Company of Champions. Are you in?

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#101 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

OMG YOU DEFEATED ROYAL RAT AUTHORITY!

I think I should start by apologizing to Dark Souls 2 for doubting their ability to bring it. After the disappointing fights with The Old Iron King and The Rotten I was starting to worry that the game was getting too soft. The Royal Rat Authority went the distance and proved itself to be a challenging fight.

Whatever you think of the boss in a normal game does not apply to the Company of Champions. I died 5 times in the blink of an eye during the initial boss rush. Too many rats to dodge at once and the boss rat just smashes everyone (rats included) with it's initial strikes. I only have 4 dodges before my stamina is completed depleted and the rat boss combo consists of 3 strikes. That leaves me with 1 dodge and no stamina to try to avoid the other rats that will toxic you to death and probably kill you with normal hits.

The game actually forced me to leave the Company of Champions for a moment to see what the boss was like in a normal game. It actually allowed me to kill its little buddies so I as finally able to test out its moveset. The Rat Authority is actually very similar to Sif in the way it dodges out of the way of attacks. I was able to figure out its two paw sweeps, but the head bash was tricky as hell. I left/allowed myself to die once I had enough of his moves. I would figure out my offensive strategy against the Company of Champions version because the normal version was too docile.

I came back in with a new strategy. The little rats need to die before I engage the big one because I don't have enough stamina to dodge/fight them all without the big one taking me out. I only managed to kill all the little ones with my Uchigatana once, but it wasn't reliable enough. I settled on landing a single arrow kill and then killing the rest of them with a single Firestorm as they rushed me. I barely had enough time after the cast to dodge the incoming Rat Authority combo.

I believe I died a total of 10 times (boss could kill me in 2 hits with any combination of attack) before I finally saw through his Head Bash attack. I literally yelled "I got your number bitch!" the first time I dodged it because that was the only thing that was stopping my victory. I had the timing down so it was just a matter of patience and execution as I whittled him down to his weakened vomit state. I killed him during the same fight that I learned his final move so I'm pretty stoked about that.

I know this boss was good because my hands were shaking after he went down. If a boss doesn't make my hands shake then it wasn't challenging enough.

Now I'm off to who knows where because I've cleared every area I've been to (saw the castle earlier, but I was told to go back so I did).

#102 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

You Defeated The Duke's Dear Freja. I would say that this was a fairly simple boss fight if it wasn't for the little spiders running around the arena. As it stands the spiders were simply something I needed to be aware of because their lunging/jumping attack could take off a little less than half my health.

I only died 4 times to this boss, but each death was a good learning experience. My first death came at the hands of the death laser. I didn't know it was a thing that could potentially one shot me if I had a bit of health missing, but it and I died. The 2nd time was my attempt to dodge the laser. It failed and I died. The 3rd time I made sure to keep myself at 100% health in case I couldn't out maneuver or dodge the laser. I had a nice pace going and I figured out that I should only attack Freja (2 hits only) during her laser attack so that I could safely get away. She was almost dead, but I messed up a laser dodge and lost 5/6th of my health. I died to a little spider attack as I was chugging my Estus. I learned to kill any little spider in my immediate area because those things could keep up with me even when I was in a full sprint. I took her out on my 4th attempt without getting touched by the laser.

I've heard that people had issues with the Freja fight, but I don't believe the little spiders were the main issue. I don't know how much damage her laser deals in a normal game, but I figure you could probably block that and survive to chug some estus. The fight with Royal Rat Authority is by far the hardest "group fight boss" I've encountered so far.

Everyone in Majula is telling me to go check out the castle so I'll head there next. 5 fires are lit in the cave map so I believe I've killed every boss that I have access to.

#103 Edited by Myrmicus (223 posts) -

@golguin: Duels.

I went through NG+ with the Company of Champion, only to drop it for the Flexile Sentinel. Because DAMN HIS NINJA MOBS !
Hurm. Anyway, you've got guts.

#104 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

YOU DEFEATED LOOKING GLASS KNIGHT! Okay, the all caps isn't really necessary because the Looking Glass Knight is nothing compared to the waves of enemies you have to fight to reach him. I died a good number of times to the normal mobs and the only reason I didn't take him out on my first attempt was due to my own hubris. All of Drangleic Castle looked amazing and fighting in the rain gave the fight a very cinematic feel. The only problem is the boss. If only there was a way to make it a bit harder...

Harder might not be the right word. The word I'm looking for is impossible. For those of you that don't know the Looking Glass Knight has a special little feature that allows him to summon in squires for help. I actually fought and killed the squires in my game, but an extra special feature allows the Looking Glass Knight to call in human PVP players that have placed their Red Sign Soapstone near the boss. I spent most of my time with the boss as his little helper and it was AMAZING! I was wrecking hosts with very little effort and I was even killing groups of 2-3 people. My build is not particularly powerful (SL 99 DEX only), but I imagine that hybrid melee/magic users would have an easier time than me. The fact that hosts were constantly calling on the help of two additional phantoms proves that the PVP community was trolling the boss fight hard. I may not have faced a human player when I fought the boss, but I know I would have lost if I had to keep tabs on the Looking Glass Knight and a good PVP fighter at the same time. I imagine the special boss ability forced plenty of players offline.

You Defeated Demon of Song (mostly Shrine of Amana). This place literally filled me with the kind of awe and wonder that I had been waiting to experience in Dark Souls 2. What is that singing? What's with all these roots? Is that a giant tree? Is this the Great Hollow? Is this Ash Lake? Is Drangleic Castle built on top of the Great Hollow? My mind rushed with lore possibilities as I made my way towards the singing...and then it stopped and I was ambushed by those lizard lady things.

The whole place was Dark Souls level design at its finest. I personally didn't have any problems with the Priestess Homing Spells of death because I could dodge them all, but I imagine that shield users had their ass handed them. I only died around 4 times in the area and it was all thanks to those damn Archdrake dudes with their long range weapons and ability to stun lock me into a killing combo. I had to change my equipment and rings around to prevent my stun lock and to poise break them back.

The Demon of Song has a very interesting design, but the boss was too slow and all his attacks were easily avoided. I was only hit a single time by that water gun attack, but that single hit left me with around 150 HP so don't get hit if you want to live. Demon of Song was mostly disappointing, but the Shrine of Amana level design and lore possibilities made up for that.

#105 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I've officially quit Dark Souls 2 after beating it with 4 characters, beating every boss, and one NG+ run. But I can't seem to let it go. My thoughts are still drawn to it. So I'm pondering doing a Covenant of Champions playthrough. Not sure if I actually should go through with it.

#106 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

@seppli said:

I've officially quit Dark Souls 2 after beating it with 4 characters, beating every boss, and one NG+ run. But I can't seem to let it go. My thoughts are still drawn to it. So I'm pondering doing a Covenant of Champions playthrough. Not sure if I actually should go through with it.

I just beat the game 5. Credits are currently rolling. I've got around 6 boss screens I need to update. My Company of Champions run with the SL 99 limiter is almost complete (2 optional bosses left). I think that once you see my thoughts on those last 6 bosses you'll see that the Company of Champions is not something to fear.

It was my first run through Dark Souls 2. I couldn't imagine playing without it now. It promised the true Dark Souls 2 experience for veterans of the series and it's a bit sad to see that only A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE DID THE COMPANY OF CHAMPIONS AS THEIR FIRST RUN.

#107 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@golguin:

It's a very different experience from my other playthroughs. Much more of a learning experience with the boss fights. I'd say I've only solo'd about 50% of the encounters prior to the champion run, so in this regard, it often feels like an all new experience.

I'm pretty selective about what bosses I'm tackling. I'm going for mandatory bosses first, and try to go for all the easy ones first. Thus far I've beaten The Last Giant, Dragonrider, Fexible Sentry, Undead Lords, Covetous Demon.

Looking foward to beating the game like a Champ.

P.S. Did you join the Bell Boys inbetween bosses, to earn some Titanite Chunks? I'm still debating if it's in the spirit of this playthrough or not. I guess I'll do it, since it's all about soloing the bosses for me.

#108 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

@seppli said:

@golguin:

It's a very different experience from my other playthroughs. Much more of a learning experience with the boss fights. I'd say I've only solo'd about 50% of the encounters prior to the champion run, so in this regard, it often feels like an all new experience.

I'm pretty selective about what bosses I'm tackling. I'm going for mandatory bosses first, and try to go for all the easy ones first. Thus far I've beaten The Last Giant, Dragonrider, Fexible Sentry, Undead Lords, Covetous Demon.

Looking foward to beating the game like a Champ.

P.S. Did you join the Rat Bros inbetween bosses, to earn some Titanite Chunks? I'm still debating if it's in the spirit of this playthrough or not. I guess I'll do it, since it's all about soloing the bosses for me.

I experience as much of the game as I could so I'd leave the Company of Champion to check out the other covenants. My only rule was to solo all the bosses through the Company of Champions. I kept my SL relatively low and I left the SL 99 limiter because I didn't want to become over powered.

You defeated Velstadt, The Royal Aegis! The last few boss fights I discussed were fairly easy with the exception of the Looking Glass Knight that has the potential to be unbeatable if he summons a human PVP vet, but Velstadt brought it. He has a very simple moveset, but the timing to dodge his attacks as a melee only Uchigatana user got tricky. He has an overhead attack that has a very slow wind up and slam that seems to vary with your position. He misses and you get several free hits. It lands and its a one shot kill. It would be fairly simple to avoid if I just continued to dodge backwards, but I'm a dodge forward kind of guy so I was set on figuring out the i-frame window.

There was one attack that I was unable to figure out and that was his Dark Homing Missile attack. I tried several times to dodge roll to the left/right and forward/backward, but no matter the timing it always seemed to land. During one of my dodging attempts I kept my shield up and actually blocked the attack on accident as my dodge was too late. I saw that it only took off around half of my health so I decided then and there to block that attack whenever it came at me.

I ended up dying around 5-7 times and Velstadt forced me to drink more Estus than any boss before him. The boss isn't exactly difficult, but the fact that I needed to dodge roll his one shot attacks left little room for error. I enjoyed the fight.

You Defeated Throne Defender and Throne Watcher! My full impressions of this fight can be found in the thread The Throne Bosses are Officially the Hardest Thing so you can head over there to read about my trails and tribulations and the difference between fighting the Throne bosses in a normal game (easy) vs a company of champions game (hard).

HOLY CRAP IT'S OVER! Throne Defender and Throne Watcher are done! What can I say after 30+ defeats that hasn't already been expressed here? About 2 hours ago I got them both down to less than 1/4th of their health and I panicked. I made 1 stupid mistake and I died. I thought I was going to sleep on it, but then the Bombcast came out and the description said they were going to talk about Dark Souls 2. I thought, "Why the hell not?" and I turned on the game again.

As soon as the podcast started I felt myself relax and just zone out. Before I knew it the bosses were at less than 1/4th of their health again and I died. I was "meh" about the game at this point because Brad was talking about playing Dark Souls 1 again and the PC version of Dark Souls 2 and before I knew it the bosses were at less than 1/4th of their health again and I died. I had become extremely loose at this point and I was just going for that 2nd hit knowing full well that the other Throne was going to land a hit. I didn't care. My poise was up to 66 and they weren't going to stun lock me so I just had to dodge that 2nd hit to avoid death. I became extremely liberal with my Estus because I was just letting them smack me to get that extra hit. My main issue was fatigue and that extra hit was making everything go a lot faster.

I died a 3rd time and before I knew it I was on my 4th attempt. I suddenly found myself entranced by Vinny's description of his end game and the lore that he didn't quite get compared to Dark Souls 1. I lost focus on what I was doing as I pondered the Dark Souls 2 lore that I had uncovered so far (those Artorias looking dark colored souls are very reminiscent of a few souls in Dark Souls 1), but my attention was once again focused on what I was doing as I saw both Throne Defender and Throne Watcher at around 1/5th of their health. BOOM! Throne Defender took a Flame Swathe to the face with a few HP left. I rush him and stab him for the kill. Watcher lands a hit and I narrowly escape the combo and death. I'm out of Estus. No boss has ever pushed me to the point of running out of Estus. Watcher keeps that shield up as we dance and I land a single 3 hit combo. I'm out of stamina, my Uchigatana hasn't had a buff for like 3 minutes, and Watcher is running over to revive Defender. I've been planning for this since the past 10 defeats and I'm ready. Watcher stops for the revive and I let loose my final Flame Swathe cast. 1 second. 2 seconds (HURRY UP!). 3 seconds. VICTORY ACHIEVED! *exhale and celebration begins*

This is why I play Dark Souls 2. This is why the Souls series is one of the best things to come out of the last generation consoles.

#109 Posted by Myrmicus (223 posts) -

You should swap your Uchigatana for Manslayer : Better damages, poison effect, same scaling.
Just my two cents.
I applaud your playthrough man, you're not only doing a Company of Champions (which is doable) run, but for the most part you wouldn't go upper than SL 99 and you stick to a weapon that isn't even the best in it's category. The fact that you defeated Throne Watcher and Defender like this is damn impressive, in my opinion.

#110 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Just finished up my Covenant of Champions playthrough. Once I was over the hump, it was fairly easy. I guess the true Covy of Champions challenge is doing NG+ this way. I beat all bosses, except for Vendrick, Darkdiver, and Ancient Dragon - I've beat those on regular settings solo already, so I don't really feel compelled to do it all again - especially since I slowly grow weary of Dark Souls 2. Six playthroughs on five characters (one NG+) is enough.

The Covy of Champions playthrough is definitely a good way to play the game. I really needed to up my game, especially in terms of evading boss attacks. Truely learning all the boss patterns, and conquering them in earnest - rather than just overpowering them with numbers. That said, I beat most bosses first or second try. The only ones which truely gave me trouble were Smelty and Velstadt, but even those I beat in less than a hour.

I was quite afraid of the Throne Watcher and Defender fight, but I beat them second try plinking away at them with regular soul arrows, whilst evading the shit out 'em.

P.S. I didn't limit myself level-wise. Finished up at around lvl 190, so pretty much double of what you were limiting yourself to. Evenly distributed though, all stats were like 28. Grown too tired of the game to actually farm the Twinkling Titanite for the Mundane Santier's Spear +5 though. Whatever.

#111 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@seppli: As far as I know the only place to farm it off enemies is the Shrine of Amana? Or do certain enemies drop it earlier without using ascetics to refill chests or whatever.

#112 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@humanity said:

@seppli: As far as I know the only place to farm it off enemies is the Shrine of Amana? Or do certain enemies drop it earlier without using ascetics to refill chests or whatever.

Amana. Just equip a bow and walk through that thing 15 times. Is worth like 30 Twinkling on average, I'd say. That's like a bombcast's worth of farming. NG+ is tough as nails though. There's more of those hammerwielding maniacs, and instead of coming at you solo, they'll swarm you 3-4 crazed lunatics at a time.

The easier/quicker way is to NG+ Dragon's Aerie, which is like 6 pieces of Twinkling Titanite per Ascetic, from the lizards and whatnot.

#113 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@seppli said:

@humanity said:

@seppli: As far as I know the only place to farm it off enemies is the Shrine of Amana? Or do certain enemies drop it earlier without using ascetics to refill chests or whatever.

Amana. Just equip a bow and walk through that thing 15 times. Is worth like 30 Twinkling on average, I'd say. That's like a bombcast's worth of farming.

Well just making sure because I wasted a bunch of Twinkling on Vengarl red sword which turned out sort of trashy in the end. Now I was plowing through NG+ for no real good reason and using the Blacknight Greatsword. Kinda sucks that I know I have to wait until literally the very end of the game before I can finally get that thing to +5. Just like it sucks that I have to wait to the very, very end to finish Lucatiels quest.

#114 Posted by Zevvion (2098 posts) -

@humanity said:

@seppli said:

@humanity said:

@seppli: As far as I know the only place to farm it off enemies is the Shrine of Amana? Or do certain enemies drop it earlier without using ascetics to refill chests or whatever.

Amana. Just equip a bow and walk through that thing 15 times. Is worth like 30 Twinkling on average, I'd say. That's like a bombcast's worth of farming.

Well just making sure because I wasted a bunch of Twinkling on Vengarl red sword which turned out sort of trashy in the end. Now I was plowing through NG+ for no real good reason and using the Blacknight Greatsword. Kinda sucks that I know I have to wait until literally the very end of the game before I can finally get that thing to +5. Just like it sucks that I have to wait to the very, very end to finish Lucatiels quest.

Twinkling Titanite is rare. You should be careful what you use it on. However, you can get 7 Twinkling Titanite's in the first half of the game. I copy and paste this:

7 Twinkling Titanite is good for getting that weapon to +3 and having one spare. Also, remember that you can use bonfire ascetics to reset loot. If you do, you could get it to +5 in the first half of the game if you want.

#115 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@zevvion said:

@humanity said:

@seppli said:

@humanity said:

@seppli: As far as I know the only place to farm it off enemies is the Shrine of Amana? Or do certain enemies drop it earlier without using ascetics to refill chests or whatever.

Amana. Just equip a bow and walk through that thing 15 times. Is worth like 30 Twinkling on average, I'd say. That's like a bombcast's worth of farming.

Well just making sure because I wasted a bunch of Twinkling on Vengarl red sword which turned out sort of trashy in the end. Now I was plowing through NG+ for no real good reason and using the Blacknight Greatsword. Kinda sucks that I know I have to wait until literally the very end of the game before I can finally get that thing to +5. Just like it sucks that I have to wait to the very, very end to finish Lucatiels quest.

Twinkling Titanite is rare. You should be careful what you use it on. However, you can get 7 Twinkling Titanite's in the first half of the game. I copy and paste this:

7 Twinkling Titanite is good for getting that weapon to +3 and having one spare. Also, remember that you can use bonfire ascetics to reset loot. If you do, you could get it to +5 in the first half of the game if you want.

You forgot the one in Doors of Pharos. Behind the two rabid dogs there is a pharos door with a twinkling and a faintstone in a chest. The trick however is, the pharos contraption is on the level above the door.

btw. the shaded woods one is worth 3x Twinkling Titanite on NG+.

#116 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

@seppli said:

Just finished up my Covenant of Champions playthrough. Once I was over the hump, it was fairly easy. I guess the true Covy of Champions challenge is doing NG+ this way. I beat all bosses, except for Vendrick, Darkdiver, and Ancient Dragon - I've beat those on regular settings solo already, so I don't really feel compelled to do it all again - especially since I slowly grow weary of Dark Souls 2. Six playthroughs on five characters (one NG+) is enough.

The Covy of Champions playthrough is definitely a good way to play the game. I really needed to up my game, especially in terms of evading boss attacks. Truely learning all the boss patterns, and conquering them in earnest - rather than just overpowering them with numbers. That said, I beat most bosses first or second try. The only ones which truely gave me trouble were Smelty and Velstadt, but even those I beat in less than a hour.

I was quite afraid of the Throne Watcher and Defender fight, but I beat them second try plinking away at them with regular soul arrows, whilst evading the shit out 'em.

P.S. I didn't limit myself level-wise. Finished up at around lvl 190, so pretty much double of what you were limiting yourself to. Evenly distributed though, all stats were like 28. Grown too tired of the game to actually farm the Twinkling Titanite for the Mundane Santier's Spear +5 though. Whatever.

The Company of Champions isn't very bad if you have ranged options. I don't feel like I truly understand a boss unless I go right up to them and slash away with my Uchigatana. I knew that the Throne bosses would go down fairly easily with Hexes, soul arrows, or lightning bolts, but I need to know that I can physically get the job done to truly appreciate the enemy AI in the company of champions.

If a boss was specifically created to counter magic users the crying would be so immense from people saying "I can't beat this boss with magic. This boss is garbage and isn't properly balanced to different play styles." From ultimately decided to keep magic as an OP option for most bosses. Just look at what they did with the Shrine of Amana. People cried and they nerfed it.

#117 Posted by Myrmicus (223 posts) -

@golguin said:

@seppli said:

Just finished up my Covenant of Champions playthrough. Once I was over the hump, it was fairly easy. I guess the true Covy of Champions challenge is doing NG+ this way. I beat all bosses, except for Vendrick, Darkdiver, and Ancient Dragon - I've beat those on regular settings solo already, so I don't really feel compelled to do it all again - especially since I slowly grow weary of Dark Souls 2. Six playthroughs on five characters (one NG+) is enough.

The Covy of Champions playthrough is definitely a good way to play the game. I really needed to up my game, especially in terms of evading boss attacks. Truely learning all the boss patterns, and conquering them in earnest - rather than just overpowering them with numbers. That said, I beat most bosses first or second try. The only ones which truely gave me trouble were Smelty and Velstadt, but even those I beat in less than a hour.

I was quite afraid of the Throne Watcher and Defender fight, but I beat them second try plinking away at them with regular soul arrows, whilst evading the shit out 'em.

P.S. I didn't limit myself level-wise. Finished up at around lvl 190, so pretty much double of what you were limiting yourself to. Evenly distributed though, all stats were like 28. Grown too tired of the game to actually farm the Twinkling Titanite for the Mundane Santier's Spear +5 though. Whatever.

The Company of Champions isn't very bad if you have ranged options. I don't feel like I truly understand a boss unless I go right up to them and slash away with my Uchigatana. I knew that the Throne bosses would go down fairly easily with Hexes, soul arrows, or lightning bolts, but I need to know that I can physically get the job done to truly appreciate the enemy AI in the company of champions.

If a boss was specifically created to counter magic users the crying would be so immense from people saying "I can't beat this boss with magic. This boss is garbage and isn't properly balanced to different play styles." From ultimately decided to keep magic as an OP option for most bosses. Just look at what they did with the Shrine of Amana. People cried and they nerfed it.

Uh no... no they don't. Unless you have friendly phantoms - and you don't, in Company of Champions - spells aren't a viable strategy unless you're covered head to toe with spellcasting accelerent gear. Because they are two and the Watcher is too fast. I tried it, I died ^^'

#118 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

@myrmicus said:

@golguin said:

@seppli said:

Just finished up my Covenant of Champions playthrough. Once I was over the hump, it was fairly easy. I guess the true Covy of Champions challenge is doing NG+ this way. I beat all bosses, except for Vendrick, Darkdiver, and Ancient Dragon - I've beat those on regular settings solo already, so I don't really feel compelled to do it all again - especially since I slowly grow weary of Dark Souls 2. Six playthroughs on five characters (one NG+) is enough.

The Covy of Champions playthrough is definitely a good way to play the game. I really needed to up my game, especially in terms of evading boss attacks. Truely learning all the boss patterns, and conquering them in earnest - rather than just overpowering them with numbers. That said, I beat most bosses first or second try. The only ones which truely gave me trouble were Smelty and Velstadt, but even those I beat in less than a hour.

I was quite afraid of the Throne Watcher and Defender fight, but I beat them second try plinking away at them with regular soul arrows, whilst evading the shit out 'em.

P.S. I didn't limit myself level-wise. Finished up at around lvl 190, so pretty much double of what you were limiting yourself to. Evenly distributed though, all stats were like 28. Grown too tired of the game to actually farm the Twinkling Titanite for the Mundane Santier's Spear +5 though. Whatever.

The Company of Champions isn't very bad if you have ranged options. I don't feel like I truly understand a boss unless I go right up to them and slash away with my Uchigatana. I knew that the Throne bosses would go down fairly easily with Hexes, soul arrows, or lightning bolts, but I need to know that I can physically get the job done to truly appreciate the enemy AI in the company of champions.

If a boss was specifically created to counter magic users the crying would be so immense from people saying "I can't beat this boss with magic. This boss is garbage and isn't properly balanced to different play styles." From ultimately decided to keep magic as an OP option for most bosses. Just look at what they did with the Shrine of Amana. People cried and they nerfed it.

Uh no... no they don't. Unless you have friendly phantoms - and you don't, in Company of Champions - spells aren't a viable strategy unless you're covered head to toe with spellcasting accelerent gear. Because they are two and the Watcher is too fast. I tried it, I died ^^'

It takes me 3 seconds to get off a Flame Swathe. Pyromancy is literally the slowest spell class in the game and I hit the Company of Champion Throne bosses plenty of times with it. It's all a matter of knowing their pattern to figure out the casting time. You can also literally spam magic right in the beginning of the fight and the Throne bosses will not charge you. They'll walk and take it.

You can safely pound away at them with even a 2 second casting time. Projectile Hexes, sorcery, and miracles are a lot faster than that.

#119 Posted by Myrmicus (223 posts) -

Oh, didn't know about the "walking to their magic doom" start.
But from my experience, the Watcher is far too aggressive and quick. Almost every time I try to cast a spell, she jumps on my face. But I'll agree, my reaction was a little bit of an exageration ^^

#120 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@golguin:

I tried 'em melee at first, but they were clipping attacks through each other, which is bullshit - so I adapted. I don't see how limiting oneself to pure melee gives you *the one true* souls experience. Sounds more like self-flagellation to me. For me, it's about figuring out what works, and executing on it properly - not about some wierd set of self-imposed rules. Except for limiting your soul level. I guess that's legit. Over-leveling happens so easy in pursuit of upgraded gear and whatnot. Not that I personally mind that. It's part of the charm.

#121 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

@myrmicus said:

Oh, didn't know about the "walking to their magic doom" start.

But from my experience, the Watcher is far too aggressive and quick. Almost every time I try to cast a spell, she jumps on my face. But I'll agree, my reaction was a little bit of an exageration ^^

Watcher does like to jump in quickly for her 3 combo slash attack. The trick is that you cast on the Watcher cooldown time. He has a habit of doing a back flip after his combo. He uses it to avoid attacks a lot, but she also wont attack immediately after doing that. That's the window to cast spells. You cast spells on Watcher's pattern. Defender is mostly slow and wont move quickly until he loses the shield and starts buffing.

@seppli Oh I know all about that clipping thing they do. Watcher likes to dash through the combo right as Defender is finishing his own. You can see that happen in the video I recorded of the fight. That's why its difficult to fight them with melee. They like following up each other's combos so you need to be very careful with your stamina management or you'll get caught up empty and defenseless.

Magic is OP in Dark Souls 1 and that continues to be true in Dark Souls 2. I've seen the Throne bosses get utterly obliterated by Flame Swathe attacks and Lightning Bolts. That isn't the point of my Company of Champions run. The point is to engage all the bosses in combat and go the distance with them. I need to learn to deal with everything they have and I need to find the windows to counter attack. Magic is much too sloppy for me and I say that based on it's PVP viability. A magic projectile will probably kill you in one hit if it lands, but a vet shouldn't get hit by spell spamming. Bosses can't react like humans so they'll fall to the power of magic.

#122 Posted by Myrmicus (223 posts) -

@golguin: When I say "jumping at me" I mean it. There is the quick jump followed by the three hits combo, but that's when she is near. From far away, she will jump for a single devastating hit. Anyway, good tips, I'll put them into good use.

#123 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

@myrmicus said:

@golguin: When I say "jumping at me" I mean it. There is the quick jump followed by the three hits combo, but that's when she is near. From far away, she will jump for a single devastating hit. Anyway, good tips, I'll put them into good use.

Oh, you mean when Watcher jumps high into the air and lands with a plunging attack. That's one of the best times to attack due to the recovery time after the plunge. Just roll back once when the attack is going to land and then counter attack.

You Defeated Guardian Dragon. This guy was probably one of the first bosses that made me really rethink my whole combat approach. As an Uchigatana user my strategy for all the bosses was to essentially get in their face, learn there moveset, dodge, and attack. That didn't work here. After I was one shotted by the fire attack 2 times I decided it was time to stack my fire def. I attuned Flash Sweat, put on most pieces of the Alonne Knight set and even equipped the Phoenix Parma Shield to survive a possible attack. I was able to avoid most of the fire attacks, but the shield did manage to save me. I got caught in the AOE fire attack and the shield blocked part of the attack while my staggered self took on the rest of the fire and barley survived. I managed to stay near the feet and I cut off the tail for an easier time. The fight wasn't too bad.


You Defeated Giant Lord. This guy was pretty similar to the Last Giant, but it was actually a pretty simple fight. He was able to one shot me a few times when I was still figuring out the proper positioning to avoid his sword strikes, but I eventually found the grove and worked his foot. You just need to watch out for the sword swing he does when you're at his feet. If you can dodge that he'll go down very easily.


You Defeated Darklurker. This guy wasn't technically part of my Company of Champions run since I needed to be a Dark Pilgrim for the fight, but it's all for the best because he's literally the worst boss in the game. When I go into a boss battle I want to fight the boss head on with my Uchigatana and learn the boss moveset. Darklurker has one strategy and that's running. You have to run away from the Dark and Fire AOE attacks. There's no precise dodging or anything like that with this fight. You just run. Making the 2nd form come out was never an issue. The problem was the constant running when I just wanted to just get in there and smack the hell out of them.

It was after the 12 death that Darklurker finally pushed me over the edge with FIVE CONSECUTIVE FIRE AOE ATTACKS! I immediately thought, "You want to keep using fire? I'LL GIVE YOU FIRE!" As soon as he split in two I gave him a Chaos Storm to the face. He had around 1/5th of his health left and it still took me another 5 minutes to find the openings to take him down.

Worst fight in the game.

#124 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

MY COMPANY OF CHAMPIONS RUN IS OVER! Aldia the Ancient Dragon and Vendrick have fallen! No more bosses! I can finally cash in the million souls I've been keeping. I'll add the higher resolution pictures and little boss paragraphs in a bit.

You Defeated Nashandra. I knew that beating this boss meant I'd technically beaten the game, but I knew that a much greater challenge awaited me at the Dragon Shrine. I actually had this boss spoiled for me because I fought her co-op after I had beaten the Throne bosses. At the time I didn't know that she would be fought in the same exact place. I fought her a couple of times and then didn't get back to her until it was time to beat the game.

The first time I fought her in the Company of Champions she killed me with her laser and nearly got me with her curse, which would have been a serious problem because I need to stay human during boss fights for aesthetic reasons. The 2nd time I stacked my Curse RES as high as it would go and I ended up with my "Amazon Queen" fashion souls set. I was able to take out her curse causing Dark Orbs fairly easily without endangering my humanity. After that it was only a matter of of being patient and striking when I had safe openings. Her scythe and laser both had the power to one shot me (I knew this from my co-op time against her in the normal game) so I made sure to dodge those cleanly before I went on the offensive. She was fairly simple in the end. I've heard that lots of people had problems with the fact that the "Last Boss" was easy, but it made sense from a lore perpsective (weakest bit of Manus) and she could one shot if she managed to hit you. I liked her.

Before I jump into the Ancient Dragon fight I believe that Hawkeye Gough had some amazing insights on this very fight. How could we forget?

The dragons shall never be forgotten…

We knights fought valiantly, but for every one of them, we lost three score of our own.

Exhiliration, pride, hatred, rage…The dragons teased out our dearest emotions.

…Thou will understand, one day.

I didn't know the true weight of his words until I finally fought Aldia the Ancient Dragon. I believe I tried fighting him alone in the Company of Champions around 5 times. Each of those 5 times I got destroyed by his AOE Fire Breath attack. As far as I knew it was impossible to run away from that attack (I tried several different ways and failed each time) so I left the Company of Champions to see how other people fought him. What I found was that no one seemed to have an effective strategy because everyone died within a few seconds of entering the fog gate. Sometimes I'd die 3 seconds after stepping through the Fog Gate if he decided to immediately open up with his standard Fire Breath attack. After 15 or so runs I eventually figured out his moveset, but dodging/avoiding was still an issue.

If I was going to do it I needed to practice on my own in the Company of Champions. It was during this time that I legitimately questioned everything about the boss design. I was quite furious actually. When the Ancient Dragon decided to start the fight with his AOE instead of his standard Fire Breath attack I was just dead. There was nowhere for me to run as I had already started my approach. I was too close to run away and not far enough to avoid the AOE.

When things went right I was able to safely make my approach and start hammering away at his front feet with my Uchigatana. For a time this seemed to work pretty well. I wasn't in danger of getting stomped on and his standard Fire Breath attack was easily avoided when I was that close. The problem was that I still couldn't avoid his AOE attack when I needed to. I could smack his feet a few times and then run the hell away, but after that it was an issue to run back at him. His constant AOE attacks meant I couldn't get close and if I stayed at max distance (edge of the arena) his stand Fire Breath attack could reach me. The strategy was a dead end.

Since I had found some safety when I was at range I decided to go whacky and go full poison arrows on his ass. The strategy was truly a mixed bag. I could have a good run where I focused on attacking him from behind and I'd be able to get his health down to 4/5ths, but a bad AOE or standard Fire Breath attack was all it took to take me down. It was my understanding from this strategy that his Fire Breath attack could always cover the entire range of the arena. The cone of damage was always too wide to escape no matter where you ran when you were at a distance.

The back legs and tail was essentially the last thing I could think of to avoid the AOE attack. Attacking the tip of the tail was very promising since his head is very far away from the tip, but all it took was a single 180 degree aerial adjustment and it was impossible to escape. My eventual downfall came when I tried going for the back legs. I had heard rumblings about chasing the tail and hitting the back legs, but I couldn't make it consistent. This was truly bad luck as the Ancient Dragon would position itself near the edge of the stage and go for his AOE with his tail sticking out of the arena. This happened 3 times so I figured that I needed to get the hell away from him to force him to re-position himself in the center of the arena. It didn't work because he'd peg me with his fire as I ran away. I was defeated and out of ideas.

I don't know how many times I lost to the Ancient Dragon at that time, but I stopped playing Dark Souls 2 for a full week. I still watched some Let's Play videos, but I had essentially been defeated as I was out of options. I was watching a streamer fight the Ancient Dragon when I noticed that her dragon didn't fly towards the edges. I called bullshit because my dragon kept flying near the edge whenever I went for the legs or tail. I went on youtube and searched out the fight and right near the beginning the guy said, "The dragon will RARELY fly towards the edge making the trail tracking strategy impossible." How could it be rare when it constantly happened to me under the Company of Champions? I immediately turned on the game and went to fight the Ancient Dragon.

That's when it happened. I somehow gained the ability of "Super Tail Tracker." I'd mash away at the back leg with 4 Uchigatana strikes that drained almost all of my Stamina (you can't run if your Stamina is fully drained), but I had just enough left to fully recharge and run when the time came to escape. I don't know what I did before, but I somehow got the Dragon stuck in an AOE rotation loop. I was somehow able to predict where the tail was going to go before the dragon took to the skies so I'd end up pretty far away from the fire with plenty of space to spare. The dragon didn't do any 180 degree turns on me. The few times I wasn't able to predict the direction of the tail I was still far enough away to avoid the attack. I had the dragon down to 1/4th of his health when I made the bad decision to use pin resin as it was still flying. The tail landed on me and killed me. I didn't get mad though. I knew I had his number.

I went in a 2nd time and the Ancient Dragon decided to fly to the corner again during my process, but I somehow knew he would listen to me. I ran in the direction I wanted the tail to turn and the Ancient Dragon followed my lead. He did this 3 other times and he didn't leave his tail over the arena edge. The key seemed to be a "preemptive escape" to keep the tail predictable and even when it wasn't I was still far enough away to avoid the attack. The back leg attacks only forced a single stomp. The rest was all AOE. I got the "Weapon Break at Risk" message 3 hits before I landed the final strike. You can see in the pic that my Uchigatana is essentially out of durability. The fight would have been impossible without my lightning pine resin thanks to the Ancient Dragon's increased defense. I did it though. The fight was over. I won.

You Defeated Vendrick! Poor Vendrick was a shell of his former self and without the advantage of his Giant powers he fell easily enough. I tried fighting him once with only 4 Giant Souls and I wasn't very interested in a 30 minutes fight so I did pick up that 5th Giant Soul for Aldia the Ancient Dragon. I died to him 3 total times, but it was enough to get his moveset down as any hit resulted in a 1 shot kill or a stun lock into a 2 shot kill. I believe I've heard of this before, but you just need to stay behind Vendrick and force him to just spam his single horizontal slash. He'll eventually go down without much effort.

I'm about to officially move onto my NG+. I just need to pick up a few more things (99 cracked red eye orbs needed, I picked up 60 last night in the Blood Bro Arena) and kill all the NPCs for their loot/clothing.

I'll give my closing thoughts on the Company of Champions very soon.

#125 Posted by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (725 posts) -

The game, for me, is hard enough running around solo. I don't feel like possibly chucking my controller into the wall.

#126 Edited by golguin (3969 posts) -

I officially moved on to NG+ a few days ago and so I've said goodbye to the Company of Champions. I still need around 9 Awestones to get those 50 points for Rank 3, but I know I can pick them up naturally from NPC invaders and the occasional Blood Bro in NG+.

I've had a lot of time to think about the Company of Champions and I've watched other people play through Dark Souls 2 and I believe that From made the correct choice in placing the "Brutal Souls Experience" behind this covenant. There were lots of people that had put in hundreds of hours into the PVE and PVP parts of Dark Souls 1. There was no way to make a challenging game for us that would still be accessible to more casual Dark Souls players like Vinny or Patrick. I think of Jeff Green and his current Dark Souls 2 playthrough and how the game is more than hard enough for people that don't necessarily have the skills to beat the game, but have the patient to fight through it.

I think it's unfortunate that so few people stepped up to the Company of Champion covenant. I watched the leaderboards like a hawk the first few weeks and the Awestone point count for each player on the leaderboard served as a general indicator of how far a player progressed in the Company of Champions before they dropped it. Invasions were VERY RARE the first few weeks so you got your Awestones through NPC invaders and a few rare drops from enemies. I was in the top 50 for the first week before the Awestone farming method was discovered. Even after the 3rd and 4th week I was still in the top 300 with 20 or so Awestones as it became clear that the leaderboard was full of people farming Awestones. I'm currently ranked 1088 with 41 Awestone points so that shows how few people even farmed to reach the 50 points for rank 3.

It seems like there were a good number of people that complained about the game being too easy, but they didn't join the Company of Champions because they felt it went too far with the inability to summon for areas and bosses. If you played hundreds of hours of Dark Souls and you felt that Dark Souls 2 was too easy then you messed up. You should have joined up. You can only have that first time experience with the game once so if you've put in hundreds of hours into the first game do yourself a favor and take on the punishing experience that is Dark Souls 2 under the Company of Champions.

#127 Posted by Vahleticar (146 posts) -

My level one guy is in the covenant. I'm early on and already getting one shot

#128 Posted by dudeglove (8020 posts) -

@golguin: Slight necro of your post, but legit question. I've ran through the game on CoC (albeit with an extremely overpowered character) to see what if anything is different. Overall, most bosses seemingly just get an HP buff and are more "aggressive" put simply, but for the Lost Sinner, he/she actually friggin' parried and riposted one of my attacks. Did you see this as well? The animation is similar to a 2-handed "super parry" of a heavy weapon, and it scared the crap out of me because it changed the fight from just-another-damage-sponge boss to "oh crap I have to actually be careful". Too bad it only happened once, and for what was a largely uninspiring boss, it offered a brief glimmer of hope that the game could've achieved greatness.

The only other thing to note was that Duke's Dear somethingorother got stuck spamming its beam attack in CoC, while the Throne Watcher (or whichever one is in white) actually has a magic projectile attack that I have literally never seen outside of the covenant run, either in all my other runs, online, or in NG+. The Iron King is still completely lame on any difficulty.

Other than that pretty much every boss was just a slightly hardier/faster/more aggressive version. And yeah, Darklurker is no fun to fight, even if you're specced for magic.

#129 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

@golguin: Slight necro of your post, but legit question. I've ran through the game on CoC (albeit with an extremely overpowered character) to see what if anything is different. Overall, most bosses seemingly just get an HP buff and are more "aggressive" put simply, but for the Lost Sinner, he/she actually friggin' parried and riposted one of my attacks. Did you see this as well? The animation is similar to a 2-handed "super parry" of a heavy weapon, and it scared the crap out of me because it changed the fight from just-another-damage-sponge boss to "oh crap I have to actually be careful". Too bad it only happened once, and for what was a largely uninspiring boss, it offered a brief glimmer of hope that the game could've achieved greatness.

The only other thing to note was that Duke's Dear somethingorother got stuck spamming its beam attack in CoC, while the Throne Watcher (or whichever one is in white) actually has a magic projectile attack that I have literally never seen outside of the covenant run, either in all my other runs, online, or in NG+. The Iron King is still completely lame on any difficulty.

Other than that pretty much every boss was just a slightly hardier/faster/more aggressive version. And yeah, Darklurker is no fun to fight, even if you're specced for magic.

The enemies also get something like a 30% damage buff increase so during my run a lot of bosses could one shot me. I don't believe I've seen Lost Sinner parry, but I have seen Throne Watcher use a magic projectile.

#130 Edited by Random45 (1233 posts) -

So I started a melee character and I joined this covenant for the first time, and I don't know if it's because I usually play a caster or if the Company of Champions just makes the game this significantly harder, but I'm having a hell of a time with some of the early bosses. It's really demoralizing to nearly defeat a boss, and then die at the last little bit of HP. I've managed to beat the Giant, Ornstein, and the Dragonrider, and now the Pursuer is just giving me a difficult time. It's not that the boss itself is hard at all - I practically memorized his movement set and everything, I know when to attack and when to dodge - the challenge just comes from having to play FLAWLESSLY. I fuck up a dodge roll then half of my HP gone. I can generally only stand two or three hits from him before I die, and it's so damn annoying, especially when I was playing so well for the past three minutes or so, and then I get hit, and then die when I try to chug a healing potion.

Edit: So I broke down and dropped the Company of Champions, and lo and behold the game is SIGNIFICANTLY easier. The bosses feel a lot less aggressive, and they give you more time in between their attacks to recover stamina and heal yourself if you need to. The difference is huge. So yeah, if you wanna be a masochist, go right ahead and do this shit. Otherwise stay as far away from it as possible.

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