So, I think I´ve beaten all the main game bosses so far except the final one. The Nameless King seems to be the most infamous one, and I can see why - but it´s also the most engaging bossfight in the main game, I would say. Phase 1 reminded me of Bloodborne´s Amygdala, as it seems wise to avoid the far reaching attacks and strike when the boss lowers his head. Phase 2 is tough, but thankfully not overly agressive, and his attacks dont have the best tracking (though quite wide angles). What helped me a lot was the Lothric Knight shield with its great lightning resistance, as I could learn how far his swings reach without risking to take a lot of damage if I misjudge, and then use that knowledge to get hits on him when it was safe. The fight was at the very least not frustrating, unlike the area before - I hate the giant snake men with a passion with their super wide swings, burtal damage and unflinching poise. Especially that horde mode sequence where you fight towards that one altar on the summit was a true nailbiter. They were also what annoyed me the most during the Ancient Wyvern "fight" - which, you know, was more of an environmental hindrance than an actual fight (thank you, two dozen messages saying "do a drop attack"). Though I admit oneshotting a dragon is pretty cool (would have been cooler if I hadnt missed the head on my first attempt and squashed dead on the ground, but still).
Next up for me is the Ringed City, but I´m dabbling a bit in PvP now that I´m around the meta level. I have occasional success as an invader (I tend to mess around more than I do chasing down the host, and try not to get too ganky), but I actually got pretty good success as a Darkmoon Blade or as a summon in Anor Londo, counting 1on1 situations as well as (evenly matched) group fights. Now, my opinion on Ultra Greatswords has flipped 180 degrees. They´re my favorite PvP weapon now by far. What I actually thought I wanted from polearms, I get from UGS instead, which is the range and the wide swings - controlling engagement range is my favorite way to fight. The wide swings especially help in PvP as it always feels to me that at least a bit of lag is in play, and it catches enemies far easier than, for example, the Lucerne does, and has enough punch to stun them. I tried the Lucerne for a while but couldnt really get a feel for it, both in PvP and PvE - the range and the stagger potential feel kinda lacking. And the R2 feels borderline useless. The weapon art is neat, but doesnt sell the whole weapon.
So, currently having fun with UGS. The Astora Greatsword is still a trusty companion, but I just started using the Lothric Knight Greatsword. Boy, this thing is absolutely brutal - especially the weapon art R2 does devastating damage and gives so much hyperarmor that you can just bait people into it and treat them like a Skyrim giant treats a level 5 newb character. The burst damage is real, no weapon dispatches people quicker than well a placed LKGS stomp, it seems. And I´m not even using any fancy buffs, just the sword at +10 with 65 dexterity (65 including the DEX ring. I can alternatively put on the STR ring and have 24 STR 60 DEX to use it one handed, which I occasionally do in PvE). Only real bummer with the LKGS is the weight - I can either equip Lothric Knight Sword, Astora Greatsword, Black Knight shield and a talisman with my favorite armor (Alva Set with Soldier Helm, because open face) or
I can wear just the LKGS and barely the Etheral Oak shield on the back if I switch out one piece of armor. That´s a lot less flexibility in comparison, and I´m not realy fit to change weapons outside of the quickslot menu when in combat.
I´ve put fairly few points into VIT as I manage my equipment load mainly with the help of the Ring of Favor and Prisoner´s Chain´s ring. I was kinda turned off by the extra damage but I cant say I really noticed it that much, certainly not enough to discard what is basically 15 levels worth of stats. Given that I found what I think is my favorite look in the fairly light Alva set, I don´t have too strong of a desire to upgrade to heavier armor anyway.
I tried to practice my parrying skills a bit... can´t say I´ve really been succesfully. I used both he Cestus and the Llewellyn shield, chose the early game Lothric Knights as my practice target. I can parry some of their wide sword swings and running attacks with decent success, but I still get hit a lot, and I get completely lost trying to parry their spears. When I try my luck on some more substantial enemies like the Silver Knights in Anor Londo, I get wrecked, while I have no trouble whatsoever fighting them with my regular tactics. And in PvP it seems even more unreliable, when player skill and some latency come into play... all for a riposte opportunity that isnt even a guaranteed kill. And it´s not like other people I fight alongside or against use parry to any success in PvP (unlike lagstabs, which can be completely infuriating)... it just seems too risky for what it actually gets you, especially compared to other, far safer tactics like controlling range, baiting, abusing hyper armor and such. Or maybe I´m just a scrub, I don´t know. I don´t take PvP that serious anyway - but I admit it can be lot of fun