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#1 Posted by MikeLemmer (1448 posts) -

"I am alone in this desolation, but I am not the only one here. Others have left notes to aid me. Perhaps I should do the same for them..."

Welcome to my attempt to compile all of GiantBomb's explorations of Dark Souls 2 into a single thread. Joining the Drangleic Explorer Society is simple: once the game's released, just post links to your forum posts, blogs, or stream archives detailing your adventures in Dark Souls 2, and I'll compile them into a list below for easy reference, divided by topic/region and noting whether they discuss secrets or not. The goal is to easily let others learn as much about Dark Souls 2 as they want to.

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#2 Edited by MikeLemmer (1448 posts) -


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#3 Edited by Mike (17385 posts) -

@mikelemmer: This is going to be a major project...I hope you are prepared!

I am starting the game right now. Thank you, San Francisco Japantown! Servers aren't online yet, sadly. I'm not sure at this point if I am going to go full bore and rip through the game offline, or just experiment with some different classes and then start once everything is up and running.

I'm going into this almost completely blind. I haven't watched any of the AMA's on YouTube or anything like that, so...here we go! I'm not even sure how comfortable I am posting anything here because I know how sensitive people are to information about this game...

There are 47 stats on the Player Status screen. Oh boy.

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#4 Posted by MikeLemmer (1448 posts) -

@mb: Won't know if I'm prepared until I try.

As for sensitive info… that's what spoiler tags are for. Plus if it's links to site blogs or streams, I can look it over myself and give people an idea what it covers.

Also, 47 stats? Great! I'd rather have lots of detailed stats than stuff hidden away.

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#5 Posted by Mike (17385 posts) -

11pm Thursday, d/c'd from Xbox Live, 85mb patch now available. Going to install.

I went with a female swordsman. Planning on some kind of high dex mobility build but not really sure yet.

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#6 Posted by Humanity (16690 posts) -

@mb: Jokes on you, the major game stat of Dark Souls 2 is luck.

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#7 Edited by Mike (17385 posts) -

I'm going to keep my remarks to mechanical & item stuff for now, at least until the game comes out. If you want to know anything specific just ask. A lot of this stuff may be known already if you have been following the development of the game, it's all new to me though.

  • Combat: If you whiff an attack, recovery time to get your shield up is significantly longer now. Even against low level enemies, if you are face to face and miss, even if you have a shield you are probably going to take a hit. Introduces real consequences to playing poorly.
  • Combat: Enemies are now far more aggressive and will run you down if you try to back off and gain some distance, unless you go far enough and then they reset back to their beginning positions.
  • Item: I found an item that may allow respeccing, but not sure about this.
  • Covenants: Joined the Way of Blue co-op covenant, although at this point it doesn't matter because the servers still are not on.
  • Mechanics (Messages):It appears as though all messages, even the default ones, are online only. There is a note to this effect when you start the game offline, so I am sure I'm missing things here and there like illusory walls.
  • Drops: When an enemy drops an item, you can tell there is something to pick up immediately. No waiting around a second or two for a blue orb to appear.
  • Mechanics (Stats):There are far more stats now and some things like vitality and endurance have been changed, but the tooltips are better.
  • Mechanics (Movement): Recovering souls no longer causes you to stop moving.
  • Mechanics (Leveling): Leveling up can no longer be done at any bonfire, there is a specific NPC you must talk to in the first settlement. However, you can now freely warp between any bonfire you have lit.
  • Mechanics (Torches and Light): Torches are consumable and seem to have a lifetime of 30 minutes. They must be lit at either a bonfire or a brazer. You will find brazers around the world, some lit, some not. Once you light a brazer with your torch, it stays lit, and then you can use it to light torches in the future. You can light your torch at a bonfire without resting at it. Your torch will go out if you switch to another off hand item, go into deep enough water, or if it's timer runs out.
  • Mechanics (Health): Every time you die you go more and more hollow and your available health pool decreases accordingly until you go back to human, then it is restored. However, using a Human Effigy (the new humanity?) does not heal you, it only removes the reduced health debuff.
  • Loot: Lizards are back! They still make a shimmering sound when nearby. I have only found one so far and he dropped two titanite shards
  • Covenants: There is a covenant that makes the game more difficult.
  • Movement: You can now climb ladders faster by holding B. Also, to slide down ladders you now need to hold Down+B.
  • Estus Flasks: Reinforcing Estus flasks now seems to grant additional uses instead of making them stronger. You start with one flask which is refilled when you rest at a bonfire.
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#8 Posted by Krockett (521 posts) -

Hope your still doing this when the PC version is released I mean I have a pS3 but my wife just spent 1700 on a new PC for me, and I want to play it on there.

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#9 Edited by Mike (17385 posts) -

First boss down! Only problem: VICTORY ACHIEVED instead of YOU DEFEATED. Seriously, From? You guys better patch that shit.

Extreme Spoiler Ahead! Boss mechanics & strategy for the first boss of the game: Double spoiler block here. Read at your own risk.

The first unskippable boss of Souls 2 is The Last Giant. This is a relatively straightforward fight and will be a piece of cake for Souls veterans. This boss is big and slow and his attacks are all easily avoided, and I think it's pretty clear what you need to do to beat him. He will charge at you if you are across the room, but you just circle strafe to avoid it. Get behind him and assume SDFP (Standard Dragon Fighting Position) and attack the backs of his legs. Watch out because not only do his swipes have a wide arc and can hit you if you're not directly behind him, but he also does several different patterns of foot stomps that may one-shot you. The foot stomps vary from single left or single right to up to three stomps in a row. He also does a stomp where he steps back several feet, so watch for this when you're in SDFP and get ready to jump back a little or circle strafe some more. He will also slam down on the ground in front of him with his fists. When his happens, he will be immobile for a few seconds with one of his hands on the ground supporting him. Attack the hand and if you do enough damage, he will fall flat on his face. Attack more and win. If you're in human form, there is an NPC you can summon but this is really not necessary. At this point I'm not sure if there is any future benefit to doing this fight with the NPC, but I did it solo.

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#10 Edited by Neonie (438 posts) -

@mb said:

First boss down! Only problem: VICTORY ACHIEVED instead of YOU DEFEATED. Seriously, From? You guys better patch that shit.

Fucking lame.

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#11 Posted by golguin (5304 posts) -

If given the choice I don't think I'd play it early if I have to play online. Bring on the invaders! I've been engaged in PVP all these years for the opportunity to crush anyone who comes into my world. I'm hoping to smack people with a big dose of reality when they see the skill level of those who have continued to PVP. Here's hoping the new match making system really will match people up based on invasion frequency.

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#12 Edited by VaddixBell (275 posts) -

I can't wait for this to be honest. I never played Demons' or Dark Souls at launch and by the time I got to them, there was so much cataloged and recorded on the wikis and people knew about all the secret doors and mimics.

Now, I'm looking forward to figuring out this stuff with the community. It's going to be great.

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#13 Edited by Mike (17385 posts) -

Second boss: Died over and over to the second boss last night. To top it off, every time you die you lose a little bit of your maximum health, so after about an hour of banging my head against this wall, I was at about 50% health and the boss was one shotting me no problem. Think of it like facing Artorias while cursed. Of course, no souls to buy any items to restore my humanity with, so I was forced to stop trying the boss and go grind out some souls. What made this even more frustrating was I ran into the new system where some of the enemies simply stopped spawning, so even grinding out some souls became more time consuming. Not fun, but I know it'll be that much more satisfying when I finally beat this guy.

Of course I was facing this boss at a low level anyway without any upgraded weapons or armor, but still. Today I'm going to upgrade one of my weapons a little if I have enough materials and then maybe buy some fire bombs and give it another shot.

There is a much stronger emphasis on dodge rolling this time around, so people who master this early on are going to have a much easier time with some of the fights in Dark Souls 2. I was never great at dodging in the last game, and now that the invincibility frames during rolling have been reduced, I'm even worse at it. Time to practice rolling.

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#14 Posted by slyspider (1778 posts) -

@neonie said:

@mb said:

First boss down! Only problem: VICTORY ACHIEVED instead of YOU DEFEATED. Seriously, From? You guys better patch that shit.

Fucking lame.

pre-order cancelled. I'll wait for a mod to fix this massive issue

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#15 Edited by Neonie (438 posts) -

@mb: Out of curiosity, if you wanted to, could you just go to a different area and come back to this one later? Perhaps one of the problems with this boss is you aren't meant to fight as soon as you are regardless, and either way, it seems like something where if I was having trouble with a boss like that, it would be nice to retreat from that area and go explore some place new.

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#16 Edited by Mike (17385 posts) -

@neonie: In this case, I don't think so. All other doors that I knew about were still locked and I did quite a bit of exploring.

I am about to get back in and see how it goes today, I think I was not only playing on tilt last night but was definitely overtired. I don't think this boss is even that difficult, it just demands a certain skill set that I still don't have - well-timed rolling. I think most Souls vets will find the encounter almost trivial.

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#17 Posted by Neonie (438 posts) -

@mb: Ah I see. Ok then. Thanks for the response.

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#18 Posted by Mike (17385 posts) -

Also, there is something new that I'll just put out in the open. The game now not only checks for updates but also polls servers for a different file called "Calibrations" - so the 360 version is currently at Version 1.01 and Calibrations 1.02. I have no idea what this is, it isn't explained anywhere and I can't find any references to it on the internet anywhere.

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#19 Posted by ultra2extreme (126 posts) -

Im a little worried by how the roll feels, it feels like the enemy locks you into animation loops preventing you rolling away from attacks at times, loving this though!"!

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#21 Posted by Mike (17385 posts) -

@ultra2extreme: I was thinking it's because the enemies are far more aggressive and react quicker than in the previous game. For instance, they will run after you and then stop and attack immediately, or advance and attack as you are rolling away.

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#22 Posted by ultra2extreme (126 posts) -

in some cases yes but i have had instances early on, noticeable as im playing as a dual wielding swordsman (so no block), where im hitting roll and im unable to despite the attack animation being far from hitting me. May be stat or enemy type related tho, ill with hold judgment for now

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#23 Posted by Mike (17385 posts) -

Strategy for 2nd or 3rd Boss, depending on order you go in:

The Pursuer

This is an Artorias-like fight. Pretty simple if you can dodge well. The Pursuer will glide and charge towards you quickly and has a giant ass sword. He holds his sword in his right hand and has a shield in his left, so dodging to your right seems like the best idea. Be careful of two different special attacks:

He will pause, his greatsword will glow blue, and then he will attack you with a thrust. This attack must be dodged or you will get impaled on it and cursed and it will do a ton of damage. If you get cursed by him, the Pursuer will now do a periodic attack where he shoots bolts of dark magic at you which do a ton of damage. The other attack he does to watch out for is a three hit combo, two lateral swipes followed up by a jumping spin attack that will lock onto you if you're close enough, so be sure to roll away from him if you see him jump up in there air. There is also an attack where he does an overhead two handed attack, when it misses he will be bent forward with his sword on the ground for a couple of seconds. Don't get too close when he does this because it will stun you even if the blade doesn't connect and you will be unable to move for a second or two. Stay out of range of this attack and then go in for a couple of quick strikes, then back off, and get ready to roll right or back/right to dodge his attacks. One side of his arena is a cliff which is pretty easy to roll off of. Manage the distance between you and the Pursuer and leave yourself room either behind you or preferably to your right so you can roll safely out of range of his attacks. If you're good at rolling this fight should be trivial.

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#24 Posted by pyrodactyl (3798 posts) -

Sure, I'll post the adventures of my badass cleric and sick mage in this thread sometimes next week.

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#25 Edited by Waffles13 (622 posts) -

I'm going to start streaming tomorrow afternoon on http://www.twitch.tv/waffles13. No specific time, but it should go for a while.

EDIT: My stream got DMCA'd. A bummer, but I'll start streaming again on Tuesday (maybe Monday if I can get away with it).

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#26 Edited by ultra2extreme (126 posts) -

@mb: nice strat basically what I'm doing and get him down 3/4 each go. Always make a mistake tho, bit rusty

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#27 Edited by Demoskinos (17356 posts) -

Man I neeeeeed it to be tuesday. I'm going to very fool heartily wish that PSN releases the game at midnight. I'm going to go ahead and say that probably won't happen though.

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#28 Posted by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

@demoskinos: You and me both duder ... I try to play other gaes but my minds keeps goin "I wanna play Dark souls 2" D:

Im thinking maybe I should play some Dark Souls to ease the pain :/ , but then wont I get burned by so much souls games? Arrrrrrrhhhhhggggg

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#29 Posted by Demoskinos (17356 posts) -

@aetheldod: Well luckily, In my case I have Lightning Returns biding my time but I pretty much at this point have absolutely destroyed this game. I have two boss fights left both of which will be a bit of a challenge but after that I have the platinum and will have beaten the game twice through.

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#30 Posted by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

@demoskinos: ^^ I only played it once but granted before that I played both FFXIII and FFXIII-2 before , so I had 2 months of Final fantasies .... and didnt get burned out , but wont play the game again for sometime ... maybe I should play some Dark Souls after all :P

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#31 Edited by weegieanawrench (1965 posts) -

My local game store broke their street date, I managed to get a copy yesterday afternoon. This game is so much more difficult than the first two games. I won't post any spoilers just mechanics and gameplay changes. I guess some of this has already been mentioned by @mb, so I'll add my own points. Keep in mind, I am very early on in the game (maybe 5 hours in?), I haven't even seen a lizard at this point.

Combat: Stamina management is absolutely essential to survival, just as much as animation priority.

  • Group combat is a very serious challenge. 2 enemies is quite a trial especially when they have weapons with varying ranges, but 3 or more is almost a guaranteed death unless you have an escape route.

Weapons: They degrade quickly, but repair themselves upon resting at a bonfire. Pretty weird! Repair powder and repairing at the blacksmith is kind of pointless.

Animation: I'll need to mess around with it a bit more, but it looks like you can queue up a couple of commands. It's gotten me in trouble a few times already. I don't think this was the case for DeS or DaS, but I could be wrong.

Items: They are few and far between and tend to drop individually instead of in groups. This goes for health items too. This forced me to use items like firebombs on standard enemies when I I was down on health, instead of just stockpiling them like I did in Dark Souls.

  • the range of thrown items in combat seems to have been increased significantly for both yourself and enemies.
  • Estus shards aren't the only way to upgrade flasks. Sublime Bone Dust can be used to reinforce the flask to +1 and beyond. I don't know how far it goes, but it most likely updgrades to +7 ala Dark Souls.

I'll add more as it comes if you duders want to hear more.

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#32 Edited by Scampbell (516 posts) -

Friday has never seemed further away...

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#33 Posted by weegieanawrench (1965 posts) -

@mb: My torch is currently sitting at 45 minutes, maybe it tops out at an hour?

In regards to the soul vessel (respec), you can take it to the three old women at the cottage to reset your stats.

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#34 Posted by Mike (17385 posts) -

@weegieanawrench: I figured that was the case with the soul vessel, but I wonder if using it won't also have some other unintended consequences...also, you are right on about facing groups. There is one section not too far in the game where you will face 7+ enemies at once if you're not careful. I had to pull 3 or 4 of them and do some crazy Mirror's Edge style parkour to get into a position where I could manage them a little better. Spent about half an hour trying to figure that out, only to immediately come to a boss that pounded me into the ground like a nail..hah!

Combat is definitely more difficult, I did notice that right away. Also I think possibly agility has something to do with the animation speed of things like how quickly you can raise your shield?

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#35 Posted by Demoskinos (17356 posts) -

I'm just going to throw my two cents in here and assume it will be promptly ignored but... can we please have a discussion thread that is clearly labeled spoilers and just freely talk about the game without tags?

I mean really why is everyone still using tags in a spoiler thread? If you don't want things spoiled you shouldn't be in a thread dedicated to talking openly about the game. It just seems really redundant to me. I would like to be able to join in the discussion of the game this week but I'd rather not have to worry about tagging things. Because the amount of things that people are considering "spoilers" is insane to me and I'd like to just freely discuss the game without those worries wih the caveat that you know up front the thread will be no holds barred.

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#36 Posted by Sterling (4134 posts) -

Just popping in to let all you know that I hate you for having the game already.

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#37 Posted by weegieanawrench (1965 posts) -

@mb: Oh I know the area you're talking about. I got lucky and managed to aggro a few at a time instead of all 7. Also it looks like having the higher ground is preferable this time around.

Maybe agility does have to do with how fast you can pull off actions, but I also noticed you don't cover nearly as much ground when sprinting before your stamina depletes. I hope agility governs that in addition to a higher endurance stat.

And oh man, that boss! He hits very hard, but I managed to beat him after switching off my starting weapon (hand axe) and tossing a few witch's something something.

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#38 Edited by Sterling (4134 posts) -

Anyone have it early on PS3 that has a DS4? Is it compatible? My DS3 is not in the best of shape. Not really looking to buy a new one. Also is there a way to use the DS4 without the cable?

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#39 Edited by weegieanawrench (1965 posts) -

@demoskinos: The only reason I'm doing it right now is because the game isn't out. Once Tuesday hits, I'll be dropping the tags in this thread unless of course it spoils story/lore. I agree that it's pretty silly to be tagging items and locations, but you know how touchy some folks can get.

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#40 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (2134 posts) -

13 hours in myself with ten bosses down myself. I can chime in when I can.

All I will say is that you have better be ready for a hard first couple hours if you go Depraved. There are simply next to no weapons that are available to find in the first few hours. I got lucky and stumbled onto the Fire Longsword.

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#41 Posted by dr_monocle (385 posts) -

How heavy is the lore in general? I can't really get a good sense from all the preview videos, but does it seem like they are going more lore focused experience. I know it's still a Souls game but I hope the world is at least as cohesive as DS1 was from a narrative standpoint.

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#42 Edited by Carlos1408 (1622 posts) -

God damn it! I need it to be the 14th already!!!!!! Soon my Cleric shall be able to show his quality! \[T]/

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#43 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (2134 posts) -

@dr_monocle: I have not seen much of it so far. All of the NPC's have their own reasons to be in Drangleic, and through them you find out some cool tidbits about what lands they come from. You will usually bump into a NPC that will give a bit of information about the area you are about to enter, but it is nothing deep.

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#44 Posted by dr_monocle (385 posts) -

@drdarkstryfe: Hmmm okay, I guess it's one of those things that the community brings forth their own interpretations on once it's been out for a while. Hopefully the item descriptions have little clues like the last two games did. Thanks!

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#45 Posted by Deusx (1943 posts) -

What scares me about the game so far is listening to people talk about it a lot but hearing NO ONE saying how they really feel about it. I mean, is it cool? Does it fulfill your expectations?! Say something besides "oh yeah that ring and that weapon and..." I don't care! I'll find about that stuff once I have the game but how is it? Are the graphics as shitty as everyone is saying? Does it feel like Dark Souls 1.5 instead of 2.0? Are you having fun? How's the story? At least a bit intriguing? I'm dying here!

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#46 Posted by advocatefish (481 posts) -

Does lighting the torches are the world give you short cuts?

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#47 Edited by Bocam (4099 posts) -

So when you beat Nashandra instead of dumping you directly into NG+, you're sent back to Majula. Where the option to go into NG+ is just a choice on the bonfire menu.

Also lighting the torches doesn't do anything other than provide a light source

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#48 Posted by Sterling (4134 posts) -

Question about torches and very early game. Right after the opening, the first bonfire. You Find a torch behind the wagon. Counter goes up to 5 mins. But nothing in inventory and no way to use it. Is this normal? Do you have to do something else first?

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#49 Posted by redyoshi (1404 posts) -

@sterling: Toggle at bonfire. Light the torch.