It's over, it's done. Here's how the last dozen hours of Elden Ring went.
Melina go brrrn
Continuing from last time, Melina torched the erdtree, showering everything embers.
Crumbling Farum Azula
The next stop was Crumbling Farum Azula, where Maliketh guarded the only path to the ashen capitol.
Down the rabbit hole
We had a go at the pre-pre-final boss and quickly realized we needed to do some homework. I also needed to pick a lot more flowers (ingredients required for the thing that summons allies).
The first stop was a lake of blood for the +2 Haligdrake Talisman, since the final bosses do a lot of holy damage. Then things went a bit off the rails.
I was picking erdleaf flowers and wound up fetching some eyeballs for a local villager to eat. Her grocery list (mostly eyes) led me to a neat secret passageway in a cathedral. The cathedral's subterranean catacombs, called Frenzied Flame Proscription, ended up being a frustrating jumping puzzle. Each time I fell, I gained greater resolve to beat the dumb thing. I'd like to say I learned the nuances of walking of ledges, rolling off them, and jumping off them, but it'd likely take me at least a dozen tries to make the journey again.
Isn't Ranni's quest the longest in the game? How come more people achieved that ending than the Elden Lord one which can be reached in 4 different ways?
At the bottom was Hyetta, the villager. I might have ordinarily balked at her instruction to "disrobe and go through that door over there", but there was absolutely nothing else to show for that full hour of falling to my death.
Behind the door was a giant fire hand who became my character's new boss.
Neat scars and glowing eyes.
A dexterity-scaling casting item.
I think my character burned stupid Hyetta's stupid eyes out.
Locked in to the chaotic-evil ending.
Not actually locked in, but you're not going to like the alternative.
Cleansing the frenzied flame required the following:
Complete the Millicent quest. This started with some stuff I'd already cleared - Caelid, Commander O'Neil, Windmill Village. But I probably could not have soloed the penultimate battle against an Ulcerated Tree Spirit were it not for a nice range attack cheese spot.
Take Millicent's Needle to the aeonium left by Malenia, the hardest boss in the game. The one that Let Me Solo Her made his name fighting.
Use the needle in the arena of Placidusax. Luckily you don't actually need to aggro him.
The annoying co-op lockout mechanic (beat area boss, no more multiplayer) meant that I had to run a lot of it solo. I managed with some difficulty, though Malenia can't be soloed at my skill level. Even with J on board, for some especially difficult bosses we summoned another player to help out. And so we fought side by side with Thelma Smash, Ranni Enjoyer, and The Toilet.
Wanting to give back to the Elden Ring community and maybe also farm rune arcs, I put down my summon sign once or twice.
Hoarah Loux & Radagon & The Elden Beast (boss spoilers)
The endgame consists of a chump boss followed by three chad bosses. They're largely immune to statuses and resist elements, invalidating a lot of builds. I farmed some runes and leveled a Godskin Peeler since my katanas and claws weren't going to cut it.
Hoarah Loux. He wasn't easy, but learning to roll (I know they say jump) his AoEs was the key.
Radagon. This dude has some cheap attacks, like he'll blink and stealth attack someone while doing an AoE around himself. Sometimes we cleared him quickly, sometimes he destroyed us.
The Elden Beast. Kind of like a dragon, you just have to stay close except for his one or two AoE moves.
The Elden Lord (finale spoilers)
I tried to play this game by only looking up faqs reactively (see also: walking into the final bosses with a bleed and poison build). So when the final sequence left me with a statue and a blue summon sign, I hit the summon sign.
i just do ranni quests aka what i call the omega simp ending
I guess I chose the Omega Simp ending. Curious, I looked up the others. The comments had a good summary:
So basically we have: 1) rule over a shitty destroyed wasteland 2) fix the shitty destroyed wasteland 3) apocalypse 4) apocalypse 5) super apocalypse 6) "figure it out yourselves, I'm going to space"
This x2. But, like, Mass Effect was all about story and dialogue. Elden Ring has a story comprised of snippets of dense lore, so six similar endings is more acceptable.
Elden Ring postscript
J sent me this:
While this video is extremely youtubey, I enjoyed it and a couple points hit home: target locking and other UI elements, the story, and how Souls loyalists are. I was surprised how she made no mention of invaders, the scourge of mine and J's playthrough.
There are lots of (substantive) sidequests in Wonderlands. The Don Quixote one was pretty entertaining, as was the one where you have to fight a normal-sized skeleton. It's all pretty easy though. The quests scale to your level, but its still the equivalent of a Borderlands first playthrough.
Meta: new markup element
I have markup-to-html widgets for galleries of variable-size images and I have widgets for grids and vertical polyptychs of same-size images. This post led me to add a new markup element called 'sequence'. You specify the image height and list of files with optional alt text. It scales the image to 4/3rd the desired height, then uses the thumbnail center to crop the image.
elden_ring_ranni_enjoyer.jpg-Elden Ring coop community Ranni Enjoyer
elden_ring_the_toilet.jpg-Elden Ring coop community The Toilet
elden_ring_thelma_smash.jpg-Elden Ring coop community ThelmaSmash