Good news everyone! As of today, Dark Souls has passed Borderlands 2 as my most played game (probably of ever). To commemorate this, I want to begin with a cool little anecdote about why I love Dark Souls: As I mentioned here , I have put about 200 hours into Dark Souls on the 360, so most of the playthroughs were going through the motions. While going through Sens Fortress, I began to wait for Sen’s balls to drop, so I could grab his serpent. You all know what I mean. As his walls caved in, I noticed that he has crabs. Now, here’s the thing about this game: Crabs aren’t enemies in Sen’s Fortress, or for that matter, anywhere. But apparently, I was being invaded by a crab monster, and would have to perform the ancient right of crab battle, with little knowledge of CQC. It was so strange though, because after spending about 100 hours in the game, I encountered a new enemy, and just about defecated with fear. It was nothing I had ever seen before. But just as it suddenly came into the world, it suddenly left, after a sword, and about twenty seconds of nervous approach. So far my encounter rate for these Vagrants is about once every 100 hours. Braid’s got nothing on waiting that long.
I also wanted to muse on the PvP aspect of Dark Souls, as I was invaded today, and want to have a preamble that doesn’t involve spoilers, so I figured I would include it here. I realized today that invasions in Dark Souls can be described by the Prisoner's Dilemma. If a PvP player gets invaded by a PvP player, both players will be happy as a clam. If a PvE player gets invaded by a PvP player (or vice versa), the PvE player is going to be put off, while the invader will be happy with his easily retrieved souls and humanity. Finally, if both players are set to PvE, you get a boring peacocking match, where both players circle each other until one swings and all hell breaks loose, which is kind of fun in its own right. The only problem is that PvE players only get invaded by PvP, so more often than not, I just feel like standing with my back to the invader, because I am not going to win with this build.
"Stay awhile, and listen!"
Onto the DLC! I received a ‘recommendation’ to go back to where I fought the Guardian, so I set forth from my bonfire to go and see what the fuss is about. The fuss is about impossible to kill. There are now TWO Guardians, both apparently at full power. Since I had lost my souls at the end of Day 1, I figured I would give it a few attempts just for fun, and I have to say, this looks like the fight of the DLC. I absolutely cannot manage to take them both on, especially with a medium roll (need....two...more....pounds...). And unlike the gargoyle fight, you cannot just finish one off while the other one is joining the fight. They just shoot lightning all willy nilly until you give up and continue. Sad. Day.
So I decided to trade my swords to plowshares and do a little farming. I learned that the pitchfork demons drop moss, as they do in Lordran, and Stone Giants drop Twinkling Titanite. Neat! Especially considering that I am using the Paladin Armor, which is my tanking armor of choice, except the fact that it makes more noise than rusty bondage pants. This lead me to do some exploring, and I discovered a few paths that I hadn’t noticed before. One lead to a pleasant creek, full of dags. D’ya like dags? It also lead to an eerily familiar ladder
I'm still....in a dream.....SNAAAAAAAKE EAAAAAAAAATEERRRRRRRRR.
I can’t wait to find out what those items are, except for the world’s most telegraphed trap! But I don’t see anything, so the coast must be....a giant motherloving dragon. Cool! Corpse Run! After picking up my souls, and some of my dignity, I noticed a shiny at the very end of the path. It also looked like there were some areas where you could duck into on the sides, much like with the crimson drake in the ‘burg. Turns out, I was half right. Fortunately, Artorias has mighty fine taste in shields, so I was able to get the shiny at the end, which turned out to be....arrows. Well screw you too, Fromsoft. There was also a mark on the ground, which I assumed to be something idiotic like “beware of Drake” (online isn’t always helpful), but it actually turned out to be something like “If only Hawkeye Gough were here”. Unfortunately, I haven’t run into him, and I suck something awful with a bow, so this one still remains a bit of a mystery for now. I didn’t come all the way to this god forsaken dragon infested crater to not explore it all, so I visited a little lake next to it, and found a chest. After laying the smack down like it was RAW, I opened it up, and found....a slab! Best. Day. Ever. 2 Guaranteed slabs in 1 playthrough is worth the cost of whatever the DLC is worth to me. I might see if the Manserpent Sword is better than the hairy pube sword I am using now (I cannot unsee that every time I use the weapon). My need to explore thus satisfied, I decided to venture forward past where Artorias was. Only to find, much to my embarrassment, a bonfire right through the door. Well, chalk that one up to inexperience.
Up next was the village. The basic guys remind me of the crappy hollows, except they hit like bricks. After fighting through them, I found the sorcerers, and I have to say: these guys win ‘worst enemy of the DLC’ so far. Their dark magic spear does insane damage, and even has some pretty good chip damage on me when blocking. This became a problem several times later when they killed me about three times before I made it past a section with 2 sorcerers and 8 duders. After using the tried and true strategy of ‘get in one’s face, aggro, kite, kill, repeat’, though, the section became easily passable. Again, kind of sad that I didn’t take more pictures in my vacation in Oolacile, but I really, deeply, do not understand the gimp enemy in the cathedral. He shows up once, isn’t much of a challenge, looks like a doofus, and drops low tier armor. WHY DO YOU EXIST?
Wow, look at this big old hallway, and there's a guy at the end, and its huge, so he's probably uber powerful, or maybe just an idiot with a stick strapped to his back. Oh, it's the latter, isn't it?
I saw that in the next section, the designers listened to the fans, and included more of what everyone was clamoring for: The Tomb of the Giants. Everyone loves dark corridors filled with ranged attacks from unknown sources while managing insanely damaging melee attacks! Thank god they gave me more of that. They also gave me a new enemy, whose attack is just ‘walk into you’. Hell yes, this place is awesome! I did find a few new spells (for my strenght build, what what!), and eventually found the fog gate. Well, this seems promising. Oh good, a cliff. Do I need a ring. Are you just here for the high five?
You guys stay down there, Ill stay up here, OK? Deal?
And so began the fight with Manus. I used the same strategy as all other new bosses for the DLC, and tanked it out for a while. Immediate things I noticed: His temper tantrum attack pushes me back if I block enough where I can heal when he slams his axe down. Good to know. Most of his attacks leave long enough to punish. He has a tail. IT MUST BE CUT OFF. So I decided to adopt the SDFP position, and focus attacks on his tail. As far as I can tell, that is staying attached throughout the fight, but at least he gives you plenty of time to take a good whack at it. Also, holy hell does this guy have health. My pubesword was taking out the smallest of chunks from his lifebar, which was a bit disheartening. Then he started using the magic. He uses a soul spear attack basically straight out of NieR, where you are surrounded by spears that converge into your various organs. I panicked and left my shield up until they struck, which took out 80% of my health. So now I know what to avoid! Next time I will roll! As the fight progressed, I had him down to about 33% left, and he began to cast again. Unfortunately, this time it rained down from the sky and killed me. QQ.
CORPSE RUN. I switched over to my Butcher’s knife (under 50% encumberance), and made it back to Manus. I also found out you can kill the humanity sprites. That would have been good knowledge to have, after dying to them twice on my corpse run
"If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone"
-Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey.
Thus, round two began. With the knife, I could punish after every attack blocked, so while I was doing about half damage, I was hitting about twice as often. I found out you can roll under the spears, and back up during the rain, and my SDFP protected me from the full frontal magic. I got greedy right at the end, but was finally able to poise my way to victory, and all the humanity you could ever want. As with the first two bosses, one practice run, then a kill. I have to say, I am pretty content with that so far. A quick save at the bonfire, a warp back to Elizabeth, and this day was done.
Like I said before, no shrug, no kill. This one counts.
I still think I have some DLC to go. I feel like I am missing a section somewhere that will let me fight that big ol dragon properly, perhaps with the assistance of Gough, maybe as a summon? Maybe he was a summon back there. Need to check. In any event, this concludes day two. I wanted to ask, as a matter of curiosity, if my computer and ISP cooperate, would anyone have interest in watching a livestream of Dark Souls, and maybe some other games? I think I have the tools for it, but have never tried to set it up, but it seems like fun. I’m thinking of doing a pilot this weekend, but wanted to see if anyone would watch. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments, and thanks as always for reading!