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

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Getting +3 in the Bell Keeper covenant for the spell again in this version is such a drag. I did discover a strategy to defeat most invaders. Act like you're not there. Idle. Don't move. Let the invader get close. Then hit them. With the stone ring, of course.

hanselthecaretaker:

Now that I think of it, I should probably revisit the frozen areas as the oracle chic seemed to shatter a bunch of ice.

Waaait a second...I told you to exactly that. Yes, go do that. Do that a lot, and not just to find help, but to find stuff as well. The place is basically an entire new area now.
On the plus side, perhaps you have several Loyce Souls now? You need fifty if you want to meet the Queen herself, and they are a pain to get. Of course, this is entirely optional and you don't have to do it.

Sniper Team 4:

hanselthecaretaker:

Now that I think of it, I should probably revisit the frozen areas as the oracle chic seemed to shatter a bunch of ice.

Waaait a second...I told you to exactly that. Yes, go do that. Do that a lot, and not just to find help, but to find stuff as well. The place is basically an entire new area now.
On the plus side, perhaps you have several Loyce Souls now? You need fifty if you want to meet the Queen herself, and they are a pain to get. Of course, this is entirely optional and you don't have to do it.

*looks back through posts* yup, you did! Out of sight, out of mind, but thank you for the reminder. And yes, that DS1 reference was pretty fucking cool, even if I don't fully understand its meaning yet.

Well, I finished it.
In the end, I have to say... I wish that I just skipped the game.

Late in the campaign, and through pretty much all of the DLC areas, the game just drags on to ridiculous lengths, to the point where it just isn't fun. It also took me 103 hours to get through the game, making it longer than Dark Souls 1 and Bloodborne, combined.
Now, I'd say that the DLC areas (for the most part; screw those sniper gauntlets leading up to a couple of the boss fights) have some of the best level design in the game, but also some of the worst levels, mostly because of how much damage enemies take and deal, and how many there are. As a hexer, I was constantly downing herbs just to get through, since every enemy took so much damage. This was especially true with the bosses, where fights became more endurance matches than anything else. The fights just dragged on and on, well past the point of being interesting.

gsilver:
Well, I finished it.
In the end, I have to say... I wish that I just skipped the game.

Late in the campaign, and through pretty much all of the DLC areas, the game just drags on to ridiculous lengths, to the point where it just isn't fun. It also took me 103 hours to get through the game

Huh... My first playthrough, before any of the DLC was out, took 50 hours. But I get what you mean. That's why I have a shortcut to the save file on my desktop. If I keep dying and get fed up of running back, I can quickly replace the file, bringing me right back to the boss door.

Ezekiel:

gsilver:
Well, I finished it.
In the end, I have to say... I wish that I just skipped the game.

Late in the campaign, and through pretty much all of the DLC areas, the game just drags on to ridiculous lengths, to the point where it just isn't fun. It also took me 103 hours to get through the game

Huh... My first playthrough, before any of the DLC was out, took 50 hours. But I get what you mean. That's why I have a shortcut to the save file on my desktop. If I keep dying and get fed up of running back, I can quickly replace the file, bringing me right back to the boss door.

Though "Before any of the DLC was out" also indicates not the SotFS edition, which had notably fewer enemies.
And even in SotFS, it's usually the runup to the bosses that takes forever, while I beat most bosses relatively easily... Sounds like you bypassed the crappiest parts.

gsilver:

Ezekiel:

gsilver:
Well, I finished it.
In the end, I have to say... I wish that I just skipped the game.

Late in the campaign, and through pretty much all of the DLC areas, the game just drags on to ridiculous lengths, to the point where it just isn't fun. It also took me 103 hours to get through the game

Huh... My first playthrough, before any of the DLC was out, took 50 hours. But I get what you mean. That's why I have a shortcut to the save file on my desktop. If I keep dying and get fed up of running back, I can quickly replace the file, bringing me right back to the boss door.

Though "Before any of the DLC was out" also indicates not the SotFS edition, which had notably fewer enemies.
And even in SotFS, it's usually the runup to the bosses that takes forever, while I beat most bosses relatively easily... Sounds like you bypassed the crappiest parts.

Yeah, my first playthrough of Scholar was different. It took about 28 hours, with all the DLC. I went out of my way to collect every item I could find and remember. I don't remember how often I swapped my save file.

I didn't collect the Sunlight and Bell Keeper covenant spells, though. Those would have significantly added to my time, since they rely on multiplayer summoning and invading.

It's ironic that this game is supposedly the best example of NG+ for the series but an initial play through lasts so long most people won't want to bother. The way it's designed with ascetics and how easy it is to level I already feel like I'm in NG+ anyways. I plan on at least a play through of Bloodborne and DS3 before returning for the more grindy covenant trophies here.

Actually it's not even that important to me anymore, as it kinda erodes the fun of the game when completion status is the focus. The whole reason I ever went for 100% in Souls games is because the lists felt more significant than others, aside from a couple annoying and tedious rng material acquisitions needed for the best weapons. I suppose that is the tradeoff here as there is no "collect all these rare weapons" for this game.

Ezekiel:
Getting +3 in the Bell Keeper covenant for the spell again in this version is such a drag. I did discover a strategy to defeat most invaders. Act like you're not there. Idle. Don't move. Let the invader get close. Then hit them. With the stone ring, of course.

Good news. You're remembering wrong. You only need to reach level 2 to get that spell. Level 3 gives you the armor set, something that I have never actually seen anyone wearing because screw killing 100 invaders (more than that if you suck and lose some fights). Killing 30 people for level 2 is much easier.

hanselthecaretaker:
It's ironic that this game is supposedly the best example of NG+ for the series but an initial play through lasts so long most people won't want to bother. The way it's designed with ascetics and how easy it is to level I already feel like I'm in NG+ anyways. I plan on at least a play through of Bloodborne and DS3 before returning for the more grindy covenant trophies here.

Actually it's not even that important to me anymore, as it kinda erodes the fun of the game when completion status is the focus. The whole reason I ever went for 100% in Souls games is because the lists felt more significant than others, aside from a couple annoying and tedious rng material acquisitions needed for the best weapons. I suppose that is the tradeoff here as there is no "collect all these rare weapons" for this game.

That's one thing that I think Dark Souls II knocks out of the park, and breaks the score board when it does. The fact that the game changes--not just goes up in difficulty--once you start your second playthrough makes it so much better than any of the other Souls games in terms of playing a second run. It also gives you more insight into the lore of the world, something that I always appreciate.

If you ask me, I feel that Dark Souls II is probably the easiest out of all the games to get the platinum trophy for. The only grinding you really need to do is for the Bell Keeper spell (as mentioned above). Everything else is rather easy to come by. Granted, unless you want to grind out over 1000 PVP victories, you're going to have to play the game two and a half times to get the final miracle and pyro spells, but that's not too hard. I suppose the only other problem you might run into would be if you're not playing online, and thus you have to farm Sunlight Medals.

Sniper Team 4:

Ezekiel:
Getting +3 in the Bell Keeper covenant for the spell again in this version is such a drag. I did discover a strategy to defeat most invaders. Act like you're not there. Idle. Don't move. Let the invader get close. Then hit them. With the stone ring, of course.

Good news. You're remembering wrong. You only need to reach level 2 to get that spell. Level 3 gives you the armor set, something that I have never actually seen anyone wearing because screw killing 100 invaders (more than that if you suck and lose some fights). Killing 30 people for level 2 is much easier.

Yeah, I knew it was thirty kills, but for some reason I thought thirty meant +3. I finished it yesterday. I could swear that it took less than thirty. Seemed around twenty-four.

gsilver:
Well, I finished it.
In the end, I have to say... I wish that I just skipped the game.

Late in the campaign, and through pretty much all of the DLC areas, the game just drags on to ridiculous lengths, to the point where it just isn't fun. It also took me 103 hours to get through the game, making it longer than Dark Souls 1 and Bloodborne, combined.
Now, I'd say that the DLC areas (for the most part; screw those sniper gauntlets leading up to a couple of the boss fights) have some of the best level design in the game, but also some of the worst levels, mostly because of how much damage enemies take and deal, and how many there are. As a hexer, I was constantly downing herbs just to get through, since every enemy took so much damage. This was especially true with the bosses, where fights became more endurance matches than anything else. The fights just dragged on and on, well past the point of being interesting.

Everyone's different. But the Souls games are so fun to me that the draw to replay them is there. There's the challenge... it's like crack, and not found in any other RPG's really. Fashion Souls is also a big draw... there's so much variety in equipment. I love trying out new weapon/armor setups, and in NG+, you have more skill points to be more flexible in your build and more mats to reinforce different weapons and armor.

Just took out Fume Knight on NG++. 9 attempts. Think I finally mastered that fight. Took me like 25 attempts in NG and 50 attempts in NG+. I always summon the NPC's, so that makes it harder.

Keys to the fight, IMO (melee w/o shield)...

Oh my god, it's happening again. Dark Souls II is robbing me of my entire days. I'm making a dex build with a mix of magic and dark sorcery. Winged spear as the primary and scimitar as the secondary. It's like nothing I've done before.

I've always wondered if anyone ever legitimately max leveled in a Souls game. Like someone so kingshit that even spammers and glitcher invaders get their ass thoroughly handed to them.

What would be even better is if the game had a special hidden ending or status update for the character within the game world who managed such a feat, and the world npc's reacted accordingly. It would be like having Gwyn or Vendrick end up bowing to you or something.

Oh, and speaking of Fashion Souls:

Early in the game, I started using the Drangleic armor. Late in the game, when enemies were hitting for huge amounts of damage and I wanted something more resilient, I looked into the heavier armor suits.
Drangleic worked with my lion mage leggings/gloves + black hood. The others? Eck.
I wasn't exactly willing to give up the bonus cast speed of the other equipment, either.

I ended up going back to the Drangleic armor for the rest of the game.

hanselthecaretaker:
I've always wondered if anyone ever legitimately max leveled in a Souls game. Like someone so kingshit that even spammers and glitcher invaders get their ass thoroughly handed to them.

What would be even better is if the game had a special hidden ending or status update for the character within the game world who managed such a feat, and the world npc's reacted accordingly. It would be like having Gwyn or Vendrick end up bowing to you or something.

The closest known example of that is in Dark Souls II. Apparently, if you get all the way to NG+8 or 9, the flames on the map turn blue. No one knows why this happens or what it does, but it's there.

Otherwise, I think that would be pretty cool. Some secret ending or bonus scene where things are different because hot damn, nothing can stop you now.

Sniper Team 4:

hanselthecaretaker:
I've always wondered if anyone ever legitimately max leveled in a Souls game. Like someone so kingshit that even spammers and glitcher invaders get their ass thoroughly handed to them.

What would be even better is if the game had a special hidden ending or status update for the character within the game world who managed such a feat, and the world npc's reacted accordingly. It would be like having Gwyn or Vendrick end up bowing to you or something.

The closest known example of that is in Dark Souls II. Apparently, if you get all the way to NG+8 or 9, the flames on the map turn blue. No one knows why this happens or what it does, but it's there.

Otherwise, I think that would be pretty cool. Some secret ending or bonus scene where things are different because hot damn, nothing can stop you now.

I suspect this might have been leading up to something at one point(possibly from the first version of the game) but got lost in the shuffle when the new director was brought on and they started trying to salvage what they had into a working souls game.

I'm hoping to finish the final crown and possibly Dark Chasm this weekend. I added one Loyce Knight to my arsenal from an area I wasn't even aware of initially. Also got the Garrison key which I'm presuming is for that forsaken place people talk about.

I like the way snow crunches under your boots in this level, and how expansive it is, almost like a frozen Boletaria. It also has one of the coolest, if not the coolest (literally and figuratively) shortcuts I've unlocked in the series.

hanselthecaretaker:
I'm hoping to finish the final crown and possibly Dark Chasm this weekend. I added one Loyce Knight to my arsenal from an area I wasn't even aware of initially. Also got the Garrison key which I'm presuming is for that forsaken place people talk about.

I like the way snow crunches under your boots in this level, and how expansive it is, almost like a frozen Boletaria. It also has one of the coolest, if not the coolest (literally and figuratively) shortcuts I've unlocked in the series.

Interesting you should mention that. Apparently Loyce was inspired by a cut level from Demons Souls. Remember that broken Arcstone you can never use? Yep.

The trash mobs really bothered me as I was getting the last few achievements. I had to get to the castle again in NG+2 to buy the last three spells. I was running away from them often, in circles, hacking away at the hordes or bosses a little at a time. It was just silly. The series lost its way. I hear people say Demon's Souls is simple, but that's its strength. Demon's Souls was great partly because it used its combat system on fewer enemies. I was also annoyed that Scholar of the First Sin had so many routes and secrets blocked off by statues. This is still a pretty good game compared to most, but Demon's Souls and Dark Souls were definitely better than Dark Souls II and III, even without the refinements.

I finally found all the Loyce Knights, but was too tired last night to take down the Burnt dude. His entrance is all kinds of kingshit though, I must say.

Just finished my DS2 NG+2 playthrough. I was able to one-shot Lud and Zallen. /flex Although I died about 4-5 times getting to them. :p

Ezekiel:
This is still a pretty good game compared to most, but Demon's Souls and Dark Souls were definitely better than Dark Souls II and III, even without the refinements.

I haven't played anything on a console in 15 years, but a friend of mine has offered to loan me a PS3 and PS4 just so I can play Demon's Souls and Bloodborne respectively, and I think I'm going to do that at some point.

Next up, though... DS3 Ringed City DLC. Haven't played it yet. My current DS3 save is at the end of NG+1... going straight to it from there.

Yesssss!! Got the Ivory King crown (last and most satisfying DLC) and some cool Loyce gear. It was a fairly frustrating fight even with the knights assisting, but I think only because I was getting a false sense of security and allowing myself to play sloppily. Another trick I wasn't keen on until my final attempt was waiting until the last portal was sealed before killing the last charred knight. Otherwise one or two will be hounding you like a bad dream while the King dishes out a lavish onslaught of death blows. He himself was surprisingly manageable after learning his timing and which way to dodge/roll.

I also went to Vendrick and got a cool cutscene with a powered up crown. I suppose I should bring it somewhere.

I just picked this up too, yesterday. I finally finished my NG+6 run of Dark Souls; it was basically the only game I've played for nearly a year, so decided it might be time for another adventure.

I've only put in about 30 minutes so far (that gaggle of hens in the red robes talked for 25 minutes of it, sheesh,) but I can tell there's going to be a period of adjustment. You're right, it DOES feel mechanically stiffer, and the camera, I dunno, I'm going to have to pop DS1 back in to remind myself what I like, then play with the camera settings in DS2 because the camera isn't working for me. Also, all the exposition and cut scenes, I'm not used to it; it doesn't feel like Dark Souls so far. Not saying "bad," but markedly different.

Doesn't help that my used copy didn't come with a friggin' booklet (what kind of goddamn savage can't keep the book and case together and in decent, resalable condition?!?) so I've no idea what the menu icons mean. As far as I can tell, the menus are better than DS1, just not sure what they mean.

I dunno, probably just bitchin' because I'm not playing DS1 anymore for the moment; going to read through this thread and see what I'm up against because I really want this game to click for me.

hanselthecaretaker:
Yesssss!! Got the Ivory King crown (last and most satisfying DLC) and some cool Loyce gear. It was a fairly frustrating fight even with the knights assisting, but I think only because I was getting a false sense of security and allowing myself to play sloppily. Another trick I wasn't keen on until my final attempt was waiting until the last portal was sealed before killing the last charred knight. Otherwise one or two will be hounding you like a bad dream while the King dishes out a lavish onslaught of death blows. He himself was surprisingly manageable after learning his timing and which way to dodge/roll.

I also went to Vendrick and got a cool cutscene with a powered up crown. I suppose I should bring it somewhere.

Did you get all fifty Loyce souls so you could meet the Queen? She offers probably the biggest lore connection between the two games. I mean, it's nothing you shouldn't have figured out by this point, but it's still pretty cool to hear it all. If not, I suggest you go watch a video of her talking, because it's worth it.

Alas, taking the crown anywhere doesn't do anything. What you have essentially done is the one thing that no one has been able to do in all the years throughout the ages. I won't spoil it for you, but I'll give you a hint. Put on a crown--my personal favorite is the Ivory King one because it looks nice and it restores health--and go die. You should notice something pretty quick.

hanselthecaretaker:
I also went to Vendrick and got a cool cutscene with a powered up crown. I suppose I should bring it somewhere.

Nope, that's it. The power up scene is him granting you Vendrick's Blessing, which means that, while wearing any of the 4 crowns, including the King's Crown, you cannot go hollow and you are immune to curse. You will still lose your souls when you die, though, so it basically just saves you a human effigy.

Not very useful, IMO, as you don't get it until the very end after you've already beaten the toughest bosses the game has to offer, and it resets in NG+. I have never worn any of the crowns. Just feels silly to me to be rolling around with a crown on.... wouldn't it fall off?

It does have lore implications, though. You're basically cured of the curse, which is what you initially set out to do.

... Ahhhhhhh, Dark Souls II ... the game everyone refused to accept as canon and yet DS III has heavy implications that everything in DS II is not only true, but holds a lot of truth to how things turn out in the lore of DS III.

*cough*

Forgive me, I just laugh at the fact so many called DS II a bad game when it's actually good, just it didn't live up to the hype. Then they denied everything in the lore, but it's so vital to understanding DS III's lore and it also explains a lot on how the curse is, what the dark does, and so on. Plus it also clarifies some things in the first Dark Souls that wasn't so clear to us fans.

Anyways, if any of you have questions or want to talk about DS II, please quote me... I would love to give my 2 cents on everything :D

Caramel Frappe:
... Ahhhhhhh, Dark Souls II ... the game everyone refused to accept as canon and yet DS III has heavy implications that everything in DS II is not only true, but holds a lot of truth to how things turn out in the lore of DS III.

*cough*

Forgive me, I just laugh at the fact so many called DS II a bad game when it's actually good, just it didn't live up to the hype. Then they denied everything in the lore, but it's so vital to understanding DS III's lore and it also explains a lot on how the curse is, what the dark does, and so on. Plus it also clarifies some things in the first Dark Souls that wasn't so clear to us fans.

Anyways, if any of you have questions or want to talk about DS II, please quote me... I would love to give my 2 cents on everything :D

I didn't care about Dark Souls III's lore. Dark Souls III was the black sheep. It regressed from II in some ways and was more confusing, phoned in and annoying.

Ezekiel:

Caramel Frappe:
... Ahhhhhhh, Dark Souls II ... the game everyone refused to accept as canon and yet DS III has heavy implications that everything in DS II is not only true, but holds a lot of truth to how things turn out in the lore of DS III.

*cough*

Forgive me, I just laugh at the fact so many called DS II a bad game when it's actually good, just it didn't live up to the hype. Then they denied everything in the lore, but it's so vital to understanding DS III's lore and it also explains a lot on how the curse is, what the dark does, and so on. Plus it also clarifies some things in the first Dark Souls that wasn't so clear to us fans.

Anyways, if any of you have questions or want to talk about DS II, please quote me... I would love to give my 2 cents on everything :D

I didn't care about Dark Souls III's lore. Dark Souls III was the black sheep. It regressed from II in some ways and was more confusing, phoned in and annoying.

I like all three games. I mean, when you get right down to it, they are basically remakes of the same game, with minor tweaks and variations here and there. There are no black sheep, IMO. There are just sheep.

image

Xprimentyl:
I just picked this up too, yesterday. I finally finished my NG+6 run of Dark Souls; it was basically the only game I?ve played for nearly a year, so decided it might be time for another adventure.

I dunno, probably just bitchin? because I?m not playing DS1 anymore for the moment; going to read through this thread and see what I?m up against because I really want this game to click for me.

Um...that's almost seven pages of myself, Kerg, hansel, and Danils just quoting one another and giving tips and suggestions on how to get through certain parts and what to look for in terms of secrets. That's going to be a long read.

But anyway, I can give you a pointer right now. Push the select button--or whatever variation of that button on the system you're playing--and it will give a description of everything you can highlight with the cursor. That should help out a bit for you.

Don't worry about the constant lore-dumping videos/cutscenes you got at the beginning. That's...really going to be all you get. You'll come across other NPCs who will talk to you, but you're not going to get anything else like that intro for the rest of the game, save the ending.

Finally, the game feels--at least to me--lighter than Dark Souls. After not having touched the original game for well over three years, I recently started playing it again and it feels heavier, more solid. Weapons have more weight to their impacts and your rolling is different too. So yeah, there's going to be an adjustment in terms of mechanics, but I think any veteran Dark Souls player should be able to adapt to it within the first hour or two.

Ezekiel:

Caramel Frappe:
... Ahhhhhhh, Dark Souls II ... the game everyone refused to accept as canon and yet DS III has heavy implications that everything in DS II is not only true, but holds a lot of truth to how things turn out in the lore of DS III.

*cough*

Forgive me, I just laugh at the fact so many called DS II a bad game when it's actually good, just it didn't live up to the hype. Then they denied everything in the lore, but it's so vital to understanding DS III's lore and it also explains a lot on how the curse is, what the dark does, and so on. Plus it also clarifies some things in the first Dark Souls that wasn't so clear to us fans.

Anyways, if any of you have questions or want to talk about DS II, please quote me... I would love to give my 2 cents on everything :D

I didn't care about Dark Souls III's lore. Dark Souls III was the black sheep. It regressed from II in some ways and was more confusing, phoned in and annoying.

The reason it feels that way is because it tried to tie in both Dark Souls and Dark Souls II while being nostalgic and it's own game. This came with the price of trying to please everyone, the fans and the new ... which was what Resident Evil 6 tried doing and failed. Now believe me when I say DS III is a great game, but if we're being honest here ... the lore is mostly of the first game, but a "Now here's what happened after!" and going "B-but wait! A twist to everyone in DS and DS II! Oooohhh~" ... Yea lmao.

hanselthecaretaker:
Yesssss!! Got the Ivory King crown (last and most satisfying DLC) and some cool Loyce gear. It was a fairly frustrating fight even with the knights assisting, but I think only because I was getting a false sense of security and allowing myself to play sloppily. Another trick I wasn't keen on until my final attempt was waiting until the last portal was sealed before killing the last charred knight. Otherwise one or two will be hounding you like a bad dream while the King dishes out a lavish onslaught of death blows. He himself was surprisingly manageable after learning his timing and which way to dodge/roll.

I also went to Vendrick and got a cool cutscene with a powered up crown. I suppose I should bring it somewhere.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. That boss fight was really epic, I loved it. It's possible to either keep dropping in or do co-op to farm Loyce Souls from the charred knights but honestly I wouldn't worry. Doing so nets you more lore from queen, culminating in her giving you her soul which you can redeem for a pretty decent weapon. It takes a long time though. I'm pretty sure I spent probably two hours running co-op wearing complete item discovery gear to get them. The lore is really interesting and sheds light on all the queens from the DLC and main game, and a great tie in to the first game, but that can be googled.

All that you have left are the optional DLC gauntlets and the Pilgrims covenant stuff if you haven't already. The DLC gauntlets are incredibly rough to do solo (you saw one with blue Smelter), but I highly recommend checking out the Ivory King one just to experience it. No real need to complete it if you don't like it as the reward isn't anything to write home about. To find it, there's a tower with some hollows outside it in Eleum Loyce that you have to unlock. Inside is a bonfire, and a casket. Climb intothe casket and let the fun begin.

Xprimentyl:

Don't be discouraged; it turns into Souls proper soon after leaving the hen den. My first morsel of advice would be to level Endurance and Adaptability equally (ie 10:10, 11:11, etc.) because they will help remove that stiff feeling to the combat while simultaneously scaling your natural poise. 20 a piece will be a good number to shoot for and you should notice gradually limbering up along the way. Aside from that, level your character however you'd like as in DS1.

Also out of curiosity, did you get Scholar of the First Sin edition on the newer consoles/PC, or as an add-on for the older consoles? If at all possible I'd recommend playing the whole thing on the former for performance/aesthetics sake. It's essentially one of (if not the most) worthwhile remastering of a last gen title, because it restores the originally planned lighting techniques, which enhances a handful of areas in terms of both gameplay and atmosphere. It also will undoubtedly play smoother, as I'm guessing there were a few points that brought the PS360 to their knees.

Sniper Team 4:

I probably have a dozen. Hopefully that arena isn't the only place they can be attained, or the knights will return with an ascetic? It took a while just to get a dozen, but I didn't have the Gold Serpent ring on either.

Kerg3927:

Interesting points about the crown. I suppose it could be helpful while I'm cleaning up the last (dessert?) part of the game in Dark Chasm and Throne of Want. I have a good stock of effigies built up since I've played most of the game hollow, only using them occasionally for a tough fight or on my Lucatiel/Benhart summoning quests.

Comic Sans:

Yeah, you just answered my question about the knights still being there to farm; cool. I also did find the casket. I feel like Ivory King's map was the easiest to explore thoroughly, maybe because it was mostly open with visible connections.

If you ever need effigies, you can bonfire asthetic Majula. I think the only mobs it affects are the pigs over in the corner, and the skeletons in the mansion basement. Each asthetic adds a skeleton and respawns the ones you killed, up to 7, I think, and each skeleton drops an effigy, 100% chance. Even at +7 level, it's pretty easy to kite them outside and kill them 1-2 at a time. It's a good way to quickly farm up a stash of effigies if you ever run out.

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