Keeping with the tradition set by Crown of the Sunken King, Dark Souls 2's Crown of the Old Iron King is tough. If you lamented how fast you blew through the core campaign, this expanded content once again throws up some welcome roadblocks for even the most skilled players. Read on, and discover how to reach the end mostly unscathed—but maybe a little singed.
Basic Strategies for Crown of the Old Iron King
- As with the last DLC, this content can be reached just beyond a Primal Bonfire: this one's in the Iron Keep. But you might not be ready to take on this area just yet. For maximum comfort, your level should be 95 or higher—it's not completely necessary, but again, Crown of the Old Iron King is pretty challenging. I stumbled into it with a level 120 character—which might have been overkill—and found its difficulty to be just right. As with the last DLC, placing your summon sign in the entryway will allow you to jump into a co-op game in an optional, super-hard dungeon. And you don't even need to buy the DLC to participate! But you really should.
- In case you couldn't tell by its volcanic location, it's important to be properly insulated in Crown of the Old Iron King. While the DLC kindly provides a Flame Quartz Ring +3 (though you still have to find it), that might not be enough to keep you safe. Stock up on Small Orange Burrs, and be sure that your armor provides a healthy defense against fire. Needless to say, and type of Pyromancy or fire-based weapons won't serve you well in Old Iron King.
- Crown of the Old Iron King introduces its central gimmick, Ashen Idols, almost immediately. While the first one you see lets loose with a fire attack, thankfully, they normally don't pose an immediate threat. Instead, they operate as a means to keep enemies in the immediate area alive. If you notice foes glowing with a strange aura, they'll refuse to stay down for good until you take out a nearby Ashen Idol with a Smelter Wedge (by hitting the "interact" button when you're close). These wedges are limited in number, but thankfully, Old Iron King provides just enough of these to take out every Ashen Idol you see. Note that it's best to ignore enemies entirely if they're under the effects of an Ashen Idol—just blitz past them and find it. You'll be invincible while your Wedge-plunging animation plays out, so feel free to take risks. Once an Ashen Idol is gone, it's gone forever.
- The wall-mounted bull-head flamethrowers move slowly along a prescribed path when attacked with any weapon. Use this to your advantage—the barrel-carrying lackeys can be corralled into these flames, making short work of any enemy caught in the gunpowder explosion.
- Watch out for hidden enemies! While your opponents don't exactly blend into the background of Old Iron King's environments, many of the Ashen Warriors stay completely buried until you pass by. If you're going through an ash-covered area for the first time, take it slow until you've memorized their locations. Those guys really have a way of sneaking up on you.
- Those crumbling, cremated corpses aren't just there for atmosphere: pass by them, and they'll crumble, sometimes revealing hidden treasures. It may seem disrespectful, but be sure to desecrate every dead body you see. They'll understand.
Enemy Guide for Crown of the Old Iron King
- Ashen Warrior: If you've played Crown of the Sunken King, they guys should look a little familiar. And the tactics used in fighting these skeletal soldiers really haven't changed. Keep your distance, and try to draw them out one at a time if possible. If you have a weapon with a wide, sweeping attack, it's possible to stun-lock a few at once, but watch your stamina. They can hit extremely hard if you're unguarded.
- Iron Warrior: These giant brutes have an amazing reach with their huge clubs, but, as you would guess, their attacks take a bit of time to play out. Like any large enemy, they're pretty easy to circle around, though they have a built-in defense to bolster this weakness: Lava spills out of them periodically, which can slow your progress and damage you at the same time. Watch out for this, and know that there's no shame in running away—Iron Warriors are simply too big to follow you through certain passages, so you can cheese them and plink away with arrows from afar.
- Fume Sorcerer: They may have a weak defense, but these magic wielding opponents can be pretty annoying. When their projectile spells hit, they can transform into an area-of-effect attack that inflicts damage until you roll away, and they have a habit of using this same magic barrier around themselves when you get close. Try to get close with as much stamina as possible and stun-lock them to prevent retaliation. If they suddenly disappear, immediately roll backwards: Fume Sorcerers can teleport behind you and land a series of quick attacks if you're not careful.
- Possessed Armor: It's best to fight these guys one-on-one, since they have a variety of flame-based melee attacks and don't stun-lock easily. Take advantage of any openings you spot, and don't be fooled when they look like they're recovering from their strong overhead attacks—they follow this up with a jumping attack you might not see coming.
- Scorcher: These strange, slow, crawling enemies might not seem to pose too much of a threat, but they have a self-destruct attack that's absolutely devastating—but you can use this to your advantage to harm nearby foes. Once they're lit on fire from the oil-filled braziers located throughout their environment, they'll gain this ability, so be careful.
- Cask Runner: Outside of the Crystal Lizard, these enemies might be the only other ones in Dark Souls 2 who are actually afraid of you. Approach them, and they'll carry their gunpowder-filled barrels in the opposite direction. Send these guys towards enemies, and you can explode their barrels using a projectile, or any nearby flame traps. It can take a little work to send them in the right direction, but the effects are more than worth it.
How to Beat Fume Knight
Fume Knight is simply one of the toughest bosses you've ever fought in a Dark Souls game. Before the fight begins, be sure to destroy the four idols burning on the outside of the Fume Knight's lair—if left untouched, they'll be able to heal him when he gets close, and you absolutely don't want this to happen. It's also recommended to bring along a fully-upgraded Greatshield, since he hits hard, and some of his strongest attacks can wipe out your entire stamina bar in a second. Follow these tips, and the fight should go much smoother.
- Keep an eye on your stamina bar: Like any of Dark Souls 2's toughest boss fights, stamina management is extremely important. If you get in close, always keep enough stamina to roll safely away. If the Fume Knight decides to unleash a combo on you, it's much safer to roll than to block. Even a fully upgraded Greatshield can't withstand his four-hit attack.
- Learn when to heal: Even though he's huge, Fume Knight can cover a lot of ground quickly, and his sword has a long reach. If you need to heal, be absolutely certain he's either not targeting you, or recovering from an attack animation (like his downward plunge). Co-op partners can help draw his attention, so it's also safe to swig some Estus while he's distracted.
- Recognize when he's about to use his sweeping attack: This move of Fume Knight's is extremely powerful, and he can unleash it at any time, though it mostly comes at the end of his combo attacks. It takes a lot of effort to swing that massive sword, so look for the visual indication that he's about to pull off this attack. The time immediately following this attack makes for the perfect chance to strike, but keep in mind the wide swing of his sword makes all but the area directly behind him dangerous.
- Beware his fiery form: Once you shave off 50% of Fume Knight's HP, he'll gain the power of fire, and his attacks become much deadlier. When he raises his sword in the air, get as far away as you can: This attack unleashes a small explosion around him, and sends fireballs spiraling outward. In addition, his sweeping attack becomes much wider, though he telegraphs this move well in advance. Remember that you can't always rely on your shield to save you, unless it has a strong fire defense: Even if you successfully block his fire-based attacks, you may still end up taking a bit of damage.
- Beware the lure of friendship: Co-op may seem like an easy solution, but it has its downsides. Fume Knight has a ton of HP, and adding more partners only increases it. Of course, you do have the advantage of letting other players draw his attention, but your fight can still end if you fail to block just a few of his attacks. Keep all of this in mind when deciding whether or not you should go solo.
How to Beat Sir Alonne
Crown of the Old Iron King contains a special, hidden boss fight that's only available to those who've picked up an Ashen Mist Heart from the Ancient Dragon, who can be found in the Dragon Shrine towards the end of the game. Approach his set of armor (located near The Smelter Throne bonfire) and examine it to start the boss fight.
- You can fight Sir Alonne up-close or at a distance, but he's a boss that doesn't like to fight at close range. When he jumps backwards, he'll immediately follow with a lunging attack that you can roll to avoid. While he's recovering from this attack, you can usually land a few hits. When rolling, its recommended to roll forward while you're rolling left or right, so it's easier to get close to Sir Alonne and attack him while he's defenseless.
- Blocking Sir Alonne's attacks isn't the wisest idea, since they do an excellent job of draining your stamina. His attacks also cause the bleed effect, so even if you block them, they'll manage to drain your HP regardless. Being able to move and roll quickly is vital to this battle, so see that your character is equipped properly.
- Sir Alonne also has a projectile attack, though he does have to charge it up first. If you move left or right as soon as Sir Alonne begins charging this attack, you should be able to quickly roll out of the way before it reaches you.
- When you see Sir Alonne jump in the air, roll to the left or right immediately. He's about to unleash a powerful plunging attack, and he doesn't give you much time to evade it.