Released in October 2011, Dark Souls is the sequel to cult hit Demon's Souls. Players traverse an open, minimalistic world and gain the experience necessary to take on gigantic bosses. The game's subtitle was Prepare to Die, and the difficulty was hyped, but really, the game just punishes mistakes by giving enemies about the same amount of power players have. In late 2012, the game received a DLC expansion titled Artorias of the Abyss, which added new areas and bosses.
Best Time with Large-skip glitches: 0:21:29 by 'CapitaineToinon' on 2015-12-07
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Any% Kiln Skip is the fastest way to beat Dark Souls by abusing a console-exclusive warp glitch. The route is using the Great Club combined with the moveswap glitch and Red Tearstone Ring (RTSR) as the main damage source.
The Kiln Skip allows you to skip the four Lord Souls, effectively cutting the game in half. Contrary to popular belief, the Kiln Skip is still possible on the current patch of the game, but only for the Xbox 360 using an alternative method, making Xbox 360 the only platform viable for this speedrun.
Secondly, an internet connection plus an Xbox Live Gold membership is required since the method used to perform the essential warp glitch involves forcing the game to switch from the online to offline mode. While this technically makes this run online, no actual online gameplay mechanics are used.
- Red Tearstone Ring (RTSR)
The Red Tearstone Ring increases your Attack Rating by 50% when your current HP is below 20%. Because of the damage calculation done by the game, a 50% increase of your AR usually results in a damage increase varying between 100% - 150%. This makes it an essential item to quickly dispatch bosses.
- The Warp Glitch
To perform a warp glitch, you first need to play online, then use a warping item such as a Homeward Bone or simply die and create an Xbox Live party during the loading screen. The game won't let you continue playing online while being in an Xbox Live party and will force you back to the main menu.
When it does that, the game doesn't know where you've warped to, so it puts you at a default location based on where you were when you warped. If for example you perform the warp glitch in Firelink Altar, it will put you at the default location of that area: inside the Kiln of the First Flame.
- The Moveswap
The moveswap glitch allows the player to transfer the running, rolling and plunging attacks from one weapon to another and is commonly used in speedruns since it can double the damage output when used with the right weapons, in this case the Estoc is used since its running attack hits twice.
The glitch is essentially starting an animation (usually jumping), queuing up the two-handing of a bow in the left hand (while performing that animation) and then switching out the bow for another weapon so that this newly equipped weapon is two-handed in the left hand instead of the bow. Since this is normally not possible and a bow normally doesn't have a running and/or rolling attack, the game retrieves this information from your right hand weapon instead. So when you now use either of these attacks you will get the ones of your right hand weapon but still have the damage of your left hand weapon.
- Item Dupe
-- Type 1 - Items with confirmation box
This is the most common, easy and known duplication glitch in Dark Souls. The type 1 allows you to infinitely use items with a confirmation box, like boss souls or Homeward Bones. To execute this, make sure you have the item you want to dupe highlighted in your hotbar first. Perform an action such as parrying, rolling or using a lever and queue up the use of the item by pressing "X" towards the end of the animation.
If you now press START before the confirmation box appears, and use another item in your inventory (preferably Estus Flask or Darksign), the confirmation box of the item in your hotbar will still appear but actually confirming the use now does not consume the item in your hotbar. Instead it uses the item that you chose in your inventory but gives you the effect of the item with the confirmation box.
In this speedrun, it will only be used to duplicate Homeward Bones.
-- Type 2 - Items without confirmation box
The second type works on most items that have no confirmation box as well as on items with a confirmation box such as boss souls, but type 1 should be used for those. Notable here is that only the effect of very last one of the stack can be recreated. For example, if you carry 6 firebombs, you need to use up the first 5 before being able to duplicate the effects of the sixth one to throw a seventh, eighth, etc.
To execute this, as you use up your last item, queue up another use of it by pressing Square (PS3) / X (Xbox) again on the very last frames of the item-use animation where your item number still says "1".
In this speedrun, it's used to dupe some souls at the start of the run. With souls the dupe window is one frame (33ms). Since you need at least one dupe this causes a lot of runs to fail at the beginning.
--- Run Commentary ---
- Undead Asylum
I'm starting as a Hunter with the Master Key. Hunter because I need a bow to perform the moveswap glitch and this is the fastest way to get one and Master Key because it allows me to reach the Valley of Drakes/Blighttown early.
The Asylum is pretty simple. Talking to Oscar is faster than killing him, but you really need to mash through the dialogue. A double hit is performed on the Asylum Demon by doing a jumping attack from the balcony instead of a simple drop attack.
- Valley of Drakes
After defeating the Asylum Demon, I'm heading straight to New Londo Ruins to pick up the Estoc. I will need it for the moveswap glitch. Next, I open the shortcut to the Valley of Drakes using the Master Key.
I pick up 2 lesser Souls in the Valley, one giving me 1'000 and the other one 2'000 souls. Theoretically, I only need the 2k Soul but since the dupe glitch has a 1 frame window, picking up the second soul gives me a second chance to attempt the dupe glitch, increasing the amount of runs that get past that point.
I then pickup the Red Tearstone Ring, take the elevator up, dupe the 2k Soul, level up my Strength stat to 19 at the cave bonfire, allowing me to use the Great Club that I'll pick up soon in Blighttown.
I then perform the first warp glitch of the run. As explained earlier, this will put me at the default location of the current area, in this case being the entrance of New Londo Ruins. This allows me to quickly get to Blighttown without having to run all the way back through the Valley of Drakes, saving around 40s.
- Blighttown & Quelaag
Arriving at Blighttown, I perform a nice but rather easy skip, the Blighttown drop. Falling is obviously faster than climbing down. I land on the waterwheel and heal.
Here comes a tricky part. I need to have RTSR for the next boss, Quelaag. Thus I need my health to be under 20%. I'm going to achieve that by combining falling damage and poison damage.
If my RTSR setup is perfect, I have 118 HP before Quelaag. The poison deals 3HP/s, which would leave me 39s to kill Quelaag. Drop too early from the waterwheel and your HP will be too low, not leaving you enough time to kill Quelaag. Drop too late and you won't be under 20% HP, meaning no RTSR (+50% damage) resulting in a really slow fight. In this run, the drop was a tiny bit too high, making the Quelaag fight really close.
After the drop, I pick up the Great Club in the swamp and moveswap it with the Estoc before the Quelaag fight. The fight itself is RNG heavy, since Quelaag has a lot of bad attacks that can make you lose time, thus making you lose HP, since you're fighting poisoned. This is basically the big reset point of the run. It went well this time around though.
I then ring the bell, use Quelaag's Soul for an extra 8000 Souls and dupe the Homeward Bone, warping me back to the cave bonfire.
- Undead Parish & Gargoyles
Here comes the second warp glitch of the run. I pick up the Grass Crest Shield in Darkroot Basin, an important shield for this speedrun since it increases stamina regeneration by ~22.5%, making it worth on long sprint distances. I then dupe the Homeward Bone again to again trigger the warp glitch.
Since I left the Valley of Drakes and I'm now in Darkroot Basin, the area has changed. Thus the default location has changed too and I now spawn at the entrance of Darkroot Garden, saving yet again around 40s.
Arriving at the Undead Parish, I talk to Andre of Astora, buy 9 Titanite shards and upgrade the Great Club to +5 for increased damage. I rest at the bonfire and level up my Endurance stat to 20, the minimum amount required to fast roll with the Great Club (< 25% equipment load).
Using regular enemies in the Undead Parish I put myself below 20% HP to trigger RTSR, moveswap the Great Club and make quick work of the Gargoyles. Unfortunately, the first Gargoyle decided to fly up at the start, making me lose around 4s. This is of one the two major timelosses in the run.
I then ring the second bell and use the Homeward Bone. I don't need to dupe it this time since I'll use the Dark Sign for the rest of the run.
- Sen's Fortress & Iron Golem
I level up one last time, leaving me with 22 Strength. This is needed to later kill Ornstein in 2 running attacks since 19 is barely not enough.
In Sen's Fortress I quit out for the boulder on the stairs because I don't have enough HP to survive its damage. I then moveswap the Great Club and kill Iron Golem by making him fall off the arena. This is possible because 400 damage on his legs will stagger him and 200 more damage will make him fall.
- Anor Londo & Ornstein & Smough
Arriving in Anor Londo I immediately head for the elevator leading down. I heal to full and then use the upcoming drops to setup my Health for RTSR later on. This is quite risky since there is a lot of places where you can get hit in Anor Londo.
After getting past the Silver Knight Archers I moveswap and start the Ornstein & Smough fight. Even if this fight was quite fast, it was far from perfect. Because both of them dodged, I had to attack Ornstein one more time and Smough two more times. This is the second major timeloss together with the Gargoyle opening attack from earlier.
I then kill Gwynewere with my bow to skip her lengthy dialogue and obtain the Lordvessel, using the Dark Sign while receiving it.
- Kiln of the First Flame & Gwyn
From the Undead Parish bonfire, I warp one last time to Firelink Shrine and head to Firelink Altar. From there, I perform the last warp glitch, also known as the Kiln Glitch. This works the exact same way as previous warp glitches and puts me inside the Kiln of the First Flame.
I setup RTSR using the first Black Knight, I moveswap the Great Club and kill Gwyn by stunlocking him. By going behind him when waiting for my stamina to regenerate, Gwyn will try to turn around before doing anything else, allowing me to quickly attack him again, resulting in a quick fight without any resistance.
From here I can light the last bonfire to trigger the ending, quit out at the start of New Game+ and look at my In-Game Time. 21 minutes and 29 seconds, a 16s improvement over my previous personal best.
---- Improvements ----
As explained earlier, the Gargoyles and O&S made me lose around ten seconds combined. Those are the only mistakes in the run.
In addition, there are a few strategies that I could've done to improve my time. One of those being quitting out at the door after killing Asylum Demon and at Gwynevere's door in Anor Londo in order to skip the long door opening animation. This would save around four seconds IGT and is already commonly used on PC.
On Xbox 360 however, every time you quit out you have to always watch the three intro logos which takes around 35 seconds real time. The speedrun used in-game time so it's still worth it but would make the run less interesting to watch in my opinion.
Another possible time saver is skipping the Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier (1000 souls worth) in the Valley of Drakes at the start. Even though that would save around two seconds it would also mean that I would only have one chance at performing a mandatory frame perfect dupe glitch on the Soul of a Proud Knight (2000 souls worth) as I need 4000 souls in total.
The last strategy is to perform two frame perfect soul duplications in a row with the Soul of a Proud Knight. It would give me more souls, allowing me to level up to 20 Strengh and 12 Endurance at the cave bonfire (instead of 19 Strength and no Endurance, leaving it at 11). Therefore I would have enough stats for the rest of the run after killing Quelaag, skipping one level up after the Gargoyles fight, saving four seconds.
In total this means a perfect run could be around 21:10. This would require a really reset heavy grind since the frame perfect dupe glitch can be hard to be consistent at and any small piece of bad RNG would ruin the run. Thus, unless new strats are found, I won't try to improve this time.
------- Links --------
Speedsouls - A Demon's Souls - Dark Souls - Dark Souls 2 - Bloodborne speedrunning wiki :
Twitch SpeedSouls team :
------- Thanks -------
A big thanks to all previous Kiln Glitch runners, starting with Treynquil that was the first supporting me when I started streaming. Thanks, NaxHPL and h4ck_y0u, having competition is always fun and interesting, running against your times has always been awesome. Thanks to PinkAndOrangeAndGold for opening our eyes to BKGS. Thanks to Fed981 for routing the awesome current Great Club route. Thanks to Kahmul78 for helping me with my awful english.
Thanks to the whole SpeedSouls team, to all Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne runners and thanks to everyone that ever supported me.
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