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Although the world is currently smitten with the wonder that is Elden Ring, many of those players have decided to dive backward in the FromSoftware catalog to see what other terrors they have in waiting. One of those is the absolute gem that is Bloodborne.
Bloodborne is one of the weirdest games ever made, and it’s also one of the best, putting it in exceedingly rare company. The unique combination of gothic horror, Eldritch horror, and the typical FromSoftware weirdness we’ve come to know pervades through every pore of this game, and having played through it several times in the years since its release, I’m still finding new things to this day.
One of the most interesting features of Bloodborne is the Insight system. This system is truly bizarre, and it impacts so much that happens in your game without even really explaining itself at any point. Luckily, you’re talking to someone who has withstood the horrors of the hunt 3 times already, so let’s figure out what that weird Insight system is all about and how it affects the happenings in your game.
What is Insight?
Insight is technically a stat in Bloodborne, but it’s also a usable currency at different points as well. You accumulate your first Insight after encountering the Cleric Beast, who is technically the first boss of the game. After you fight it and likely die, you will be granted one Insight.
Insight isn’t just a currency in Bloodborne, though, as it’s also a story device. See, each time something happens of note in Bloodborne, you will gain Insight. When Insight has been gained, that’s how you know the story is leading you down important paths. You may find Insight in the most innocuous of ways, but as long as Insight is there, it is vital to the overall story in some shape or form.
Each time you find Insight in the game, you will hear creepy whispers talking to you that will quickly disappear. This is to signify you are gaining the knowledge of the gods.
How Does Insight Effect Your Game?
Insight has a variety of effects on what happens throughout your playthrough.
First off, it greatly affects your Beasthood stat. This stat governs the amount of damage increase you get when using Beast Blood Pellets and similar items. With each Insight you get, your Beasthood stat will decrease. This is to signify that the more you learn about the world you’re in, the less likely it is that you’ll be taken by the curse that turns men into beasts throughout the game.
Your Insight gained will also affect your Frenzy resistance. This lowers your ability to resist Frenzy based attacks. This implies that the more eldritch knowledge you get throughout the game, the more susceptible you are to completely losing your mind from it all.
Enemies and NPCs
Insight can change tons of things about how the enemies and NPCs of Bloodborne as well.
Upon getting your first Insight after facing the Cleric Beast, the Doll will awaken in the Hunter’s Dream, allowing you to level up using Blood Echoes as well as talk to her for valuable knowledge on what’s going on in the game. You will also gain access to the Bath Messengers in the upper west corner of the Hunter’s Dream, who will sell you items for Insight.
If you have no Insight after spending it all, certain enemies will appear or not appear. For example, during the Witch of Hemwick boss fight, the shadow-like Mad Ones will normally spawn and fight alongside her. If you enter this fight with 0 Insight, though, no Mad Ones will appear during the fight. When fighting with 0 Insight, if you use an item that grants Insight, they will spawn immediately.
In the Cathedral Ward area, you’ll come across hulking Church Doctor enemies that come in a variety of different states. If you have Insight when facing them, the lamps that they carry will begin to shoot projectiles at you from a distance. The Church Doctors with scythes and crosses that you come across later on will also have an arcane weapon buff if you have 15 Insight.
Winter Lanterns are a particularly horrifying enemy, and if you have 30 insight when you encounter them, you will hear them singing disturbingly before they get a sight of you.
You may recall being grabbed by an invisible enemy early on in the Cathedral Ward area of the game. If you return here with 40 Insight, the Lesser Amygdala will become fully visible.
The world itself can change based on your Insight as well. Although Hunter’s Dream changes permanently once you enter the Blood Moon Phase of the game following the boss fight with Rom, the Vacuous Spider, you can force this change to happen earlier by entering Hunter’s Dream with 50 Insight.
If you have 50 Insight at any point, a baby’s cry can be heard in every area of the game except the Hunter’s Dream. This is the child of the Queen of Ptunermia and the baby that is being protected by the boss Mergo’s Wet Nurse. This child is being bred to become an old god, much like you are. The cry will only be heard occasionally, making it all the more disturbing.
You can also see Messengers outside of Hunter’s Dream in Cathedral Ward, opening the gate for you from the other side after you’ve acquired the Hunter Chief Emblem.
How do I accumulate Insight?
Insight is collected in a variety of ways throughout the game. The following is a list of how to acquire Insight in your playthrough.
- Enter a boss arena
- Defeat the boss of any area. The amount you get from doing this will change depending on the difficulty of the boss and how far into the game you are.
- If you offer yourself to be summoned by another player, defeating the boss of their area will grant you Insight.
- If you use the Sinister Bell to enter PVP combat, defeating the other player will grant you Insight.
- If you decide to use the Madman’s Knowledge, you will gain Insight each time you do so.
- Using the item Great One’s Wisdom will grant you 2 Insight.
- If you consume One-third of the Umbilical Cord, of which you will find 4 throughout the game, you will gain 3 Insight.
- If you use a Blood Dreg item, you will gain 1 Insight.
- Outside of the Oedon Chapel area in Cathedral Ward, there is an invisible enemy that can grab you if you get close enough. If this happens to you, you will gain 1 Insight.
- There is an optional area you can find called the Abandoned Workshop. This area resembles the one you have access to in the Hunter’s Dream. Entering this area will grant you 2 Insight.
- Entering Iosefka’s Clinic from the back entrance that you gain access to later in the game will grant you 1 Insight.
- There are special enemies in the Cathedral Ward area of Yharnam that have bags on their shoulders. If you get captured by one of these enemies and wake up in Yahar’gul, Unseen Village, you will gain 1 Insight.
- Entering the Lecture Building from the front entrance will grant you 2 Insight.
- Finding the Nightmare Frontier area from the Lecture Building entrance will grant you 3 Insight.
- There is an optional area called Cainhurst Castle that you can explore if you so choose. Entering this area via the invitation scene that takes place after the Witch of Hemwick boss fight will grant you 2 Insight.
- In Cainhurst Castle, there is a covenant you can choose to enter called the Vilebloods. Encountering Annalise, the Queen of the Vilebloods will grant your 2 Insight.
- If you encounter the Spider Patches, finding his true form will grant you 2 Insight.
- Before the fight against Rom, the Vacuous Spider, you will see an old man overlooking the vast ocean. This is Master Willem, and trying to talk to him will cause him to point at the ocean. Once he does this, you will gain 2 Insight.
- If you pursue Arianna’s questline, at a certain point, you will be able to see her child. Upon seeing the child, you will gain 3 Insight.
- In the Old Hunters DLC, once you complete Saint Adeline’s quest, you’ll be granted 2 Insight.
- Each time you send an NPC to Iosefka’s Clinic, you will gain 1 insight. This should come across as strange, and that strangeness is shown clearly when you visit later in the game to find everyone you’ve sent there has become a Celestial Emissary from Iosefka’s experiments. If you send all the NPCs you meet in the game to Iosefka’s Clinic, you will gain an additional 2 insight on top of what you’ve already gained.
Where Can I spend Insight?
Insight can be spent in a few different ways throughout the game. You can use Insight in Hunter’s Dream to purchase equipment that can’t be found in any other way. This includes special armor that you’ll often find after defeating a boss.
You can also use Insight as a way to summon other players into your game. You can do this as many times as you have Insight available, although there are a limited amount of players you can invite into your game at once.
Where Can I Farm Insight
Much like Humanity in the Dark Souls games, you can farm Insight infinitely if you so choose. There are a few different ways to do this.
The most fun way is undoubtedly offering your services to other players and defeating the bosses of their worlds. The problem is that the player count isn’t exactly super high these days, seeing as the game came out in 2015, so you might find yourself on shorter supply these days than back in the heyday of the game. You can also just invade players and gain Insight each time you defeat one, which is another fun way to get it.
The Chalice Dungeons offer you another way to gain Insight very quickly, although this relies on you repeating the low-level ones once you’ve reached a high level yourself, which makes running through the bosses that inhabit them a breeze. If you do this method, you can get Insight very quickly.
Another way you can get pretty much infinite Insight is by simply buying the Madman’s Knowledge item from the Bath Messengers in the Hunter’s Dream. You will have to farm a large number of Blood Echoes first before you can reach the limit of 99 Insight, but you’re free to do so if you so choose.
Can I lose Insight?
You will not lose Insight whether you die from a boss or if you’re invaded by another player. The one way you can lose Insight in Bloodborne is via the Upper Cathedral Ward. In this area, you will come across enemies called Brainsuckers that look like a vacuum that was created in hell. If these guys get a hold of you, they drain your Insight during their attack. Stay far away from them and just attack after they’ve made their move.
What If I Play With No Insight?
While it’s technically possible to play with 0 Insight, you will be missing out on a ton of features of the game. For one, the Doll will remain lifeless in the Hunter’s Dream, meaning you’ll never get to level up. You’ll also miss out on the environment changing around you, tons of different story beats playing out, and even a bunch of valuable weapons and armor too.
Each time you hit an Insight threshold in Bloodborne, more of the bigger picture becomes available to you. It’s a brilliant mechanic because while it seems like you might be witnessing the world-changing with your progression through the game, the truth of it all is that this is what the world looked like all along; you just lacked the knowledge to be able to see it for what it is.
The only real plus side of having no insight is that the enemies will remain easier to defeat throughout the game. This is especially true for enemies that cause Frenzy, as zero Insight will make your time in areas like the Nightmare of Mensis far easier because of this.
It’s a tricky balance trying to figure out how much Insight you should have on yourself at any given moment throughout Bloodborne. I’ve found the best method is to have a decent amount of it with you for when you take on a boss because you never know when you might need to summon someone for help.
I’d advise carrying a handful of Madman’s Knowledge items with you to use when you need Insight in a pinch. You should also have a solid amount on you whenever you return to Hunter’s Dream, as the Bath Messengers will have increasingly powerful equipment to sell you as you get further into the game, and you don’t want to miss out on any of that.
Question: Is Bloodborne the hardest Souls-like?
Answer: Bloodborne is difficult because you are unable to block any enemy’s attack. You instead need to dodge everything, and that’s a skill that some gamers just plain don’t possess. The speed of your enemies in Bloodborne is also just jarring compared to other Souls games, so that can be a tough thing to get a grip on first as well.
Question: How long is Bloodborne?
Answer: The main game of Bloodborne is around 60 hours, but then you add on the Chalice Dungeons and the Old Hunters DLC, and you’re looking at easily 90+ hours of gameplay.
Question: Can you play through Bloodborne in co-op?
Answer: For the most part, yes, Bloodborne is fully playable in co-op. The big changes happen with the enemy and boss health bars adjusting to the multiple players now in the game. You will also become vulnerable to invading players as well. Some areas of the game simply won’t allow you to play in co-op, though, and you’ll realize this when the bell is grayed out on your screen. Areas like this are few and far between, though.
Bloodborne is one fascinating game, and with that comes the incredibly unique Insight system. There are still new things discovered about this system every year, and the pervading mystery that surrounds this game still is what makes it such an important title in the souls-like franchise. Hopefully, this guide helped show you what the Insight system is all about.
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