Outside Firelink Shrine I found a half naked guy wielding a katana, and he manages to kill me off a cliff! I return immediately and return the favor. Unfortunately the door he guards is locked (man I miss the master key), so I have no choice but to use the shrine bonfire to warp myself up to the High Wall of Lothric. It's beautiful. And full of undead. The dead dragons on the parapet are a cool touch too... until I come across a live fire breathing one - followed by dangerous knights.
I'll get up there... much later.
In typical Joe fashion, I decided to try sprint past them, because whatever was beyond would be easier right? Lol. After a crazy run across rooftops and courtyards reached some giant doors and encountered... Battle cat! To no ones surprise, the creature tore me to ribbons (though I was surprised I got it to 50% health). Having not found a further bonfire I opted to do the grinding then, especially since I had a handy dragon to help me farm souls. He didn't really care what he was setting alight.
Couldn't get the dragon to torch battle cat. :(
First 20k went to the hag, for a key to the Firekeeper tower right behind the shrine. It took me awhile to actually find he damn thing, but I netted a useful Estus shard, silver cat ring (more souls per kill) and Estus ring (more HP per estus) from what turned out to be a crypt for dead firekeepers (and there were a lot). The grind then continued in the same spot, to level me up a bit, until I could actually sprint to the tower the dragon was sitting on top of. There I found a mimic which I masterfully slew (no damage), partially because it was like the Dark Souls "humanoid" type and not the Dark Souls II "silent hill" type. :P
Most importantly it dropped a really cool weapon: a deep axe, which more than doubled my current damage output. After successfully slaying the first "dangerous" knight with it, I knew right away that I could finally advance.