Also, is there anything I can do with all the useless shit I pick up. Twenty hollow helms later and I want to cash it in for something, another mark as far as I'm concerned. I don't think it'd make the game easier if you were able to just get rid of stuff you're not going to use.
EDIT: Oh fuck it, I just don't think it's going to happen. When you get stuck on a crate and get ganked by the Pursuer repeatedly it just loses all its fun. Normally such things get blown off but when it happens a game that's "hard" it's just unforgivable. I've got hung up on the scenery several times at crucial points.
EDIT: Actually, I know exactly why I find these games so bad. It's not because they're hard, they're not all that challenging, the difficulty is quite fake. Why they suck so much is because they're basically all about the metagame. There is not Dark Soul II game there is only the metagame to be played. That sucks.
Also what does losing ten percent of your health each time you die accomplish? What is there anything in this game that makes any modicum of sense?
You can sell items to the merchant Gavlaan when you find him. He's not far beyond Heide's, though after you talk to him there he'll move to a different location that's somewhat harder to reach, and from that second location after you talk to him there to his third, permanent home.
I have to admit, your statement regarding the Pursuer makes no sense to me. The Pursuer only appears in a few specific locations and in most of those (all of the ones where he doesn't have his own boss fog door, basically), the fights are 100% optional and can be walked away from; he can't chase you. He most certainly can't gank you. I'd thought you were talking about an invading phantom at first, but if you mean the Pursuer...yeah, I don't understand what you're saying.
In terms of scenery, though, I'd suggest planning a route that doesn't involve boxing yourself in when you're in the middle of a boss fight. The smaller crates and barrels can usually be destroyed by attacking them or just rolling/jumping through them.
I have to disagree with you about the difficulty. Some of it is fake, sure, particularly if you join the Covenant of Champions (which inflates all enemy stats) and into NG+ territory, but on NG, it's really not most of the time. I haven't seen you describe any difficulties you're having with the game that are fake difficulty
so far. That's a link to the TVTropes page on the subject, which notes the following: "It is important to note that just because a gameplay feature is annoying and frustrating does not make it fake difficulty. For example, placing a large number of invincible minor minions between the player and the Plot Coupon is extremely annoying, but they can be avoided by skilled movement - thus, the difficulty is real." The game does have some fake difficulty elements in it - the checkpoint system of bonfires, for instance, which rarely place you right outside a boss door when that's what you'd like to repeat instead of having to slog through all the enemies on the way to the boss again; and I'd definitely say the controls for jumping are absolute shit and make any kind of platforming much more painful than it should be - but for boss fights, not so much, most of the time. The first time I ran into the Pursuer in his boss room I hadn't read anything about him, didn't know any pro strats, didn't know "the meta" as you put it, and still killed him without a problem - he's a very basic sword & board boss. I later learned that there's a trick to basically one-shot him every time, consistently, once you know the positioning and timing to pull it off, but that's just a trick to make the fight a breeze, not something you need
to beat him.
Getting killed because you got stuck on scenery is frustrating as hell when it happens...but if you're getting hung up on scenery repeatedly
, that's probably not a problem with the game.
Losing health for dying is what the old women explain to you at the beginning of the game: you becoming hollow. Losing your humanity. Turning into what is killing you. It's annoying, and it'd be nice if there were some area you could farm human effigies as easily as you could farm humanities in Dark Souls, but there is at least a ring you can get very early in the game (in Heide's, on the left path, right before that boss's gate) that caps your max hp loss to 25%, so you'd have a minimum of 75% of your max health wearing that ring (without it you can drop as low as 50%, though you don't lose 10% with each death as you suggested - I think it's 5%). After you have that, well...it's a matter of learning what you're doing wrong and improving on that problem.