Words On Wednesday

2016-06-22 Dark Souls II – Update 2

After a few weeks, I’ve made a little more progress in Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. At the end of the last post, I had just finished the Forest of the Fallen Giants. For this post, I’ve finished Heide’s Tower, No Man’s Wharf, and the Lost Bastille.

Heide’s Tower of Flame

The next logical area after the Forest of the Fallen Giants is Heide’s Tower of Flame. Technically, you also open up the Lost Bastille after you defeat the Pursuer, but it’s a pretty tough area. I was advised by many people to go to Heide’s Tower next.

I pushed into Heide’s Tower from Majula. My first few deaths pushed me all the way back to the far tower, since I accidentally missed the first bonfire in Heide’s Tower. After dealing with this unreasonably long trek about 5 times, I made a concerted effort to actually look for a bonfire. Sure enough, it’s just to the side of the main path near the first enemy in the area. While it didn’t make Heide’s Tower any easier, it did reduce the time I spent getting back to where I died.

The large mobs of Heide’s Tower, the Old Knights, really aren’t that difficult to kill. They hit pretty hard if you aren’t careful, but they’re particularly easy to dodge due to their slow speed. The Heide Knights, however, those guys suck. Luckily, all but a handful of them are asleep until you kill the Dragonrider, so they aren’t too much of a hassle at the beginning of the area. The path to the Dragonrider isn’t long, but there are several forced encounters with multiple Old Knights at the same time. Considering how slow they are, I eventually got to the point that I would just bum rush from the bonfire to the Dragonrider’s chamber every time.

Once I finally figured out how easy the Dragonrider is to sidestep, the fight was cake. No need to parry his attacks, no need to keep my distance, just stay right up next to him and circle around until he swings and leaves himself vulnerable. I did try parrying a lot, but I’m really just not good at parry timing. I’ve gotten good at it with the Pursuer out of necessity, but I rarely try it with other enemies. It gets me hit more often than it opens them up for attacks.

Dragonrider on YouTube.

No Man’s Wharf

After defeating the Dragonrider, I pushed on through the caves to No Man’s Wharf. At first, I just got the bonfire and returned to Heide’s Tower to try and finish it up. As I mentioned previously, the Heide Knights suck, and they all wake up after you kill the Dragonrider. Once I’d eaten enough swords and thrown enough controllers to last a lifetime, I decided I’d just come back to Heide’s Tower later.

I moved on into No Man’s Wharf. I incrementally fought through some enemies, returned to light my torch, and ignite any torch sconces along the path, and extinguish my torch to fight more enemies. For most of the level, this worked pretty well. The shacks along the upper ledge of the level were a pain, though. There are many one way ledges that you have to keep the torch light, as you can’t return to ignite it after killing the enemies. I died several times trying to bum rush through enemies to get to the next sconce.

Once I finally worked my way up through the town, past the creepy dark things that remind me of Nobodies from Devil May Cry, in and out of the shacks, and back down to the docks, I was able to open the shortcut bridge. This bridge literally takes you from the very beginning of the area to the very end, with probably 10 or fewer enemies between you and the boss.

I fought the Flexile Sentry once and lost. Popped a Human Effigy, summoned the 2 NPC characters along the way, and fought it again to win. With a tank taking all the aggro and a mage dishing out absurd DPS, I probably could’ve sat back and not even touched the Flexile Sentry. Funny note, I’m coming from the bonfire with the summons because I tried to save and quit the game. Didn’t realize you couldn’t quit with summons, so I tried to go to the bonfire and rest. Can’t do that with summons either. So I just went for the boss fight, and finished it with ease. In any case, that was another boss down.

Flexile Sentry on YouTube.

Lost Bastille

Once I finished No Man’s Wharf and killed the Flexile Sentry, I took the ship to the Lost Bastille. After I reached the first bonfire, I had 2 points of entry for the Lost Bastille. Though I wanted to push on into the area, I decided it best to return to Heide’s Tower instead.

Heide’s Tower Revisited

I still had some business to finish in Heide’s Tower. Heide Knights be damned, I was gonna finish the tower. I died several times trying to gradually kill everything on my way across the area. Finally, I decided to just bum rush and see if I could find out what all I had left.

I started running and dodged everything I came across. Before long, I made it to the dragon who guards the Blue Cathedral. I got lucky the first time and bypassed the flame breath. Before I got more than a combo or two in on the dragon, the entire populace of Heide’s Tower flooded onto the platform with the dragon and I. In trying to evade all the attacks coming my way, I got a little too close to the edge and the dragon knocked me off. Not a success, but not a complete failure either.

I tried this tactic several times. I rarely died, or even got hit on my way to the dragon. My deaths were roughly equally attributed to 3 causes. I would occasionally botch my timing on the bridge to the platform with the dragon and get incinerated. If I made it to the dragon, I would often get thrown off when trying to dodge attacks. If I stayed on the platform, I would eventually just get chipped to death by the dragon or the enemies who followed me.

I was determined that this was the best option. The dragon would gradually knock the other mobs off the platform, or at least stun them long enough for me to get a few hits in. I at least made more progress than trying to fight my way to the dragon.

Eventually, I bit the bullet and decided to use a Human Effigy to use the summon near the Dragonrider fight. I killed off a few enemies to minimize the risk of the summon dying before the boss fight and started the trek. With a tank for aggro, I was able to get all the way to the dragon with some Estus Flask charges remaining. NPC summons make this game so much easier. Sure enough, I was finally able to kill the dragon.

The Dragon of Heide’s Tower  on YouTube.

Blue Cathedral

Perhaps the smallest accomplishment in this batch, I finished up what I care about of the Blue Cathedral. Immediately after the fight with the dragon, the first room of the Blue Cathedral contains the Old Dragonslayer. I tried fighting him once immediately after I killed the dragon, but that was an exercise in futility. I was down to 2 Estus Flask charges, my summon was at maybe half health, and I’d never seen the boss before.

For my second attempt, I wasn’t going to bother wasting a Human Effigy to summon the NPC again. I wasn’t going to bother fighting through all the enemies in Heide’s Tower. Unlike the dragon that was a mini boss, the Old Dragonslayer is a full on boss, complete with a mist doorway. If I could get to him, I could get through the mist and not worry about other enemies interrupting the fight.

I booked it past every enemy in Heide’s Tower, though I did get pinched between an Old Knight and a wall at one point. Suffered a few hits from a Heide Knight and moved on. I got to the Old Dragonslayer and took my time to study his moves. Once I got his move set down and had a good feeling for how to evade his attacks, he really wasn’t that difficult. Killed him on my second try.

The Old Dragonslayer on YouTube.

Lost Bastille Revisited

Having polished up all my loose ends from previous areas, I pushed forward in the Lost Bastille from the [separate tower whatever] bonfire. The first thing I did was kill the Pursuer spawn for some extra weapon reinforcement materials. After a few tries to practice his parry timing, I killed him pretty easily and continued exploring the Lost Bastille.

Second Pursuer fight on YouTube.

None of the mobs in the Lost Bastille are really that difficult alone. The issue here, as with many other areas, is when they swarm you in bulk. Most areas give you a chance to pull enemies in groups of 1 or 2, to chip them away if you’re careful. One doorway opens up to probably 6 guys, however, and I have no idea how to pull them in limited numbers. I died several times to these guys, trying to take them all on at once. Eventually, I looked into alternative tactics.

I noticed that their follow distance stopped near a torch sconce in a building not far away. The building has a ladder to the second floor, but can only be accessed by skimming along a thin wall. I’ve frequently seen how the following mechanics for NPCs are frequently terrible. Maybe I could bait the group of mobs to follow me to the ladder and bank on them slipping on the edge. I tried it, and sure enough, a couple fell off. Every time I did this, at least one mod died by falling. Plus, they seemed to leave in staggered intervals, so I could chase after stragglers once a few had already left.

Once I could reliably reach the Ruin Sentinels, I popped an effigy to summon the NPC on the way. I only knew of the first summon, so I tried running the fight with just one NPC. Clearly, that wasn’t enough. The lone NPC died after we only killed one of the sentinels, and I couldn’t handle the 2 remaining sentinels without someone else to tank aggro.

I hated to waste another Human Effigy, but I cleared out the path again and used one to now summon both of the available NPCs. We cut through the first Ruin Sentinel like a hot knife through butter, despite the fact that it decided to jump off the initial platform in the middle of the fight. With a mage casting spells from the upper level and a melee NPC occupying the attention of one sentinel, I could handle the other with my full focus. If both came after me, I could just run around until they got distracted. With both summons, the fight was far easier and I finished without much hassle.

Ruin Sentinels on YouTube.

After taking care of the Ruin Sentinels, I finished exploring the Lost Bastille in what is clearly the opposite of the intended order. I unlocked bonfires after the fight, I fought sub bosses, I fell down from ledges instead of trying to find my way up them. It was generally a very strange way to experience the level. The boss was already dead, but I was fighting through a lot of area that I hadn’t yet seen. I also encountered the Pursuer yet again. Considering how often this guy shows up, I’m probably just going to assume I’ll be fighting him through the whole game. Other than that, I just grabbed up any loot I came across, including an Estus Flask shard that I missed when I first came through the area.

Third Pursuer fight on YouTube.

Opening Doors

After I finished with the Lost Bastille, I opened up a few areas around Drangleic. Grabbing the first bonfire of Sinner’s Rise was a quick jaunt from Straid’s cell of the Lost Bastille. I purchased a Silvercat Ring with the souls I received from killing the Ruin Sentinels. With the fall damage reduction and humanity with a full health bar, I was able to survive the fall into the pit in Majula. This gave me access to the bonfires of both the Grave of Saints and the Gutter.

Going forward, I’ll probably knock out Sinner’s Rise next so I can call that area chain finished. Since I got the Bastille Key in the Lost Bastille, the Belfry Luna is completely unnecessary. Once I exhaust Sinner’s Rise, I’ll probably go down the well again and work on both of those areas. Alternatively, I may pay Licia of Lindelt for access to Huntsman’s Corpse.

Edit: Inserted YouTube links as hyperlinks on text, instead of the plain link in parentheses.


Words: 2184 | Characters: 11866 | Sentences: 130

Paragraphs: 40 | Reading Level: 11-12th Grade


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