Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: fromsoft

Stronk chonk is bonking

my strength character with no clothes and a big hammer
Chonking and bonking! Nekkid.

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.

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The anatomy of a good boss fight

I’m in the very end game of Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio), and I want to talk about how a good boss fight goes. And why the boss fight I just fought is ultimately, not a good one. Here is my last post about this game. As usual:


First off, this area was the culmination of the direction in which this game was going. As is very obvious, this game wears its FromSoft inspiration on its sleeves. It’s laughable that they said they didn’t think about the From games as they created this one (the devs, I mean), because there is a one-to-one comparison for nearly everything in the game.

And, the one thing this game has gotten consistently wrong is that the difficulty of From games*is not the main point, but a side effect of several other things. In this game, the difficluty is at the forefront all the fucking time. You can’t cross a single rafter without facing HOW HARD THIS GAME IS.

In the area I’m in as I mentioned before, there are artillery shooting ballistae at you as you’re facing the enemies. There are gaps you can fall into as you try to run by said enemies. Ther eare corners you can get stuck in that once you’re there, you cannot get out at all. And there is an enemy that has basically a bowling ball  on each hand, and it can bend in any direction to hit you–and it tracks you and can stretch to hit you, and it has no poise. It can literally keep on hitting you five or six times in a row. And take about a quarter of your health per hit. So while it’s not a hard enemy, it’s frustrating as fuck especially if there are two of them attacking you at the same time.

The thing about From games in general is that they are tough but fair. Really. That’s what everyone says about them, so it must be true. I’m being tongue-in-cheek because it’s mostly true–until it’s not. In general, the combat is tough, but fair. There are windows when you can attack, and you have to know when and where they are. Poise is a thing, and you can break it.

In Lies of P, poise does not exist. It just does not. The game likes to tout a mechanic in which you get an enemy (or a boss) into a groggy state (their health bar is outlined in white). You hold down RT (charged heavy attack) and hit the enemy. It stuns them and then you follow up with an RB for massive damage.

Which sounds great except the enemy (boss) can keep attacking while its health bar is white. Which means that if you try the charged RT at the wrong time, you get creamed. And since the enemies have no poise or stamina, they can keep attacking you. So while the charged RT/RB combo sounds good, well, I rarely bothered trying to do it in practice. If I happened to get the white bar, I would look for my opening (with a boss, it’s an orange spot on the ground after the charged RT), but otherwise, I’d jkst ignore it and continue.

This is a common complaint about the game, by the way. The fact that there’s no pause in the enemies attack pattern after it reaches stagger/the groggy state. And that if you parry, you don’t get anything, either. In fact, with a boss, you get pushed back when you parry, so why bother? The idea I think is that it adds to the combo in order to get to the groggy state, which as I said, I end up ignoring more often than not because the enemy/boss is still attacking.

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Free your mind…if you can

I have talked before about how I reach the end of things and then decide that I need to move on. It’s not a good or a bad thing; it’s just the way I am. Meaning that I get bored with things if they don’t change.

I had a Taiji class today (Zoom), and we were going over a movement that is in the first section of the Solo (Long) Form. In other words, the very beginning of the my studies. It has been refined and tweaked, but I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. Back before the pandemic, I was teaching myself the left side of the Solo Form, and made it to roughly two-thirds into the third section. In other words, one-third from the end. My teacher’s teacher was tinkering with the form, and he was changing so much at that point that I decided to put it on hold until he finished.

Theoretically, I understood that it wasa living form. Theoretically, it was exciuting that he kept changing it. My teacher said that when he was taking lessons from the masters, they  were changing t on the regular and just expected people to keep up. Which, fine, but that’s not the way I work. Especially when I was trying to teach myself the left side.

Then, I became focused on the weapons and then, the pandemic hit. It’s only in the last six months or so that my teacher has been teaching us the new Solo Form. It’s mostly the same, and my brain is not remembering the differences. I’ll need my teacher to go over them with me in my private lessons, but I’m happy that A) It’s been refined and B) It’s settled, more or less.

I’ve been in a rut for the last few months, and I’ve decided to shake things up. Now, I’m focusing on refining the forms I know, but also on working on my upper body strength. I need to keep things spicy enough that I don’t get bored, but comfortabl e enough for me not to feel overwhelmed.

I have a weird way of doing that. I stick with what I know for a bit too long, and then I rush to do ten new things. I do wonder if I have ADHD or at least the traits. I tend to hyper-focus on something until i get bored, and then i move on. This is with groups, hobbies, and, sadly to say, people. Not that i need a person to be constantly evolving because I sure am not, but I do need a person to be at least open to the idea that there is more out there than they know. In other words, that they are willing to learn something.

My brother has an ex-friend who is a dedicated Republican. They became friends back when he was a Republican (in name) and worked at the same place I think. She was really rightwing and said to him straight up that the truth didn’t matter. If the Republicans said it, then she believed it. He did not know what to do with it, and he wanted to talk about it from time to time. He wanted to know why she thought that way because he could not fathom it.

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Why I’m not playing Armored Core VI

As most people know, I’m a huge From fan. When they announced that they were doing a new Armored Core, I was pretty excited about it–even though I’m not into sci-fi nor mechs. It’s FromSoft. I trust them implicitly. I thought the trailers were all fire, but…

I’ll say it. I knew I probably wouldn’t gel with it from the start. I know me and for better or worse, I am not into sci-fi or mechs. I don’t care about that. At all. But it was From, so I was going into it with an open mind.

It came out and I installed it. I was exicted, but in the back of my mind, I had the thought that it probably wouldn’t be for me. I hoped that wasn’t the case, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were.

To be perfectly blunt, I knew I wasn’t going to get along with it. Even though I was hyped. Even though it was FromSoft. Even though it looked slick as hell. Even though everyone in the RKG Discord was thrilled about it.

I tried it out and was meh about it. Again, being honest. It was ok, but it wasn’t really grabbing me. Not because of the game itself–it was doing what it was supposed to do. But it just wasn’t my thing. Which was ok, but made me sad because I so wanted it to be my thing. I want everything FromSoft to be my thing. I did a quick look here, and I was mildly enthusiastic about it. But, even then, it was very tempered.

When I hit the tutorial boss, I realized just how much this game was going to test me. Below, I included a video by OutsideXbox, and Andy has some of the same complaints I did about the boss. One, that he can go outside the warning signs (meaning you’ve left the playable area), but you can’t. It’s understandable because the boss is so big, but it’s irritating. Two, that the lock-on breaks if you swing the camera too quickly–which, let’s face it, you’re going to do. Only with the boss, though. Even when I had the lock-on, if I boosted towards the boss, I would…simply go by it.

Oh, and there are two boost buttons. I’m not entirely clear why. One is a combat boost button and one is just a boost-boost. I can’t deal with that, especially in the heat of combat.

Another thing about the boss fight that I didn’t understand was how at one point in the fight, your handler told you that you had gotten what you needed, but you had to ‘clean up’ the rest. Meaning, ‘kill’ the boss. Also, I couldn’t read its health bar or know how much health it had. But even when I did the first part pretty flawlessly, the second part (clean up) dragged on and on and on until I died by attrition. I wasn’t doing anything differently, and maybe that was the issue. I also don’t know how I actually killed it.

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Elden Ring and elegant level design

I’m watching the newest Retry Elden Ring episode (Early Access) and they are in the firstt legacy dungeon–Stormveil Castle. I’m watching Rory struggle, and I remember how hard I found it in my first playthrough. Of course, there are going to be *SPOILERS* about the legacy dungeons in the game. It’s classic Dark Souls, and it’s gureling as fuck. The common soldiers of the area are hard enough, but then there are the Banished Knights who are nails hard. As indicated by their names, they were not meant to be there. They were banished from elsewhere, and they are this game’s equivalent of Black Knights from the Souls series.

Honestly, I skipped most of them the first time around because I was such a squishy little caster. They do whirlwinds that do massive health, poise, and stamina damage.

I loved the open world of Elden Ring, but I felt at home when I was in the legacy dungeons. This was my jam and where I’d spent thousands of hours (collectively). Stormveil Castle is so classic, it made me nostalgic. When I wasn’t cursing under my breath. There are fewer bonfires, er, Sites of Grace, but more shortcuts. There were branching paths that you had to make choices, and each one was difficult.

I was messaging with Ian about it, and he said that Raya Lucaria (the second legacy dungeon) might be his favorite so far (he’s less than halfway through the game). I had forgotten about Raya Lucaria, which is wizard school, by the way. It was really difficult for me the first time as a sqkishy caster, but it’s fucking breathtaking.

It’s magical, indeed, with the stone-faced wizards. The thing about it, though, is that you can miss half the level. The first time I made it to the final boss, I thought, “This dungeon is rather short. Huh.”

I don’t remember how I found out–oh, right. There’s an NPC, Thops, who asks you to find him a Glintstone key s o he can get back into Raya Lucaria. I had not found the extra key by the time I met the big boss of the dungeon. I Googled it, and it said to go up on the roofs…what??? You can go up on the roofs?

You most certainly can. Not only that, but there are other little areas that you can reach if you roof-hop. I can’t tell you how much my mind was blown when I realized taht there was another level to the level. I can’t say for sure, obviously, but roughly a third of the level is up on the roofs. And, yes, I found Thops’ key on the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

Oh, also, there is a lower level, too. There’s not much there, but it does contain a really good armor and a secret that you can find out ahead of time if you talk to Patches. If you give Thops the key, you will find his body here later. It’s rather tragic, but then again, so are most of the NPC questlines.

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Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon: a quick look

FromSoft dropped a new game yesterday. Normally, that would mean I would be super-hyped and jumping out of my skin. I mean, I bought a whole new desktop 10 days before Elden Ring came out specifically so I could play it. Granted, I need a new desktop, anyway, but I didn’t push myself to get one until the prospect of not being able to play Elden Ring hit me. I was not happy that From didn’t drop the specs needed for the PC until 10 days before the game dropped.

I do understand that ti’s more difficult to assess what is needed for a PC than a console because the specs are much more diverse on the former and not limited by hardware the way it is on the console. But 10 days before the game realesed was cutting it close. I was fortunate enough that I could buy a new desktop just like that, but most people cannot.

This time, I didn’t even check the specs before I bought the game. If my computer could play Elden Ring, it should be able to play ACVI. Even with my beefy rig, Elden Ring had some microstutters on release. I had two hard crashes, too, but that was it. It wasn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm for the game, but it was a thing. And I know that many people had it much worse, even people with beefier PCs.

I will be brutally honest. I am not a sci-fi person or a mech person. I don’t give a flying fig about robots, so I would not have even blinked about this game if it weren’t for the fact that it was made by FromSoft. I have never played an Armored Core, but I know that this was their bread-and-butter back before they became known for their brutally hard action-adventure RPGs such as Dark Souls.

Fun fact: Patches first appeared in an Armored Core. I don’t remember what his epithet was in that game, and I hesitate to look it up because I don’t want to spoil what it is in this game. I found it by looking for the first game he was in. The thing I thought was a spoiler wasn’t. He was a Lynx called Patch the Good Luck, and apparently, it’s a game Miyazaki directed. This was in Armored Core: For Answer (which is an interesting choice for a name).

He has been in every game since, either directly or implicitly. There was a character called Pate in the second Dark Souls game that was clearly Patches. And there was a merchant/thief in Sekiro who reminded me strongly of Patches. In Demon’s Souls, he was Patches the Hyena. In Dark Souls, he was Trusty Patches. In Dark Souls III, he was Unbreakable Patches. In Elden Ring, he turns up as Patches the Untethered, and his questline is filled with pathos in a way it’s not in the others. Although he does have an interesting qusetline in the second DLC of Dark Souls III. I cannot wait to see WHEN he shows up in ACVI.

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FromSoft games are more than just difficulty

Here’s the thing. When we talk about FromSoft games, people get stuck on talking about the difficlulty. I understand why, but it’s such a boring conversation. Yes, they are difficult. Yes, you have to be thoughtful when you play (at least your first time through) and deliberate in your actions. But, that’s just not the most interesting thing about the games. And it’s sad when people think it is. Or when they want to gate-keep how you can play the games. I wrote about that yesterday.

I especially have a hair up my ass about people who whine about magic being OP. As I have maintained from day one, anything can be OP if you want it to be. There’s someone in the RKG who loves to have two big swords, and he maintains that’s the way to be OP. He says magic was hard mode for him, which goes to show it depends on the person.

He helped me get the plat in Bloodborne, by the way. So I appreciated him and his big sword in the Chalice Dungeons I would not have killed the fire-barfing doggo whilst I had half health without him, so I have eternal gratitude for him. And I love that he uses  two giant swords AND thinks that’s easy mode. Very few men are secure enough to say that they do things the easy way.


Let me be clear. The games are hard. Let’s not sugarcoat that. There are dedicated From fans who are retconning it so that they declare the games are not that hard. This is not true. They are hard. But, they are also fascinating worlds that you explore so you can discover secrets and little nuggets that you can’t see in other games. Sometimes, entire areas that you could miss otherwise.

Sekiro is considered by many to be the best game. I disagree simply because you have to play it one certain way in order to beat it (unless you want to do what I did and beat your head against the wall for days against each boss, which is not fun). There is no summoning, and while I understand why they did it that way (you are the Lone Wolf, after all. Also, Activision may not have wanted to support it). At any rate, you have to do it all on your own and without being able to grind to level up.

For some people, this was a great thing. For others like me, it was terrible. I did not enjoy the game because there was no getting better. I can’t improve my reflexes, say, simply by willing it to be so. It’s so difficult to get other people to see this, by the way. Because disabilities or issues relating to it are really hard to explain to people. THat can-do attitude is great–until you actually can’t do. Then, it’s just irritating as fuck.

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Everything can be OP if you want it to be

It’s that time again when I go on a long, angry screed about how magic is not OP in FromSoft games. Or rather, it’s not the only thing that’s OP, depending on how you want to frame it. In the latest episode of Roundtable Hold (companion show to the Elden Ring Retry  by RKG), there was a question sent in asking if Rory was going to be allowed to use magic. Or something like that. There has been a long-standing toxic masculinity bullshit meme that magic is OP in From games.

I have ranted about this before, but I need to do it again. Even, sadly, Krupa buys into it to a certain extent, and it’s because you don’t “get in there” and get “up close and personal”. Except that’s not right, especially not in the actual Souls games.

Let me step back a second and explain. Apparently, in Demon’s Souls, magic was OP. I do not know because I have not played it, but there’s a ring that steadily (but slowly0 regens your MP. FP. Mana. Whatever it’s called. And the spells look siiiiiiiick as fuck. Anyway, I will grant that it seems like it might have been OP in that game. However.

In the first Dark Souls, I started as a Pyro. Pyromancies did not have stats in the first game, which made them great for the onebro run, apparently. And they were considered OP. I did not find them OP because you had limited casts. Once I ran out of casts, I had to use my plink-plonk axe, which did not do much damage because I did not level up my strength. Or rather, I leveled it up enough so I could use the Battle Axe, and that was it.

Also, the magicks in Elden Ring are incredible. I was skeptical that they would be better than they were in the previous games, but they are. So much better. So much more varied and diverse, and such a wide array. You have glintstone sorceries, night sorceries, gravity sorceries, and more. Then in incantations, there are buffs and cleansers, holy order incantations, lightnings, pyros, and so. much. more. Let’s not forget the dragon incantations, which need a bit of arcane.

In addition, the way Rory plays, he will not have access to the most powerful spells because he’s very much into spreading his levels around. In addition, he rarely remembers to level up at all. It’s fascinating, actually, how he’s foregone leveling up, keeps switching weapons, and hasn’t leveled up his weapons much or his spirit ashes at all. Also, he refuses to have more than three spells becasue that’s all he can handle. Sometimes, he forgets he has magic at all.

In other words, he’s very chaotic, which is both one of his best qualities as well as one of his worst. I feel bad for him because viewers constantly complain about the way he plays, no matter what. I know it’s part of being a content creator, especially someone who streams a popular niche series of games, but it has to be disheartening.

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Truly the end of Elden Ring

Ok. I’ve dallied long enough. I need to talk about the last boss of the game, so, of course, *SPOILERS* ahead. In the last post, I talked about the penultimate boss, but I didn’t really remember him because I melted him quickly. I hate the trope that magic is OP. Newsflash! Any stat you put 70 points into is OP. In fact, the most OP I’ve ever been is the first time I did a Zweihander run in Dark Souls. Now, I am OP in NG++ , but that’s without focusing on one stat. Yes, I have 70 in Intelligence, but I Wolf’s Assault more often than not. THAT is OP! And I only have 26 or whatever in Strength.

By the way, I have died four times in NG++. I have finished the main bosses of Limgrave, the first area. I have yet to die to an enemy–all four deaths are fall deaths. Twice because I tried to jump somewhere I couldn’t (but absolutely should have been able to) and two Torrent-related deaths. This reinforces my belief that games that are not platformers should not include platforming. One of those deaths was on the horizontal tombstones that you can jump down on, of course.

Let’s talk about the final boss. It is a very divisive boss. Some people love it and some people hate it, but very rarely are people indifferent to it. First, I’ll tell you what the boss is. It’s Radagon, the consort to Queen Marika. But wait! That’s not all he is. He’s actually part of Marika. I mean, they are the same person/demi-god. You find this out with an incantation in Leyndell Royal Capital in front of a Marika statue that changes into a Radagon statue once you do the gesture (with the incantation) in front of the statue.

It’s supposed to be a big reveal, but it didn’t astonish me at all because it made perfect sense. No idea why, but I did. Of  course he was Marika. Why the hell not? Never mind that they had children–twins. A son and a daughter–Miquella and Malenia. Don’t think about it too hard because then yu’ll have to make sense of it. It’s not meant to fit into our world.

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Elden Ring end but not ending

In yesterday’s post, I went off on a tangent about NG++. Why? Because that’s the way my brain works. I don’t stay on any one paith for much longer than necessary. In my youth, I loved a footnote and/or a side note. I used to find it amusing to have as many footnotes in a post as possible. Once in a while, I would even have a footnote to a footnote.

Anyway, I’m cruising through NG++ like it was no big thing. I have died once, and that was to a fall on Torrent. He is the best boi, for sure, but goddamn doing platforming on him is impossible. It’s so imprecise and there is no coming back if you’re about to go off a cliff. Do I count that? No, I do not.

I did *SPOILERS* Margit easily. Me and Mini-Me. Then it was onto Godrick the Grafted. I have never done them solo because…I don’t actually know why. Well, I do. I love Nepheli Loux. I love her a lot. So I want her by my side. Anyway, I decided to do it with just Mini-Me, and it was a blood bath–for him. I melted him and moved on. I had done a bunch before meeting him, something that took me probably fifteen to twenty hours in my first playthrough. I think it took me roughly an three or four hours this time. Maybe five. About a fourth of the time it took me the first time. Which is understandable because I’ve done this bit six times now.

I’m not trying to zip through at high speed, but I’m not trying to dally, either. My goal is to just see how easy I find it and it’s been no sweat so far. That doesn’t mean it won’t be at some point. I’m mostly not summoning, but I’m not holding myself to that, either. It’s been chill so far, and I don’t anticipate it being much harder for at least the next area.

So. The final area of the game. Leyndell, Ashen Capital. I do understand that it’s thematically correct to have the capital as two areas in the game. One pre-Erdtree-burning and one afterwards. But there’s still a hollow feeling in my breast that it’s the final area. Especially as there is nothing else in it except the final bosses. Well, you can access the Slumbering Shunning-Grounds through a hole in the ground, but that’s it. After Gideon, then you have to fight Godfrey/Hoarah loux. They are two separate bosses, though they share the same health bar. Godfrey is much like his golden shade whom you fought earlier when you first got into this area–the first time around. He wasn’t a big deal then, but I expected him to be a big deal now. He was the second-to-the-last boss! I expected him to be HARD.

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