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

Cursed in Ash Lake1

I learned many things during my stay in Ash Lake because I got careless and greedy for the hard-to-reach items and eventually got cursed by two basilisks that greeted me when I entered one of the enclosed areas. What was interesting about Ash Lake was the way how the basilisk’s toxic black smoke turned into a crystal mist once the creature was out in the open area.  You still can get cursed if you let the mist consume you, but the amount of time to get toxic was not as fast as the black smoke. I wonder if the effect had to do with my current stats, or if there was 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 dropped the item can be found nearby.  On the plus side, the creature also dropped Twinkling Titanite, a precious stone for upgrade purposes.  Having a lot of stones gives players the freedom to enhance weapons and test them.  In my head, I am always thinking: “What weapon shall I use to kill my enemies?” The game sure knew 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.

The magical thing about games like Dark Souls is their 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 clam you encounter, you might get your head chopped off.   As you can tell from the picture below, there is a pile of skulls in its gaping mouth. To learn how to be a wise player because Dark Souls’ universe will punish you if you are careless.

maneater

Luckily, in the area, there were only two Maneater Shells. One was by the medusa Black Hydra. The placement of that Maneater Shell was meant to make it difficult to defeat the hydra upfront.  So, the best solution was 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.

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 was also deadly, but more importantly not all enemies were hostile. They were merely just defending themselves.  No need to kill everything that crossed your path. Lesson learned.

DARK SOULS

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. Typically, I appreciate practical fashion that gives me good stats. The appropriate attire was Tattered Cloth Robe because of its high poison resistance. The armor was lighter as well–good for rolling.  I must confess, I was getting rather annoyed changing armor in this area because peeping tom Giant Mosquitoes can’t control themselves 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 were obnoxiously vicious; they will repeatedly try to poke you even when your shield was 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 was sometimes necessary.  Lesson learned.

DARK SOULS

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.

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 and bought a Crystal Straight Sword from him. That sword helped me clear the beginning of Blighttown until it was at 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 the steep cliff. Eventually, I fell into the poisonous swamp as the narrow path made it hard for me to swing and attack the Cragspiders.

Dark Souls Blight Town

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 were 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!

DARK SOULS

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 reminded 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 the items are materials for weapon/armor upgrades. 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 their way toward me. It’s not friendly as it appeared 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 instant death for me because my life bar was already half empty. It’s back to the bonfire. I had to make my way down again.

DARK SOULS

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.

Taking a rest at Dark Souls' Ash Lake

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.