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Dark Souls Tips and Tricks: #3: Maximize Use Of The Drake Sword and Hornet Ring

June 7, 2012

The Drake Sword is an excellent early game weapon.  It is easily outclassed by the lightning spear in Senn’s Fortress and quickly forgotten.  However, the Drake Sword can be paired with the Hornet Ring to dispatch many NPC’s and tough mini-bosses to yield a slew of rings, shields and other useful equipment.  See the post and video for Tip #8 to quickly find the Drake Sword.  The Hornet Ring is behind the grave of Sir Artoria’s guarded by Siff.  If you circle around the giant sword planted in the front side of the grave, you can pick up the ring without triggering the boss fight.  The Hornet Ring will increase damage from critical attacks (backstabs and ripostes) by 50%.  With the Drake Sword and Hornet Ring equipped, your character is strong enough to go on a richly rewarding killing spree.  Let’s go backstabbing for some loot!

Shiva of the East – this merchant is unlocked after you join the Forest Hunters Covenant.  You can talk to him and then meet him at the swamp below the paddle wheel in Blighttown to buy his items.  Or, you can dispose of him right away (he appears just outside the door leading to Alvina).  He drops the Murakumo and the Iron Round Shield.

Ninja Bodyguard – Shiva is protected by an agile ninja wielding the Washing Pole and very fond of Fire Surge.  He will aggro at the same time as Shiva.  He can be taken out with backstabs, but the easiest strategy is to push him off the ledge in Darkroot Garden with kicks.  Shiva will attack you after he falls to his death.  The Ninja drops quite possibly the best item in the game, the Dark Wood Grain Ring.

Black Knight in Darkroot Basin – at the bottom of Darkroot Basin’s meandering path, a Black Knight equipped with a Halberd guards the Grass Crest Shield.  The entrance to a cave concealing a bonfire is also nearby.  This knight drops a Blue Titanite chunk, but like all Black Knights, in rare occasions he may also drop his shield or weapon.

Havel the Rock – Use the Master Key to open the tower’s lower door in Darkroot Basin for an encounter with Havel the Rock.  He has incredibly strong armor and shield, plus high magic protection.  However, he is an easy prey to multiple backstabs.  The Drake Sword and Hornet Ring combo can knock him out in 4 backstabs plus a normal attack.  He drops Havel’s Ring which increases equipment load by 50%.

Knight Lautrec of Carim – The Master Key or the Mystery Key will open the hidden jail holding Lautrec captive in Undead Parish.  Free him and then return to Firelink Shrine.  He will be resting in front of fire keeper Anastacia.  Talk to him to collect a Sunlight Medal.  If you don’t kill him in Firelink Shrine, he will murder Anastacia.  You can avenge her death and recover the fire keeper soul once you reach Anor Londo (you also get his armor there).  But I usually opt to take him out immediately.  He can be kicked off the ledge, or thrown off by the Drake Sword’s two-handed strong attack.  If these strategies fail, he can be backstabbed after his rolls for a quick kill.  He drops a lot of humanity and the second best ring in the game.  The Ring of Favor and Protection permanently increases both Stamina and Vitality but cannot be removed once equipped.

Oscar, Knight of Astora – return to the Northern Asylum by falling off the elevator in Undead Parish and dropping onto the beam to the giant crow’s nest.  Upon your return, Oscar will be hollow and immediately attack you.  He is very aggressive but he can backstabbed after his rolls.  He drops the Crest Shield, which has very high magic defense.

Northern Undead Asylum Black Knights – you will face 2 Black Knights upon your return to Northern Undead Asylum.  They are very tough enemies who must be fought in tight quarters.  A few backstabs with the Drake Sword and Hornet Ring will yield you Red Titanite Chunks and, if you are lucky, a Black Knight Sword.  Make sure you pick up the Peculiar Doll back in your original cell and then examine the wall painting in Anor Londo.

Undead Burg Black Knight – a staircase below the area with the chest holding the Gold Pine Resin leads to the Black Knight.  He has lower vitality than any of his brethren.  He drops Titanite Chunk and guards the Blue Tearstone Ring.

Undead Parish Black Knight – before running into the courtyard with the Armored Tusk, look for the path up the tower.  At the very top stands a Black Knight with a Black Knight Greatsword.  Make sure you have a strong shield and mind his strong one-handed attack.  It is slow but can break your guard.  He can be backstabbed for a Titanite Chunk.

Maneater Milfred – she will attack if you are in human form when you reach Blighttown.  She is a very easy kill and leaves herself quite open to backstabs after her two-handed smash attack.  Mildred drops the Butcher Knife, humanity and a good amount of souls.

There are two additional NPC’s, that require a bit more skill or higher vitality than the previous ones.  Equip the Dark Wood Grain Ring and as much of the Stone Set as possible before facing them.  You can also come back later in the game after leveling up.

Pharis and the Knight – If you want even more Drake Sword plus Hornet Ring “thrill kills”, head back to Darkroot Garden past the door opened by the Crest of Artorias.  Lead the NPC’s to their death (they will try to jump on top of you if you stand at the very edge of the ledge next to the stairs by the door).  With the area clear of enemies, head to the very back (past a downed log).  Don’t go too far to the right or you will trigger several strong Demonic Folliage.  Eventually, you will encounter a Knight with a Zweihander and, Pharis (bow wielder).  Both are wearing the Ring of Fog.  Aggro the knight and lead him away from Pharis into an open area.  He is very aggressive, but again, he is susceptible to backstabs after his rolls.  Head back to Pharis with your shield raised.  She can be kicked off the ledge, backstabbed, or attacked as she switches weapons.  She drops her hat, her bow and a twin humanity.

See this video for a continuous walkthrough from Shiva to Mildred with the Hornet Ring and Drake Sword equipped.  Once completed, you will have a formidable arsenal, a slew of souls and should be more than ready to take on the rest of the game.

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