Why and Why Not to Play the New Dark Souls 3 DLC – Ashes of Ariandel

5 Reasons why we are excited to die again in Ashes of Ariandel and also 5 reason we are worried about its failure.

Article by: Theron Hollenbeck

I expect to die by more horrific monstrosities come October 25th as Ashes of Ariandel, the first of two DLCs, drop for From Software’s Dark Souls 3. The date cannot come more quickly, but in preparation for the expansion, I popped in my copy of the game and racked my head for why I am truly excited for the new DLC and why I am worried. The base game has already stolen hours upon hours with improving my character, being summoned to assist in boss fights, and hoarding an obscene amount of souls just in case. With Ashes, I am hopeful there will be plenty more hours to be sunk into this game again. Here are five reasons why I am prepared to die.

5 Reason We Are Excited for Ashes of Ariandel

1) More weapons, armor, spells, etc:  Of course with each Souls DLC comes new armor and armaments to take down foes however you see fit.  I always liked having most sets in my inventory since the designs in the series have always been fantastic (Dragonslayer Set, Artorias’ Set, Raime’s Set, Lorian’s Set).  With Ashes, hopefully more well designed armor sets will adorn my character.  As for weapons, we will see if anything will replace my Fume Ultra Greatsword.

2) A new “old” environment: As soon as the original trailer dropped, people immediately began to try to connect dots to the first game’s hidden area in the Anor Londo painting, the Painted World of Ariamis.  In the first game it was an isolated area that acted more as a multi-storied dungeon tower, as you go up and down activating door switches to reach the end.  With the inclusion of (SPOILER WARNING: STOP NOW) an aged and decrepit Anor Londo in the Boreal Valley area, it would not be surprising if this turned out to be the same painting you traveled to before, but with timeline shaping it differently somehow. 

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3) New lore: the item lore and use of environmental storytelling is one of my favorite aspects of the game.  This series does not spoon-feed you the story and you have to rely picking up pieces of lore and figuring things out yourself.  While some may think this prevents the game from having a cohesive campaign, I believe it to be the opposite.  With just the items and my surroundings, I have thought up my own story and reasons for why events happened as they did.  With Ariandel, there is potential to give more lore to those like us who want to know more about the game’s world.  

4) New bosses: while I could include new enemies as well, the bosses hold my interest more.  The gigantic skeletal being, with what appears t be a Lordvessel, in the trailer was able to grab my interest and I cannot wait to challenge and be crushed by it.  If there are other bosses we will find out soon, but until then, Soul of Cinder will have to make due.

5) What has not been seen: From Soft makes sure that while they show a good chunk of what is to come, they do not reveal their full hand until you are actually in it.  I’m sure there will be traps and enemies that were completely hidden, and when they make their introduction it will be a great test to see who will win.

However, with every chance a DLC can be great, an equal chance to be bad exists…

 

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5 Reasons We May Steer Clear of Ashes of Ariandel

1) Not enough new places to count as a new environment: while the prospect of returning to the Painted World is great, it would not be so fantastic to return to a carbon copy of the first incarnation of the area.  In Dark Souls, the Painted World served as a good two-three hours side area to boost your level and/or get your hands on Priscilla’s Dagger or the Xanthous Set.  Once I left, however, I had no reason to return.  Hopefully there is more to just what we have seen.

2) Too much focus on PvE: Disclaimer; I am not a huge fan of the PvE.  I don’t care if I get called a ‘noob’ but the over-reliance on poison/bleed buildup sucks the fun out of it.  There is my worry that From Soft focused too much time in developing a new PvE game, in the new Hollow Arena, instead of PvP content.  I’d rather smash bosses than smash other players.

3) Not enough content: Oolacile, Shulva, Brume Tower, Frozen Eleum Loyce, and The Hunter’s Nightmare are all From Soft DLC areas, and they are quite large.  These are have their own sub-areas, secrets, frustrations, weapons, enemies, and optional bosses.  If players go to Ariandel and don’t get much out of plundering the area, then this may be a disappointing undertaking.

4) Player retention: A common theme with these games is that during launch times, the game sees plenty of players available for co-op or PvE.  Yet, as time goes on, numbers dwindle as people tend to migrate towards other AAA multiplayer games.  With the upcoming release of Ashes, I have seen more summoning signs available.  But how long will that be before the signs fade away?  Especially with the Hollow Arena.  If player numbers drop, then the area will be a waste of space down the line.

5) No new lore: This one would be a killer for me.  If there is no new lore in any way then that will be highly disappointing.  Though fans may think Dark Souls 2 as the black sheep of the games, the option to connect story lines from 2 to 3 would be great to bring the trilogy closer together.  Without the lore, it’s just a snow-covered area with some monsters to slay.

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