Underneath my yellow skin

Bloodborne: Nightmare Slain

Still thinking how I feel about Bloodborne now that I’m done with it. I’m not done playing it, obviously, but I have FEELINGS about finishing my first playthrough. I’ve written about some of my thoughts and feelings here, and I’m going to continue ruminating in this post. I left off the last post after beating Lady Maria, on my own, with an unusual strategy, and it’s probably the boss I’m most proud of beating because I thought I’d have problems with her before ever playing the game.  After  beating Lady Maria, I knew what was next, and I was dreading it. The Fishing Hamlet is legend for being grueling, and that’s the last thing I wanted at that point. I decided to tackle Laurence first, even though I knew that would be a pain in the ass, too. Weirdly, I did really well the first time and got him down to half-health. As per usual, I didn’t do nearly as well after that. I gave it several valiant tries, then decided I just didn’t give a shit. By the way, I’ve said it before, but giving a boss monster health isn’t a fun way of making it hard. Letting them have one-shot kills isn’t great, either. Covering the floor in lava, not good, either, and Laurence has all three. During the same time, I decided to allow myself to be summoned because I wanted to get my five Vermins, and I was curious to see if anyone was still playing.

I rang my Small Resonant Bell, and I didn’t have to wait long. I was summoned in, and imagine my delight when my host used Accursed Brew on Laurence. As that is one of my go-to spells as well (which means I actually started the last section of the DLC because that’s where you get the Hunter Tool from an NPC right at the very beginning. I did that specific bit just to get the Hunter Tool, then turned right around), I was delighted to help another arcane build. By the way, Accursed Brew is the best Hunter Tool in terms of bang for your buck. Two bullets, 500+ damage. It’s very economical. Anyway, my host and I ran around the arena, pelting Laurence with Accursed Brew. I Whirligigged his ass whenever prudent, and I used A Call Beyond twice. We finished him off with double Accursed Brews, and it was glorious. I LOVE bossing a boss with magic/arcane, and I bowed to my host with utmost respect. My favorite time of being summoned in DS III was when I was a pyro, the host and the other summon were a sorcery caster and a miracle user (don’t remember which was which). We got wrecked the first time, but then by some miracle (probably because we were the only ones playing), we got grouped together again. This was for Aldrich, Devourer of Gods, who is MUCH easier as a caster. It was a glorious thing to see the boys firing off lightning and magic while I was hurling fire at the boss. We destroyed Aldrich in roughly thirty seconds, and it was the best feeling ever.

Anyway, after several attempts at Laurence, I just couldn’t give a fuck. This is a ding in my mind for the DLCs of the game. I solo’ed the Artorias of the Abyss DLC for the original game because no one was playing it by the time I got to it, but if I could have summoned, I probably would have. I summoned for the DLCs of DS II (all the bosses. I really didn’t care at that point. I did many of them solo with my tank character in my second playthrough, but as a caster, I couldn’t be stuffed), and I summoned for all of the bosses in the DS III DLCs except the optional boss of the first one. I have soloed two of the four bosses in the second DLC with my tank character, but that’s still a few bosses I haven’t solo’ed. There are also a few bosses in the main game of DS II that I haven’t soloed, but I’ve done the vast majority of them solo. I’ve beaten this drum so many times, I broke the drum, but I don’t have much love for the DLCs of the games (except the first) even while I can acknowledge they’re technically brilliant. I summoned Valtr for Laurence, and I didn’t even pretend it was only to see Laurence’s moves. I also tried to summon a human phantom, but I couldn’t get one (probably because I had pumped my levels, and I was technically over-leveled for the area. Remember, fifty of the levels were in Arcane, though). I managed to snag a human phantom once and Valtr, and I really thought that would be the one because humans are usually better than NPCs, but to my dismay, my summon died within thirty seconds of the fight beginning. The problem with the DLCs is that some people use the summoning system as a way to look at the boss without any consequences. My mindset is that I’m not going to ring my Small Resonant Bell (or use my Orange Sign Soapstone in Souls) unless I’m fairly sure I’m going to be helpful because the players do less damage with a summon and the boss gets more health.

I realized while putting down my Orange Sign Soapstone in DS III that I’m actually a pretty good summon. I know my goal is to keep my host alive, which means drawing attention away if they need to heal–and I have healing spells/tools that will do just that. I am proud to say that with Laurence, I only died once as a summon–it was a really stupid thing on my part. Also, you get something like thirty percent less health as a summon, so there’s that, too. Being summoned has helped me readjust my idea that I’m a terrible Souls games player. Let me explain. In the gen pop, I’m a good Souls player. In ‘the community’ however, I felt like I was a firmly mediocre player. I’m old. My reflexes are slow. I use shields (not in Bloodborne, though!). I’m a filthy caster, etc. It takes me twice as long as other Souls players to play the games. Then I started summoning and allowing myself to be summoned, and I realized I was better than I had given myself credit for. One reason is that all the people I watch play the Souls games on YouTube are better than I am. Some are slightly better, but many are significantly better. Ian pointed out that they are a small minority of the community, and I think he’s right. They’re like onebro good, which is only a tiny percent of the community. So, I have powered up my rank in ‘the community’ to good at the games. But barely.

Anyway, Valtr and I took care of Laurence after many tries. In the winning try, Valtr died before the breaking off Laurence’s legs part, and I was like, “Oh, shit.” However, I figured out you can stay by his head as he does the circle of lava bullshit (strafing left, per yooz), get a few hits in, then retreat to a safe distance as he throws his tantrum. I finished him off with an Accursed Brew, and I was triumphant, yes, but I also was relieved it was over. I always feel this way at the end of a Souls game, and it’s mostly on me because I just plow my way through them without much rest or respite. Since Valtr died during the fight, I needed one more Vermin to finish Valtr’s quest, and I dedicated one session to being summoned in front of Laurence in order to get the Vermin. I only died once, and I got my Vermin, and it was all good.

At some point before this, I went back to Martyr Logarius and Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos–two optional bosses who had given me so much trouble before. In going back, I had several more levels and a few tricks in my back pocket to face them. You will not be surprised to know that they were much easier this time around, and while I died to each a few times, I was pretty sure I could take them. Ebrietas was cake, but Logarius still had some fight in him. I tweeted my pro tips for beating him:

This is when one of my Tweeple said he wished walkthroughs for Bloodborne were written like my tweets because he ran around a lot and cursed while he fought the bosses as well. Hey, it’s not the normal strategy for beating Logarius, and it’s probably not optimal, but it’s my strategy, and it worked for me.

After I beat Laurence, I knew what I had to do. I had to go into the Fishing Hamlet, the last area of the DLC. I did it with reluctance, and while it wasn’t as bad as I feared, it was fucking tedious. It helped to have Hunter Tools in order to have some ranged options, but, man, did I not love this area at all. It did have the other Blood Rock, so yay for that, even though I haven’t used it yet. I’m not happy about the lack of upgrade material in this game–you have to get deep into the Chalice Dungeons in order to reliably farm Blood Chunks and Blood Rocks. In DS III, I had more Titanite Slabs than I could handle; in this game, ONE Blood Rock in the main game and one in the DLC. I’ll talk about the Chalice Dungeons later, but needless to say, I would prefer to be able to farm Chunks and Rocks in the main game. Anyway, I finished Simon’s (sad) questline and got Simon’s Bowblade. It’s a fun weapon, but I’m not sure I’m going to upgrade it given the lack of upgrade material. There are so many cool weapons in the DLC, but most of them are sitting in my inventory not touched because of the lack of upgrade material. I can only upgrade them up to +6, and that just won’t cut it in NG+. I’m getting ahead of myself, however.

Orphan of Kos. Legend. Asshole. The cause of many nightmares. Considered to be the hardest boss in Soulsborne games (remember, this came out before Dark Souls III) up until that point, and his reputation was well-earned. Weirdly, I didn’t have as much trouble with him as I did with some of the other bosses, but I really didn’t feel like spending hours soloing him. I tried to get summoned for the boss, but only managed to be called in after the host and another summon beat the boss. The weird thing about Bloodborne is that if you don’t silence your Beckoning Bell, it lasts until you either die or warp back to the Hunter’s Dream (I am assuming the latter), which is kinda neat, but weird. Anyway, I tried to summon, but I couldn’t for several tries. I finally managed to summon an amazing phantom who was using the Whirligig Saw. It’s also what I was using (plus my Accursed Brew), and we made very short work of the Orphan. I felt relieved yet exhausted after finishing the DLC, and I was ready to complete the main game as well.

I decided to try Gehrman a time or two just to see what he was like. Before the DLC was released, he was widely considered the hardest boss in the main game, and I wanted to test my mettle against him. I went through the previously-locked gate in the Hunter’s Dream, and I met up with Gehrman. I declined to submit my life to him (one ending), and initiated the fight. To my surprise, he wasn’t too hard. He’s basically a scaled-down version of Lady Maria, and even though he killed me in my first attempt, I knew he wasn’t going to be a problem. I went back to him and used Ebrietas to stagger him for the visceral, then Accursed Brew to finish him off in his third form. I think I got him in five or six tries, and I never really sweated it. I only had four blood vials when I beat him, though, and I knew that would be a problem for the (not-so) secret (to me) end boss to follow, the Moon Presence. By the way, am I the only one who thought she resembled the Gaping Dragon when she stomped next to me and damaged me with her legs? Only me? OK, then. Moving on.

The Moon Presence wasn’t that hard, but she killed me because I was overthinking it. When she does her blast that takes you down to one HP and the other thing that doesn’t let you heal, you either have to go in to smack her around with your Tonitrus +9 (because she’s kin) to regen your health, or run around the arena, avoiding her until you get your ability to heal back. Once I stopped dicking around, I took care of her with little fanfare, watched my end cutscene, then rolled straight into NG+. I knew that was going to happen, but I didn’t like it, anyway. I would prefer to be able to choose when I go into NG+, but whatever.

Right now, I’m maining the Tonitrus +9 and the Whirligig  Saw +9 with a healthy dose of my beloved Hunter Axe +10 (still can’t decide which +9 weapon gets the precious Blood Rock), and NG+ ain’t a joke, yo. This is getting long, however, so I’ll wrap it up and see you back here for one last post (ha!). Happy hunting until then.

 

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