Dark Souls Diary 3
The game of catch-up ends after today. After you're done reading this, you will be right along side me in the adventures of the warrior Andromeda. As I've been doing in previous entries, I will detail some notable areas I've explored, some battles I've encountered, and keep you up to date on my first playthrough shenanigans of Dark Souls.
Back in the first entry, I told you guys that I stumbled across this area right in the start of the game, got torn apart by skeletons that I couldn't harm, and I ran for hills to explore other places. It turns out I needed to forge a Divine weapon to do damage to the skeletons and keep them from reassembling. So with Blacksmith Andre's help I put together a Divine Longsword +5 and decided to exact revenge on the skeletons that made me look like such a jabroni at the start of the game. I got through this area, but it was really tough, and I was up till 3am one Saturday trying to clear everything. I discovered there as an awesome blacksmith deep in the Catacombs but you basically have to nearly commit suicide just to get to him. You have to traverse some dangerous encounters to get to him, and then to enter his smithing room you have to fall down a long chamber. And the only way to not die all at once is to hit some small ledges on the way down and only loose some health, as opposed to all of it. It's a pain getting to the blacksmith Vamos, but I was super happy once I got there and had him make me a Fire Longsword, which I've been using throughout the game ever since. If any RPG gives me a chance to make a sword that sets people on fire, I always build one, it's my favorite.
The basic skeletons in this area are trouble makers, but the enemies that really pissed me off were the Bonewheel Skeletons down in the pit near the boss fog gate. They actually use their spiked bonewheel shields as a vehicle and spin into you. Taking on one is bad, but having 5 chase you down and blast you from all directions is almost hopeless. Once they kill you, you have to set off on the exact same suicide mission just to return to the same place and reclaim your souls. As I said before though, this game is quite fair, so there are plenty of shortcuts to open up in the Catacombs, and those things made me very happy once I found them. You just have to do your part, and the game will meet you halfway to help you out.
Whenever I find new areas, I plan to simply poke around for a minute, and if things get too shady I back out and explore somewhere that I'm more comfortable with. I planned on just poking around Sen's Fortress, but once I was into it, I was afraid of backtracking my way out lol. Traversing the environment and surviving traps makes the idea of backtracking somewhat illogical. Deciding to back out doesn't increase your odds of survival, it's better to just keep pressing forward till you find a bonfire. This place is booby-trapped to kingdom come, and if the booby-traps aren't enough to kill you, the skinny walkways, pendulum blades, boulder throwing giants, and the Iron Goelm will certainly kill you. I fell off walkways and died in every way you can dream. There's some real Indiana Jones shit that goes on here in the Fortress. The messiest pickle I got myself into was when I fell down to the bottom floor of the Fortress and found myself stuck in a huge tar pit full of 4 Titanite Demons.
The Rusted Iron Ring I picked up earlier in the game saved my life here in Sen's Fortress just like it did in Blighttown. The tar in the Demon pit slows your movement to a crawl and the ring allowed me to run around and escape the Demons, heal, regroup, and start figuring out how to kill each one of them.
Despite all of the despair and surprises, this place was fun and I got a lot of rewards for the risk. I got some amazing magic and lightning defense rings that are currently helping me out in Anor Londo. I also got an awesome ring that increases my Item Discover Rate by a ton, so farming for items is easier now. Another thing I liked about this area was being able to climb to the top of the towers and looking around at the vistas. From the top of one of the towers in the Fortress I could look all around the world and see things like the rooftop of the Undead Parish where I fought the Gargoyles for instance. Dark Souls might cause the majority of your brain functions to focus on combat and survival, but when the action subsides you should really take time to look around at the world. Once I came to the end of Sen's Fortress, I realized that I was allowed to go to an entirely new part of the world called Anor Londo, but I was hesitant to go there so I decided to go do some other things first.
The Great Hollow
Earlier in the game when I was slogging through Blighttown I came across some secret areas but put off exploring them until later. Once I finished Sen's Fortress I backtracked through Blighttown and dove into The Great Hollow and Ash Lake. The Hollow is a huge hollowed-out tree and the environment traversal in the area is vertical. You walk along branches of the tree and have to often take leaps of faith down to other branches in order to make your way around. I fell to my death a couple times, but once I got to know all the branches I was able to run around the tree fairly quickly. One amazing thing about this area is that there's a ton of Crystal Lizards sitting around waiting for you to kill them and get their sweet Titanite. There's more than enough reward for the risk here.
This area is accessible by exiting a hole at the bottom of The Great Hollow and it's worth the exploration. Ash lake is one of the most mysterious and beautiful places I've seen in the game so far. There's not much to do down here, but it's somehow my favorite place. In Ash Lake you are at the base of the Great Hollow tree, and you walk along a sandy beach lined with water that's black as night. Out in the water and off as far as you can see in the distance are gigantic trees bigger than any skyscraper. There is gloomy mist, black water, giant trees, and it makes me want to learn its mysteries. When I look around I can't see anything but the huge trees and water, the mountain range and castles are gone. Is this what lies below the cloud layer? Is this what is on the outskirts of Lordran, beyond the castle walls, and below Blighttown even? Why is there an everlasting dragon resting here and running a covenant?
Once I finished exploring The Great Hollow and Ash Lake I decided to do one more thing before I dove into Anor Londo. Early in the game I came across a big glowing door in Darkroot Garden. I avoided it and forgot about it all the way until now. When I opened the door I realized it was the grave of a guy named Artorias and it was protected by a huge beast named Great Wolf Sif.
Sif is officially my favorite boss character in Dark Souls so far. What could be more beautiful, majestic, and awesome than a giant wolf the size of a bus who carries a sword in his mouth and protects a grave site? The battle was really tough because he deals heavy damage and is incredibly agile as you'd expect a wolf to be. After some trail and error I realized that it was a bad idea to attempt to run away and used ranged attack because he would chase me down. It was also a bad idea to take him head on in melee combat because blocking his attack depleted the stamina meter extremely fast. So I started rolling under him and hacking at his legs. After a while I did enough damage to his legs that he began limping and I was able to begin an all out assault on him with my fire sword. I overcame Great Wolf Sif, but to tell you the truth I'm not proud of it at all. I'm very sad that he had to die. I don't know what the back story is on Sif, but he was beautiful, he was my favorite boss, and it's sad it had to end like it did.
R.I.P. Great Wolf Sif
There you have it, you are now caught up with me my friends! Once I killed Sif I decided to stop putting off Anor Londo. I'm currently deep into Anor Londo, ...and it's taking a lot longer than I expected. Once I have compl