[Dark Souls] Day 1

Killing the first boss on the first attempt was not that surprising. Technically, this was not my first rodeo.

Pictured: dying to trash mobs instead

Steam says I had two hours on Dark Souls (Prepare to Die Edition) with a Last Played of 2018. At that time, I was a tourist, sticking around just long enough to get the experience of being instantly killed on the ledge, or later after dodge-rolling off a cliff. That sort of experience was just not what I was looking for at the time. I then proceeded to play Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, Sundered, Hades, Salt & Sanctuary, and probably a dozen similar games over the next five years. So “coming back” to Dark Souls, everything clicked right away. Hell, it was surprising to learn that you had 5 Health potions to start – everyone else is so damn stingy.

Anyway, my character is Thief because getting a free Master Key sounded useful. I also chose the Witch’s Charm or whatever because that wasn’t a consumable and otherwise sounded like it could be useful somewhere.

A big part of the Dark Souls experience is exploration. However, when the very first body I looted contained 3 “Humanity,” I sighed and looked up some beginner tips. Do those disappear on death? (No). Is there a reason to use them now? (Technically no). Am I going to screw things up if I use them right away? (Technically no, but ill-advised). There are some things I am willing to learn via experience, such as boss attacks or where traps are. But obfuscated gameplay mechanics or Blind Choices are things I take a dim view on. Which… might be a problem with Dark Souls. Presumably.

Speaking of experience, I walked down some steps and got utterly mauled by the skeletons down there. They didn’t have levels over their heads, but when a single attack brings me to half-health and my attack deals 2% of their HP, I can take the hint. Was I frustrated? Nope. Fallout: New Vegas predates Dark Souls, and walking anywhere but south out of Goodsprings brings death and pain.

Plus, you know, a decade of Soulslike games.

Another learning opportunity was: Poison attacks hurt. For an absurdly long amount of time. Didn’t think much of the Poison meter when I was eating some Giant Rat attacks, but once it got full and started draining health, I started paying attention. Through literally three health potions. Noted, game.

Made it to the second Bonfire after clearing out some Hollow mobs in a new area. Resting/saving your game respawns all enemies, which is intended to create some Press-Your-Luck tension. Which it would… once I’m done farming this infinite pile of respawning Souls steps away from a Save Point. I’m going to assume that gaining five levels this way isn’t going to bite me in the ass later. While farming, I end up getting two “liquid” Humanity (as opposed to the “solid” items), which is a resource that goes away when you die. So, I spent one Humanity to turn into a Human, and then another to Kindle the Bonfire, which grants me more health potion uses for this area. Again, I’m assuming this won’t set me back permanently somehow.

And that was Day 1.

Time will tell how long I stick around farming in the immediate Bonfire area. “Until you get bored” is not a particularly healthy target, but it also feels silly to not make a few more circuits when you can gain levels within 5-10 minutes. Then again, the farm option would still be there if I just plow forward until hitting a brick wall. Hmm.

Let’s be real: I’m going to farm the shit out of this area, aren’t I?

Posted on February 15, 2023, in Dark Souls and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Farm it as much as you want. It won’t hurt you at all, nor will it make you suddenly become overpowered.


    • With the possible exception of that shortly-upcoming Darkroot Garden nonsense, where the farmed soul gains really do feel hefty at the early levels.

      For me, the bleak maze aspect kind of killed DS1 after about halfway through. It wasn’t the difficulty (though the whole difficulty-as-fetish thing isn’t appealing) so much as a sudden refusal to wander around to try to find the next thing in a very samey-looking world.


      • I’m kinda fine with the maze-ish aspect of the game… except when it comes to the Bonfires. I just encountered (read: looked up online) the hidden Bonfire in the Darkroot Garden or whatever, and I just seethed for a while. I had actually spent the 20,000 Souls to unlock the door and died several times to the tough mobs in there. If I had known that the Bonfire existed literally right there, I would have easily been able to farm that area and regained my investment. Instead, I wasted 2x-3x as much time leveling elsewhere.

        Hidden special weapons? Fine. Hidden special bosses? OK. Hidden savepoints? Fuck that.


  2. I used to not like Dark Souls, because of that reputation of uber hardcore bang-your-head-on-a-boss multiple times until you know all the animations inside out mastery that many players glorify.

    It wasn’t until my 4th go at the game, on a Nintendo Switch of all things, that I finally had a revelation on some of the pre-boss mobs in Anor Londo.

    Some of them I found quite difficult to deal with in melee, and it just hit me, why not try a bow? And the bow experiment got further and further away in range until I was just cheesing them with headshots out of their aggro radius and realizing I personally -much- preferred that pre-buy arrows methodical strategy over a three minute nail-biting will-I-or-won’t-I duel.

    The revelation: Whatever works. Is a good strategy. Is perfectly okay in Dark Souls. Game is already built to be unreasonable anyway, so play it how you would enjoy it.

    It doesn’t matter if you deal with an annoying boss by hitting your head on it a hundred times, fry it from afar by throwing fire pots over a scenery wall, exploit stairs and corners, dodge with perfect precision through memorized attack patterns, come back later after overlevelling everything, or refuse to budge and repeat the fight 76 times until it dies.

    It’s all fair game. And part of the game. So grind if you like it. I know I enjoyed some of the grinding and farming aspects even more than some of the bosses, cos I’m just built that way.


    • Ha, you must have liked something about the game for you to give it 4 attempts.

      Yeah, when I faced the Bell Gargoyles and they landed on opposite sides of me and both breathed fire, stunlocking me into instant death, it clicked that “this game is unfair.” Then I realized that, no, the game is just amoral. It doesn’t care. Go on suicide runs to grab items, kill mobs from range with impunity, abuse ramps to be immune to attacks. Whatever works, works. It’s freeing, in a way.

      On my successful kill, when the 2nd Gargoyle was summoned, I found myself on a slope inbetween the legs of the first one. So I just kept wailing on it. Not sure if I stunlocked it with my attacks or if they all missed because of the slope, but it just unceremoniously died. If it had not been my 5th attempt, I might have been disappointed.


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