A Warm Welcome
Enter Gran Soren and you'll see a population in misery. Everything east of Caxton's Armory has collapsed, a pit now lies where most of the Urban Quarter and the Venery once stood. Arsmith's Alehouse still stands, as well as the Notice Board therein. You'll also find Mountebank hiding out here, should you need some forgeries. Caxton sells a bunch of new gear-including weapons second only to gear you'll pull out of the Everfall and Bitterblack Isle... but again, you need not buy anything now, since you can find it later.
Lots of new things in the Craftsman's Quarter-there are now two 'Refuge Areas' north-west and south-east of the Field. In the southern Refuge Area you'll find Devyn - the barber - who still provides her services. In the northern Refuge Area you'll find Ser Alfonso, from the Greatwall Encampment, who will perform the same duties here as he did there-resting, stashing, learning and setting skills, etc., which is useful since the Gran Soren Union Inn is now gone. Speaking of that, Asalam has now set up shop in the Pawn Guild (you'll have to avoid Ser Gauwyn to get inside at the present, however) where he'll offer the same services as usual. If, during the quest 'Land of Opportunity' you helped Fournival evict Jasper and his family, they'll be alive-their old home was in part of the city that fell into ruin. If you were kind and allowed them to keep their home, Pip will be somewhat less happy now that his parents are dead. Good intentions don't lead to good results, it seems.
Shop, rest, stash loot, and pick up quests from Notice Boards; most of them have to do with killing a few of the new foes you've encountered since entering the Tainted Mountain Temple; Grim Goblins, Hellhounds, Succubi, and so on. When you're ready to move on, talk to one of the guards around town-either Ser Gauwyn (outside the Pawn Guild), Ser Gregor (behind Arsmith's Alehouse), Ser Camillus (along the remains of the road that connected the Urban Quarter to the Noble Quarter), or Ser Raffe and Ser Forden, both on the road south of the Gran Soren Cathedral. They say different things, but most of them despair about the state of affairs in Gran Soren, and all of them tell you to see the Duke. Head up to the Noble Quarter through the Passage Gate, then into the castle.
Head into the castle and through the Audience Hall, where Fedel and Aldous grimly flank the throne. Make your way to the Duke's Solar and head inside the apparently empty room. The duke will-from out of sight- accuse you of the same cowardice he's guilty of. In his mind the Dragon could not possibly be felled by the hand of man. It was certainly a task beyond him, in any event. His sudden collapse into physical infirmity now makes his body match his diseased mind, which has concocted a conspiracy against him. In his paranoia he believes you took the Dragon's bargain, one life in exchange for peace, power, and the position of duke. He vows that you won't get rid of him so easily, and attacks. The duke is beyond feeble-his attacks are slow and weak, and he can barely pursue you. While he tries to attack you, he'll demonize you for the very same things he is guilty of. Smack him around and watch a cutscene where, long story short, the duke sics his guard on you.
Well, your meeting with the duke didn't go so well. Now you need to flee the castle, which is pretty simple to do. The duke's guard will pursue you without faltering, and they're somewhat strong. You're not in any real danger of dying, but they are annoying and endless, so there's no point in fighting. Once out of the castle grounds... it's more of the same, really. Ser Maximilian declares you a traitor and he-and his companions-continue chasing you. Let the guards be your guide-where they are, you're not supposed to go. Run into the Passage Gate, down the tower, through the Craftsman's Quarter and into the Urban Quarter. When you approach the huge pit where most of Gran Soren once stood you'll get a cutscene: the Gran Soren guards will herd you to the pit, only for the confrontation to be interrupted when all manner of winged beasts erupt from the bowels of the earth. You'll hear the voice of the Dragon urging you on and, after a moment your Arisen will put it together - this 'hole' in the ground is the Everfall - the true Everfall, revealed. You'll then be unceremoniously knocked into the abyss.
|For receiving the Duke's hospitality||60,000 XP, 80 Rift Currency, 80,000 Gold|
Beyond the Rift
You're now free-falling through the Everfall. Don't worry, fall damage is... very limited here, and if you reach the bottom of the Everfall you'll just come out the top-hence the name. Lots of ledges will fly past you as you fall, but for now, there's no need to worry about any specifics-just use the right analog stick to direct your fall and, when you get close to a ledge hit the Right Trigger. when you climb onto solid ground a voice will challenge you to prove your worth... seems like you're getting a lot of that, lately. After peering around in search of strange voices you'll be startled by a Pawn with boundary issues. This Pawn-Quince-will tell you that her mistress was searching for something in the Everfall, but died before her task was complete. She'll then give you one of the objects her mistress searched for-a Wakestone. You'll get the Achievement/Trophy 'Treacherous' for this bit of progress.
It doesn't matter what ledge you've landed on now-all doors currently lead to the 'Chamber of Confusion', the intro chamber to the Everfall, which the game really wants you to explore. The only exceptions to the rules above are if you find yourself on a ledge with the metal disc you originally saw at the bottom of the Everfall (the Everfall contained within the Pawn Guild, not the endless loop that swallowed Gran Soren) or if you find yourself on a narrow bridge running into the edge of the Everfall, instead of a ramp running along its perimeter. In which case, jump down and try to catch another ledge, as both these ledges will lead you to places other than the Chamber of Confusion.
Chamber of Confusion (Hall)
Here you'll find two Pawns, a cheater named Rochelle who somehow can wield a Longsword and wear an Animistic Robe, and Faircrest. The former will tell you about corrupt Pawns who will attack all they see, while the latter will cry about his dead master, and the monsters who lurk in the Everfall. Head south past some sarcophagi and up some stairs. Atop the stairs you'll find two ornate chests - the western one will give you your first taste of Everfall-quality loot - and some warrior remains. When you're ready head through the door to the south.
|Exotic High Boots|
|Ring of Pearl|
Chamber of Confusion (Arena)
You'll now find yourself in a circular arena, wherein lurks an Evil Eye, the beast behind the tentacles that assaulted you at the bottom of the Everfall. There's not much to say about this area; you'll find minor goodies lying around, healing items being the most useful, but nothing worth your individual attention. That being the case then, let's turn your attention to the big, red, tentacle-bearing orb floating around. It's time to settle the score with this creature, now that you've got it out in the open, and aren't weak little novice adventurers.
Enemy Strategy: Evil Eye
If you've played any Dungeons and Dragons, you certainly know about the beasts called Beholders. The Evil Eye is the Dragon's Dogma version of that creature. It's got a large, floating orb with a central eye that also doubles as a mouth. On top of it (if a sphere can be said to have a top) grow a number of tentacle stalks which can act independently of the Evil Eye itself.
You should be familiar with the tentacles from your previous encounter with them in the Everfall. They can cast elemental spells independently (although the ones atop the Evil Eye will tend to cast the same element in unison), grapple, and spit goo. At the bottom of the Everfall under the Pawn Guild they were endless, and killing them was without merit. Here, however, if you kill the tentacles that are sent to harass you from the floor, the Evil Eye will suffer the consequences, as it'll go into shock if you detach enough of its tentacles, leaving itself open to your attacks. Remove enough of them and it'll withdraw its remaining tentacles into its body, drop its barrier, and attempt to regenerate them, giving you plenty of time to beat up on it.
More Than Meets the Eye
The central eye of the Evil Eye is more of a threat than its tentacles, however, as it's capable of casting two dangerous spells, both of which take a bit of time to cast. The first is a prismatic cone of light that inflicts a number of debilitations, including Blindness, Poison, Tarred and Torpor. It'll also conjure a field of exploding eyes (notable by the red aura around it as it casts.) Its eye is retractable and the hole it's set in also serves as a mouth. It's fond of teleporting around, which it'll do as a form of misdirection, terminating its spree of teleportation by appearing near you and attempted to engulf you in its eye-mouth. If it catches you, you'll have to wiggle the right analog stick to escape, during which time it'll munch on you eagerly. It'll also perform a bull-rush attack, if you get close. Sometimes the beast will content itself with phasing out of the fight for a while and allowing its tentacles to assault you with spells.
Beating the Barrier
Of all the strategic considerations involved with fighting an Evil Eye, the most interesting is its barrier, a magical field that surrounds it and prevents it from coming to harm. While the barrier is up, the beast is invulnerable, and the barrier cannot be penetrated by force alone. So, how to hurt the Evil Eye? Well, first, the eye itself is the most vulnerable part of the creature, obviously. When the beast is vulnerable, go after the eye. Now for bringing down the barrier. First, whenever the Evil Eye itself casts a spell, it must lower its barrier to do so-attacking while it's casting is the ideal answer for any character with a ranged attack of any kind. For those without ranged attacks, however, you'll just have to keep your eye on the beast and avoid its attacks, attacking its ground-based tentacles when they rise. Hack off enough of them and... well, as was mentioned earlier, it'll fall into a state of shock, falling on the ground with its eye vulnerable. Destroy even more and it'll try to regenerate its eyes, during which it's also vulnerable. So... hit it when it casts spells, and attack its tentacles when they're around.
When you kill the Evil Eye you'll get the Achievement/Trophy 'Eye Contact'. Huzzah for you! Loot it and leave the arena to return to the hall. Your task now is to escape the Everfall... yeah, this whole part was merely an excuse to fight the Evil Eye. Anyways, the easiest way to get out of the Everfall is to use a Ferrystone. You should be in the habit of carrying a few around at all times by now... and if you're not, get in the habit. If you're without a Ferrystone, you still have a way to escape. Leave the Chamber of Confusion entirely and return to the Everfall, jumping down into the void. Fall to the bottom and appear at the top. When you do, move your character north (you'll already be facing this direction) and grab the highest ledge.
Defeated an evil eye.
Escaping the Everfall
Head across a metal disc-the metal disc that was at the bottom of the Everfall way back when it was contained in the Pawn Guild. Continue east down some stairs and turn south to find Akim, another Pawn who has taken up the role of merchant here, as per the dying wish of his late mistress. You can buy a variety of status-restoring items, one of each Jewel, and some Golden Wristbands-potent, yet expensive arm-wear. Quince will also be found here, waiting, for when you have collected enough Wakestones. She'll be waiting a bit. Head counter-clockwise up the ramp until you find a tunnel to the north, which leads back to the Pawn Guild.
Well, you've managed to survive this latest ordeal. Your current task is to gather enough Wakestones in the Everfall to... well, to appease the creepy voices you keep hearing. The duke still isn't your friend, but you'll be fine wandering around Gran Soren so long as you stay out of the Noble Quarter. There is one more foe who you should seek a reckoning with, one you encountered early in the game who has thus far eluded you.
The next stop is the Frontier Caverns, which you should remember the way to. Head through the Ancient Quarry, to the Shadow Fort, and, well... into the Frontier Caverns. The Shadow Fort is no longer civilized, and is occupied by the same foes that originally infested it-Hobgoblins, Goblins and Cyclopes Once in the Frontier Caverns make your way to the Proving Grounds; the Arena where you fought the Cyclops for a Silver Idol. Your won't find a Cyclops here this time, however. Instead, your foe is a Hydra.
Enemy Strategy: Hydra
The Hydra is a massive, four-headed serpent... presumably the same one you injured back at the Encampment early in your career. It's an unsubtle foe, but when you're that big, you don't really need much in the way of tactics.
Off With Its Head!
Everybody knows about Hydra You cut off their head and... well, there seems to be some disagreement with that happens next. It's either a good thing or a bad thing. In Dragon's Dogma, it's a good thing. The Hydra will not grow back two extra heads for each one removed. Their heads take no special skill to cut off-you can shoot them off with bows, blast them off with spells, or simply climb up on their necks and decapitate them (don't be lazy, you have to get up above the body stalk to easily remove a head.)
Kill it! Kill it With Fire!
If you remove all four of its heads the Hydra will go dormant as it regenerates. It won't gain any health back, but its heads will return in time. Of course, the heads also regenerate individually without causing the Hydra to go dormant-you only get a period of vulnerability to take advantage of if you remove all four heads at the same time. So, not only must you remove them, but you must do so quickly. A high level Assassin might be able to just shoot them off fast enough, but for most characters, you'll need to cauterize the wounds to buy yourself more time. Yep, use fire-enchanted weapons or spells. This won't prevent the heads from growing back-but it will take them long enough to give you a fighting chance at hacking them all off.
A Real Multi-Tasker
Four heads means four different independent attacks. Like was mentioned earlier the Hydra isn't very subtle-it'll spit acid, slam its heads into the ground, and attempt to swallow characters (wiggle the right analog to escape, as usual.) It'll also sometimes slither around or sweep with its tail, using its massive body to bludgeon anything in its path. This is the only place in the game to encounter a Hydra, so it's not out of place to point out that it'll be joined by Goblins, which infinitely respawn while the Hydra is alive-they're not the best of friends, though, so don't be surprised to see the Hydra chew on a few of them.
Once you've gained your vengeance and killed the Hydra you'll get the Achievement/Trophy 'Headshunter'. Search the eastern end of the arena to find that the small chamber here is now accessible, as the gate is no longer barring the way, which allows you to score the ornate chest beyond.
|Meloirean Cyclops Veil|
Defeated a Hydra or Archydra.
Back to the Tainted Mountain Temple
Only one last bit of 'unfinished business' left to do, and it's not really unfinished business as much as it is 'the lazy guide-writer wants to point something out, but can't find a better place to put it'. Actually, that's kind of what this whole section was... but anyways... If you return to the Tainted Mountain Temple you'll find that all the old monsters and loot are still there. If, however, you head into the Tainted Mountain (past the Gorechimera, to where you fought the Dragon) you'll find that the way is blocked-no chance to score copies of all that sweet loot you found during the Dragon fight, but as a consolation prize there are two new chests here-one square chest to the south, and an ornate chest to the north. These chests contain low-quality Everfall loot... which is still better than most everything you have, and worth a bit of effort to get.
|Square Chest||Ornate Chest|
|Angel's Sanctum||Chilling Razors|
|Dragon Knight's Helm||Crossed Cinquedea|
|Dragon's Den||Cyclop's Sigil|
|Flame Skirt||Saving Grace|
|Herald's Helix||Solar Providence|
|Noble Limbs||Threaded Cudgel|
Well, you've thrashed the duke, and smote the Evil Eye and Hydra who crossed you before. Not bad for twelve walkthrough Steps. Next up is the Everfall; the goal is to thoroughly explore every area, which will see you get the strongest loot in the main game... and fight the strongest foes. Find your way back to town and make some preparations for this next adventure. Grab some healing items-Potent Greenwarish is a life saver, and can be purchased from Camellia in Gran Soren. Also be sure to bring at least one Ferrystone... and some Secret Softener couldn't hurt, either, just in case. Your stated goal? Gather 20 Wakestones. Your real goal? Well, gather many more than that and sell off the excess, as well as some of the best loot in the game... sans Bitterblack Isle, of course.