During my Dark Souls not-plat run, I tried some cheese late in the game to make it more interesting for me. I mentioned it in my last two posts about the end of the not-plat run, and I brought the same mentality into my current playthrough of DS III. Here’s a fun fact* about the third game: there is no cloud sync. There is one in the original, but not this game for whatever reason. That means that I can only play whatever characters I have created on this computer–which is one. I found this out the hard way when the game came out and I had finished it. Then, I went to visit Ian right around the time of the second DLC, and I was on a different computer than the one I had done the main game on. Imagine my surprise when I tried to find my character, and she wasn’t there. I had to start over and run through the whole game again in order to access the DLC. Maybe it was the first DLC. At any rate, it was frustrating.
My current character is on NG+ and when I picked up the game again, I was about to enter the Catacombs of Carthus. I was a strengthcaster per yooz with a heavy emphasis on casting. I had 30 in Int and 30 in Faith, and I had skimped on Vi….t? Vig? *frantically Googles* Vigor! They change all the stats from game to game so it’s not easy to remember which is in which game. Anyway, I skimped on Vigor, Endurance, and Vitality (see!), and I am trying to beef those up now. I usually neglect Vitality because I prefer to wear lighter armor and bump up my other stats. My one character on NG++++ (pauses) + (I think it’s NG+5) has Vit for days, but I’ll never be able to use her again, sadly.
I finally have my Vigor up to 28 and Endurance up to 30, and I’ll probably leave them once I get my Vigor up to 30. Faith is 35 so I can use Bountiful Sunlight with the Symbol of Avarice when I’m farming for…I’ll get to that in a minute. I would like to get it to 45 to use Soothing Sunlight, but I’m not sure I can justify 10 points in Faith just for that miracle. I do have it, however. I’m not doing a plat run, nor am I doing a not-plat run, but it’s nice to have in my back pocket just in case.
Why am I not doing a not-plat run? Because the farming for covenant items is bullshit. It was ridiculous in the first game, but at least it was only ten of each item rather than fucking thirty. Granted, you need thirty humanity for the Chaos Servant covenant to reach Level 3 and get one Pyro (plus open the shortcut and save Solaire), but humanity is easy to farm in the game and it’s pretty plentiful, anyway. I hoard it through the game and farm halfway through, so I usually end up with the max (99) by the end of the game even after entering the covenant. Other than that, you need ten Sunlight Medals, and you get one every time you beat a boss with a sunbro summon or beat a boss as a sunbro summon. Otherwise, farming the Chaos Bugs is the way to go. I had to do that to get six or seven of them. Oh, you also get one from Solaire and one from Lautrec–and you find one in a chest in Anor Londo. You also need ten Souvenirs of Reprisal (farmed by killing the Crow Demons in the Painted World) and ten Eyes of Death (basilisk farming). I think that’s it for the farming, and honestly, it wasn’t that painful.
In Dark Souls III, however….I get grumpy just thinking about it. You need 30 vertebra shackles, and they are a very rare drop from the Carthus Swordsman, and I mean VERY rare. I tried to kill two of them near a bonfire probably thirty times and didn’t get one. You also need 30 Proofs of a Concord Kept which you get by farming Silver Knights. There are three by a bonfire at the beginning of Anor Londo, and I farmed them perhaps five times without getting anything. I ran out of patience, obviously. Oh, and you also need 30 Wolf’s Blood Swordgrass from Ghrus, but that is actually easier to get, and I did it in an area with 2 Darkwraiths because you also need 10 Pale Tongues, which they drop. Once I got the 10 Pale Tongues, I went to a bonfire that had 3 Ghrus near it to make it easier. I got my 30 Wolf’s Blood Swordgrass without too much sweat, and I didn’t realize how much harder the Vertebra Shackles and Proof of a Concord Kept were going to be. You also have to get 10 Human Dregs which wasn’t that bad to get.
By the way, you can get all of these items via PvP, but that’s not my jam at all. As I was looking all the above items to remember the exact specs, there was a thread bitching about how hosts were being dishonorable to invaders. I mean, you come the fuck into my world, I’m not playing by any fucking rules but my own. There are ways to summon invaders or to fight in arenas, and, yeah, sure, follow PvP etiquette for that, but in my game? No. Invaders in that thread were writing about the traps they set and how much fun it is or the fact that they have less health and less estus so they were going to do whatever they could to their advantage, but couldn’t seem to understand why the host would feel the same way. My solution is two-fold. I play off-line most of the time I’m embered/human except for boss fights, and if I do get invaded, I kill myself by throwing myself off the closest cliff. If there is no cliff nearby, I let a common enemy kill me. Anything not to give the invader the satisfaction of killing me themselves. I know they still get the reward, but I don’t care about that.
Yes, I know it’s a part of the game and a beloved one as well. I don’t give a fuck. I hate it, and I will never not hate it. In addition, anyone still doing it at this time, especially in Dark Souls, is nails at it by now. The only time I stand a chance is when I’m more strength than caster as I was in Dark Souls II. I had a 5 and 2 record, which is not bad at all for me.
Anyway, back to DS III. I tried to farm the vertebra shackles for what felt like decades for ONE fucking Pyromancy (Warmth. It’s a healing ball. It’s cool, but worth hours of farming? No, says I). I had all the gear needed to stack up my Luck stat. Mimic head, Crystal Sage’s Rapier in my off-hand, Covetous Gold Serpent Ring+3. I even use a Rusted Coin now and again. The problem is that all this means I’ll get a drop, but it doesn’t guarantee which drop. So, I have all these swords and kukri knives I don’t need. Well, not any more. I sold many of the items dropped, but it’s still frustrating. Farming for thirty Wolf’s Blood Swordgrasses took maybe two hours. I think I started with three. In my first farming area, I got one every three runs or so. It was a little less frequent in the second farming area, but I managed to get two out of three enemies twice.
The thing is, there are only seven achievements left (including The Dark Souls, which is the achievement for getting all the other achievements. I only need one gesture for the Gestures achievement, which I can’t get in this playthrough. So goddamn fiddly. I need all the NG++ rings for that achievement, and I’m going to get the remaining +3 ring I don’t have because while it’s probably not necessary as it’s a DLC ring, I would be really mad if I had to go through the DLC in NG++ to get it. Still. I don’t want to do the DLC if I do a not-plat run because it’s needless. Or is it? I have to check if the spells/pyros/miracles achievements include the DLC. Probably not. I’ve never done all the infusions, but that’s easy enough. It’s really the covenant bullshit that is the worst. Everything else is just fiddly and tedious.
Oh! The cheese I mentioned? I decided to cheese as many bosses as possible for this playthrough because why not? I made my way to High Lord Wolnir, a boss I never have trouble with. It’s a boring fight, and there’s a crap curse AoE that can almost insta-kill. Why not start here for some cheesy goodness? I looked it up, and I saw that you could use Pestilent Mist on him and kill him without even waking him up. You had to go to his hand and apply Pestilent Mist. Then, wait until it runs out before doing it again. Rinse, lather, repeat. When his health runs out, he wakes up and dies in one go. It was funny as hell, and it reminded me that the status effects in these games are STRONG. I have used Pestilent Mist on Midir, Desert Pyromancer Zoey, and Shira. I recently read that you can use it on Mimics, and it works on them as well. I’ve also tried to Toxic Mist Gael, but he jumps around too much for it to stick. It’s actually easier just to poison him with a poisoned weapon. One revelation was Dorhy’s Gnawing, which is a Miracle that takes 25 Faith to use. I read that it was the cheese to beat Sister Friede and the Demon Prince. I was skeptical, but I used it on both of those bosses because I needed to beat them solo. I thought there was no way it would work on all three phases of Sister Friede, but it did!
I’m past Pontiff Sulyvahn, of course, and I did look up cheese. There wasn’t any, not really, so I just called in my two homies, Black Hand Gotthard and Londor Pale Shade, in part because I needed BHG’s gesture and wanted to make sure I had LPS’s, but also because I usually call in Anri, and I was giving him a break. Farming the three Silver Knights in the beginning of Anor Londo nets me 40,000 souls in one go. A level is now 160,000 souls or so, so it’s not terrible. Would love to beef up my Vig, End, and Vit now.
I stumbled over something interesting during this NG+ playthrough. I gave Irina of Carim the Dark Braille tomes because I normally wouldn’t, and I wanted to do something different. I’ve done it in the past in order to fight Morne, but I did it this time just because. Morne was already dead because I did the sequence breaking early on, so I wasn’t able to fight him this time. Anyway, I went back to Irina, and she wouldn’t sell me anything–she would only talk about the creatures gnawing at her in the darkness. I was frustrated because I wasn’t sure I bought all her Miracles in NG, and if I was not-platting, I wanted to cross that off the list. I looked it up, and I found out that I could get the bad ending for her. What? She had a bad ending? I’ve gotten the good ending–her becoming a Fire Keeper after buying all the ‘light’ miracles from her. I’ve gotten the ending where I fight Morne and she simply disappears for the rest of the playthrough. I’ve had her sat in Firelink Shrine and not doing much of anything for the game because I don’t buy all her shit. I have never, however, known there was a bad ending.
It starts with buying dark miracles from her and killing Morne, her protector. Then, you have to wear his gauntlets so when she asks you to touch her, she feels his gauntlets. She thinks you’re him (she’s blind), and she requests that you kill her as you promised. She won’t say anything else, and I reluctantly killed her. As she died, she gasped out, “Ohh, a knight of Carim…” “…is always true to his word…” I felt horrible, and I will never do that again. I’m also amazed, however, that there was still something new for me to find in the game. And, it actually made me emotionally because she’s probably the nicest NPC in the game. The fact that she made Morne promise to kill her if she got infected by the darkness and that he had agreed…and that I was the one who brought about her downfall, it was all too much.
I love this game. It’s my favorite game of all time. I don’t want to spoil it by doing a not-plat run because I would be raging by the end of all the stupid covenant bullshit. I mean, grinding for hours on end? Yeah, there’s nothing more engaging. Even the ring achievement, which has to be done over three game cycles, is more bearable than the covenant shit. I’m going to try to resist the call of the not-plat for as long as I can. Wish me luck.
ETA: I forgot to say that there is a way to cheese the covenant bullshit–having a friend who is willing to let you invade them over and over again and kill them for the items. I might have to lean on the RKG community to get it done if I do a not-plat run, but I’m not sure how many people actually play on PC.
*And by fun, I mean irritating as fuck.