Underneath my yellow skin

A tale of two games–not-platting Dark Souls II and getting Cozy Grove

I finished the not-plat for SotFS/Dark Souls II and it wasn’t nearly as painful as the other two, especially DS III. I found out that the best way to farm for the Sunlight Medals (and I can say this because I platted the game) is to put on all your best item-finding gear, go to the first bonfire in the Brightstone Cove Tseldora area, and use your best magicks/biggest sword to mow down the seven Falconers in the area. I didn’t do this at first because it’s so annoying to have to draw out each one without getting swarmed. I could still get two-shot by these assholes, which was frustrating. Plus, with the extended length of the enemy range, it was too easy to proc more than one of them.

The problem was that the rate of getting the Sunlight Medals in the other areas was extremely low. In this area, once I got my routine down pat, I was able to get one medal almost every loop. The answer was to use Heavy Homing Soul Arrow to draw one enemy to me without alerting the others. I used Soul Spear to take care of two of the archers. For my sword, I used the Black Knight Ultra Greatsword which has the added bonus of setting things on fire. Here’s the last post and this is the continuation of that post. I was able to get the last ten or so Sunlight Medals in less than hour, which was amazing.

Once I was done with that, I made sure I had all the magicks I could get in NG+. It was a good thing I checked because I missed two–a sorcery and a hex. If I had had to go into the DLC in NG++, well, let’s just say I would NOT be happy about that at all. I was miffed as it was because I had to run through more than half the game again. Or did I? I looked up the fastest way to get to Drangleic Castle because there is an alternative to getting the four big souls and opening it that way. I knew about it from the first time I played, but I never thought about it because it seemed ridiculous. It’s getting a million souls and opening the door that way. Riiiiight. A million souls? Well. That was much more reasonable in NG++ with the boss souls I was carrying around with me. And all the other consumable souls, too. The most common way to get a great amount of souls as fast as possible was…


Look. It’s like this. There’s a well in Majula. If you jump down the well, you can get to another area of the game. If you try to make the jump in the beginning of the game, you’ll probably die. It takes a HUGE chunk of your health, even with the Silvercat Ring, which reduces fall damage. There’s also a sorcery, Fall Control, that does the same. Huh. In looking it up, there’s also a piece of armor, Flying Feline Boots, that will also do the same. These all stack. Anyway, you can get to The Rotten, one of the big four, in a fairly short order–after going through the absolute worse area of the game, The Gutter. The Black Gulch, where The Rotten resides, is also pure shit. But! Once you make it to the second bonfire, it’s easy just to Bonfire Ascetic it and run straight to The Rotten after summoning Lucatiel of Mirrah to help out. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

If I was really considering going this route, then I wanted to make sure I had absolutely everything else I needed before going into NG++. That meant using a Bonfire Ascetic for The Duke’s Dear Freja to get the Old Paledrake Soul. That’s needed to trade it in for the Crystal Soul Spear sorcery from my man, Straid. I also Bonfire Ascetic-ed it to fight The Rotten to get the Old Dead One’s Soul. I traded that in, again, with my man, Straid, for a hex called Numbness. That gave me the Master of Sorcery and the Master of Hexes. That left me with two achievements–Master of Pyromancy and Master of Miracles. Well, also The Dark Soul achievement, but you get that one automatically when you get the rest of the achievements.

Once I was done with that, I triple-checked everything because I would be pissed if I went down this route and realized I had fucked something up. When I had everything in order, at least as best as I could, I took a deep breath and went into NG++. I rushed my way to Majula before eating all the Souls I had in my inventory. I don’t think I can overstate how uncomfortable this made me. I’m the type that hoards all my resources and never uses them ‘just in case’. Just in case what? I need them at some point? Anyway, I crunched and chewed my way through 1.5 million souls–you read that right–and set about to get the other mill and a half. Oh, wait, I didn’t mention that part, did I? It’s a million souls per NG cycle so NG++ is 3,000,000 souls. That’s the reason to beeline it to one of the four big bosses as quickly as possible–they give you the most bang per buck.

I made it to The Rotten and then had to change up my M.O. For the run in NG++, I put on all the gear that helped me get more souls, including the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring that gives +10% souls. I had the +2 version, which gives +30% souls. The Tseldora armor set gives additional souls, too. I had two pieces of that armor so I wore them even though they were shit for physical protection. The Rotten is supposed to be the easier big boss, but he could one-shot me with certain movements. I managed to kill him a few times, but I was struggling. It was much harder than it should have been. So, I took a deep breath and respecced my character. The conventional wisdom was to use a spear/thrusting weapon because he was weak to thrust. And, of the elements, he was the weakest to lightning. So, I boosted my health, endurance, faith, and dex. I bumped up the Winged Spear to +10 and used my most bad-ass lightning spells. I wore the Redeye Ring to draw aggro so Lucatiel would last most of the fight.

Side note: There are three NPCs you can summon for this fight. Lucatiel is right by the bonfire. The other two are far-off and it wasn’t worth it fighting through all the enemies to get them. The boss gains health proportionate to how many NPCS you have and none of  them were lasting the whole fight, anyway. Plus, I did not want to have to deal with the AI invading NPCs so I just took Lucatiel into the fight with me.

I can’t tell you how unhappy it made me to go into the fight with a completely different build and gear I would never use on the regs. However, I have to say, it worked. I was skeptical before going in, but it fucking worked. I have to stress that at this point in the game, I had enough levels so I could have 40 in Vigor (health), 40 in Endurance (stamina), 30 in Dex, and 55 in Faith. That’s a lot of levels so it’s not easy to accomplish until this point in the game–and only because I grind a hell of a lot when I play Souls games.

Anyway, I was able to get the rest of the souls I needed in a fairly short amount of time. Before I respecced, I was killing him maybe once every three or four tries. Once I pared it down to the bare necessities and respecced, I was able to kill him every time. It’s probably partly because I fought him so many times and got his moves down cold. Once I got my three million souls, I raced to the door that was blocking Drangleic Castle. I held my breath until it slowly opened itself. I heaved a sigh as I fought my way to the castle itself. Once the doors of the Drangleic Castle opened, I ran up the stairs to Chancellor Wellager and bought the pyromancy and the two miracles I needed for the Master of Pyromancy and the Master of Miracles. I held my breath the entire time because now was the time when if I fucked up, it would be obvious. First, Master of Pyromancy popped. Then I bought the two miracles and Master of Miracles popped. But, wait! The Dark Soul??? Yes, there it was!

I am now the proud owner of three Dark Souls plats. This was by far the least-painful, but I never want to do it again. It just reminds me of why I don’t like to plat games; it puts me in a bad mind space. I’m glad to have the three not-plats, but I’m equally happy that I will never have to do it again.

Drastically shifting gears, Ian recently suggested a game to me that is in the vein of Animal Crossing called Cozy Grove by Spry Fox. I find it funny that the three broad ‘genres’ of games I like are: 1. Souls (and some soulslikes); 2. roguelikes; 3. cozy indie games. This game fell into the third category and even has the word ‘cozy’ in the title.

Cozy Grove by Spry Fox. They did Triple Town which was a cute and charming game. In Cozy Grove, you’re a Spirit Scout on your first mission to help spirits move along. The person who sent you on the mission, however, mixed up the name of the place they were supposed to send you and you got an advanced mission way above your head. This is my interpretation of the plot and it really doesn’t matter if I don’t have every detail right.

The basic premise is very Animal Crossing. There’s a lot of time spent scavenging for resources. Digging, fishing, pickaxing, and collecting. There are spirits on the island that need help doing different quests. This is running long so I’m going to end this now and devote a whole post to Cozy Grove because it deserves being properly recognized.

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