Archdragon Peak is a totally optional area of the game, and it's also very big. It's a great place to find titanite, of all sizes and types, but it's also full of disturbing snake–headed serpent men who do a lot of damage, and possibly the most difficult boss fight of the game. So we guess it's up to you. If you do decide to go there, though, this guide will give you a nudge in the right direction without spoiling all the surprises.
This is a fun one. The game gives you virtually no indication that this is what you have to do to get to Archdragon Peak, but here goes:
After defeating Oceiros, the Consumed King, go to the chamber at the back of his boss arena and pick up the Path of the Dragon Gesture. Now haul your ass back to the Irithyll Dungeon and go to the statue where you found the Dragon Torso Stone. Stand on the rug next to the statue and perform the gesture, and wait. It might take a couple of goes; try moving closer to the edge if it doesn't work the first time. A short cutscene will play, then the screen fades to black and reloads with you standing on the side of a rocky cliff. Welcome to Archdragon Peak!
When you arrive at Archdragon Peak you're on a path on the side of a cliff, without a bonfire in sight. Head forwards, then up and left, up the sloping cliff. A large fortress will heave into view on your right. Curve round to the left, still going up the hill and through a group of horrible serpent men enemies. The archway and steps leading into the fortress are on your right, and to the left, opposite them, is the bonfire.
After you kill the giant wyvern you'll be transported straight to this bonfire. Just remember to light it before you run on your merry way. Oh, yeah, there's a giant wyvern. Did we not mention that? Don't worry, we'll tell you how to kill it later on in this guide.
From the Dragonkin Mausoleum bonfire go into the large room next to it, and then up the stairs there. From the stairs go forwards, to the right corner of the second level, and through an archway here. Turn left and go along the low, vaulted corridor here, then turn right to exit the small room at the end, and immediately left to run along the wooden plank scaffolding along the side of the building. Exit this building to the right and you'll be back outside. If you follow the path around to the left a smaller wyvern will drop down. You can either fight and kill it (which is much easier for ranged players) or run underneath it to go up the stairs behind it. This is risky, because there are a lot of rock lizards on the stairs and the wyvern will be breathing fire continuously. Either way, run into the new building at the top of the stairs and go around it and up the stairs on the other side. There's a drop down on the right, but you need to go out of the room to the right. This takes you to a pillared walkway, with a large bell on your left. Ignore the bell and keep going forwards to the other end of the walkway, and the bonfire.
Appears after you defeat the Unnamed King, thought by many to be the hardest fight in the game because his hit box is tiny and it's totally taking the piss.
Right, to get inside the fortress you need to start at the Archdragon Peak bonfire and run forwards to the big portcullis (there are a couple of enemies who'll ambush you, who you can avoid by skirting round to the left). Next to the portcullis is a lever, which opens it. It's suspiciously easy. This may be to lull you into a false sense of security. Run forwards into the keep and the ancient wyvern (which, let's be honest, is a dragon) drops on top of your head. Do not try to fight the ancient wyvern. The ancient wyvern will kill you if you try to fight it. The aim here is to get around and above the thing so you can drop onto its head. The challenge is doing this without getting killed by anything else or burnt by the ancient wyvern's fire breathing along the way.
Run up under the wyvern's feet and then left at the bell, going straight along into a room. Left again to go along into another room, then right and up the stairs in here.These will take you up and out. Run across the walkway to the right, and keep going straight until you see the doorway which is now obscured by fog, because you're technically in a boss arena. To the left of this doorway is a ladder to the scaffolding. Go up here and keep running left until you reach a drop down, onto more scaffolding. Drop again, to the left, and you should be on a half-broken paved ledge, which is sticking out over the wyvern's head. Line yourself up to roughly where its head is and drop off the edge, and dust off a plunging attack on the wyvern. It's a one shot kill! You'll then be transported to the Dragonkin Mausoleum bonfire.
Most of Archdragon Peak is just running about and exploring, but there's a lift you can open. From the Dragonkin Mausoleum bonfire run out, up the stairs and then around to the back left corner of the room. This will take you down to the cliffside, near the Archdragon Peak bonfire.
This is a guaranteed drop from the Ancient Wyvern. You can use it to give your character a dragon's head (until you die), and it lets you breathe fire.
From the Great Belfry bonfire exit the room to the left, down some stairs and out rather than towards the giant bell. Turn slightly to your left and go up the incline, between lots of pillars and towards a ruined building. Instead of going up the stairs and into the building, jink to the left and down, into a little dead end with a rock lizard. The body at the end has the Ashes, which you can give to the Handmaid at Firelink Shrine to open more useful things in her store.
Once you have the Dragon Chaser's Ashes go up and around into that ruined building we mentioned. Through there you'll come to a steep, rocking path that leads up to a shrine, with more statues doing the Path of the Dragon Gesture. Perform the gesture in front of the shrine to receive the stone. Because you have to stay in the gesture, this is almost impossible to collect if you haven't killed the enemies in the area. Unfortunately there are a lot of them.
Once you have the Twinkling Dragon Head Stone go back to Firelink Shrine and talk to Andre the blacksmith. He'll tell you that Hawkwood, that glum fella that was sitting in the shrine when you first arrived, and who was going on about how you wouldn't be able to get the Lords of Cinder back in their thrones, has decided to challenge you to a duel. Go to the Abyss Watchers bonfire in Farron Keep and kick his ass to get the Twinkling Dragon Head Stone. If he beats you then you lose the Twinkling Dragon Torso Stone, but you can just go back there and defeat him to get it back anyway.
There is as yet no indication as to why Hawkwood is well into dragons.
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