Continue your journey with Prima's Dark Souls 2 Guide and Walkthrough!
Reward: Soul of the Rotten
The battle against the Rotten is more about the environment than the enemy. There are several fire pits scattered throughout the battleground. If you touch any of the pits, you'll take considerable damage. If you continue to linger in the pits, you will certainly perish. Most of the battle is spent locked on to the Rotten, which means you may have difficulty determining when a fire pit is behind you. To avoid backing into a fire pit, circle strafe around the fire pit in the center of the battleground. If you stay close to the center pit, you'll have plenty of room to avoid the other pits.
The Rotten only uses a handful of attacks. If you have a shield that absorbs 100 percent damage, this is a much easier fight. However, even if this is the case, many of the Rotten's attacks drain your stamina bar completely (or very close to it). Your best course of action is to dodge the attacks with specific timing so you don't take any damage, then strike once or twice depending on the speed of your weapon. If you wish to take a more careful approach, only dodge the linear attacks and block the horizontal sweeping attacks. It's much easier to dodge the linear attacks, but you'll have fewer opportunities to counter attack, which will draw out the fight.
When the Rotten is close to you, it uses a single, horizontal sweeping attack that drains your stamina bar almost completely if it's blocked. This should be dodged if at all possible. It also uses a single, linear chop, and three chops in rapid succession. The single chop is easily dodged to the left or right, while it's best to block the first two chops, then dodge the third. You can technically dodge all three, but the timing is fairly strict.
If you back away from the Rotten, it uses a variation of the single, linear chop, but it has deceptive range. In addition, be ready to block or dodge when you see the Rotten pull its weapon back over its head. It's very difficult to get far enough away to avoid this attack completely. In almost all cases, you must either block the attack or dodge it. If you block, it drains your stamina bar almost entirely. If you see the Rotten begin to regurgitate, back away to avoid two dark spits that happen back-to-back. As soon as the spits conclude, rush in to counter attack.
Once the Rotten reaches approximately 50 percent health, it adds two attacks to its arsenal. The first is a variation of the long-range chop. This time, a dark fog emits from its weapon and extends outward rapidly. This is a linear attack, but it's difficult to dodge without precise timing. You must dodge to the left or right. If you dodge back, it will still hit. However, if you hug the Rotten, the attack misses completely. This can be risky if your timing is off.
The other new attack the Rotten uses is a burst of dark mist that emits from its body. This happens when the Rotten makes a motion similar to the regurgitation animation. Simply back away from the Rotten to avoid this attack. It does not have much range.
With the Rotten down, quickly move through the fire on the side of the arena where an item can be seen. Pick up the item to find a Fire Seed. This concludes your time in the Black Gulch.