Let me preface this by admitting to not being any good at games like this. As I’ve mentioned in my first blog post on Elden Ring, this is the first game by FromSoftware that I actually got into (that is not Ninja Blade). But since this is such a big event in my life, finally being able to appreciate a game in this franchise, I wanted to express how much I appreciate the best open-world game I’ve played since Skyrim by detailing how I got through my first few bosses.
The purpose of this blog post is to document how far I’ve come since starting to play Elden Ring and celebrate how more accessible this game is compared to FromSoftware’s past titles. It’s also to celebrate how I’m not as hopeless as I thought I was, which is a feeling I get every now and then since becoming an adult. When you grow up with the adults around you facepalming at how dumb you are instead of genuinely helping you to be better, you learn to cherish moments like this.
Warning: I talk about the bosses in detail, so here be spoilers. You’ve been warned.
The Bosses This Noob Has Killed in Elden Ring Thus Far
These are the ones I can remember off the top of my head. I’m going through this game pretty slowly as while I know people who are now on their fourth playthrough, I’m still barely a third way through the game with my first one. I’m trying not to get burned out right away, unlike what I experienced with Valheim. I would like to be able to keep playing this game for well past a month.
This thing sucks, especially against a sissy mage. He just sits there in his little driftwood canoe while I took potshots at him. Killing him gave me skeletal militiamen ashes, which I didn’t use enough. I kept summoning the wolves because I thought they were better with their agility.
However, apparently, people like using them because they’re apparently pretty good at tanking enemies and resurrecting whenever they would die. I should use them more, but Tibia Mariner still sucks because he’s like Charon’s loser cousin who lost his job and is now on welfare.
This was my first proper boss, and it took me a while to figure out. Since I was slightly over-leveled, it only took me around 8-10 attempts. I watched a video of an astrologer pulling off a no-hit against this thing and looked really good. I’m nowhere near that skill level, so I had to use brute magical force.
I tried doing the same style as the guy in the video, but Elden Ring is a lot harder to learn melee combat with due to bosses having broken rhythm and follow-ups. The great thing with that is the similarities with real-life fighting, which has a lot of the same elements. The bad thing with that is it takes a lot of practice in order to learn how to fight big enemies who use such techniques.
While I’m a martial artist, my fighting style boils down to “slightly intelligent unga bunga” to cope with my slow reflexes and aging body. So far, that has given me a broken nose and bruised legs. A little bit more, and maybe I’ll actually start losing brain cells due to full-contact sparring.
Suffice to say, I wasn’t going to get good at this game anytime soon. I can barely keep up throwing punches at a moving target, and I certainly can’t follow a 20-foot tall armored monster on a giant horse. Most would think real fighting is faster, but the opposite is actually true.
Flying Dragon Agheel
This took me two attempts and is where I learned that after they get away from their spawn point at a certain distance, open field bosses will reset to their original location while still retaining the damage they’ve received at that particular instance. This meant as a sorcerer, I can nickel and dime such a boss, then run away until they reset, then rinse and repeat.
I remember this being the first boss that killed me in Elden Ring, back when I was playing the “trial version” of the game. I remember the fear and panic I immediately felt when I crossed paths with this dragon. I would learn later on that the dragons in this game and those of Skyrim have one thing in common, which is that they somehow like being on the ground.
The only difference is that while Skyrim dragons are cuddly and easy to get close to, the dragons in this game have raw damage output to make them as friendly as an exposed nuclear reactor. Even at level 90 as of this writing, I find dragons terrifying in this game as one shot of their breath weapon depletes my health instantaneously.
But I was able to cheap this dragon out. As for the one on the bridge at Greyoll’s Dragonbarrow and the one that looks lost near Caria Manor, they both turned me into goo without trouble.
I took what I learned from Agheel and literally ran with it while fighting Night’s Cavalry. Actually, this was an incidental encounter as I just happened to have loaded into the game at Agheel Lake North during nighttime. I just went through my usual farming run and expected the usual Mounted Kaiden Sellsword on the bridge.
Then I saw a big health bar appear, which told me I was suddenly in deep shit. I then noticed that the horse was bigger than usual and the guy on it looked like a Nazgul. I galloped away in fear for my life, and this guy just kept coming at me until a certain point wherein he reset and teleported back to the bridge. But somehow, the damage I did to him from a couple of potshots I managed to throw at him during the chase remained.
It was time to hit and run as I’d never hit and run before. I kept hitting two to three pebbles at him just as he gets to the boundary of his range, then he goes back to the bridge. After a few rounds of that, I felled the bastard with my last bit of FP with no more flasks left. It dropped an Ash of War and my blood pressure started to go back down.
I wanted the Moonveil Katana, so I had to fight this thing in the Gael Tunnel. At first, I thought I was still too weak to fight it, but I then got an attempt where I whittled it down to around 30% health, which showed me that it was possible and I just had to avoid getting cornered. That was the main point of contention in this boss fight, as I would find out in about a dozen attempts.
Getting cornered by this thing means death because of the eponymous magma that spews out of its mouth. That meant mobility was the key. At first, I relied mostly on the distraction by my summons, which gave me the time and space to hit it as often as I can. But I would inevitably get cornered like how Roberto Duran would cut the ring and batter his opponents on the inside during his prime.
I made two major adjustments that helped me finally succeed. First was exclusively using Rock Sling, which was powered by my Meteorite Staff. When I hit it enough times in the face with this spell, I would stagger and stun it for long enough to get around three hits in. The drawback is the casting time, which meant I couldn’t get greedy or I’ll be casting it while the boss started its own attack. I have to be patient and remain consistent with my hit-and-run strategy.
The second adjustment is something I’m proud of because it was something I would’ve never done when I was younger. I took my character’s clothes off until it went to light load. Basically, my problem-solving process boiled down to getting naked to win, like some drunk bastard taking his shirt off at the parking lot of a bar to futilely fight the bouncer. But that was the final piece of the puzzle that made everything click into place.
Having a lighter load meant greater mobility, which was what enabled me to fight this thing and finally get the win. It became a lot easier to not get cornered because I could run away faster, as well as jump over his wide swings. That was all I really needed to kill the Magma Wyrm. I finally got the Moonveil Katana and was disappointed that its required stats were higher than I first thought. But at least I finally killed the damn thing.
Margit the Fell Omen
Finally, it was time to fight this misshapen yet well-spoken ghoul of a boss. I watched this video about why this boss frustrated so many players during the first few weeks of the game’s release. I have never gotten close to killing the Asylum Demon in the first Dark Souls, so I was going to have a hard time with him.
I must have done around ten attempts against this ugly, crusty bastard. Only ten because I was pretty over-leveled for this fight at level 49, but I did fall off the side at least a couple of times.
And of course, I called on the help of Sorcerer Rogier every single time. I’m not above using every bit of advantage I can since I’m not a “true” Souls player to begin with. When I eventually get to the Starscourge Radahn fight, I’ll be mustering every summon I can to beat that giant idiot with the power of friendship.
Rematch with Grafted Scion
At the start of the game, this thing gets a big health bar. When I encountered it again in Stormveil Castle, it just had a small health bar above its head. It’s like a 30-something who had been a prodigy in his youth, but never went past that. (Oh wait, that’s me.)
This time, I had more damage and Rock Sling. I know it’s not really a boss at this point, but I had to count this as a rematch, like Lennox Lewis against Riddick Bowe. Therefore, I melted it in ten seconds.
Godrick the Grafted
This guy took me one attempt. I wasn’t even thinking the whole time. I’m reminded of the long-haired guy in Gundam Build Fighters Try who talked as if he was hot shit, but later got curb-stomped by a girl with an entirely new Gunpla. Godrick talked a big game, but ended up being obliterated without much difficulty with my Rock Sling spam.
That’s actually the premise of his character. He’s a demigod with tons of grafts — this game’s version of implants — who thought he was immensely strong because of them. However, with all of his strength and ability being entirely borrowed, there was no substance behind them. Without his grafts, he wouldn’t have any combat prowess whatsoever.
After being vanquished, his head is kicked around by someone who worked under him. He may have been an abusive master who thought he was infallible. Now that the protagonist took him to pasture, his reputation and legacy could no longer be held up by his pompousness.
I didn’t even remember to hit record when I noticed that there was going to be a boss fight. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I thought next to nothing of this guy.
My first encounter with these things at the end of the Academy Crystal Cave was pretty interesting. It turns out that regular crystallines are quite tanky, only receiving double digit damage from my Rock Sling and other spells.
Clean Rot Knights
I had to fight these guys in the Abandoned Cave within Caelid in order to get the Golden Scarab to be able to farm more efficiently. I had more trouble getting there than actually fighting these guys, especially with the Scarlet Rot. The one change I made to survive the journey there was adding one more crimson flask to replenish my health lost from the poison and rot.
Glintstone Dragon Smarag
This is a bit like the Agheel fight, but with more stakes. I got the Academy Glintstone Key from the dead sorcerer behind it before I proceeded to flub at least four tries before I finally killed the bastard. I had to summon Skeletal Militia to get some space to spam Rock Sling.
As long as I ran towards the right direction to avoid his breath weapon and his stomps, I could stay safe and not eat crap. I did it on horseback with sorceries and summons, but I don’t mind having done it the easy way — as long as I did it.
Red Wolf of Radagon
I think the main purpose of this boss was to establish a false sense of security just before the fight with Rennala. If this intimidating-looking boss is not that hard, then perhaps the next boss won’t be a hardship either.
Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon
This unbearable woman took me about a dozen tries. She was effectively killing me with angst as she coddled her unborn child and brooded about her ex-lover. Since I’m playing a magic user, she was bound to be difficult as she has a good bit of magic resistance.
But once I figured out what to do and saw that Rock Sling did a good bit of damage on her, I knew she wasn’t impossible. However, the contrast between her first and second phases was what threw me for a loop. As long as I knew that all I had to do in the first phase was snap the girls charging her shield out of it, I could then whittle her down before she got her shield back up.
But in the second phase, she would shoot Comet Azur at me. That’s the photon cannon spell I want to get someday, and she would just melt my health with it. Once I was wearing the right armor that enabled me to protect myself while not fat-rolling at the same time, as well as grinding a few more levels to get more Vigor and Intelligence, I finally beat her.
I was way too overleveled and the only reason I found it hard to beat her was because I suck, but I still did it and could then move on.
Royal Knight Loretta
This is the last boss I beat before publishing this blog post. She appeared to me in the same stream I beat Rennala in, and she caught me by surprise. I took one step into that shallow circular pool and she suddenly spawned right in front of me. Fortunately, I was able to call my summons before she started beelining towards me.
She wasn’t that hard at all because I had summons distracting her and the raw magic damage to take big chunks out of her life. The one takeaway I had here was that I learned what to do whenever I had a boss suddenly appear and chase after me. I once again learned that I’m not completely hopeless after all.
I’ll stop here or I’ll just get another post to 4,000 words again, and I know most people don’t actually read anything that long. Having only gotten through about 30% of the main content thus far, I know I’m in for some tough times in this game. Unless I grind until I hit level 400+ in order to one-shot just about anything I come across, I’ll be going through hell, especially with the infamous bosses. Wish me luck.
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