@golguin: I am really interested in the wider implications of facing more difficult enemies, and what that could mean for the rest of the game. There may be things you can access that aren't available any other way...
I'm considering the Bell Bros, though. That sounds like a ton of fun.
I did a bit of pig testing and my suspicions have been confirmed. Two handed RT attack deals low 30s to the pigs while in the Covenant of Champions. I left the covenant and I was dealing damage in the low 40s. That could potentially be a huge buff for the enemies if their durability increased by a percentage. They might deal more damage and have more HP in general, but I didn't check that.
And a general game update. I just saw that my message was rated. A little alarm tingle went off and a message appeared letting me know it was rated. I wonder what it does this time.