Underneath my yellow skin

Back to not-platting: Dark Souls II (SotFS) edition

item discovery outfit including jester hat
Now who looks like a fool?

Back in the Dark Souls meta. So. On that not-plat tip. I read more about the Benhart of Jugo questline because I reeeeeally did not want to have to do it on NG+ or start another playthrough. I wasn’t able to keep him alive for the Throne Watcher & Throne Defender fight (not even sure that one counted as there were varying accounts as to whether yes or no) and I did NOT want to fuck it up. It was so easy to fuck up, too. I’ve mentioned before that when I first started the original game, I was stubborn about not looking things up. When I really got stuck, I’d peek at a Wiki, but I really didn’t want to do it. By the third game, I was looking shit up after irrevocably changing my game in a way I didn’t like. During the not-plats, I was constantly looking things up because it was so easy to miss tiny details that would fuck everything up.

In this case, Benhart’s questline goes something like this. I am not looking it up right now so this is off the top of the head. You run into him in a path that is semi-hidden (but necessary) right in Majula. You chat with him there and move on. Then, you run into him again at the bonfire outside the Mirror Knight and you chat with him again. Then, you can talk to him outside one of the Memories later on. Supposedly, you can summon him for the Giant Lord fight, which is in another Memory. I don’t think I’ve done that and I don’t remember where his summoning sign is. Anyway, I read if you kept him alive for the three boss fights before talking to him at the Memory point, he gives you his equipment when you talk to him there. Otherwise, you can summon him for the Memory Giant Lord fight and have him survive that, but you have to talk to him outside the other Memory first and then talk to him…at that same place? Maybe? Maybe somewhere else? At any rate, I preferred to get the three fights done before talking to him the first time outside that Memory. I bought the Redeye Ring I mentioned in the previous post, used a Bonfire Ascetic on the Mirror Knight bonfire, and slipped on the ring. I killed the four horsemen outside the boss room before summoning Benhart and Ashen Knight Boyd, who is an absolute beast. Oh. Right. The boss is officially the Looking Glass Knight, but was formerly the Mirror Knight.

I went in and to my surprise, I actually found it a lot easier this time. I’m not sure why except knowing that the boss was going to be more targeted at me meant I went in with a more aggressive attitude. I think I might have went with better armor, too, as I normally rock a light armor so I can be faster and roll better. The boss focused on me for roughly 75% of the fight, which meant Benhart was better able to stay alive. In fact, he had more than half his health by the end of the fight. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to kill the Looking Glass Knight, but I was more than happy to accept it. I ran to where Benhart was supposed to be and there he was! He started mouthing off about this, that, and the other thing while I impatiently mashed the A button over and over again. I didn’t give a shit about his family or his traditions or whatever. Give me your fucking equipment!

The longer he rambled, the more I was afraid I had fucked something up. That’s what happens during the not-plats and what makes them the exact opposite of fun. I did so many not-fun things in order to get a set of equipment that I will never use. I should take a look at the BlueMoon Greatsword, his weapon, but I quit after getting his gear. Why? Because the rest of the chievos can only be accomplished with my old file saves. Or rather, I don’t want to do the rest of the chievos with this character and this is the only character I have on this laptop. The character on my old laptop that I’m using for the rest of the not-plat is at the end of NG+ AND has the special magicks needed for the not-plat. Not the covenant stuff because fuck that bullshit, but the do Royal Sorcerer Navlaan’s questline to get the spell and pyromancy plus the horrible do the Darkdiver Grandahl covenant bullshit that ends with killing the secret optional boss to get the hex.

There are two covenant-based chievos I had left to do. Both involve getting 30 of something. One of them, getting 30 Sunlight Medals. This is the one that I would theoretically be able to get by being summoned, but I don’t know which bosses I could be summoned for in this game because of the weird matchmaking algorithms for the games. In addition, there don’t seem to be as many people playing this game as the others. I might try to get summoned, but the other way is to farm certain enemies. And because this game has limited spawns for enemies, which is bullshit, you can run out of enemies to farm. But! You can counter that in two ways. One is the aforementioned Bonfire Ascetics and the other is by joining the Covenant of Champions.

This covenant was one of the polarizing aspects when the game first released. You come across it in Majula and it asks if you want to join it without saying what it is except in very general terms. If you’re like me, you want to do every new thing in the game because NEW. This is new, so you might join it to see what it does. Which is not immediately apparent, so you would be forgiven if you shrugged, moved on, and forgot about it. What it does is make the game infinitely harder. It puts the current level of the game at the next playthrough level. In other words, NG+ for NG, NG++ for NG+, etc. It also means you cannot summon, but you can still be invaded. It also allows enemies to notice you from a greater distance. In other words, why the hell would you do that to yourself? Oh, and it also makes the enemies tank more damage, have higher HP, and hit you harder, too. The reason it’s relevant to this point is that it gives you unlimited enemy spawns, so for the sake of farming, it’s useful.

The other achievement is based on the Bell Keepers Covenant. A spell is locked in with gaining the second rank in the covenant. Hidden Weapon. Which, obviously, is needed for the Mastery of Sorcery achievement. You have to defeat 30 invaders/phantoms for this rank. Obviously, that’s an online thing, but there is a red phantom, Mad Warrior, who spawns in the Bel Sol area, but not all the time. From what I’ve read, it’s between 20% to 25% of the time offline in SotFS. I got this achievement and I’d say it’s more like 15% of the time. Still. I got the thirty wins I needed in roughly two-and-a-half hours, which isn’t bad at all considering how grueling the grind for covenant items was in DS III. In addition, the limited spawn worked for me in this case because once the Bell Keepers were gone, it was just a matter of climbing a long ladder, racing to a certain spot, and seeing if the Mad Warrior has spawned. If so, fight them, beat them, and profit. If not, Aged Feather back to the bonfire, rest, and do it all over again. The only minor irritant with this grind was that there is no record of how many times I beat the Mad Warrior so I had to count in my head.

Once I get the thirty Sunlight Medals, then I can go into NG++ and finish up the rest of what I need to do to get the not-plat. I’m kicking myself that I wasted the Great Souls I needed for the magicks for the not-plats, but, fortunately, I can get them all in NG++. All? I think it’s two. If not, Bonfire Ascetics. Then, I have to make it to Drangleic Castle, which is middle-ish (but after the middle) of the game to buy three things from Chancellor Wellager, an NPC who is a ghost. You can get all three of these from the PvP covenants, but you have to go to ridiculous lengths. Such as 500 victories for one of them. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA. Yeah. No. Even in one of the guides for the not-plat, they list this way to get these items, then add, “Just don’t.”

I’m not finding this not-plat as torturous as DS III, but I’m really disliking the current grind for Sunlight Medals. I have eight and need twenty-two more. I use all the gear that has item find properties plus Rusted Coins which also increase your item find probability. The problem is that the enemy I’m farming can drop any of their gear in addition to the Sunlight Medals. They only drop one thing at a time so the possibility is slim to none. The number of people playing this game is roughly one-fourth those playing DS III. In addition, my Soul Memory (the total amount of souls you collect) is probably very high compared to others at the same place I’m at because I grind a lot.

I am in that liminal place of not wanting to finish the not-plat and being so close to finishing, I can’t stop now. Honestly, it’s pretty much how I feel about the not-plat in general. I really don’t want to do the NG++ run. I’ve actually never done NG++ in this game, which is surprising considering I’ve done it in both the other games. Then again, I only did it in DSR because of the plat, so not that surprising. I have a hunch I’ll do NG++ like I did for the other two not-plats–racing through and only doing whatever I need to get the not-plat. Hopefully, without ending up hating the game the way I did DS III. One can but hope.

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