Talking about that Elden Ring again. Warning, there will be spoilers throughout the post. Early-ish game spoilers, but spoilers, nonetheless. In this case, it’s the comparison of the first playthrough versus this one. As a reminder, trying to do a pure strengthcaster this time, with an emphasis on Strength and Intelligence. I’m twitching, though, because there are incantations that I want to use, which take faith. Plus, I had to boost my Dex to use the weapon I’m currently using–Moonveil. It’s a magic-infused katana and it’s supposed to be one of the best Int-based weapons in the game. I do not have a good Str-Int weapon yet and the best one I know of is many many hours away.
I have five or six spell slots, which is nice. I have mentioned before that I was skeptical about Memory Stones for slots, but I’m a big fan of it now. It’s so easy! Find or buy the Memory Stone and you get another spell slot. Not level up six or seven times, which takes an increasing amount of Souls each level in the Souls games. Finding one in a chest and simply adding it to my inventory is the best.
I finally took on Godrick and I think I was very over-leveled. I hadn’t talked to Nepheli Loux because I didn’t find her in the castle before I ran into her at the Roundtable Hold. Therefore, her summon sign was not available for the fight. I used a soldiers summon, I think? Or was it my woofies? It might have been the wolves. Either way, I got into the second phase and thought I might actually be able to do it when I fell into an abyss. You see, there is a ravine in this fight or something–it pissed me off. Because of my spatial issues, I just cannot deal with abysses in a boss fight. That’s how the Gaping Dragon got me in the first Dark Souls and why I quit playing the game for a year. Anyway, I didn’t get mad because I had him. I went back in and easily took care of him the second time.
It surprised the hell out of me because it took me roughly a dozen times with Nepheli Loux in my first playthrough to beat him. He kept catching me in his horrid wind effect, not to mention his dragon head fire. Which, by the way….I want! Anyway, I beat him on my second try without breaking a sweat. Am I later in the game than I was in my first playthrough? Yes. But it’s also because I’ve fought him once already. I beat the Tree Sentinel on my second try as well. Everything is much easier this time around. Well, except the Crucible Knight in the Stormhill Evergaol. He took me seven or eight times and MUCH swearing.
Side Note: I’m trying to stop saying the c-bomb by replacing it with carrot. It doesn’t have quite the same bite to it, but I really want to eradicate the c-bomb from my vocab. So while I was fighting the Crucible Knight, I would say the c-bomb several times, remember, say carrot, then quickly switch back to the c-bomb.
By the way, I did not fight the Crucible Knight in my first playthrough for several more hours. I was over-leveled by the time I fought him then, but I was definitely not over-leveled this time around. He’s frustrating not because he has a complicated move-set, but because he hits like a truck. Plus, he is pretty relentless with just a short break every fifth move or so. Also, I didn’t have time to get off my Rock Sling sorcery, which is my bread-and-butter. It’s known for being STRONK and a boss-killer–which is true. It lifts rocks from the ground and hurls them at the enemy. It’s especially effective with the Meteorite Staff, which is an early-game staff. It can’t be upgraded, but it’s still better than any other staff until +18 for the Glintstone Staff. Normal weapons can be upgraded up to +25.
So. I decided to try to get into Eddie Redmayne, er, Castle Redmane for funsies. That’s where Starscourge Radahn is, who, as you might recall, is the most bullshitty of bosses in the game. That’s what I thought when I first fought him so I’m curious to think if I still feel that way. He’s the one where the setting is supposed to be the Festival of Champions or something like that, so you go to this huge arena to fight him. He’s waaaaaay in the distance and as you approach, he shoots off a magic arrow that killed me in one hit. Which, I will say, really pissed me the fuck off. Because you have to use a waypoint to transport to where he is, then walk towards him, touching summon signs as you go, and by the time he killed me, it had been a minute or two of just trying to get to him.
I was level 60 or so when I tried this the first time around. The MINIMUM level suggested is 70, but more like 80 is better. I was so fragile and with my spatial issues, there was no way I was beating him in a fair-fight. So I did the cheese (constantly summoning and staying away from the combat), which made it a very boring fight in the end. I literally sat out of his view for the second phase, constantly summoning the NPCs as they were killed. I didn’t even get to see him die.
I’m not nearly ready to fight him yet, but I wanted to get into the castle. From what I remember, I walked into the castle, saw the people gathering for the festival, then went right to the arena. This time, however, the front gate was locked. Wait, what? I tried to find another way to get in, but I couldn’t. When I looked it up, you had to go up and around and to the back. Then, there were enemies.
Wait, what??? Enemies? In my first playthrough it was just a room with a Site of Grace, some cutscenes, the other Champions, a lift down, and then the fight. There were no enemies. There were no other bosses. There was nothing! But, that stuff was there later when I went back to the castle after beating Starscourge Radahn.
So. My theory is that I went there rather late in the game the first time around when I had finished whatever–ok, I read up on it. You have to progress far enough in Ranni’s questline, which I hadn’t (I started it late) or light any Site of Grace in Altus Plateau–I must have done the latter. Good lord. I just looked up where in Ranni’s questline would trigger the Festival of Champion event. I’m almost there.
That’s wild. I also missed part of Sorcerer Rogier’s questline by doing things in the wrong order. I’m miffed at myself because I was trying to do all the questlines in this playthrough. This is one small downside to the game–you really cannot do everything in the game without following a guide.
Fun fact: I have just two achievements left (well, three, but the third is for getting all the other achievements, so I don’t have to do anything directly to get it), both of which are ending-related. I need to get two of the endings (and thank god I did the one I wanted most first, and the hardest one to get), one which is really complicated and another that is the standard ending. Well, the complicated one is only really complicated if you want to undo the ending–which I don’t really get why you’d want to do that because it only prevents you from getting other endings? I can do that thing now in my first playthrough (and undo it), but I don’t want to do it before I’m ready to move into NG+. Which might be never. I’m not sure. But, I only need one more shardbearer to get into the capital city, which triggers the end of the game. Well, end-ish.
Funny fact: I thought Leyndell Royal Capital was the last area of the game. It’s not even close. There is just so much game to this game. I’m 17 hours into this playthrough, but am about the 50-hour mark of where I was in the first playthrough. I don’t know if that percentage will continue the further I get into the game, so we’ll just have to see.