Agony Diary – 2: Undead Settlement

Amount of:

  • Bosses defeated – 3
  • Bosses defeated first time – 0
  • Times sworn at screen- probably in the double figures by now?
  • Times jumped out of skin – every time there is an ambush
  • Hours played – 7.5
  • Times stayed up til 3am – 1/1

Welcome to Dark Souls 3, Ashen One. Another game where you are constantly reminded of how unworthy you are – and this time I DO feel unworthy. Unworthy to lay eyes on the splendor of Lothric; unworthy to cross swords with its foul monsters; unfit even to be cinder.

Instantly the game puts you in an area raised high over the land, standing above the peaks of a majestic mountain range. Although the feeling of being above everything can sometimes be construed as strong or dominating – here I only get a feeling of terrible awe at the vastness of the world which looks hungrily up at me. Instead of starting at the bottom of the deepest dungeon and working my way up, it would seem I am now starting at the top; where my only choice is to fall, deep into the wonderful hell that FromSoftware have kindly developed for me.


  • Class: Pyromancer
  • Appearance: A bit normal
  • Burial Gift: Life Ring (so casual)

Reasons for choosing Pyromancer?
I needed a change from my usual tanky warrior class, and what better way to take down the lords of cinder than with fire, right? (Pokemon players hear warning bells).

Was it a good choice?
Yes, the extra arrow in my metaphorical quiver is an absolute blessing when negotiating potential ambushes. The ability to attack enemies from above without compromising my own safety feels like cheating, but I need all the help I can get…

However my character needs to be leveled up in Strength and Dexterity for regular weapon usage; Faith, Intelligence and Attunement for spell casting; and that’s not even taking into account Vitality and Endurance, 2 of the most essential attributes. For readers who are lost: when you ‘level up’ you pick one attribute (per level): so what I’m saying is; there are a lot of different attributes to pick from:

“Like butter scraped over too much bread”

– Bilbo Baggins, LOTR.

Best new feature?
The Ashen Estus flask, and the shiny new blue (mana – lets call it that) bar alongside the health and stamina bars. Now mage characters not only need to invest levels in Intelligence and Faith, they also need to monitor a new bar which can ONLY be filled by drinking from an Ashen Estus.

Let me explain. Previously the regular Estus flask  provided you with health. You could fill it up at bonfires, but you had a finite amount between visits. Whilst this hasn’t changed per-se, there is now a requirement for mages to replenish their ‘mana’ with Ashen Estus. At the start you have 4 overall ‘drinks’ which can be allotted to either the regular or Ashen flask – so mages are now more vulnerable, having to sacrifice precious health potions for mana.

^^^(This is my first ever Dark Souls 3 boss battle)

First Impressions: The High Wall of Lothric and the Undead Settlement.

Man does this game drip with atmosphere! The music is haunting and the world is crumbling (in the most aesthetic way possible). The High Wall is more classic Dark Souls, with courtyards full of knights and peasants united in their lust for your soul. It felt like a nice shout out with plenty to explore and find, aside from actually reaching the boss. Being a pyromancer, you need to be constantly on the look out for merchants or dropped pyromancy scrolls after all. The return of smart level design and shortcuts was immediately evident which warmed my heart. The Undead Settlement sounded a bit like an auto-correct of the ‘Undead Burg’ from DS1, but there were few actual similarities. The rural village below the wall was bustling with sovereignless souls, some lowered jagged pitchforks toward you whilst others showed no interest at all. They just sat and rocked slowly; insanity setting in. I found these the most unsettling. The sheer number of ‘people’ on screen at one time enriches the world and makes it feel lived in, where the previous installments seem deserted.

Generally bonfires are well spaced out, and routes to bosses aren’t too tricky. This was essential for me because I needed to return to the Curse Rotted Greatwood about 20 times. Good luck with that by the way.

In other news…
I put down my first online message, “Praise the forest”, just outside the boss fight. I will continue to bathe in it’s genius as people continue to see and promptly ignore it.

I’m currently getting crushed by giant crabs along the Road of Sacrifices. Of course, I have no map, so I’m going to have to comb everything through but that is the magic of Dark Souls. You get out what you put in.

Farewell Ashen One.

For episode 3 follow link below:



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