World of Warcraft: Legion Alpha, Thoughts and First Look

World of Warcraft: Legion Alpha, Thoughts and First Look

World of Warcraft: Legion Alpha, Thoughts and First Look

Trace Jenkins

Legion is the 6th expansion that has been announced for MMORPG reigning champion World of Warcraft, while the game has seen better days in terms of subscriber count as well as overall reviews the announcement of Legion has heralded a possible return to form that originally caused the game to have such a massive success. Will it bring back the classic elements that inspired such a devoted following, or is it falsely clinging to nostalgia to save a game on its decline?

Before I go into some of my thoughts on my many hours exploring the Alpha build for Legion let me make a few notes on what I will be focusing on or ignoring in this First Look. Though I have played World of Warcraft for 10 years and have experienced every expansion, I am going to avoid comparing the experiences between them as I feel that is too often used as a way to devalue a game for the sake of what my opinion would be for the “Golden Days” of the game. This will also not be taking an in depth looking at lore as most of the lore is still not completely fleshed out, however I will be covering that in a later article after the expansion is released. Lastly, overall playstyles of the DPS, Healer, and Tank roles are being heavily tweaked still so I will not be commenting on the radical changes to them until they are much more concrete.

The moment I got invited to the Alpha I had a simple goal, play every spec of every class to make sure that I knew what to play come Legion’s release. This seemed like a simple task to me as the main part of this goal was which would be the most enjoyable to play, the problem was, almost every class I played had a unique and enjoyable style that really felt like it belonged in the class. This has been what the community has been referring to as “Class Fantasy”, or a core playstyle that feels akin to the class and specialization that it is a part of. Some of the changes to match these fantasies have been small, though others have been massive to really push this feeling. My favorite so far has been for Shadow Priests, their major change has been their former resource (mana) has been replaced with Insanity. Insanity is a resource gained from casting spells that when it is at its max can be consumed to give a massive increase in damage, this is also accompanied by your character sprouting tentacles of void energy to really show much you’ve lost your mind. This really compliments the idea of a class that is a priest similar to a cultist that really tries to channel the powers of these old gods and it is things like this that has really shown Class Fantasies to be a victory in my book.

What else adds to these Class Fantasies you may ask? This expansion is going to be unique in the regard that at the beginning after the initial quest line that sets up the tone of the game, you will receive a quest to get an Artifact Weapon. These artifact weapons are specific to the specialization you are playing and will grow in power by upgrading through PVE, PVP, and Questing content. Because of this weapon drops will for the first time in WoW‘s history, not be a part of raid loot drops or purchasable for PVP or Arena. These weapons add to the Class Fantasy concept as they are very lore intensive weapons, some of these weapons have been known of since the earliest days of Warcraft such as the Ashbringer for Retribution Paladins, as well as Doomhammer for Enhancement Shamans. Others are brand new to the lore but have compelling stories and quest lines leading up to their acquisition. Accompanying these Artifact Weapons will be Class Order Halls, similar to the Garrisons from the previous expansion, Warlords of Draenor, they will be non-city hubs that will be centered around the class you play and will be in locations reflecting this such as an enslaved demon realm for Warlocks, and a mountain top hunting lodge for Hunters. My hope is that this will encourage comradery between players of each class as well as make it a fun environment unlike the solitude that having a personal Garrison inadvertently encouraged.

One of the major parts of any good expansion is new Questing areas for reaching the newly raised level cap. Over the years WoW has tried to avoid offering too linear of a questing experience that simply went from one area to the next with maybe one block that gave you a choice between two separate areas. While they’ve both progressed and regressed over different expansions with this concept, Legion is offering a massive overhaul of the questing system that offers a much more nonlinear approach. All questing areas (except for the max level specific area) will be available to choose from at launch and will scale with your level as you go through it, allowing you to quest through the Broken Isles in any order you would like. I am really looking forward to this as someone who adores leveling and has played through each zone of the game easily a dozen times, some areas are more tedious at times and you want to avoid them at first or get them quickly out of the way and this gives you that option to progress how you would like.

Of course one of the largest announcements was the addition of a new Hero Class, the Demon Hunter. These Demon Hunters are disciples of Illidan Stormrage, they use their warglaives as well as their demon power infused forms to quickly speed around the battlefield and overwhelm their opponents. They are leather wearing agile fighters that prefer dual wielding blades, they will start at level 98 but will make it to level 100 by the end of their initial questing hub and story line. There are some interesting things about the Demon Hunter that are very new to the game, firstly, Demon Hunters will only be available to two races, the Horde’s Blood Elves, and the Alliance’s Night Elves. These are the only races that would have been able to become Demon Hunters according to the lore. Secondly, due to the natural agility of the Demon Hunters as well as their demonic powers they will have the powers to double jump as well as glide safely to the ground with their demonic wings. Last, they are the only class that will have only two specialization choices, these will be Havoc for DPS, and Vengeance for Tanking.

The last thing I will be covering is PVP. Player vs Player is an integral part of World of Warcraft and it has always had a fair bit of balancing issues. This is due, in part, to some spells for classes seeming to only have PVE or PVP viability with talent tree choices usually having two PVE choices with a single PVP choice thrown in on each tier. However, this is all changing! A much welcome addition in Legion is the new PVP specific talent tree, this will look much like the current talent trees with three choices of talent per level bracket you reach (15, 30, 45, 60, etc.) but all options will be geared towards player vs player. This is huge because it adds much more flexibility and adaptability to both normal battlegrounds as well as arena to making sure you are properly countering your enemy’s composition. I’m hoping this fixes many balance problems that are currently present in PVP as well as make multiple builds and options viable. I am curious if they will be looking to do this for Artifact Weapons as well, as it seems that though they have been going with more general upgrades for the Artifact Weapons such as flat damage increases for abilities or cooldown reductions, I think there could be room to add some cool PVP specific abilities in for each Artifact weapon that could even further help in making it a very unique experience as well as possibly furthering the Class Fantasy concept in PVP.

All in all, I am very excited that Blizzard is taking such a brave and wildly different approach to Legion and it is the first expansion I have been this excited for since Cataclysm. If they keep pushing these ideas and really looking to balance these large scale changes with small quality of life ones, I really think Legion could be the resurgence World of Warcraft is needing. Though it is currently the Alpha and there is still a lot to be done before its August 30th release date, I highly recommend checking out both the current Alpha build as well as looking into getting the game at release and seeing how much the game has changed for the better. That’s all for now, I will be back with more as the updates come in and the game is released. Followed by a look and analysis of where the story will be going with the Horde and Alliance, the Burning Legion, and of course Illidan Stormrage. Stay tuned for more!

Overwatch First Look and Thoughts on the Beta

Overwatch First Look and Thoughts on the Beta

Overwatch First Look and Thoughts on the Beta

Trace Jenkins

Overwatch has been a massively hyped game since its announcement at Blizzcon 2014. Many people thought the announcement was sudden and unexpected but at the same time it is hard to believe the massive developer has not put out any new game franchises in 17 years (This is excusing Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm as though they are new games they are based on the universes of the already existing IPs). Many were also surprised at the genre for Overwatch as well, though Blizzard has been known for revolutionizing and perfecting game genres they have come nowhere close to a First Person Shooter. However, due to their track record of incredible and long living franchises, these doubts were quickly thrown to the side at the first cinematic trailer as well as the first looks at the game play which brought a lot of nostalgia to similar titles like the still very popular Team Fortress 2. From that moment people were excited and that hype has been going for over a year and a half as people have awaited its release later this month, to understand this hype a bit more let’s dissect the game and the interesting paths Blizzard has taken on their newest project.

As mentioned before, Overwatch is an Objective Based First Person Shooter where players on teams of 6 fight for control of an objective to secure victory. Though Overwatch is shiny and new, the concepts for its modes are classics and have not been altered that much. These include securing a point for a period of time and preventing your opponents from capturing it before you, escorting or stopping a payload, and a hybrid of the two where you capture a point then escort the payload a shorter distance but you immediately lose if you are prevented from capturing the payload point before time runs out. Though the concept seems simple, games can be incredibly varied due to team comps and the skill of both your team and your opponents which lends to tons of replay value.

I was able to start the early access open beta thanks to my preorder, and was going in cautiously optimistic as the genre of FPS is not one I’ve been able to play for maybe a few hours at a time before becoming completely frustrated and bored. That being said, two of my friends and I started on the game around 11:00 am and we stopped just before midnight. Yes, almost 13 hours later – STRAIGHT. Nothing could’ve prepared me for how much I got sucked into this game. The combat is fluid and varied, the heroes are interesting and all have completely different play styles, and each of the four classes (Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support) are all interesting in their own ways so when your team composition is missing a tank or a healer it doesn’t feel like a chore to fill it in. Though I have already put in half a day’s worth of hours, there is still a lot I don’t know about the game but I will try to point out some of the big pros of this game as well as some things I would like to see before the actual release of the game.

We will start with the positives because that is really what I want to focus on in this because I believe everyone should give this a chance even if you aren’t big in the genre like myself. First and foremost, the game is a blast, it really is a great experience to play especially with friends due to the fast paced and pivotal nature of it all. Secondly, the games can be short so it isn’t something you should feel you need to put aside several hours for to have a good time. I had one game where we had to capture two points and the game was over in 4 minutes due to my team being particularly amazing. I’ve also had games go over twenty minutes long due to checkpoints with payloads as well as overtime while we fought for the point. Another thing is how there really is a playstyle for everyone. If you like sitting in the back and picking people off like myself you can play snipers like Widowmaker and Hanzo, if you like getting up in the enemy’s face then you can use offensive characters like Tracer and Reaper or tank characters like Winston and Reinhardt. You can also mix these playstyles around at any time since you can be on offense or defense. Adapting to the situation is one of the best things about the game and also what allows it to keep its charm during long sessions.

Now…no game is perfect and this is the perfect time to look for those flaws as the game has not been fully released. My first point that I think needs to be tweaked is tank damage. I feel currently tanks do a bit too much damage, now I imagine this is to make them a bit more appealing so you don’t just feel like a wall of meat taking gun shots while your buddies do the work but being one-shotted as an assassin by a Roadhog or a Winston can be very frustrating especially when taking them down can take several full ammo clips as well as dodging their abilities or ability to close the distance on you. Secondly, Bastion is currently way too powerful, people will do team compositions with multiple Bastion’s then to top it off they will include tanks that can guard them to eliminate their one weakness which is vulnerability while immobile. I really think they should make Bastion only have a 180 degree of fire while in his turret form so that characters such as Tracer and Reaper with high mobility have a chance to get behind them and try killing them to help their team push an objective. I think if they did this change they could even take the additional weak point off of his back because it would encourage Bastion’s to be more hit and run and not stay stationary for too long.

My last flaw is more of a a hope to keep the longevity of this game going for a long time. I believe Blizzard really looks to keep all of their games long term, and while they currently have an amazing track record I do think they should be aware of what a lot of people see as the game’s biggest caveat. Overwatch is a full priced game at $60, for this price there is no story mode and it is currently exclusively a multiplayer game style. This has dissuaded some people from immediately going for it due to thinking that with the current available content it should be at most $40. I think Blizzard has to consistently put out new and impressive content in the form of characters, maps, and cosmetics to help people justify that price. The biggest advantage in their favor for this is that they have gone on record saying they do not plan on including microtransactions, so as the new content comes out it will immediately be available for the player base. I really do have faith that they will consistently put out new and interesting content but I do believe people should not wait for it to come. As someone who was not even a major fan of the genre, I have had such amazing experiences in the game and definitely believe it is currently worth its price even if some people think it may be lofty. I highly recommend this and will give the current Beta version of the game a solid 8/10 with plenty of room for growth after release!

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods

 Trace Jenkins

Hearthstone has finally released it’s much awaited third card expansion ‘Whispers of the Old Gods’. These new cards, as well as the changes from the patch that accompanied it, have swung some dramatic changes to the new Meta. I will be going over the major aspects that have been most apparent since its release on Tuesday the 26th. These topics will include, the Wild and Standard formats, the rotation of staple cards, predictions on how Aggro and Control decks will change, and some short class overviews.

First let us start with the new formats that have been introduced. Hearthstone will now be running on a rotating card pool based on the year the card expansions were released, if the cards were not released either the same year or the previous year it will not be playable in Standard but will still be usable in Wild. This first year is being known as the ‘Year of the Kraken’ and allows use of both the Whispers of the Old Gods and Grand Tournament card expansions as well as the cards from the Blackrock Mountain and League of Explorers adventure modes. Meaning all cards from Goblins vs Gnomes and the Naxrammas blocks are no longer usable in Standard (and by proxy, ranked play), which has huge implications on how the Meta will shape.

This rotation has been a much needed change for those who have played for a long time as the same decks have dominating now for almost two years which can be extremely frustrating, especially when many of the decks were not even that fun to play. Some major staple cards have moved on now, leaving spots in many decks where they were absolutely mandatory such as Piloted Shredder and Sludge Belcher in terms of neutral cards as well as major class staples like Muster for Battle for Paladin, Implosion for Warlock, and Death’s Bite for Warrior. Since these changes are so new there doesn’t appear to be any new auto includes to replace these former staples just yet.

Though there aren’t any new staple cards yet it is clear there are some staple decks (these decks are still fairly unrefined and will most likely be changing to adapt in the coming days and weeks). Most of these have been modified versions of the base deck ideas that Hearthstone gives you during deck creation such as N’zoth Rogue (which I have modified and have climbed from rank 22 to rank 5 at this point), Aggro Shaman, C’thun Druid, and Aggro Warlock.  All of these show great promise to become the major decks and all have been fun that I have tried. I do hope the introduction of these new cards really spurs the Meta towards a Mid-Range and Control based game rather than the aggressive/combo centered that has still left a bad taste in my mouth. Many of the new tools do encourage this control playstyle but several cards such as Darkshire Councilman and Evolve worry me for there may be a big Aggro comeback.

Lastly, I will be going over some of the major class specific cards that I foresee causing big changes it their playstyle and rankings (both in Standard and in Arena).


Mages got some great cards in this expansion that imply a bit more control tools as well as some mid-range tools. The first major mention would have to be Cabalist’s Tome (Effect: Add 3 random Mage spells to your hand) this card was a huge headache to play against due to the high efficiency and quality of most mage spells which can allow them to reach for a last bit of damage, clear your board with a clutch AOE, or possibly get an Ice Block to prevent your lethal blow to them next turn. Though this card is an epic I see it being an instant pick in Arena when available due to the sheer value it can give. The other card I see having the most potential will be Demented Frostcaller (Effect: Whenever you play a spell Freeze a random enemy) this will only freeze characters that have not already been frozen which further increases its value. The reason I see a big potential for this is it is an amazing control tool especially due to complimentary spells that have been introduced such as Forbidden Flame which can be cast for no mana to get a free freeze, as well as Shatter which allows you to destroy a minion that is Frozen. A cool combo with this card against weapon classes is to pay Demented Frostcaller into Frost Nova to freeze all of the enemy’s minions. Then, because Demented Frostcaller will only freeze unfrozen characters, it will always target the enemy hero.


Everyone’s least favorite aggro machine got some interesting additions in Whispers of the Old Gods. The first and most infuriating is Call of the Wild (Effect: Summon all 3 animal companions) this gives you the three outcomes of the Animal Companion card which include a 4/2 charging minion, a 4/4 taunt minion, and a 2/4 minion that increases the attack of all friendly minions by 1. This is an amazing ability that can build a board from scratch as well as give you the possibility to push for lethal with the board buff and the charging minions. The second card is Forlorn Stalker (Effect: Give all Deathrattle minions in your hand +1/1), Blizzard seems to be pushing Deathrattle hunter to continue to be a powerhouse even after the rotation removed most of the baseline Deathrattle cards with the removal of the Naxrammas set. However this card could be especially powerful due to two of the major Legendaries of this set affect Deathrattle minions. The hunter legendary (Effect: Trigger a friendly minion’s Deathrattle), as well as N’zoth the Corruptor which summons all friendly Deathrattle minions that have died this game.


Druids got many cards that are high quality but aren’t as exciting as some of the aforementioned from other classes the first one is Mire Keeper (Effect: Choose One – Summon a 2/2 Slime; or Gain an empty Mana Crystal) this card has been very effective for ramp decks as well as the ever popular C’thun decks. It has a great effect that is good at any stage of the game since you have a viable option in the 2/2 slime choice if you are already at 10 mana or are not requiring ramp at that moment. I see this card being run in very high rank decks as a very strong midgame card with huge flexibility. The other card that is very interesting but may still be working on finding a solid spot in a deck is the new Druid Legendary, Fandral Staghelm (Effect: Your Choose One cards have both effects combined) I can see this being a very solid card as it allows lower mana cards to become twice as valuable when they get the buffs from both effects.


There isn’t much to say about Paladins this expansion except Hearthstone seems to really be pushing the idea of an aggressive Divine Shield deck which uses Steward of Darkshire (Effect: Whenever you summon a 1-Health minion, give it Divine Shield) as well as Selfless Hero (Effect: Deathrattle: Give a random friendly minion Divine Shield). These have been infuriating so far due to the usual problem with aggro decks in Hearhstone is they are easily killed with AOE spells or effective trading but since Divine Shield absorbs one fit regardless of how much damage that hit was for, it is now very very hard to clear their board especially after they use Rallying Blade to give all of said Divine Shield minions +1/1. At least they got a solid control Legendary in the form of Ragnaros the Lightlord (Effect: At the end of your turn restore 8 health to a damaged friendly character). Hopefully such an amazing card like that doesn’t become eclipsed by how promising the aggressive Paladin archetype seems to be looking.


It wouldn’t be a proper expansion without giving Priest’s ludicrous healing potential and the ability to take all the cards from your deck. Those are in abundance in Whispers of the Old Gods with the inclusion of Darkshite Alchemist (Effect: Battlecry: Restore 5 health) as well as Shifting Shade (Effect: Deathrattle: Copy a card from your opponent’s deck and add it to your hand). With the nice control cards given in this new expansion, the idea of copying a potential board clear or late game powerhouse minion can be very powerful especially when your opponent does not know the card you got until it is played. Priests however may be lacking this time in the form of a consistent legendary as Herald Volazj (Effect: Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 copy of each of your other minions) has yet to find a good spot and is more often than not just being played as it’s normal body with maybe a single 1/1 copy that doesn’t give any real game changing effects. I really hope it can find a solid addition in a deck that really makes it shine because I still feel this has a lot of potential.


On the first day of Whispers of the Old Gods release I think I saw Rogues more than any other class, and it’s hard to disagree with why. They now have one of the most cost efficient removals in the game in the form of Shadow Strike (Effect: Deal 5 damage to an undamaged character) as well as an incredibly strong Legendary with Xaril Poisoned Mind (Effect: Battlecry and Deathrattle: Add a random Toxin card to your hand) These toxins have a variety of outcomes from a damage buff, to card draw, to a minion stealth effect to name just a few. These have paired beautifully with the Rogue class effect which is Combo cards, which means certain cards have a combo effect where they gain an additional effect if they aren’t the first card played that turn which becomes a very easy thing to accomplish when you use the 1 mana spells given from Xaril. I think Rogue is in a very good place right now and these Deathrattle decks for them are getting much stronger and will hopefully have a solid representation in the forming Meta.


Some of you may be looking specific for this specific class review as it is definitely the wildest change between expansions. Shamans, once the joke of Arena and Ranked, is now an absolute powerhouse when it comes to aggro. All of this is due to their cards with a new effect that has just been referred to as “Evolve”. This effect is present in two of their new cards the first is simply called Evolve (Effect: Transform your minion into random minions that cost (1) more), this spell costs one mana. Let me repeat that ONE MANA. That is a sickeningly good effect as it is both godlike tempo as well as a full heal on any minions that were injured before it was cast. It doesn’t stop there they also have a minion called Master of Evolution with a similar effect except it only targets a single minion instead of your entire board which literally solves the only problem with Evolve which is it is hard to gauge how many minions should be the minimum to use it on. Basically every card Shaman’s got was a welcome sight for them but is quickly becoming a nightmare for everyone else and I do hope there will be nerfs coming at least in mana cost to these incredibly good cards that are way too cheaply priced for the board swings you can get.


To absolutely no one’s surprise, Warlocks also got additional aggro tools that have rocketed the infamous Zoo deck back to the legend ranks next to its new Shaman counterparts. This was due to 3 cards, the first is Forbidden Ritual (Effect: Spend all your Mana. Summon that many 1/1 Tentacles), every class got a “Forbidden” card but this one is without question the most effective one of the bunch. This is due to many of the aggro tools only requiring minions to be “Summoned” rather than “Played” meaning it can be done by a spell or a Battlecry effect rather than played directly from your hand. One of these cards is Darkshire Councilman (Effect: After you summon a minion, gain +1 Attack). This is one of the 3 cards that has ushered the comeback due to how out of control it can get in the course of just a turn or two. The last is a very simple on in the form of Possessed Villager (Effect: Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 Shadowbeast). This card seems very unimpressive but gives Zoo another consistent and hard to get rid of turn one drop especially after the nerfs to Leper Gnome.


Lastly we have Warriors. Warriors have eternally been in this spot where they got every card they could ever need in the classic set and now anything they get now is just either going to see no play or is going to be rotated into Control warrior until something better comes around. However the one card they did get that has already become a staple in Control warrior is Ravaging Ghoul (Effect: Deal 1 damage to all other minions), this gives them the whirlwind spell effect on a well stated minion that can be very consistent and a more forgiving deck slot to fill. That’s all they really got in terms of cards that will heavily sway ranked games so let’s talk about the amazing theme they are trying to push this expansion for warriors, Pirates! Warriors got not one but two Pirates this block as well as their legendary Malkorok (Effect: Equip a random weapon) which also synergizes with Pirates due to their focus on weapon effects. I don’t know if this will turn into an effective ranked deck but I know people are going to give it a hell of a try and I will be the first one to play it should it get off the ground.

This pack has shown that Blizzard is not slowing down with their content especially with how creative they can be with it. I am so happy with it so far and really can’t wait to play more! Overall, for Whispers of the Old Gods I would give it 8/10 with my main qualm being the additions to aggressive decks that were not needed and devalued many of the new control cards.

Dark Souls 3 Review

Dark Souls 3 Review

Dark Souls 3 Review

Trace Jenkins

Dark Souls 3 has been a much anticipated game, and is the finale of the Souls trilogy which started back in September of 2011. Now that the culminating (and defining) chapter of the series is here, the obvious question  to be asked is whether the close of the series will stay imprinted in our memory as something worthy to revisit and replay, or is it going to fall short as did its predecessor Dark Souls 2?


  • Excellent combat and gameplay
  • Divers and challenging bosses
  • Fills in the gaps in lore from previous editions
  • Excellent armor, weapons, and environmental designs


  • Not a lot of challenge early on
  • Repeated enemy designs used
  • Some optional areas are near impossible to find without a guide

I have now completed this game twice, and am looking to finish at least two more play-through’s to see all the possible endings in order to truly get a feel of which one feels to me like the canonically correct one. That being said, let’s start from the beginning so that we can understand what our character is doing.

We are an Unkindled, a formerly dead hero that has been brought back to life by the fading of the First Flame in order to help bring the current Lords of Cinder back to their thrones. To do this we must fight through countless enemies and many intimidating bosses to reach these legendary Lords who linked the First Flame during their lifetimes.


As can be expected, this fight will be extremely challenging. You will find that it isn’t just the bosses you need to worry about, as pretty much any enemy in Dark Souls 3 can hit you for a third of your health if you are not able to dodge or raise your shield in time to protect yourself. The game really wants to hammer this into your memory early as enemies are consistently hidden behind corners, archers who conveniently hide behind attacking melee combatants, as well as hordes of undead dogs that can quickly flank you and attack from behind. Once you do fight past these armies of undead horrors you, can finally fight the first of Dark Souls 3 many bosses which are the true highlight of the game. w All of Dark Souls 3’s bosses have unique mechanics with interesting patterns and weak points that often take a bit of thinking to figure out, and even more planning to properly execute. All of which becomes totally worth it, when they fall before you and the view switches to that ever so satisfying “Heir of Fire Destroyed” screen.

The gameplay in Dark Souls 3 is what really makes the game shine. It takes notes from not only every Souls game, but also Bloodborne, to create an intricate and very well crafted battle style. With the core mechanics of Dark Souls, the weapon moveset variety of Dark Souls 2, and the addition of much more aggressive and quick weapons that were inspired by Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3 has a fluid and beautiful gameplay and combat style that made it very hard for me during my first play through to choose what weapon I wanted to use, so hard in fact that I stopped my first play through over 10 hours in because, since I had put points in so many random places due to my own indecision, that I did relatively little damage. After restarting with the classic Knight class and getting on my big armor and huge weapons I was ready to take on my 22 hour journey.

This game constantly pulled my attention, and even though the difficulty later on was grueling and I was consistently swearing at my TV in frustration, I couldn’t put the game down. I even had a marathon 16 hour long session in which I ended up beating the game on. Dark Souls 3 is an incredibly enjoyable game that even if you care nothing about the lore will pull you in with its promise of challenge, and the bliss of conquering countless formidable foes.

I cannot recommend this game enough both for Souls veterans such as myself, as well as new players that have surely heard the hype which has been going for several months now. This will surely be the magnum opus of From Software’s catalog, and the bar  for future games they make whether it be a sequel to their Bloodborne franchise or something completely new. I do not see myself putting this game down any time soon and I believe you will as well if you decide to give this a try, I give it a very well deserved 10/10.

Dark Souls III: Lore Overview

Dark Souls III: Lore Overview

Dark Souls III: Lore Overview

Trace Jenkins

Before we go into the lore of this fantastic game, please allow me to preface this article with a very obvious (and serious) SPOILERS AHEAD warning. Many of these lore points will be covering bosses who are fought much later in the game, and the surprises that they bring. I should also preface that the  Dark Souls games are notorious for leaving gaps in their lore. This is done intentionally, so that the games will be open to speculation. This means that some of this may be my own personal take on the lore, but I will try to stick to what is verifiably concrete and place items that may be untrue or personal opinion in italics.

For those who may not have played the game yet, I will start with the basics. In Dark Souls 3 your character in an Unkindled, while it is still rampant speculation as to what it really means to be an Unkindled, here is my personal take. We are an Undead brought back to life by the call of The First Flame which wishes to extend it’s Age of Fire. The First Flame, is dimming due to not being linked by Prince Lothric, who was destined to be the next Lord of Cinder. It is due to this, that you are actually the “hero” in a Dark Souls game, since (for the first time) you have a clear destiny and a way to get to it, and you know that these other Lords must die so that a new one may ascend. You’re praised as a Champion of Ash, and are destined to return the Lords to their thrones, and link the fire once again, thus becoming a Lord of Cinder yourself.

These Lords of Cinder were also brought back to life by the dwindling of the fire as an evaluation for the Unkindled to see if they are worthy of being elevated to the ranks of Lord of Cinder themselves. Due to the Lords of Cinder being resurrected, they are all in more of a hollow state, making them aggressive and insane. To progress, you must defeat them and return their essence to their respective thrones. I will be going through their stories in the order you will fight them within the game.

The first of the Lords are the Abyss Watchers, Farron’s Undead Legion, that were enemies of the Abyss that looked up to the Wolf Blood Master (based on the Wolf Knight armor you purchase from the Handmaiden in the past, this Wolf Blood Master is heavily implied to be Knight Artorias, the Abyss Walker). Farron’s Undead Legion partook of the blood of the wolf in order to increase their strength, unfortunately doing this bonded all of their souls together. The resulting mass soul could only reside in a single Abyss Watcher at a time,  which is why we find them in Farron Keep, fighting each other for infinity, and being reanimated in the hopes of being able to take on the Soul of the Blood of the Wolf, only to once again defend it from your brothers in arms. Due to their affiliation with fighting the powers of the Abyss, as well as the Darkwraith’s that are walking towards Farron Keep on the way to the boss fight, I also believe that they could be fighting each other because every time they are reanimated, they see the taint of the Abyss in their comrades. This causes them to seek for it in order to snuff it out, only to take on the soul themselves, and thus and continue the cycle.

The next Lord to face is Yhorm the Giant, ruler of the profaned Capital. Yhorm is the descendant of an ancient conqueror (theorized to be the Giant Lord from Dark Souls 2), who once subjugated an entire population, only to free them and seek to lead them instead serving as their shield and weapon. However, the people did not trust him, and so to show his dedication to protecting the populace he gave one of his two greatswords (known as the “Storm Rulers”). These weapons channeled the power of the storm which could bring even the strongest of giant to his knees. Yhorm gave the second sword to a trusted friend named Siegward, and this is found out by completing the Siegward of Catarina’s questline. We also find out that he Siegward will also assist you in the fight without even needing to be summoned. By looking at his Great Shield description, it seems he no longer chose to use it due to failing to protect someone he cared about, and instead added a notch to his machete that allowed him to use it with both hands. This makes me think that Yhorm may have asked Siegward to end him if he once again failed his people or failed to protect something dear to him, (though that is not specifically stated). This is my speculation due to Siegward’s dialogue in the prefight cut scene that says “Yhorm, old friend. I Siegward of the Knights of Catarina have come to uphold my promise.” We defeat Yhorm by using the second Storm Ruler that is found by his throne, this also implies two final possible points. The first being that the people he ruled over returned the weapon due to no longer fearing their ruler. Point two is that he reclaimed it after apparently losing much of his city and possibly not having much to rule over, as much of the Profaned Capital seems deserted and in ruins.

Aldrich, Saint of the Deep, will be the third lord that we  face, and I have to say he may be one of the most evil (yet interesting characters) in the entire franchise. According to Hawkwood in the Firelink Shrine, Aldrich was once a holy cleric who grew to have an appetite for devouring human flesh. He devoured all that he could ‘til he no longer even had a human form, as over time Aldrich softened and dispersed into a black sludge. Aldrich became so powerful through all he had consumed that he was made a Lord of Cinder through the sheer might that he possesses. Through Aldrich’s dreams, he foresaw a coming of a power darker than humanity known as the Deep, which inspired him to form the Church of the Deep. The followers of this Church brought Aldrich many sacrifices to not only sate his appetite, but to also grow his power. Later he started to have dreams of the Old Gods (these being the original gods from Dark Souls, Nito, the Witch of Izalith, and Gwyn). The dreams of their power inspired him to seek and devour the gods themselves to try and gain the power to protect himself from the Deep. One of Aldrich’s followers, Pontiff Sulyvahn, traveled to Anor Londo the former seat of the Lord of Light Gwyn, and trapped his son Gwyndolin so he may be fed to Aldrich. This is where we find Aldrich upon our arrival in Anor Londo. He has consumed all of Gwyndolin’s lower body and has taken control of his mind including Gwyndolin’s fearsome sorceries. This also lead to the name change from his throne to what is seen in his boss fight: Aldrich, Devourer of Gods. Due to Aldrich’s new skeletal appearance on his lower body and halberd weapon it may also be implied that he consumed the corpse of residual power of Gravelord Nito the former Lord of the Dead who was killed in Dark Souls.

The final Lord of Cinder is Prince Lothric. Lothric’s story is a rather complicated one which doesn’t have a lot of answers up to this point. That being said, here is what we know. Lothric, though destined to become a Lord of Cinder, never actually took up the title. This is made known through several things, such as:

  • He was never mentioned in the trailer for the game.
  • He does not have a second phase where he is ignited like all of the other Lords have.
  • He still has his sanity, implying that he was not resurrected and has not died up to this point.

Lothric is shown to have had no interest in taking on the mantle of Lord of Cinder, and only sought to watch the Flames fade from afar. Along with Lothric is his younger brother Lorian, their souls appear to be linked in some way which inflicts both of them with a curse that hinders their movement as neither seem to be able to walk.. Though they never took on the title of Lord of Cinder, the screen for slaying one show’s up at the end of their battle and they also have a throne in the Firelink Shrine that mentions him as a Lord, though this may be because he was destined for it and was not expected to decline.

Once these Lords have been slain and their essence returned, there is one quest left, which is to travel to the Kiln of the First Flame and make your choice. First however, you must fight the final challenge in your way, The Soul of Cinder. This collection of souls is the culmination of all previous Lords of Cinder (which includes all of the above Lords, the first Lord of Cinder Gwyn, and the player characters from both previous Dark Souls games). He guards the First Flame, and only allows the worthy to link to it. By defeating him you are finally left with the ultimate choice: will you link the fire and continue to the infinite cycle but becoming a powerful being imbued with the very soul of fire? Or will you, along with the help of the Firekeeper, let the Flame fade and go cold, thus forever ending the Age of Fire that has been waxing and waning since the days of the First Lords? I will leave these choices to you, and allow you to draw your own conclusions on what should canonically be the correct ending, and what is the best note to send off the Dark Souls series with.

Praise the sun!


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