FromSoftware's Dark Souls series is known for its challenging gameplay and immersive worlds. The latest installment, Dark Souls III, brought players to the Kingdom of Lothric. As the Ashen One, your task is to put the Lords of Cinder back on their thrones and link the flame. Of course, no task in the Souls series is easy. Your quest will take you through a variety of environments and several challenging battles.
At first, you may be tempted to travel through the shortest route possible to link the flames and finish the game. However, Dark Souls III is not meant to be rushed. Even if you take your time, it's easy to miss several Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) or accidentally kill one. Meeting characters who help you is rare in the Dark Souls universe, but helping out an NPC could net you valuable awards or open up a new merchant.
Dark Souls III may seem straightforward, but it contains some amazing side quests. Some can be discovered by speaking to an NPC near a bonfire. You may run across others on your journey who are imprisoned, by their fault or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other side quests may be found along your path by unconventional means. Destroying a pathway or scooting along walls could lead to an alternate route with new mini-bosses and new weapons.
The optional quests will take you through several hidden areas of the Kingdom of Lothric, from the beginning to the end of the game. This list contains massive spoilers for Dark Souls III.
15 Free Greirat The Thief
Greirat of the Undead Settlement is an NPC who will continue helping you, even after you initially help him. You first find Greirat locked inside a cell in the High Wall of Lothric, below the bonfire in the Tower on the Wall. Of course, you can leave him to rot or help him. In order to help, you must find the key to his cell. Your path to the key will be filled with Hollow Soldiers, Hounds, and a Lothric Knight.
After freeing him, Greirat can be found at Firelink Shrine. He will be a merchant and also offer to steal items for you. Greirat can head off on three separate outings. Each quest can possibly get him killed. It is up to you to clear the way for him so that he can complete his mission. Unfortunately, Greirat will never return from his third, and final, outing. A shrine handmaid will take his place as a merchant once you find his ashes.
14 Firelink Shrine Tower
From the Firelink Shrine, you can access the Firelink Shrine Tower. The Tower becomes available to you after purchasing a key for 20,000 souls from the Shrine handmaid near Andre the Blacksmith. The key will unlock a door at the base of the tower. The word "easy" and Dark Souls are not often used in the same sentence, but this Tower is one of the easiest to navigate in the series.
The Firelink Shrine Tower is unique because it has no enemies. You can use it as a home away from home, or explore its many pathways. Under the bell at the top of the tower is a Fire Keeper Soul, which can be used to reset your Hollow level. There are several souls to pillage for various goods. At the bottom of the Tower is a soul holding a helpful Estus Ring. Pickle-Pee, Pump-a-Rum, a NPC, can be found in the shrine rafters. You can also leave the crow an item to exchange for something else.
13 Help Siegward Of Catarina
Siegward of Catarina is familiar to those who have played the first Dark Souls game. Siegward finds himself in more unfortunate situations in Dark Souls III, though many of his side quests are easy to miss. You first encounter him at the Undead Settlement. Helping Siegward defeat a Fire Demon here will earn you a new gesture and some Siegbräu, a brew that will restore HP and temporarily boost frost resistance.
Your next encounter with Siegward is in a well. You must retrieve his armor. Afterward, a grateful Siegward will toast you while resting in the sewer. Siegward's rest doesn't last for long, as the next time you see him, he will be locked in a cell. Again, you'll have to find a key to free him. Siegward will be able to join you in the fight with Yhorm the Giant, one of the Lords of Cinder. After the battle, Siegward will announce he is taking a nap and bid you farewell.
12 Demon Ruins
There are optional areas in Dark Souls III that will take you on a trip down memory lane. The Demon Ruins will revive memories of the first Dark Souls installment. In the Demon Ruins, players are taken back to Lost Izalith. Along with your path, you will find the remains of a spider that resembles "The Fair Lady," Quelaag's Sister from the first Dark Souls.
The Demon Ruins contains several Ghru Pyromancers. Make one wrong move, and you'll drop into an area containing more of the fire users. Continue through the ruins to find an illusory wall. This time, a Ghru Pyromancer is being attacked by a Black Knight. Defeat him, and you'll obtain a Black Knight Sword. Another Black Knight in this area holds a Soul of a Crestfallen Knight. Continue through the Demon Ruins, and you'll uncover the Quelana Pyromancy Tome, named after Quelana of Izalith from the first Dark Souls.
11 Undead Settlement
The Undead Settlement is an optional area. Within the old village, you'll find multiple paths to reach the boss. As soon as you arrive, there is a bonfire to save your progress. The buildings within the village can be explored for additional armor and items. Within the houses, you'll find Loretta’s Bone, which can be given to Greirat.
Multiple paths lead to the boss. The bridge route is quicker and offers you more opportunities if you can survive the saw blade and blowdart wielding enemies. The bridge path introduces you to Holy Knight Hodrick, who invites you to join the Mound-makers Covenant. The imprisoned Pyromancer Cornyx will offer to teach you pyromancy. Once you've made it through the sewers, you'll reach the Road of Sacrifices, where the Boreal Outrider Knight boss awaits. Defeating him will net you the Irithyll Straight Sword.
10 Old Wolf Of Farron
The Farron Keep will lead us to another familiar looking character. After climbing a ladder, you will find The Old World of Farron resting quietly near several swords. The Old World of Farron is the covenant leader of the Watchdogs of Farron. The Watchdogs ensure that their sleeping warriors rest peacefully. Spirits will strike down anyone who trespasses in the woods of Farron. The Old Wolf of Farron is similar to Great Grey Wolf Sif from the first Dark Souls game. In the additional content, Sif was sleeping under a barrier created by his master, Artorias. When you find the Old Wolf of Farron, he also appears to be sleeping.
Take the lift from where the Old Wolf of Farron is located, and you'll encounter an optional Stray Demon boss. This boss will attack you with his tail and attempt to grab you. After defeating him, you will receive a Soul of a Stray Demon.
9 Fighting The Sword Master
The Sword Master first appears as a hostile NPC. You can find him in the Cemetary of Ash, near the back entrance to the bell tower outside of the Firelink Shrine. His looks are deceiving. He appears as a frail, old man but is a tough adversary. The Sword Master is not to be taken lightly and will prove a challenge. He wields the powerful Uchigatana, a type of katana. You can fight him one-on-one, or if you're desperate, make him fall off a cliff or lead him to the Firelink Shrine, and strike him as he turns away.
When the Sword Master is defeated, you will receive his weapon, the Uchigatana. The Sword Master will also return as a summonable phantom. In the High Wall of Lothric, he can be summoned to fight Vordt and the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. In the Untended Graves, use his summon sign and call him to fight against Champion Gundyr.
8 Consumed King's Garden
The Consumed King's Garden can be accessed after defeating the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. If you dare trek through this optional polluted area, be sure to pack some Blooming Purple Moss Clumps. Take a lift down, and you'll find yourself face first with the toxic environment. Your toxin meter will climb as you made your way through the mutated creatures.
As you head down a flight of stairs, a Cathedral Knight will await you. After his battle, you will have to face more foes, including Thralls with blowguns and Hollow Clerics. Luckily, Hawkwood the Deserter can be summoned to aid you in battle. The path will lead you to a grotto where Ocerios, the Consumed King awaits. Ocerios is slowly losing his humanity during the fight. When he is defeated, he will drop the Soul of Consumed Oceiros. You can also pick up the Path of the Dragon gesture in this area.
7 Defend Sirris Of The Sunless Realm
In Dark Souls III, you will encounter Sirris of the Sunless Realms many times. She has a long quest line that you can optionally take part. Speaking to her in the Firelink Shrine will grant you the Darkmoon Loyalty Gesture. If you defeat the monster on the bridge leading to Irithyll, she will summon you into her world. You must help her win the fight against Creighton the Wanderer, who first appeared in Dark Souls 2, but is now a dark phantom.
After the battle, you will again be summoned to aid Sirris in the Undead Settlement. You find out that she has been searching for someone. She eventually finds her grandfather, Holy Knight Hodrick, but he has turned aggressive. After the battle, she will thank you. Sirris will offer to be your knight, which makes her a summonable NPC to aid you in future boss fights.
6 The Nameless King
The Nameless King is one of the toughest bosses you will face in Dark Souls III. He is an optional boss that is easy to miss, as he will appear in Archdragon Peak after ringing the bell.
The battle with The Nameless King has two parts. In the first part, the king rides on a drake named the King of the Storm. The Drake must be killed to go one-on-one with The Nameless King. The Drake attacks with widespread, scorching fire breath and attempts to bite you. The Nameless King will attack with lightning strikes.
If you manage to take down the drake, the battle with The Nameless King isn't easier. He attacks with lightning, wind, and his sword. When you take down the king, you will be award with the Soul of The Nameless King. Merchants in the Firelink Shrine will also offer his armor for sale.
5 Smouldering Lake
The Smouldering Lake is an optional area near High Lord Wolnir. After destroying the rope bridge, climb down a ladder to reach the underground lake. Several enemies roam the area and a ballista will attack. After navigating through the ballista's attack, a Great Sand Worm boss will greet you. You can either fight the worm or maneuver around so that the ballista will kill it for you.
Dark Souls III has several optional bosses to challenge your skill. The Old Demon King is the last demon who witnessed the birth of the Chaos Flame. He is located in the back of the cavern within Smouldering Lake. Luckily, he's near the bonfire in the Demon Ruins, just in case he proves too tough a challenge. If you defeated him in the Catacombs of Carthus, Knight Slayer Tsorig can be summoned, along with Great Swamp Cuculus.
4 Depths Of The Painting
Within Dark Souls III's Ashes of Ariandel DLC is the Painted World. The Painted World is engulfed in a blizzard, so it's easy to miss any side areas. You can also interact with items around your environment to reach different areas. The rope bridge is an optional pathway that many don’t realize is available. Once you're done crossing the rope bridge, you can chop down one side. The rope bridge will become a rope ladder to travel into the Depths of the Painting.
Awaiting near the bonfire are an optional set of bosses: The Champion's Gravetender and Gravetender Greatwolf. The Greatwolf is a type of gray wolf, while the Gravetender wields a sword and shield. The fighter and Greatwolf are prepared to protect the grave of the Champion of the Undead Match at any cost. Defeating them will net you the Valorheart weapon and access to the Undead Matches, a PvP arena.
3 Untended Grave
Beyond the Consumed King's Garden and past Oceiros, the Consumed King are the Untended Graves. The area can be accessed through a hidden wall. Only a Shrine Handmaid remains in the darkness. Within this area is a bonfire, which you will need before facing the next tough bosses. Travel down the path, and if you are Kindled, you will be invaded by the Daughter of Crystal Kriemhild. She will use magic to attack you but get too close, and she'll strike you down with her rapier.
After her defeat, you will find a summon sign for the Sword Master. If you choose to summon him or not, you will face the optional boss, Champion Gundyr. He is a different version of the boss, Iudex Gundyr. In the Untended Graves, Champion Gundyr is more aggressive and stronger. His first wave of attacks are tough, but his second wave is even deadlier. Take him down, and you'll be rewarded with the Soul of Champion Gundyr, which is worth 20,000 souls.
2 Archdragon Peak
Archdragon Peak can only be accessed after defeating Oceiros, the Consumed King. However, this side area is easy for most players to miss. After finding the Path of the Dragon, travel to the Irithyll Dungeon and use the gesture. You will be transported to the bonfire in Archdragon Peak. In this area, you will face Serpent-men. The path also holds the valuable Lightning Clutch Ring and a Soul of a Weary Warrior.
Once you've made your way down the path, you will find a lever. Pulling the lever will lead to you into a cave where you will face the Ancient Wyvern. Unlike other reptile monsters in Dark Souls III, the Ancient Wyvern is not afraid to get close. It will attempt to bite you and roast you with fire breath. After he is defeated, he will drop the Dragon Head Stone, which will allow you to have a dragon head and breathe fire.
1 Get Married
Anri of Astora is an NPC in Dark Souls III. Depending on your playable character's gender, Anri will either be male or female. In the “Lord of the Hollows” ending, you will have the opportunity to marry them. First, you must obtain the Dark Sigil from Yoel. It is also vital that Anri stays alive until the end. Horace the Hushed must not know of Anri's whereabouts, or he will kill her. After slaying Anri's potential kidnapper, speak to Yuria. She will inform you that she plans to wed you to Anri.
The marriage ceremony is unusual, but fitting for the bleak Dark Souls universe. In the Darkmoon Tomb in Anor Londo, you find Anri laying motionless with a cloth on their face. Plunge the ceremonial sword into Anri's dead and the wedding is complete.