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Default Dark Souls II - What they can do to make it better @ Kotaku

December 24th, 2012, 00:13
Kotaku has penned a piece titled Here's What the Developers of Dark Souls II Can Do To Make it Better:

Accessibility

Finally—and this may not be a popular opinion right now—a more accessible Dark Souls II might not be a bad thing. The new director's recent statements on the subject enraged fans, and understandably—no one wants Dark Souls to turn into Skyrim. But seriously, let's talk about this for a second. Imagine if you didn't have to check the Dark Souls wiki every time you wanted to upgrade an item, or if plot details were doled out through dialogue and character interactions instead of static in-game descriptions of shields and rings. As long as they retain a similar sense of wonder and sometimes desperate isolation, it can still be great. Hell, it could be even better.
More information.

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December 24th, 2012, 00:13
Oh no not the dreaded 'accessible' word. I sucked at Dark Souls and stopped playing soon after the first boss. And even I wouldn't want to see a more 'accessible' sequel.

Ugh that word is the cause of more death and destruction to otherwise good franchises you'd think they'd [gamers] learn to just never say it even when they want some aspect of gameplay to be more accessible.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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December 24th, 2012, 00:33
I don't mind having to check the internet for various things in a game, but I do have a problem with intense difficulty. At least give us an easy or casual option that can let us play the game without having to worry about dying a million times. Leave a hard and even very hard option for those who want it, but give us an easy mode that is easy to beat.
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December 24th, 2012, 01:43
Fluent, the game is difficult at first because people don't know the mechanics. There are lots of things from the start that allow an experienced player to totally smash through monsters at any level with (almost) any equipment. A few examples of things you CAN'T do in DS are:
*spam attacks without planning - every swing is a commitment, if you miss, you are open for a counterattack
*rush in carelessly - if it's a new enemy - raise your shield; you need to know the moves of enemies so you know when you can safely attack without taking damage yourself
*heal up during the fight without earning it first - in Dark Souls, the time it takes to drink a potion is roughly equivalent to the time it would take you to make a swing. That means that the only time you are safe to heal is when your enemy is open for attacks - you can't heal at any time you like, you need to create an opening first.
Those are some basic examples of lessons DS tries to teach you. There are many other things that you need to know in order to defeat the game. I feel that above everything else, Dark Souls is a learning experience. If there were an easy mode, you wouldn't need to know about parrying, blocking, weapon speed or the moves of your enemies; you would simply swing your weapon, do more damage than is done to you, and defeat them. If you take the learning away from a game that is all about that, you are left with nothing. That is what Dark Souls would be with an easy mode - nobody would learn without the need to. If the game is hard, and you have an easy way out (easy mode), you are likely to just choose that and never truly learn what DS is about.
What I do agree is that the game should explain some of its mechanics better, and force you to do each of the basic moves at least once so you know your arsenal better.
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December 24th, 2012, 02:58
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
At least give us an easy or casual option that can let us play the game without having to worry about dying a million times.
That’s the whole point!

'Can you live through a million deaths and earn your legacy?'

You are meant to feel like a king when you beat that game! As in being proud of yourself. No, the difficulty is one of its good points. Besides, how can they market a game with 'Prepare to die!' if you can set it to 'casual' and stroll through it? They really wouldn’t be delivering on their promise that way.
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December 24th, 2012, 03:39
Yes dying is a big part of the core design, it would ruin the feel completely.. also don't give up too fast on this game, the begining is the hardest..

SiiiiLENCE the DISCOOOORD…
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December 24th, 2012, 05:13
I almost feel like the "difficulty" is a label they don't deserve that's only stuck about because gamers are such whiny little bitches these days. Too much world of warcraft. How is a dark souls boss any harder than a coin-op boss from any game from the 90s?

As challenging as these games are, I'll take any advantage I can. But with more dynamic AI, this type of exploit should be eliminated, and Dark Souls II will only be better for it.
Maybe that should read "harder for it" because these "exploits" are intentional and one of the reasons its not really "random reviewer difficulty adjective" hard.

I mentioned old WoW before and I'd like to draw attention to its "monster max follow distance" system. We've all played wow, right? Fromsoftware guys have probably checked it out in the last 8 years?

In wow the monsters will follow you for x distance then they'll turn invincible, rapidly regen all their life to full and run back to the spawn point. Anti monster "train" systems are in place so people can't pull massive groups onto other players to grief them, etc.

In Dark Souls, however, the "max monster follow distance" appears to be a touchplate trigger on the ground or invisible wall. When they run they do not heal or become invincible! Havel won't leave his tower, near the grass crest shield the silverknight won't enter the tunnel to the drake valley, etc. Almost every monster can be reduced to an easy but time consuming fight dancing around their return trigger. This isn't dumb AI. This is obviously by design and likely part of the "core" game the old director was referring to. You only found this trick because, like the first boss, you ran past and came back later.
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December 24th, 2012, 05:46
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I don't mind having to check the internet for various things in a game, but I do have a problem with intense difficulty. At least give us an easy or casual option that can let us play the game without having to worry about dying a million times. Leave a hard and even very hard option for those who want it, but give us an easy mode that is easy to beat.
Dark Souls already has an easy mode.
It's called "paying attention to what you're doing".
There isn't a single part of the game that requires quick reflexes or inhuman reaction times, quite the opposite: the pacing is quite slow and it's more about being careful (or at least learning from your mistakes) than developing some sort of super-skill.

I'm going to state it bluntly: whoever claims that "Dark Souls is too hard/unfair" is just dumb or at least incapable to pay any attention to his playstyle.
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December 24th, 2012, 06:11
Hmmm…I make no claim that it is "unfair" — and I support them maintaining their original vision — but at least a couple of the bosses require quick reflexes as far as I can tell. Even the first one, from what I've played.

If you know differently, feel free to enlighten me but do so it without being a smug prick and calling me dumb.

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December 24th, 2012, 07:13
These games are not really that hard, especially for anyone willing to put a bit of patience into them. However, I do think some of the weapon and equipment options are a bit esoteric. They can definitely make the game more accessible without dumbing down the essentials.
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December 24th, 2012, 08:09
How to make a game better? By making it better, of course! Kotaku, providing insightful commentary every week!

GAMES JOURNALISM!
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December 24th, 2012, 11:23
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I don't mind having to check the internet for various things in a game.
I do. You should not have to check the internet for anything. The game should explain itself. And I understand what they were trying to do with the "social" component, but I want a game to explain itself in single player mode, I don't want to rely on other people helping me out with in-game hints. I played the game offline. And if that's an option, it should be a working option.

Originally Posted by Steinawarjar View Post
You are meant to feel like a king when you beat that game! As in being proud of yourself.
That's ridiculous. Playing a game is nothing to be proud of. We are all losers for wasting our precious time playing games. You need to admit this to yourself. I am a gameplaying loser. On the other hand, go ahead and feel like a king. I don't mind the game giving you that kick. What I mind is that you don't want me to be able to enjoy the game in my own lazy way. I have said this before, and I will say it again: An easy mode does not prevent you from playing the hard mode. (No, really, it doesn't.)

Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
I'm going to state it bluntly: whoever claims that "Dark Souls is too hard/unfair" is just dumb or at least incapable to pay any attention to his playstyle.
If you say so. I'm just dumb then. It's my opininon that games should be exactly as hard or as easy as you want them to be. And dumb people should be able to play too.

Originally Posted by UnDeaD View Post
Dark Souls is a learning experience… If you take the learning away from a game that is all about that, you are left with nothing. That is what Dark Souls would be with an easy mode - nobody would learn without the need to.
Life is a learning experience. And it actually teaches you usefull stuff. I don't want to spend my gameplaying time learning how to play the game. And Dark souls is not nothing without it. I love the design and atmosphere of the game, and would happily play it for that alone. I hate "repeat until you get it right" gameplay.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Hmmm…I make no claim that it is "unfair"
Neither do I. At least not until the unbeatable boss, where you can't avoid dying and waking up in a cell. Many games play this type of trick on you, and I usually don't mind. But I felt that Dark Souls broke its own rules at that point, and that's when I gave up on the game. And I felt kind of stupid for not giving up earlier.
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December 24th, 2012, 11:27
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Hmmm…I make no claim that it is "unfair" — and I support them maintaining their original vision — but at least a couple of the bosses require quick reflexes as far as I can tell. Even the first one, from what I've played.
Can´t speak for Tuco, but my two cents would be mentioning that there isn´t animation cancellation in this game. The length and nature of pc´s animations depend on weapon/spell types or equipment load and as such this aspect in my book constitutes, besides stats, a major component in the game being an action RPG, not merely an action game.
Being aware of your character´s animation/move set available at a given moment is an important part of overcoming the game´s challenges.

Similarly, the enemies also come with sets of their own "canned" animations and their attacks usually consist of three phases - harmless beginning whose purpose is to inform player about what type of attack is about to happen (sometimes this is not an animation but a sound), the attack itself and a wind up period.
Being aware of enemies´ animation/move sets is another important part of overcoming the game´s challenges.

These two aspects make me agree with the sentiment that paying attention > quick reflexes in this game. Granted, it IS an action RPG so reflexes do come in handy, some enemies (the DLC ones in particular) are fairly relentless and parry/riposte requires good timing, but in general I´d say "being good" at paying attention takes one further than being good at "twitch".
As a side note, I´d say Dark Souls in general is kinda a game of paying attention since paying attention is really useful not only in combat, but also when it comes to exploration or story .

=========

As for the "accessibility" point, personally I won´t mind if they´ll
a) make more detailed tutorial
b) make first few hours of the game a bit easier (I´d say Capra demon in particular is a rather misplaced/quite unfair encounter)
c) make crafting info a bit more telling (in particular, I´ve found not knowing what weapon type I need to upgrade to +10 in order to create a weapon from boss souls to be a needless info withholding - I would prefer the secrecy to lie elsewhere, like in an NPC able to craft such weapon being well hidden)

No to easy mode .
(and I think that due to multiplayer component such mode might be quite unlikely)
Last edited by DeepO; December 24th, 2012 at 12:43.
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December 24th, 2012, 11:37
I like the difficulty but I would like a better/different savegame system.
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December 24th, 2012, 12:38
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
I like the difficulty but I would like a better/different savegame system.
Of course, the difficulty would be no problem if you could save anywhere.
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December 24th, 2012, 12:54
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
As for the "accessibility" point, personally I won´t mind if they´ll make crafting info a bit more telling (in particular, I´ve found not knowing what weapon type I need to upgrade to +10 in order to create a weapon from boss souls to be a needless info withholding - I would prefer the secrecy to lie elsewhere, like in an NPC able to craft such weapon being well hidden)
All such info being available in books you could find in the game would be a nice touch.
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December 24th, 2012, 13:16
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
That's ridiculous. Playing a game is nothing to be proud of. We are all losers for wasting our precious time playing games. You need to admit this to yourself. I am a gameplaying loser. On the other hand, go ahead and feel like a king. I don't mind the game giving you that kick. What I mind is that you don't want me to be able to enjoy the game in my own lazy way.
And is playing games like Planescape,KotOR II,Bioshock waste of your time?Those game are more deeper than most literature I read and most movies I watched. This year also few games came out with very good mechanics and story(or both).If you are wasting your time with games and feel like looser than you are doing something wrong.
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December 24th, 2012, 13:28
Originally Posted by Nameless one View Post
And is playing games like Planescape,KotOR II,Bioshock waste of your time?Those game are more deeper than most literature I read and most movies I watched. This year also few games came out with very good mechanics and story(or both).If you are wasting your time with games and feel like looser than you are doing something wrong.
Being a loser wasting time was a comment to the notion of accomplishment. If you value accomplishment, you should not be playing games. I play games as entertainment. And playing a good game is time well wasted, in my opinion.
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December 24th, 2012, 13:49
Originally Posted by UnDeaD View Post
If there were an easy mode, you wouldn't need to know about parrying, blocking, weapon speed or the moves of your enemies; you would simply swing your weapon, do more damage than is done to you, and defeat them.
Exactly. Sounds good to me .

Why do you care how I experience the game and what I "learn" from it?

People should have the option of making the game easy for those who just want to experience the other parts of the game.

I believe games should be more all-inclusive and allow anyone to play them.

That's why I like games like Kingdoms of Amalur. It was an epic fantasy game that was simple enough for everyone to play, yet still had depth for those who wanted it. Same with Skyrim really.

Dark Souls can do the same once it stops isolating itself from some gamers.
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December 24th, 2012, 14:41
Originally Posted by UnDeaD View Post
Fluent, the game is difficult at first because people don't know the mechanics. There are lots of things from the start that allow an experienced player to totally smash through monsters at any level with (almost) any equipment. A few examples of things you CAN'T do in DS are:
*spam attacks without planning - every swing is a commitment, if you miss, you are open for a counterattack
*rush in carelessly - if it's a new enemy - raise your shield; you need to know the moves of enemies so you know when you can safely attack without taking damage yourself
*heal up during the fight without earning it first - in Dark Souls, the time it takes to drink a potion is roughly equivalent to the time it would take you to make a swing. That means that the only time you are safe to heal is when your enemy is open for attacks - you can't heal at any time you like, you need to create an opening first.
Those are some basic examples of lessons DS tries to teach you. There are many other things that you need to know in order to defeat the game. I feel that above everything else, Dark Souls is a learning experience. If there were an easy mode, you wouldn't need to know about parrying, blocking, weapon speed or the moves of your enemies; you would simply swing your weapon, do more damage than is done to you, and defeat them. If you take the learning away from a game that is all about that, you are left with nothing. That is what Dark Souls would be with an easy mode - nobody would learn without the need to. If the game is hard, and you have an easy way out (easy mode), you are likely to just choose that and never truly learn what DS is about.
What I do agree is that the game should explain some of its mechanics better, and force you to do each of the basic moves at least once so you know your arsenal better.

*APPLAUSE*
Dude thats the best break-down of Dark souls ive heard, from an outside source, I give my own DS rants on a daily basis, or whenever it comes up
This is just so exactly true with Dark souls, I mean you dont necessarily have an open world to explore, or too non-linear of a story but boy oh boy does this game have lessons to teach. Lesson after lesson, and I feel the exact same way about the difficulty, in fact I feel like its the ability to change that difficulty that stops people from learning, just like you said. If players can pop the difficulty down every time they encounter resistance, than they never learn how to actually conquer every element of the game. And THAT is why Dark souls players are badasses and exactly why harder-core games win, people who play those games are masters of them, and they defend all the hard work theyve done to the death.

This is what I would love: Elder scrolls frame, but put the principles and the originality of Dark souls in. You may have the perfect game.

"Every man dies. Not every man truly lives."
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