Accelerating Rate of Change (Pt. 2)

Changing habits like Infusions on your weapons in Dark Souls III.

Not that I ever really changed my Infusions around. I was originally toying with Chaos for the fact that I wanted to be a sort of Pyromancer, but ultimately decided on Heavy because I was using a broadsword and a shield. Strength was also my primary attribute. So it kind of made sense to lean on Heavy. Not that anything about that build made sense in the end- especially when facing bosses- as the shield was pretty much a hindrance. It did make clearing the majority of the content easier, though. Until I reached the DLC content.

Then my Unkindled was the lone resident of slaughter city.

I’ve mentioned previously how the last few months have been good for creative content, and so, in this post, I’d like to talk about how gaming content could potentially change. I’ve been thinking about focusing on individual aspects of certain titles and writing posts about them. This first occurred to me when I thought about playing through Dark Souls again.

I’ve already got a post that summarises how I felt about Dark Souls, but I’ve never actually experienced the Artorias of the Abyss DLC despite fighting the Hydra and likely having access to it with my first character. I’d also like to go back and experience a different way to play the original. Maybe with Miracles. Or spears. Or a spear with Lightning Spears. In the same way I could look at the different DLC for Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III as well. It was just an idea I had for highlighting content that I may have missed the first time around. It also illustrates how my personal focus is changing back to what it used to be, and how I’d explore certain games more than others or play through them multiple times. Dark Souls as a series is perfect for this, too.

Thinking about this chocobo makes me sad.

I’ve also been playing a lot of the Final Fantasy series in the last couple of years. Most recently I finished the main story for Final Fantasy XV but have yet to start on any of the DLC. Mostly because I’d already been playing for near enough 100hrs and didn’t want to rush through it, which meant it was probably best to return with fresh eyes. I’d also probably enjoy it more if the story wasn’t as vividly present in my mind. It’s like getting to experience it all over again. Which is why Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age has been such a pleasure.

I can finally revisit one of my favourite instalments in the series.

This will mean that there will be more gaming content but I’m not going to stop creating other kinds of content as a result. I’ll still be sharing new creative efforts, random updates, and explanations of why I should never go to the local art store. This will just be occasional additional content which highlights things that I find interesting. Or fun.

Or a compilation of how many times it’s feasibly possible to die against the Nameless King while desperately trying to tank him with a greatshield. It’s technically feasibly possible to die infinitely as long as you never stop attempting it. I am known to be stubborn, too. I don’t usually feel this comfortable with whatever this is that I do and so I’m just stretching out a little. Like when you’re laying in a really comfortable bed so you stretch outwards. Only to find that you can’t stretch to the left as there’s a cat on the bed with you, nor can you stretch to the right as there’s another cat on the bed with you, and so you sit quite content with the purring sounds of your furry friends. Who never want to move, either. So making that bed will almost always be impossible.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Corruption Collection

Decaying souls housed in failing flesh.

There are a couple of trees in there, too. It wouldn’t be the same without a healthy dose of foliage. I’m starting to think I have a problem, but none have taken me seriously when I mention my obsession with my wood. I’m not sure why, either. They seem pretty understanding about the foliage thing. In any case, it’s a good time to throw together this sketch compilation. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and this one highlights a rather rare attempt at a Dark Souls inspired sketch.

I do love the visual style of the Dark Souls series.

There’s a certain quality that persists throughout the series which produces some utterly gorgeous suits of armour or weapons. Each usually telling a story about a previous owner, a previous age, or even a previous instalment. Highlighting the many realms and many inhabitants that have come and gone through the span of time that precariously knits each instalment together.

Many of these sketches have been previously highlighted over on Twitter. One is new-ish. That said, they were previously presented cropped and without as much context as they have here. Which, for the coloured pencil and ink tree sketch, is actually an interesting distinction, as you can see how the original pencil sketch looked and how things unfolded from there. It provides an interesting contrast to the graphite pencil tree sketch, within which you can see how the two approaches are surprisingly different despite having the same subject matter. Then again, the two were intended to be entirely different in their final presentation- but they remained fairly consistent in their original sketches.

I have a thing for trees. Colourful trees.

It’s interesting to me as I’ve been thinking about consistency for a while now. I was starting to question whether I had any which may have been slightly misplaced, as, while the two presentations ended up entirely different, they did start fairly similarly. Perhaps I’ve been looking at consistency the wrong way around. On the other hand, I’m pleased that these sketches maintain a level of quality which ranks with the best work I’ve done. Maybe I’m finally becoming more comfortable with my myriad styles, too.

Or maybe I shouldn’t have myriad styles.

I’ve also been working with a singular type of paper recently. I wish there were reasons for that, but the closest I have to a reason is that I can’t be bothered to disturb the cat by moving the supply box around to get my other bristol board. I know it’s in there. Somewhere. I’m starting to warm to cartridge paper, too. It tells all the best stories and keeps me company on cold winter nights.

Been shuffling pencils around as well. Indulging in the pleasures of HB rather than my usual choice of B. No real reason for that, either. Just that it feels natural at times to select certain pencils over others. Almost as if I’ve gained some fundamental insight into how I approach things and what would be best to use, based on situation, instead of experience, to provide the best possible result at the time. It’s also fun experimenting with different materials from time to time. It’s surprising how something as simple as switching a pencil can drastically change the finished piece. I’m still smitten with 2B*, too. (*The pencil not the android.)

Have a nice week, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Hollows, Bonfires, the Elite Knight set, Estus Flasks, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by FROMSOFTWARE.

That’s a Kindlin’

Prepare to hurl a colourful mixture of profanity at your screen.

Dark Souls is a funny game. It’s quite hilarious watching your character break every bone in their body when being struck with a hammer of impossible size, but, at least for me, it is equally as hilarious watching a small round shield completely nullify that damage. It’s also an experience that makes you question your RPG habits. I tend to favour heavy armour, sizeable weapons, and a reasonable health pool in most RPGs. But in Dark Souls I’m almost entirely sold on the idea of using Dexterity weapons and rolling as if my life depends on it.

Which, due to my armour, or lack thereof, it does depend on it.

However, the flexibility of character creation and development is fairly refreshing. There is absolutely nothing that prevents you from farming souls and levelling up multiple attributes. These attributes can open up the ability to use heavier armour, Sorceries, Miracles, and all manner of neat weapons. Each of which features a relatively unique move set and feel.

In that way, I really enjoy what Dark Souls is offering as it’s a fairly new experience. It’s not the first to offer a punishing and complex RPG experience, but it is one of the first I’ve played that allows you to really do what you feel is best with your character. Even though I started as a Wanderer- which is more of a guideline than an actual class- I’d invested points into Intelligence for Sorceries and even used a bow. I prefer the utility character builds. Ones where you’ve got access to multiple ways to approach the same problem. As sometimes you really don’t want to get too close to an enemy, but sometimes being far away is relatively detrimental, and sometimes certain damage types don’t even affect that enemy. So it’s a pretty great build overall.

Going to a bonfire after this fight? That’s a kindlin’.

Death is handled similarly to how it was in Diablo II. Wherein you leave a corpse when you die and must retrieve it, however, in Dark Souls, you’re not retrieving your equipment but your souls and Humanity. Both of which are fairly useful to character progression. Humanity becoming much more important once you can kindle bonfires. Bonfires act as a way to save your progress in a checkpoint fashion, too. With later developments allowing you to transport instantly between them. They’re pretty useful and definitely something you want to see when you’re exploring.

Likewise, blacksmiths give you access to weapon development.

Which, in most cases, will allow you to enhance the scaling that your weapon has or add an elemental damage type to it. You’ll need to find regular upgrade materials, special upgrade materials, and blacksmith specific items to unlock later customisation. But they’re all fairly self explanatory and it’s a pretty great system for creating a diverse character.

It is an experience that requires a fair amount of patience, too. Most enemies will require you to recognise their move set, look for openings, and take advantage of the opportunities you get. It’s also a fairly open world with few areas being gated by story progression. Fewer still if you take the Master Key at character creation. That said, I’ve been in various states of mind while playing and I’ve generally enjoyed much of what I’ve experienced. I’ve yet to progress to the DLC locations, but I’m likely to try a different character build for when I do as this build did defeat the final boss but does require tweaking. It isn’t nearly as impossibly difficult as some might suggest, though. Just take your time and be patient. Oh, and remember the colourful profanity.

Have a nice week, all!


Not What You Expected to See

I do apologise that I opened the door with not a single article of clothing on- but you did ring at 7am.

Honestly, when I have just woken up and I hear a knock upon my door it’s not the first thing that comes to mind. So I rush, half-naked, nearly blind (due to lack of contacts), and open the door to hear “have you got a moment to speak about Jesus?”, close it again, and put on some trousers. Alternatively I have a conversation with the lady from upstairs while squinting like I’ve just taken a lemon to the eye as I can’t see and I’m still processing the fact I’m awake. Good times.

Aren’t you glad I share these stories? I mean, I could be one of those artist types that never utters a word and writing a description or naming their piece is so incredibly awkward it’s just called “untitled112” as I have one hundred and eleven other untitled pieces- but where would be the fun in that?

Within the confines of this small blog, so happily hosted on WordPress, coded with the language of kings, and emblazoned with graphical marvels is what falls out of my brain when I shake my head. You know the way that cats do that super-cool-hyper-head-spin when they get a bit of fluff down their ear? Like that. Except mine is more like a lazy shuffle and all of a sudden my brain is leaking out of my ear. However, I think I need to refresh the juice it’s floating in. I don’t think there’s much left with all that has fallen out and what is there is probably stale- it’s been there for far too long. I’d probably make a reasonably entertaining YouTube person who talks about stuff and records themselves doing so… if I actually enjoyed doing that. Which I don’t.

Done that whole webcam thing once and she didn’t pay me.

I've died so many times I'm starting to feel a bit hollow.
I’ve died so many times I’m starting to feel a bit hollow.

During my time at Sen’s Fortress I learned how to fall off of things a lot… an awful lot… an embarrassing number of times actually. I am vertically challenged, not in the sense that I am short- for I am not short- but I can’t climb stairs in video games. But, while running back and exploring when the feeling struck, I found a great admiration for my character. She was hardy. She was resilient. She didn’t hate me for all the times I’ve dodged off of cliffs, rolled down holes, rolled into chasms, fell off of beams, and rolled into the weirdest environmental damage. She also had really nice armour.

If I give Dark Souls a thumbs up for anything it’s that. The armour designs are generally very tasty and if you overlook the fact that there are few sets that are not damaged, aged, or torn to some degree there’s a lot of work you can evidently see in the armour sets. I also really like the Wanderer’s Set. It’s lovely.

It’s not what I expected I would end up doing as it was the complete opposite of my usual character choice and I wasn’t able to soak damage, let my shield eat the pain, and go on my merry way slashing and slicing foes. It did give me a unique insight into how to play those kind of characters, though. Technically she wasn’t a true (for lack of a better word) Wanderer as she had Sorceries and used some medium armour to augment her starter set. That, and few curved swords or rapiers appealed to me.

But the beauty was that she was a bit of everything. She dodged, rolled, parried, and did the odd riposte. She had physical power in her swords and a magical edge with her various bolts of luminescent death. She also could easily switch to a bow for some long range engagements.

If I were to play Dark Souls II I would be heavily biased towards starting a character a lot like her. Then again, I might not as I’m sure there were some points in the first game I could have adapted to much quicker had I the prior knowledge of how the engagements worked. She didn’t really tank anything- or even have the ability to- and it was only later when I invested in a shield with higher stability that she didn’t get pounded every time she blocked. Therefore, any fights where I would take heavy damage for one reason or another took a bit longer as she had to drink more Estus and usually die a couple of times to get the knack for that one.

This piece was something I had at the back of my mind during many hours spent staring at her falling off of things. It’s just a simple portrait and it’s trying to capture a varying number of ideas and styles without settling for any one of them for the presentation. I guess that explains my art in one these days. I know what I’m doing but I don’t know what I’m doing. Then again I am trying to recreate my style.

In either case, it’s just something small to say “I still know how to hold a pencil.”

Have a nice weekend, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Hollows, Bonfires, Havel’s Set, Estus Flasks, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by FROMSOFTWARE.