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September 6th, 2013, 12:01
USgamer has a two part editorial for Dark Souls. You can read the first part here.

The name for the PC version says it all, really. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die. In a time where games don't so much hold your hand as they do smother you in positive feedback, Dark Souls stands as an anomaly. Beloved for its savagery and lauded for its fair-but-tough-as-Battletoads design, From Software's action role-playing game provides no quarters, no allowance for mistakes. Where victory in another game is all but predestined, Dark Souls will contest every second you spend alive; a nightmarish Horatius at the bridge. To reach the end of the bleak, sprawling pilgrimage that the game puts you on, you'd need more than time. You'd need perfect execution, a fierce sense of obstinacy and the willingness to die again and again.
The second part continues the article.

What do you do when you've done it all? What do you do when you've beaten one of the most unforgiving experiences known to gaming kind? You go back to the beginning, prepared to prove that flesh trumps binary.

"People either get addicted to trying out new builds and beating the game (PvE) over and over, or they become a Darkwraith and pledge to make the game as hard as it is for everyone else as it was for them. It's as if beating this game gives you the same motivation the the games bosses have; you want to kill anyone who is trying to beat Dark Souls." jpflagg remarks.

A good example would be those affiliated with the Gravelord Servant Covenant. Considered by many to be even more antagonistic than the Darkwraiths, Gravelords seem to live exclusively for a solitary purpose: to hurt.
More information.

"We must stand strong my fellow watchers against the horde of red trolls."- The Couchpotato
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September 6th, 2013, 12:01
I've been contemplating getting this… if it was on a sale. I've heard so much good stuff about it, and it does sound intriguing…
That PvP aspect with other players entering your game, I assume you have to explicitly allow that in-game?

Exitus acta probat.
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September 6th, 2013, 17:21
Originally Posted by wiretripped View Post
I've been contemplating getting this… if it was on a sale. I've heard so much good stuff about it, and it does sound intriguing…
That PvP aspect with other players entering your game, I assume you have to explicitly allow that in-game?
No. If you're connected to the internet, then if you're not "hollow", you can be invaded. You become hollow by dying once. You escape being hollow by using 1 point of Humanity; you can earn Humanity e.g. by getting summoned as a phantom by another player and helping him defeat the area boss. Now, not being hollow makes you a possible invasion target, but also lets you summon other players for help. It's a tradeoff.

I have to say, after having played Dark Souls for 50+ hours and Demon's Souls for 40+, that the multiplayer features form an integral part of the games. It's great to have the thrill of disposing of an invader, or helping someone fight a difficult boss. You can also see 'bloodstains' which let you witness the death of other players in the area, which can give you some hints as to what can happen in the given spot. Also, you can read or write messages on the ground, which can be of great help in DS's unforgiving world.

I never liked internet aspects of games before I played Dark Souls.
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September 6th, 2013, 17:30
But you can play hollow most (maybe all?) of the game, if you dislike the online aspect. Other than the summoning/invasion I think the only major thing you need to be human for is what's called "kindling bonfires" - basically doing that gives you additional health potions when you respawn at that bonfire.
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September 6th, 2013, 17:45
I've played for 50 hours so far and no one has "invaded" me yet. Summoning other players to help me defeat a particularly difficult boss was great fun. Best multiplayer feature in a single-player game that I can think of.
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September 7th, 2013, 01:34
Originally Posted by wiretripped View Post
That PvP aspect with other players entering your game, I assume you have to explicitly allow that in-game?
What Elwro says about needing to be human and not hollow is correct, but its not quite as simple as that.

Firstly, to invade someone you have to be human and use a "cracked red eye orb" in an area where you have NOT killed the boss yet. There are only about 10 of these orbs to find per play-through so invasions are quite limited. (however, 4 are right near the start of the game…)

The invasion level range only allows you to invade a player 10% lower level than you, but any amount higher in levels, so it's quite likely invaders are much weaker than you. Level wise, anyway.
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September 7th, 2013, 09:19
You can also play offline if you want. The game is the exact same except you can't be invaded or summoned by other players.
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September 7th, 2013, 13:38
The only correction is that the invader does not need to be human, the one being invaded must. Also, area bosses being alive only count for the one being invaded. In other words, you can invade any time anywhere, but will only be successful if someone in the given area is in human form, in your level range (10+10% of the invaded's level), and hasn't killed the boss there (except some areas are always safe because there are no bosses assigned to those to begin with). Also, though Cracked Red Eye orbs are limited, you can join the Darkwraiths for the Red Eye Orb which gives unlimited invading capability.

I've clocked over 250 hours in DS, going as far as NG+4, and while invasions can be really annoying when you want to summon NPCs or other players for a PvE challenge, most of the time you can easily avoid them (for instance, suicide after kindling bonfires if you don't want to risk it). Even if you are slain by an invader, it's not a biggie, since invasions will be blocked for 15-20 minutes thereafter. You can also join the 3 co-op covenants that lower the chances of invasions.

My only big gripe is that you gotta use all kinds of tricks and minor hacks to coop with friends. I find that altough bosses become a bit too easy, the game is awesome fun otherwise. I wish they would have some kind of option for that in DS2, but I understand their reluctance to do so.

The other trouble I experienced with invasions is when experienced players start out a new char in NG, keep it around level 25 by not investing in level-up, but get op weapons and armor, upgrade pyromancy flame to full, and one shot newbies who are exploring the first levels. This has been fairly common in the last few months. I see no point in it, since to do this, you gotta spend hours and hours of grinding with a low level char (or hack), and then terrorize people who have no means to defend themselves. I have no issues with invasions, but the point would be to pose a real and fair threat, not to purposefully terrorize and put off newcomers to the game. Devs should somehow correct this (like, not tie PvP to soul level, but to souls spent).
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September 8th, 2013, 00:04
Damn, you just wanna make more work for me, don't you! Time for some schoolin'.

Originally Posted by Soulbane View Post
The only correction is that the invader does not need to be human, the one being invaded must.
Both must be human. If a phantom is killed, good or bad, they keep their humanity and return to where they were summoned from. (so you can do many invasions with 1 humanity.) FRIENDLY players for co-op don't need to be human to be summoned. Invaders do.

Also, area bosses being alive only count for the one being invaded.
You can't invade people in an area where you've killed the boss. Those players invading in undead burg skipped the taurus/capra/gaping demon by going through the forest via havals tower using a master key.

In other words, you can invade any time anywhere, but will only be successful if someone in the given area is in human form, in your level range (10+10% of the invaded's level), and hasn't killed the boss there
10+10% is the co-op summoning range. Invasions are 10% higher, unlimited lower than you.

Also, though Cracked Red Eye orbs are limited, you can join the Darkwraiths for the Red Eye Orb which gives unlimited invading capability.
It's called the "Red Eye Soapstone" and I didn't mention covenants to avoid over-complication.

I've clocked over 250 hours in DS, going as far as NG+4, and while invasions can be really annoying when you want to summon NPCs or other players for a PvE challenge, most of the time you can easily avoid them (for instance, suicide after kindling bonfires if you don't want to risk it).
If you suicide you lose your humanity anyway. Why not try to fight? 250 hours and you're easily avoiding invasions by killing yourself? hah hah hah, they didn't even need to invade to kill you. Fear was enough!

Even if you are slain by an invader, it's not a biggie, since invasions will be blocked for 15-20 minutes thereafter. You can also join the 3 co-op covenants that lower the chances of invasions.
It's no biggie since your souls still be where you died, same as if you died to any monster. But because….


The other trouble I experienced with invasions is when experienced players start out a new char in NG, keep it around level 25 by not investing in level-up, but get op weapons and armor, upgrade pyromancy flame to full, and one shot newbies who are exploring the first levels. This has been fairly common in the last few months. I see no point in it, since to do this, you gotta spend hours and hours of grinding with a low level char (or hack), and then terrorize people who have no means to defend themselves. I have no issues with invasions, but the point would be to pose a real and fair threat, not to purposefully terrorize and put off newcomers to the game. Devs should somehow correct this (like, not tie PvP to soul level, but to souls spent).
Dying to invaders doesn't matter because souls don't matter!

These guys you talk about are not level 25. They're level 1 pyromancers and they're there to duel eachother as much as to mess with noobs. They often roleplay posing as Bighat or Solaire and really make the game interesting for a new player. Making a level 1 darkwraith is one the the ultimate rites of passage which I see you have not yet accomplished. (if you've actually ever invaded anyone at all ) They're not cheating they're just pro as fuck.

At the end of the day the game is winnable without grinding and without leaving level 1 so deaths don't really matter. It's only your fear of losing the souls thats making you mess up.
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September 8th, 2013, 21:04
I stand corrected in having to be in human form to be able to invade. It seems whenever I invaded I was in human anyway, so I did not realize it. Also, you're right with the level cap thing, I never really checked how it works for invasions and assumed it's the same for all multiplayer.

However:

- You definitely can invade where you have killed the boss. I know I have. You can't gravelord in areas where you have killed to boss, though.

- I was talking about the Red Eye Orb, not the Red Sign Soapstone. There's no such thing as 'Red Eye Soapstone'.

- You may have misunderstood my comment on suiciding. I don't use it often, but I know lots of players do, when they want to upgrade bonfires for their estus, but don't want the invasion hassle in where they go next. I can understand that, and sometimes do that myself before venturing into large unexplored areas to be able to go about it slowly (or well, I used to do that when I was new to the game). Besides, I think it's less of a question of losing the one humanity, and more of losing collected souls and of losing level progress upon invasion (if you lose at all). Of course you can beat the game on level one, but that is not something beginners do, and since Wiretripped asked about multiplayer and its effects on a single-player-minded playthrough, I was trying to be helpful.

- I don't see how exploiting poorly done game mechanics and preying on newcomers prove that they are "pro as fuck" or what makes it an "ultimate rite of passage". I threw in lvl25, because you don't need levels for the pyromancy exploit, but you do for the advanced gear exploit (stats need to be met). I also never said all of them are cheating (altough many "pros" use all manner of hacks quite often). I tried to explain how I believe it is a great investment of effort and time only to be able to mess with newbie's games. I find it distasteful, more than anything.

As for your condescending demeanor, I cannot place it anywhere. I was merely trying to be informative and give advice for a possible beginner. I also am not sure as to who needs schoolin' on what.
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September 8th, 2013, 23:08
Originally Posted by Soulbane View Post
- You definitely can invade where you have killed the boss. I know I have. You can't gravelord in areas where you have killed to boss, though.

- I don't see how exploiting poorly done game mechanics and preying on newcomers prove that they are "pro as fuck" or what makes it an "ultimate rite of passage". I threw in lvl25, because you don't need levels for the pyromancy exploit, but you do for the advanced gear exploit (stats need to be met). I also never said all of them are cheating (altough many "pros" use all manner of hacks quite often). I tried to explain how I believe it is a great investment of effort and time only to be able to mess with newbie's games. I find it distasteful, more than anything.

As for your condescending demeanor, I cannot place it anywhere. I was merely trying to be informative and give advice for a possible beginner. I also am not sure as to who needs schoolin' on what.
You're right! You can have killed your boss. Tested with a new roll.

What pyromancy exploit? What poorly done game mechanics? The game is designed so you don't need to level up. Whats poorly done about you deciding to spend your souls on levels while they spend theirs upgrading their weapon? There's not a lot OP you can do with 12 str, 9dex… Edit: Also, you gotta think about invasions in a roleplaying kinda way. There's no immersion breaking chatlog or voicechat. If someone appears in your game and you get annihilated by them. What happens? You think they must be cheating or you have a new rolemodel. How did they do that?! What journey did they go through to get to that point.
Consider the tale of Dark Knight Kirk. Sometimes something that appears evil can be the be "good" in another way. (don't get any ideas USA military )

And if they cheat at all they're not pros in my book. But I do understand theres "cbf cos im almost over the game" cheating and nasty character destroying angry-kids. The former, I suppose, 'could' have been fitting my "pro"requisites.

Don't worry about my demeanor; if you play dark souls then I'm your friend.

edit2: back again! One more thing I think you have to understand is I've loved every time I've been invaded. It's always exciting, half the time I win, and very often there's a "good duel" message waiting which turns into a hardcore game mechanics discussion with like-minded players. The picking on noobs is all in your head. You're just being shown the future! Be honored at their presence as you're likely an unworthy opponent being given a special event.

edit3?I've even had repeated duels with a couple of guys who ended up dropping me pine resins and cracked orbs and stuff. ALSO, I've invaded people and given them Baldur Side Swords and things if I see they're in bad gear.
Last edited by SirJames; September 8th, 2013 at 23:44.
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September 9th, 2013, 09:55
I tried not to read about the game when I started playing Dark Souls. I got invaded first when I got to the church behind the boar. I had no idea what was going on. It was almost a religious experience; a Black Phantom sent down by the unknown gods to punish a pagan trespasser
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September 9th, 2013, 19:54
@SirJames

First off, you gotta understand, that I sorta worship the game. I haven't had such a wonderful gaming experience in many years like the one I've been having with DS. I adore the lore and find the game extremely well-done in mechanics and design.

What I meant by 'poorly done game mechanic' is - and is ONLY - the fact that you can simply upgrade pyromancy flame to ascended +5 without gaining a single level or investing in any stat at all. It's an exploit in my book. You may be a glass cannon, but with advanced pyromancies, there's no way low levels can stop you (and it could be that higher level players fall foul of such a trick). Like when cooping in the Depths and you get invaded by a nekkid guy who immediately spams Firestorm with a +5 ascended pyromancy flame. I don't see the fun and thrill. Pyromancy is the only kind of the 3 magics that is not tied to a stat, and I think it's not very well done. Nothing else can be exploited to be OP in such a way. Everything else is near-perfectly balanced stat and scaling-wise. Many players - me among them - feel it's an unfortunate mechanic, especially when it's coupled with the invasion mechanic.

I have no problem with getting invaded by a guy who is nekkid and hands my ass to me on a silver platter when I see how good he is. I have no problem seeing how someone made the best out of their low level builds and practiced PvP to awesome levels. I have a problem being one-shot for 900 damage in fire resistant gear when level 20. I have a problem with guys who get backstabbed by me for 600ish damages 10 times and their health bar does not move. I have a problem with being backstabbed from the front.

As an avid fan of the game I can admit that the multiplayer has huge issues, partly due to peer-to-peer and poor infrastructure, and partly due to game design. Remember, they did patch in the multiplayer level restrictions later, and apologized saying they overlooked how badly the unpatched multi mechanic is gonna be exploited.

And still I adore the game. I just wish the invasions were 100% fair, and that is why I think they should not only consider levels in matchmaking, but somehow calculating gear, too, especially if they have something like pyromancy, which is not at all stat-related, therefore, exploitable. I also wish they could do something against hackers, and probably in DSII they will!

Ps: Kirk's a badass, I love his armor.
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September 10th, 2013, 00:47
Originally Posted by Soulbane View Post
the fact that you can simply upgrade pyromancy flame to ascended +5 without gaining a single level or investing in any stat at all. It's an exploit in my book. You may be a glass cannon, but with advanced pyromancies, there's no way low levels can stop you……

I just wish the invasions were 100% fair, and that is why I think they should not only consider levels in matchmaking, but somehow calculating gear, too, especially if they have something like pyromancy, which is not at all stat-related, therefore, exploitable. I also wish they could do something against hackers, and probably in DSII they will!

Ps: Kirk's a badass, I love his armor.
Yeah, I understand.

The pyromancy flame costs 350,000 souls to get to ascended +5 and that's the required souls to level 77. That's before the soul cost of the spells too.
There's no way matchmaking is fair if it's only taking into account souls spent on levels and not on equipment upgrades.

…But then again… Who said Dark Souls had to be fair? *queue thunder*
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September 10th, 2013, 01:12
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Yeah, I understand.

The pyromancy flame costs 350,000 souls to get to ascended +5 and that's the required souls to level 77. That's before the soul cost of the spells too.
There's no way matchmaking is fair if it's only taking into account souls spent on levels and not on equipment upgrades.

…But then again… Who said Dark Souls had to be fair? *queue thunder*
edit: …And the last thing I want to see in Dark Souls 2 is all those level requirements or class requirements on items, set bonus' that force you into the same gear as every other cookie cutter class build. The less like World of Warcraft it is the better.

Dark Souls is all about knowledge and to get your level1 a +5 ascended pyromancer flame required vast amounts of experience, skill and knowledge. The game would suck if you ran to the drake sword and it said "level 35 required, Warrior only. Gimped if you don't wear it with the other dragon bits.".

edit2. oh shit this isnt an edit, its a new post. /redface

moreedit: I think the fact that all the special "buff" effects in dark souls are either on rings or "swap a real helm for a headslot ring" helms shows the developers are aware of the MMO "everyone looks the same" trap from having linear upgrade paths, like +STR on one armor set, so I'm not too worried just yet.
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September 10th, 2013, 22:16
Yeah, no, I would loath level requirements. But I think a 'souls spent' meter and thus criteria for multiplayer could make it more fair, even if it took away a little bit of the metagaming that we love. I like strict but fair. Strict but unfair is just meh… I only feel that I beat a challenge, or defeated an opponent for real if we were on equal terms. But really that's the only trouble I see with multiplayer.

As for all the rest you said, I wholeheartedly agree. I have some fears regarding the game director being replaced and all, but everything looks shiny as of now.
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