Welcome to the Dark Souls 3 Beginner’s Diary. Join me as I stumble, swing, and die on the way through my first Dark Souls game. Prepare to Die, you better believe it.
Part 1 – Mistakes Were Made
I may be new to Dark Souls, but that doesn’t mean I’m going in completely blind. I dabbled a bit in Bloodborne. Like, never made it to the first boss kind of dabbling. I decided though, if I was going to play a Dark Souls game, I wanted to get in on it at the same time the majority of the community was. That means lot’s of time on reddit and Dark Souls sites.
I also tried not diving into too many of those new player or beginning player guide videos. I knew a couple things when I started. I knew what the first boss looked like, I knew, generally, what the different character stats meant, and I knew which class I wanted to start with. The herald looked like a neat class. Everyone suggested new players start with a Knight, but I liked the idea of a shield and spear character.
So after watching the wonderful looking, but sort of nonsensical opening video, I created my unkindled. A spear wielding herald who fell during her quest, but has now arisen to defeat the Lords of Cinder. Or am i returning them to their thrones? Perhaps both. I’m not quite sure, and the details don’t appear to be terribly important at this time.
Returning from the dead in the Cemetery of Ash, I come to the realization that one probably shouldn’t just hang out around a cemetery. Following the helpful messages scattered about regarding how to attack, I come across some locals. They aren’t very nice, but I actually make pretty quick work of them.
A quick word on the controls in Dark Souls. I’m sure they work wonderfully in the PC version, where you can just freely map everything to any button, but for new console players, they take some getting use to. You use the right set of shoulder buttons and triggers to attack, the left set blocks and parries, unless you’re 2 handing your weapon, in which case the left trigger does a special attack that takes magic power. Oh and speaking of magic power, you can equip or attune, a spell that’s selected by pressing up on the D-Pad. But, unknown to me, you have to have a talisman or something else, equipped in your hand in order to actually use said spell. That would have been helpful.
Ok, back to my first day. I was feeling pretty good about taking down the little guys, one at a time. I found my first bonfire, healed up and ran into multiple enemies and even an enemy with a shield. This was new and took some getting use to, but I eventually felt alright with this aspect as well. I see that doorway, and it is calling to me. I have a pretty good idea what’s behind it. So, I steel my courage and off I trot.
Pulling the coiled sword from that creepy looking statue was awesome. I thought I was ready to take on this monstrosity. I was not. I died. Then I went back and started learning his attack patterns. Then I died again. And again. Over and over and over. You Died! I took a break, and came back, you died, you died. I’m dead. I started applying a new strategy. My herald’s spear was less than impressive, in terms of damage being dealt. But I discovered that I could read his attacks better at a distance instead of up close. So I hung back and waited for a dash or jump attack, side stepped, attacked, and rolled away. Repeat.
I got decent at this, but his second, completely nasty form was more challenging. The idea was basically the same, but I had a difficult time reading his follow up attacks. And so it continued. On and on, dozens of deaths. Eventually I got him down to a sliver, just a small piece of health remaining. I was hurting, I was in trouble, but backing off at that point seemed like a terrible idea. I had my spear held in two hands, I dove under his attack and wound up my special weapon art move. He swung, I struck…. and down he went!
It was at that moment I understood Dark Souls. I hadn’t gotten good at the game. In fact, I am still quite terrible. But I understand why people like it. That feeling of victory after constant defeat was exhilarating. I continued onward to Firelink Shrine, I stabbed my hard won coiled sword into the bonfire and it felt so good. I did a little leveling and then travelled to Lothric. Surprisingly, after all that, this is where my herald’s tale ends.
Part of the Dark Souls experience, according to experienced players, is the community interaction. Talking about how others defeated enemies and what secrets they found. I spoke to a friend of mine about his experience with the first boss. This proved to be disheartening. He, also a first time Dark Souls player, took two tries to defeat the first boss. TWO TRIES! What!? I’m not The Wizard, but I’m certainly no slouch when it comes to video games. How could it have taken me so long and my friend only twice. He told me that he is playing a sorcerer. The sorcerer was my second choice for a starting class. If I were to learn anything from playing Dark Souls, it’s that I’ll need to figure out how I’m going to play it. So, since I just got out of that tutorial area, I decided why not. I’m going to try a sorcerer.
Next time, on the DS3 Beginner’s Diary, I start over from the beginning and find that the spear was not my calling.