Dark Souls: What I’ve Learned in Ash Lake & about the Sexual Creatures

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I learned many things in my stay in Ash Lake because I got careless and greedy for the hard to reach item and eventually got cursed by two basilisks that greeted me when I entered into one of the enclosed area. What is interesting about Ash Lake is the way how the basilisk’s toxic black smoke turns into a crystal mist once the creature is out in the open area.  You still can get cursed if you let the mist consumed you, but the amount of time to get toxic is not as fast as the black smoke. I wonder if the effect has to do with my current stats, or there is something very special about this holy ground.

And so my progress in the game was stalled because I had to farm for Purging Stone, but I didn’t mind. The developer didn’t make it difficult to search for the stone because the Maneater Shells that drop the item can be found nearby.  On the plus side, the creature also drops Twinkling Titanite, a precious stone for upgrade purposes.  Having a lot of the stones gives player the freedom to enhance weapons and test it.  In my head, I am always thinking: “What weapon shall I use to kill my enemies?” The game sure knows how to respect the players’ time and give us that flexibility to make our own decision. Thanks Darks Souls for not making it dull, but at the same time, not overwhelming me with choices.

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The magical thing about games like Dark Souls is its ability to keep my mind focused and entertained while offering educational benefits. I naturally like to study.  In the game, the symbolic meaning behind the Maneater Shells tickled my brain as soon as I understood what it meant.  The moral lesson of the Maneater Shell is if you poke your head at every attractive clams you encounter, you might get your head chopped off.   As you can tell from the picture above, there are a pile of skulls in its gaping mouth. So learn how to be a wise player because Dark Souls’ universe will punish you if you are careless.

Luckily, in the area, there are only two Maneater Shells. One is by the medusa Black Hydra. The placement of that Maneater Shell is meant to make it difficult to defeat the hydra upfront.  So the best solution is to shoot it down with arrows from afar.  I found a place just for that.  Unfortunately, I ran out of arrows so I couldn’t kill it.  I’m making a mental note to visit the place again once I unlock the teleport ability.

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For such a small area, I really enjoyed my time in Ash Lake.  As I mentioned before, it’s an oasis.  I was bullying the poor giant mushroom with my Poison Mist spell and watched the confused mushroom heading for the water.  Eventually I got killed by its punch.  Obviously, it didn’t like me near it.  So then I collected my souls and headed back up to the big tree (The Great Hollow) and entered back into the swamp. The erected mushroom may be cute, but cuteness is also deadly, but more importantly not all enemies are hostile. They are merely just defending themselves.  No need to kill everything that crosses your path. Lesson learned.

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Back in the swamp,  I realized I equipped the wrong armor because I was just too eager to try on any new armor I came across. I do appreciate practical fashion that gives me good stats. The appropriate attire is Tattered Cloth Robe because of its high poison resistant. The armor is lighter as well–good for rolling.  I must confess though,  I was getting rather annoyed changing armor in this area because peeping tom Giant Mosquitoes can’t control itself and decided to pester. They can be such a pain.  In real life, mosquitoes gently land on your skin and rarely do you feel bitten.  In this game, the mosquitoes are obnoxiously vicious; they will repeatedly try to poke you even when your shield is up.  They can’t take “No” for an answer.  Running away would only worsen the situation as the number of them increased. It’s best to blast it with fireballs and get rid of them once and for all.  Confrontation is sometimes necessary.  Lesson learned.

There are many reasons why I love Dark Souls. One of the big reasons is its depiction of the world. It is not all that different from our world even though it’s a fantasy.  I love this type of storytelling because it tells stories without being outright offensive. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not entirely perfect.  But I will mention my dislikes at a later time. For now, it’s time for me to stop fooling around and go defeat Quelaag.  I just hope I won’t lose my sanity in the process and turn completely Hollow.  Whatever humanity is left, I will fight for it.

Until next time, thank you for reading. Take care now.

Dark Souls: Exploring Is An Achievement

Normally, I dislike traveling in games because it seems rather pointless, but Dark Souls knows exactly how to design stages and build the perfect momentum to control the pacing of the player. Exploration serves as a preparation for the next boss fight.

After I defeated the Gaping Dragon, I spoke to the NPC, bought a Crystal Straight Sword from him. That sword helped me clear the beginning of Blighttown, until it was on the risk of breaking. In that area, I slipped and fell several times, but it wasn’t all that bad. By mistake, I fell down with the creature onto a ledge; from there I found myself a whip. Although it didn’t do much damage, so I had no choice but to use the Drake Sword and hack my way down to the bottom of that treacherous town, built on steep cliff. Eventually, I fell into the poisonous swamp as the narrowed path made it hard for me to swing and attack the Cragspiders.

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I don’t have the right stats so I was easily poisoned. I clumsily rolled on the sticky swamp, hacking my sword at every one of those giant-sucking mosquitoes that spit out a bucket of blood. They come in pairs. What a pest. Somehow, I managed to roll myself in that disgusting filth and found myself some good items, but at the expense of encountering scaly snake-like big leeches. They are so gross looking. I hurriedly found an escape from those leeches by stumbling into an opening of a tree trunk, which led me to The Great Hollow, one of my favorite areas in the game because I love trees!

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Have you ever been on a tall slide in a shape of an “S”? When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents to take my brothers and me to the neighborhood’s slide. It’s a lot of fun going down the slide. The Great Hollow reminds me of that slide, except you don’t slide, you drop below onto each branch, until you hit the bottom. Certain branches have shiny items that appear attainable, but at the same time out of reach. Most of items are materials for weapon/armor upgrade. I died several times, slipping off the branches thinking that I am so close to grabbing one. When I looked at the time, I realized I was spending about an hour or two in the area, trying to collect all the items.

Apart from falling off the branch because I misplaced my foot, I also had to face the big yellowish, orange bulging-eyes basilisks. They are cute but ugly at the same time. It released black smoke which will curse you and reduce your life to half. So you got to be careful and stay out of the smoke. Once cursed, you’d need a purging stone to normalize yourself. I don’t bother killing them with my sword. Instead, I lured them so they will stupidly jump in the air and miss the ground and fall straight to the bottom.

As soon as I made my way near the bottom of The Great Hollow, I started to get hungry for pine mushroom soup as these little cute mushroom creatures toddled its way towards me. It’s not friendly as it appear because it attacked me. So I sliced it up with my sword. It squealed and died. Then appeared the mama and papa ( I assume because they were bigger in size). I should have known better to kill someone’s children. One punch from the giant mushroom was an instant death for me because my life bar was already halfway empty. It’s back to the bonfire. I had to make my way down again.

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The more I think about the stages in the game, I had to climb down from that awful town and into the swamp to find an oasis. Out of this area is Ash Lake, a beautiful undersea-like world. Such a beautiful calming place. Exploring is a form of achievement. You never know what is at the end of that long, disgusting path that seem to never end. You will be rewarded greatly as soon you find a breath of fresh air. Likewise, I think of life the same way. There will be times you may feel uncomfortable and feel as if there is no end to your adversity, but there is. You just have to make the effort to get there. At least, this is the experience I got from Dark Souls.

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Now I don’t want to climb back to the Firelink Shrine or face Chaos Witch Quelaag. I just want to stay low underground far from human civilization with the Everlasting Dragon in Ash Lake. I have gotten so used to the solitary lifestyle of a solo traveler and I am a bit tired. For now, I’m going to curl up next to the dragon and shut my eyes because tomorrow will come another battle. Certainly, I cannot stay here for too long. Eventually, I have to report back to Quelaag as I am actually her apprentice, training to become a smoking-hot sadist. I’m just kidding!

P.S

There will be more Dark Souls content to come as I find this game to be an enjoyable pastime and a pleasure to write for this blog.

Going Back to Dark Souls

I don’t think I can last long without playing games. I was beginning to feel irritable. But more so, I was craving to play something that will prevent me from mind-wandering.  So I went back to Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition (remastered version is not worth the purchase).  I realized the sound effects in the game are superb.  It is so soothing to my ears.  I’m in Blighttown at the moment, and I realized the sound effects can make the world in Dark Souls feels massive or enclosed.   Sound effects really matter to me more than the visual presentation.  It’s a huge determining factor whether I will enjoy a game or not.

Two things I learned from watching myself play the game.  I realized that I am not a skilled player–I just have a lot of patience.  I see my flaws on what I could have done better and how I could have killed the boss faster from watching the video clip below (sorry for the low quality clip).  The whole time I was observing my surroundings and thinking when to attack.  I do get impatient at times, if you  noticed how I swing my sword more than three times.  Two might be good, then back off.  Paying attention to your surroundings is important, especially when trying to study its move. Your environment is also your weapon.  Overall, the boss-fight was sloppy. I give myself a D+ for poor performance.

The second thing I learn about myself  is  the type of video games I enjoy the most is really just problem solving (how do I kill the boss efficiently.)  Honestly, I just want to kill the bosses in Dark Souls over and over and skip the exploration, so I can perfect at killing bosses.  I really don’t care about how difficult a game is. That sort of thing is a bit overrated. I just want to be entertained–not stressed. Okay, I admit sometimes my mindset do scare me a little, but you know kittens like to play with their food before they eat it.  I think I’m the same way.  I am just exercising my brain cells. So I expect a fun gameplay.  Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate a good story in games.  It’s just normally, if I want a good story, I prefer reading a book or watching a TV series. If video games have a mind blowing story, I might literally die from happiness because books + video games= lifelong companion.

P.S

I can’t wait to see Beauty and the Beast next month. One of my co-workers is performing.  Going there to give her my support.  So most likely, I will write my thoughts about the play on this blog.

I’m Not A Pervert! It’s The Developer’s Fault!

Even though, I have no intention of becoming a game designer or create my own games, I find it quite fascinating to learn about the thought process behind it.  The whole creativity process  is not so different from the way I approach to songwriting, which is something I do as a creative outlet.

Yesterday, my friend visited me and wanted to watch me play games so I picked Virtue’s Last Reward (PS4 version) of all the games because I find this game quite relaxing to play on a lazy evening.  As my friend and I were solving puzzles together, one particular part stood out to me: the pinned photo.

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In this section,  I understand the importance of creativity in games.  In the Crew Quarters, there are four rooms, which contain four lockers. I have to find all the passwords in order to unlock the lockers.  In one of the rooms, I was given a coin, after entering the right set of numbers to a locker.  The coin is used to scratch off the woman’s clothes which reveal a different set of numbers to a password for a different locker in a different room. At that moment, I was thinking, indeed,  I’m playing a scratch lottery ticket.  As I was so focused on scratching off her clothes, my friend, (who is a prim and proper type of gal) looked at me and accused me of being a pervert.  In my mind, I was just trying to find all clues so we can progress in the game.  Even though, I am not a guy and can never understand what’s so appealing about half naked women, the experience was exciting as I was one step closer to solving the mystery underneath her clothes. To my surprise, the numbers were never underneath her clothes, they were located on her arms and legs!   It was then, I realized a great game is highly creative and has the ability to engage the player against his or her own will on a subconscious level.  I say this because I am not a gambler or a pervert, but I was lured and trapped into the developer’s craft.  And strangely, it put a smile on my face and made me laugh.

After completing this section in Virtue’s Last Reward,  I realized that authenticity is important to creativity, which is the intent to create and capture the audience. In some ways, I think developers should have more control over the medium and listen less to the consumers, but please be mindful.  Honestly, I  don’t think consumers know what they really want. They just want to play a good game.  Lastly, I want to make an argument that a game is a game, a medium to itself.  All the fancy stuff such as the art and music only enhance the overall experience and bring it to life.

P.S

[To my friend if you are reading this] Sorry this was supposed to be a secret between you and me that we found ourselves playing a pervy game, but it was a lot of fun solving the puzzle together.

I Play Dark Souls II: Scholar of The First Sin to Unwind

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I realized not playing Dark Souls games for awhile, I miss it a lot.  I am playing it again and realized that sometimes, music is unnecessary as much I love listening to music.  I can hear my character’s footsteps echoing in the hallway. I like the sound of clashing and clinking of my weapons. I can hear the wind so I think I feel the wind touching my skin. I hear the waves splashing onto shore and that makes me feel so calm. I like to explore the game’s universe. 

Currently, I am at Huntsman’s Copse,  but got sidetracked because I am looking for materials to enhance my dagger. There are two bosses I’m about to face.  I know what to expect because I played the game on PS3. Since I am too cheap for Playstation Plus ( I don’t play online), I have to make sure I am strong enough to handle the boss alone. Maybe summon NPC to distract the boss so I can blast my spell from afar. Get too close, I will use dager and quickly cut it up.  But I don’t know if my plan would work. 

One thing I love about the souls series is its educational gameplay style. If something doesn’t work out, then try something else. My only gripe about this edition is that there are too many enemies, and they make game more difficult on purpose. Strangely though, it feels like a new game because of the placement of items, characters and number of enemies.  I cannot rely on my old guide for reference apparently. 

 

P.S  here is a fat cat for you, just chilling like me. Hehe

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