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

December 27th, 2012, 07:52
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
"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."

Strongly disagree. Games are experiences. Having wildly divergent difficulties makes for wildly divergent experiences. The game developers should focus on creating one experience that they really want to create. They shouldn't give up a narrow focus and goal in order to appeal to everyone.

I'm not one of those "all games suck now"-type gamers, but I definitely think there is an issue with modern games. They have little focus. Little vision. They stick something in a game for everyone and end up with something that appeals to noone.

Seriously, if you don't like Dark Souls, don't play it. Don't destroy this thing I love in the hopes of making it appeal to more players, when you're really just making it into another thing entirely.

Strong insight, brother

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December 27th, 2012, 07:54
Originally Posted by TheWharfMaster View Post
Strong insight, brother
Yeah, that post was good and pretty spot on.
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December 27th, 2012, 10:06
It is actually. Somewhere quite close to perfect, that is.
Like every game in existence, it has some issues, of course.
Sure, it's close to perfect if you like that particular sparse and barren feel with narrow gameplay (we're talking EXCLUSIVELY combat) and almost no lore. I guess you do, but I don't - not really.

It's like a serious blast from the past with strong visuals and a great combat system, but with similarly limited content and a one-trick pony delivery of what's there.

Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
I think thereīs nothing really archaic about
a) filling a game world with opponents of different strengths and other characteristics
b) putting in some challenges one has to overcome to proceed further
You mean filling your world with opponents that can be overcome through skilled execution of combat abilities - and then putting in obvious over-sized obstacles as a means of gating content?

Yeah, that's archaic - as it was among the first concepts to arrive in game design - and it could really use a disappearing act.

Note that that's just my opinion. I'm sick and tired of facing a huge mean beastie at the end of whatever road, as it's so fucking predictable. I'd like an ending that was just a prolonged interactive story sequence or a cerebrally challenging/engaging experience, or maybe a very easy fight because I've gotten so very powerful.

Anything but yet another boss fight.

In the whole game thereīs a single boss fight (a certain Bed) that Iīd put into this "puzzly" category of yours.
Then thereīs one (a certain demon with dogs) that, at least according to my experience, is set up in such a way that luck plays bigger role in it than it in my opinion should.
I put puzzle in quotations marks, because I'm not talking about actual puzzles but fights where you need to discover some clever mechanism or whatever - they're just not about applying your combat experience. I like combat to be about the experience of fighting with your arsenal and applying what you've learned throughout the game. As for Dark Souls, I admit I never got very far in it. I played Demon's Souls about halfway through, though, and people are telling me it's pretty much the same thing except with more non-linearity. I guess the boss fights are different?

Overcoming the other ones is all about tactics, common sense and good eye .
Well, if you say so. In Demon's Souls - it was about figuring out what "gamey" thing you had to avoid so you could overcome the boss. Very much like the typical shooter end-boss fight. It was never about applying your normal arsenal. Also, some of the bosses could be exploited - which is another typical weakness of boss fight challenges.

That's not to say the monsters weren't designed with great care and skill - and I can easily sympathise with people getting enthralled with a harsh and intricate combat system and beautiful world design. It's just not enough for me.

It's almost like they have everything in place except the actual content - unless you consider endless fights and elusive bits of spooky spoken lore content.

We got the great combat and the wonderful world design - but where's the actual GAME? You know what I mean?
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December 27th, 2012, 10:20
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
I want to enjoy a game that's challenging. For Christ's sake, what's so wrong with that? What's so wrong with wanting a game where the focus is on creating a challenging experience?
There is nothing wrong with that. But in order to make the challenge at least somewhat equal for different players, you need difficulty settings. If a game is reasonably challenging for you, it will probably be too hard for me, because I suck.

Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
This is a game built around a certain level of challenge. The lore, the music, the atmosphere, the respawn and saving mechanics, the quasi-multiplayer and online messages - they're all built around a challenging game.
I agree. And I don't want to change the core experience.

Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Again, if you want an easy Action RPG, there are -ample- options.
But I don't want an easy game. I want a good game.

Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Seriously, answer this simple question: should every game be designed for absolutely everyone? Or do you accept SOME specialization? SOME ability for designers to design a game for an audience?
Of course not. Games should be like books or movies. Different games for different tastes. But as far as difficulty is concerned, the simple answer is yes! Everybody should be able to pick up a single player game and get through it on their own terms.
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December 27th, 2012, 10:23
Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
Everyone can make a game that is simply hard or frustrating, that's true. But what makes DS stand out compared to many games today is exactly how it achieves the goal to be mildly challenging (because let's face it, it's not even that hard, it has this reputation just because many gamers are spoiled sissies today) without ever being unfair or frustrating just for the sake of it.
I agree. I like the combat and type the of difficulty it presents. I love the rather slow, deliberate pacing, and the fact that the game plays fair (mostly). I wouldn't have spent over 100 hours playing the game if I didn't like it. But I still suck at it. It's not that I can't figure out how to beat enemies in the game. Even when I know exactly what to do, I find the timing and execution hard. Much for the same reason, I never play real time strategy games, while I love turn based ones.

Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
That's where the good system design -and not the "cheap tricks", as you claim- shines.
I agree. The system design shines. It's the level of difficulty that's the cheap trick.

Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
Every time you die, you never feel like the game has cheated you, you have to admit you probably did something wrong.
That's only true if you possess a certain manual dexterity and coordiantion. When I finally defeated Ornstein and Smough, it was not because I had suddenly figured out how to do it, it was sheer luck that I was able to actually implement my strategy. And that's not how it's supposed to be.
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December 27th, 2012, 11:54
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
It will be interesting to see what the Dark Souls people think is best for their franchise.
I think they can have their cake and eat it too. Because there is nothing particularly wrong with the game, and the difficulty is mostly a marketing ploy.

Here is what I suggest they do: Keep the core gameplay and difficulty as it is, in order to market the game to elitist gamers who like bragging rights and the satisfaction of beating a challenge. (This game is supposed to be hard, dude!)

Include a "Sorry Loser" mode. If you start the game in this mode, you are awarded an ironic "Sorry Loser" achievement (this is foremost a console game after all) and you are cut off from the online community with all its hints and multiplayer options, as well as from the prospect of earning any further achievements with this "Sorry Loser" character. What you get instead is the option to tweak the damage taken from 100 percent (as in the core game) down to perhaps 80, 60, 40 or 20 percent.

Downgrading your regular character to "Sorry Loser" status should be an option at every campfire, should the game prove too frustrating in the long run. Playing as a "Sorry Loser", you should be able to adjust the difficulty up or down at every campfire, but once a character is awarded "Sorry Loser" status, it stays that way, of course.
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December 27th, 2012, 13:30
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
It will be interesting to see what the Dark Souls people think is best for their franchise.

Either they are going to try to be more accessible to reach a broader audience like Skyrim, get more sales, more notoriety, more open sharing of ideas, etc. Or they are going to stay with their niche audience and just try to please those core gamers, and in essence isolate themselves from the broad audience they could have captured if only they had made some changes.

I for one, hope they become more accessible. An easy mode, a very easy mode, more tutorials, etc. Give the casual gamers a fun experience with your game as well.

I look at Skyrim. There are what, 4 or 5 difficulty modes? And Master is challenging, for those who want it, and Novice or whatever is easy for those who want that. It's not hurting anybody to have those options.
You know, i have never heard of this game until i read threads on various game forums about how tough it was. That is what made me want to play it. If i read about how accessible it was, i wouldn't have given it a second thought.

And as far as the multiple difficulty options, i think that's a cop out. Instead of focusing on difficulty mode, the devs should focus on enemy AI. Make the enemies smarter in battle. Don't just give them extra hit points, ect..but, give them various battle strategies. Modders can do this, i don't see why the devs can't.
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December 27th, 2012, 14:45
@Tuco, I don't understand your hostility, I am just expressing my opinion not hating on yours. Bethesda is my fav company, and it is a lot of people fav company you can think we don't know rpg's or whatever that is fine. There are always going to be small specialized community's that differ with a certain point of view , there is always going to be a niche group with very specialized taste. You can always just dismiss anyone that disagrees with you and just say that don't know any better, even if its an overwhelming number of people, including game critics, industry people, the average gamer, whatever.

I happen to agree with the mass(critics and gamers) when it comes to TES and the Fallouts. You don't fair enough. But I am not brash washed, I just think they make open world rpg's better than anyone else, and open world rpg's are my fav games. I did not put 100's hours into those games because of some critic, or some award or some sales figures I saw, I put them in because how much fun they are and how super customizable they are.

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Last edited by Kefka; December 27th, 2012 at 23:26.
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December 27th, 2012, 16:25
Originally Posted by UnDeaD View Post
The boobs are also a fucking lie!
Those are pretty big spoilers, careful with that .

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December 27th, 2012, 16:30
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Sure, it's close to perfect if you like that particular sparse and barren feel with narrow gameplay (we're talking EXCLUSIVELY combat) and almost no lore. I guess you do, but I don't - not really.
Itīs combat AND exploration (and both reinforce each other).
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's like a serious blast from the past with strong visuals and a great combat system, but with similarly limited content and a one-trick pony delivery of what's there.
AND great level design, rewarding exploration, unique atmosphere.
I wouldnīt call tight design focus and weaving various gameīs facets into coherent, organic experience a "one-trick pony".
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You mean filling your world with opponents that can be overcome through skilled execution of combat abilities - and then putting in obvious over-sized obstacles as a means of gating content?
Yes. Boss fights, as designed in Dark Souls, can also be overcome through skilled execution of combat abilities and as such constitute a natural, honest way of gating content - once you reach these "gates" thereīs nothing artificial standing in your way of overcoming them (like, say, a massive damage resistance providing invulnerability against level 1 characters). In essence theyīre no different to other obstacles in the game, combat or non-combat.
Now, level scaled loot in Skyrim, thatīs the kind of gating that needs to go.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Note that that's just my opinion. I'm sick and tired of facing a huge mean beastie at the end of whatever road, as it's so fucking predictable. I'd like an ending that was just a prolonged interactive story sequence or a cerebrally challenging/engaging experience, or maybe a very easy fight because I've gotten so very powerful.
Personally Iīm only finding this grating when itīs present in a game where Iīd consider it a design contradiction, or inconsistency. Like, for example, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
In Dark Souls itīs in line with its design focus. Itīs not a game with major stealth or speech skill systems as one of its cores.
Btw, Iīve only seen it on youtube, but Iīm quite sure that the last boss in Demonīs Souls was designed to be truly pathetic and the last boss in Dark Souls happened to be a pushover in both of my playthroughs (though I donīt think this encounter was designed specifically as such, I probably just was very powerful ).
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I like combat to be about the experience of fighting with your arsenal and applying what you've learned throughout the game.
Thatīs how boss fights (bar those two exceptions Iīve mentioned earlier) in Dark Souls work.
Tying this back to the "gating" point - boss fights are one of the forms in which the game gives you a feedback about how much you (or your character) learned throughout the game.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
As for Dark Souls, I admit I never got very far in it.
How typical .
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's almost like they have everything in place except the actual content - unless you consider endless fights and elusive bits of spooky spoken lore content.
The gameplay focus is on combat (which includes character building) and exploration and the content is built around that, with being challenging for players in mind.
Lore and a lot of story bits not being served on silver platter is consistent with the overall design philosophy behind the game and only reinforces the sense of the gameīs strong and consistent identity.
Itīs a game with narrower design focus than, say, Skyrim, but what it focuses on is largely of great quality, whereas in the case of Skyrim the majority of its facets fall flat and the only consistent quality is quantity.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
We got the great combat and the wonderful world design - but where's the actual GAME? You know what I mean?
No, I really donīt.

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December 27th, 2012, 17:34
Originally Posted by TheWharfMaster View Post
Strong insight, brother
Insight? This guy quite obviously doesn't understand what Fluent and Mr Smiley are saying. I will type in upper case so you guys can read it better: THEY DON'T ASK FOR A GAME TO BE MADE EASIER BUT THEY DO ASK FOR AN EASY MODE. YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE GAME WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BUT THEIR WILL BE ENCHANCED. Capisci?
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December 27th, 2012, 18:13
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
Itīs combat AND exploration (and both reinforce each other).
Yes, exploration that will lead to more combat and NPCs with nothing much to say. Which is why I don't enjoy exploration in the game. I'm missing stuff like books, puzzles, NPCs with meaty story content and so on. You know, stuff found in other RPGs.

AND great level design, rewarding exploration, unique atmosphere.
I wouldnīt call tight design focus and weaving various gameīs facets into coherent, organic experience a "one-trick pony".
I explained above why I don't think much of the exploration, so that's out. Atmosphere, sure. I've conceded that the world design is great - but the game is almost entirely about combat. That's the one-trick pony part. It also has a character development system (albeit a boring stat-based one - though I concede the stats mean more than in most games) and items to find that will enhance your ability in combat - so it's not strictly a one-trick pony.

But it makes sense that you'd like it, as you also seem fond of Mass Effect 2 and 3 - both of which are primarily filler combat and a tiny, tiny bit of worthwhile exploration. That said, they do both have lots of story content - which Dark Souls doesn't have. They also both have endless boss fights that you have to overcome.

Generally, you just really like fighting and fighting and fighting

Yes. Boss fights, as designed in Dark Souls, can also be overcome through skilled execution of combat abilities and as such constitute a natural, honest way of gating content - once you reach these "gates" thereīs nothing artificial standing in your way of overcoming them (like, say, a massive damage resistance providing invulnerability against level 1 characters). In essence theyīre no different to other obstacles in the game, combat or non-combat.
I'll have to take your word for this - as it's pretty opposite to what Demon's Souls did as I recall.

The difference between bosses and other obstacles is that you die when you make a single mistake (mostly) - and that's the gating aspect. You HAVE to overcome it or you won't progress. When you encounter normal enemies, you can fumble a bit and still survive.

Now, level scaled loot in Skyrim, thatīs the kind of gating that needs to go.
Level scaled loot is precisely NOT gating. But I don't like gating at all. I like free-roaming worlds with exploration, story, puzzles and stuff like that. I don't like barren worlds with a few words of mystery to represent the lore.

Personally Iīm only finding this grating when itīs present in a game where Iīd consider it a design contradiction, or inconsistency. Like, for example, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
That's fair enough. I, however, don't like boss fights in the traditional sense - and Demon's Souls focused on them. Apparently, in Dark Souls boss fights are much like all the other fights - except for the size of the bosses. At least, going from what you're telling me.

In Dark Souls itīs in line with its design focus. Itīs not a game with major stealth or speech skill systems as one of its cores.
Or much of a story, interesting and meaty NPCs, worthwhile exploration and so on. No, definitely not.

Btw, Iīve only seen it on youtube, but Iīm quite sure that the last boss in Demonīs Souls was designed to be truly pathetic and the last boss in Dark Souls happened to be a pushover in both of my playthroughs (though I donīt think this encounter was designed specifically as such, I probably just was very powerful )
I never got to the end of Demon's Souls. I completely lost interest along the way, as there was basically no meat on the game. I guess Dark Souls may be different. I've been meaning to play it more than the few hours I did with my PS3 version. I saw nothing that really set it apart from Demon's, but it seems I was wrong.

That said, it won't be based on your recommendation alone, as I've tried that with ME3 already. It has turned out even worse than I imagined after ~20 hours or so, and it's amazing that you like it so much. Again, it must come down to the love of samey filler combat.

Thatīs how boss fights (bar those two exceptions Iīve mentioned earlier) in Dark Souls work.
Ok, sounds good.

Tying this back to the "gating" point - boss fights are one of the forms in which the game gives you a feedback about how much you (or your character) learned throughout the game.
Again, I'll have to take your word for it. It's strange that it's said to be so similar to Demon's Souls when the boss fights are so different.

How typical .
It can't be much of a surprise that I don't progress far in games I don't like. At least I've played it for a few hours. The first boss you encounter was very much like a typical Demon's Souls boss in a lesser form - where you have to learn his timing and his movement pattern. That's what I'd consider a minor puzzle, though very easy. The difference between such a boss and regular enemies is that you don't die immediately from normal enemies. Maybe puzzle is the wrong word - but let's just say I don't really like games with too many of such fights. They don't feel like real combat - and they feel more like david against goliath. I don't like that.

Basically, they function as a more intense pressure as you struggle to figure out whatever you have to do - and then you adapt and overcome while being under pressure. But it doesn't actually take much of a brain or anything like that - it's just pressure from obscene amount of damage. It's very much like MMO fights or similar - and I find them so incredibly boring - because the nature of the challenge is not that you have to be clever, but that you have to avoid dying until you figure out what's typically very simple mechanics.

I like it when I execute my combat moves perfectly, and the enemy dies in a few hits. It's ok that I have to have perfect timing, but I don't like bosses that can take a LOT of hits. I just find the whole small being against large beast so boring and archaic.

Most RPGs have it, however, and I'm not saying Dark Souls is unique in that way. It just seems to be about that and little else.

The gameplay focus is on combat (which includes character building) and exploration and the content is built around that, with being challenging for players in mind.
Exploration that will lead to nothing but more barren levels and the occasional item not showing up in the actual world - yeah. But not exploration like Fallout or Skyrim, where you'll find unique books/lore/puzzles/interesting NPCs and stuff like that. That's what I like about exploration - not so much the levels themselves, unless they have a history about them.

Lore and a lot of story bits not being served on silver platter is consistent with the overall design philosophy behind the game and only reinforces the sense of the gameīs strong and consistent identity.
Yeah, I get it. Lore that doesn't actually exist but is there in your head. Fantastic design

Look, I get that you like small story bits and you like filling in the blanks using your imagination. I don't particularly like that, however.

Itīs a game with narrower design focus than, say, Skyrim, but what it focuses on is largely of great quality, whereas in the case of Skyrim the majority of its facets fall flat and the only consistent quality is quantity.
I don't agree with that at all, which I'm sure you're aware of - given this specific example. But it's true that Skyrim is like a sea and Dark Souls is like a little river. There's a ton of fantastic material in Skyrim - but every single dungeon is not going to be of the same quality - and some aren't all that interesting. But there are literally hundreds of interesting locations with completely unique little stories to them. Much, much more appealing in terms of exploration and lore than anything in Dark Souls - as far as I've seen. Demon's Souls, certainly, didn't have much in the way of exploration beyond the levels themselves. That's nice enough - but no different from the average MMO. I like to find unique stuff and meet unique people with unique stories to tell.

No, I really donīt.
Well, I suppose you wouldn't call it close to perfection if you did
Last edited by DArtagnan; December 27th, 2012 at 18:44.
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December 27th, 2012, 18:35
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
Insight? This guy quite obviously doesn't understand what Fluent and Mr Smiley are saying. I will type in upper case so you guys can read it better: THEY DON'T ASK FOR A GAME TO BE MADE EASIER BUT THEY DO ASK FOR AN EASY MODE. YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE GAME WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BUT THEIR WILL BE ENCHANCED. Capisci?
I'll tell you what zahratustra, you go back and read the thread. Catch yourself up. Make sure you know what the discussion is about. Then you can come back and dazzle us with your wisdom, m'kay?


As for the ongoing discussion between people who know what the discussion is actually about, I think there are really two divergent points here:

1. Whether or not a game should be tightly designed for a core experience.

2. Whether or not you can add a half-ass easy mode while maintaining the design for the normal (challenge-seeking) audience.

It doesn't seem like the central argument is about 1 anymore. You guys seem to accept the fact that this is a difficult game made for those who want that.

The problem is that 2 is actually a less coherent argument than 1.

See, once you add an Easy mode you can do one of two things: a. Maintain your tight design philosophy, but just double the workload by doing twice over with two different targets of difficulty. b. Half-ass either the new Easy mode or the original Difficult approach.

You all seem to be mixing together these two -very- different outcomes. In outcome a., you're asking for a game developer to create two games, which is nearly insane but which is at least coherent. In outcome b., you're saying you want the developer to open up its game.. by creating a half-assed experience? I mean, how does that open up the game to anyone? How does it do anything except shit all over the tight, core design that we all supposedly want?

On top of this, how would this expand the market? You seem to be saying that, if they only make an Easy mode, it will double the market over night. However, when the mode designed to double the market is half-assed, I'm not exactly sure how that's supposed to work. I love multiplayer, but that doesn't mean I love half-assed multiplayer shoved in a game in the last minute to check a box on the cover.

Of course, b. could just as easily mean that the original challenging experience is the one that gets half-assed. Which is the reasonable result of trying to change or expand your audience. It's also what the people who LOVE these games are so terribly afraid of.

I mean, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Either the developer has to use double the resources, which won't happen, or they have to half-ass one of the two core experiences. You all argue they'd half-ass the Easy experience, but that makes absolutely no sense if you're also arguing that they need to embrace an expanded or different audience. It also makes no sense from an economic standpoint, as why chase an audience just to give them a half-assed game experience?

I guess they could also 3/4ths ass both game experiences, but that still does damage to the original fans while offering the "new" audience a less-than-stellar experience. Lose lose lose.
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December 27th, 2012, 19:05
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
I'll tell you what zahratustra, you go back and read the thread. Catch yourself up. Make sure you know what the discussion is about. Then you can come back and dazzle us with your wisdom, m'kay?

Of course, b. could just as easily mean that the original challenging experience is the one that gets half-assed. Which is the reasonable result of trying to change or expand your audience. It's also what the people who LOVE these games are so terribly afraid of.

.
Most easy modes I come across are just half asses stat changes, which is fine by me. Simply increase the amount of dmg the PC does or the decrease amount of DMG the pc takes is all that is need for most games. I personally hate it when games alter other things, for example enemy A.I. But normally difficulty settings are simple changing of some stats, not difficult to implement and quite fine for most gamers. Plus this simply kind of change can be scale easily either way, so you can have a harder mode as well, which I am sure would appeal to many in the core crowd that likes the game.

The other slightly more involved accessibility feature that I think all games should have, but completely understand them not having it, is the bypass or game plays for you feature. For example in RDR if you fail a mission enough times you can just skip it, or for some Mario games, die enough and you get the option for the game to just play the level through for you.

People play games differently, I know for some its difficult to understand how anyone would want to, or enjoy Dark Soul that was not as difficult. But people have different taste. I don't understand people who constantly use fast travel in TES/Fallout games, one of things I most like about the games is the exploring, to me using fast travel to get everywhere just undermines one of the best things about the game.

I know many on the TES boards that would agree, but I also know even more that love using the feature a lot. And I know some that say they can't help themselves and have to use a mod to turn it off. Strange to me(esp the can't help themselves crowd, that say they don't like it, but use it anyway) but its not my game, not my life.

I don't like very hard games, I play games to relax, there just a fun diversion, for me reading a book, playing an instrument, learning a language or taking online classes to learn about new things our outlets I use to challenge myself. I have played plenty of games on easy or very easy mode and was quite happy with the experience. Based on the reviews, videos,etc I have seen of Dark Souls it looks like a game I would enjoy if I only did not die so much and I think I am pretty good at knowing what I like to play.

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December 27th, 2012, 19:40
Kefka, I agree with you that, in some kinds of games, that approach to difficulty makes perfect sense. However, Souls is basically nothing a but a series of challenges. There aren't towns. There isn't much narrative. The series of events is quite linear, so it's not really that open-ended for exploration. This game is basically nothing but a series of challenges.

Above, I compared it to an Adventure game. I mean, how would you make an Easy mode for an adventure game without either making it worthless or designing a second game? The same is basically true of Dark Souls. Different scenes are combat puzzles of sorts that you need to solve. It's not like Skyrim where a simple shift of stats results in broadly the same experience at a different difficulty level. I forget who said it, but someone said something along the lines of "In a game built around learning, taking out the learning leaves you with nothing." I think that's true of Souls.

Honestly, if you don't like challenge, I don't know what you want from Souls. There are plenty of action RPGs built for people who aren't looking for that level of challenge. That's all Souls is. As Dartagnan is (to some extent) pointing out, this -is- what the game is. There's not a lot else to it.
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December 27th, 2012, 21:17
Playing DS to relax is like playing Skyrim for the battles It's not what those games are about at all.. Not sure how an easy mode would be done in DS.. Bosses has less HP? The game would probably have gotten many 6-7/10 reviews with an easy mode, it would take away too much from the game.

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December 27th, 2012, 21:36
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yes, exploration that will lead to more combat and NPCs with nothing much to say. Which is why I don't enjoy exploration in the game. I'm missing stuff like books, puzzles, NPCs with meaty story content and so on. You know, stuff found in other RPGs.
1. NPCs get additional dialogues as you progress through the game and most of them are in various ways tied to mini story arcs. If you explore youīll find some of the NPCs visiting various places and progressing through their own stories, which you can in various ways influence. There are some choices and consequences even. One spoiler-y example of a mini story arc with some choices:
Spoiler

2. There are no books in the game, but pretty much all items youīll find offer bits of story or lore in their descriptions.
3. In a broader sense, Dark Souls is one of the more puzzle-filled games released in recent years. A lot of these are of environmental variety, aka how do I get to that item over there, there are also illusory walls which, besides few implemented in a truly obscure fashion, can be revealed if you pay attention, and there are even few traditional ones that include manipulating a contraption.
Unlike most puzzles in Skyrim (maps being an exception), these puzzles fit organically within the gameworld and solving them often actually requires a bit of attention.
Navigating the gameworld and opening the short cuts is a sorta puzzle in itself.
4. As for the exploration itself, it gives you more insight into the gameworld, letīs you experience various story bits, either via NPCs or level design/loot/enemy placement and opens up variety of covenants with own benefits and story aspects, though these are more an online thing.
Plus, exploration expands the portfolio of how you can progress in the game significantly - itīll net you not only more powerful items or spells, but also items or spells that will open doors to new play styles. As such it plays an important part in your characterīs growth and ties directly into the roleplaying aspect.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But it makes sense that you'd like it, as you also seem fond of Mass Effect 2 and 3 - both of which are primarily filler combat and a tiny, tiny bit of worthwhile exploration.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Generally, you just really like fighting and fighting and fighting
Oh, please .
You, on the other hand, generally just really like holding down "w".
In general I just like games which do what theyīre focused on well and if there are some less successfully implemented aspects, I donīt mind them if these donīt negatively influence the good stuff much. For example, I donīt mind Tormentīs sorta suck-y combat, because the gameīs focus is largely on unveiling the story and interacting with characters in an unusually imaginative gameworld (which is what I like Torment for).
For similar reasons I consider ME2 to be a better game than ME1, since it, in my book, does better what it focuses on (combat, interactions, lore "delving" - the world only truly opens up in ME2, in ME1 a lot of the lore was just codex entries), while the weaker stuff pretty much rests on the periphery/in background (a rather weak core plot). ME1, on the other hand, is diluted by bloated and half-assed RPG systems (inventory, itemization, skills), one of its major components, exploration, is dreadful (and most definitely not worthwhile) and its combat, also a major component, doesnīt approach decency neither as a shooter-y nor as a tactical party-based iteration.
Your evaluation of the games may differ, but thatīs in this case besides the point.
As for ME3, yes I find its combat system enjoyable and donīt really mind most of the rest (and like some of it).
The series worked well for me as easygoinī popcorn entertainment I donīt mind engaging in once in a while and I like them for the setting, cinematic nature of storytelling with a strong emphasis on character aspect and, in the case of the latter two, combat. Combat alone would not cut it.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The difference between bosses and other obstacles is that you die when you make a single mistake (mostly) - and that's the gating aspect. You HAVE to overcome it or you won't progress. When you encounter normal enemies, you can fumble a bit and still survive.
The only difference is that once you engage with most of the bosses, you have to defeat them if you want to survive.
There are many other obstacles, be it environments, lone enemies or group of enemies, where a single mistake will cost you a life, the bosses just tend to fall into the most difficult category of these.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Level scaled loot is precisely NOT gating.
It precisely is. It is content that you donīt have access to unless your character is of adequate level, which is also what makes it a bad kind of gating as itīs artificial restriction at odds with verisimilitude and game rules. I mean, a heavy weapon requiring a certain level of strength to be wielded effectively is gating that makes some sense, content of chests being aware of what level a pc is doesnīt.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It can't be much of a surprise that I don't progress far in games I don't like.
It also isnīt much of a surprise it doesnīt stop you from making sweeping assessments of these games.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The first boss you encounter was very much like a typical Demon's Souls boss in a lesser form - where you have to learn his timing and his movement pattern. That's what I'd consider a minor puzzle, though very easy. The difference between such a boss and regular enemies is that you don't die immediately from normal enemies. Maybe puzzle is the wrong word -
Yes, puzzle is the wrong word. Most, if not all, enemies could be characterized as puzzles in this manner, they just tend to be easier to defeat than the bosses.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yeah, I get it. Lore that doesn't actually exist but is there in your head. Fantastic design
No, you just have to pay attention.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There's a ton of fantastic material in Skyrim - but every single dungeon is not going to be of the same quality - and some aren't all that interesting. But there are literally hundreds of interesting locations with completely unique little stories to them.
A book or a bit of level design here and there doesnīt quite save most of the dungeons from being linear, filled with same-y enemies, scaled loot and mostly devoid of unique challenges. Different city layouts and thousand of NPCs donīt really overshadow generally poor quality of interactive writing (aka writing not presented in the in-game book format) and repetitive quest design.
Personally I found exploration in Dark Souls more worthwhile because I prefer when it is challenging, appropriately rewarding and doesnīt feel like its main reason for existence is to provide players with sightseeing.
I did like Skyrim overall, but mostly because itīs a fairly unique experience as a whole, not because itīs a well woven together set of design elements, like Dark Souls is.

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Last edited by DeepO; December 27th, 2012 at 22:23.
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December 27th, 2012, 21:48
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Kefka, I agree with you that, in some kinds of games, that approach to difficulty makes perfect sense. However, Souls is basically nothing a but a series of challenges. There aren't towns. There isn't much narrative. The series of events is quite linear, so it's not really that open-ended for exploration. This game is basically nothing but a series of challenges.

Above, I compared it to an Adventure game. I mean, how would you make an Easy mode for an adventure game without either making it worthless or designing a second game? The same is basically true of Dark Souls. Different scenes are combat puzzles of sorts that you need to solve. It's not like Skyrim where a simple shift of stats results in broadly the same experience at a different difficulty level. I forget who said it, but someone said something along the lines of "In a game built around learning, taking out the learning leaves you with nothing." I think that's true of Souls.

Honestly, if you don't like challenge, I don't know what you want from Souls. There are plenty of action RPGs built for people who aren't looking for that level of challenge. That's all Souls is. As Dartagnan is (to some extent) pointing out, this -is- what the game is. There's not a lot else to it.
But again I have read briefly some of the cheat engine forums regarding those modding the game and many seem quite pleased. I have heard from many people on forums who played the game and kinda liked it but quit because they died to much, if they only died less it would have been fun. It may seem strange to you, but people have different taste.

You can see this with Beth's games, many people mod them to something I would find unplayable and terrible but there quite happy.

@Vurt, Oblivion has my fav combat in rpg's along with Beth's Fallout's(for real time at least, the Final Fantasy's might be my fav overall). And Skyrim is just an enhance version of that combat. People have different tastes.

I find it highly unlikely that game review scores would have changed if there was an easy mode, they might might change for the better but almost certainly not for the worse. It would take nothing away from the game, it would only add to the game for some people. Esp since a simple stat change easy mode, almost certainly means a hard mode as well, which I think would go over quite well with many DS fans.

Easy mode would be done like most other games that have different difficulty settings simple stat changes, e.g, deal more dmg, take less, etc. And of course with easy mode there would also be hard more, where you deal less dmg, or take more whatever, which like I said above I am sure would appeal to many in the core audience that likes Dark Souls.

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December 28th, 2012, 01:21
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
1. NPCs get additional dialogues as you progress through the game and most of them are in various ways tied to mini story arcs. If you explore youīll find some of the NPCs visiting various places and progressing through their own stories, which you can in various ways influence. There are some choices and consequences even. One spoiler-y example of a mini story arc with some choices:
Spoiler
That doesn't actually sound like much of a story - more like a series of minor events. I suppose that could be considered a "mini story" - but it's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about books, notes, dialogue and interaction - not minor events in a chain. Story in the form of words - not a handful of NPCs acting according to something you did or didn't do - which you typically have no way of establishing before it happens.

Incidentally, this is yet another aspect that's identical to Demon's Souls - where you also had some mostly faceless NPCs go about doing a few things based on your actions - with minimal story elements.

Now, I'm not saying there's NO story - but that it's a minor element. What you're describing doesn't really change that. I suppose the story bits you unlock represent something, but I seriously doubt they'll suffice for what I want.

Let me guess, you don't get even get much of a story about the guy in question?

2. There are no books in the game, but pretty much all items youīll find offer bits of story or lore in their descriptions.
Tiny bits, sure

3. In a broader sense, Dark Souls is one of the more puzzle-filled games released in recent years. A lot of these are of environmental variety, aka how do I get to that item over there, there are also illusory walls which, besides few implemented in a truly obscure fashion, can be revealed if you pay attention, and there are even few traditional ones that include manipulating a contraption.
Yeah, there was some environmental interaction in Demon's Souls as well, though I wouldn't consider them puzzles. It was more about pulling handles after progressing that would allow shortcuts.

Could you describe some of the puzzles? Because if there are actual puzzles or riddles - I might reconsider playing it.

Unlike most puzzles in Skyrim (maps being an exception), these puzzles fit organically within the gameworld and solving them often actually requires a bit of attention.
Ehm, why don't you think the puzzles in Skyrim fit organically into the gameworld? There are plenty of those.

But I wouldn't say the puzzles are the strongest part of Skyrim. The best parts are more about the books/notes you find that expand the lore and most locations have some kind of history or reason to be there. I like that.

Navigating the gameworld and opening the short cuts is a sorta puzzle in itself.4. As for the exploration itself, it gives you more insight into the gameworld, letīs you experience various story bits, either via NPCs or level design/loot/enemy placement and opens up variety of covenants with own benefits and story aspects, though these are more an online thing.
Wow, you're really stretching this aren't you. Opening short cuts is a puzzle? The tiny bits of text on items represent story? They're bits - that's fine - but it's not very meaty and you know it.

Plus, exploration expands the portfolio of how you can progress in the game significantly - itīll net you not only more powerful items or spells, but also items or spells that will open doors to new play styles. As such it plays an important part in your characterīs growth and ties directly into the roleplaying aspect.
I believe I've already conceded that you find items, and I don't think mentioning that those items expand your arsenal changes anything. That's what items and spells do in RPGs.

You, on the other hand, generally just really like holding down "w".
In general I just like games which do what theyīre focused on well and if there are some less successfully implemented aspects, I donīt mind them if these donīt negatively influence the good stuff much. For example, I donīt mind Tormentīs sorta suck-y combat, because the gameīs focus is largely on unveiling the story and interacting with characters in an unusually imaginative gameworld (which is what I like Torment for).
I like that Dark Souls does what it does well - but it's just not enough for me. Again, I guess you just really like combat - because no matter what you claim, that's basically all Dark Souls is.

For similar reasons I consider ME2 to be a better game than ME1, since it, in my book, does better what it focuses on (combat, interactions, lore "delving" - the world only truly opens up in ME2, in ME1 a lot of the lore was just codex entries), while the weaker stuff pretty much rests on the periphery/in background (a rather weak core plot). ME1, on the other hand, is diluted by bloated and half-assed RPG systems (inventory, itemization, skills), one of its major components, exploration, is dreadful (and most definitely not worthwhile) and its combat, also a major component, doesnīt approach decency neither as a shooter-y nor as a tactical party-based iteration.
I completely disagree about the lore in ME2. ME established pretty much all the lore and ME2 offered nothing that could even come close to what an entire universe and its lore represents.

But I get what you're saying - you like the entirety of games based on how well its features are implemented, regardless of whether that's narrow or particularly interesting features?

Nah, ok, ME2 had better shooter mechanics than ME and it removed some features that were poorly implemented in ME - and that's about it. Apparently, you liked the entire game better because of that. Except you also seem to have imagined ME2 being "lore delving" where ME1 wasn't? Which is really, really strange.

Also, you didn't like exploring in ME1 - and I found exploration more interesting for the main quests.

But I believe we've been through that already.

Your evaluation of the games may differ, but thatīs in this case besides the point.
As for ME3, yes I find its combat system enjoyable and donīt really mind most of the rest (and like some of it).
The series worked well for me as easygoinī popcorn entertainment I donīt mind engaging in once in a while and I like them for the setting, cinematic nature of storytelling with a strong emphasis on character aspect and, in the case of the latter two, combat. Combat alone would not cut it.
90% combat, however, DID do it

But that's ok - and a lot of people liked ME2 and ME3 more than ME.

The only difference is that once you engage with most of the bosses, you have to defeat them if you want to survive.
There are many other obstacles, be it environments, lone enemies or group of enemies, where a single mistake will cost you a life, the bosses just tend to fall into the most difficult category of these.
Yeah, that's my point. Bosses will kill you much faster - and most other enemies will allow for a few mistakes and will not necessarily demand perfect timing. Bosses also have a lot more hitpoints. That's the pressure I'm talking about. They also have more elaborate mechanics that you can't learn before the encounter - and you will almost certainly die while learning them in most cases.

Could you be fair? Or are you just going to pretend that bosses aren't actually bosses - exactly like I'm describing them. They all have attack patterns and unique tactics you need to learn to overcome them. Looking at the wiki - they're describing strategies for all of them.

Normal enemies tend to have simpler mechanics and have fewer hitpoints - and they tend to not kill you in one hit. That's what makes them normal enemies.

That doesn't mean that normal enemies are easy - or that you can just bash away. If it's anything like Demon's Souls (and so far, it sounds identical - pretty much) - you need to time your attacks differently for each normal enemy and if you're going to be argumentative - you could call them all mini-bosses, but you'd know you were being silly for doing so.

It precisely is. It is content that you donīt have access to unless your character is of adequate level, which is also what makes it a bad kind of gating as itīs artificial restriction at odds with verisimilitude and game rules. I mean, a heavy weapon requiring a certain level of strength to be wielded effectively is gating that makes some sense, content of chests being aware of what level a pc is doesnīt.
You don't seem to understand the concept of content gating. Gating is an obstacle to overcome so you "unlock" access to new content in the form of new areas or bundles of content representing progress. Scaling like in Skyrim is just about as far away from gated content as you can get, because you have access to pretty much everything regardless of your level and your experience. Again, no, we're not being 100% literal - and yes you CAN find chests that are locked for your level. I've noticed that you like to be literal when arguing stuff - rather than reasonable. I guess that works for you, but it doesn't help your case with me much. All it does is reinforce the impression that your point is a weak one that needs the help of semantics to survive a little longer.

Anyway, Skyrim is the opposite end of the spectrum.

That said, I don't like level scaling at all. I like neither content gating nor level scaling. I like the Gothic way of doing things - which isn't gating and it isn't scaling. It's just a hard world where you can explore and do things almost at will, but you'll have to train hard to get good at fighting. But you won't find many huge bosses that you have to figure out unique and gamey mechanics to overcome.

It also isnīt much of a surprise it doesnīt stop you from making sweeping assessments of these games.
You mean that you disagree with my assessment, and therefore I must be wrong and you're desperately exaggerating the strengths of Dark Souls in an effort to prove it.

It might suit you to own up to reality and just accept that Dark Souls have certain strengths and not certain other strengths. I mean, honestly, you're trying to paint a picture of Dark Souls like a game with a ton of story and lots of meaty NPC interaction. You're pulling all you can from the game that resembles what I'm looking for - and you're fully aware that those things won't suffice. Also, you're trying to make me into some nut that just haven't experienced the wonder of the game and I'm making these extreme statements about what it is and what it isn't - without having played it all the way through.

This, despite the fact that I put 30-40 hours into a game that's nearly identical according to pretty much everyone except you.

Dark Souls is GREAT at what it does - which is combat and atmosphere. It's got great level design - and if you like exploring mostly barren levels where findable objects aren't actually visible in the game, then it's probably good for that as well.

You overestimate what it takes to determine the core nature of a game - but that doesn't mean my mind can't change and I can't accept the weaknesses if there's something surprising that you can't know without having played all of it.

But the core of the game is not going to change.

I understand that you liked the game, and you have a hard time accepting that I don't - but it's not necessarily because I'm wrong. I'm probably just a different person who likes my story and exploration handled in very different ways.

We've already established that you think very, very differently when it comes to ME2 - so it's hardly a stretch that it's the same with Dark Souls.

For instance, you just mentioned that ME2 was more "lore delving" than ME - and that really tells me that we have very different ideas of what lore means.

Yes, puzzle is the wrong word. Most, if not all, enemies could be characterized as puzzles in this manner, they just tend to be easier to defeat than the bosses.
Yes, you could strictly categorize a lot of things as a lot of things. But I think puzzle in quotation marks will suffice for anyone not stubbornly ignoring the facets of boss fights that resemble puzzle solving - if only partially. Looking at the wiki, the boss fights are not at all just regular fights - they seem to ALL have unique mechanics that you couldn't possible learn through playing normally until the encounter. So, you're not being truthful - or the wiki is a liar. Which is it?

No, you just have to pay attention.
Yeah, for some reason I need to pay attention to experience the story that's being told. Unlike other games that just tell them outright.

I have to watch some guy react to a few key actions and then boom, there's a story magically conjured up that I needed to pay attention to.

Even with those events, I'm willing to bet they're rare and that story is, indeed, quite sparse. But you're not going to acknowledge that, are you?

A book or a bit of level design here and there doesnīt quite save most of the dungeons from being linear, filled with same-y enemies, scaled loot and mostly devoid of unique challenges. Different city layouts and thousand of NPCs donīt really overshadow generally poor quality of interactive writing (aka writing not presented in the in-game book format) and repetitive quest design.
Personally I found exploration in Dark Souls more worthwhile because I prefer when it is challenging, appropriately rewarding and doesnīt feel like its main reason for existence is to provide players with sightseeing.
I did like Skyrim overall, but mostly because itīs a fairly unique experience as a whole, not because itīs a well woven together set of design elements, like Dark Souls is.
A book and a bit of level design? Now you're really being fair - aren't you. I will concede that Skyrim lacks challenge and you need mods to get the best out of it, but I think you're vastly underestimating the quality of unique content in the game - but that's down to taste.

Considering how broad and ambitious Skyrim is - I think it's a near miracle in terms of how the design elements work together. But that's me.

I'm not particularly impressed when a narrow design is executed well, because I care more about the overall experience - and I tend to be bored by narrow designs.

Dark Souls is like a harsh Diablo with a different perspective. It's about combat, combat and more combat - and your character developing in strength and finding items. That's about it. It even shares a very familiar gothic atmosphere with the first Diablo - which I believe is one of the prime inspirations for both Dark Souls and Demon's Souls. Furthermore, it doesn't have that many NPCs - and they mostly just spout a few lines of loosely connected story at you - just like Diablo, where most of the story was told in the manual.

A fine Diablo - except it's got a somewhat boring character system and an underwhelming loot system. Yeah, I know there are several items and you can craft a lot of stuff (well, I assume it's not different from Demon's here either) - but it's nothing compared with a strong loot game. Also, I doubt it can compare in terms of replayability.

The combat system, however, is outright fantastic - there's no denying that. Perhaps the best combat system of any RPG.

I'll grant that.
Last edited by DArtagnan; December 28th, 2012 at 09:16.
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December 28th, 2012, 04:43
Originally Posted by Kefka View Post
Easy mode would be done like most other games that have different difficulty settings simple stat changes, e.g, deal more dmg, take less, etc.
It's already in the game, it's called "leveling up". I found the game very (too) difficult before leveling up my character quite a bit..

And yes, i really believe an "easy mode" from the start without much challange (no need to level up even) could really have lowered the overall score from reviewers, in fact i'm 100% sure it would.. It sounds to me like you havent played the game and therefore don't get it.

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