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Demon's Souls
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xtal
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February 20, 2012 - 9:31 am
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When I think I know what to expect ... well I remember that comment I made about unlearning things. I can't even carry expectations from a previous section in this game to the next. Not in every way, at least.

I started out on the weekend by taking a shot at 2-2. There are a lot of crystal lizards in that level by the way; it begins by planting one right in front of me, then placing a pretty glowing ball behind that ... it wanted me to go see what it was. And as I'm stumbling toward its warm glow I remind myself of that other comment I made about staying the hell away from things that I don't know what they are. Well, I reminded myself too late. The glowing ball went BOOM. Dying at the start of a level really isn't upsetting at all; it's unusually comforting actually.

So I avoided those things next time, ran down a corridor filled with ... those weird peon level guys you find throughout Stonefang, and then I came to a series of drops. Fortunately many messages tipped me off to where the good falling spots were. I lost a good deal of HP but made it to the bottom alive. Killed half a dozen sand worm things, got some loot, and... wait... is that the end of the level? That's like... a really... big fog gate, and there's a bunch of flaming pillars in the background. I decided a trip to the wiki was necessary to confirm this: yep, I took a massive shortcut (and really, half of players must take it their first attempt... there's two paths, it's 50/50!). Alright so I guess I'll try taking on this Flamelurker fellow. He sounds flame-y, I'll put on my ring of fire resistance. Yeah... that didn't really help too much. Flamelurker angry. Flamelurker smash. Hero die. Well I thought it was worth taking the shortcut again to get my 6,000 odd souls back. I went down the shaft of falling too quickly. There go those souls, clean slate now. Well I guess I'll go down there again, I really feel like kicking a boss' ass. Made it down alive this time but, yeah... Flamelurker really is kind of a badass, and he whooped me again. After a few more deaths taking the long route through 2-2 (what the heck is with those slug things? Damn they pack a punch.) I decided that Stonefang Tunnel could wait a bit.

I decided to take my first real run at 1-2. Step one, taking out the red dragon. He torched me a few times on his bridge before I got the timing right, but once I made it up that first tower he didn't seem to attack me up there. Well, I said to myself, I'm obviously taking advantage of this! It took about 20 minutes and I had to let my Fragrant ring fully recharge my MP once, but after maybe 20-25 hits with soul ray I took the bastard down. My last shot was a conspicuously innocent blast and I thought I'd missed; I was already facing his passing direction again when I saw a bunch of souls being absorbed and was notified that I had eaten his delicious Small Flame Scale Demon's Soul. Yum. Another demon bites the dust.

I proceeded to waltz along the bridge, now giving my magic a rest and doing some old fashioned sword fighting with my Estoc+4 (great rapier it turns out). The ease (relative, of course) of this level made me feel powerful again, but I refused to let that overconfidence resurface. I have to remind myself that Boletarian Palace is like a children's playground compared to the Tower of Latria. So confidently, but not too confidently, I proceeded along the bridge. A very tense engagement at the end of it with about 5 crossbowmen (2 from up on the wall), a couple swordsmen and two Blue Eyed Knights all pounding me at once did end in my favour, but it was close. Went upstairs to check every nook and cranny, killed another crystal lizard, and it was time to head through this rather large fog gate. Yep, it's a boss fog gate! Hello, Tower Knight. Holy crap, this guy is massive, he's the size of 50 Flamelurkers, ergo... no, don't think about it. Just get up on the walls and take out all those freakin' crossbow guys. That was actually easy, I'm very much enjoying the enhanced reach of my new rapier. Now will I be able to hit Tower Knight from up here with spells? His shield is as big as he is. Well it turned out that his movements get pretty predictable pretty quickly: block, step, shoot, block, block shoot, repeat. Before every shot the jolly fool leaves himself completely open to magic attacks, and magically attack him I did. Tower Knight dead. Didn't even take a dozen blasts of Soul Arrow.

Not a bad day, after everything. Two demons in my pocket, one still laughing at me from his flame-y lair, but hey I'll take 2 wins and 1 loss in this game.

The third game (if there is one) needs to be called Dead Souls, because Ian Curtis apparently wrote the damn song about how I'm longing for this game whether he knew it or not:

Someone take these dreams away

that point me to another day;

A duel of personalities

That stretch all true realities;

That keep calling me,

They keep calling me,

Keep on calling me,

They keep calling me

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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February 20, 2012 - 10:00 am
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Not too shabby, xtal, not too shabby at all! It's funny how different foes challenge players differently, especially in light of the online play. For example, I was fortunate enough to come across a summon sign outside Flamelurker's lair, and with the help of another player he went down very easily. The red dragon on the bridge of 1-2, meanwhile, I was never able to take out no matter how hard I tried, and had to settle for avoiding its wrath.

Ian Curtis is a logical choice to write the soundtrack for this series.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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February 20, 2012 - 10:17 am
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I left the most interesting part of my session out! Oops! After taking down Tower Knight instead of returning to the Nexus via his archstone I wanted to run back to the start of 1-1 to see how quickly I could actually get back there (Boletarian Palace seems to have a central path theme ... I don't know if that will carry through 1-3 and 1-4 since I can't go there until defeating an Archdemon). When I got to the start I noticed that gate leading to the field on the left of the very beginning was opened. I looked it up on the wiki and this meant I had somehow achieved Pure White World Tendency. Apparently contributing to this is the killing of demons. I looked up what happens beyond here (I had about 15,000 souls in my pockets and didn't want to be caught off guard only to find the gate shut when I respawned). That didn't do me good anyway because I clumsily ran through a doorway and had this Executioner Miralda lady sneak up behind me. She probably would have had a better chance of defeating me if she had resisted the urge to announce her presence, subtitles and all. It was a close and fair fight until I got behind her and finished her off with a powerful back-stab. Her gear seems decent, but I'm still preferring my wizard's clothes.

So yes, 2 demons defeated, and Miralda taken down! I don't know if there's anything else to do in this area; I climbed down some ladder in this tower Miralda popped out of, I noticed a soul or item glowing on a beam so I foolishly climbed back up and tried to drop down on it. Lost my body form again. Decided I'd try that at a later date.

Now I have a question: when I check my tendency screen the world of Boletarian Palace has gone blank, so to speak. The other arch stones are lit to some degree, but world 1 went from very bright (which must have been indicating the Pure White tendency) to just ... neutral I guess. I didn't really notice when this occurred. Sometime between the time I fought Tower Knight and Miralda. Did I complete all tendency events and therefore tendency of that world is rendered irrelevant? That seems unlikely.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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February 20, 2012 - 3:15 pm
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Yeah...Flamelurker.  That shortcut to its fog gate is sort of Demon's Souls in a nutshell. I'd call Flamelurker one of the toughest bosses, but his over-aggressiveness can turn that fight into a glitch-win if you will. 

The first time I saw the Tower Knight I was completely overcome with "how in the heck am I going to kill THAT?!"  I was too freaked out to notice the stairs and I got thoroughly smashed.

When you lose your body, World Tendency drops toward black of course, so that's maybe what happened.  Although it doesn't drop it as much as you're describing.  When you go online your starting Tendency is influenced by some online aggregate also.  It's so hard to tell from that Tendency screen what is actually going on.  That's the main thing I disliked about online play (other than invasions).  I wanted to be able to influence World Tendency strictly on my own.  You could achieve a Pure White or something and then have that cancelled out the next time you logged in.

Nicely done.  What soul level are you now?

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Synonamess Botch
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February 20, 2012 - 9:40 pm
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This is not about Demon's Souls as such, but it makes reference to the game.  About how rich its world is and how tight its gameplay is, and most of all, how it respects the player.   Something many games could learn from.

http://tevisthompson.com/saving-zelda/

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Pokey
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February 20, 2012 - 11:38 pm
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When you kill Miralda, the world tendency goes from pure white to neutral. I noticed it after I killed her.

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Steerpike
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February 21, 2012 - 9:37 am
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Really interesting article, Botch, nice job finding it. I like the writer's passion for the subject.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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February 21, 2012 - 5:49 pm
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I'm going to save that article for my ride home on the bus/subway tonight! Oh, and I believe I'm soul level 42 or 43, Botch. I put a few levels into dexterity last night but I'm still at 0 safer landing and my attack power didn't go up either. It's a bit frustrating and feels wasted. I realize I have to go with either dexterity or strength if I want to posses any fighting skill at all, so I've chosen to lightly boost dexterity as a backup to my magic, but I hope it raises some stats soon.

I ran 4-1 last night, I'm now using the Crescent Falchion +1 as it seems to have good magic damage in addition to its decent physical aspect; the MP regeneration is the draw, obviously, but I'm keeping my Estoc on my person still; I haven't warmed to the curved swords yet; I really like the piercing reach of rapiers. I realize, though, that piercing is not ideal for the skeletons who inhabit the Shrine of Storms. So yeah, 4-1 ... very powerful foes there, but I made short work of most of them (the black dual-wielding skeletons are crazy strong!) despite breaking a sweat here and there. Vanguard was pathetic once removed from his little tutorial lair. I blew him away from a distance with Soul Ray and he didn't even flinch. Adjudicator was a pretty simple boss, that or I got lucky. I just stayed on the top level of his room and fired Soul Arrows at his head. He got a few huge hits on me but no lethal blows. I've now killed each boss I've met on my first attempt with the exception of Flamelurker, who yet lives. All in all, including the souls from Adjudicator (not his Demon's Soul, of course, I'm saving those!) 4-1 yielded roughly 27,000 souls for me. No deaths, so that's one straight up run. I will be farming here extensively, I suspect!

And thanks, Pokey, that makes sense and is probably why my tendency seems neutral for world 1. It's slightly light in the other worlds, except Stonefang where it is turning precariously dark. The last few times I've regained my body I've gone there to try to reach Flamelurker; it's not that 2-2 is an overly difficult level, but it's particularly lethal either way you go, whether it's the dangerous falls through the shortcut (that's killed me about 5 or 6 times, and at least two of those in body form) or the long path where you're rolling around cliff edges fighting those bugbears.

Another general question: do black phantoms respawn? I killed another two in 2-2 that were wielding clubs; they were quite strong. I'm just wondering if I'll have to face them each time I go down that elevator shaft.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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February 21, 2012 - 7:38 pm
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Xtal, those increases which show up when you're talking to the Maiden in Black (such as attack power) depend on what you currently have equipped.  So if you're wielding a weapon which gets no bonus from Dexterity, it will look like no increase.  The exceptions are those things that aren't related to equipment (like Stamina).

I'm impressed.  I tried to stay away from the Adjudicator and got, uhh,  licked to death.  Gross.

I remember those bugbears being strong against most things except magic I think, or was it piercing?  Anyway, they're annoying for sure.

I'm pretty sure black phantoms don't respawn except for a few cases.  The only ones I remember respawning were some mind flayers in Latria.

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Steerpike
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February 21, 2012 - 7:45 pm
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Botch is correct; except under very specific circumstances, Black Phantoms will not respawn. Note that one of those circumstances is (I think) pure black World & Character Tendency... the game does in fact get harder the more you fail.

It's funny, xtal, I had a huge problem with the Adjudicator. It took me a lot of tries to kill that guy. Interesting how everyone's experience is different. Similarly, I never experimented much with piercing weapons like the Estoc. One of the things I'm looking forward to trying when I finish Dark Souls and start a NG+ is doing everything differently than I normally do.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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February 22, 2012 - 9:35 am
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On your last comment, Steerpike, the same goes for me with Demon's Souls. (That is if I can resist buying-- and jumping into-- Dark Souls!) Since I'm going spell heavy and lightly armored this time I'd like to do a 180 and try out a heavily armored miracle fellow; probably a priest.

Oh, and that Saving Zelda article was really something. It lasted me the whole commute home, too! Very against the grain... you won't find many people, least of all Zelda fans, who don't hold Ocarina as the Holy Grail, let alone dislike it! As a complete stranger to the entire Zelda franchise (my experience involves watching friends and cousins play Ocarina in the N64's heyday, playing the first hour of Twilight Princess myself, and having Wind Waker sitting in my games drawer for a Rainy Day.) I couldn't really form my own arguments there, but he certainly writes with passion; the least you can say is that it's clearly not your average tongue-lashing for the sake of attention. Thanks for sharing it, Sir Botch-y-ness.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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February 22, 2012 - 11:07 am
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The thing I liked about the article was that it clarified something which had bothered me about the Zelda games I've played.  I'm sort of a late-comer to the Zelda family.  I started with Wind Waker, which I found very charming but still missing something.  The art direction was absolutely sublime though.  Then I played Twilight Princess, which I probably wouldn't have done normally.  However, my kids like to watch me play Zelda.  They LOVE Wind Waker but I was getting tired of playing it over and over, so the next installment seemed like a good choice.  I found it perfectly bland and uninspiring, but it had such potential.  And I hated the art direction.  We're currently working our way through Skyward Sword and I get the same vibe as Twilight Princess.  It feels like a chore, although the controls are spot-on.  Oh, and I have a copy of Ocarina and Majora's Mask and a borrowed N64, but those hideous graphics...

So essentially, the thought of a Zelda game, which has such potential to be rich in mystery and discovery, merged with the design sensibilities of Demon's Souls...I would be all over that.

I too love trying out different styles in Demon's Souls.  But then you all probably knew that since this is about the 20th time I've said it. embarassed

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geggis
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February 23, 2012 - 5:27 am
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Steerpike said

... the game does in fact get harder the more you fail.

 

What was that about the game respecting you? haha 🙂

I think we're all kindred spirits in here because my first foray into the Zelda series was with the Wind Waker and I enjoyed it for the most part but then I just got sick and tired of changing the direction of the wind just to turn my boat around. I haven't played another Zelda properly since though and wonder what I'd make of the other entries in the series. Of them all I think Majora's Mask sounds the most interesting but would I have to play Ocarina to appreciate it? And do I have the time to risk it on something I might not enjoy when there are a bajillion other games out there that I most likely will?

It's funny xtal, you seem to be making mincemeat of most areas where as I, or perhaps more specifically, my character, had real trouble contending with almost every step. Those series of drops down to the Flamelurker's melting pot almost became a reflex action to me after the countless times he whipped my ass.

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geggis
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February 23, 2012 - 5:34 am
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Oh and yes Botch, the art direction was sublime. I'd frequently just stand there at night listening to the surf and soaking in that lovely atmosphere. I think my favourite bit in the game was all those little jobs for the dude at the shop with the camera, trying to find and sneak up on the thief... what was that island called again? I really liked that the people wandering around the island changed depending on the time of day and you never quite knew what to expect there.

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Synonamess Botch
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February 23, 2012 - 12:27 pm
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Windfall Island.  Yes, nighttime was magical.

I've played a little of Majora's Mask and from what I could tell you wouldn't need to play any other Zelda to appreciate it, since it's such a departure from the norm.  If you can stomach those hideous late-90's graphics and can secure a copy without too much trouble I'd say it's at least worth a look.

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xtal
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February 23, 2012 - 12:28 pm
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This is typical Gregg, my first two or three trips down that shaft I endured some damage but didn't die. Every time since ... it's like I've actually forgotten the steps. I keep taking the wrong path down because I get close, but my last fall continues to be too great.

I'm going to continue with my plan: defeat a demon in Latria or the Shrine of Storms then try to carefully go through 2-2; I really want to face Flamelurker with ALL of my health.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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February 23, 2012 - 1:31 pm
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xtal, the Old Hero is the second boss in the Shrine of Storms. Getting to him is hard (though you'll bank about a hojillion souls); actually defeating him, in my experience at least, isn't that tough. It's an almost... meditative battle. Old Hero is blind, which doesn't make him undangerous, but does make the fight a straightforward one provided you know what you're getting into. So he'd be my recommendation, versus the second boss in Latria. That fellow's name escapes me but the approach is even more horrific; plus you'll need mad souls to cover the equipment repairs that are part and parcel of spending time deep in Latria.

And of course, as always, if you can summon somebody to help you with a boss, do it. In my game Flamelurker went down no problem because I had someone absorbing all his fire. Facing him singlehanded... I can't even imagine. Or I don't want to.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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February 23, 2012 - 7:34 pm
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I just had Flamelurker down to an INCH of his health bar; then I got trapped on the stairs unable to flee and he destroyed me with two smashes. I could taste victory ... the difference this time was I kept the Thief's Ring on. A few times in the battle he just lost sight of me and stood there. I regenerated MP twice, staring at his back. Still couldn't kill him. The pain. The tears. Back to it.

EDIT: Attempt #2 - Exact same thing, I had him down to even less health, a centimeter maybe, I had him out in the open, went to strike with the killing blow ..... out of MP. My Soul Ray doesn't cast. I panicked, couldn't run away because I was locked on target and he stomped me to death. This guy is insanely hard.

EDIT EDIT: Attempt #3 - Third time's a charm. A much better strategy was to back away from him whilst pounding his face with Soul Ray. His attacks could be avoided with perfect backwards rolling; I still got hit a bunch of times but quickly ate my half moon grass and ran away. Definitely the hardest encounter in the game so far, for me at least. The question is do I proceed to Dragon God or run amok elsewhere?

Those three runs of 2-2 plus Flamelurker's bounty yielded just over 41,000 souls. Delicious.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Pokey
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February 23, 2012 - 8:26 pm
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I kept the spine between us and used soul arrow. He would get me once in a while with his area attack if I didn't jump backward fast enough, but I used some grass and had no problem as long as he couldn't reach me. I believe I used the thief ring too. I did it in soul form. Hope you succeed next time.

I bet you are having a harder time with it because your world tendency is darker.

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xtal
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February 23, 2012 - 9:00 pm
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Thanks Pokey!

Also of note: the mopey fellow sitting on the steps in the Nexus, who I'm guessing should be considered a blue phantom, has disappeared. After our last chat he was very distressed and couldn't remember who he was. I guess his soul gave up ... he left me a Storied Soldier's Soul in his place.

Now it's off to Ed to make some home fries with this Red Hot Demon's Soul.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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