It's natural to hate Dark Souls. It will punish and hurt you over and over and over again, but you keep coming back to it hoping for that one moment in which everything swings your way and ohmygod when it does...
I'm building a horribly generic Dark Magician character. Pursuers, Dark Bead, going to go Darkmoon or Darkwraith and generally invade as many people as I can while the game still stands. I need to be soul level 100 to complete my build, plus I need to do the Artorias of the Abyss content. I am (or was) soul level 40 and haven't even rung the second Bell. Man, fuck Blighttown. I'm gonna do some Catbro invasions while farming Depths for gobs of Humanity.
Long boring explanation: The Forest Hunter Covenant (AKA Catbro or Meowcenary, since the covenant leader is a giant cat that sounds a little like Dame Judi Dench) protect the Darkroot Garden forest from invaders. There are a bunch of Catbro NPCs in the area that are fairly easily killed, and if another player is farming them in human form and you happen to be wearing the covenant ring, you may be summoned in to kill the invader (even though in game mechanic terms, you're the invading party. Terminology is a little complex.). If you do so, you get a random item and a prize in souls (currency) equal to 10% of the amount your target spent to get to his current level.
Being a Catbro suuuuuuucks. You get farmed almost as much as the NPCs you're supposed to be protecting, chances are you'll be going against some douchebag in a stonewall build with a buddy for backup, and you get trolled easily. Hell, I've done a little bit of Catbro trolling myself. Really, this character is only a Meowcenary for the Ring of Fog and a little PvP practice. I've had a couple of skilled kills, a few cheap kills, and many, many deaths. Also, Catbro invasion ignores the upper limit. While most co-op and some PvP summons only bring you in contact with players either 10% above or below your own soul level (Which would be 36-44 for a SL40 player), Catbro invasion means that I'd be invading anyone in the 36+ range, including people at the max level (713) or hacked beyond that.
Then I hit the goddamned motherlode.
Okay, I didn't really have a reasonable chance of killing this invader. Even my best spell only dinged him for a little health when it usually does a decent chunk of damage. He couldn't dish it out though, I was SL 40 with not a lot of health at the time, and the damage you see to my health was from a single hit. I can't really remember the details of the panic, because I quickly realized that I was outgeared and outclassed and it wouldn't take a lot to kill me. The fact I have my summon soapstone selected is because I furiously scrolled to it because I overshot my Humanities on my item bar.
Then the guy gets munched by a pair of Demonic Foliages. Shit, must've been summoned into a NG+, or possibly ++, or beyond. Enemy levels stop scaling at NG+7, getting summoned co-operatively into a NG+ you're not prepared for really sucks (As this video shows), but in PvP all enemies are friendly to you.
But a kill is a kill. I'd get credit for the kill if I'd hacked him to death, if I'd punted him off a cliff, if he got sloppy with Power Within and ran out of health, or even if an enemy killed him. I'm not complaining. Not at 169209 souls.
This means that he was SL 390. SL 390 is a lot higher than most people go in the game. And ending up with nearly 180k souls at level 40 is... wow. Seriously. It's like winning the freaking lottery while you still have a student loan to pay off.
What did I get for my haul? I got to max out my Pyromancy Flame to +15 from +10. With everything I had left over, plus what I earned through sneaking in the back way to Blighttown, ganking Mildred, and killing Quelaag, I was able to buy everything Quelana and Eingyi had to offer. This put me in a good position to kill Ceaseless Discharge and clear out lower Blighttown (Which I, and pretty much everyone else fucking hates) to earn enough souls to buy everything Big Hat Logan had to offer.
Days or even weeks of soul farming skipped because I happened to invade a high-levelled guy who was more worried about someone nearly 10% of his level instead of the killer shrubs that could kill him.
I bloody love this game.
Dark Souls is an example of videogame storytelling done right.
It's also an example of level design done right, combat done right, art direction done right...
I'm really surprised there's not much praise for Dark Souls around here. It's got a lot in common with Metroid.
I haven't played it yet (my backlog is much too long for that right now) but I am genuinely interested. I've been quite apprehensive due to the challenge that seems to be putting everyone off, but my interest is definitely piqued.
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I honestly can't agree more with this.
Dark Souls isn't a game where the plot is handed to you in a selection of uninteractive cutscenes. You're hardly handed anything. You have to read item descriptions and piece together clues in a much more interesting way than Elder Scroll's habit of dumping twenty-page books on your lap and expecting you to read them before progressing any further. You have to listen to what people say, and actually listen to them, not just the words but how the absolutely brilliant voice acting conveys those words. You have to work out motivations of characters yourself, and nothing is exactly easy given that most video games clearly define their characters with nothing more than pantomime-style archtypes. Here we have a knight in shining armour, he's good. Here we have an irredeemably selfish and murderous character, he's evil.
Dark Souls doesn't do that.
Consider Paladin Leeroy for example; you have very little interaction with him, and he does seem little more than an obvious World of Warcraft reference. You never speak to him, he only appears in two places in the game. You first summon him as a helper against Pinwheel, a boss so ridiculously easy that you may not even need Leeroy's help. He then later invades you as you work your way down to face Gravelord Nito, and if killed his armour is found on a corpse in Nito's chamber. Reading the description of his armour (and the weapons he drops when you kill his invading phantom) tells you that Leeroy is a member of the Way of the White.
But there's something off about his behaviour. Why would he assist you against Pinwheel but assault you as you attack Nito? Okay, most people you meet in the game attack you at some point, but that's because they either go Hollow (Laurentius, Griggs, Crestfallen Warrior) go insane (Logan, Solaire) or have other motives (Kirk, Mildred, Chester. And nobody knows what Chester's motivation for invading you is save for the fact that he's a colossal douchebag or wants your stuff to sell). Nobody actually assists you then attacks you in that order for good reason (And in Lautrec's case, he assists you then you attack him) Then you remember that there's a covenant in the game that's supposed to assist Nito himself, the Gravelord Servants. You also piece together that Pinwheel was draining Nito's power. The Way of the White do pretty horrible things to Undead like you, but it's usually ritual sacrifice to prolong the First Flame, or forcing people to be Fire Keepers. It's almost never outright murder unless the Undead in question is Hollow.
And then you put these little facts that aren't outright stated in-game together and come to a logical conclusion. [spoiler]Leeroy is no longer a member of the Way of the White, he's a Gravelord Servant. He was a Gravelord even before you summon him. He assists you in killing Pinwheel because it benefits Nito, but he attacks you because you're a genuine threat to Nito.[/spoiler] Nobody tells you this. There's nothing written down. The only way to know this is to either work it out yourself or be told by someone who has done so.
Then you have the case of Knight Lautrec of Carim. You find him imprisoned in the Undead Parish and he asks you to release him. If you do so then he rewards you with a small insignificant item and can assist you with two early bosses (Bell Gargoyles and Gaping Dragon, both of which you can summon Solaire for too). And yet he seems utterly evil; if he's not acting surly and insulting people, he's ending his conversations with evil laughter. Given Oswald does the same thing this may just be a verbal tic for people of Carim.
But he never lies. In fact, he gives you some fairly solid advice; Don't trust Patches (And Patches equally tells you not to trust Lautrec; just because one happens to be right doesn't mean the other is wrong), he's right about what happened to Rhea in the Catacombs, and he's honest at least about his intentions towards the Fire Keeper; whom he murders for her valuable soul before journeying to Anor Londo. Using the orb left on the Keeper's corpse, you can invade his world to find him lying in ambush with two companions (A Warrior of Sunlight and someone implied to be one of the missing Sealers of New Londo), and killing him rewards you with a bunch of Humanity, the Keeper's Soul, his very nice ring, and the chance to pick up his armour after you deal with Pikachu and Snorlax. Biggie and Smalls. Fat Man and Little Boy. Laurel and Hardy. Fatty and Beanpole. R2-D2 and C-3P0. Oreo and Smores. Ornstein and Smough. The flavour text on Lautrec's set goes a long way to explaining why he was what he was; all he believes he needs is the love of the Goddess Fina.
Humanity is different for regular Undead such as Lautrec, Siegemeyer, Leeroy, Rhea... Pretty much everyone you meet bar Solaire (Who is the Chosen Undead of his world) and yourself. It's suggested that whenever a regular Undead dies and is reborn, their humanity stock decreases; that little number in the top-left corner of their screen drops a point. When that hits zero, they go completely Hollow. The Chosen Undead such as the player can carry on with zero humanity, but everyone else needs to stockpile it. Lautrec himself is a treasure trove of Humanity, you can suck 10 out of him with a Dark Hand, he drops five consumable Humanities, and the Fire Keeper soul he took off Anastacia is worth another 5 if you stupidly use it (It has other uses, the most obvious being returning to Anastacia's body to relight the Firelink Shrine bonfire, but any Fire Keeper soul can be used to reinforce an Estus Flask with the help of another Keeper). Lautrec was flush with Humanity.
Because he was so fucking scared of going Hollow. He stockpiles Humanity, encourages other people to do the same (Either as a wise precaution or to farm them himself later), and unlike Kirk or the Darkwraiths who have their own uses for Humanity he hordes it himself. Lautrec is so afraid of going Hollow that he's willing to do anything to prevent that happening.
You can pick up on all sorts of little things that aren't explicitly mentioned in the game. How Havel the Rock might have rebelled against Gwyn due to the latter's favour of Seath. How Sieglinde isn't in fact Undead and may just be the bravest person you meet. How Kaathe (or even Frampt) was the Primordial Serpent that encouraged the people of Oolacile to disturb Manus. The fact that Ornstein may have bribed Smough with Artorias' vacant position as a Knight of Gwyn to ensure his loyalty even though the fact that pretty much everyone (Frampt and Ornstein himself) are absolutely disgusted by Smough.
Roll on Dark Souls 2.
All great stuff. (But when I said storytelling done right I was talking about how everyone has their own wacky PvP stories )
I don't want to spoil anything, but my favorite thing about Dark Soul's story is how the final boss is handled.
Really, really nervous about Dark Souls 2. From Software is an inconsistent developer (for every Dark Souls there's a Ninja Blade or Steel Batallion Kinect), plus it has a new director and a lot of the interviews are worrying.
They've said that they want to make the game more direct and accessible. Hopefully that just means there won't be any really horrible parts like the Tomb of the Giants or the Bed of Chaos, but I don't know...
It's nowhere near as hard as you think it is, it's just that you actually have to take the enemies seriously. The difficulty is in line with games from the PS2/Xbox/GC generation. It's not as hard as something like God Hand or Ninja Gaiden.
I'm actually somewhat optimistic about it. I'm pretty sure I heard one of the big honchos from the Monster Hunter series is on board for DS2, which if true is very good news.
Is Monster Hunter more accessible than Dark Souls (Which itself was a leap towards simpler playability than Demon Souls was) is? Yeah. Is it hard? Oh yeah.
At the very least there should be an improvement over Dark Souls' crappy netcode.
It is a harsh game, and there are parts that seem a little too tough for what they are (Capra Demon, Ornstein & Smough), but there are also a few absolutely pathetic bosses (Pinwheel and Ceaseless Discharge for example).
It's harsh but fair. Harsh in that even the lowliest enemy in the game can kill you (Hollows, Rats), but only if you let your guard down for a moment. Boss battles is all about learning, and the game as a whole is about getting killed many times and learning from each mistake. But you, your character, is an insanely powerful character and can do some insanely powerful shit no matter how you build it.
Do yourself a favour, check out Emarrel's YouTube channel. Forget EpicNameBro, forget Peeve; Emarrel will show you how Dark Souls is played. There's a whole bunch of awesome PvP videos (Like this and this and this) but the real awesome thing is where she plays the game through on the hardest difficulty (New Game +7) with a level 1 character. Oh, and summons a bunch of folks into that difficulty.
What do you want them to improve for Dark Souls 2? (Aside from the obvious stuff like the framerate, camera, netcode, better pc port.)
I'm hoping for better archery. Bows and crossbows lacked the 'oomph' that melee and spells had. I hope the oddball weapons get improved too. It'd be cool if stuff like whips and throwing knives were viable this time around.
I'd like better, deeper Covenants. Give us more rewards and more tiers, make farming Covenant items more difficult and getting them legitimately less difficult (Eyes of Death are way too easy to farm compared to how many you'll get from Gravelording), give each Covenant both an online and an offline component, etc.
I remember when I joined the Chaos Servants. I was like, "Wow, a Pyromancy Covenant, this will be awesome for my Pyromancy character!" But it really wasn't. There is only one tier at which you receive rewards, there was no effect on player vs player, and the rewards in player vs environment took way too much humanity. I love the story behind the Covenant with Eyingi and the Fair Lady, and I like walking around with the Sunlight Maggot, but it still should have been very expanded.
Another thing: A way to get more Cracked Red Eye Orbs for those who aren't Darkwraiths. They don't have to be cheap or easy to get, but invasion is a fun part of the game and it's a bit ridiculous how few of those orbs you get. Maybe have the orbs be sold by a merchant for 10,000-15,000 each, while giving the Darkwraiths (Or whatever similar Covenant they come up with) a much more convenient option of buying them for 1,000 each and the full Red Eye Orb for free invasions.
I hope if there is a gimmick bossfight again, it isn't Bed of Chaos tier, something enjoyable please. D:
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I'm honestly thinking that they're heading towards a more Monster Hunter style. In the DLC both the Sanctuary Guardian (and dual SG rematch) and Kalameet were closer to a MH-style encounter than the previous bosses. It wouldn't surprise me at one point in DS2 for us to be chasing a boss around a large area as it gets weaker.
One idea I've had that I'd like to see in DS2 is Black Phantom bosses; after killing a zone's boss, a phantom of it could be encountered in the zone with greater difficulty and reward. That would really help make Jolly Co-operation have as much longevity as PvP.
Incidentally, did anyone ever do BoC legitimately once the ol' Right-Quit-Left-Quit-Centre-Win method was discovered? I think I've only ever died to BoC while gambling on the roulette that's the dash towards the core root.
So what exactly is a "Monster Hunter style" boss, and how is it different from a Souls style boss?
I want to see other games experiment with Dark Souls-esque multiplayer.
Like, what if someone put the invasion mechanic in a game with an even playing field? Seems like it could be really interesting.
Wishlist for Dark Souls 2:
- For the publisher/developer to take their time. Dark Souls was rushed and it shows: there was a steep drop in quality after Ornstien and Smough.
- Better game balance, even if that means removing things. Dark Souls has a lot of false choice in it. If it's call between "20 viable weapons" and "50 weapons (but only 15 of them are good)" then go for the first one.
- Let slvl 1 players use decent weapons. Nobody should have to rely on the reinforced club or handaxe. Nobody.
- Give me a reason to play a big slow guy besides novelty. Heavy weapons need a complete revamp. Heavy armor is still useless.
- Revamp archery. Bows and crossbows just aren't any fun to use.
- Improve weapon blocking. Maybe weapon blocking should be as good as shield blocking, but it wrecks your weapon faster? Maybe have a timed block? I don't know.
-When two-handing a weapon L2 should do a utility attack. (For example: ultra greatswords could have a quick keep-out poke.) Even just making L2 kick would be a huge improvement.
- No puzzle boss, ala the Dragon God or Bed of Chaos.
- Every area in the game should be fun! No valley of defilement, no tomb of the giants, no blight town, no lost izalith! Nobody liked those levels!
- Adjust backstabs. I understand why they need to be in the game, but currently they are way too good. You should never be able to use a punishment tool as your main offense.
- Bring game speeds back up to Demon's Souls levels.
- Bring game speeds back up to Demon's Souls levels.
- No really. Bring game speeds back up to Demon's Souls levels. Demon's Souls is quick and fluid. Dark Souls feels clunky and over-animated.
Anyways those are my wishes for the sequel. Shoot em down if they're dumb.
Not going to mention every single of your points (assume I agree with you on the ones I skip), but my thoughts:
I've ran a few SL1 characters through various parts of the games, or typically magic builds that don't actually invest in STR and DEX at all; there's a few other weapons a base Pyro can use, such as the Morning Star and Battle Axe. And if you're going to stay on SL1, chances are you're relying on Pyromancies and Hyper Mode to wreck everything.
About the worst thing about Demon's Souls is the fact that wielding a weapon you didn't have the stats for didn't actually gut your ability to use them; it just reduced base damage, and this base could be buffed to a respectable damage output with Hyper Mode and other buffs. A DeS SL1 character is a damaging character that's only crippled with low hitpoints, whereas a DaS SL1 requires skill, knowledge, and forethought to play.
Seriously, compare Emarrel's SL1 NG+7 runs of DaS and DeS on YouTube; the comments of the DaS run is filled with comments on asking how such and such is viable, and how to best use what limited resources available for a low-levelled character. The DeS run has a lot of "stop cheesing the game with Lava Bow lol" comments.
Besides, you can still tear shit up with a Reinforced Club.
Poise is a very important stat. High poise absolutely wrecks certain encounters such as 4K, Nito, and Gwyn. Heavy armour is far from useless compared to how it was in DeS; being able to stand and take a hit while taking a sippy isn't to be underestimated in this game.
Light armour has its uses for most bosses (Sif, Kalameet, Artorias, Sanctuary Guardian, Pikachu & Snorlax, Capra...), but you're probably overlooking the fact that heavy armour can carry you through the area to get to that boss. Havel's set in Duke's is kinda like pre-nerf Iron Flesh: You're wearing the heaviest armour in the game and nothing can touch you.
Bows are fun, especially Dragonslayer and Gough's. I guess I'm sick of tiny and weedy elf-like bows and prefer to be akin to artillery. The big problem with bows and crossbows is that they're there for utility: Softening up targets or drawing them out so you don't have to aggro large forces. A bow will carry you through Sen's Fortress better than most other weapons.
The big problem with bows and crossbows is that they were supposed to fill different roles. Bows were meant for ranged precision, and crossbows were meant for close-ranged power. The statting issues with both weapon branches meant that you'd only ever actually rely on crossbows if you were playing a SL1 character, and even then you could only use the Light Crossbow. I'm not saying that crossbows should be easier to aim (In fact, I'd probably concede that Binocular Aiming for crossbows should be removed), but it needs to be set that bows are good for this and this and crossbows are good for that and that and neither of them overlap in skills.
I disagree. Weapon blocking should be removed. Want to know why knights wield those bulky shields when really they could be carrying a second weapon in the offhand? Because shields are designed to deflect weapon attacks. That's what they're for.
If I'm carrying a weapon in my offhand, I want to be able to kill something with it, not be carrying a sub-par shield there when I could be carrying a shield instead. Remove weapon blocking completely unless I'm 2H a large weapon where it makes sense and improve dual-wielding attacks.
Fun Fact: BoC was originally intended to be more of a traditional boss. I don't necessary dislike a puzzle boss if it's done well, but BoC was just awful, I agree.
This came about because people were complaining that backstabs (and ripostes) were too unwieldly in DeS. This is also less of an issue with, actually, most of the enemies in the game, and I'm going to go as far to say that backstabs are actually a great equalizer in PvP.
A WILD TANGEANT APPEARS.
Look at the history of "OMG X IS OP NERF X" that's been in the game: WotG, TWoP, Ninja-flipping Havel's, Great Bow knockback, Zweihander stunlock. When I PvP, I do so as a Dark Mage: Pursuers, Dark Bead, Black Flame, and I get a lot of flak for doing this.
The thing is I know what role Dark Magic fills in the metagame: It's a mixed magic/physical that staggers low-poise opponents (Read: Heavy armour is not useless in PvP). This is actually something mages have needed to be competitive against pure physical/stonewall builds for a while. Dark Bead is a spell that fulfils the much-needed CQC gap that was missing until the DLC, and Pursuers is a great pressure utility spell that I can use to tweak most engagements to my favour. I've seen hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of counters to my build over the past few months, and since my weapon of choice is a pure INT weapon with little utility (Moonlight Butterfly Horn) all I really have is clever use of Dark Magic. Hell, full Havel's murders the shit out of a Dark Mage even in the current state of the game, though I do have fun wiping the floor with Giantdad variant builds. (THE LEGEND ALWAYS DIES. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.)
And yet idiots who fatroll or stand still and eat a full volley of Pursuers, or leap attack and get shotgunned from full health to YOU DIED because of their stupidity still cry for Dark Magic nerfs. There are situations where a Great Combustion is more useful than a Black Flame, and I've yet to find a competitive use for Dark Orb and Dark Fog which are probably worse than the spells they're based on (Soul Spear and Acid Burst).
But backstabbing? Anyone can do that. No matter what your build, what your weapon, it's a terrific equalizer in combat. The big issue is with the netcode that allows the existence of lagstabbing. That needs to be fixed.
Weirdly enough, I've been running DaS recently with the FPS unlocked. I can't get the full 60fps on my rig, but it's a lot smoother and pretty similar to what I've seen of DeS.
They went from "use anything you want" to "you only get caveman weapons. go fuck yourself". It was overkill.
The club can get the job done, but that doesn't mean that it's any fun to use. None of the slvl1 weapons are. It's boring watching Emarrel be forced to use convoluted tactics just because the reinforced club has a billion frames of start-up and recovery. Those runs would be just as interesting if Emarrel could drop the club for a straight sword.
Giving the pyromancer 9 points of dexterity was a cruel joke.
I was referring to blocking with a large 2h weapon. I completely forgot about dual wielding (I totally agree that you shouldn't be able to block with two smaller weapons. Having 4 attack buttons would be preferable.)
I get why they need to be in the game, and I get why they need to be good. What I don't understand is why they have to be that good.
Backstabs are instant, have a very generous hitbox, do a shitload of damage, and can be used to set up another backstab (or at least another attack). It's too much.
I was referring to movement and attack speeds. Especially attack speeds.
Though Demon's Souls did have a more stable framerate.
The current system is another example of false choice. It's not "mobility vs poise", it's "build your character right so you get both".
I still feel that heavy armor just gives new players bad habits.
Melee, spells are well implemented and really satisfying to use. Meanwhile ranged weapons (aside from maybe greatbows) feel like they came out of an N64/PSX game.
Currently the ranged weapons fill niches that don't make any sense. Like crossbows are meant to be used one-handed and at close range only. Bows are useful only for pulling aggro. Greatbows are only good for the knockback. That's not very intuitive to new players.
I'd like to see something more logical for Dark Souls 2:
Throwing weapons (knives, axes, javelins): Fast, strong, short range. Can be used with a shield. Maybe have them scale with strength (because STR builds could use some versatility.) These are the close range weapons.
Crossbows: Can be used one-handed (poor accuracy), or two handed (enables manual aim). Add manual reloads. Easy to use, but limited in application due to slow fire rate. Crossbows would fill the niche bows do currently.
Bows: No lock-on. Fast draw speed. Fastest projectile. Bows should be the most versatile of the ranged weapons, but also the most difficult to use.
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