10 Tips for Dark Souls II: A Guide for the Cursed
Posted on Wednesday, March 12 @ 04:30:00 PST by Nicholas Tan
6. Trade smooth and silky stones to the crows in the tutorial level.
Since the opening area is a skippable tutorial level, you might have missed this section, but there's a nest at the top of the long ladder in the middle of the Things Betwixt area. Or if you did reach this nest, you might be confused as to what the strange voices want from you, literally crowing about something smooth and something silky. What they're referring to are literally "smooth and silky stones" which look like eggs and are strewn throughout the kingdom of Drangleic.
The first one you can find is actually in the starting area near the waterfall before you meet the Fire Keeper old ladies. You can jump down to the platform if you want, but there's actually a path close by that will let you reach the corpse with the smooth and silky stone. If you select the Petrified Something as your gift in the character creation, you can also use this for another special reward. By dropping either of these items in the nest (go into the inventory and select "leave"), you'll get various items in return for crafting and souls.
7. Remember to talk to everyone until their last sentence.
The game doesn't tell you this at all, but you need to finish talking to NPCs before they actually reward you with anything and open up to their actual function. You need to finish the conversation with the Emerald Herald in Majula to level up and upgrade estus flasks (and earn one estus flask for free!). You need to finish the conversation with the blue knight also in Majula near the monument to join his covenant. The same applies to most NPCs so always make sure that you exhaust all of the prompts for conversation or you'll miss out on important and powerful items.
8. Check out all the free items in Majula.
Once you step out of the tutorial area and into the light of the setting sun of Majula, there are plenty of items to loot. The first is along the right edge of the cliff near the entrance to the area where there's a place where you can drop off to a platform. Jump off that platform once more to find a dirt path running along the lower level of the cliff that hides a morning star, a chime that allows you to cast miracles, and binoculars (which purportedly allows you to free-aim spells).
In the town of Majula itself, don't fall down the pit; you can't get the items there until later. Instead, check the well just a bit away from the house with the talking cat. On the rim of the well is a stone that you can actually knock over to gain an Estus Flask Shard. This will allow you to increase the amount of Estus Flasks, healing items that regenerate at a bonfire, by one when you speak with the Emerald Herald. Then of course just search the area for corpses for more free items.
By the way, the key that the Blacksmith loses can be purchased from a vendor in the opening forest level of the game. She is an old hag sitting next to the second bonfire in the area. Once you open the door to the Blacksmith's house using the key, he will allow you to upgrade your weapon and armor at the cost of a few hundred souls so long as you have the proper crafting items.
9. Get the Drangleic armor set after defeating the Pursuer boss.
After you conquer the Pursuer boss which is arguably the first real boss in the game (beware of its three-hit combo, and avoid the ballistas), make sure to check the gaping hole in the area right after. Don't check the nest unless you wish to advance to the next area.
Slightly below the gaping hole is a precarious series of walkways that if followed will lead you to a set of Drangelic armor, which is among the best armor you will receive for the beginning parts of the game. Again, make sure your equip load is high enough so that wearing it doesn't effect you too much.
10. Don't be afraid to run away.
This is a piece of advice that I myself should follow more diligently. Don't be afraid to run. Like Forrest. Like the wind. Like the dickens. Like your life depends on it (because it probably will). If you find yourself in a situation where you're outnumbered or cornered by an enemy, raise your shield and try to find an opening to run away and fight another day. Other times, you may just want to run anyway to pick off enemies one by one. Leaping across gaps to another platform and going through narrow hallways can funnel enemies and confuse them.
Better yet, make sure you equip Homeward Bones. You can't run away from bosses after you enter their domain through the fog, but Homeward Bones can get you out of a jam if you need to. You don't want to waste souls, so dying in a boss room will make it difficult to retrieve any lost souls (and distract you somewhat during the subsequent attempt at defeating the boss anyway.
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