Crawling in the Dark is a weekly diary of my experience with the permadeath dungeon crawler and frustration simulator known as Darkest Dungeon. Half role-playing, half story-telling, and half review, join me on a math-challenged journey through heart attacks, Eldritch horrors, and the year’s best narrator. Obviously, spoilers. Check out our Early Access review of the game here (which still holds true, even though the game is now in its release build). You can find the previous Crawling in the Dark posts here:
Fresh off my win against the Wizened Hag, I decide to be daring and take a different crew against another boss: the Swine Prince. Residing in the Warrens, the Swine Prince is a gigantic pig creature that may also be some sort of vessel for a Lovecraftian horror. After setting foot in his dungeon, I find him almost immediately due to superior scouting. I’m feeling pretty good about myself, and decide that I’ll make it two for two on first runs at bosses (I’m not counting that damn Shambler, although I still plan on getting my revenge. What I don’t consider is that the Swine Prince has a friend that he cares very deeply about.
Wilbur. Of course, his little pig friend’s name is Wilbur. Wilbur has this annoying tactic of “marking” your adventurers. This causes them to be targeted and significantly boosts the damage that the Swine Prince packs. Wilbur hangs out in the back row, making it difficult to get to him; luckily, I have an Arbalest on my side to make quick work of him.
This is a big mistake. Apparently, the bond between these two is so great that the Swine Prince has a completely hyper-aggressive meltdown if you kill his little friend. Before I even realize what is happening, my entire team is dead or at death’s door. One swing later, and I have encountered my first team wipe in Darkest Dungeon. To add insult to injury, the little box in the corner of Steam pinged. Darkest Dungeon gives you an achievement for getting team wiped. That’s how much this game wants you to lose. It rewards you for it.
Four dead heroes is a fairly big setback, so I needed some easy wins to recoup before I assaulted Wilbur and his friend again. After gaining some experience and much-needed gold, I constructed a team specifically to take on the boss: a Man-at-Arms, Houndmaster, Arbalest, and Occultist. This team would allow bleed effects, high damage output, and a decent chance for critical hits. I encountered a secret room just outside of the Swine Prince’s lair (with a pretty weak reward inside) that was a perfect place to set up camp to prepare for the upcoming battle. My hound stood guard as we slept, and my party was fully healed and buffed going into the fight. It still almost went sour. Wilbur also has an annoying habit of inflicting stress damage, so the afflictions began to add up. Still, I would not target Master until I was done with Blaster.
And sure enough, my plan succeeded. I did lose one of my adventurers to the high damage output of the Swine Prince, but eventually my Man-at-Arms landed the killing blow. And then Wilbur stepped up.
And fell down. Surprisingly, Wilbur is not a strong front line fighter. He did squeal at me a lot, though.
Two bosses down, and I’m feeling pretty good. I decide to head to the cove to do some work there. The cove is no place to take things lightly, as I quickly have to flee from scary fish men with spears. Drew, the kleptomaniac that still hasn’t been cured, continues to steal things from me. He also becomes paranoid, and the idea of a paranoid, kleptomaniac, religious zealot is almost too much for my fragile mind to bear. The demons that must be bouncing around in that man’s head…
Overall, this playthrough taught me that bosses and fish aren’t to be trifled with, the Jester is not that bad, and Wilbur needs to be killed. After his hulking friend. Join me next week when I take on some more bosses here in Darkest Dungeon.