The Dark Souls II Diaries: The Right Equipment

You need to have the right equipment.

The right equipment is more important than leveling or souls. Making sure you’ve optimised the gear you’re carrying; that’s always been the difference between life and death for me. That and technique. The right strategy.

My glasses arrived early. The text from OPSM came as I sat in the passenger seat of the car I usually drive, en route to an ophthalmologist appointment, where I would learn if the course of eyedrops I had been prescribed with was doing the job. If you remember, playing Dark Souls II long into the night, and getting little sleep as a result, had brutalized my immune system to the point where I contracted a nasty eye virus.

The process of fighting that virus had been grueling one. I wore contacts exclusively, to the point where I owned no glasses. My eyes hadn't had a decent rest in three years. This had helped the virus spread to both my eyes and the first ophthalmologist I spoke to had informed me that if I continued to wear contact lenses with this virus, I would probably have gone blind.

But now, after a short course of steroids in the form of eye-drops, a second ophthalmologist was in the process of giving me some good news for once. The virus was completely gone. It had spread to my cornea, but the prescription had worked and now the virus was out of my system. Relief. That Dark Souls feeling. Victory Achieved.

I opened the door and the light poured in. If you’ve even had an eye examination at an Ophthalmologist you’ll know the feeling. The eyedrops they use -- to help gain a more comprehensive at your eyes -- cause pupils to dilate massively. On this bright Autumn afternoon the light was so overwhelming. I literally couldn't open my now healthy eyes. I was blind, but happy.

Later, at OPSM, I put on my glasses. +5 reinforced, large titanite shards, the works. Not some weapon I had stumbled across, something I had earned. Finally I had the right equipment.

Last night I beat the first of the four main bosses in Dark Souls II, The Lost Sinner. It was a little easier than I expected. I had struggled endlessly against a previous boss – the Ruin Sentinels – with an underpowered sword, an average shield and some lackluster armour, but I had done some exploration in the interim. I walked through a forest to another battleground, where I fought and killed The Pursuer.

I found a ledge. And what’s this? An area I can drop down to? I swung the in-game camera. Another item? I clamber down further.

A full set of armour. A full set of armour far more powerful than the shabby robes I was currently wearing. And a sword. A powerful sword. A great alternative to the upgraded blade I was currently rolling with.

When it came time to fight my first major boss I was confident.

The fight took place in darkness. My opponent was blind, before we fought an insect crawled out of the hole where her eyeball once was. She was chained to his sword. She howled at the moon she could no longer see and swung wildly. I exploited her weaknesses and circled. I was patient. My vision was crystal clear. My armour could withstand her assaults, my sword was sharp.

Once upon a time I was also blind, much like the poor bastard I was in the process of stabbing to death. But now -- finally -- I could see. I just needed the right equipment.

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Comments

    Can you play D2 II offline?
    I am fascinated by the difficulty and gameplay, im completely put off by a PvP system full of gankers

      Absolutely you can, however being invaded is way to rare and not worth losing access to orange soapstone hints and summon help.

      Last edited 21/03/14 11:30 am

      Also you can burn the human effigies to prevent invades/ co-op for a while. Still have the messages and such that way.

      There is no unlimited soapstone for invasion now, you have to actually earn red eye orbs in order to invade by killing other red phantoms. It means invasions are less common (unless you have sin from invading yourself), and makes it a fun and worthwhile addition. The soul memory system also means you won't be getting ruined by twinkers. Don't play offline, you're ruining half the game for yourself.

      Last edited 21/03/14 1:47 pm

    Well my refurbished ps3 arrived from Sony yesterday. 4 day turn around. Very impressed with that.
    So plugged it in and finally played DSII for thr first time. Loving it, reminds me of Demon's Souls, which is a great thing.
    Started as a cleric. I'm using a +2 firesword and some pre order tower shield with spikes.
    I've been laying down my summon sign and the hosts keeps dying against the pursuer and the lost giant.
    So in short I'm loving it and glad to finally be playing it.

    The Pursuer seems to be the first major boss I've come up against (after the Last Giant). Have I gone in the wrong direction? Mark. when you say you found him after exploring I feel I should maybe be somewhere else entirely. I know you can sort of go wherever, but should this be the first area I'm tackling?

      Nah, I was just being an idiot. If I had come up against the pursuer first my life would have been a lot easier.

        Funny thing is that I beat the pursuer when I first came across him, when his bird buddy drops him off close to the 2nd bonfire not realizing he was a boss and beat him after 5 minutes of fighting. Dang that was an epic fight.

      You should be able to do Heide's tower. 2 mini bosses there; dragon rider and dragon slayer. I finished them with some help. I'm planning to go back and tackle the pursuer again. I'm a mage with very little defence. The second knight in Heide's tower only spawns once and drops some awesome bone powder that essentially gives you an HP boost if you burn it at Majula.
      Also check out epicnamebro on YouTube. He's my go-to though his build is massively different, as I'm trying to mage my way through

    Mark Serrels went forth, His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white. His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death. Mark Serrels the Beautiful.

    Found the Drangleic set I'm guessing. :) Sadly by the time I found that I already had a full set of Old Knight Armor!

      I want to wear that set but I value my rolling ability to much and I haven't found a ring to help me out with that issue yet.

        Regular rolling works up to 70% now instead of 50% so it's not so bad! I'm actually really hard pressed to tell the difference between that and the faster roll tbh, it was much more obvious in DS1.

    Did you write "Praise the Sun!" on the floor of the Ophthalmologists? Good news indeed.

    I've actually run out of places to visit at the moment in Dark Souls II. I found some hidden mechanisms though so I'm going to see if one opens a new passage. Either that or try my hand at a drop stab in to the salamander pit.

      I really kinda wanna start scrawling glyphs on footpaths in various shades of orange chalk, now.

    Good stuff @markserrels. I'm glad your eyes are all better.

    Also glad you're powering through the game. The armor you found is what I'm currently using too. So far after 50h odd it's still the best gear I've had. Relatively light and pretty high protection.

    Just by the by, Vengarl's Armor is the most OP set you'll find for a long while. Get through the primordial boss and you'll see why.

    Last edited 21/03/14 1:49 pm

      On a related note, kinda miffed by their choice on where and when to give access to various armor sets.
      Finally found the 'Faraam' set (the one worn by the character in all the trailers/box art), which 1) disappointingly but unsurprisingly doesn't look as good in-game, 2) is pretty crap compared to just about everything else you have by then, 3) is found practically at the END OF THE GAME, such that you'll never be wearing it when sunbroing or completing epic moments.

      Just... disappointing in so many was.
      How good's that Alonne Knight Captain armour though? I boosted that up to something truly absurd and raised my VIT to be able to roll around in it. Fantastic decision.

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