Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

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    Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Back Lot Basher on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:38 pm

    I'm not sure how practical this would be (Capra, anyone?).  Can anyone suggest possible spins to put on a ranged playthrough?  I was thinking about one where I used bows only as a weapon (including crossbows), but also allowed myself to use pyro and miracles, BUT only support-oriented ones (Power Within, Heal, Force).  Is this practical at all, for anyone who's taken a shot at it?
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Exclusive on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:42 pm

    I was actually thinking of doing a Bow & Arrow playthrough earlier today, I've never done one but seen videos on YouTube, it's going to be really difficult but I might give it a try. happy
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by TheMeInTeam on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:43 pm

    I haven't tried it, but I'm 100% certain it's doable even with using the light crossbow exclusively.  For things like capra just block the dogs then counter-shoot them and after that he's easy (bait attack, shoot from outside range).  Later on you can even leo-ring boost bows.

    4kings might be a little hard but with a +15 xbow and PW probably not very especially if you got the counter-attack timing down.  I would even still run up in near-melee and dodge, but just shoot them.  Bows make quite a few bosses considerably easier (Iron Golem, Quelag, O&S, Bed of Chaos to name a few).

    Farming chunks would be a hateful process, though.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by skarekrow13 on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:46 pm

    Adding crossbows will make this a lot easier but true bows is possible. I can't remember but I know someone said they did one. I personally would say that you'll have a lot of similarities between the super big weapons. Essentially, you just have to pick your attack points.

    Some things that can encourage you:

    Quelaag can be stunlocked with a bow.

    On my SL 200 something or other on NG who can remember+ I actually took down Kalameet primarily with a crossbow.

    I always lean towards heavy bow use in PvE so it's really only bosses that should worry you (see above, you can do it).

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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Reaperfan on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:52 pm

    I've done this a while back and it's not too bad as long as you're allowing crossbows as well.  Using crossbows makes things like the Capra fight much more manageable by allowing you to have a shield, albeit at the cost of some power.  My typical loadout was a shield and a Greatbow (Gough's or Dragonslayer) in the left hand slots and a Light Crossbow (eventually Avelyn, but Light Crossbow for most of the game) and Pharis Bow in the right.

    Pharis Bow was the main weapon, pulling out the crossbow when I needed defense as per the aforementioned shield stuff and the Greatbow when I didn't need to be moving around and could afford the extra power.  If you want to use spells you could easily swap out the Greatbow for a Pyro Flame (Power Within is all I'd really want to use with an archer build).  I only used the Greatbow for roleplaying purposes ("real archers can use every bow" logic), but it would be alot more practical statwise to take it out allowing you to avoid putting extraneous points into strength or endurance just for that one weapon you'll only occasionally use.

    All in all it worked.  Not spectacularly, mind you, as you'll have some problems with enemies that have both a shield and poise, but well enough that I was able to beat Gwyn with it.

    EDIT: I also made sure to make my crossbows lightning upgrade as soon as I could afford Lightning Bolts, as well as having a backup Composite Bow upgraded along Fire or Chaos (it's been a while, I forget which one specifically) with some Fire Arrows that I would swap out the Pharis bow for when I needed a source of elemental damage. Again, I only used these occasionally (mostly to chip at enemies with shields), but they were useful.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Back Lot Basher on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:59 pm

    Thanks for all the great feedback guys.  I'd been undecided about the greatbow, since it felt like a terrible waste of points for the reasons you mention (though the shield choices become very tempting).  I'd like to see it be something viable I can use later, after I'm done the run.  I've got a dex/faith build, so I don't really need another.  But I've never made a true "quality" build with a mix of dex and strength.  Avelyn and the greatbow do seem like nice endgame options.
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by TheMeInTeam on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:12 pm

    If you stick to light xbow and binoculars aim when you need range you can build anyway you want and still bow run.  Doing so is plenty viable.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Reaperfan on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:14 pm

    Back Lot Basher wrote:Avelyn and the greatbow do seem like nice endgame options.

    They're best uses are to combat the whole "enemies with shields" problem rather than raw damage. The three shots from the Avelyn are good for weaker shield-bearing enemies where the greatbows were better for the more powerful shield-bearers such as the Black Knights. Ultimately though the best option usually ends up being Parry > Counter with a crossbow (no ripostes obviously winking), but again, it's all situational with the pure archer build and all those little niche tactics do have their place at one time or another.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by skarekrow13 on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:36 pm

    There's also a lot of possibilities for:

    Black Bow + Feather Arrow + Hawk Ring + out of aggro range


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by bla on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:55 pm

    It's doable, in some instances even easy.
    First game I used composite bow and shield, but I forgot the leo ring. Played ng+ to get it, this time no shield. Funnily enough, as mentioned above, hollows with shields and spears in the beginning are the most annoying...
    You can even get head shots in some bosses and enemies with lock on due to their position (queelag, kalameet...)
    Main diference with bow/crossbow is you level up less, and of course, it plays differently. Snipe when you have the patience and cancel shots when needed at close range.

    Oh yeah, don't bother with stamina unless you want heavier armor. From my experience, composite bow with lots or 40 strength and dex does great damage and only gets outclassed in range against the longbow and black bow. I believe the darkmoon bow has the potential for most damage with moonlight arrows but I didn't level faith.

    Long/black/dragonslayer/gough have insane range. As I mentioned in another thread I managed to shoot the cragspider next to shiva from queelag's entrance and the first black knight in the kiln while standing near the stairs.
    The combination posted above is good.

    Sniper crossbow with binocks or assisted by another bow has excelent range too, but it's too much of a hassle imo.


    Last edited by bla on Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Exclusive on Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:06 pm

    Back Lot Basher wrote:Thanks for all the great feedback guys.  I'd been undecided about the greatbow, since it felt like a terrible waste of points for the reasons you mention (though the shield choices become very tempting).  I'd like to see it be something viable I can use later, after I'm done the run.  I've got a dex/faith build, so I don't really need another.  But I've never made a true "quality" build with a mix of dex and strength.  Avelyn and the greatbow do seem like nice endgame options.

    I'm actually going to attempt this tonight, not sure how I get on but will update you if you want? I'm probably going to use the Composite Bow and Pharis Bow. I might use the Dragonslayer Greatbow but I would prefer to stay at a lower level and using that Bow would require high Strength and Dexerity. Pharis bow requires 18 Dexerity but the Dragonslayer would require 20 in both Strength and Dexerity. I'm not really a fan of Crossbows but if I would use one it would be the Avelyn.
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by GrinTwist on Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:11 pm

    I did a comp bow run a while ago, it wasn't horrible but a few of the bosses can be a huge pain for you. Gwyn, the Four Kings, and Nito were probably the bosses that killed me the most through it all.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Back Lot Basher on Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:39 pm

    I've noticed people mentioning the use of binoculars with the sniper crossbow.  How does this work?  Never heard of it before.

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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by bla on Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:57 pm

    Aim with binocks, then shoot with crossbow, which can't be aimed normally.
    I think you can also aim with a bow first then switch to crossbow.
    Keep in mind that different projectiles have different trajectories.
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Green__Eagle on Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:14 pm

    A lot of people have done Short Bow only runs, including me. A tip for the Four Kings, continue backing up, bait their sword thrust, shoot and continue backing up. There is a wall down there so you'll need to angle away and continue backing up. This will help to keep the other kings from getting behind you. High dexterity will allow you to shoot faster and with more power.

    If you include any kind of other bows or crossbows, you're just making the game easier, but do whatever you want to have fun. You will discover for yourself which enemies will die faster with a bow than with whatever weapon you usually rely on.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by StiffNipples on Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:32 pm

    I've done a bow only run a long long time ago, pretty sure I used a Fire Composite bow with Fire Arrows for it, but I'm positive that it wasn't the most effective upgrade path. (EDIT: This was for an unlevelled run, if you're levelling then +15 would be better).

    Recently I've been doing an SL1 run, naked, using only Crossbows and support Pyromancies (Power Within/Flash Sweat/Iron Flesh).

    The best upgrade path for the Vanilla bosses for the light Crossbow is Divine or Magic/Enchanted with normal/heavy/wood bolts. Lightning isn't very good, and Lightning Bolts are so expensive and usually do less damage than normal bolts.

    In the DLC +15 is king. I've only beat the Sanctury Guardian so far but +15 did far more damage to him than +10 Divine did, whereas it was the other way around pre DLC bosses.

    Capra was a cake walk honestly, I thought I would get hammered as he is a boss I always have trouble with, but I managed to take him down on my first try. S&O was a little tricky as the Crossbows autoaim is sh*te. If you shoot too quickly it will shoot while you're re-aiming after reloading and the bolt will just fly anywhere. Also Smough's Hammer blocks bolts, which caught me a couple of times too.

    The 4-Kings I'm currently doing (done all other Pre-DLC bosses) and they're the trickiest so far as I struggle to do enough DPS and get ganked. Also their damage is a lie. I'll post a vid of it one day, but pretty much the Leo Ring is useless against them. The higher Counter damage will show above the Kings head if you land a Counter hit, but the boss health bar will just show the base damage being done, so RTS is defs the way to go for these guys.  
     
    To explain that more, say that a normal hit did 150dmg and a Leo Counter hit did 250dmg, the 250 would show above the head of the King that I shot but the Boss Health Bar would only record 150dmg being done.

    Also the Abyss has an edge/wall that you can't see, and it's a little tricky to work out where it is. Pretty much you'll look like you're still walking backwards but all of a sudden the Kings get a lot closer really quickly and you realise you've been walking on the spot due to the invisible wall.  
     
    Also using a Divine Crossbow with normal bolts will kill Skeletons dead in the Catacombs, so it's great to use for Nito, I took out Pinwheel at the start after the Moonlight Butterfly (cake walk with a Crossbow btw) and used a Ring of Sacrifice to suicide run for the Large Divine Ember asap. I also farmed the Tower Skellies (in Patches pit) for white chunks for a bit in the hope of getting a Slab, but I didn't have that much luck.  

    I think for some bosses a Bow will be better as you can cancel the draw animation at any time, whereas Crossbows you get the quick shot off but then you can't cancel the reload animation, and this is what will get you killed the most (or at least what got me killed the most).

    However for parts Crossbows are better as you can parry to get a stun then shoot for a counter. However step back before you shoot as a lot of the time the bolt will go between their legs (Silver Knights especially). You'll also become really good at manaually aiming as the Crossbow has pretty sh*t tracking.

    If you're not limitting yourself TWoP would be a really handy support Miracle to use.


    tl;dr - Upgrade Crossbows to Divine or Magic/Enchanted for non-DLC bosses and +15 to DLC bosses, avoid Lightning it's just a waste of souls getting the bolts. Wood/Heavy is the way to go.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Animaaal on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:27 pm

    @stiff

    Wow!

    VERY informative. I woulda guessed the opposite with a +5 Lightning Avelyn.

    The parry backstep thing was a nice piece of info.

    The 4 kings thing is....#@#$ the 4 kings.not talking

    The more I read the more I wonder if a xbow is even necessary. I mean with the Leo/Hawk/Feather arrows and the BBoP, staying out of agro range would seem simple enough....I think skare something like that earlier.

    Also, would parry to bow headshots be feasible with practice? 
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by StiffNipples on Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:25 am

    Thanks man, glad I could help big grin

    I'll post up some vids this weekend of Crossbow damage if I get the time, will try a few different enemies too as resistances make a bit of difference. Might also prompt me to get off my a** and finish the playthrough silly

    My go to is the Divine +10 though, it's about 1AR less than the Magic/Enchanted version (I can't remember which I made) but it kills Skellies.


    Regarding the Bow parry to headshot, I think if you free aimed the headshot it would be possible, however I think scoping then aiming and drawing the string would take a little too long and you'd be better off just sniping from a distance.

    I also prefered (outside of boss fights) to rock the Ring of Fog and the Slumbering Ring as I could just stealth everywhere and often times I could shoot enemies and they wouldn't even agro, and if they did they sometimes would de-agro before they saw me haha.

    Sometimes I just used RTS and Fog and walked slowly up to enemies and ran everywhere else. Lots of good combos.

    Oh another thing, you can't get out of the Cell in the Dukes with a Crossbow as the arrows don't shoot through the bars, so you need to punch the Snake Guard.

    Some bosses are really easy with ranged as well, like Sif and the Moonlight Butterfly, Nito too and Seath were pretty easy. Pinwheel was actually quite hard, I think I died 4 times to him as the second to last hit would put him into "spawn a sh*tload of clones mode" and 1 popped up infront of him as a human shield and I was left with my d*ck in my hands (reloading) while 8 Pinwheels gang **** me with Fireballs.

    Anything that is alright at dodging was a little tricky, and anything that is quick is a little tricky as reloading leaves you very vulnerable. I died the most to S&O just because of shooting when there was an opening but not taking into account the reload time.

    Oh Leech farming in Blighttown is also wicked easy, I think I used a +5 with Heavy Bolts and could 1 shot them, which made farming easy.

    Also the Crossbows damage drop off range is huge, you really don't need the Hawk Ring with it as it's drop off range is usually past lock on range, and manually aiming is a pain with the binocs so I never did it.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Latitoast on Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:35 am

    I just started mine tonight lol

    Yeah, it's good in some regards and bad in others.

    There have been several enemies that I've had to sneak past because engaging them would have been the end of me.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Muker on Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:07 am

    Lobos JR did a FPS run. For the whole game he was manually aiming with a bow, only exiting this view to interact with doors etc.
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Dibsville on Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:18 am

    I've done a pure "Bow-only playthrough", where I literally started as Hunter and didn't even pick up my Shortsword. I also used ONLY bows, so no Crossbows or and type of spells. It's very easily possible, however it's also possible to completely screw yourself over if you run out of arrows then die. This is where consumable souls come in.

    But either way, it's completely possible. It's quite a challenge, and if you haven't done one before I can honestly say you're missing out on a lot of fun.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Sentiel on Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:43 am

    I did a bow only run.

    I either used Black Bow of Pharis + Poison Arrows and Hawk Ring to snipe enemies and poison them outside of their aggro range, or Composite Bow + Heavy Arrows and Leo Ring for damage.

    Bosses have long attack animations, so Leo Ring really shines there. Also, you can poison most enemies and almost all bosses, which makes the fights a bit easier.

    Many enemies and bosses have weak points, mostly their head. Shooting them in their heads will result in extra damage, which can be further boosted by Leo Ring (700+ damage per shot in lot of cases) and in some cases it even staggers the boss.
    This is especially useful in DLC, because you can stagger Artorias, Manus and Kalameet with headshots and interrupt whatever they are trying to do.

    I wouldn't use crossbows though. While they're faster to shoot, they leave you vulnerable after shooting, whilst you can cancel the bow shot anytime and evade.

    If you keep out of aggro range, you can use RTSR to snipe enemies for huge damage. Playing like this was actually the most fun for me, even though it was risky.

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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Exclusive on Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:57 pm

    I've just started this challenge as having a real problem trying to get the Composite Bow. I actually started as a Warrior instead of a Hunter because I want to play through the game at level 5 (Again) and being a Warrior allows me to be level 5 with my Vitality and Endurance both at 12, if they were both at 12 as a Hunter I would be level 6. silly

    That's why I'm having the problems because I'm not going to use a weapon until I get the bow but I can't get past the Ghosts to collect the Composite Bow. I was thinking about getting the Halberd and upgrading it so I could defeat the Ghosts easily and early, I would go through the Valley of Drakes way to get the Halberd.

    I'm also unsure on what shield to use, It's either going to be The Grass Crest Shield or Dragon Crest Shield. Grass Crest would be great for stamina recovery but Dragon Crest has 100% Physical damage.
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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Reaperfan on Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:33 pm

    Exclusive wrote:I've just started this challenge as having a real problem trying to get the Composite Bow. I actually started as a Warrior instead of a Hunter because I want to play through the game at level 5 (Again) and being a Warrior allows me to be level 5 with my Vitality and Endurance both at 12, if they were both at 12 as a Hunter I would be level 6. silly

    That's why I'm having the problems because I'm not going to use a weapon until I get the bow but I can't get past the Ghosts to collect the Composite Bow. I was thinking about getting the Halberd and upgrading it so I could defeat the Ghosts easily and early, I would go through the Valley of Drakes way to get the Halberd.

    I'm also unsure on what shield to use, It's either going to be The Grass Crest Shield or Dragon Crest Shield. Grass Crest would be great for stamina recovery but Dragon Crest has 100% Physical damage.

    There's a spot in the church just past the first lever where, if done just right, you can actually jump out the window onto the ground below and bypass that ambush. Since that first building is the only really tough part to bumrush through being able to jump out that window and bypass it makes the run fairly easy. I can't remember where I first saw it, but give me a bit and I'll edit a video in of where this jump can be done from when I find it.


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    Re: Anyone ever done a "bows only" playthrough?

    Post by Exclusive on Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:53 pm

    Reaperfan wrote:
    Exclusive wrote:I've just started this challenge as having a real problem trying to get the Composite Bow. I actually started as a Warrior instead of a Hunter because I want to play through the game at level 5 (Again) and being a Warrior allows me to be level 5 with my Vitality and Endurance both at 12, if they were both at 12 as a Hunter I would be level 6. silly

    That's why I'm having the problems because I'm not going to use a weapon until I get the bow but I can't get past the Ghosts to collect the Composite Bow. I was thinking about getting the Halberd and upgrading it so I could defeat the Ghosts easily and early, I would go through the Valley of Drakes way to get the Halberd.

    I'm also unsure on what shield to use, It's either going to be The Grass Crest Shield or Dragon Crest Shield. Grass Crest would be great for stamina recovery but Dragon Crest has 100% Physical damage.

    There's a spot in the church just past the first lever where, if done just right, you can actually jump out the window onto the ground below and bypass that ambush.  Since that first building is the only really tough part to bumrush through being able to jump out that window and bypass it makes the run fairly easy.  I can't remember where I first saw it, but give me a bit and I'll edit a video in of where this jump can be done from when I find it.

    Thanks, but I just got the bow. I forgot where the bow was and thought I needed the 'Key To The Seal' first but I didn't and managed to get it, after that I killed Inward and got the key. Thanks though! happy

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