Jimquisition: Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

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Seth Carter:

Aeonknight:

Need to be able to dodge specific attack/combos because they eat up too much stamina to safely block and punish? Probably not the best idea to be in full Havel's if you're going to try that strategy. Enemy uses fire? Fire resistant shield/armor. Group of enemies? Use a bow to pull one at a time.

^Actually my main dispute with DS. Its usual methods of "difficulty" are mostly countered by breaking out of the game to play meta-style (Kiting enemies). Or stuff like the Capra Demon who attacks in the middle of a loading screen (white wall, whatever) and gets 90% of its challenge from camera going nuts due to the walls of the closet or whatever that little room is meant to be.

On the broader topic ,having the easy mode wouldn't kill it. A game with infinite respawning with no permanent consequence (Oh no, lost souls, I can get more of them from every single monster in the game!) isn't exactly rocking the hardcore boat to begin with, whatever its fanbase thinks.

The fan-base thinks it's nowhere near as hard as people make it out to be, which kind of goes along with why it doesn't need an easy mode. Also, antagonizing the fans isn't convincing me you have our interests in mind. Implying you don't like the game and think less of me for playing it isn't exactly leaving me brimming with confidence that your recommendation will reflect my best interests. Almost the opposite, believe it or not.

And we can go back and view any of tons of methods used in past games to encourage people to play on Normal/Hard (Locking out Easy after one playthrough, disabling NG+ on Easy mode, lowering souls gained (which would ironically cause the Easy mode to get harder in the endgame), disabling high scores, locking them out of PvP, giving them poorer endings, etc). Theres a ton of of potential carrots to push people to experience the game "properly", but if you push them right out of the game to begin with you lose your potential audience

I'm not looking to punish people for not playing right and boss them around and make them play it the "right" way. I want uncompromising tension and genuine challenge that can't be trivialized with a menu, and a crafted experience that doesn't resemble repetitive encounters lining long hallways. That's what I have gotten used to. I don't think I should have to give up the one freaking game that offers me that. You don't like the game, you don't like us, and you don't understand where we're coming from. If people want easy mode there are games for them. Games and games and games and games. They don't need Dark Souls.

(Either as an artist or a businessman, you're presumably looking to deliver your work to a wider set of people)

/sigh

Clive Howlitzer:

Mortrialus:

Clive Howlitzer:
I have always been confused by people who get all bent out of shape when there are optional features in a game to make it easier or harder. In my eyes, more options is always better. That way everyone is happy. You want an easy experience, you have it, you want a punishing one, there ya go.

I like your assumption that as a matter of fact you can make everyone happy with a game if you just put enough options in it. You can't. It's why things like genres exist in the first place.

I like my assumption also. That is why I made it. Thank you for noticing!

It's a false assumption. You can stick as many customization options, modes, in a Madden game as you want. I'm not going to be interested in it. The same thing applies to other people regarding Dark Souls.

Rooster Cogburn:
It's amazing, Dark Souls probably has the most incredible and mature community out there with the worst reputation. People just make assumptions about us based on what we like.

Just by reading 4 pages of this thread, I can tell you that the reputation isn't undeserved. Thus far, people who would like an easier option in the game have been told "you just don't get it" - like Dark Souls is some kind of philosophical abstract painting. This is the type of bogus thing said by hipsters when you tell them that something is boring and/or offensive to the eyes.

We've also been told that "the game's encounter design precludes an easy mode." Which is bogus in every way imaginable. Want to make the game easier without changing anything? Cut the damage done by enemies attacks by 1/2 and double the number of spells you can cast. Done. Now a single hit by a random zombie doesn't make that entire life forfeit.

I can understand wanting to keep the game the way you like it, but attacking people who find the game boring or aggravating (I'm in the latter category) is absolutely the wrong way to do so. And that is what Dark Souls' fan base has taken to doing.

Rooster Cogburn:

I'm not looking to punish people for not playing right and boss them around and make them play it the "right" way. I want uncompromising tension and genuine challenge that can't be trivialized with a menu, and a crafted experience that doesn't resemble repetitive encounters lining long hallways. That's what I have gotten used to. I don't think I should have to give up the one freaking game that offers me that. You don't like the game, you don't like us, and you don't understand where we're coming from. If people want easy mode there are games for them. Games and games and games and games. They don't need Dark Souls.

A fair argument. Simple solution, lock the difficulty in (or only let it move up from the initial setting). I'm not sure what the encoutner bits about.

Rather then bloat the post, I've spoiler tagged my brief summary of Dark Souls below which actually does contain praise.

(Either as an artist or a businessman, you're presumably looking to deliver your work to a wider set of people)

/sigh

Artists put their paintings in public museums, they don't put it up in a tower you have to scale. I can't think of a musician that recorded his music on 6 copies (I'e handed out a least 1000 tapes and I'm not even a signed artist) and said "Whatever, thats enough". Books are published and sold to whoever buys them. Granted, the difficulty (or perception thereof) doesn't explicitly prevent anyone from playing the game, but I can understand that whoever wants more people to enjoy their work.

Sidney Buit:

Just by reading 4 pages of this thread, I can tell you that the reputation isn't undeserved. Thus far, people who would like an easier option in the game have been told "you just don't get it" - like Dark Souls is some kind of philosophical abstract painting. This is the type of bogus thing said by hipsters when you tell them that something is boring and/or offensive to the eyes..

If you don't see the appeal, maybe something just isn't your cup of tea to begin with? Why is it so hard to understand and accept that?

Sidney Buit:
We've also been told that "the game's encounter design precludes an easy mode." Which is bogus in every way imaginable. Want to make the game easier without changing anything? Cut the damage done by enemies attacks by 1/2 and double the number of spells you can cast. Done. Now a single hit by a random zombie doesn't make that entire life forfeit.

Random zombies are already incapable of one shotting you.

PLUS you have to factor in things like online mode. Do you split the online into easy mode and offline mode? Servers are costly. In addition, skilled players already do low level runs through the game to get top notch equipment and gank low level players and you've just made it easier for them to do that? Do you group everyone together? That presents the problem of vastly more skilled players invading NPCs. Do you just have easy mode lacking in online play? In that case an easy mode still wouldn't allow players to see all the content in the game. Adding an easy mode to Dark Souls is not an easy two step move to making it work.

Plus the simple fact of the matter is that people do not find Dark Souls hard because of the technical skill required to beat the game. You do not need super fast reflexes to beat Dark Souls. You don't need to master a complex series of combos. People find it hard specifically because of the knowledge base players need to acquire to beat the game. It's things like level and enemy lay outs. Trap and ambush locations. Being able to explore properly. Learning enemy move sets and when to attack and when to defend. Learning how to conserve stamina. Learning how to make a good weapon. Learning all of that through trial and error IS the game.

The simple fact is that not everyone is going to like every game. Games can be well made and well designed and still not appeal to everyone no matter how many modes you add. Creating an easy mode where everyone is can beat the game without understanding any of the mechanics is going to cause players to shoot through a threshold of difficulty where people are going to beat the game in between 5-10 hours. It's just not that big. Creating a properly working modal difficulty would require substantial changes to the entire game design. Dark Souls is quite literally not paced or designed in any way shape or form to be easy. The entire game is built to compliment the learning process required to beat the game.

Mortrialus:

Clive Howlitzer:

Mortrialus:

I like your assumption that as a matter of fact you can make everyone happy with a game if you just put enough options in it. You can't. It's why things like genres exist in the first place.

I like my assumption also. That is why I made it. Thank you for noticing!

It's a false assumption. You can stick as many customization options, modes, in a Madden game as you want. I'm not going to be interested in it. The same thing applies to other people regarding Dark Souls.

That sounds like another pretty hefty assumption. So many assumptions around here! It is almost like we are all just people who play video games and don't know dick about game design, no matter how much we like to pretend we do.
However, just speaking on the subject of Dark Souls. I didn't think the game was especially hard, in the honest sense of difficulty. A lot of the game was very trial and error, the lowest form of difficulty. Therefore, I didn't find the game especially difficult. However, I do know people that were very interested in playing the game but were put off by the difficult and still wanted to play it.
So, I know there are at least people that would have played the game otherwise.
Personally, I found the game mediocre, and couldn't get my money back fast enough once I finished it.
Obviously, you can't design tons of games with intricate difficulty levels that suit all gamers and make the game approachable by everyone. However, I also don't think the concept of adding a mode that has say, less damaging enemies or something, really detracts from the enjoyment of those playing on harder modes.
A friend of mine loves story and when she plays games that I do, I tend to play on the hardest setting available, and she always plays on the easiest. We both get our enjoyment from the same game, whereas if you took a middleground and designed the game with a single difficulty, as many games do. There is a good chance the game would be far too hard for her, and far too easy for me. Now no one enjoys the game.
This is a generalization and obviously won't apply to all games, as Dark Souls fans love to point out. Since that game is apparently some kind of artistic work of art. As if brutal RPGs were bad camera controls and horrible pathfinding were somehow new. Although some of the aesthetics were nice.
ANYWAY...to each their own. I must move on from this thread now. I've already broken my rule of not responding to quotes multiple times.

I diagree. I havent even played dark souls, but even I can see that an easy mode would destroy one of the main features. I play alot of Arma 2 myself and if the campaign there could be played with a regenerative healthbar it would not even be remotely the same experience. And I would feel like everyone that played the game like that missed out.

It would be like reading the abstract of a scientific article because you would not understand parts of it, then saying that you have read the whole thing.

But hey, Im not irritated, its just Jim after all.

I have no problem with easy or simplified modes, i have a problem with games where the whole experience is dumbed down (DA2 for one).

Also i don't like the "must access all content" argument, just like equal rights to men and women take into consideration that the genders will always have some differences, you have to consider the differences and objectives between the types of media for that argument.

I agree with Jim over this one, but not entirely. There -are- instances where this dumbing down / pandering to casuals / aiming for a wider audience takes an effect on core gameplay.

Say, as an example, Hitman: Absolution. Apart from certain gameplay mechanics (Cover system) being a result of a new approach rather than making it more casual, the instinct system was definitely an addition that I'm referring to. It was a core gameplay mechanic due to it affecting the disguise system, the cover system and the shoot-outs. It wasn't merely a small, optional addition however. The disguise system heavily relies on it. You can't bypass someone wearing the same outfit without the alarm bells going off and the person recognises you.

What is the consequence of this? Well, the instinct meter degrades far faster on higher difficulties, which means disguises become less and less efficient. On Purist mode ("Designed for the hardcore audience"),it's nigh-impossible to get past anyone with the generally 3-4 seconds long instinct mode availiable for an entire level, resorting in turning the gameplay from being a disguised, infiltrating serial killer (Something that a Hitman game should be about) into dodging from cover to cover, avoiding any form of contact, which is more akin to a dumbed down Splinter Cell in the end.

The instinct mechanic is a core design that, if you get rid of it, results in the gameplay becoming extremely tedious, even at merely the higher difficulty levels. In its function it's a tool that makes situations easier (Pandering to the casuals), but removing it is simply feigning optionality. Such examples clarify the points of those people who also dislike the fact some franchises make attempts to reach out to more people. More often than not, the option to not use the tools and options 'Meant for the casuals' means you have to butcher your own gaming experience to the point it's not challenging, difficult, yet fun, but tedious, underwhelming and lacking in variety, which is something I really disliked in the latest Hitman game, but I'm sure others can raise similar examples.

Korten12:

OMG! I am literally about to rip out my hair, the ignorance in this thread is just amazing. Dark Souls isn't hard because the enemies have too high health or do too much damage, it's not because you do too little damage nor is it difficult because of too low health.

It's difficult because of LEVEL FUCKING DESIGN. In Dark Souls the levels are crafted to be difficult, but possible, in easy mode they would have to change this to be, not difficult and possible. In Dark Souls there are parts where even with more health and damage, it would still be brutually difficult because it has careful placing of enemies spots, traps, and overall just where things are placed.

They would have to redesign all enemies and levels to be easy enough for a casual player to do it. Trying to then apply that to the normal mode it would be way to easy. What allows the quality of the levels to be as good as they're is that they don't have to worry about designing it for multiple difficulties. Games with multiple difficulties usually don't have levels that are built for any specific difficulty but built for ALL difficulties.

That's what makes Dark Soul's unique, it's built from the ground up to be hard, so it's all possible, and difficult at the same time. Enemies don't have a lot of health (some do, but mostly optional enemies), but are placed in the right spots to make it difficult.

The Souls series rewards CAREFUL PLAY and not Reckless play. Apparently people don't understand this and think it's all about Health and Damage when it's not. Bosses usually don't even have that much health, but they all have staredgy's on how to easily beat them.

So yes, Easy Mode would dumb it down by making the levels having to account for both difficulties. Same for bosses and enemies.

This is why fans of the Dark Souls series don't want multiple difficulties because it WOULD suffer.

Pretty sure we've made games with an easy mode without having to change level design before, and still had a fairly challenging game. The easy mode could simply provide them with something like more checkpoints, less punishment for playing recklessly, etc. You're making an assumption and running with it. We don't know what they'll do to provide an easier playstyle. Chances are, the Devs BIGGEST concern is making sure that they don't change anything that will ruin the play experience their fans fell in love with.

You can't just assume what changes will be implemented and use that as a basis for your argument.

immortalfrieza:

No, the consumer does NOT have the right to access content in a game solely because they put down some money for the game itself. They have the right to have the ability to access the content, but not to have it simply handed to them with minimal effort on their part nor do they have the right to have the game later made easier for them just because they can't get to that content on their own skill. Consumers have the right to pay for a movie ticket or buy a DVD and sit down and watch it with no further fuss, same with buying a book or a TV. However, that is NOT the case with video games because video games are not movies, books, or television. Video games are an interactive and often competitive activity, those aren't. A much closer analogy would be sports, saying that you have the right to access all content in a game just because you bought it would be like me saying that I deserve to win all 3 Triathlon events with little to no effort just because I bought a pair running shoes, some goggles and a bike. HELL NO! If I wanted to win just 1 not to mention all 3 I'd have to work my ass off and EARN IT!

I would however have the right to put on those shoes/googles/get on that bike and go running/swimming/biking on my own time whenever I felt like it, just like a consumer would have the right to buy a video game and play it until the difficulty got so annoying that they rage quit. What they DON'T have the right to do is have the game automatically play for them or might as well be at that point and have it show them everything including the ending with little or no effort on their part JUST because they bought the game, everyone without exception has to get off their asses, play the game and beat it, they have to EARN that content. This applies whether the game is the easiest game ever made or the hardest, or even if the game is marketed as such. If you buy a game despite not bothering to find out what you're getting into and end up not liking it, that's YOUR problem, not the game developers', and they do not have the obligation to make the game different in ANY way to suit you just because you bought the game, with the exception of things that the developer did not intend there to be like bugs.

OT: If makes a game or even a game series easier just to make it more accessible it does cheapen the experience, even if it's optional, especially if a game or series hasn't always been that easy, this includes games in general, not just the Souls games. It's even worse if the game series becomes easier in general as a result, which is the main fear that is causing this outcry from Souls game players.

To continue my Triathlon analogy putting in an easy mode to ANY game that hasn't had it before is like if I were in a biking or running event and someone let me use a motorcycle in the race when it's never been allowed before, especially in the middle of the race. It would be an unfair advantage for me to have and cheapen the accomplishments of everyone who's ever participated in the race before this was allowed whether they won or not, and if instead motorcycles were optional, who in their right mind would try to put in the effort and deal with the frustration of failure by trying to win running or biking instead of using the motorcycles? Only the most dedicated people, and the fact that there's an easier way makes those few that do it the hard way not only look like masochists, it makes their accomplishments MUCH less impressive when others can accomplish basically the same thing. It would also be terrible to change a running and biking event to a motorcycling one because they wanted to make running and biking events more accessible (in other words, make an entire series easier from the outset as a result of giving previous games an easy mode.) It wouldn't mean anything to beat a game on a newly introduced easy mode on 1 game or a series from that point on any more than it would mean anything to beat a Triathlon using a motorcycle now.

However, making a game more accessible by adding in things like tutorials, making the gameplay much less clunky and awkward than they need to be, and/or adding MORE options while retaining the difficulty level despite that is something entirely different. Adding those to a game or series would not cheapen the experience because it's not an unfair advantage to your fellow players or to people that have played the game or series before you, because the difficulty is kept the same. Also, when things are streamlined to make a game more accessable, it shouldn't be removing features and options, but making those options easier to use. i.e. Instead of having pressing Ctrl+Shift+M to cast my magic, make it so I can just press M, instead of getting rid of magic entirely.

I think you misunderstood my argument with the other fellow. I'm not asking to be able to "press X to win", but having a simpler option available to those of who don't have the time to invest in the game as much as others due to either family, work, or school. Things that naturally inhibit a gamer's ability to wholly invest in his product, but we really want to be able to experience it without having to make the only thing we play in order to get that experience. Meaning, if I pay the same price as you, I want to actually get that experience. Entertainment is there for you, you're not there to satisfy it.

Mortamus:

Korten12:

OMG! I am literally about to rip out my hair, the ignorance in this thread is just amazing. Dark Souls isn't hard because the enemies have too high health or do too much damage, it's not because you do too little damage nor is it difficult because of too low health.

It's difficult because of LEVEL FUCKING DESIGN. In Dark Souls the levels are crafted to be difficult, but possible, in easy mode they would have to change this to be, not difficult and possible. In Dark Souls there are parts where even with more health and damage, it would still be brutually difficult because it has careful placing of enemies spots, traps, and overall just where things are placed.

They would have to redesign all enemies and levels to be easy enough for a casual player to do it. Trying to then apply that to the normal mode it would be way to easy. What allows the quality of the levels to be as good as they're is that they don't have to worry about designing it for multiple difficulties. Games with multiple difficulties usually don't have levels that are built for any specific difficulty but built for ALL difficulties.

That's what makes Dark Soul's unique, it's built from the ground up to be hard, so it's all possible, and difficult at the same time. Enemies don't have a lot of health (some do, but mostly optional enemies), but are placed in the right spots to make it difficult.

The Souls series rewards CAREFUL PLAY and not Reckless play. Apparently people don't understand this and think it's all about Health and Damage when it's not. Bosses usually don't even have that much health, but they all have staredgy's on how to easily beat them.

So yes, Easy Mode would dumb it down by making the levels having to account for both difficulties. Same for bosses and enemies.

This is why fans of the Dark Souls series don't want multiple difficulties because it WOULD suffer.

Pretty sure we've made games with an easy mode without having to change level design before, and still had a fairly challenging game. The easy mode could simply provide them with something like more checkpoints, less punishment for playing recklessly, etc. You're making an assumption and running with it. We don't know what they'll do to provide an easier playstyle. Chances are, the Devs BIGGEST concern is making sure that they don't change anything that will ruin the play experience their fans fell in love with.

You can't just assume what changes will be implemented and use that as a basis for your argument.

Did u read my post? It appears you didn't, games that usually have difficulties are built from the ground up to accommodate. If they include an easy mode they would have to change the game. Dark Souls if it didn't punish reckless play is maybe... 3 hours tops. It's not a long game without difficulty. Which even than the only part that makes it hard is that people are wired to play games with no patience and as reckless as possible. He levels are currently made to not accommodate reckless play. Small paths, traps, giant swinging blades. Even with more health you would die. If they added more checkpoints you would lose any challenge and the fact that levels aren't that long to begin with.

Have u actuall played the game to even argue? Based on what you respond with ur going on all assumption and not even based on the game.

Edit: On my iPhone so my grammar is shit atm.

Korten12:

Did u read my post? It appears you didn't, games that usually have difficulties are built from the ground up to accommodate. If they include an easy mode they would have to change the game. Dark Souls if it didn't punish reckless play is maybe... 3 hours tops. It's not a long game without difficulty. Which even than the only part that makes it hard is that people are wired to play games with no patience and as reckless as possible. He levels are currently made to not accommodate reckless play. Small paths, traps, giant swinging blades. Even with more health you would die. If they added more checkpoints you would lose any challenge and the fact that levels aren't that long to begin with.

Have u actuall played the game to even argue? Based on what you respond with ur going on all assumption and not even based on the game.

Edit: On my iPhone so my grammar is shit atm.

You kind of just proved my point with that statement. Games that have to make level design accommodate for all difficulties have to be built from the ground up. I agree with that. That's a fairly big implication that since they are not redoing it all from the ground up, they probably aren't making changes to level design. I think you greatly underestimate the amount of work involved in re-designing the levels for an already published game.

I keep hearing this complaint that this will make the game unplayable and short, but if you're not the one who is going to be playing through it, then why is this a problem for you?

Even if it is only 3 hours long, a short game is by no definition a bad thing.

It's far more likely that they will make a mode that is still challenging, and provide the player with more benefits to make the play through less stressful on their time and mistakes.

creating an easy mode would mean development time spent on creating things for people who probably isnt in to this kind of game.

a few things : Seth Carter you had the same DS experience that i had
to the people using books and movies analogies, the correct analogie would be: you read the book/ watch the movie in their ORIGINAL language, thats how they were written/filmed, thats how they were expected to be read/watch

ps: also people: please please please stop saying the only rediming point of DS is its difficulty, you make the game sound like its crap, but you like it because its difficult crap

Hardcore_gamer:

TwiZtah:

Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.

I really have no idea what you are talking about there. I am currently playing the game on normal and I die all the time. Yet I have been playing shooters since the original Doom.

The AI is extremely easy to exploit (the AI in itself is dumb as shit even without the exploits) which makes the game easy even on hard, for me at least.

a lot of people have already said this, but the difficulty in dark souls is integral to the game, in my opinion. it adds to the atmosphere and makes the game far more tense than it would have been otherwise; the first time i walked through one of the white gate-thingies my heart was freaking pounding, because i knew that the thing on the other side was probably going to eat me alive. i think that sense of fear and excitement would be lost if the difficulty was dumbed down. i'm not against an easy mode in such a creation, but maybe make it unlockable by performing badly at the game, so everyone has to try the 'true' game and learn that they are not able to win? i just think it would be a shame for the original dark souls experience (sounds like a band name) to be lost on someone who doesn't feel confident enough to play it. iirc a similar system was used in some of the devil may crys, maybe in viewtiful joe (my memory sucks), and those franchises are still viewed as exquisitely difficult and rewarding, as far as i know.

sonofliber:
a few things : Seth Carter you had the same DS experience that i had
to the people using books and movies analogies, the correct analogie would be: you read the book/ watch the movie in their ORIGINAL language, thats how they were written/filmed, thats how they were expected to be read/watch

No I think a better example for those who want easy mode is like watching Twelve Angry Men and skipping all of the character development because you don't have enough patience to watch it.

Mortamus:

You kind of just proved my point with that statement. Games that have to make level design accommodate for all difficulties have to be built from the ground up. I agree with that. That's a fairly big implication that since they are not redoing it all from the ground up, they probably aren't making changes to level design. I think you greatly underestimate the amount of work involved in re-designing the levels for an already published game.

I keep hearing this complaint that this will make the game unplayable and short, but if you're not the one who is going to be playing through it, then why is this a problem for you?

Even if it is only 3 hours long, a short game is by no definition a bad thing.

It's far more likely that they will make a mode that is still challenging, and provide the player with more benefits to make the play through less stressful on their time and mistakes.

Let me explain again... And again...

Okay since Dark Souls doesn't sub to any specific difficulty, it's levels aren't designed to scale, at the same time some parts of Dark Souls design isn't all just difficult. In games with difficulties it works like this:

Easy - Enemies have low health and reduce number
Normal - Enemies have medium health and medium number
Hard - Enemies have high health and large number.

Dark Souls isn't any of these. In most levels in Dark Souls there isn't many enemies, maybe in some parts but in most spots it's maybe two or three enemies. Lots of times it's even just a single enemy. At the same time enemies usually only take maybe 3 to 5 hits to kill, maybe slightly higher if your dps isn't high but then most likely your high speed or magic which then brings it down to 3 to 5 or even as low as 1 or 2 for magic depending on the level.

Only enemies which have lots of health are usually optional enemies or are alone. Not enough times are they with a group to justify changing this. So increasing health and dps and you would be literally pressing X to win.

Checkpoints - There is enough bonfires, sometimes there isn't many because of checkpoints. Like in Sen's Fortress, there is only two, one at the top and bottom. But Sen's Fortress is also very small, and when you get to the top, as long as you get the key, there is a checkpoint that goes from the top to the bottom and vice versa.

In Undead Parish - Three checkpoints, but the first also counts as two because once you get past the dragon you drop down a ladder and you can reuse that same bonfire. Not to mention the checkpoint past the dragon (optional) and then the one right next to Sen's Fortress, Blacksmith, and the Forest. The same checkpoint that is less than a minute before the boss of Undead Parish.

And so on... All the checkpoints are placed near shortcuts, you just need to look around and find them. It's not hard. More so if you start with the Master Key and you can literally skip all of Blight Town, the Depths, and the ground floor of Undead Parish. Also you can get some items to easily kill the first boss (not the tutorial fight.)

Also you can then summon players in to help you, if that isn't enough there is some NPCs you can hire at any time to help you with the bosses. Once you also get half way through the game you can begin to teleport between bonfires, which they increased how many you can teleport to with the recent DLC/patch.

There is so many ways to make the game easier, and you have a whole community willing to help. Dark Souls is like that and you shouldn't be ashamed to have to search it.

Also $60 for a 3 hour RPG? That's near theft.

And if you want another explination here is the video by ENB:

Korten12:

sonofliber:
a few things : Seth Carter you had the same DS experience that i had
to the people using books and movies analogies, the correct analogie would be: you read the book/ watch the movie in their ORIGINAL language, thats how they were written/filmed, thats how they were expected to be read/watch

No I think a better example for those who want easy mode is like watching Twelve Angry Men and skipping all of the character development because you don't have enough patience to watch it.

Mortamus:

You kind of just proved my point with that statement. Games that have to make level design accommodate for all difficulties have to be built from the ground up. I agree with that. That's a fairly big implication that since they are not redoing it all from the ground up, they probably aren't making changes to level design. I think you greatly underestimate the amount of work involved in re-designing the levels for an already published game.

I keep hearing this complaint that this will make the game unplayable and short, but if you're not the one who is going to be playing through it, then why is this a problem for you?

Even if it is only 3 hours long, a short game is by no definition a bad thing.

It's far more likely that they will make a mode that is still challenging, and provide the player with more benefits to make the play through less stressful on their time and mistakes.

Let me explain again... And again...

Okay since Dark Souls doesn't sub to any specific difficulty, it's levels aren't designed to scale, at the same time some parts of Dark Souls design isn't all just difficult. In games with difficulties it works like this:

Easy - Enemies have low health and reduce number
Normal - Enemies have medium health and medium number
Hard - Enemies have high health and large number.

Dark Souls isn't any of these. In most levels in Dark Souls there isn't many enemies, maybe in some parts but in most spots it's maybe two or three enemies. Lots of times it's even just a single enemy. At the same time enemies usually only take maybe 3 to 5 hits to kill, maybe slightly higher if your dps isn't high but then most likely your high speed or magic which then brings it down to 3 to 5 or even as low as 1 or 2 for magic depending on the level.

Only enemies which have lots of health are usually optional enemies or are alone. Not enough times are they with a group to justify changing this. So increasing health and dps and you would be literally pressing X to win.

Checkpoints - There is enough bonfires, sometimes there isn't many because of checkpoints. Like in Sen's Fortress, there is only two, one at the top and bottom. But Sen's Fortress is also very small, and when you get to the top, as long as you get the key, there is a checkpoint that goes from the top to the bottom and vice versa.

In Undead Parish - Three checkpoints, but the first also counts as two because once you get past the dragon you drop down a ladder and you can reuse that same bonfire. Not to mention the checkpoint past the dragon (optional) and then the one right next to Sen's Fortress, Blacksmith, and the Forest. The same checkpoint that is less than a minute before the boss of Undead Parish.

And so on... All the checkpoints are placed near shortcuts, you just need to look around and find them. It's not hard. More so if you start with the Master Key and you can literally skip all of Blight Town, the Depths, and the ground floor of Undead Parish. Also you can get some items to easily kill the first boss (not the tutorial fight.)

Also you can then summon players in to help you, if that isn't enough there is some NPCs you can hire at any time to help you with the bosses. Once you also get half way through the game you can begin to teleport between bonfires, which they increased how many you can teleport to with the recent DLC/patch.

There is so many ways to make the game easier, and you have a whole community willing to help. Dark Souls is like that and you shouldn't be ashamed to have to search it.

Also $60 for a 3 hour RPG? That's near theft.

And if you want another explination here is the video by ENB:

I was gonna comment on this but then I saw this guy's post. Basically said what I wanted to say.

Dark Souls is built around desolation, a feeling of insurmountable odds in an empty, dead wasteland that tells a story almost exclusively through atmosphere. It was never designed around an easy mode. There were rarely allot of enemies on screen and most if not all the enemies engaged you in single direct combat.

An easy mode, simply the option of scale-able difficulty could damage the entire experience. Not for me, but for the people playing it on easy. They will not get the same experience of being crushed underneath the boot of a 30 foot tall colossus because they can now take 2 hits from that monster and thus the careful planning, the deliberation will be lost from the came because all of a sudden it is alright to make allot more mistakes.

It would be like putting an Easier mode on the old X-com, where the entire experience was built around an unstoppable alien force who WILL overrun you in the end.

The point of a Souls game is the challenge if you lessen the challenge you lessen the game. If Dark Souls got an easy mode and a person said they beat Dark Souls on easy all that would tell me is that guy couldn't hack it and wussied out. Every patch to Dark Souls has in fact made the game easier. Dark Souls isn't Kirby adventure the motto isn't prepare to win. I'm sorry but here an easy mode just violates the very spirit of the game.

And you have to remember Dark Souls and Demon's Souls didn't become popular because it catered to casuals it became popular because it effectively shunned them by not having a easy mode. Essentially sending the message to players get better at the game or continue to die.

If a person wants to experience a Souls game but it's to hard for them. There are many options for them. There are playthroughs on youtube and streamers on twitch who only stream Dark and Demon's souls. People you could easily watch and learn from either of these and then play on their own or go buy a strategy guide. Why should Fromsoft and its publisher waste money making an easy mode for people that aren't even in the target audience for the game in the first place?

If you need Dark Souls to have to an easy than you probably aren't in the target audience for a souls game. And it isn't surprising to see that target audience get pissed when they hear the formula for something they feel passionate about is going to be changed to accommodate others outside of their targeted audience. When it comes to this audience where the love of difficulty trumps all else to even suggest making the game proper easier in any significant way is blasphemy of worst the kind. All games aren't made for everyone or every audience and no one wants to see this turn into a rpg version of cod.

If it's elitist to say, if you can't be bothered to learn the game then we don't want you. Then the Souls community is full of elitist jerks and those unprepared to die, try again, and learn how to play should not bother with this community.

Seth Carter:

Rooster Cogburn:

I want uncompromising tension and genuine challenge that can't be trivialized with a menu, and a crafted experience that doesn't resemble repetitive encounters lining long hallways.

A fair argument. Simple solution, lock the difficulty in (or only let it move up from the initial setting).

Limiting the option to a single instance does little to nothing to alleviate this presented problem. It is precisely the lack of a simple menu option (concerning the difficulty) that doesn't need to be earned in some way or form that enables for the tension to take and have effect.

Seth Carter:

Rather then bloat the post, I've spoiler tagged my brief summary of Dark Souls below which actually does contain praise.

The lore in Dark Souls is a puzzle and the pieces can be found throughout the game. You can't expect to complete a puzzle with only a couple of its pieces. The AI is at times truly hilarious, especially if there are multiple players (co-op). Hopefully it is improved for the Dark Souls 2. Armor weight has no bearing on how much you take fall damage (right...?) as it is a constant. No matter how much health you have the same fall does to your character the exact same amount of damage in percents as it would with any other set of statistics, I think. Also, for the Gaping Dragon to take you that long of a time to defeat your equipment simply must not have been upgraded at all. Or you made the mistake of summoning NPC phantoms to seemingly help you out. Even hitting the Gaping Dragon in the head (weakest point) with any basic +5 weapon should end the fight in no more than 10 minutes. Then there are also several buffs that you could have used to improve your damage output.

Artists put their paintings in public museums, they don't put it up in a tower you have to scale.

Much like games are quite easily accessible in many stores as either physical or downloadable copies. Getting to see a painting is no harder than managing to buy a game and place your newly bough game disc into a disc drive. This is not what the experience paintings and games can provide you with consists itself of. You can view the painting all you want but without first comprehending it it has no content or meaning to you. As is with games, some paintings may simply require more from you than others or present themselves in a way that is especially difficult for you to comprehend (in a way that gives meaning) or even enjoy at all. The same holds true for any form of art or entertainment; some works demand more than others. Neither is intrinsically better, but individuals can appreciate one over the other.

Ideally an artist creates only out of a desire to create something. In general it shouldn't matter whether your work will be appreaciated by others or not. If the work is genuine it most likely will be appreciated by some, which is of course a positive thing for all parties, but the creation of the work shouldn't be dependent on this.

Jimothy Sterling:
Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

There are valid concerns with the "dumbing down" of our entertainment, but as with so many issues, there are just as many invalid ones. This is especially true when "inclusiveness" and "dumbing down" are seen as the same thing.

Watch Video

hey hey hey Jim, you remember that episode you did a few months ago about Resident Evil 6 and the "we're trying to attract a wider audience" thing that made it not only suck but destroyed its own genre by becoming ALL of them? I'm sure you remember that episode right? You want me to link it to you?

What gamers are afraid of is having a game series that has a dedicated and devout audience that actually has a game dedicated to their wants from a game becoming RE6: Its Everything and Nothing at All. Oh and the new director, doesn't have a very good track record with games either.

VyceVictus:
There are other ways to build tension beyond contrivance.

Then play another game as this one is not for you?

Just because something was deliberate doesnt make the final execution flawless.

A - What game has no flaws?
B - Does Dark Souls need to be "flawless" to be enjoyed?
C - I don't see your issue with the dying/ soul drop/ retrieval as a play mechanic. It was designed to create tension and was incorporated "flawlessly" as it were.

Again, Dark Souls just might not be the game for you.

*Egads! Some games are not meant for everyone!? The horror!

For the record, I don't play FPS games as I find them disorienting. I could waltz in and demand a third person camera, but that would be counter the spirit of the genre. Much the same as asking for easy mode in Dark Souls....

Misleading title Jim. I thought you were gonna talk about actually dumbing down gameplay for filthy casuals. Complaining about optional difficulty modes is just silly.

s69-5:
snip

Well spoken sir. Wish more people would see the difference between deliberate game design and design flaw.

There are aspects of this thinking that seep through to every difficulty. For example, two FPS games I've been playing recently are Doom 3 BFG Edition, and Borderlands 2. Here's how the games guide you from A to B.

DOOM: "You need to get to Operations. Work it out yourself."

BORDERLANDS: "You need to follow the 60ft neon blue arrow in the sky."

Now, neither system is perfect, but it frustrates me that EVERY MODERN GAME seems to have spotted the problem in the Doom method (ie: "I don't know where X is.") and solved it not by a subtle, optional hint, but by a blunt-force mandatory "you are too stupid to do this yourself" method.

I honestly don't mind hints or helping hands for players. I think what a lot of people forget is that games are more readily available now. I found by NES the other day - I had six games for it. Six, for the entire life of the console. Granted, other consoles I had did much better, but the point is that as a child games were something acquired sparingly, via birthdays or Christmas and so on. Now, money permitting, I can walk into a store and buy a game whenever, or download it, or play a free one online. As such, if a game is annoying me I can just ditch it and get a new one. This is coming from someone who has achieved full-Emerald runs on every Sonic game from 1 to S3&K.

But there has to be balance. The help has to be there for people who need it, not forced onto people who don't want it. After New Vegas I can't imagine playing a Fallout game where you need to eat and drink to stay alive, where healing doesn't happen instantly and where injuries don't just go away because you put a plaster on it... but I don't begrudge people who play with "hardcore" mode turned off.

s69-5:

VyceVictus:
There are other ways to build tension beyond contrivance.

Then play another game as this one is not for you?

Just because something was deliberate doesnt make the final execution flawless.

A - What game has no flaws?
B - Does Dark Souls need to be "flawless" to be enjoyed?
C - I don't see your issue with the dying/ soul drop/ retrieval as a play mechanic. It was designed to create tension and was incorporated "flawlessly" as it were.

Again, Dark Souls just might not be the game for you.

*Egads! Some games are not meant for everyone!? The horror!

For the record, I don't play FPS games as I find them disorienting. I could waltz in and demand a third person camera, but that would be counter the spirit of the genre. Much the same as asking for easy mode in Dark Souls....

I recall the Ghost Recon series evolving from FPS to third person, raising the bar for tactical shooters while still maintaining the "spirit" of the game. Even Resident Evil 4's overhaul revolutionized the game while keeping the traditional elements of fear, tension, and suspense tact (5 and 6 were kinda lame, but it can be argued 4 is the pinnacle of the series). Overall, I think there's room for modification of design and balancing without "betraying the sanctity of the precious game's spirit". As has been said, there are plenty other aspects of Dark Souls worth playing for beyond just the difficulty. Making those aspects more accessible doesnt have to come at the cost of disregarding the other elements of challenge. Im sure there's room for improvement (we both said, there's no such thing as a flawless game.) Though I found the level design and save/restore mechanics obtuse, I enjoy great art design, imposing atmosphere, intelligent combat, and unique lore just as much as anyone, so who the fuck are you or anyone else to say that a game is "not for certain people".

Jim once again you drag us along kicking and screaming in the beginning only to see the light at the end. Magnificent!

The very nature of the term easy mode is just that. Its easier then the normal mode. And normal mode is just not quite as hard as hard mode. I'm sure you get the idea here. I think the original Halo best exemplifies the correct usage of this method of gameplay, although I'm sure there are older far more apt examples then this, never mind. The point is, you can choose easy mode and experience the storyline and gameplay willy nilly and have fun that way. Then later, you pick insane mode and die 30 times on the first room of the first level. Truly, that's what I did as a little gamer sprout and its probably what took me from casual to an advanced gamer. True, it might take away from the end if you just waltz through the game and don't experience the satisfaction of really accomplishing something but if your not responsible for the difficulty of gameplay you pick then can you even wipe your own nose? I mean, at some point people have to take responsibility for their actions, and I'm pretty sure the bottom line of that is what difficulty you play your videogames at.

As far as how this effects the "dumbing down" of games, well that's not the case for hardcore games. The very nature of hardcore games is to exist outside the norm. Its niche. By nature it must exist to be an opposite to what is normal. So even if one franchise sells out and caters to the masses, you can bet someone else is gearing up to take on the chalice of hardcore game makers and bring on the next great series.

Mortrialus:
snip

I was just about to reference the same video. Glad to see someone else is in the same boat as me in regards to Dark Souls.

Jim's episode was informative, and did make a good point about misguided views trying to exclude those of different tastes, but NO, just NO, in response to his comments on the Dark Souls Easy Mode reaction. Dark Souls is a different case, and the fact that Jim Sterling is not a devoted fan of the game is obvious when he states how presenting an easier version to newer players won't have an effect.

The core argument of leaving Dark Souls unchanged is that it is not just ANY other game that should present difficulties to cater to every gamer. No, Dark Souls is a new type of dish completely, and it is meant to be enjoyed through the most perilous challenges and severe learning curve.

The food dish analogy by EpicNameBro really does apply to this perfectly. Dark Souls is like an extremely exotic and spicy dish. It's chefs made it with the intent of being extremely spicy and meant to burn you up with extreme spicyness. Do you really think it is no big deal if you instead choose to enjoy a non-spicy version of the dish, completely disregarding the chef's intent to make an extremely spicy dish?

This is almost exactly the same as the people who wanted to force the developers to change the Mass Effect 3 because it did not satisfy THEIR expectations. Instead of accepting an author or artist's product, some people would rather disregard their intentions and just enjoy it at their own leisure without paying respect to what the artist intended with the creation. It's like loathing an esteemed novel for being too morbid, so you instead stop reading half to change the story own your own and make it a generic, happy, ending of some sort.

Bottomline, Dark Souls is not a game that caters to everyone, so everyone who opposed the addition of an easy mode are not being elitist jerks trying to keep an exclusive club, they just don't want to see their beloved game being tarnished for the sake of catering to those who do not choose to take it as the developers intended their product to be taken.

Stupid failing pages caused me to double post, please disregard.

Man, I'm not the best at FPS but would really love to play some CoD.

Better make it an RPG or turn based.

Remember when Skyrim came out, and everyone was up in arms over all the streamling and yadda yadda fast travel, yet somehow, they got very little flak, just a "Yep, them casuals".

We complain about changing the core of the games experience, and we're elitist.

Dark Souls is one of the last bastions of "brutal" or "challenging" games in today's world of dick-holding, arrow pointing romp of easy that is the game industry.

Outside of some indie games, the majority of games that have recently released have been piss-easy, even on maxed difficulties. I would get your argument if the majority of games were too punishing for players, but that's not the case. Dark Souls was made for the challenge, for that old school feeling of "memorize this area, learn how to play yourself."

Can't we just leave that alone? Does everything REALLY need to be made so easy that it takes little to no skill to win?

This whole failure of Jim here kind of reminds me of the Mass Effect 3 fiasco, that game journalists used it as a launching pad to rant about unpleasable fanbases who always whine about series endings, then unfortunatly for them, it became clearer and clear that they picked a wrong target, as ME3 really did have an objectively shitty ending, and fans could repeatedly explain that in detailed, rational arguments that had nothing to do with entitlement or audience arrogance, just the fact that ME3 really had some Phantom Menace-quality writing.

It's the same here. Jim probably heard people complaining about "casuals", and about "games nowadays being too easy", then when he heard that the Dark Souls fandom is particularly loud about it, decided to launch an attack against them from that direction.

For future reference: as long as there is no significant reason why a particular fandom might consist of ESPECIALLY whiny people, you might want to look into the possibility that they might be that loud, only because they do have a different, and more mainstream-identifiable point this time around.

I think this is the first time i've carefully read every post in a 10page thread.

Overall, i counted very few posts defending Dark Souls in it's pure form coming off sounding elitist and and trying to put people off the game. A couple, yes but very few. Nearly all posts saying an easy mode would be a bad idea were well thought out and very clearly explained.

Yet.. basically none of those comments were ever quoted, and the small minority of the elitist sounding posts were quoted over and over.

The dark souls community, as a whole, want more people there to play with. we welcome newcomers with open arms and are ready to help. But, no an easy mode is not necessary.

Even dark souls as it is now, playing by yourself, a quick google will show you how to play easy mode through 80% of the game. A certain sword from a certain dragon's tail... Not to mention Solaire and Maneater Mildred can make the training bosses a little easier to comprehend, even if it's just to tank for a bit and let you get a feel for them.

I know DS is not perfect, there are some pretty big flaws which can be worked out in the tutorial and what not, but it just isn't necessary, and to be honest, would make all forms of multiplayer unbalanced, unless they had to put more money into more servers to keep "easy" and "prepare to die" servers segregated.

Out of curiosity, do the people who haven't played much or any of dark souls realise just how big the multiplayer component of the game is? And if they do, do they see how it would be negatively effected by multiple difficulties?

In a way, with this concept, WoW had the right kind of idea. Easier versions of raids with lower quality versions of the loot, so the more casual players could experience the story. A major difference though is, WoW has 9million players who pay a monthly fee to play. They are paid to continually cater to all players. Blizzard are in essence the employee of their subscriber base.

Dark souls does not have a monthly income of $100,000,000. Those extra services are COSTLY, and not able to be supported by most.

Wow also at one point required a full time job commitment to it to progress, which was absurd.

Blah, 5am and blathering on half asleep.

No to easy mode. Yes to more accessiblity. Yes to more community. Come play with us, we will welcome you into our world and help you through the Capra demon.

Then probably invade you and cut you to pieces, but with a bow at least :)

Oh and also

This is the first time i've seen Jim called out so many times on his own attitude. And the first time i've seen him called out that he hasn't bothered to come and defend himself.

I kind of neglected that side of this video too...

Jim; your condescending attitude and your own elitism towards a group of gamers is disgusting. You obviously had no clue as to why the DS community want it kept the way it is and it has nothing to do with wanting to keep people out of it.

Please come and explain yourself or defend your hate filled and ill-informed remarks.

This comes from someone who has supported you from day one at the escapist.

longboardfan:

Jimothy Sterling:
Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

There are valid concerns with the "dumbing down" of our entertainment, but as with so many issues, there are just as many invalid ones. This is especially true when "inclusiveness" and "dumbing down" are seen as the same thing.

Watch Video

hey hey hey Jim, you remember that episode you did a few months ago about Resident Evil 6 and the "we're trying to attract a wider audience" thing that made it not only suck but destroyed its own genre by becoming ALL of them? I'm sure you remember that episode right? You want me to link it to you?

What gamers are afraid of is having a game series that has a dedicated and devout audience that actually has a game dedicated to their wants from a game becoming RE6: Its Everything and Nothing at All. Oh and the new director, doesn't have a very good track record with games either.

I remember it. And I see what you're trying to do. But you didn't pay a damn lick of attention to the video if you think that what you're trying to do works.

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