Does any have a Houndoomite they'd be willing to (temporarily) part with? Really want one for a monodark run I'm doing. I can give it back as soon as I beat the E4 and get my own. Can't really offer much as I havn't finished the game and I'm not into competitive breeding. Thanks.
@alistercat: Past which bell? Are you talking about all the fire past the second? If so you can ignore that for now. You've got the right idea, head to the fortress. You should probably drop the drake sword, it starts strong but caps early, just experiment with the weapons you have, find something with a move set you like and upgrade from there. Choose strength or dex according to the weapon, don't dump points into both once you meet the requirements. Resources (for the most part) are infinite so don't worry about what to spend on them on.
I think upgrading shields improves stability which means you lose less stamina per block, I'd focus on your weapon first.
Boss souls let you craft unique weapons, they can be cool but they're not a big deal. Alternatively you can crack them like you do with all the other souls you pick up. I didn't touch them my first play through and I wasn't short of good weapons or souls. You can't go wrong really, just check the unique weapons out on the wiki before you crack them because once you do that weapons gone.