Dark Souls Shields-Only Run – The Beginning
The initial realization upon starting the game was that the Knight class was slow, and I needed to begin stacking Endurance immediately. Adding in the weight of all the armor and the shield, even with no weapon, and you begin at over 50% of your equip burden, meaning dodging is nearing non-existent, and movement is fairly impeded. Every point I was able to squeeze out of kills and consumables went into Endurance, and brought my equip burden just below the 50% threshold by the time I made it to the Undead Burg bonfire.
The Northern Undead Asylum was fairly quick and dry, however I did come out of it with one bit of important knowledge: Plunging attacks are worthless with a shield as your weapon. Against enemies that are generally weak against the attacks, where you get the added animation and damage, using a shield you get nothing; you slam into the enemy and glance off straight into the ground, dealing the standard damage you would if you started on even ground, and then taking the full fall damage yourself for the height you jumped from.
I’d love to say that I then made it through the Undead Burg without a death, but sadly I can’t. Before making it to the bonfire – in fact, right outside it – I decided to challenge the archer before the 3 undead below him were taken care of, because I didn’t want him shooting at me while fighting the group. I then got swarmed before I could slowly bludgeon him to death, and died right there right at his feet. I chalk it up to still being at over 50% equip burden at the time, because it was impossible to roll out of the situation I had placed myself in.
I ignored the Black Knight, because that would have gone the opposite of amazingly, and pushed on toward the Taurus Demon, making it through with surprising ease. I was reminded of how difficult it was the first time through the game, and that I still managed to have a harder time then than I was now, outfitted with only a shield. I fought with the Taurus Demon for a while, slowly chipping away at him, as he then connected with my raised shield, sending me careening toward the edge of the bridge that had no wall. No no no no no, I yelled out. Luckily, I stopped mere inches from sliding off, and continued to fight. Shortly after getting the Taurus Demon below half health, he hit me fiercely again, this time as I was fresh out of stamina from a barrage after knocking him off balance. As his hit connected, my body was hurled off the bridge to death number 2.
I pressed on again through the Undead Burg a second time, quicker than the last, and returned to the Taurus Demon, sporting fewer Estus Flasks and a hunger for revenge. I chipped him down 20-30 hp at a time, coaxing his attacks and countering with a rush, this time making absolutely certain to keep the fight within the walled sections of the bridge. After several minutes of bludgeoning his shins, he finally fell. I celebrated with a sprint across the following bridge, unlocked the first shortcut, and took a much-needed rest at the bonfire and increased my Vitality and the 1 Dexterity I would eventually need.
And thus concludes the first steps in the journey. No doubt it’s only going to get more difficult from here on out.
Oh yeah, and Gold Pine Resins can’t be applied to a shield. Bummer.