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When I first started the game, I followed the same path as many other beginners and went to the first bell and then to the Depths, Blight Town and to Queelags Domain to ring the second bell.

However, I really found Blight Town much earlier since I went from the first bell to the Darkroot Gardens and to the "exit" of Blight Town running past the drakes in Drake Valley and as far as I can see, there really isn't any need to go all the way through the depths and most of Blight Town at all?

Heck, if I have the Master Key I don't even need to go through the Darkroot Gardens. I can just go to New Londo and straight to the second bell skipping also the gardens.

My question:

Is it necessary to visit all areas to progress through the game or are some just there to provide loot, NPC:s (with their story elements) and heaps of practice and souls?

As you can tell I just rang the second bell and haven't progressed much further than this.

I did kill the Moonlight Butterfly and really couldn't see any need to do this either as it didn't bring me any closer to finishing the main game.

Please advice! :-)

PS: I AM actually going to play through every single square inch of this wonderful game but it intrigues me that some areas and bosses just feel totally unnecessary... :DS

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Wikidot Dark Souls Wiki lists 4 areas as "optional" - The Great Hollow, Ash Lake and Painted World of Ariamis on the Areas page, plus Valley of Drakes on its own page. (I'd argue Darkroot Basin is also optional, but the border between Darkroot Garden and Darkroot Basin is somewhat blurred.)

I'm unsure of the role of the Moonlight Butterfly in the game progression, but there are definitely other parts of Darkroot Garden that need to be completed before the game can be finished.

I haven't finished the game yet myself (though I am close), but since I did not choose the Master Key as my starting gift, I have had to unlock each area in sequence. The Master Key does allow you more freedom to access areas out of sequence, but I think the game is better structured without it.

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Thanks. What about the Depths? From the lower parts of the Undead Burg with the Capra Demon to the lower parts of Blight Town I couldn't find anything that I would consider important. The goal was all along to ring the second bell and I'm able to reach it through the "exit". You don't need to spoil anything more than "You totally need to go there." :-) –  mmmattias Jan 11 '12 at 12:13
    
For me, the Depths was not optional since defeating the boss provides the key to Blighttown. However, if you have the Master Key, the Depths does seem to be optional. –  YellowMegaMan Jan 12 '12 at 3:44
    
But even without the master key you're able to run through Darkroot Basin and past the drakes to enter Blight Town that way? Or is there a locked gate at the back entrance of the area? I cannot remember... –  mmmattias Jan 12 '12 at 9:48
    
I accepted your answer due to the fact that you answered it first with relevant links. –  mmmattias Jan 12 '12 at 9:49
    
You might be right about getting to Blighttown via Darkroot Basin and Valley of Drakes. I don't think there is a locked gate at the bottom of the lift. –  YellowMegaMan Jan 12 '12 at 10:24
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With clever use of the Master Key, you can skip directly to the Bell Gargoyles & Quelaag without fighting any other bosses. You could skip Taurus Demon, Most of the Undead Parish, Moonlight Butterfly, Lower Undead Burg, Capra Demon, the Depths, Gaping Dragon, and Most of Blightown.

From Blighttown you can get to the Great Hollow and from there to Ash Lake, but it's rather easy to miss, I didn't even realize they existed until a friend told me after I had finished my first playthrough.

In one of the final areas of the game is another shortcut that can be opened through leveling of a covenant relationship that allows you to bypass most of the area as well as two bosses.

So it definitely isn't necessary to hit all of the area or even all of the bosses to complete the game. By my count, you can get through the game fighting only 13 of the 21 bosses.

EDIT: Without the Master Key you'll still need to fight the Taurus Demon but then, as O.T.2 pointed out in the comments, from there you can go through Darkroot Garden/Basin to the Valley of the Drakes and then to Blightown, skipping Lower Undeadburg, the Depths, and most of Blightown. The Master Key allows you to open the New Londo <-> Valley of the Drakes shortcut, which allows you to skip the Taurus Demon.

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So I figured. The question is why the Depths (according to YellowMegaMan) isn't considered optional... –  mmmattias Jan 12 '12 at 10:13
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He was just listing the areas which that particular Dark Souls wiki listed as optional. Those areas in particular aren't used to get to anywhere important. My first playthrough was without the Master Key and I completely missed those three areas. You very well could skip Lower Undead Burg, the Depths, and most of Blighttown by cutting through the Valley of Drakes, but I know people that never even realized that area existed, they never found the elevators in Darkroot or Blighttown to get there. –  EvilAmarant7x Jan 12 '12 at 14:36
    
Yea, that's exactly like I should've played it if I hadn't read a guide directing me towards the entrance to the lower parts of the Undead Burg... This game would probably be more fun without access to all this information I cannot seem to stop myself from reading. ;-) –  mmmattias Jan 12 '12 at 15:47
    
You don't need a key and you don't need go go thru the depths to get to the 2nd bell. –  user28018 Jun 23 '12 at 0:20
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