There's some tasty loot to be picked up between the fight against the Smelter Demon, and the upcoming fight against the Old Iron King, but it can be tricky to track down. Use our walkthrough to make it through this section in one piece, and enter the next area suitably armed.
How to find the Old Iron King
Once you've killed the Smelter Demon, make your way through the opening ahead and then go upstairs. Light the bonfire when you come to it. If you fancy another tough fight, pop downstairs again to the Smelter Demon area and your old friend The Pursuer will re-emerge as a regular enemy. He should be a lot easier to kill this time.
To move forward, though, from the bonfire make your way outside and kill the next enemy you come to, then go through the doorway that was on your right as you exited the bonfire room.
Go over the bridge and kill the big shelled enemy you encounter halfway along, then carry on to the over side, but watch out because his friend is busy bashing a hole in the platform and if he succeeds you will need to leap over it. This will also make it tougher to deal with him as he can back you up towards the gap. If you're able to finish the first guy quickly and interrupt his hole-bashing, things will be easier.
Either way, proceed beyond the gap and hopefully two dead enemies. If your fight does extend into the narrow corridor beyond, though, be very cautious as you may find your swipes are deflected off the walls.
Kill the archer you find in the next room along, then interact with the lever and make your way up the stairs. Watch your footing here because each platform has a pressure switch nearby that dumps it into the lava. Kill the archers on the platform that you can see, and consider dropping down off the far left platform to take out the archer below. Make your way over the left from here to loot a Radiant Lifegem and a Large Soul of a Proud Knight.
Next, make your way back upstairs and get onto the platforms again. When the flame traps die down, move onto the platform with a ladder. Make your way up the ladder. There's a coffer here but it's a mimic enemy, so whack it, deal with the enemy and then obtain the Dark Armor and a Lightning Winged Spear. Go upstairs now, then head along the path on your right to get 10 Destructive Greatarrows from the chest that's right at the end of it.
"Be very cautious when fighting in narrow corridors, as you may find your swipes are deflected off the walls."
Climb up the ladder that's to the right of the chest - ignoring the Pharros' Lockstone face - then go through the door that's ahead of you and take the stairs up. Kill the trio of archers in the next zone, then grab the item tucked away in the corner to add a Simpleton's Spice to your inventory. Now go and open the coffer over on the opposite side of the room to get a Black Knight Greataxe.
Jump down onto the platform below you, then keep making your way towards the bottom of this area - you can use the platforms here like stepping stones to make your way down. When you get to the third platform, grab the nearby item to loot a Torch and a Cracked Red Eye Orb.
When you reach the fifth platform, keep an eye out for the item that's next to the cauldron beneath you. Very carefully drop down onto the lip of that cauldron - don't fall in! - and grab the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring.
Kill the enemy that's hovering by the right-hand section of the platform, then jump down next to the door below you. Don't go through the patch of mist just yet. Take the stairs on your left all the way down, then walk through the next door you come to. Keep on walking down this corridor, kill the enemy (again, watching out for attacks that are deflected off the walls), then interact with the lever to clear an object that's blocking the route ahead.
Kill the next enemy along, then keep heading forwards - just be ready for the flame trap in the next room. Head towards the stairs when you enter this room, and kill the next enemy you encounter. Make your way to the bottom, then use the stairs to get to a path that leads across the lava and towards a misty door. The Old Iron King awaits you on the other side of it!
Like many of the recent boss fights, the next latter-game opponent is actually somewhat easier than the encounters you faced earlier on in Dark Souls 2. The King himself makes use of a very limited pool of attacks, although he almost always throws them at you in pairs - so always be patient, and choose the right time to dart in and dole out your own damage.
How to kill the Old Iron King
The King's combo attack is composed of a fist slam that travels vertically into the ground, and a swiping attack that runs across the horizontal plane. You can expect to encounter these two attacks in random arrangements, and so you might face two of the fist slams in succession, one of each attack, or two horizontal swipes.
You can dodge left or right to avoid either of these attack types, but if the second attack is a fist smash, make sure you get straight back into range to hit the fist as fast as you can. If you have a decent attacking speed on your weapon, you should be able to get three good whacks in before danger rears its head again.
There are a couple of exceptions to this two-attack rule, however. If the King sets fire to his fist before hitting vertically, there'll typically be just the one attack coming your way, instead of two. If this happens, you must wait for the fire to be extinguished before running in to do your damage.
Should the King lean back at all, you need to be prepared for the flaming attack to come at you horizontally. Hang around in the middle of the area and then move to the right when the attack is launched to avoid the very worst of the damage.
Time your dodges well, stay alert, and you really shouldn't take too much damage at all during this boss fight. If you've got a decent weapon in your hand, you should be able to finish the King off in pretty short order.
As soon as the boss is dead, go through the door and then into the next structure which contains a coffer. Loot it to get hold of Sublime Bone Dust. Carry on down the stairs here until you come to a primal bonfire. If you've been following our walkthrough from the beginning, this should be the fourth primal bonfire you light, allowing you to access Drangleic Castle.
Looking for some more Dark Souls 2 help? The first page of this guide contains links to the rest of our walkthrough.