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Dark Souls
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Synonamess Botch
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April 26, 2012 - 11:15 pm
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Alright let's do this thing!

I just started a new game with a male bandit and a Tiny Being's Ring.  I'm going to try Strength-based fighter for starters.  But chances are I'll play around with a few characters until I find a style I like.  I really preferred straight-up fighting in Demon's Souls.

I took a fair bit of time thinking about what class to start with.  It doesn't help that nothing is explained.  The manual is even less informative than Demon's Souls'.  Considering this is a Souls game, that doesn't really surprise or bother me much.  In fact, it makes it all the more intriguing.  I'm going on the assumption that things such as Strength and Endurance work much the same.

I'm going to avoid FAQs as much as possible and just try to figure things out naturally.  We'll see how that goes.

OK, just got out of prison and all I have is a broken sword hilt and bandit armor to my name.  Nothing in this prison but cowering undead.  Where's my other gear?

Found the first bonfire and through the door to...oh crap!  I'm supposed to kill this thing with a lousy sword hilt?!  I haven't even started and I'm already stuck.  Woo! 🙂

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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April 27, 2012 - 12:07 pm
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Yay Botch!

You are correct in your assumption - the stats work more or less the same as they do in Demon's Souls. Mechanically the main fundamental differences are that healing is now handled through the Estus Flask rather than purchasable items, and magic-users have a limited number of casts per spell rather than a pool of magic points.

As you've doubtless gathered already, you do not, in fact, have to beat Asylum Demon with your sword hilt. You'll find a door on one of the side walls - get thee through it! Great big fat Asylum Demon cannot follow.

I'm assuming you're online, in which case this was done for you, but anyone picking up Dark Souls, make sure that your game is patched to 1.05. That fixes some bugs, but more importantly, it makes the game slightly easier. Slightly.

Welcome to Lordran!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 27, 2012 - 12:37 pm
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Yes, I figured out what to do against the Asylum Demon, and after a few tries, gave him what was coming to him.  Oh man I am really liking this game already.  Figuring out that whole opening sequence was most enjoyable.  The open world motif is really cool, but a bit daunting.

It seems with the limited casts that pure magic users are at a disadvantage, unless there's some other mechanic I'm not aware of yet.  I'm still figuring out how Humanity works.  I can see why they did it that way though, with clear risk-rewards for raising your Humanity stat instead of just "spending" it in various ways.

I made it to Firelink Shrine and explored that area.  Is it possible to get back to previous bonfires without a lot of back-tracking?  I'm guessing there are shortcuts.  I saw what looked like an elevator shaft nearby.  Those skeletons in the graveyard - I can't seem to kill them!  I then explored Undead Burg a bit.  I'm still trying to get my head around the new stuff - covenants and what-not.  I could say (gush) a lot more but I'll leave it at that for now.

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Pokey
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April 27, 2012 - 1:15 pm
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I have my game now and as soon as I can get it installed and patched, I'll join you. How are you liking the bandit? I was considering the Knight with his high hit points and good armor, but the Pyromancer looks interesting since he has fire magic. Does the Warrior have much to offer? The descriptions are not very descriptive. Any tips on a character? I'm going to try playing online.

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Steerpike
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April 27, 2012 - 2:06 pm
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Pokey: Dark Souls is fairly melee-focused. As Botch notes, a very magic-heavy build will be a problem, especially early on. Some magic helps; but my experience is that you're going to be doing a lot of hand to hand combat. My own playthrough build was a Sorcerer, but the sorcering took a back burner to swordfighting. Archery is still available and works the same; again, however, it would be hard for an archer starting out - arrows cost more than the souls you'll get from kills early on.

Humanity is very important. You can earn it by invading other players and defeating them, but it's more common to be awarded a point for defeating X number of monsters in the same region. Loose Humanity in your pool - the large number next to your health bar - is dropped with your souls when you die, so be careful about carrying a ton of it loose.

The more Humanity you have in your pool, the more item drops and lucky events will occur. You're also more likely to be invaded. If you die while carrying a large amount of loose Humanity, you will spawn a Vagrant - a demon that randomly invades another player's world.

You can also find (and buy) Humanity in little vessels. Rats, for some reason, often carry it. It's preferable to carry it this way because you don't drop it if you die. Then you can just "use" the vessel to crack it and add a point of Humanity to your pool.

What's it for? Two things: you spend a point of Humanity at a bonfire to reverse your Hollowing, which essentially brings you back to life. There's no "soul form" this time around, and no health penalty for being Hollow, but while you're Hollow you cannot summon help from other players or get invaded. You're also grody to look at and some NPCs dislike Hollows.

When you are NOT Hollow, you can burn another point of Humanity to Kindle a bonfire, which doubles the Estus you receive from camping there - ten doses instead of five. That's pretty huge. Note that any bonfire with a living Fire Keeper (this includes Firelink) is already Kindled, so you can camp there and get ten doses any time you like.

There are indeed many shortcuts, but they always have to be opened by going the long way at least once.

 

I've said it before but I'll say it again: if Demon's Souls was brilliant, Dark Souls is an absolute, unadulterated masterpiece. I'm jealous of you guys. Have fun!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 27, 2012 - 2:42 pm
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I think I'm going to ditch my bandit for something with better starting Dex.  I remember now that I like Dex-based weapons because you get the added bonus to your bow.  That said, based on Steerpike's statements about arrows, it seems they've made all ranged attacks more expensive in various ways.  Interesting.

The Sorcerer and Pyro both have lower starting soul level, which is something to consider.  You get magic early on, which you'll probably need at least some of as Steerpike says, and bump up your melee attributes at less cost initially.  I'm not interested in the back-stabber route - too much skill involved.  I'll probably try a wanderer/hunter or sorc/pyro next.  Decisions!

Oh, and I'm playing online too.  And I don't miss World Tendency.  And as much as I dug the Maiden in Black, leveling up without having to talk to her is much faster.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Pokey
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April 27, 2012 - 3:10 pm
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I created my character and then discovered that I picked Sorcerer instead of Pyromancer. Oh well, I'll stick with that for a while. I see it has soul arrow, which sounds good. Magic doesn't seem to be available yet. Guess I'll figure that out. I have a sword and shield selected to use but can't see or use the shield for some reason.

Later...I have my shield equipped and using it. I seem to be missing a wand to cast magic. I am at the door with Asylum Demon on the other side. The melee right now seems easy against dreglings but I may go with a tougher character, maybe Warrior or Knight and then pick up some magic later.

Found the catalyst but got killed by the Asylum Demon. I didn't react fast enough when I saw him.

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Steerpike
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April 27, 2012 - 9:27 pm
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I used Soul Spear a lot early on - good way to fight at a distance at low level. Pyromancers get fewer casts of their starting spell, but it does slightly more damage and more foes are vulnerable to fire.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Pokey
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April 28, 2012 - 12:34 am
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I killed the Asylum Demon after several tries. I had to use soul arrow since I wasn't quick enough and my measly dagger didn't do much damage. I may try a Warrior or Knight to get better weapons and armor and see how they do against Asylum Demon. . I am at he Firelink Shrine now.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 28, 2012 - 1:19 am
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I started over with a Hunter and found several things I had missed at Firelink the first time through, such as the Fire Keeper and a Ring of Sacrifice. I also found the elevator to New Londo Ruins, but that place looked too ominous so I left after grabbing an Estoc and talking to the blacksmith.  I still haven't explored the graveyard because of those skeletons.

I'm exploring the Undead Burg right now.  So many nooks and crannies to ferret out.  Bought what appears to be some vital equipment from that sniveling merchant.

Pokey, did you take that message's advice right before the platform above Asylum Demon?  It really helps.

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Pokey
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April 28, 2012 - 2:10 am
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SB, I don't recall seeing any pertinent message right before the platform, but I was playing offline at the time. I chose a password that is very long and complicated for PSN and now I wish I hadn't. I did stab him as I fell and it did quite a bit of damage.  Was there something else? I will be back online tomorrow and should see it with my new character. Did you find the soul very near Snuggly the crow? It was well hidden. Sounds like you found some good stuff. I'll have to do some searching.

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geggis
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April 28, 2012 - 5:53 am
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Wooo! It's on, nice!

And unfortunately, I'm off, because my girlfriend's folks are over this weekend so I won't get much of a chance to boot up Souls of the Dark variety. I started out as a... Wanderer? I think. And it was a little too close to the thief/assassin class which I played in Demon's Souls. Basically I want to play as something else this time but seeing as I didn't touch brute force combat or any sort of magic I'm wanting to try either or both of those. I was thinking of trying a Monk.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 28, 2012 - 10:31 am
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Pokey, yes the falling stab was what I meant.  I was referring to one of the messages in the Asylum from the developers - press R1 while falling or something.

I think I know the loot you're referring to.  I was pretty thorough this time, but there always seems to be something new to find.  Still haven't killed all of those skeletons in the graveyard though.  I found out you can sprint and then leap - don't remember being able to do that in Demon's Souls.  Anyway, it's required for reaching a spot in the Burg.

I tried out a Pyro and put a beat-down on the Asylum Demon.  Some type of battle-mage could be fun (emphasis on "battle").  Isn't that what you went for Steerpike?

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Pokey
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April 28, 2012 - 2:12 pm
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I tried the Warrior this morning and kind of like him. He has leather armor and can actually roll fairly well compared to the Knight in Demon's Souls. His sword and shield are nice. I took down the Asylum Demon on the fourth try, mainly because I was getting used to moving around. I took half his health on the falling stab using two hands. I've found several souls at Firelink and defeated a bunch of skeleton guards rather easily. I found the cemetery but didn't go in. There was a lever that didn't work near what looks like an elevator. How do I jump? I had to roll to get over a low wall. Can I jump to the bridge structure to get the loot there?

There is a figure that is appearing at the bonfire, not a ghost, but in black armor. He disappears quickly. Who is it?

I am really enjoying exploring the area near Firelink.

Should I accept the offer to join the way of the light covenant or will this keep me from joining a better one?

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Synonamess Botch
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April 28, 2012 - 2:49 pm
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I think that elevator is a shortcut that you open up eventually.  It seems that ghosts appear less ghosty the closer they are to a bonfire.

I know as much about covenants as you so far Pokey.  I accepted the offer with my bandit and it seems as though it just allows you to buy miracles from him.  There's probably more to it.

You can jump by first sprinting and then releasing and quickly pressing the sprint button again.  Makes you do a running leap.  That's how you can get to the bridge structure you mentioned.  I actually jumped down from the level above to get there and didn't realize at the time you could leap over.  I then died from the fall trying to get to the area below.

Maybe those skeletons in the graveyard will be easier for your Warrior.  They like to gang up on you.

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Pokey
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April 28, 2012 - 6:07 pm
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I tried the cemetery but couldn't do much against the skeletons. They are tough. Have you killed any? What character are you playing now? I did make a suicide dash for the winged spear and was successful and didn't even die, though two chased me back to the bonfire and killed me there. Maybe I can get one to chase me. I raised my dexterity and now can use the spear. It is just as nice as it was in Demon's Souls.

Is that rat in the bridge diseased? I didn't want to risk it. I tried jumping on the top of the bridge and missed and landed below and got lost. Finally found the ladder and got out.

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Steerpike
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April 28, 2012 - 8:35 pm
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The Cemetery is not for you yet - low level characters will get lit up down there. Bear in mind that some of those skeletons cannot be killed without a holy weapon and they'll chase you for miles and miles. If you do visit, just dart down to loot bodies and scamper back up to Firelink. The best place for newcomers to begin is the Undead Burg, up the narrow steps and through the aqueduct.

Pokey, many rats will poison you with their bite, but that one's not too bad. It's worth it to kill him every time, as he might drop humanity. Rats carry a lot of humanity for some reason.

Covenants can impact your game a lot or a little. The Way of White, which is the first one you found at Firelink, slightly increases item drops and improves your chances of seeing Summon Signs to get help later on. Others are available elsewhere, through other NPCs, assuming they like you and you answer their questions correctly.

You can always quit a Covenant to join a new one, usually without penalty. However, Covenants do have rules. If you break those rules you earn a level of sin; the more sin you've got the worse things tend to go for you. You can only clear out sin by purchasing absolution from a specific character who charges a great deal for the service. If you're not interested in doing too much with Covenants just stick with the Way of White; it's not very interesting but it pretty much leaves you alone. Other Covenants include the Forest Hunters, the Daughter of Chaos, the Warriors of the Sun, the Dragon Covenant, etc etc etc. Each brings specific benefits and certain requirements you're expected to fulfill.

Covenants are one of the fascinating aspects of Dark Souls that make the game so immensely huge and freeform. You can ignore them completely if you like, or get very heavily into Covenant questlines.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Pokey
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April 29, 2012 - 1:20 am
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I killed four of the skeletons, several times in fact. I'm leaving the giant ones alone for now. I'm learning to fight better with swords and spears and wait for an opening rather than just rush in swinging. I think I have about everything I want from there except maybe the two hander. Good to know about magic weapons being necessary for some of the skeletons.

SB, did you find the area with the four treasure chests? Some good stuff there. I'll be heading out to the Undead Burg tomorrow.

Steerpike, thanks for the info on the covenants and the rat.

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geggis
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April 29, 2012 - 7:37 pm
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I've started again tonight (after getting to Firelink with a wanderer last time) and wasn't sure what class to try/go with. In the end I decided to go with the pyromancer because it opens up the door to combat and magic without erring too much towards either. It also starts at level 1 which gives me a little more room to customise the class. I've still got a soft spot for the wanderer though... argh, too many decisions. I also went with the Old Witch's Ring gift because it sounded quite odd. It was between that and the Pendant but according to the Dark Souls wiki, that item still has no known use.

The skeletons seemed a lot easier with the wanderer class though the pyromancer's fire spell makes light work of them; I don't intend to rely on my fire spell too much though because I can only use it eight times. One thing, or a couple of things actually that I really love in Dark Souls is the estus flask and spell memorisation mechanics replacing grass and mana, those things were such a pain to have to stock up on and really, they didn't add anything to the experience. With these new mechanics in place both the magic and HP system are much tighter now and fit perfectly with the resting and respawing but particularly the risk/reward dynamic that the Souls games are known for.

Anyway, I've just ventured up to the Undead Burg and intend to go deeper once I've decided how to spend my existing souls.

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Synonamess Botch
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April 30, 2012 - 10:44 am
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Four chests?!  No, I haven't found them, and I thought I explored Firelink pretty thoroughly, well, save the graveyard.  I did kill a few skeletons in there, but when I ran into a big one with a big sword I high-tailed it out.

I've been playing around with several characters to find a good fit, and also to see what they start with.  I agree with Greg, the Pyro seems a little better if you want to go for a battlle-mage type.  I've narrowed it down to Hunter, Pyro, or Cleric I think.  I've gotten the farthest so far with my Hunter.  Yeah, I'm having a hard time deciding too.

The rat isn't a tough fight really.  Haven't seen him drop anything yet though.

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