I went back to my beloved Dark Souls III to see how it held up. First up: I really hope FromSoft gets it back online soon. Roughly at the same time that Elden Ring was released, it was discovered that there was a vulnerability in the servers (Bandai, not From, sorry) that made BamNam shut them down completely. They’re still not up, though supposedly, they are in the process of going live again. I don’t know why they can’t just be migrated to the other servers–oh, right. Elden Ring is not Bandai–oh wait, yes it is. So do it already, BanCo!
I played both DS III and Elden Ring yesterday. This was not easy to do, I’ll tell you what. The day before, I only played DS III. Because for whatever reason, you cannot cloud-share for DS III, I had to start a new character on my desktop. I was up to Farron Keep with one torch to extinguish. I am now up to Aldrich, the last of the Lord of Cinders needed to trigger the Dancer. Who I rarely have trouble with, but I like to summon for, anyway. And there are no NPC summons for her.
Anyway. I traipsed through the game with my usual character. Hidden Body/Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring combo (with Lingering Dragoncrest Ring to extend the Hidden Body) with the Executioner Greatsword to regain FP with every kill, plus Chaos Bed Vestiges from the soul of the Old Demon King. I normally don’t have much trouble with him, but I was running lean this time. I wanted to use Pestilent Mist, which takes 30 Int. Therefore, I skimped on Vigor and Endurance, which is a no-no.
By the way, let’s talk about spell slots. In Dark Souls III, it’s connected to Attunement. You have to level up your Attunement to get more spell slots. I need five spell slots to get my shit done. Two for Chaos Bed Vestiges, one for Hidden Body and two for Tears of Denial. I use a ring that gives me one extra spell slot, so I only need to buy four. As a Pyro, I started with one Attunement slot (I’m pretty sure). I had 12 Attunement at the beginning, and I needed 12 more to get the 24 needed for 4 Attunement slots.
That’s not cheap at all. And, yes, Attunement also gives you more FP (mana), but it’s mainly so I can get more Attunement slots. As a result. I don’t experiment much with spells because I don’t have the slots for it. I may change it up a bit when I face a boss, but for 90% of the game, I have one set-up. And, it does me fine. It’s my comfort zone; it gets the job done.
Elden Ring blows Attunement out of the water. There is a stat called Mind, which governs FP (Focus Points). FP is the same from DS III, by the way. But, instead of Attunement slots that you have to ‘buy’ through levels of Attunement, there are Memory Stones. You get one Memory Slot per Memory Stone, up to…ten or eleven. I am not sure. But you get them for beating certain important bosses. You can buy one from a vendor in the Roundtable Hold. And there a few in chests in rises/towers.
I cannot tell you how much better this system is. It’s like night and day. There are eight Memory Stones (I looked it up), and I started with two Memory Slots. So, up to ten. There is a ring that gives you–talisman. Moon of Nokstella. It gives you an extra two Memory Slots, so you can have a total of 12. That’s such a luxury! I have some spells and incantations I always have on me, including Unseen Form (Hidden Body of this game), Lightning Spear and Glintstone Cometshard for easy killing of insignificant enemies (basically, crowd control), and a healing incantation for funsies. Night Maiden’s Mist, which is basically Pestilent Mist (eats away at the health of anyone in the mist) is always in my back pocket.
Other than that, I just mix it up depending on how I feel and what is coming up in the game. You can change it at every Site of Grace, and it’s just great to be able to play around with it so much. This is one firmly in the Elden Ring column, and it’s such a big quality of life upgrade.
Another is being able to fast-travel anywhere at any time. Well, almost any time. You can’t if you’re in a cave or catacomb, which is annoying. But, in Dark Souls III, you can only fast-travel from the bonfires. Which, fine, I guess, but it’s a pain in the ass.
Look. There has been a raging debate in the community about fast-travel in general. It seems like a lot of people hated the fact that Dark Souls II had fast-travel (from bonfire to bonfire) from the start. They extolled the virtue of having to slog back and forth during the first half of Dark Souls as the reason you know it so well.
They’re not wrong. I know the first half of that game like none other. I can tell you every nook and cranny of that game, which enemy is where, etc. (I can also do the same for DS III, but that’s neither here nor there). I can’t argue with the idea that having to continuously walk back and forth with no way of short-changing that walk will make you know that area like nothing else.
However, I have played the first game less than the other two in part because of the lack of fast-travel in the first half. One of the content creators I watch on YouTube loves Elden Ring after not liking previous From games because they (previous games) wasted his time. I watched him play the first part of the original Dark Souls, and he was frustrated with the repeated grueling run to the Taurus Demon.
And I’m of two minds. I get the sense of purpose in slogging through a difficult area to reach a boss. The relief when you find a shortcut and/or beat the boss. But I also see how as the YouTuber above stated, it’s a waste of his time. And I get that not every game has to be for everyone, but the lack of checkpoints in the original Dark Souls was brutal.
I really like the compromise that Elden Ring made. There are still long boss runs, but there are Stakes of Marika nearer to the boss. If you want to just keep bashing your head against the boss, you can go to the Stake of Marika and have at it. Or, if you want to change up your gear, you have to go back to the last Site of Grace you sat at.
I have much more to say, so I’m going to end this for now and pick it back up tomorrow. See you then.