I'm back, everyone! Where have I been? Making my way across America on a kick scooter. No, seriously. Click here to see the footage if you don't believe me. (SPOILER: IT DOESN'T END WELL)
I have been having a pleasant holiday, physical injury and inappropriate attention from cattle notwithstanding. OK, someone did get me into The Secret Society by telling me "It's the Dark Souls of hidden object games." That's on me, though. Is it worse that it worked, or worse that she was right? Whichever. The game is a nightmare.
Speaking of games which are nightmares and Dark Souls, here's a few things that'll make your early game a little bit less of a nightmare in Dark Souls 3.
1) Knight class starts with some seriously sweet swag
Longsword is still OP and knight starts with one, so that's great. Small shields have been nerfed to shit and back (LOOKING AT YOU, LARGE LEATHER SHIELD) but the knight starts with a 100% block shield, so that's great. Together, that's some game-breaking shit in the first few levels. Is it enough to make you give up starting with a pyromancy flame or a catalyst? Maybe yes, maybe no. Because:
2) There is a longbow right at the start of the second stage
I cannot stress this enough: Do not (like me) be a blind frigging tool (like me) and end up missing it (like me). If you haven't chosen a ranged starting class, this pickup is your lord and saviour unless you get a crossbow drop from one specific mook. You know how often that happens, and I've got two of them. You know why I've got two of them? BECAUSE I MISSED THE DAMN LONGBOW AND I WAS THERE FOR TWO DAYS!
That's a very nice hit point bar. Perhaps it would like to meet my associate Mr. Arrow and his 98 friends.
3) The first thing you need to do is bonfire warp
The instant you get the ability to bonfire warp, you have to use that ability to warp to the second stage. This is completely counter to everything you've learned in Dark Souls 1 and 2, and the game makes no effort to tell you. I was stuck here for two hours LIKE AN IDIOT. Don't be me. Don't be an idiot.
4) Combustion is no longer a spell which needs to be slotted
You probably know that all weapons now have a special ability. In the case of the pyromancy flame, this special ability is Combustion; aka the standard starting ability of the pyro class. It's now built in. It's featured as standard. Three days I've been a pyro, and I've only just figured that out. HEE-HAWWWWWWW!
5) Hollowing is freaking crazy now
One of the item descriptions early in the game tells you that a firekeeper went to the Abyss and brought back a cure for the undead curse. Now, that's blowing my mind on all kind of levels. Has all the guff about the undead curse for all this time been nothing but a ploy to keep humanity in check? Did Darkstalker Kaathe invent the curse? What was the cure doing in the Abyss? Anyway, point is that you will never hollow in ths game unless you recruit a guy in the second level called Yoel.
Yoel will offer you a free level, and if you accept then you will start to gain hollowing levels. Take five free levels from him and he will be replaced by a second NPC who will take you down the game's darkwraith storyline. I don't know what's down it, but I know you don't want to miss it.
6) Quality weapons from Demon's Souls are back
Awwwwww yeah, motherfucker. You know what time it is. If you never played DeS and you don't know what time it is, it's "It is now feasible to plan nearly any weapon loadout for a strength/dex build" time.
7) The new covenant type is an easter egg, and it's incredibly easy to miss
Most people have heard about the new purple phantoms, who have both PvP and PvE damage enabled. What most people don't know, however, is that the covenant is a pretty well hidden easter egg in the third stage. Worse, the covenant room is also the boss room for the area and the covenant master seems to die in the crossfire from the battle. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to find it, but just be sure you find the covenant before you fight the third area boss is all.