Dark Souls II Walkthrough, Part One: Things Betwixt
You're dead. Confused. Haven't got a clue where you are. Welcome to the world of Dark Souls II, which continues the series' fun, fun trend of dropping players into the worst circumstances imaginable. A trio of unfriendly crones await in a decrepit shack, and though they can help you remember who you are, they don't seem to much fancy your chances of survival...
Fire Keepers' Dwelling
- Cool cut scene. History!
- You start off upon an altar in some not-terribly-lovely terrain. There's naught but deadly cliffs surrounding you; run straight ahead through the fields and across an upcoming bridge. You're looking for a house lit by a pale orange light.
- Before entering, look on the left side of the bridge (right once you're across). There's a small pathway leading down under the waterfall. A body down here contains your first item, a Small Smooth & Silky Stone.
- Pop open the door. A cut scene will follow describing what, exactly, you are - and who. Name entry time. The old crones will give you an effigy in exchange for your name... which basically just allows you to sculpt how you look, as well as your class.
You now have a rather important choice to make: which class will you choose? This class stays with you for the rest of the game, and determines your strengths and weaknesses in combat. Warriors, Knights, and Swordsmen are probably easiest for beginners; Bandits, Clerics, and Sorcerers are intermediate classes for a second play-through or more experienced players; Explorers and Deprived aren't recommended unless you have a good bead on the game.
You also have a choice of a gift. None of them are terribly amazing in the long run, but these gifts can still come in handy for the early sections of Dark Souls II. Healing Wares or the Life Ring are recommended for beginners - you'll be taking damage often as you learn the game's ins and outs.
As for everything else... aesthetic. Have fun customizing!
- After you have a face, a class and a destination, go up the stairs in the small house. There's a chest up here containing a Human Effigy.
- Chat with the crones as much as you like, but ultimately you have to go through the door in the rear of their home. Out back is a Bonfire to light; you can use these Bonfires to travel long distances quickly, attune your spells, burn items (at this point this is largely important to prevent yourself from becoming Hollow by burning that Human Effigy you just picked up), and store items.
- Before leaving, equip your weapon and attack the cart near the Bonfire. Behind it is a corpse containing a Soul of a Lost Undead and a Torch. Note the dim glow emanating from the corpse - this is a sure sign of an item.
- (The next area is designed largely for acclimating new players to Dark Souls II. If you're not interested in learning, run straight along the path and ignore the misty portals. I do not recommend skipping this area if you're new to Dark Souls.)
- From this point on you face both combat and death. Killing enemies will earn your character souls, which are ultimately used to upgrade your strength. If you die, a bloodstain will be left behind marking the place you fell. It also contains any souls you've collected. Be sure to track these bloodstains down, or you'll never advance. (Or just don't die. That's also a thing.)
- There's a thin path through the woods near the Bonfire. Follow it along until you emerge in a wider area. To your left is a misty portal; enter it and you'll find a tunnel through the trees containing a number of slow, plodding enemies. Lock onto them and employ one-two punches with your attack triggers to keep them off-balance. Follow this path until you reach a cliff edge, where you'll find a body. Check it for a Dagger.
- Down the next path is an archer. Dodge his shots by rolling, then sweep up and slice him before he can fire again. Be careful, as another enemy will step out of the shadows and attack your back.
- Climb the slope and keep going. There's another room ahead; in it is another melee combatant and, in the rear, an archer. Draw the first guy back so you can avoid arrows, take him out, and roll your way into the room to avoid further ranged attacks. Ahead is another portal, and to the left of it a body containing a Life Gem.
- Go through the mist. You're now back on the main path. Before doing anything else, look to your left, near a ladder, for a bird's nest. Drop the Smooth & Silky Stone you found earlier in this nest to receive a random item. Make sure you drop the stone - using it will consume the thing and you'll get nothing for your effort. You'll keep finding these Stones during your journey, and the nest is always happy to receive more donations.
- Kick the ladder down on this ledge to create a path to the ground. Rather than using it, though, drop off of the cliff near the tutorial slab up here to land on another ledge below. A body down here holds a Soul of a Nameless Soldier.
- Drop back to the ground. There's another mist portal nearby; head on through.
- There are two guys waiting in the next room. Hang back and you can engage them one-at-a-time. Past them is a small jump; practice a dashing jump, as noted on the nearby tutorial sign, until you're confident enough to leap from one side to the other. You die if you fall, so, you know, be careful. On the other side is a corpse containing two Amber Herbs.
- Jump back across the gap. There's a ladder on your left. Climb up to find some more tutorial fodder, including a plunging attack. Use this on the enemy in the room below to wipe him out with ease. There's another one in here, as well, and you may want to use him to practice parrying.
- There's a door in this room. Check inside to find a body. It contains a Cracked Red Eye Orb. Snag it and go through the misty portal.
- You'll emerge onto an overhead path. Drop down onto the main path and go through the misty portal to your left.
- You come out into an open room, with a large gap separating yourself and an archer. Knock down the tree to your right after the archer shoots to create a path across, then charge over and take the guy out.
- There's a pit ahead. Use a plunging strike to wipe out the guy below, then immediately move - an archer on the cliff above will start losing arrows. Wait for him to loose another, dodge, and climb the ladder to your left. Dodge again at the top and take him out. Go through the mist.
- Back to the main path. Wipe out the melee fighter who charges you, then knock down the tree up ahead. This will return you to the main cave, ready to face the challenges ahead. Follow the path; blasting winds will signal your exit from this blasted place and into the scenic land of Majula, your hub for the remainder of the game.
- Come back to the old women if you're feeling unease regarding your character. The one nearest the fire will allow you to re-allocate your stat points.
- Go back across the bridge near the shack and look to your right. You'll find a path with some enormous footsteps through a rock arch, and beyond it a huge, upright creature stalks about. Kill it and it will drop a Stone Ring. There's also a corpse along this path holding a Gold Pine Resin. I don't suggest trying this path until you have some levels under your belt.
- In one of the tutorial paths (second on the left) you'll find a beach. The beach is watched over by two of the enormous creatures mentioned above. Kill them and you can get to a coffin that's washed up on the side of the beach. When you crawl out, your character's gender will be different.