I am really enjoying this very much.
And I'm really starting to see the difference in world design between this one and Demon Souls. The open world concept is incredible and very well done, expanding on what they have done in the previous.
After the prison and reaching Firelink bonfire, I actually had a few choices before me. At first I didn't know that and wondered down some steps to a graveyard. The graveyard had a few tough skeletons and was near impossible to progress very far. After countless deaths and defeating a few skeletons, a large one at the end gave me trouble and I was sent packing.
Finally decided to cool off a bit and examined the area around the bonfire. I discovered a way leading down to an entrance of a sewer but decided not venture in as I don't know what's down there. I rather be outside anyway.
Then I found a path leading up a hill and into the distant walled city of sorts. This way was easier -- the undead soldiers were slow and careless (but of course still dangerous, and the path up was narrow and I fell off it once trying to duck a blow.) Found an entrance to a tunnel, and within was large undead rat feasting on a corpse. I made the stupid mistake of taking a high swing in that narrow passage way, hitting nothing and leaving myself open. The rat lunged twice and I died.
The next time I went in, I stabbed the rat with a hard thrust of my sword. Two more and it was depleted. I learned that it took more stamina for that but that was the only way to attack in such a narrow passage, and nearly caused me to stumble.
Made my way up and found the second bonfire. From there, I proceeded to explore the surround area finding more paths and a new merchant who seemed to sell a good spread of weapons and items. Bought a bow and learned how to use it. Clumsy still. I intended to use the bow and arrows for purpose of luring monsters one at a time out from where they stood.
Everything costs in souls, even arrows.
To do, exploring for possible short cuts.