortcut doors back to that initial bonfire!


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Watch This

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since I'm getting whooped on the field now, I return to Firelink Shrine to level up and more importantly, upgrade a second, regular axe which actually scales with my character's strength - which is something the Deep Axe doesn't do which means it is slowly getting eclipsed by it's regular cousin. Also, two new ladies were here. The first, Sirris of the Sunless Realms offered her aid on my quest, and the second - Yuria of Londor - stood over Yoel's corpse like a vulture, stating that I was their "Lord of Hollows" thanks to the Dark Sign Yoel had been giving me. What?

Yep, for every "free" level I've been getting these, more of the very thing I wanted to cure. Turns out the firekeeper can cure them, thanks to a firekeeper soul I found earlier, except it costs an exorbitant amount of souls. Should have guessed the free levels were too good to be true! Anyway, I purchase a braile tome from Yuria for Irina to read. She's blind too since she was in training to become a firekeeper.

These crystal lizards have grown pretty big. And pretty gymnastic.

I then get Sirris to help me slay another massive crystal lizard, and then return to face the Abyss Watchers with the help of BlackHand Gotthard (who looks a lot like an Abyss Watcher) and Londor Paleshade (a servant of Yuria). Gotthard falls in battle, and during phase 2 (with an entirely new lifebar), the power of all the Abyss Watchers fills him and we have to take him down. It is a long slog but since the Paleshade is pretty tough we beat him and I claim the first Lord soul!

Turns out he's prone to stun lock.

And then I put their collective severed heads on their allotted throne back at the Shrine. Do you expect anything less from Dark Souls? :P

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Farron's Keep

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Tweedledee and Tweedledum?

Deciding to avoid the Crystal Sage for now, I find another path guarded by two bandits - a club wielder and a sword guy. I manage to kick one down a ladder shaft and follow up with a plunging strike. The second one opts to take the ladder down which makes it easy to hack at him while he is defenseless. Just when I think I'm doing well, I reach the next area - the continuation of the swamp, only this time it is green AND poisonous, meaning it is running time aplenty.

The giant leeches are the least of my worries as I scurry from dry land to dry land, avoiding the poison monkey men and giant swamp things wandering about. A sign near the start indicates that I'm supposed to turn off three flames to open "the door" too, and while the flames turn out to be little candles - of course they are all pretty well guarded. A ladder up leads to a really tall tower and the lair of Farron, the old wolf. He's eternally asleep though, and offers a PvP covenant to protect his swamp from invaders. As if this place wasn't bad enough!

Atop his lair are some gorgeous views, as well as extra items. There's also a huge demon like the one Ser Chubby helped with before, but I leave that one alone. Using that vantage point I can find the flames I missed and put them out too, opening the path to the next area which loops back to the non-poison swamp, and another bonfire within walking distance of the next boss, and Lord of Cinder, the Abyss Watchers.

Sounds like a boring job, watching an Abyss...

Interestingly the path to them is a battle site between the resident poison monkeys and a pair of dark wraiths, meaning easy souls for me and an easier time reaching the boss fog. This doesn't help me in the slightest once I'm inside though, as the dual wielding warriors (yes plural) make short work of me. For added difficulty my graphics card has a really hard time here and increases my "crash out of the game" ratio.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Marathon Man

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

While at Firelink Shrine I purchase a sewer key being sold by the hag. Makes me wonder if she goes around locking all these doors just to make a profit. Anyway, after slaying the mandatory rats (same ones from before since it's the same sewer) I unlock a side grate and find the nun prisoner Irina, who offers to train miracles in exchange for freedom. Sure! This makes her guard, the gargoyle helm guy named Eygon, a bit annoyed but he suggests he will be an ally as long as I keep Irina safe. Safe like... keeping her locked up somewhere you psycho?

Anyway, the path forward was then to go to the tunnel under the sniper cathedral - guarded by a scary frost knight. Since he was too dangerous I lured him into an adjoining room and just ran past into the nearby forest, which turns out to be the home to a huge flock of wereharpy hollows. Not so bad if you kill them before they grow their wings but when they are "flight-enabled" they are quite annoying. I also put down a madwoman with a giant knife in the area.

Anri and Horace. You never see their faces.

In the bonfire clearing just past that I meet the knights Horace and Anri who apparently are on the same quest I am - to return the Lords of Cinder to their thrones. Good to know I'm not the only one! They offer me to join the Blue Sentinels but I decline, preferring to be protected rather than be the one doing the protecting. They are gone after I rest at the bonfire, so I continue alone into the next area - a swamp. At least it's not poisonous, it's just inhabited by crabs. The small ones are ok, but the giant ones I soon learn to avoid.

I also encounter a lone, sword wielding, Anor Londo Knight in one of the ruins - and knowing my parrying skill (as a player) is long gone I opt to flee to another set of ruins which is home to more hollows, and on the path beyond I find a Crystal Sage. This magic based boss relies on teleportation for movement which leaves him open for a lot of attacks, but once I got him to 50% he began using mirror images too and that proved to be my undoing. Sigh.

That's a pretty big hat. I wonder if this was Grigg's master?

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Right in the Nuts

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

On the trip down from the archer, I hop off half way to find Ser Chubby sitting along the balcony quite confused as to how he got there. He's also quite afraid of a large flaming demon in the distance. I use my tried and true method of archery from where the monster can't reach me - but this forces Ser Chubby into action, charging the demon in close quarters. He can certainly hold his own though, and almost single-handedly slays the beast! After sharing a drink in celebration, he takes a little nap while I continue exploring, eventually making my way to a huge plaza where hollows seem to be worshiping a huge, misshapen tree.

Oh... it's not just decor.

This horrible thing is a boss, and much like the previous tree boss requires hits to land on it's cancerous sack weakspots. It's much more agile than the last tree though, which catches me by surprise. My 2nd attempt goes much better, where I use its own attacks to squish it's own, endless adds. Eventually it breaks the floor into a large underground pit. Despite the change of scenery it doesn't actually gain anything new, making it an easy kill.

Protip: Don't let giant foes pick you up. :P

Returning to Firelink Shrine to level up, I talk a bit to Yoel who offers to "draw out my true strength" which translates to free levels! Yay! There's also a new, tricorne hat wearing guy named Leonhard here who gives me a key to a lift at Lothric's High wall and asks that I slay the Darkwraith at the bottom for him. It happens to be a very short mission since there's a bonfire I can warp to nearby. Also since the skeletor has the exact same moves from the ones in New Londo Ruins, I make short work of him. This impresses Leonhard who suggests I join Rosaria's fingers at the Cathedral of the Deep. Sounds like a fetish cult.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Dark Souls III: Diplomacy

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

My advance into the town is impeded by the arrival of Holy Knight Hodrick who fights me to a draw (erm, I guess he thinks I fled but that's just a technicality), which makes me seek out alternate paths forward. In doing so I find Corynx of the Great Swamp imprisoned on a rooftop. Turns out he is pyromancer master (possibly Laurentius' master too) and offers his services in exchange for his freedom. Sure, why not?

After a rat filled sewer (with an extra giant rat, just for me since I missed killing the one beneath undead berg) and another bonfire, I come across an interesting forest of trees and spears... which turn out to be giant arrows. It proves to be an interesting exercise crossing those woods as it is bombarded by the huge archer in the distant tower - it's much like running through artillery! Good thing he shoots at the bad guys too, but since it's too costly health wise to do that I change path and make a beeline for his perch which happens to be an abandoned church.

You can actually see him from pretty far away.

Just outside I meet a large guy wearing a gargoyle hat and wielding a huge mace. He's not hostile, but he is keeping some lady hostage and basically calls me a bitch. I decide to deal with him later, since there's a giant archer that demands my attention first. As I approach the lift, it suddenly moves on its own and out comes... Ser Chubby!? A new Ser Chubby, who has the same idea about the archer as I did. He just can't work out how to use the lift up, a problem I solve with one quick roll. Hah! I know it's not the same guy, but it's good to have you back, Ser Chubby!


In a huge change of pace for the Souls series, I am given the option to "Make peace" with the giant archer (is that you Gough!?). He readily, calling me friend and offering to provide cover next time I'm within range. Awesome!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dark Souls III: The Circus is in Town

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

With the deep axe, slow and steady progress led me to another bonfire and the unlocking of shortcuts back to earlier bonfires. I even find a prisoner caged in one tower but with no key I decide to come back some other time. In a cathedral guarded by knights (who I'm getting more efficient at killing now) I meet the elderly priestess Emma who offers me to join the Way of the Blue covenant. Since it helped me out last time I jump at the opportunity! Newbie guild for me! :)

It was then time for a rematch against Battle Cat, but this time I used an ember (the replacement of humanity here) to power up and to summon the katana guy from before. I'll call him Bill. Apparently kicking each other off a cliff was enough to become friends! He-man's steed has no match against the two of us, and Bill waves farewell as I go ahead and wave a little flag Emma had given me to summon transport to bring me to the undead settlement: demon transport.

Here I find the regular hollows being fed to some hounds by some sadistic villagers. I also find a pilgrim named Yoel who offers his sorcery services to me. Sure! The more friends the better! He warps out to Firelink shrine, while I continue into the rather large village full of psychos armed with pitchforks and butcher knives who enjoy stringing up their victims. Also among their number are fat, bearded sorceresses, and midget assassins. Oh and some caged victims have melded into ridiculous, multi-legged monsters. It certainly feels like I walked into a circus.

A circus that needs to be purified with fire.