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New Info Surfaces for Arena System, Weapons, Armor, and Spells in Dark Souls 3 Ashes of Ariandel DLC

Four Souls entered...and snagged some tantalizing info on the weapons and Arena system in Dark Souls 3's Ashes of Ariandel DLC.

Recently four notable Souls personalities (Peeve Peeverson, RBFrosty, Dreadedcone, and iSkys)  were invited to participate in an early access look at the upcoming Arena in Dark Souls 3's DLC Ashes of Ariandel (releasing on October 25th). And that also meant a preview into the weapons, armor, and spells that will be available.

But if watching the Father of Bloodshades' 20-minute exploration is a bit too long for your tastes, never fear -- the TL;DR is below. 

OBVIOUS WARNING: The content both in the video and below contain minor spoilers about the upcoming Arena system, as well as some arms and armor found in the DLC. 

So far, the released content has covered 3 new weapons, 2 new armor sets, a new shield, and a new spell -- though the stats and some of the Weapon Arts/special moves have been forcibly concealed. 

Weapons, Shields, and Spells

The Onyx Blade
Seen in trailers, this weapon may very well be the longest Greatsword in the game -- giving a little more reach to those horizontal GS swings we're all used to. While the Onyx Blade only reaches +5 (and is therefore unbuffable by outside means such as Resins or spells), it does sport a fairly strong Dark buff all on its own (with a cool buff animation to boot).
Valorheart 

The Gladius and Smallshield combination seen in some combat trailers, this fast little number takes a standard Straight Sword moveset perfect for infinite R1 spam and pairs it with a new "blocking leap" attack capable of covering a fair bit of ground while keeping your guard up. With a solid dashing thrust and a possibly-magic enhanced "guard break" action, you can be sure we're going to see plenty of this Sword and Board combo in upcoming PvP.

Even better, it's a paired item like Twinblades -- keeping your offhand free for any additional weapons you may want, but having the shield ready at a click of the 2-Hand button. 

The Follower Javelin

While the standard Spear moveset isn't anything to write home about, the Weapon Art certainly is. The Follower Javelin has a (thus far) unique Weapon Art that will launch the spear as a ranged projectile before returning to its owner's hand. Perfect for long range harassment, roll catches, and Estus stopping, the Follower Javelin packs a lot of punch in very little space. 

The Follower Shield

Intricate frontal design on a relatively large frame suggests this is something of a Medium shield, not quite Havel's but a far cry better at damage absorption than your favorite Buckler. Most interesting is its inclusion of the Weapon Art moveset rather than the traditionally favorable parry -- it seems almost built to be paired with some weapon that has a fun and infinite useable Weapon Art...but what weapon could that be? 

Frozen Weapon

Cast with what looks to be a stave/catalyst, this new Sorcerous weapon buff applies Frostbite to the chosen weapon -- opening up whole new worlds in terms of PvP endurance management and offense styles. Given how prominent "rolling forever" is in the current game, the ability to cripple enemy Endurance recovery is a welcome addition to the current roster of spell-based weapon buffs. 

Armor

Two new armor sets saw some screen time during the preview. There's the Follower Set, a fair mashup of leather and scale that looks to be in line with "medium armor" sets, and even sporting the traditional "kind of armor but not" fur topping found on Drang and Faraam-wear currently available. Unfortunately, the hat is ludicrous -- a long metal cone rising upwards that's more suited for joke-cosplay than our beloved Fashion Souls. 

Luckily, the Milwood set picks up much of the slack, offering players another shot at a heavier armor set that doesn't look like an oversized Archdeacon crammed into a tin can. Complete with a horned helm, furs, leathers, and a crest emblazoned on the chest piece, this set looks like the wrath of some ancient Norse god put into clothing -- perfect for your Dark Souls Odin cosplay, if you could find some sort of magic spear...

The Arena

The thing many of us are most anxious for in the upcoming Dark Souls 3 DLC, Ashes of Ariandel -- the Arena system finally returns to (and seemingly improves upon) the old PvP slaughterhouse of Dark Souls. For those of us who are getting a little tired of Invading in only to be met by three full Havel monsters lying in wait spamming "Welcome", the new system allows a bit more numerically fair engagements in Duels, 2v2s, 3v3s, and those iterations of a free for all, King of the Hill style Brawl mode. 

There were also selections for "Cooperative 2v2" and "Cooperative 3v3". While the invited players themselves couldn't quite figure it out, we're all leaning heavily towards this being a PvP bracket meant for players that wish to queue together, and wreak havoc on the Arena as a team rather than as a single Chosen Undead. 

For those of you afraid of the inevitable Estus chug, take heart . In many modes Estus seems to be disabled completely (and Ashen Estus severely limited). Others offer but a single sip of Sunny D, reclaimable only by doing most of the dirty work destroying an enemy phantom. 

While you can certainly let your colors fly with your Covenants equipped, there do not seem to be (at least by these videos) any Covenant rewards handed out for vanquishing your opponents. Sorry, Darkmoon brothers and sisters, it seems we're still going to have to get our severed ears the old fashioned way -- by cutting them from Silver Knights in Anor Londo.

Just as Gwyn intended. 

While there's still tons more weapons and spells to check out when Ashes of Ariandel releases on the 25th, this peek into the upcoming PvP addition of Dark Souls 3's DLC is a grossly incandescent ray of sunshine for the reds, blues, whites, yellows, pinks, and purples that have gotten a little tired of the pit in Anor Londo. 

In an age of eSports and competitive gaming, one of the most legendary game series of modern times has given a cutthroat PvP community an Arena. Will Ashes of Ariandel bring with it a burgeoning Dark Souls competitive scene? Only time will tell. 

Until then, though...charge that Dragonslayer's Swordspear, paint your Warden Twinblades rouge, praise the sun, and pass the ammunition. 

It's about to get bloody. 

Published Oct. 17th 2016

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