I stand before the abyss, ready to take the plunge. No, wait. I’ve already done the Abyss as in the Four Kings on NG+ with my strength/faith gal, and it was fucking bullshit, I’ll tell ya. I don’t normally have trouble with the Four Kings because I just Pyro them in the face. New Londo (the area leading up to it) ain’t fun, but it’s not the worst, either. I normally can get through it on one or two tries. As for the Four Kings themselves, it’s usually a one and done in NG. I’ve even done it on NG+ before and not had an issue, but that’s with a character who had vit, end, and strength for DAYS. On this character, I was short all three (though I did bump up Endurance and finally have 40), and the ghosts were owning me. It took me four or five tries to get to the Four Kings, and then they wrecked me in one. I looked up tips (I ain’t too proud to beg), and then I followed the advice of using Power Within and Haveling it up. Mask of the Child for Stamina and the Crest Shield, then, and this is the important part, Great Combustion those assholes in the face.
I love me some Great Combustion, but I tend to view it as a last resort. It really is powerful as fuck, and I’ve been using it as a first option generously. I have two of them which is 16 uses in total. I also have two of the weaker ones, Combustion, and one Black Flame (the dark version) as well. But wait! We are not at that point in my narrative because there was so much other stuff I went through to get there. I stuck with my faith gal because in order to get one of the covenants, you needed to feed Gwyn’s soul to the Altar of Sunlight as a Sunbro AFTER offering ten Sunlight Medals. And, if you break the covenant as I did in the end of NG in order to save Solaire, then you have to offer five more medals in order to get back into the covenant. Anyway, I did that, got the last miracle, and was able to check that achievement off my list.
Here’s a funny thing about me. I’m a completionist, even when I’m running through a game for the hundredth time. I still want to get every item and go to every area even if I can skip it. I usually do Blighttown the normal way even when I have the Master Key just because. Also, Blighttown ain’t as bad as everyone says, especially on the PC. Anyway, on this NG+ non-plat run, I said fuck it. I was just going to go as fast as possible, making sure I did everything I needed to do along the way. I even went into Blighttown the back way and skipped the whole platforming mess. I made it to Biggie & Small in three or four hours, which is unheard of for me. I freaked out before fighting them, however, as I needed Ornstein’s soul. I never fight Super Ornstein because why would I? I had his soul on another character because a summon went for Smough first and I really had no choice. That character was in NG++, however, and didn’t have either Priscilla’s tail or Seath’s tail. I don’t care about tail cuts and have never done either. I also don’t kill Priscilla ever since the first time. Not because it traumatized me and made me think I was stuck in the Painted World of Ariamis forever (though it certainly did that), but because she’s cute and fluffy, and she’s not hurting anyone.
The idea of doing both her and Seath’s tails in NG++ was not palatable to me. With my current character, I already would be doing Seath in NG+ because I had done Seath in NG before deciding to do this not-plat run. I kept the other character in my back pocket, however, in case I needed it. I did the Painted World in NG, and I finally took a deep breath before going into Priscilla’s boss room. I will fully admit that I looked up the best way to chop off her tail. It was Black Knight Sword +5, two-handed, Right Trigger attack. I was freaked out because I had never attempted it before, and here I was doing it for my not-plat run! I also remembered how I got stuck for ages the first time I fought her, but that was many playthroughs ago, and I was not a Dark Souls n00b any longer. I was also much later in the game than when I fought her in my first playthrough. I went in and aimed up my attack. The first time you face Priscilla, she doesn’t attack you. She even gives you the option to leave rather than fight. So, I had all the time in the world to line up, and I got her tail in one swing. Then, she pulled her disappearing act, and I got my Pyro spells ready. Great Combustion, in fact. She did hit me with her scythe, but I managed to heal and munch on a Bloodred Moss Clump (cures bleed and bleed build-up) without getting hit again.
The first time I fought her oh-so-many years ago, she wrecked me over and over again. I felt like her attacks were coming out of nowhere, and I couldn’t do anything to stop the bleed. I remember DM’ing Ian in deep distress that I would never get out of the Painted World, and I truly thought my journey had ended. I had to use some tips and tricks I’d read about on the interwebs, and I finally, finally got her. This time around, I watched her feet on the snow, and I was able to easily dodge most of her attacks. I got her with one Great Chaos Fireball, which surprised the fuck out of me. I didn’t feel good about it, but it had to be done.
Back to Biggie and Small. I was worried about bringing in a summon who would kill Ornstein first. Of course, I could just let Super Smough kill me, but a really good summon could kill him before that happened. I managed to get a human summon, and I put down a message saying ‘Need beanpole’ and pointed at it, but my summon didn’t read it. I also summoned Solaire, but he didn’t come into the boss fight. This was in NG+. I had trouble with Solaire all NG+, and I think (hope) I finally got him through his goddamn questline, so he goddamn better show up for the Gwyn fight (his sign wasn’t there before). I don’t need him, but I would like to have him to make it as easy as possible.
ANYWAY. Me and my summon, my buddy, Ajora, went into the fight. Of course Ornstein came straight at me, and I dodged it as I ran for Smough. Ajora was quick to suss out what I wanted to do and joined me in attacking Smough. Ajora had charcoal pine resin on their blade and was swiping two-handed. We were Pyro pals carving up Smough, and it was a thing of beauty. We got him down, and then, of course, it was Super Small. I’ve tried to fight him on my own before, and it was horrid. With my buddy, however, it wasn’t bad at all. I honestly think it probably wouldn’t be as hard on my own because I’ve gotten better at the game. He moves more slowly as Super O as he did when he was normal size. Or maybe it just seemed like it to me. At any rate, me and Ajora took care of Super Small, and I was stoked as hell! Ajora was a terrific summon, so a shout-out and a thank you for helping me tick another box on ye old achievement list for my not-plat run!
Next up, the Four Kings. I referenced them at the beginning of the post, and it’s time to circle back to them. I was raging about how long it took me to do the New Londo Ruins, but in reality, it was still nothing compared to the first time I played the game. It’s hard to remember the days when I died like a hundred times in the Undead Burg (only a slight exaggeration) so to die three or four times through all of New Londo Ruins ain’t no thing. I was also playing around the time that the servers were down for service, so I had to play offline. Which meant no human summons. Not that there are ever many in this area, anyway. I could summon Witch Beatrice, but the one time I did, she died before making it into the boss arena. Plus, for this particular boss, having a bad summon is worse than soloing. So I said fuck it and did it on my own. And using the strats I mentioned above, I got them the first time. The thing about the Four Kings is that you want to get up in their grill at all times. They do more damage to you the further away you are. Wearing Havel’s means you can take the hits and swig an estus up in their faces. Also, you can only wear one ring (in essence) because you have to wear the Covenant of Artorias ring in order to go into the Abyss and fight the Four Kings in the first place. I’m wearing the Ring of Favor and Protection, which breaks if you take it off. That one wasn’t going anywhere, obviously, so I had to take off the Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring which boosts spells and pyros. I ran out of pyros for the last king, and I just swiped him with my Quelaag’s Furysword +5 repeatedly until he died. It wasn’t graceful and it wasn’t pretty, but it got the fucking job done.
I have so much left undone, but I’m up to Gwyn now. I Great Combustioned Nito to his adorably plushie face and got him in one. I also used my beloved Hidden Body/Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring combo at the start of the fight so the skellies would ignore me. Oh, I entered the Darkwraith covenant this time because I didn’t have that, either. It was nice to get that achievement since they are few and far between now. I got the Miracle one at the beginning of NG+ and this one, and that’s it for NG+. I did a bunch of boss weapons, and I have the last two I need prepped for NG++.
Since I hate the Bed of Chaos so much, I decided to try the cheese for it. One is a firebomb cheese that is incredibly fiddly, so I went to buy 99 firebombs and went to the spot I was supposed to be. It’s right in front of the tree, and she doesn’t attack you at all. I was able to watch the video from this spot as I chucked firebombs in the direction of the first orb. I kept fucking it up, so I kept referencing the video. I finally got the first orb after using something like 40 firebombs, then immediately got thrown off my path for the second one. now, the BoC starts shooting firesprays down the middle where you’re standing, and I had forgotten to bring Flashsweat with me. I tried, but I couldn’t get the second orb with the firebombs, so I homeward boned out and decided to do the second orb with the bow cheese. I got most of the branches, but the orb wasn’t destroyed. I couldn’t figure out where else to shoot, so I decided to jump and–I fell.
I ran in again and got the second orb with the bow cheese, then ran to the middle, jumped towards the plank and–fell. I ran to her again and got it this time. It was less times than it took me in NG to defeat the BoC, even if it took more time overall. I’m not sure it did, but the chucking bombs bit was VERY fiddly. At any rate, I had to do it because I needed to make it fun for me.
This is running long. I have much more to say. I’ll say it in the next post. See you then!