Jimquisition: Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

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The Fonsz:

Korten12:

Tanakh:
It is. Make all enemies hit for 1/3 of the damage they usually do and half as often. There you are, a perfectly functional easy mode that takes a couple of hours to implement.

If anything what bothers me is how people here talk like Dark Souls was OMG impressively hard when in the big scheme of games:

Quite sure it will be at connect four level in game AI at best.

Wrong let... Me... explain... fucking again... I swear people don't read the important posts and just continue to think difficulties in games are just all numbers it's not...

"Let me explain this... Again... A game like Dues Ex is built with multiple difficulties in mind. How it's created allows for the developers to add more enemies, do higher damage, and such. Dark Souls is not. The level design, how each level is played is centered around being hard. Just adding more enemies and increasing health and damage for a hard mode, or lessening them is missing the point as to why Dark Souls is hard.

It's hard because the levels are made to be. In most games like I mentioned (with Dues Ex) are built with multiple difficulties, where as Dark Souls isn't. Hence if they wanted to add Easy mode, they would have to change the whole way difficulties work because at the current moment it wouldn't work just changing the stats on enemies.

Thus this is why Easy mode would hamper the game as they would be forced to change how Dark Souls is played unless they want to design the game twice which is just stupid and asking for a lot."

(Repost of what I said to Xisin.)

Thats not true there was a moment they were going to put it in. Just saying it is hard on the level design is a flawed perspective because Miyazaki the director of Dark Souls said we were going to put it in so there are a ton of different ways DS can be made easier. Ninja Gaiden of xbox is difficult right from the get go and when the ps3 remake game out ninja gaiden sigma there was an easier mode and it still had the same level design.

Wrong, that was a mistranslation. They never said they were going to make difficulties. They said they wanted more people to finish while maintaining the same level of difficulty meaning probably a better tutorial, which is all Dark Souls really needs. That and people for people to be patience, which apparently people now a days don't have. Dark Souls is difficult but not hard. If you go slow, really make sure you pay attention, it can be a very soothing experience. Problem is, people don't want to go slow. They want to play Dark Souls, like Skyrim or any other real time RPG.

Also Ninja Gaiden, from the little I played of the demo's, the level design doesn't work the same as Dark Souls. In that game the levels were fairly straight forward, what made it hard was the amount of enemies and the damage they do aside from being tough in general. Dark Souls levels are difficulty because of the layout that accomidates the enemies, not just the enemies themselves.

Jim, I think that you have missed the point as far as the whole Easy-mode in Dark Souls has gone. The game's selling point was that it was hard. By adding an easy mode, that makes in many player's minds that the game is only as hard as 'you' make it. That's why a lot of games with optional difficulty don't get the same reputation and fan loyalty. Think of it like this if you will: Call of Duty, a game based around shooting things. The idea is to use cover, point gun, and kill enemy#53594. Now think that if that seemed too hard because people didn't want to take the time to learn when they could and could not peek out of cover to win, the developers opted out and just put in a godmode option above 'casual' difficulty, letting players walk through the campaign and just be the living bullet sponge from hell with no penalty aside from a number that pops up at the end saying how many times they would've died. They might as well have been watching a movie. Same goes for the recent Final Fantasy lines. They're not mad because the game's getting easier for some. They're mad because a game with a built up reputation around being something to be earned (the point is to not die) has been challenged with those in charge possibly making a decision that would turn it into another random hack and slash game to be forgotten on shelves a month after release like so many others.

Korten12:

The Fonsz:

Korten12:

Wrong let... Me... explain... fucking again... I swear people don't read the important posts and just continue to think difficulties in games are just all numbers it's not...

"Let me explain this... Again... A game like Dues Ex is built with multiple difficulties in mind. How it's created allows for the developers to add more enemies, do higher damage, and such. Dark Souls is not. The level design, how each level is played is centered around being hard. Just adding more enemies and increasing health and damage for a hard mode, or lessening them is missing the point as to why Dark Souls is hard.

It's hard because the levels are made to be. In most games like I mentioned (with Dues Ex) are built with multiple difficulties, where as Dark Souls isn't. Hence if they wanted to add Easy mode, they would have to change the whole way difficulties work because at the current moment it wouldn't work just changing the stats on enemies.

Thus this is why Easy mode would hamper the game as they would be forced to change how Dark Souls is played unless they want to design the game twice which is just stupid and asking for a lot."

(Repost of what I said to Xisin.)

Thats not true there was a moment they were going to put it in. Just saying it is hard on the level design is a flawed perspective because Miyazaki the director of Dark Souls said we were going to put it in so there are a ton of different ways DS can be made easier. Ninja Gaiden of xbox is difficult right from the get go and when the ps3 remake game out ninja gaiden sigma there was an easier mode and it still had the same level design.

Wrong, that was a mistranslation. They never said they were going to make difficulties. They said they wanted more people to finish while maintaining the same level of difficulty meaning probably a better tutorial, which is all Dark Souls really needs. That and people for people to be patience, which apparently people now a days don't have. Dark Souls is difficult but not hard. If you go slow, really make sure you pay attention, it can be a very soothing experience. Problem is, people don't want to go slow. They want to play Dark Souls, like Skyrim or any other real time RPG.

Also Ninja Gaiden, from the little I played of the demo's, the level design doesn't work the same as Dark Souls. In that game the levels were fairly straight forward, what made it hard was the amount of enemies and the damage they do aside from being tough in general. Dark Souls levels are difficulty because of the layout that accomidates the enemies, not just the enemies themselves.

Dark Souls is a heaps hard game what are you talking about!

Why are you comparing the level design to Ninja Gaiden to Dark Souls, please don't twist my words.

Injects a carrot, has the plunger allready down, seems legit.

Anyway, I'll probably have a few people yelling filty casual at me for this but I wouldn't mind an easy mode for Dark Souls m'self, I've never been keen on masochistic difficulty levels and I can admit that I'm not the most technically skilled gamer out there, never got the hang of thumbsticks due to near-exclusively playing on PC, tend to play on normal difficulty because I'm more interested in the story than dying a lot, the primary descriptor for the dark/demon souls franshise being "it's hard" put me off a game that otherwise had some very cool grim and gothic visual design.

Oh, and if anyone still insists on thinking of me as a casual, I have no interest in IOS games (nothing against them, just don't have any use for them) don't set foot on Facebook anyway so Farmville is right out and my favorite gave dev is Bioware, with Bethesda probably coming in second.

Arakasi:

As for your seecond point: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.387153-Dark-Souls-Director-Considers-an-Easier-Option
Amazing what two seconds with the search bar can do.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/119495-Namco-Denies-Dark-Souls-Difficulty-Comment
http://ca.ign.com/articles/2012/09/07/dark-souls-easy-mode-comments-were-mistranslated
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/07/namco-dark-souls-developers-easy-mode-comments-were-mistrans/

Amazing what 2 more seconds will turn up.

OP: Dark Souls should stay as is - no easy mode. It's not the type of game that lends itself to easy mode. It's not even all that hard. It takes patience and observation, this is certain. But nothing in the game is impossible.

Anyone can play Dark Souls, as with any game. If you are too impatient to play and view all the content, tough rocks. Why do modern gamers think that their money automatically entitles them to see all content? Maybe I'm just too old school but games should present a challenge. Gamers should have to work for it - it's kind of central to gaming. It's what stimulates the endorphine rush and makes the rewards sweeter. If you aren't looking for that, maybe gaming isn't for you and you should find another hobby (movies perhaps?)

On another note: I've been playing NG+ of Dragon's Dogma recently and really wishing for a hard mode as the game, which was always on the easy side, got even easier on NG+. Then a patch arrived. We got a useless easy mode. I cursed. Why offer an easier version of this already mild challenge?

Later that week. I visited the shop on PSN and noticed a free Hard mode and time trial mode. Hooray! I downloaded it immediately.

I wonder why the easy mode was patched in while hard was an extra download. Both should have been either included in the patch or completely optional. Instead I was forced to use precious bandwith (a luxury in Canada) to download a mode I will never ever use.

Dark Souls doesn't need an easy mode so much as it needs a camera that doesn't wobble all over like whoevers holding it just stumbled drunk off a rollercoaster.

My other main issues with the game are thats ugly monochrome (yes, the areas vary about, but its always monochrome within whichever area), NPCs look horrid and manage to outdo Skyrim for limited character and dialogue. And its not so much difficulty as a bombardment of slow bland repetitive gameplay (difficulty typically occurs when you get impatient of this) as you just stay out of range of the boss, wait for it to do its most telegraphed attack, hit it once/twice, and go back to waiting.

The Fonsz:

Dark Souls is a heaps hard game what are you talking about!

Why are you comparing the level design to Ninja Gaiden to Dark Souls, please don't twist my words.

Then you shouldn't have compared it. You stated that they were able to make Ninja Gaiden have an easy mode and still have the same level design. I responded back with saying how it may work with Ninja Gaiden, because of it's level design but not Dark Souls because it's levels aren't designed the same.

Never once did I put words in your mouth. Please read again.

Also no, Dark Souls is difficult, but not hard. It get's the impression of being hard because people want to play it like other action RPGs and not like Dark Souls. If you go slow, really take your time, it's not as hard as it makes it out to be. There is short cuts you can find, tactics to defeating the boss, and easy way to get around traps which just require just a bit of thinking.

People apparently no longer want this despite just months ago striving how to many games were being dumbed down and now are asking for a hard game to be dumbed down. It's ironic that the gaming community has flipped flopped on the matter.

s69-5:
Gamers should have to work for it - it's kind of central to gaming. It's what stimulates the endorphine rush and makes the rewards sweeter. If you aren't looking for that, maybe gaming isn't for you and you should find another hobby (movies perhaps?)

A game isnt work. Its a game. Old games were hard to pad out the length and steal your quarters.

The Fonsz:

Thats a great idea and from software should find a way of doing that as well of how it should be implemented.

Alternatively, they can devote their attention to releasing another stellar game in the Souls series instead of hampering themselves with an unrequired easy mode.

VyceVictus:

s69-5:
Gamers should have to work for it - it's kind of central to gaming. It's what stimulates the endorphine rush and makes the rewards sweeter. If you aren't looking for that, maybe gaming isn't for you and you should find another hobby (movies perhaps?)

A game isnt work. Its a game. Old games were hard to pad out the length and steal your quarters.

I never had to pump quarters into my NES. Weird...

And by work, I mean challenge (I know you wanted to be cute by being literal).
Without challenge, there is no accomplishment.
Without accomplishment, you may as well watch a movie.

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

farcry isnt for casuals...my mum or sister would not play farcry 3 on their PC's or Wii, by your logic majority games are for those mythical casuals who own consoles

but then we are getting into no true scotsmen terriroty

Korten12:

People apparently no longer want this despite just months ago striving how to many games were being dumbed down and now are asking for a hard game to be dumbed down. It's ironic that the gaming community has flipped flopped on the matter.

Sad isn't it...

I haven't flipped. But I'll be damned if I let the Souls series get swallowed by this trend without a fight.
It's about all we have left... which is why the fans fight so hard to have it left alone.

s69-5:

VyceVictus:

s69-5:
Gamers should have to work for it - it's kind of central to gaming. It's what stimulates the endorphine rush and makes the rewards sweeter. If you aren't looking for that, maybe gaming isn't for you and you should find another hobby (movies perhaps?)

A game isnt work. Its a game. Old games were hard to pad out the length and steal your quarters.

I never had to pump quarters into my NES. Weird...

And by work, I mean challenge (I know you wanted to be cute by being literal).
Without challenge, there is no accomplishment.
Without accomplishment, you may as well watch a movie.

I was referring to arcade games with quarters(whos being a literal prick?)
Theres challenge, then there's flawed mechanics. Not saying Dark Souls is wrong. Its not a perfect game, what is, but there are certain aspects that could be better balanced yet still maintain the "integrity" of the difficulty.

Jim, please deal with Time-Locked Exclusives. They're illegal, but unchallenged, they fuck over large portions of the player-base, they are at least as bad an idea as Online Passes unlocking On-Disc Content.

Also, who are these "less experienced" gamers we're catering to by adding an easy mode? Kids? Demon Souls was rated 17+ in the U.S. The argument that adults need an easy mode so that Dark Souls is more accessible is bunk. Most adults grew up playing NES games which were brutally hard. Demon Souls' difficulty was nothing compared to Ghouls and Ghosts.

Your right im wrong no point in arguing to someone who has 100000 messages who is going to do everything in their power to prove me wrong, im sorry I got into an argument with you in the first place. There should be an easy mode I don't see why not its a video game.

VyceVictus:

s69-5:

VyceVictus:

A game isnt work. Its a game. Old games were hard to pad out the length and steal your quarters.

I never had to pump quarters into my NES. Weird...

And by work, I mean challenge (I know you wanted to be cute by being literal).
Without challenge, there is no accomplishment.
Without accomplishment, you may as well watch a movie.

I was referring to arcade games with quarters(whos being a literal prick?)

Ah, so "old games" means "arcade games".
Sorry if I'm not telepathic.

Then that defeats your argument. NES is not arcade and the games were still hard without quarter sucking. Please enlighten me as to why that would be?

(Also, do be careful about ad hominem attacks. The mods are pretty strict here.)

Theres challenge, then there's flawed mechanics. Not saying Dark Souls is wrong. Its not a perfect game, what is, but there are certain aspects that could be better balanced yet still maintain the "integrity" of the difficulty.

Provide an example or two.
I myself am not in agreement with your statement whatsoever and am at a loss to find a working example from Dark Souls.

I think Zelda-games are unfortunately the perfect example of dumbing down without becoming inclusive. They just become easier and easier, now I dont mind that but PLEASE give us hardcore zelda-fans some challenge and STOP holding our hands every time. If I've played every Zelda-game ever made I do NOT need to be told what kind of rupees I pick up in every god damn game! This is 2012, implement some difficulty selections and optional hints!!

The Fonsz:
I think there should be an easier difficult in Dark Souls if people bought it with there own money they deserve to have that chance.

I would argue that I deserve the chance to play a game without it. There are myriad reasons it lessens my Dark Souls experience listed in this thread.

Sylveria:

KiloFox:
the punishing difficulty is part of the game of Dark Souls. now i havn't played it myself, but i did play (and beat) Demon's Souls so i can imagine it's similar at least. if there was an easy mode you could choose from to start with, then it would degrade from some of the experience of playing the game. if you were having problems the you could just flip it on rather than try and find out what you're doing wrong and pay attention to what the enemies do. the difficulty is part of the game.

That's a sign of personal weakness, not a problem of the game. If you wuss out and put it on easy cause you're having trouble, that's you who's failed, not the game for having the option. You can't say "I want a challenge" but then when the challenge gets too challenging, drop it down to easy.

Not having an outlet to exercise your weakness and make the game easier is exactly the place where tension comes from. It's exciting precisely because I don't have the option to make it trivial. It's like when someone spoils a movie. The movie is exactly the same, but the way you experience it is different because the tension is deflated.

In most cases, that's not really worth sacrificing giving people options to choose the experience they want. But when you make a niche title where the whole point is to invoke a sense of accomplishment, it's a different story.

Addressed to no one in particular: It blows my mind why anyone could possibly have a problem with a niche title catering to a niche audience. I don't understand what people feel they are being robbed of, exactly. I don't understand the mindset that every game,

LITERALLY. EVERY. GAME.

has to support a certain audience or certain features, no matter what the subject matter is or the artistic and gameplay vision guiding the experience. If I like that niche then fuck me I guess, I should lose out to people who already have infinity-billion games they actually like.

Think about what the stakes are, here. This is one game that you don't even like, vs. something I really appreciate and care about. Please just leave it alone. Please.

The Fonsz:
Your right im wrong no point in arguing to someone who has 100000 messages who is going to do everything in their power to prove me wrong, im sorry I got into an argument with you in the first place. There should be an easy mode I don't see why not its a video game.

Wow... Really? REALLY? Did you not even read my post? Or did you read it, didn't like what you hear and just dismiss it.

Video Games are like Movies, there is genre's and subgenres. Not everyone is going to like every movie. Dark Souls is a niche, like how some movies pander to a certain demographic. Just because it's in the same category as games like Skyrim, or Hell Kitty Island Adventure, doesn't suddenly means it needs to pander to all audiances just because others do to. It's part of a subgenre, and it shouldn't be forced into a genre and be like everyone else and Homogenized the experience.

Sorry that 10k posts somehow stops which is a pretty poor excuse for getting out of an argument. You don't even respond to any of my claims. But what ever, if you don't wish to argue and just ignore my points and continue to be ignorant then go right ahead.

Now, I've played through Dark Souls several times and It's one of my favorite games released in a while. I've got to be honest in that I agree with what Jim says about easy mode. It's not the end of the world if a game includes modal difficulty.

Just not Dark Souls.

Why? Well, it seems to me that people arguing that it should may kinda missed the point. I'm not sure how many of those people like Jim have actual experience with the games or have even beat them. No, I don't mean just playing for 20 minutes, getting stuck at those skeletons and rage quitting. Not just getting to the Taurus Demon and giving up because they didn't see the very obvious trick to beating him. I mean, REALLY playing the game for what it is. If they did then they might understand why people are hesitant about an easy mode.

The difficulty of Dark/Demon Souls is a large and defining point of them, whether or not YOU want it to be. That atmosphere of gloom and doom would not be as meaningful if all you had to do was just go fucking nuts and not worry about what might lay around the corner. Those seemingly impossible bosses and beating them would not mean as much to people if all they could do is just run right at him and just mash strong attack. There would be little point to learning things like parrying or dodging if it was just faster and more efficient to just flail around like a mad man, not worrying about their attacks or the environment. That wasn't the intention of the Dark Souls, regardless of how you feel about that fact.

I don't want to come off as elitist or anything like that. I really want more people to share in the game. But I cannot help feel like the statement I'm about to make is increasingly becoming a no-no in the current state of gaming nowadays: Not every single game out there is meant for absolutely every person. That's perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with that. I don't care for sports games and I don't ask for them to possibly compromise them for my sake. I just move on to things that do suit my taste and I feel that asking for that is a little self-centered.

I've seen WAY too many games series go the way of just "a little something for everyone" and that path gets taken so far that the game now hardly recognizes it's previous entries. In the end, all that happens is the people that didn't care before, still don't care and the ones that do get screwed over (Ninja Gaiden 3 I am looking dead at you). Now if DS 2 and subsequent games were to end up like this is they started easing up? No one can say. But from recent examples of games falling into this trap, there is ample reason to be concerned.

s69-5:

VyceVictus:

s69-5:

I never had to pump quarters into my NES. Weird...

And by work, I mean challenge (I know you wanted to be cute by being literal).
Without challenge, there is no accomplishment.
Without accomplishment, you may as well watch a movie.

I was referring to arcade games with quarters(whos being a literal prick?)

Ah, so "old games" means "arcade games".
Sorry if I'm not telepathic. Maybe say what you mean?

(Also, do be careful about ad hominem attacks. The mods are pretty strict here.)

Theres challenge, then there's flawed mechanics. Not saying Dark Souls is wrong. Its not a perfect game, what is, but there are certain aspects that could be better balanced yet still maintain the "integrity" of the difficulty.

Provide an example or two.
I myself am not in agreement with your statement whatsoever and am at a loss to find a working example from Dark Souls.

Others already mentioned the need to go all the way back to certain points when dying in a difficult dungeon. The dungeon can have all the traps and dangerous beasts it wants, thats fine, theres your challenge. But the whole dropped souls mechanic is basically a big contrivance, hard just for the sake of hard. Also mentioned previously was the lack of clearly explaining how the souls, an integral mechanic of the game, is not explained. Why, just because? Now of course, there's plenty other things that are great about the game. The combat is my favorite, methodical and deliberate. Again, I dont think this particular game is a matter of easy vs. hardcore as much as the balance of these aspects being off.

I was referring to "old games" in a general sense as both arcade and consoles, since a lot of the original NES and 8 bit games were arcade ports to begin with. As an "old school" gamer, I'm sure you already knew that.

Lordhayzeus:
Now, I've played through Dark Souls several times and It's one of my favorite games released in a while. I've got to be honest in that I agree with what Jim says about easy mode. It's not the end of the world if a game includes modal difficulty.

Just not Dark Souls.

Why? Well, it seems to me that people arguing that it should may kinda missed the point. I'm not sure how many of those people like Jim have actual experience with the games or have even beat them. No, I don't mean just playing for 20 minutes, getting stuck at those skeletons and rage quitting. Not just getting to the Taurus Demon and giving up because they didn't see the very obvious trick to beating him. I mean, REALLY playing the game for what it is. If they did then they might understand why people are hesitant about an easy mode.

The difficulty of Dark/Demon Souls is a large and defining point of them, whether or not YOU want it to be. That atmosphere of gloom and doom would not be as meaningful if all you had to do was just go fucking nuts and not worry about what might lay around the corner. Those seemingly impossible bosses and beating them would not mean as much to people if all they could do is just run right at him and just mash strong attack. There would be little point to learning things like parrying or dodging if it was just faster and more efficient to just flail around like a mad man, not worrying about their attacks or the environment. That wasn't the intention of the Dark Souls, regardless of how you feel about that fact.

I don't want to come off as elitist or anything like that. I really want more people to share in the game. But I cannot help feel like the statement I'm about to make is increasingly becoming a no-no in the current state of gaming nowadays: Not every single game out there is meant for absolutely every person. That's perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with that. I don't care for sports games and I don't ask for them to possibly compromise them for my sake. I just move on to things that do suit my taste and I feel that asking for that is a little self-centered.

I've seen WAY too many games series go the way of just "a little something for everyone" and that path gets taken so far that the game now hardly recognizes it's previous entries. In the end, all that happens is the people that didn't care before, still don't care and the ones that do get screwed over (Ninja Gaiden 3 I am looking dead at you). Now if DS 2 and subsequent games were to end up like this is they started easing up? No one can say. But from recent examples of games falling into this trap, there is ample reason to be concerned.

I wish I could give you a medal. Another person who needs to join the club of "Sane People who actually get it."

Rooster Cogburn:

In most cases, that's not really worth sacrificing giving people options to choose the experience they want. But when you make a niche title where the whole point is to invoke a sense of accomplishment, it's a different story.

Addressed to no one in particular: It blows my mind why anyone could possibly have a problem with a niche title catering to a niche audience. I don't understand what people feel they are being robbed of, exactly. I don't understand the mindset that every game,

LITERALLY. EVERY. GAME.

has to support a certain audience or certain features, no matter what the subject matter is or the artistic and gameplay vision guiding the experience. If I like that niche then fuck me I guess, I should lose out to people who already have infinity-billion games they actually like.

Think about what the stakes are, here. This is one game that you don't even like, vs. something I really appreciate and care about. Please just leave it alone. Please.

Just wait til they announce a motion controls version of Demon Souls... Gotta get those sales figures up!

I completely agree with you Rooster. Demon Souls is one of the few games I purchased as a day one release because it was one of the few games I actually was excited to play.

VyceVictus:

Others already mentioned the need to go all the way back to certain points when dying in a difficult dungeon. The dungeon can have all the traps and dangerous beasts it wants, thats fine, theres your challenge. But the whole dropped souls mechanic is basically a big contrivance, hard just for the sake of hard. Also mentioned previously was the lack of clearly explaining how the souls, an integral mechanic of the game, is not explained. Why, just because?

I wouldn't call any of that "Flawed mechanics".

They are deliberate choices made by the development team.

Dying makes you drop your souls and return to the last checkpoint. You can retrieve them if you make it back.

What about it is flawed?
The purpose is to add tension, which it does.
Do you press on and gamble your winnings, or do you turn back and spend it?

I'm unclear about the explaining "souls" part as I'm not sure to what you are referring.

I know Skyrim didn't tell me what XP and Gold were.
Dragon's Dogma didn't either.
Final Fantasy doesn't.
Dragon Age didn't.
Agarest War didn't.
The Atelier series doesn't.
Fallout didn't tell me that bottle caps were money either.

Some things are easily explained by looking at your status screen.

s69-5:

VyceVictus:

Others already mentioned the need to go all the way back to certain points when dying in a difficult dungeon. The dungeon can have all the traps and dangerous beasts it wants, thats fine, theres your challenge. But the whole dropped souls mechanic is basically a big contrivance, hard just for the sake of hard. Also mentioned previously was the lack of clearly explaining how the souls, an integral mechanic of the game, is not explained. Why, just because?

I wouldn't call any of that "Flawed mechanics".

They are deliberate choices made by the development team.

Dying makes you drop your souls and return to the last checkpoint. You can retrieve them if you make it back.

What about it is flawed?
The purpose is to add tension, which it does.
Do you press on and gamble your winnings, or do you turn back and spend it?

I can't say about the explaining "souls" part as I'm not sure to what you are referring.

I know Skyrim didn't tell me what XP and Gold were.
Dragon's Dogma didn't either.
Final Fantasy doesn't.
Dragon Age didn't.
Agarest War didn't.
The Atelier series doesn't.
Fallout didn't tell me that bottle caps were money either.

Some things are easily explained by looking at your status screen.

Ah, I meant Humanity, a completely unique core function thats barely explained by the game. There are other ways to build tension beyond contrivance. Just because something was deliberate doesnt make the final execution flawless.

A thought. Games are obviously, unlike other forms of media, an interactive medium. You don't just passively receive the content of the game, like in films or TV, but you have to interact with the game. Why are people so desperate to demand that the one thing that makes games unique, that interactivity, be thrown aside and not considered when we look at games as an artistic form? Aren't the mechanics of interaction just as interesting a form as artistic expression as the art design or the storyline?

Demon Souls and Dark Souls are rare games in that changing the mechanics of the game would drastically alter the entire artistic work. The mechanics of the game SAY something about the world you inhabit. The world of Dark Souls is brutal, unforgiving and slowly dying.. and the mechanics reinforce that idea. Giving Dark Souls an easy mode would be a disgusting betrayal of the artistic intent of the designers, akin to printing House of Leaves in a more ordinary way.

A crueller, more assholeish man might say you were 'entitled' for questioning the artistic intent. But I won't.

Sylveria:

Denamic:
I don't want an easy mode in Dark Souls, not because I don't want other people accessing the content, but because I want a hard time accessing the content. I want that frustration of not being able to progress because everything's too powerful for me, because that makes actually succeeding so much more glorious. Makes you feel like a fucking gaming god. Merely having an option to make it easier cheapens the experience, knowing what you just did means shit because you can just breeze through it with a menu option.

If people really don't want a hard and frustrating gaming experience, why not play some game that's not all about the hard and frustrating experience? There's thousands of less challenging games out there, but games like Dark Souls are fucking rare. Just let me have my game and you can play something else.

Elitism in the purest form. Additionally, if beating Dark Souls on normal is what gives your life meaning and value and the fact other people beat it on easy somehow de-values the relatively insignificant accomplishment that you've seemingly based your entire self-image on... you have issues.

I totally agree. It'd be like if someone needed to win an internet argument so badly that they would result to petty attacks on someone they don't even know. Pathetic, I know.

Well my thoughts are that it's ok to add a wheelchair lift as long as you don't take away the stairs. It's really is that simple. Although I might just be thinking short term here.

VyceVictus:

Ah, I meant Humanity, a completely unique core function thats barely explained by the game. There are other ways to build tension beyond contrivance.

Personally (this doesn't apply to everyone), humanity was way easier to understand than World tendencies in Demon's Souls.

But I was also a master of manipulating WT.
I could make a world pure black and in one fell swoop, bring it back to pure white in one life.
The reason I mention this is Humanity and WT had some similar aspects (better and/or more frequent drops).

Also, having the platinum trophy in Demon's Souls means that I came into Dark Souls at a clear advantage. So you'll pardon me if I don't quite share your confusion.

In Demon's Souls, being human made your HP gauge full (soul form was defaulted to 1/2 max HP), but your attack power was reduced. It opened up the possibility of invasions and aid from other players.

In Dark Souls, it allows invasions, aid and affects your drop rate (which is displayed in your status screen).

I didn't have a problem understanding humanity as, what I didn't already know, was pretty much explained through gameplay (like most aspects of Dark Souls).

I've never had a problem with "easy mode" settings, the problems arise when games are turned into easy mode games themselves and there's no option for "normal" and this usually happens through simplification, action-based gameplay overtaking strategic combat and generally simpler games being made and succeeding in the place of their harder and more complex counterparts which leads into less of those other, deeper games being made.

I don't think easy mode is a new thing, it's not some innovation of modern game development. The new things is that more and more games play as though they're on easy mode when they're at their normal difficulty setting and that more and more games like that are being developed.

While I do agree with some points, Jim, I feel that some specific games have a charm or a uniqueness to them due to how hard they are, and including any mode that allows the player to simply breeze through the game deprives them of charm.

While the obvious games are named, most of this "Nintendo Hard" charm comes from fangames or independent projects made to reflect that kind of absurd difficulty, or games made by small development teams. Two examples I can think off the top my head are I Wanna Be The Guy and Touhou Project, both of which were made by small teams (in the latter's case, most of the games were made by one guy), and what they lack in storytelling narrative they make up for in OMG WHY IS THIS GAME SO ABSURDLY DIFFICULT?

And I honestly think that stripping a game like that of its difficulty is invariably robbing the gamer of the experience and "dumbing it down" like you said. I do think that games should have the right to include an Easy Mode, but not all games should have this.

VyceVictus:

s69-5:

VyceVictus:

Others already mentioned the need to go all the way back to certain points when dying in a difficult dungeon. The dungeon can have all the traps and dangerous beasts it wants, thats fine, theres your challenge. But the whole dropped souls mechanic is basically a big contrivance, hard just for the sake of hard. Also mentioned previously was the lack of clearly explaining how the souls, an integral mechanic of the game, is not explained. Why, just because?

I wouldn't call any of that "Flawed mechanics".

They are deliberate choices made by the development team.

Dying makes you drop your souls and return to the last checkpoint. You can retrieve them if you make it back.

What about it is flawed?
The purpose is to add tension, which it does.
Do you press on and gamble your winnings, or do you turn back and spend it?

I can't say about the explaining "souls" part as I'm not sure to what you are referring.

I know Skyrim didn't tell me what XP and Gold were.
Dragon's Dogma didn't either.
Final Fantasy doesn't.
Dragon Age didn't.
Agarest War didn't.
The Atelier series doesn't.
Fallout didn't tell me that bottle caps were money either.

Some things are easily explained by looking at your status screen.

Ah, I meant Humanity, a completely unique core function thats barely explained by the game. There are other ways to build tension beyond contrivance. Just because something was deliberate doesnt make the final execution flawless.

That is part of the game's narrative.
If you've played the game, you should know there's something called Lord Souls. Lord Souls are all in the possession of incredibly powerful beings. All but one; the Dark Soul. So what is the Dark Soul? Is it even in the game? The Dark Soul was supposed to be in the possession of the furtive pygmy.

As for the invasion and unhollowing mechanic, that is also deliberate. These are things you are supposed to figure out yourself through investigation. When you unhollow to kindle the flame, you'll notice you can summon other players through their soapstones, and you'll also notice that less friendly spirits may visit uninvited. If you pay attention, you'll make the connections eventually. You may even notice your curse resistance and item discovery rate goes up with humanity. It's also mentioned in the game that humanity is coveted, hinting about the invasion mechanic. This is in line with how the entire game's minimalistic narrative works. You're also supposed to check online or with friends when you can't figure it out yourself, and From soft likes the community aspect that the games inspire. Like the good old days, when you asked your friends how to beat that one boss, where the power-up you need to destroy that obstacle is.

Though, I agree that the Souls games need a better tutorial for certain aspects of core gameplay. Like I said, some things should remain mysteries for you to uncover, but certain things need to be explained better. Things like Poise, stability, what the difference is between parrying and blocking, the difference between a counter attack and a critical strike, how the weight limit works in terms of speed and stamina, etc.

Well after skimming the thread it appears no one else pointed this out...

By "argument a friend used" Jim would you mean this?

http://youtu.be/nYUng5MtTd8 specifically starting at 2:40.

Pass Dara my appreciation for his work and best wishes.

Anyway...

The threat of dumbing down is rather lost in the detail here, one expects to see a title follow the easy/medium/hard etc. model with "medium" being the optimal intended game experience (relatively subjective as said levels may be.)For a game not to contain that sort of basic challenge levelling suggests only poor design. While some designers may feel there is only "one true way" it behoves them to hand choice to the player to decide the type of experience they wish to enjoy. To argue for or against is like arguing the merits of the presence of the ground, it's redundant and doing it in public will draw some odd looks.

Surly the actual issue is this concept of consumer entitlement over reward for challenge? Games are supposed to be a test with the reward of play progression/level ups/loot/story development etc.. To approach a game as "I paid for it, therefore I should get it" is missing the point and smacks of overweening entitlement.

The Mario title referenced strikes me as a straw man. Such levelling techniques and play aids are visible and appropriate. It's a Mario game from fuzzy, fluffy Nintendo for goodness sake.

The broader, more deep seated trend towards the dumbing down of a title and game play challenge in order to achieve sales figures and develop a license is the real issue. This is inclusiveness for the sake of market penetration and the increase of profit, not some high minded sense of gaming for all.

We end up with titles that behave more like rail shooters or quick time infested cinematics where progression or narrative involves the player less and less or where choice is highly scripted and bears little out come on the end result. The experience becomes a homogenised blur with noise and scripted events becoming the norm and a game stops being about developing ability, problem solving or and becomes a dull grind of brown repetition. Not to name names...

Oh and the political point was redundant, trite and hamfisted, leave it out. Insularity = Bad, Inclusiveness = Good, we get it ok?

As long as I'm not required to play easy mode, I don't care.

However, Dark Souls without difficulty seems pretty pointless, as it is the self flaggelation that appears to be the sole draw/point of the game.

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