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Jack takes you along on his journey through the cruel, cruel world of Dark Souls.

Dark Souls Diary 8

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 8

Daily Deaths: 1
Total Deaths: 40
Bosses Beaten: Moonlight Butterfly, Capera Demon, 2 Butcher Mini-Bosses, Giant Rat

Current Level: 29

Sweet Loot: Evil Eye Ring, Spider Shield, Soul of the Moonlight Butterlfy, Magic Weapon Spell

Awful Moment:  Falling down a trap in The Depths getting cursed, then dying, and losing 6,ooo souls and a humanity.

 

I’m not a numbers person.  Mark Twain said it best when he said, “There are three kinds of lies.  Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  That said, I’ve got some amazing numbers today.

One daily death.

Two major bosses beaten.

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.  I said it a while ago, but I’d like to beat Dark Souls in under 150 total lives and if I keep up this solid play I just might. Though Jim’s comment a while ago about multiple Taurus and Capra Demons leads me to believe that I’d best save plenty of lives for end-game.

Last night started off with a successful run at the Moonlight Butterfly.  It’s really pretty easy–roll past its attacks, smack it in the face when it lands.  Game Over.  The Butterfly drops its soul which can be used to craft a spear or shield, according to whichever of the competing Dark Souls Wiki’s I checked.

That was a good win for me and a great way to start off the night.  Next up for me was the Capra Demon.  My new strategy is to take a few runs at a boss as a spirit before I tackle them on my own.  So I joined a game as a spirit and helped a caster take down Capra.  It all seemed too easy–so I ran back to Firelink to use up my souls and undo my hollowing.  I was really hoping to get at least two spirits into my game, but given some of the complaints online about the trouble with summoning I was willing to settle on one.  This was really the first time I’d been intent upon summoning other players into my game–and it worked.  It worked really well.  Within two minutes of summoning my first player I had a second in the game and just like that the Capra Demon passed into legend.

My brother had really talked up the Depths so I was pretty geeked to hit it.  Before that though, I upgraded my attunement level to 12 so that I could use two spells/miracles.  I bought the Magic Weapon spell… which I now regret.  It’s a fine spell, but it doesn’t buff weapons that already have magical properties.  In all likelihood I’ll upgrade my spear Partisan and use that spell in some kind of super-tank mode, coupling it with my Black Knight Shield.  I should have bought a miracle instead, but such is Dark Souls.

I love the confusing level design of the Depths.  I also really like the “Butcher” mini-bosses–they reminded me instantly of the Butcher from Diablo.  By this time of night I was feeling pretty cocky, a common theme for my Dark Souls play.  I’d beaten two bosses without dying, whomped a couple of Butchers… that’s when the floor fell out from under me.

Sort of.  I wasn’t looking where I was going and I fell into a hole…the worst hole ever.  Moments later, the word “Cursed” covered my screen, a moment after that I was dead.  Did I mention loving the level design in the Depths… let’s call it love hate.  In that hole I’d left more than 6,000 souls, a humanity, and to top it all off I was cursed.

This was a, “$#&$#^ it!”   Moment for me.

I decided my best chance at getting my souls back was to head over to the healer in New Londo.  On the way I fell off a bridge.  I wasn’t pushed.  I wasn’t backing away from an enemy.  I just walked off… like an idiot.  Okay, so I died twice–the idiot walk just didn’t really feel like it should count as a death.

Mark Twain was right about numbers.

Daily Deaths:  2

Total Deaths:  41

Cheers,

Jack

Dark Souls Diary Entry 7–Ring My Bell Edition!

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 7

Daily Deaths: 2
Total Deaths: 39
Bosses Beaten: 1 Gargoyles, 1 Mini-Boss Black Knight

Current Level: 25

Sweet Loot: Black Knight Shield (Awesome!), Gargoyle Axe, Heal Miracle

I can kick the hell out of a Gargoyle.

This isn’t vanity or ego.  Like Muhammed Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

Oh can I back it up.  My first run at the Gargoyles I had them down to about 10% health–that was without a summoned NPC.  My next run was awesome, with the White Knight’s help I absolutely crushed them.  So handily did I beat them that I actually took the time to avoid killing them while I worked on acquiring the Gargoyle Axe.  The axe is actually the primary demon’s tail, if you land enough hits on the tail will come off (much like the Red Dragon/Drake Sword).  The axe looks awesome, especially when you wield it two handed–it actually bends like the Gargoyle’s tail.  Sadly it’s terribly weak… so it won’t be taking the place of my Drake Sword or my back up Astra’s Straight Sword.

After beating the Gargoyles I climbed the nearby bell tower–it was clear that this would be my moment to enter other players’ worlds and give them hope.  It’s not a common experience in gaming to feel pride, but as the bell rang out and the “Achievement Unlocked” signal flashed I felt some genuine pride.  I also found myself wondering who may have heard my bell toll… if any of you were on last night at roughly 10:45 EST you may have heard my bell.  If you did please drop us a line–I’d really like to know.

In any event, killing the Gargoyles was no doubt helped by the amazing shield I picked up earlier that evening.  In the tower near the Iron Boar there’s a black knight to kill him simply draw him down the stairs.  His attacks will (for the most part) pass harmlessly over your head, his overhead attack you can easily block.  The loot for me was the “Black Knight Shield.”  It’s awesome–100 Physical Resist, 95 Fire, 65 Lightning, 30 Magic.  Basically, it’s a keeper.

My brother got the “Black Knight Sword” from this knight, which has me wondering if the drops are class specific or just random.  I’m playing a knight and got the shield, he’s playing a ranger and got the sword.  Anyone else kill this knight?

I also picked up the Healing Miracle.  I’ve got a Faith of 14 and honestly, since I switched to the Drake Sword from the Astra Straight Sword, it’s been going to waste.  So I decided I was going to start buying some Miracles–Heal seemed like a good choice I didn’t play much after I bought it so I’ll let you know later how well it works.

Tomorrow I’m working on the Capra Demon or perhaps the Butterfly Demon.

Find out who is no longer with us in Thursday’s update.

Cheers,

Jack

Dark Souls Diary Entry 6

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 6

Daily Deaths: 12
Total Deaths: 37
Bosses Beaten: 1 (Titanite Demon)

Current Level: 24

Sweet Loot: Dragon Scale, Grass Crest Shield, Elite Knight Armor Set, Partisan, Black Leather Armor Set, Long Bow

The Titanite Demon has shuffled off his immortal coil–and I helped him shuffle.  Muwhahaha.

And how did I kill the Titanite Demon?

Well, I killed him with exactly 124 wooden arrows.  When I landed my first arrow it did barely any damage and I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be horrid to waste all my 124 of my arrows on this guy and not actually kill him?”  So 123 arrows later I notched my final arrow… praised the sun in my mind and collected a boat load of souls!

Quick tip on the Titanite Demon, he’s actually really easy to kill.  When you enter the room move down the slope and slightly to the left.  At range he attacks with a lightning bolt, so position yourself so that his lightning bolt strikes the broken pillar just in front of him then notch your 124 arrows, grab a drink and spam the left bumper.

Aside from that triumph I really just did a lot of milling about.  I killed the large purple dragon in the Valley of the Drakes and harvested a dragon scale from him… when I’m disciplined enough to hold onto 10,000 souls I’ll upgrade my Drake Sword with it.  I got my first look at the Capra Demon, though it was in phantom form.  Jim and I were trying to get into one another’s game but the stars weren’t aligned for us.  So I wound up being pulled into another players game and we rolled over the Capra Demon.  From what everyone else who has fought him says, I should relish this victory.  Apparently Capra will kick my ass for a while.

I fought the Gargoyles and got pounded, I think my new rule of thumb will be to tackle bosses as a phantom a few times before I try to do them myself.

Walking Dead Season Premier was on tonight so there was no gaming for me this evening, expect my next Dark Soul Diary Tuesday.  I’m dedicating my next game session to beating the Gargoyles so it’s time to play odds maker.  Given that I’ve faced them once already how many times will I have to face them Monday in order to beat them:

1–5 Times:  “I believe in Mr. Jack!”

6-10 Times:  “You’re old so you know how to handle a proper boss fight.”

11-15 Times:  “Eventually, the Gargoyles will just feel sorry for you.”

Never:  “Maybe in 15 years Baby Indy can show you how to game.”

 

Cheers,

Jack

 

Dark Soul Diary Entry 5 (Spiritual Hygiene Edition)

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 5

Daily Deaths: 3
Total Deaths: 25
Bosses Beaten: 2 Mini-bosses (Steel Boar and Black Knight)

Current Level: 19

Sweet Loot: Drake Sword

Okay, so last night I crushed it.  Two plus hours of gaming a meager three deaths, two mini-bosses downed, and the Drake Sword acquired.

I even managed to level up my strength to 16 at the end of my play session allowing me to wield the Drake Sword one handed.

If you haven’t gotten it yet you NEED (note the all caps) to get this sword, additionally if you’re in the early stages of the game I’d suggest leveling your Strength to 16 so you can make use of the sword one handed.  There are plenty of resources online describe how to get the Drake Sword long story short… after you make the Taurus Demon into ground chuck, you’ll find a long bridge that’s guarded by a Red Dragon.  Stay to the very left of the bridge and creep toward the dragon.  He’ll blow fire killing all the skeletons on the bridge and possibly injuring you (make sure you’re at full health).  Keep pushing forward on the left side of the bridge and watch the right side of the bridge for a set of stairs going down, when you think you’re close enough make a run for it.  You’ll be able to kick a ladder down to your previous bonfire in the Undead Berg where you can heal up.  As you move under the bridge you’ll notice the dragon’s tail flipping about on the right side of the bridge.  Shoot it with what seemed like 50 arrows–eventually the end of his tail will fall off and you’ll automatically be given the Drake Sword.  With an attack power of 200 it’s easily the strongest weapon I’ve come across.

I tried to summon a few spirits into my game but each time the summoning failed, which was really unfortunate.  The co-op for Demon’s Soul was incredibly fun–hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to pull a few friendlies into my game.

On a happier multiplayer note, I’ve yet to be invaded.  My brother wasn’t so lucky, he just started out (as a ranger) and was invaded almost immediately.  As usual the villain would wait until he engaged enemies then dash in to attack.  His struggle with the Black Phantom seemed to go on quite a while and I had yet to hear how he fared against him.  I’m going to keep my current character out of the Book of the Guilty, but I will make a Wanderer for just that purpose muwhahahaha.

———–

As to the comic–I loved Demon’s Souls so a Dark Souls comic was sort of obvious.

I didn’t want to go with the standard meme and joke about the gaming being hard.  To be honest, I think that too many gamers have been coddled too long by publishers.  That’s not to say publishers need to make unfair games, but making a game where there’s a sense of peril and dread is a good thing.

It’s also a hard thing–FROM is awesome and the game’s sense of what it wants to achieve and the experience it wants to give gamers is so focused that (my apologies to Roger Ebert) it’s Art.

Thanks FROM you’ve got genuine fans here at Unicorn Soup!

Cheers,

Jack

 

Dark Souls Diary Entry 4

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 4

Daily Deaths: 4
Total Deaths: 22
Bosses Beaten: 1
Current Level: 18
Sweet Loot: None… but I did kill my first Silver Salamander!

Yep, I killed me a boss!  Woo Wee!  The Taurus Demon to be precise, beware of impending bull puns…

*Ahem*

Killing the Taurus Demon set the right moo-d for the rest of my play session.  Honestly, I was a little embarrassed after Diary Entry 3–I should have killed the Taurus Demon then, but I kept flubbing the controls or playing sloppily.  Dark Souls punishes the sloppy gamer, the rushed gamer… well all gamers really.  After beating the Taurus Demon I hoofed it through the white light and out onto a bridge where I was promptly made into brisket by a red dragon I had quite a lot of souls saved up to so dying here was an udder disaster.  The bridge and its layout was a dead ringer for a Demon’s Soul bridge–I can’t believe I’d been so gulli-bull!  Dark Souls never just makes a nice easy bridge with bad guys way off in the distance.

I’m such a nin-cow-poop.

Alright… I’m done with the puns.

I poked around a bit more in the Undead Berg before wandering back to the Firelight Shrine.  After all my undead killing my gear needed a bit of repair so I hit up the Blacksmith and actually wound up wandering into Blight Town, which was not the best idea I ever had.  The four huge warriors guarding the entrance gave my 250 souls each and I killed them by kiting them back to the entrance of the Blight Town tunnel… a bug causes them to get caught at the tunnel entrance so if you cross back over the bridge you can pick them off with ranged attacks.  The strength of these mobs–told me I should probably poke around in a different part of the world until I was a bit stronger.

So the logical next step would be to go fight a dragon–right?  Seriously, something about this game effects my judgment.

Granted, I did go after the injured bile spewing dragon nearby, but I should have been smarter.  Like I said, I was out of ranged attacks so I did my best Leroy Jenkins impersonation–like most of us, the dragon was clearly over the whole, Leroy Jenkins fad as he proceeded to smack the shit out of me.  Costing me the 1000 souls I’d so carefully farmed from the Blight Town mobs.

All in all though, it was a good night.

Check back Thursday for Unicorn Soup’s first Dark Souls webcomic!  It’s a good one!

Cheers,

Jack

 

Dark Soul Diary Entry 3

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 3

Daily Deaths: 12
Total Deaths: 18
Bosses Beaten: 0
Current Level: 16
Sweet Loot: Soul Arrow Spell

After my second diary entry I was feeling pretty cocky.  The stats from Diary Entry 2 say it all–2 Deaths.

Secretly, I thought I was going to roll over Dark Souls.  Hubris my friends hubris.  Dark Souls does a lot well, including punish gamers who lack focus or humility.  My first death should have tipped me off that it was going to be a long night.  I fought my, way without dying, to the Taurus Demon.  I successfully lured him back to a tower where I had every intention of plunging sword first into his face… I did plunge sword first but for I missed his face.  In fact, I missed the battlement entirely and wound up gracefully flinging myself to my death.

On a brighter note I did purchase my glowing orange chalk, a tool players can use to leave messages for their fellow travelers.  One of my favorite hobbies in Demon’s Soul (the PS3 prequel to Dark Souls) was leaving misleading messages.  I’d find some appealing ledge overlooking a bottomless chasm and scrawl, “Treasure below” or “Jump!”

Yes, it’s a dick move, and yes, I fell for the trick myself a few times.  The funny thing is, each time I died in that way I felt more amused than angry.  Such is the interesting experience and world that FROM Software has created. Because the world is so dark, behavior that would feel like griefing in another game feels like proper role playing.

I also picked up my first spell toward the end of my play session.  Soul Arrow (basically Magic Missile) will give my knight some much needed range flexibility.  Tomorrow night I’ll make another run at that Taurus Demon.  I’m hoping to make it to the point where I can summon other players into my world soon so I can do some co-op with my brother or Jim.

I’ll enter my next Dark Souls session with more humility, hopefully that’ll keep my death count down as I’d love to beat the game without going over 150 deaths… though at this pace it seems unlikely.

Cheers,

Jack

Dark Souls Diary Entry 2

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 2

Daily Deaths: 2
Total Deaths: 6
Bosses Beaten: 0
Current Level: 12
Sweet Loot: Holy Sword and Dragon Shield

For most of the night I was hanging in there at one death. One totally worth while death. The Holy Sword (the specific name escapes me) is guarded by a bile spewing dragon. The dragon is so putrid though that it looks dead… turns out it was only mostly dead.

On the co-op front, Jim discovered that while the game forbids you from using party chat… you can use the old school private chat. Hopefully, Jim, my Bro and I can manage some co-op soon.

Though I’m only a few hours in, I’m really enjoying this title.

I love that Dark Souls makes you appreciate your discoveries, feel timid, and frightened. It’s not typical that games evoke much in the way of an emotional response, this title is unique in that it inspires some genuine dread… good dread.

It also inspires some genuine camaraderie.

Seeing bloodstained phantoms in their last moment or ghostly figures moving about their own game world is oddly inspiring. This game feels like a journey. Tonight Jim and I traded tips on magic use and how to interpret the rather arcane stat system. Rather than pulling me out of the RPG experience it actually puts me deeper in it… as the whole game takes on an air of mystery and discovery.

Cheers,

Jack

Dark Souls Diary Entry 1

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Dark Souls Diary Entry 1

Number of Deaths: 4
Bosses Beaten: 1

Well I made it through the first area. Beat the first boss and did some exploring and I only died 4 times.

I played Demon’s Souls so I think that helps explain my low death count, the combat is really precise and excellent. When I died I really felt like it was my fault.

On another note, I love the Easter Eggs in this game. It takes me back to the old school games of my youth where thorough exploration and patience really pay off.

*Minor Spoilers Follow*

After defeating the first boss you’re flown to a new area. There you meet a cleric who offers to sell you Holy Spells, these spells require a Talisman to cast which cost 1,000 souls (the game’s currency used to level up your character and buy items). I held off on buying the talisman, as I didn’t have enough souls to buy a spell at the time. This paid off well as I found a spot just above there cleric where you can drop down onto a secret zone with three treasure chests. Inside the chests I found a morning star and a talisman! Huzzah!

I’ll keep track of my daily stats and adventures in the comments section of my new Weekly Dark Souls Diary Article. Look for a weekly round up of Dark Soul Diaries on Sundays.

All in all. Not a bad start.

Cheers,

Jack

Dark Souls Diary

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Will there be "Hope" inside this Pandora's Collectible Tin?
Dark Souls Collector's Edition

Welcome to my public humiliation.  Over the next several weeks I’ll be putting my inept gaming on display in the form of a Dark Souls game-log.  Each time I play, I’ll track the number of times I die, any particularly humiliating ends I may suffer, any interesting loot I may come across, and of course my rare triumphs over this devilishly cruel game.

Basically, all the private struggles a gamer would curse and cry his way through–I’ll make public.  Now please like me.

CE Unboxed
Moving Clockwise: Dark Souls Art Book, Collectible Tin, Game, Musical Score DLC

Check the comments later this evening for Dark Soul Diary Part 1.

Cheers,

Jack