Dark Souls 2 has a rich tapestry of secrets to find among the poison-tipped arrows and endless pits. With the latest addition to the title, players are tasked with finding the second crown of three while traversing a vertical tower, wobbling chains and curse-infected areas. Also included in The Crown of the Old Iron King downloadable content are story threads, hidden chests and connections to the main game that paint Drangleic and King Vendrick, as well as another chapter of Dark Souls 2 lore, in a more pronounced light.
There will be some spoilers for those that haven’t played this second piece of content. This is only a small sample of the secrets available, but these are the ones that seemed the most interesting. Also, there will be some speculation on The Crown of The Ivory King content coming this month at the bottom.
The first secret inferred from Dark Souls 2 and the Old Iron King is that this ruler was not a King at birth. This nameless monarch held many characteristics from desperation to pride and pitiless rage; anyone who has traversed through the Undead Purgatory area has seen his iron handiwork. He ordered that structure built to house and torture Undead, filling their existences with nothing but pain and misery from the Executioner’s Chariot boss. However, it was with the help of Sir Alonne that he came to power, and by the acquisition of a staff that could make iron out of seemingly nothing. You do not encounter the king in the content, but you may just encounter his most trusted knight, his murderer and a clue to who helped build a demon of iron.
A central character to this downloadable story barely has a coherent speaking line, but should be the focal point of every battle. Naladia, Bride of Ash, is a fragmented child of Manus, the first carrier of the Dark Soul, and finds herself so lonesome that her physical form is revoked and her soul is spread into Ashen Idols placed across the zone. These have a variety of effects on enemies and the environment and can only be killed with the use of Smelter Wedges. You will receive six almost as soon as you enter the level, but the other five are left for inquisitive minds to find.
Sir Alonne, stationed at the end of the Memory of the Old Iron King, is guarding one while the other four sit in a chest that can only be found after activating the elevator system inside the main tower. The memory opens up only after taking out the Fume Knight boss and having the Ashen Mist Heart in your inventory. To find the chest, start from the third bonfire—the one labelled “Foyer”—of the area and go left around the center pit, stepping onto the upwards elevator and going up another elevator after arriving on a ledge. Go right at the top and follow the path to the chest. Collecting all 12 fragments of her soul opens a new weapon from Ornifex and a new spell from Straid.
A last secret has to do, much as the remainder of Dark Souls 2, with King Vendrick. Upon entering the Brume Tower area, you see knights strewn about a dead Idol that are covered with the Drangleic crest. Vendrick, as foretold by an item description, sent knights to the tower after the fall of the Old Iron King to scoop up any iron that was available. Vendrick, then, was still King in this distorted time and had not yet become Undead. Speaking of which, going to his area in the Undead Crypt with the acquisition of each new crown, and possessing the Ashen Mist Heart, will open up new dialogue in the Memory of the King. This serves as a fairly fascinating look into the slowly dwindling hope of Vendrick as his humanity slips away.
The Old Iron King secrets for Dark Souls 2 are still just a precursor for the final addition, the Crown of the Ivory King. Almost nothing has yet been shared about this finale, but the rumors revolve around the Ivory King being Vendrick’s maniacal brother Aldia. The entrance to that downloadable content will almost certainly be at the Shrine of Winter. Players have to possess all four Great Souls to open up this shrine in game. What is possibly most interesting about the Ivory King is that his crown is the final puzzle piece; with the possession of all four crowns, counting Vendrick’s, players may be able to finally “link the fire,” but Software, makers of Dark Souls 2, might have a few more surprises in mind between the Chosen Undead and the Throne of Want.
Opinion By Myles Gann