The session was also notable for the passage of several bills that had failed in previous years. Among them were bills providing anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, imposing fines on people younger than 21 who sneak into casinos, prohibiting corrections officials from shackling pregnant inmates during labor and banning the retail sale of highly concentrated grain alcohol. After two years of wrangling, lawmakers also passed a breed-neutral dog-bite bill that slightly shifts the legal liability toward dog owners when their pets injure somebody.
THE START: Opening cinematic is similar to Curse trailer with added scenes. Your character is told to go to Drangleic and jumps into the whirlpool. You wake up and talk to the three old ladies who help you “remember” your class, starting gift, and appearance.
CHARACTER CREATION: Not as many classes so far, maybe 7? One new one that I noticed was Explorer who had some cool armor that featured a bird on your shoulder. I picked Sorcerer. Starting gift items were similar, HP ring, healing item, something that sounded useless. I took Human Effigy. Character creator seems much improved and has more options. I used all the pre-sets and made a smexy pink-haired girl. Seemed to be missing Twin-Pigtails… No twin-piggies, no buy…? You can add a tattoo to your character’s face.
TUTORIAL: Forest area with gravestones that tell you all the controls. Area is bright but there are those braziers you can light everywhere. Will we return here later when it’s all dark…?
MAJULA: Pretty seaside town with many NPCs already there. The BGM for the area was…interesting.
The Emerald Herald-She tells you to become the new king and gives you an Estus flask. She hangs around the Majula bonfire in various poses. Leveling up can only be done with her, it seems. Kind of annoying that you need to warp back to Majula to level up. Maybe this changes later?
Crestfallen Man-Same character as in the comic. He talks a lot and lets you join Way of Blue. I think he said something about four powerful foes you’ll run into along the way.
Armor Merchant and Blacksmith-Items are for sale but everything was too expensive for me. You were not given many free souls at this point. Perhaps there will be a tutorial boss added in so you can start with a few thousand souls. The lack of early souls ended up being an issue for me…
Cat-A nice looking cat who seems to be a Pardoner and sells some cool rings. One is a cat ring that negates fall damage. One strengthens connections to those in the same covenant. One allows you to hear the voice of your foes… Co-op and voice chat rings?!
Siegmeyer 2-A scruffy guy with a huge sword who is stuck because the door won’t open.
COVENANTS AVAILABLE: Way of Blue-Already known
Covenant of the Fittest(forgot actual name)-In this one, you win fights and receive Awestones. By offering them to the covenant, you rise on a leader board. Basically a dualist covenant with bragging rights.
THE BONFIRE: Big changes here. You cannot level up but a new option called BURN has been added. By Burning Human Effigies you can weaken the connection to other worlds and stop invasions. So you can turn human to summon or use it at the bonfire to turn off multiplayer. You can also burn another item that increases the difficulty of the area. Self-Gravelording! This item may have been one of the starting gifts… Either that or I saw it in a loading screen.
TORCH: Seems to have a time-limit now. I saw numbers that looked like 5 minutes. Torch not needed in these early areas.
ESTUS: Remember people complaining about too many Lifegems…? Heh heh heh… From trolled us hard… We will really need those! The Estus you start with only has…ONE CHARGE! You need to upgrade it to get more. Everyone will be using only Lifegems early on. I was starting to run out of them after dying a few times. Yikes!
ITEMS/GEAR: There’s a Horn item that is used to “be forgiven for unjustified disconnecting.” Yankers are in trouble in this game!
Bronze Coin-Shatter this item to temporarily increase drop rates.
A brittle armor that breaks quickly but gives you a big power boost right before.
Bleeding and Dragon upgrade stones.
Looks like we have FOUR ring slots!
STATS: Seems like the Resistance stat is gone. Back to only 9 stats. From what I remembered, it seems Agility was nerfed but also had Resistance rolled into it. Each stat also increased your HP slightly so maybe Vigor is the useless stat this time…? The stat page and menus were much improved from the Beta and have text on them now. However, they still need some work.
THE EXPERIENCE: When picking a class, I noticed very few of the characters had shields and Sorcerer was one of them. Starting weapon was a dagger. The Soul Arrow magic was powerful but dagger and no shield was making things rough. After dying a few times I figured I’d get something better. The weapons I could buy were all too expensive and I couldn’t wield them. An okay shield I had looted required 6 STR. The Sorcerer starts with 3 STR!! I had to use all my itemized souls and farm just to get those three levels! The best weapon I looted that I could use was…Broken Sword! Yes, I played for an hour with a freak'in broken sword as my strongest weapon. Prepare to die… Enemies in packs will swarm you and you have no chance. I think they’ve made it harder to run through the levels by using bottleneck areas. You need to be patient. I got pretty far and then died when I was trying to show off something to a friend. Then I tried to rush through and died like 3 straight times. Had to take it slow to get back to where I had gotten originally.
THE ONLINE: The game feels super empty and lifeless without the online features. Playing this connected is definitely the way to go. Getting your messages rated may be very important early on because of the lack of healing items.
GRAPHICS: These were a big step up from DS. Some really amazing stuff. The art style is quite different however, felt cartoonier. I noticed some hitches in the frame rate but I think it was loading going on in the background as you crossed zones.
ENEMIES: Some really creepy ones. Those naked things with the giant…sacks… Terrifying! There are some weird rat things that follow you long distances. Some giants. Good stuff! You would also hear what sounds like ravenous beasts in the background. You never know if that means something is going to jump out at you. Very unsettling.
BRANCHING PATHS: I was confident they were going to make the start of the game more straightforward… Trolled… Seems like there’s at least four different ways you can go and they were all hard! I’m pretty sure I found the proper way and got through a forest area to the place where the first demo was. (with Turtle Knights) However, this area was altered a lot and I ended up in a totally different spot. It felt like I went pretty far, including two bonfires, but there were no bosses yet. I did see another player encounter a boss in what I assume is the “wrong way.” It was a giant you face on a somewhat small platform. The player got knocked off it immediately. Since I had seen that, I didn’t go that direction. There’s also a cool scene where you see giant footsteps in the mud and if you follow it you find one of the giant Cyclops guys.