Dark Souls 2: SotFS (or therefore, "Baa-baa Black Sheep" and other musings thread)

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gsilver:
I've been playing it recently (last of my "All the Souls-borne" binge) and actually... I think that I like it more than 3?
It's certainly more rough than 3, but 3 mostly felt like a rehash of things that I had previously seen in the series, while DS2 is a lot more open to trying new stuff. I also kinda like the wheel-and-spokes setup, because at any given time, I usually have 5 different areas that I could try tacking next (and the game encourages it via difficulty spikes and the fragrant branch lock gates)
Not as good as DS1's interconnected world (and even that has complete breaks with the main area / Anor Londo / Painted World / DLC area) and it's really late in the game that you get the resources to upgrade the items that you want (for some reason, I have 6 titanite slabs and *zero* shards, and I'm a spell caster using just a couple of different staves and melee weapons, and not the whole slew that a melee-focused character would want to use)

Before I started 2 (since I was a bit iffy on it, given its reputation), I tried several other games, and even the worst of the Souls series is a great deal better than most of the other games out there.

I also like that it allows stat reallocation. I have so many Soul Vessels now that once I finish my first run, I'd love to try a complete magic or miracle build with the biggest and baddest spells. Then if I don't like it I can revert back to what I had originally. Not sure if 3 has anything like that but it's great being able to experiment that efficiently.

Dark Souls 3 does indeed have respec, though not as well done in my opinion. The respec is tied to a Covenant in a somewhat hidden area. It's a Covenant based on invading, and the currency for respecing is Pale Tongues you get as your reward for successfully invading. You find a few in the world but not nearly as many as Soul Vessels. Even if you participate and get a ton of Pale Tongues, you can only respec 5 times I believe. And finally, despite it not supposed to do so, it can break an NPC quest. There is an NPC who is opposed to this Covenant, and will end the quest if you join the Covenant. Respecing does not require joining and is not supposed to break her quest, but sometimes seems to do so anyway. It's really dumb. One of the many little changes in DS3 I didn't like.

I loved being able to easily respec in DS2. In my first SotFS run I started as a dex fighter with Ricard's Rapier, then became a fist fighter with power stanced Cestus for most of the game, and closed out as a heavy armor miracle using knight. It stopped tedium from setting in at times.

Easy respecs are definitely a plus, but major changes in your gear are hard due to the titanite shard shortage (I know that it clears up late game once you clear a certain vendor)
But the ease of respecing in the game is certainly the best that it's ever been in the series.

The mechanics around adaptability can be a bit of a pain, but on the plus side, the game really has no dump stats. Even as a caster, even points put into str and dex are tempting, as those can open up my arsenal and I can just dark/magic infuse them and have them be effective for my character.

As a warrior, miracles and sorceries would still be tempting to dabble in for utility.

And stats like resistance and luck don't exist. Yay.

hanselthecaretaker:
I still don't get the windmill thing though. What exactly is accomplished by lighting it on fire besides the obvious? Being a Souls game there has to be something more to it so I'll probably check it out sometime.

Burning it drains all of the obnoxious poison pools in the Harvest Valley/Earthen Peak area. Like Dalisclock said above, you have no reason to believe it's flammable, nor that the two things are connected. And missing it makes the area boss...sorry, second area boss far more difficult that it deserves to be.

Rangaman:

hanselthecaretaker:
I still don't get the windmill thing though. What exactly is accomplished by lighting it on fire besides the obvious? Being a Souls game there has to be something more to it so I'll probably check it out sometime.

Burning it drains all of the obnoxious poison pools in the Harvest Valley/Earthen Peak area. Like Dalisclock said above, you have no reason to believe it's flammable, nor that the two things are connected. And missing it makes the area boss...sorry, second area boss far more difficult that it deserves to be.

I must've burned the windmill before I fought Mytha then because she was pretty meh (difficulty-wise, not design-wise), and I don't remember being overwhelmed by poison. I also saw the messages near the windmill saying to try fire though when I played. I thought "uh...Cool? Wonder what that did..."

Anyways, beat the Rat Authority last night and if it weren't for those smaller rats rushing me with toxic I would've only lost to him once. They comprised a decent gank fest the first few runs though. I also got the last npc's gear I think I was missing (Drummond), and surprisingly ended up with the Gesture trophy in the same meeting, which was pretty satisfying considering I didn't wiki them like I have a few material locations.

hanselthecaretaker:

Rangaman:

hanselthecaretaker:
I still don't get the windmill thing though. What exactly is accomplished by lighting it on fire besides the obvious? Being a Souls game there has to be something more to it so I'll probably check it out sometime.

Burning it drains all of the obnoxious poison pools in the Harvest Valley/Earthen Peak area. Like Dalisclock said above, you have no reason to believe it's flammable, nor that the two things are connected. And missing it makes the area boss...sorry, second area boss far more difficult that it deserves to be.

I must've burned the windmill before I fought Mytha then because she was pretty meh (difficulty-wise, not design-wise), and I don't remember being overwhelmed by poison.

You would have remembered if you hadn't burned it lol. Instead of just a ring around the edges of the arena being standing poison with the windmill burned, the entirety of the arena is standing poison ala Blighttown's swamp.

I guess it's understandable why it pissed some people off, but I thought it was a pretty neat level overall. Just didn't make a whole lot of sense soon after, on even videogame terms. There are some pretty good theories on why though here.. The memory loss thing seems to be the most accepted.

hanselthecaretaker:
I guess it's understandable why it pissed some people off, but I thought it was a pretty neat level overall. Just didn't make a whole lot of sense soon after, on even videogame terms. There are some pretty good theories on why though here.. The memory loss thing seems to be the most accepted.

I've read those theories(and then there's the whole theory about Drangleic being on top of Lordran's ruins), but the inherent problem remains that the game, while having some good individual level design(Iron Keep can suck it though), was essentially unfinished(due to the project essentially having to be restarted halfway through production and the first director was replaced). It really feels like they meant to have the levels connect together a lot better, more like DS1 did, and I've read things to that effect about the dev process.

It also explains why a lot of the lore in the game feels underdeveloped(The Primal Bonfires) or flat out makes no sense (The old dragonslayer. The 4 great souls).

image

Really, between this guy and Smelter Blue I've never had so much trouble with a Souls boss. I think they each took me about 3 dozen tries each.

Artorias? Maybe half dozen
Manus? First try
Kalameet? I think less than a dozen

But these two must have been eating their Wheaties, force-fed by the Iron King himself. Pretty satisfying though I must say. Fume Knight was probably the most relieving victory yet, and actually fun once I knew how to read his second phase. Was ultimately able to almost do it without getting hit. Now that I have the crown, I suppose I have to bring it up to that sweet looking armor at the top of the tower. I'm anxious to see what kind of gear Fumey's Soul will yield, but I kinda want to hang onto it til I'm completely done with Iron King's turf just in case.

I might start using the Red Iron Twinblade that I just maxed out. I've read it's also good for bleeding/poisoning, but not sure which would be best.

That picture of the Fume Knight is damn perfect. I see you found the boss that likes to go, "Oh, that's cute. You think you're good. Sit DOWN!"

Yeah, I stay far away from him after I beat him in the first playthrough, because anything after that, not a chance. As for what his souls give, if you're running a strength character, prepare to be a happy Souls player.

You will still need to track down the last of The Bride of Ash's idols to get her full Soul, so I hope you've found those other Smelter Wedges hidden in the castle, plus the one you'll get when you beat the optional boss in the glowing armor area. He's a big part of this area's lore.
Speaking of, you know who The Fume Knight is, right? Like you know his name and how he relates to everything?

The Red Twinblade has one thing going for it and I always liked. It destroys poise. And that is something that is REALLY helpful in the multiplayer area of The Ivory King DLC, because there are these monsters. Fierce beasts that move like shadows, hunting you in the blizzard, flitting about just out of sight...oh, the nightmares...ugh.

Stop talking about that Ivory Knight section. You're giving me horrible flashbacks. I beat the entire game solo except that bit. It ran me up the walls and I eventually did co-op the whole way through there. Fuck that place and the lightning reindeer it rode in on. With the headset I was wearing it was more intense than most horror games

Sniper Team 4:

You will still need to track down the last of The Bride of Ash's idols to get her full Soul, so I hope you've found those other Smelter Wedges hidden in the castle, plus the one you'll get when you beat the optional boss in the glowing armor area. He's a big part of this area's lore.
Speaking of, you know who The Fume Knight is, right? Like you know his name and how he relates to everything?

The Red Twinblade has one thing going for it and I always liked. It destroys poise. And that is something that is REALLY helpful in the multiplayer area of The Ivory King DLC, because there are these monsters. Fierce beasts that move like shadows, hunting you in the blizzard, flitting about just out of sight...oh, the nightmares...ugh.

I'm hoping the first bonfire will replenish the original batch with an ascetic because I think there were only 10 to find and there are at least a couple statues left.

Also, I must admit I haven't been a very good scholar of the lore as it seems to have increasingly drifted off canon with each installment. This is one thing where I think one person's vision of the overall arc and design is important. There are so many different theories out there but I've also read that Miyazaki has intentionally kept the "true" ending a secret. Although really, I can't say that's a bad thing.

There are enough Wedges in the tower to get all the statues. There's the batch at the start, there's more in a chest in the tower. I don't recall specifics directions to well but they were in a path off the of lift hub room after you lit up the tower. The last one requires you to access the content from the armor upstairs. No need to ascetic and make it all harder

Comic Sans:
There are enough Wedges in the tower to get all the statues. There's the batch at the start, there's more in a chest in the tower. I don't recall specifics directions to well but they were in a path off the of lift hub room after you lit up the tower. The last one requires you to access the content from the armor upstairs. No need to ascetic and make it all harder

I got the ones in the chest too. I actually needed all four of them for Fume Knight because I had already used the first batch. If what you say is true then cool beans.

The game will never place you in a situation where you have to use an Ascetic to complete an objective. So when in doubt keep looking

^Unless you're like me and were going to screw up something like Lucatiel's questline but don't want to wait all the way over to NG+, which is basically the same as using an ascetic for some things. I do like being able to do that though. One of the more interesting aspects of this game's design.

The Fume Knight is Raime, Vendrick's left hand. He and Velstadt, the King's right hand, had a falling out--you can read about it on The Rebel Greatshield I believe--and until the DLC, Raime was just a name and nothing more. Having him show up here answers a few questions about the game's overall lore.
I actually kind of like how the lore is sort of spotty, because it lets you fill in the blanks in your own ways. I have this whole idea of what drove Raime away, what clued Vendrick into Nashadra's true intentions, and who The Lost Sinner was all because there's just enough info for the stories to work, but not so much that you have to stretch and twist in order to avoid contradictions. Which is something Dark Souls III suffers a LOT from in my opinion.

Anyway, as Comic Sans said, there are enough wedges to finish off the Ashen Idols everywhere. Once you get the last one, you are officially done with this DLC.

Sniper Team 4:
The Fume Knight is Raime, Vendrick's left hand. He and Velstadt, the King's right hand, had a falling out--you can read about it on The Rebel Greatshield I believe--and until the DLC, Raime was just a name and nothing more. Having him show up here answers a few questions about the game's overall lore.
I actually kind of like how the lore is sort of spotty, because it lets you fill in the blanks in your own ways. I have this whole idea of what drove Raime away, what clued Vendrick into Nashadra's true intentions, and who The Lost Sinner was all because there's just enough info for the stories to work, but not so much that you have to stretch and twist in order to avoid contradictions. Which is something Dark Souls III suffers a LOT from in my opinion.

Anyway, as Comic Sans said, there are enough wedges to finish off the Ashen Idols everywhere. Once you get the last one, you are officially done with this DLC.

That's what I meant mostly. It's like DS2 wasn't exactly a continuation of the original, but then DS3 apparently tries to remedy that, and ends up alienating both or something. I haven't played it yet so that's just an outside observation.

I did read about Raime's lore though, and was pretty intrigued by it.

I really liked a lot of the lore in DS2. It uses DS1 as a springboard to address new things, like how other kingdoms dealt with the curse, and the repercussions of the cycle of flame that Gwyn created by sacrificing himself to the first flame. At the same time it also added some of it's own cool stuff, like the war with the giants. The DLC in particular has some really damn cool stories to tell. DS3 has a few cool things but for the most part the lore completely leans on DS1 for everything. Rather than much new stuff, most of it is HEY REMEMBER THIS FROM DS1 YOU LIKED THAT RIGHT WELL HERE IT IS AGAIN YAAAAAY. The fan service felt absolutely obnoxious after a while. I won't go into details as to not spoil you but suffice to say there is a LOT of direct reference to DS1 in DS3, from item descriptions to enemies to characters and even some levels.

Comic Sans:
Rather than much new stuff, most of it is HEY REMEMBER THIS FROM DS1 YOU LIKED THAT RIGHT WELL HERE IT IS AGAIN YAAAAAY. The fan service felt absolutely obnoxious after a while. I won't go into details as to not spoil you but suffice to say there is a LOT of direct reference to DS1 in DS3, from item descriptions to enemies to characters and even some levels.

DS2 also had shitloads of references to DS1, from item descriptions, boss references and even the lord souls themselves. Don't forget the whole 'shards of Manus' storyline which basically forms the premise of DS2's main story and even the DLCs.
That said it never bothered me, in either 2 or 3.

Sir Alonne is proving to be a decent challenge as well. I think I have him figured out now though.

I must say this feels like the first Souls game where you really have to study your oponents' moves and develop specific counter strategies for. There was some of this with Artorias but it felt like Demon's and DS1 were less about all-out sparring skills and more about what trick can I implement to make this easier, be it the environment, equipment, etc.

For example Ornstein and Smough had the broken pillars to use as a buffer to heal or regain stamina. Even with Manus I was able to absorb most damage with an Artorias Greatshield and still have stamina to attack, but with these Kingshit DLC guys even with a 70+ shield you won't have much left in the tank after blocking a string. Rolling and finding the right openings for countering seem to be imperative. Even then with one wrong read they could have you whistling Dixie sideways from a freshly torn butthole.

hanselthecaretaker:
Sir Alonne is proving to be a decent challenge as well. I think I have him figured out now though.

I must say this feels like the first Souls game where you really have to study your oponents' moves and develop specific counter strategies for. There was some of this with Artorias but it felt like Demon's and DS1 were less about all-out sparring skills and more about what trick can I implement to make this easier, be it the environment, equipment, etc.

For example Ornstein and Smough had the broken pillars to use as a buffer to heal or regain stamina. Even with Manus I was able to absorb most damage with an Artorias Greatshield and still have stamina to attack, but with these Kingshit DLC guys even with a 70+ shield you won't have much left in the tank after blocking a string. Rolling and finding the right openings for countering seem to be imperative. Even then with one wrong read they could have you whistling Dixie sideways from a freshly torn butthole.

Grats on Fume Knight. He was easily the toughest boss in the trilogy for me. I think it took me 20-30 attempts on NG and like 50 on NG+.

I know Alonne is probably tough in his own right, but to me, he always felt moderately easy because you have to fight him after Fume Knight, and by then you're at the top of your roll game. Alonne has larger openings between attacks, and after Fume it's like taking the doughnut off the bat. Use the same roll tactics and you should have no problem. He never took me more than a handful of attempts.

And yeah, if you like to turtle behind a shield, the DS2 DLC kinda forces you to abandon that style for mobility. At least it was that way for me. Going lighter with high adaptability just works better for those bosses.... it's all about invincibility frames and properly timing your rolls.

It's both funny and a bit relieving you say that about Fume Knight. I just read this about him from the wikidot -

Notes

Stats collected by FromSoft reveal him as the hardest boss in the game, sporting a 93% failure rate.

Still kinda surprising though as I've read DS3 has some tough bosses as well, and one could reasonably deduce from comments that the series has increasingly trended towards speed/mobility, which would suggest more of these types of encounters. With the way DS3 also apparently abandons the poise mechanic it makes me want to lean more towards a Dex build, even though I love awesome sword/shield combos.

Comic Sans:
I really liked a lot of the lore in DS2. It uses DS1 as a springboard to address new things, like how other kingdoms dealt with the curse, and the repercussions of the cycle of flame that Gwyn created by sacrificing himself to the first flame. At the same time it also added some of it's own cool stuff, like the war with the giants. The DLC in particular has some really damn cool stories to tell. DS3 has a few cool things but for the most part the lore completely leans on DS1 for everything. Rather than much new stuff, most of it is HEY REMEMBER THIS FROM DS1 YOU LIKED THAT RIGHT WELL HERE IT IS AGAIN YAAAAAY. The fan service felt absolutely obnoxious after a while. I won't go into details as to not spoil you but suffice to say there is a LOT of direct reference to DS1 in DS3, from item descriptions to enemies to characters and even some levels.

Eh, DS2 copy pasted the 4 Great/Lord Souls straight from DS1, so they could do 4 big bosses again(except this time in the first half of the game). And whatever the hell the "Old Dragonslayer" is supposed to be.

Niether of which made much sense but were arguably fan service for those who played DS1. I haven't played 3 yet so I can't comment, though I've heard there are a ton of references to DS1.

Dalisclock:

Comic Sans:
I really liked a lot of the lore in DS2. It uses DS1 as a springboard to address new things, like how other kingdoms dealt with the curse, and the repercussions of the cycle of flame that Gwyn created by sacrificing himself to the first flame. At the same time it also added some of it's own cool stuff, like the war with the giants. The DLC in particular has some really damn cool stories to tell. DS3 has a few cool things but for the most part the lore completely leans on DS1 for everything. Rather than much new stuff, most of it is HEY REMEMBER THIS FROM DS1 YOU LIKED THAT RIGHT WELL HERE IT IS AGAIN YAAAAAY. The fan service felt absolutely obnoxious after a while. I won't go into details as to not spoil you but suffice to say there is a LOT of direct reference to DS1 in DS3, from item descriptions to enemies to characters and even some levels.

Eh, DS2 copy pastes the 4 Great/Lord Souls straight from DS1, so they can do 4 big bosses. Except it made more sense in DS1 then in DS2.

They're all 3 pretty much the same game, with flavor variations. To me that's the main theme of the lore... it's an endless cycle that keeps repeating. And the player must decide whether he wants to continue the cycle or try to end it, and there is no right answer. All of the options suck. You just pick the one you consider to be the least shitty.

In the meantime, the gameplay is fun. It's challenging. And the most important thing is fashion.

Gah, I'm missing a Nadalia fragment. I don't have any wedges left either, and I got the one behind Alonne which I used on the last known idol. Guessing I missed something somewhere...still have a couple places to check. Used an ascetic at the first bonfire and it doesn't renew anything regarding this from the looks of it.

Apparently the last two fragments are from Fume and Alonne but I didn't leave anything behind from them. I hope the other two DLCs don't have similar scavenger hunts. It didn't seem like it from the first chunks I've gone through.

hanselthecaretaker:
Gah, I'm missing a Nadalia fragment. I don't have any wedges left either, and I got the one behind Alonne which I used on the last known idol. Guessing I missed something somewhere...still have a couple places to check. Used an ascetic at the first bonfire and it doesn't renew anything regarding this from the looks of it.

Apparently the last two fragments are from Fume and Alonne but I didn't leave anything behind from them. I hope the other two DLCs don't have similar scavenger hunts. It didn't seem like it from the first chunks I've gone through.

Are you sure? The game only has the 3 spots to get them and that is enough. Double check your inventory. Either you still have a smelter wedge and missed a spot or you do have the completed soul and didn't realize it. I even double checked online to make sure. You get the 6 at the start, the 4 from a chest, and then 1 after Alonne. If you used all of them you should have the complete Nadalia soul.

Well, my inventory shows 11 fragments and no smelter wedges. I know I didn't accidentally use anything somewhere because they aren't normal consumables. That means I either missed picking up an idol drop from dying or something (as was often possible due to their proximation to gank fests) or an unfortunate glitch. I'll probably look up an idol map to make sure I don't miss one.

hanselthecaretaker:
Well, my inventory shows 11 fragments and no smelter wedges. I know I didn't accidentally use anything somewhere because they aren't normal consumables. That means I either missed picking up an idol drop from dying or something (as was often possible due to their proximation to gank fests) or an unfortunate glitch. I'll probably look up an idol map to make sure I don't miss one.

The odds are you forgot to pick one up. This happened to me on my most recent playthrough and it was driving me nuts. So yeah, just get a map of the idol locations and then double check each spot. Thankfully the soul doesn't disappear if you don't pick it up right away.

hanselthecaretaker:
Well, my inventory shows 11 fragments and no smelter wedges. I know I didn't accidentally use anything somewhere because they aren't normal consumables. That means I either missed picking up an idol drop from dying or something (as was often possible due to their proximation to gank fests) or an unfortunate glitch. I'll probably look up an idol map to make sure I don't miss one.

Did you check the one side tower? It's the one where you almost immediately get invaded by Maldron the Assasin, who will go hide amongst the regenerating health enemies once you do enough damage to him. At near the bottom is an idol, which you might as well run for it and stake it, making the enemies far easier to deal with.

As others have said, you probably forgot to pick one up somewhere. I did that my first run, on one of the ones outside Fume Night. Between the ash effect and being attacked by a buffed enemy I missed grabbing the soul fragment. Another sweep of the tower should find you the missing piece and then you will have done all the content of the Brume Tower DLC. Which one are you doing next?

So, I'm playing a hexer build, but I put my first 7 fire seeds into the Dark Pyromancy glove, since human effigies were somewhat rare early on, and giving up a ring slot for the ring of binding didn't seem like a big deal.

Now, going fully hollow sounds like a ridiculous thing to do, given how many effigies that I have.

The dark glove looks about worthless at this point (though I could still go to the shaded woods to get fully hollow quickly, but that would be very situational)

Is there a point to trying to get the regular pyromancy glove up to speed? I probably missed a few seeds, so they won't even be enough to max it out.

Yeah the dark pyromancy hand is kind of a trap. You have to be insanely hollowed to get benefits out of it. If you have access to the DLC you might still be able to rank up the normal flame high enough I'm not sure

I took a detour to try out some Max Payne 3, but plan on checking that other tower soon. I already defeated the invader assassin, but am not completely sure I looted the room yet where the idol was. Here's hoping I didn't...!

Dalisclock:

hanselthecaretaker:
Well, my inventory shows 11 fragments and no smelter wedges. I know I didn't accidentally use anything somewhere because they aren't normal consumables. That means I either missed picking up an idol drop from dying or something (as was often possible due to their proximation to gank fests) or an unfortunate glitch. I'll probably look up an idol map to make sure I don't miss one.

Did you check the one side tower? It's the one where you almost immediately get invaded by Maldron the Assasin, who will go hide amongst the regenerating health enemies once you do enough damage to him. At near the bottom is an idol, which you might as well run for it and stake it, making the enemies far easier to deal with.

That's where it was. I forgot there were two "other" towers, and at first only went to the one you get the scepter from. Then I realized I never went back to the tower with the winding staircase, and saw the 12th fragment waiting for me.

I also now have 4 Giant Souls that I figure I need to bring to Vendrick. I want to finish the DLC's first though, and then go to Vendrick, then the Dark Chasm. I just opened the door to the Throne of Want area, but I'm not going back there yet as it sounds that would lead to NG+

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