When the day started, there was but one goal: ring the second Bell of Awakening. It would signify the beginning of the true pilgrimage into the world of Dark Souls as the journey set out upon became more defined due to such feats. The journey, of course, is left up to the one setting out on their path, alone to the world to face whatever horrors await in such dark times. The world of Lordron is failing and with it comes the cyclical nature of Dark Souls manifested. Try, try and try again. This is the fuel feeding the engine that churns in Dark Souls innards. To ring either bell is no small feat, one might be slightly less troublesome than the other, but both signify an accomplishment to carry on into deeper waters. For the experienced Dark Souls player this means choosing the exact right moment to make the leap into the next phase of an all too familiar cycle.
When the day started it was time to take on what would be the second bell. The second bell lays in Chaos Witch Quelaag’s Domain a fierce agent of chaos whom wields flame. To even get to her domain means going deep down into the depths of Blightown only to make your way through an infested bog. The bog has a few paths so figuring out which direction to go can be slightly confusing for new players. A few things give it away even if not an experienced player; the first being the consistent ringing of said bell due to other players toting their accomplishment, and second, the massive amount of spawn symbols littering the ground around the bonfire closest to the boss and upon nearing where the entrance to the boss lair is. This might be the best thing about Dark Souls. For all the talk about how difficult it might be or how unforgiving it is, Dark Souls gives the player one major advantage that is ready for the taking: other adventurers.
What might be one of the best features about Dark Souls is the availability of online play. Sure other players will grief in certain ways, but even this can become the fun in Dark Souls. While I personally don’t dip heavily into the PvP side of Dark Souls, I can speak on the accomplishments of PvE. If it was not for the ready availability of other players, I might still be struggling to ring the second bell. Instead, upon summoning two helpful players we promptly defeated Quelaag within one go and I was one step closer to the next leg of my pilgrimage across Lordron. It was a simple decision to summon players to help me defeat a boss I knew I most likely wasn’t ready for. Asking for help in Dark Souls is just as much a part of the game as the feeling of coming up against a foe that can’t be defeated over and over again. Once the understanding that help is easily within reach has been gleaned, Dark Souls becomes something not out to get you but a lesson in cooperation with a level of humility. The flip side of the coin being players that will just as easily invade your world to take you for all the humanity your worth.
Dark Souls would not be the same game without the online elements that connect players to each other. Whatever order the bells are rung, both signify more than just taking that next step on a journey. They signify that along the way, just maybe, you reached out for help. When encountering either area that houses a bell, it will be obvious due to the massive amount of player summons signs littering the ground. Whether they be typical White Soap Stone signs or signs from familiar covenants that share similar values, players are ready and waiting to help out their fellow pilgrims along the journey.
Games allow us the experience to play with complete strangers, sometimes with little to no communication, and get along just fine. We accomplish shared goals with total strangers and rejoice in the fact that we are a part of such a community. Dark Souls Remastered is a reminder of what good video game community can be; it’s a place that is ready to help out anyone new or old. It doesn’t matter if your fast-friends or passing ships, players are right there for each other ready to take on whatever challenge. I look forward to continuing my journey through Dark Souls Remastered with the comfort of knowing if I ever need help all I need do is reach out and ask.