This weekend was an epic weekend of progress in Dark Souls. Considering I did almost nothing else over the weekend, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. This whole playthrough has been a revelation, as the tough lessons I learned on my initial failed playthrough have transformed me into a much smarter player. Sen’s Fortress is now a dungeon I can breeze through, as I know the area completely. Even without my better gear, the place would be easy.
I was expecting scary things from Anor Londo, but my progression through the area was pretty smooth… until I hit the boss. Crossing the rafter beams on my first pass of the area was a white-knuckle experience, but I managed it since the painting guardians are not very strong enemies. The sentinels gave the the strongest challenge, due to their high health, and because their shields blocked a lot of my pyromancy attacks. The silver knights were a joke. I got into a pattern of blocking their attack, stabbing once or twice with the lightening spear, then raising my shield again. They could almost never hit me.
Anor Londo’s bosses are considered by many to be the toughest in the game, and I quickly saw why. After wiping against them a few times, I decided it was time to take a break from forward progression and work on powering myself up as much as possible. To that end, I upgraded my Silver Knight armor to be stronger, and decided I needed something stronger than the Lightening Spear, and wanted to ramp up my pyromancy power.
I backtracked through Sen’s Fortress to the blacksmith in that area, with the intent to upgrade a Painting Guardian sword to become Quelaag’s Furysword. I could not upgrade it beyond +5, as I didn’t have the right ember. After consulting the guide, I realized I flew passed it in the Depths, so I had to make a fetch quest to grab it and bring it back.
Once I had that ember and had the sword to +10, I spent some time in Darkroot Garden, grinding up a huge amount of souls, which I used to upgrade my pyromancy flame to +12, and added a few levels to my dex and intelligence. With stronger spells and armor, I went through Sen’s again to return to Anor Londo, and made the Furysword. With the aid of a very skilled player, and my own upgrades, Anor Londo’s bosses fell.
With the ability to warp between bonfires finally mine, I returned to Firelink Shrine and returned to the Undead Asylum to fight the Stray Demon boss. He killed me… A LOT. I’m disgusted with how much that fight inflated my death count. This SOB hits HARD, and killed me in 2 axe hits, plus an annoying fire attack dealing ¼ to 1/3 if my life in damage. Finally, I figured out how I could kill the bastard. My trick was to constantly circle strafe around the boss, which allowed me to evade all his axe attacks and most of his fire blasts. While circle strafing, I lobbed every fire spell I had at his fat ass. With pyromancy gone, I had to finish the fight close quarters, slashing at his fat underbelly a few times, then rolling away when he flies up to do a ground pound. It’s actually a really simple fight… Damn shame I had to die over a dozen times before figuring out the trick.
With the doll item from the asylum, I warped back to Anor Londo to clear the Painted World dungeon, and I felt extremely overpowered while doing it. This was such a breeze it’s not worth discussing in depth. Crossbreed Priscilla killed me once, as her invisibility move took me completely by surprise. I was running around like an idiot as she slashed at me, and knocked me off a ledge. I was thinking I just had to wait her out and she’d reappear. On my second attempt, I got smart and looked for evidence of her location, and followed the footprints she leaves in the snow to find her. I won round 2 without getting hit. Unfortunately, I failed to cut off her tail despite aiming for it above all else, so I need to try again in New Game + to get that special weapon.
After the Painted World, I returned to Darkroot Garden. I’d already explored most of the area, so I made a beeline straight for Great Wolf Sif. I thought Sif was supposed to be one of the tougher bosses… I don’t know where I got that impression from. He looks cool, but he’s a total pushover. I soloed him on my first attempt. Sif’s problem is his reliance on the giant sword he keeps in his mouth, and never uses his paws. This causes minimum range issues, where if you get close enough, Sif can’t hit you. Thus, I sat under his belly and hacked him to death, and chased him around whenever he jumped to reposition himself.
Now, I’m tidying up some loose ends before moving on to the New Londo Ruins. I’ll go down to the depths and clear that tree area, and the lake at the bottom. I want to item hunt those areas, and activate the bonfire at the bottom, which is also a warp point. Once that area is clear, I’ll allow myself to be cursed, and move on to New Londo. I could not be more pleased with how far I got over the weekend. I feel I understand the flow of the game better than ever, and know how to adapt to new challenges. I use a guide to know where items are and gain a general understanding of the layout of an area, but still put in the time to memorize the levels and enemy locations, and I learn how to fight each enemy without help, bosses included.
I will update my cumulative death count at a later date, as I don’t have it with me.