Published on July 1st, 2013 | by Malcolm Spinedi0
Dark Souls Journal #2 – A Powerful Start
After you pick your character, you’re throw into an area called the Undead Asylum (After a pretty epic cinematic scene). This level is the tutorial level of Dark Souls, for lack of a better term. Unlike other tutorial wrestlers, you can die a lot. This has been said before, but it has to be said again: There is no hand holding in Dark Souls. If you think you’re hot stuff, and are going destroy and pillage Dark Souls, you’re in for a rude awakening.
In the beginning, I can offer two bit’s of advice: First encounter with the Asylum Demon, you don’t need to win or die. When you first encounter the monster, you won’t have any weapons, so you’re doing very minimal damage. I suppose if you a hardcore Souls Nut, you can try if you’d like. However, for now it’s much easier to escape in the door on the left, and avoid the fight for now.
Press on and you’ll gather all the equipment you’ll need to continue in Dark Souls. The most important of which being the Estus Flask. This gives you the ability to regain your health 5x at first, but you can go as high as 20x with upgrades to the bonfire. The Estus Flask is an item I bring up whenever someone says Darks Souls is too hard. You want hard, I recommend giving Dark Souls spiritual predecessor Demon’s Souls a try. At least with Dark Souls they give you a constant way to heal yourself. Not so in Demon’s Souls; you had to farm for an item called moon grass. If you run out, tough cookies. However, in Dark Souls, you get your Estus Flasks back every time you rest at a bonfire. So while it can be hard to see, the developers did try to make Dark Souls easier for you.
Your next clash with the Asylum Demon will be for real. Attack him with a diving slash from the top of your floor, and you can start by taking a chunk off his HP. Just wait till he looks up at you to preform the strike. From here, strafe around him, rolling to the side if his attack looks like it might hit you. Once he misses, strafe around him and strike him. For this fight, I recommend two-handing your weapon, as it increases damage and speeds up the the fight. There’s no blocking his attacks, so using the shield isn’t going to help you. BTW, Pyromancy is very effective here, so use it if you chose the Pyromancer. Here’s a video from IGN’s Destin to show you what I just said:
After you get past the Asylum Demon, you just need to kill a few more enemies to escape the Undead Asylum. After this, you’re transported to The Firelink Shrine, which is kind of the equivalent of The Nexus from Demon’s Souls. Firelink Shrine is one of the few places in Dark Souls where you can say “I’m safe.” Also, quite a few shortcuts open up here to take you to other areas as well. From here, you could continue to Undead Burg to continue your Dark Souls quest. However, perhaps there was a build that you were hoping to have. Like maybe you wanted a powerful character, and wanted a use Great Swords? Maybe you wanted to be a katana using samurai? Well, I’m going to give you some ways to not only get these items but power yourself up at the start. That’s the awesome thing about Dark Souls; you can accomplish anything. You’re just going to have to work for it.
- Firelink Weapons – Right at the start, you can find quite a few items in Firelink Shrine alone. Fall underneath the elevator to the north and you’ll find a Morning Star mace, which is great for bleed damage. Within the same chest you’ll also get a Talisman, which is great if you wanted to learn and cast Miracles. There is a Miracle trainer right in Firelink (the fat blonde guy holding a mace) who will train you for souls.
- Graveyard Items – If you go through the small mausoleum in the Shrine and take a left down the stares, you’ll come across a graveyard full of skeletons. These skeletons (as well as the area itself) is a pretty high level area, and will destroy your character if you try to go toe to toe. Thankfully, you don’t need to kill them. When you start to head down into the graveyard; run! The skeletons’ animation for assembling themselves takes some time to finish, so take that time to run ahead of them. Don’t stop running, or they will catch you. Keep running and pick up the items you see, and then get out of there. Don’t worry if you die, as long as you have the items, they’re yours to keep. Here can find the Winged Spear and the Zweihander greatsword.
- The Uchigatana - This katana you wouldn’t normally see until Blight Town, but it is actually possible to get it now, but it comes at a great price. You can find it in the town of Undead Burg, close to the start. After you get in, you see a small bridge that takes you to a tower with two spearman. After you take them out, head down the stairs and to the balcony. You’ll find an Undead Merchant there, who does sell you some useful items; such as arrows, the residence key, and the bottomless box. Thing is, to get the katana (this early anyway) you need to kill the merchant. He isn’t tough, but keep in mind once you kill him, he and his store are gone for good. So it maybe a good idea to wait before grabbing it, it’s your call.
That should give you a good start. However, if you’re feeling really industrious, there is more stuff you can get. VGS shows you a plethora of stuff you can get right at the start in the video below, however keep in mind most of the stuff towards the end will take a bit of trial and error (DEATH!) but the rewards for getting this stuff early in Dark Souls is great. Remember getting this stuff now is not necessary, and you can just decide to continue with Dark Souls story at anytime.
Now, the holy grail of “overpowering early” in Dark Souls is this run. In involves a lot of luck, but if you pull this off you’re set for a while. The run means running past the graveyard and into the Catacombs, one of the final areas of Dark Souls. The video, done by Ayriak, shows the route you have to go through to do it. If you decide to go this route, here’s some advice: Study the footage a lot. It’s easy to get lost or stuck, and if that happens you’re dead. It’s necessary to be a human for this run to be complete, so you literally have one shot at this to get everything at the start. Remember there is no pausing in Dark Souls, so you can’t stop to re-watch the footage. If you pull this off, you can get the Great Scythe, one of the best Dexterity weapons, and The Art of Kindling, which allows you to raise the amount of Estus Flasks you get from a bonfire. If you can complete this run, you can also power up the Great Scythe, and give it fire damage.
I tried this with my first play through, and was killed during the fight with the pinwheel boss. So it’s very difficult, but still rewarding if you can at least get the Rite of Kindling and Great Scythe. Good Luck!
That’ll do for this week. Next time, I’ll talk about Undead Burg, The Drake Sword, and a great spot for soul farming early.