The Shrine of Winter is a small area leading to the steps of Drangleic Castle. It is found in the Shaded Woods by taking the western path at the Ruined Fork Road bonfire and is initially blocked by a door that demands a number of strong souls to open.
The door can be opened in one of two ways. The first is by defeating the four Old Ones: The Lost Sinner, The Old Iron King, The Rotten, and The Duke's Dear Freja. This is the most linear option and will ensure most prior areas are visited beforehand, leading to the possibility of more loot and souls.
The second is by accumulating more than one million souls in a playthrough, regardless of how those souls are earned or spent. On New Game Plus and beyond, the requirement for opening the door this way will increase by one million souls per playthrough, and all of the souls required must be gathered in that specific playthrough (for example, players will need 3,000,000 souls to progress in New Game ++, but these souls must all be collected in New Game ++; simply starting New Game ++ with 3,000,000 souls or more will not open the door).
- Repair (Corpse)
Obtaining one million souls is not as hard as it sounds; most players will earn this amount naturally over the course of one playthrough and may even reach it before beating any of the Old Ones. Playing online as a white phantom is a good way of earning souls; defeating bosses will usually earn players a few thousand or more.
Offline players may find a few good farming spots and use particular equipment to maximize their soul gain maximum. The Iron Keep is an excellent location and can easily yield 30,000 souls and more by progressing from the first bonfire to the Belfry Sol bonfire while wearing the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring +1 and the Jester's Gloves. Having some magic spells such as Great Heavy Soul Arrow will make this far easier as well as being able to kill the Alonne Knight Captains on the lower levels at the start. It is also best to pull the leaver twice and then step on the pads to drop the knights into the lava instead of getting tangled up fighting them.
This can be done up to fifteen to twenty times before enemies stop respawning. Of course, confident players can also purchase a Bonfire Ascetic from Stone Trader Chloanne and continue to farm until the respawn limit is reached once again. Although, simply using the Company of Champions Covenant is not only safer, it also factors out the huge damage increases; the only down side is the soul gains stay the same meaning the player would need to farm for longer. It is up to the player to decide which is better.
By following this strategy, the player also has the added bonus of possibly finding Large Titanite Shards dropped by the Old Ironclad Soldiers and the armour dropped by the Alonne Knight Captains which can then be sold to Lonesome Gavlan for a small margin as well. The Covetous Gold Serpent Ring +1 and the Jester's Cap, both obtained from Magerold of Lanafir in the same area, will prove useful in this endeavor.
The doors to the shrine need to be pushed open by the player if they unlocked it through high Soul Memory, where as they open on their own if one has acquired all Great Souls.