I’m still exhausted from the flu shot, but I don’t want to talk about that. I’m bored with being exhausted, so let’s talk about Elden Ring (FromSoft) instead. I’ve been doing a strength run which I have never done before. I’ve done strengthcaster builds before, but not a pure strength build. To be completely honest, I I did put three tiny levels into faith. Very tiny. Barely bumped it. But it allows me to use Poison Mist and Flame Cleanse Me. The former is a great way to kill bosses v-e-r-y slowly. The latter is for curing Poison or Scarlet Rot. That is very necessary in the game. Yes, you can craft bolluses that do the same thing, but why when you only need 12 faith to use the incantation?
To put it in perspective, I have 45 in Vigor. That’s nearly 3 times the amount I had in my first playthrough up to this point. Last night, I went up against
Radahn, Starscourge Radahn, to be more precise. Let me set the scene for you. The first time I fought him, I had 18 Vigor. That is not good. This is about a third of the way through the game, and you should have about 30 health at the minimum. Health is vigor. I know this. This is the way you play these games. You can do whatever you want with your levels, but you really should have plenty of vigor. With only 18 Vigor, Radahn could one-shot me with his opening arrows. It was, shall we say, not fun.
Let me back up and say that at the beginning of this fight, you have to traverse across the sands in order to even get to him. It’s very long. Very long. Using my shield can block it, but that takes up all my energy. Stamina. Which I also didn’t level up. Look. There are eight stats. Vigor, endurance, mind, strength, dexterity, intelligence, faith, and arcane. Because I wanted to use all the spells and incantations, I needed to level up Mind (how much FP/mana/blue bar I had), Intelligence (sorceries), Faith (incantations), and Arcane (ah, not exactly sure what this does, but Google tells me finding items, so luck. But you need it for some incantations, too). That doesn’t leave much for anything else.
I always skimp on Vigor and Endurance in these games. Always. If I had all the levels in the world, of course I would up Vigor. But I don’t. And in Elden Ring, you can get flasks back by beating groups of enemies, so Vigor is not as important. At least, that’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. It served me fairly well in my first playthrough, but, yeah. 18 Vigor was skimpy, even for me. I managed to limp along with that tiny tiny health bar for over a hundred hours by patching together techniques. Mostly, zapping from afar.
Then, I got the Mimic Tear (which I also got on my strength run last night). It is my favorite Spirit Summon, bar none. And I couldn’t even use it the first time because it takes HP instead of FP. You see, it takes 660 Vigor. 18 Vigor is 598 HP. It wasn’t enough. I was so mad. I knew about this spirit summon because everyone knows about it. If you follow Elden Ring content at all, this spirit summon will be mentioned. I just did not know that it took so much health. At that point, I Googled how much I needed and what level of Vigor I would need. That would be 21, which gives you 680 HP. So you can use the spirit summon, but you only have 20 HP leftover.
With this character, I have 45 Vigor, which is 1581 HP. So Mimic Tear takes less than half my health. And now that I have Mini-Me, I don’t need no other spirit summon. Wolf pack served me well, and I thank them for that service. However, now is the time for Me and Mini-Me to take over the Lands Between, and we will do it in style.
I hated this boss fight the first time I did it and cheesed it so I wasn’t even on screen when he died. I just chilled by the beach, reading a book, as my summons took care of him. I had to make sure to keep summoning them, butI did not get involved at all–except to breathe Scarlet Rot all over him.
This time around, I laughed at the pain. No, I didn’t, but I did just heal through the pain. I had enough health that I could tank the damage. And I actually fought Radahn this time (beacuse I could not summon humans). I have to say, this fight is janky as hell. Because of Radahn zipping along on his poor, small horse, Leonard, his hit boxes are all over the park. I could not hit him for anything, and while I know that my spatial issues are, indeed, issues. But there’s something about the way Radahn moves on Leonard that made it really difficult to hit him. Plus, his damn gravity magic. I got him in one, but I had no flasks at the end. Well, I had blue flasks, but not red. I should have changed the number of flasks before the fight.
Then, I went to Nokron so I could get my favorite spirit summon. And it was just a romp. I have to tell you that it’s so much easier to bonk the chonks than to be a squishy caster. I’ve known this since the first time I did my first strengthcaster run, but this really hammered (heh) the nail into the foundation of that idea.
I love this game. Still. I have several playthroughs on the go. Right now, I’m doing a loose playthrough based on the RKG run (Aunty Finchy), and I have nothing but admiration for Rory. It’s by far the hardest build for me (dex-ish). I have nothing but admiration for him. I like the strength build, especially now that I’m pretty OP. I still hate Leyndell Royal Capital, and this is when I usually stop my playthroughs. I realized that the second half of the game tipped into ‘trying too hard to be HARD’ for me. I’m hoping that’s different with this character, but we’ll see.