Dark Souls: an experiment in logic

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barbzilla:

FriedRicer:
snip

Point 1:

You are making a logic jump here that doesn't follow through. By lowering the amount of damage the enemies deal you have, in fact, lowered the difficulty. I am really not sure what you are trying to argue, so I will have to guess.

I am guessing you are using the thought that for there to be an "easy" mode it has to be a complete cake walk, and this just isn't true. Just by lowering every stat on every monster by 1 point you have technically made the game easier (though not really worthwhile to patch in). This should read more like.

A game can be hard because of stats;
A game can be made easier by lowering stats;
A game can be hard because of tactics;
A game can be made easier by lowering the AI;
A game can be hard because of stats;
A game can be made easier by lower AI;
A game can be hard because of tactics;
A game can be made easier by lowering stats;

all of these are true. They don't have to follow a linear path.

Point 2:

Once again, I really don't know what you are getting at. The game is as hard as the individual playing the game feels it to be. That is as close to the point as I can get.

Point 3:

Well here I can at least see a demi-point. There are no definites in the universe, it is entirely possible that EA could announce tomorrow that they will release their next 5 games for free as an apology for being such twats (though its incredibly improbable). So saying that a publisher is out 100% for its money or 100% for their game to be seen as art is illogical as well.

I don't expect them to change anything in the game you love. I expect the game to remain the same game it has always been. From has already stated it will not be implementing an easy mode and the debate will never truly be settled.

Point 1.
I did not assume you meant cake-walk but let's take it to that example and say I did mean just that.How would certain monster move-sets and platforming parts of the game be made easier by lowering stats? I know it isn't a linear problem-that's why I showed that simply talking about lowering the stats(by 1 point or 100/etc) certain levels would still remain out of the reach of certain players? The other aspects you pointed out in your "revision" was what you should have had in your first post,mainly the A.I part,because it would lower the players need to use tactics to win the tactics-based game(easy?).Lowering stats in a game whose difficulty is based on tactics solves nothing end-game wise.Technically,making the game easier could also mean giving you 1 more point of damage.But you and I both know that would not stop people from getting parried/grab/etc. But what if we mad the enemies grab only when you heal?Take out attack patterns that are designed to stun?Such and the like is what you should have brought up.

Point 2.
That was my point and, because it is a fact,wouldn't an easy mode be completely redundant?If you are patient and observant the game is easy...people want an easy mode. Are they unable to possess those two traits?

Point 3.
You did not see a demi-point.You saw the whole thing.But thank you for understanding that it is not immediately illogical for a company (that makes art at least) to not always put the dollar above other interests all the time.FROM has proven that so-far.

I thought Mathematics were the few definite things we had...?Otherwise scaling would get messy...IN THE FUTURE!

barbzilla:

Tanakh:

barbzilla:
Actually I did follow the scientific method when experimenting with the claims made against an easy mode. I just didn't write it as a scientific paper. The experiment in logic was referring to experimenting with the logic of the arguments against including an easy mode in the game. As for the discussion value I wanted to have something to discuss as I assumed (my first mistake) that the argument was over at this point. I was only giving my findings on the matter.

Anything called scientific must be at the very least mesurable. You had one subjective play of DS, which is a good way to spend time, but there was no hypothesis, no messures during the activity, the activites can't be repeated nor it had a control group; what definition of scientific method are you using?

Also, logic and arguments over preferences have seldom a close connection. But it might be commendable to try base your arguments on logical deductions :D

Wow, okay your right. I didn't have a control group and I didn't utilise a proper sample size. I apologize to the scientific community for calling the thread an experiment in logic.

What I did do is read many posts on what people consider the issue to be and make a few lists of why the easy mode should not be implemented. I then played the game through on the regular difficulty (IE: not NG+) and after each boss scaled how I felt each of the issues had effect on me personally with a numerical system.

I then did the same thing on NG+, however it was a moot point by here as I had already learned the enemies movements and attacks, so my plan was ruined. Thus I didn't bother listing my findings in a scientific manner as I didn't have much to back it up with. I hope this clears things up and appeases the scientific community.

"I had already learned the enemies movements and attacks, so my plan was ruined."

If you do that for every enemy on the first play through,what will remain difficult?

Also,Thanks for being a good TC and answering everyone.

I'm a complete asshole online, I always let people invade me since it keeps me tense and I love invading and killing or attempting to kill the player. I just find it fun, although there are some moments where invasions have made me rage (About to kill a mob that has already killed me twice then suddenly boom I fucking die, and it was a player) but that's part of the fun for me.

Not even gonna get into the easy mode thing, I enjoy the game difficulty and I don't care how others enjoy it, as long as my experience doesn't change because of it I'm cool with it.

barbzilla:
snip

The thing is, the game already has an easymode, it's just not a setting in the options. You can summon NPC or human companions to help you with the levels. You can upgrade your equipment, which makes a much bigger difference than leveling early on. there is a blacksmith right at the starting point, but it isn't far to the next one who sells the materials as well. You can use magic, which makes most of the game really easy. You can turtle behind a shield which also turns most of the game into easymode.

It's more of an organic difficulty selection than hardcoded difficulty.

FriedRicer:
snip

Fair enough, it looked like you were saying you could only fix tactics difficulty by lowering the AI, and only fix stats difficulty by lowering the stats. I am sorry if I misinterpreted your meaning. As to your question, I don't think it is necessary to change the monsters habits and tactics to implement an easy mode. As a matter of fact, I think that would, in fact, ruin the game as others have said.

And yes math is important, as evident in my Order of Operations thread (in the past). :-P

FriedRicer:

"I had already learned the enemies movements and attacks, so my plan was ruined."

If you do that for every enemy on the first play through,what will remain difficult?

Also,Thanks for being a good TC and answering everyone.

Therein lies the existential question about this debate. "If you do that for every enemy on the first play through,what will remain difficult?" I don't think this is the particular issue the players waiting for an easy mode are having. The way I see it (maybe not 100% accurate as I have to make assumptions) the players asking for an easy mode aren't asking for a walk through. I haven't seen anyone argue that point yet. They are only asking for a bit more forgiveness. This can be done through stat modification, AI modification (though I think that would be a bad idea), or just flat out redesigning the game (geared towards a bit more direction and hand holding... also a bad idea). Everyone I've seen argue the Pro easy mode, has argued to only slightly enhance survivability through stats modification. So I would assume that it would arguably remain a very similar experience for the players who actually "need" that extra time.

I don't think this is a good idea for all players though. That being said, I think it should be up to the player to decide which group they fall into (people able to complete normal mode, but unwilling to try, and people who genuinely have trouble with it). For example one of my club's members is 70 years old. He purchased the game to try, but he isn't that great at video games. Now I wouldn't say he isn't tactically capable of playing, as he often orchestrates our BF 3 plans (and quite well I might add). But this is from previous life experience. Since he only picked up video games a few years ago (when he was sent to a retirement community), he hasn't had the requisite time to become comfortable with the inherent skill set many of us take for granted. He is the type of person I advocated the change for.

You are quite welcome, but in all fairness I only answered those who bothered to quote me (with the exception of the art question, I just felt like nobody was going to answer that one).

lapan:

barbzilla:
snip

The thing is, the game already has an easymode, it's just not a setting in the options. You can summon NPC or human companions to help you with the levels. You can upgrade your equipment, which makes a much bigger difference than leveling early on. there is a blacksmith right at the starting point, but it isn't far to the next one who sells the materials as well. You can use magic, which makes most of the game really easy. You can turtle behind a shield which also turns most of the game into easymode.

It's more of an organic difficulty selection than hardcoded difficulty.

I've answered this point earlier in the thread, but I will again as I don't feel like looking back for it to quote it.

You can't call something integral to the game an easy mode. One could also pose the argument that doing those things is the "normal" way of playing, meanwhile avoiding those things equals a "harder" experience. Aside from that, if you play online summoning NPCs and other Players, you also open yourself up to invasions (usually by people that will far out stripe you with their gear). I can almost guarantee that most players will upgrade their gear as soon as they find the first blacksmith, so avoiding this would be artificially imposing limits on yourself (IE. Making the game harder). Using magic is something that can be said though. With the exception that in the beginning you are very limited on not just your spell selection, but the number of casts you get between shrines (I know the ruins BS sells a couple of spells, but a new player may not realise this), and this is just for the two classes that get magic from the start. It is quite a while before you find the first guy who will sell you spells (once again for a new player, I know you can rush to some of them pretty easily).

barbzilla:

lapan:

barbzilla:
snip

The thing is, the game already has an easymode, it's just not a setting in the options. You can summon NPC or human companions to help you with the levels. You can upgrade your equipment, which makes a much bigger difference than leveling early on. there is a blacksmith right at the starting point, but it isn't far to the next one who sells the materials as well. You can use magic, which makes most of the game really easy. You can turtle behind a shield which also turns most of the game into easymode.

It's more of an organic difficulty selection than hardcoded difficulty.

I've answered this point earlier in the thread, but I will again as I don't feel like looking back for it to quote it.

You can't call something integral to the game an easy mode. One could also pose the argument that doing those things is the "normal" way of playing, meanwhile avoiding those things equals a "harder" experience. Aside from that, if you play online summoning NPCs and other Players, you also open yourself up to invasions (usually by people that will far out stripe you with their gear). I can almost guarantee that most players will upgrade their gear as soon as they find the first blacksmith, so avoiding this would be artificially imposing limits on yourself (IE. Making the game harder). Using magic is something that can be said though. With the exception that in the beginning you are very limited on not just your spell selection, but the number of casts you get between shrines (I know the ruins BS sells a couple of spells, but a new player may not realise this), and this is just for the two classes that get magic from the start. It is quite a while before you find the first guy who will sell you spells (once again for a new player, I know you can rush to some of them pretty easily).

I read through about half of the thread before posting, must have overlooked that.
Actually the first guy to sell you spells is directly under Firelink Shrine (i agree on this one being easy to miss though), the second one before the 3rd boss, so it's not all that far. If you want pyromancies you can get them only a little after the 3rd boss. The first guy to sell you miracles is also directly at the start.

Invasions can be mostly avoided by turning human just before a boss. The game usually let's you find at least one humanity as a pickup item per area (5 humanity directly at firelink shrine!), it gives you more humanity after defeating a certain amount of enemies and after every boss. Besides, if you summoned someone and go 2vs1 on an invader most of them can't really do much against you.

It can be hard if you skip all the tutorials and don't use the help function (select button) to see what your stats actually do. Generally, most of the difficulty comes from rushing into everything carelessly which you usually learn to avoid after the first few deaths.

The game gives you plenty of opportunities to make it easy, even if you are a new player. If you purposely limit yourself or don't learn from your mistakes it's not the games fault.

barbzilla:
...he hasn't had the requisite time to become comfortable with the inherent skill set many of us take for granted.

Then maybe this game is not for him. This may sound shocking to you, but not every game should be catered to every gamer. It's not an elitism thing either.

Making games accessible to everyone was the rhetoric used to get us into this mess of games being a homogenous and interchangeable sludge that lack any form of originality. It was also the excuse used to dumb down game mechanics.

A good example is Skyrim. That game is a shell of what TES games used to be. So many features were removed and systems altered to cater to a more (buzzword incoming) "casual" market. Did this generate sales. Yes. But what was the unintended effect? Many series veterans found the game to be lacking and were left disappointed. It's actually funny that in many (not all) cases, Skyrim's biggest fans are new to the TES series, while the detractors are long time fans of the series.

It's no wonder why Souls series veterans are apprehensive to change the game they love to suit more casual interests... it's not elitism. It's fear that the game will be turned into a homogenous sludge catered to a group that had no interest in the first place, leaving long time fans in the cold.

As Rooster has pointed out, we have 1 series (Souls). You and your retired friend have every other game on the planet. Leave the Souls series alone.

lapan:
snip

s69-5:
snip

Two for one special here.

I concede points to not implementing the easy mode. I don't disagree with you entirely, so please don't take it as me trying to refute you absolutely. I don't even disagree with you on the point that the game is easy enough on its own if played with the right mindset. My ONLY reasoning is to make the game accessible enough for it to gain the popularity I know it can achieve. I know that popularity amongst games hasn't always worked out for the best, but when it does it can do brilliant things. I wanted From to have that chance to show the rest of the industry how it is done. As it stands now, it is an amazing niche title. I am content with it being as it is, and since there is no chance of From putting an easy mode in, this argument is purely a method of helping each side understand the other's argument.

As for my the game not being for my friend. Perhaps it isn't, but from a business standpoint (and don't be fooled, art or not, games industry is a business) that is bad policy. If you want to make money your goals are to find your market, and then expand. The first rule you will learn in business school is without change you stagnate and die. There is a delicate balance between being your own company and selling out, if From can't walk that line then they made the right choice. Another rule is to retain repeat business, from the game industry perspective that means don't lose your core fans (as you point out TES did). However if From could walk the line between "selling out" and "selling more" wouldn't you want them to?

Rooster Cogburn:

Naeras:
I'm going to take back that statement, as there seems to be people who have more sensible reasons than "OMG CASUALZ" to be against a lower difficulty setting in the game. I don't think I'll ever agree with most of them, though.
Still, my apologies for making generalizations based on my experience with idiots on other forums.

I think that's awesome, I really appreciate your willingness to acknowledge another perspective even when you don't agree. Thumbs up to that. Forgive me, please, for freaking out lol.

barbzilla:
My thoughts exactly. I've already conceded a point to you though, so don't give up entirely. I think the issue is that there are two completely separate paths of looking at the subject.

I don't think 'logical vs. illogical' is the most precise way to characterize the difference between those views. However, I do recognize that those views represent different value choices about the type of experience video games can convey or should strive to convey, or at least about what this game should strive to accomplish. I also don't completely agree with the premise of your first point but I'm sure I've said plenty on that. If it's still not clear I can try it another way. Basically I don't agree that From or anyone else is likely to do that, even if technically, they could. I think adding an easy mode to the game puts enormous strains on From Soft by pulling their core design focus in two different directions.

I think both sides of this issue will benefit from trying to empathize with the perspective of the other side. I admit, that isn't always easy for me to do. I frequently feel like some people don't want my perspective to be represented at all, and that defensiveness bleeds into my writing. Or you know, grabs it by the throat and runs with it.

Ariseishirou:
You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar, and I agree with these points completely.

Dark Souls isn't about twitch gaming, or manual skill (though that can certainly help in some areas). It's about cleverness, it's about learning. It's about developing effective strategies.

I wouldn't have said "brainless". I just think that word says more than you probably meant to. But yea, I agree with you, and thanks =). I really think the people who are calling for scaling down the stats don't understand what they are asking for. What making the game more lenient in terms of stats actually accomplishes is to allow players to progress through Dark Souls without exploring the possibilities in the mechanics. That is not analogous to playing Halo on easy mode. That is more akin to playing Halo without guns.

SkarKrow:
I must say I agree wholeheartedly, Dark Souls isn't a hard game at all, it's just a game with little tolerance for the impatient and hasty. It's predecessor Demon's Souls was exactly the same, the challenge wasn't the crushing difficulty at all, the challenge was figuring out just how the hell you beat whatever it was that you couldn't beat.

As I reappeared at Firelink Shrine, I was practically shouting this:

Short story long, I cleared the entire Catacombs that way and eventually killed Pinwheel. For my efforts, I was rewarded with the Rite of Kindling very early on, and enjoyed that tasty Estus for the rest of the play-through. Reflecting on that experience, I can't imagine how different that whole section of the game would have been for me if Dark Souls had an easy mode, what the people who actually play the easy mode are missing out on, and how that encounter would have to be tweaked to account for the needs of the easy mode players.

I am very encouraged to see people interested in discussing a video game as if it were art. It has been my experience that despite all the blather about games-as-art, most people are still very committed to analyzing and critiquing games strictly in terms of their value as products, like the game was a friggin' dishwasher. Jim Sterling, Yahtzee, MovieBob, I'm looking at you.

Don't get me wrong I'm not huge on the "games as art "thing, and I certainly wouldn't waste my energy arguing about it with people, but games are definately an art form, they're a valid form of expression and potentially the highest form of expression, because rather than simply describe or depict your vision to your audience, you can throw them into your vision so they may experience is for themselves.

I also like when games try new and unique things, and take risks, though I understand that business requires stability in order for those risks to be less likely to be catastrophic failures.

Recently I got rather annoyed at Assassins Creed 3, because it seems to have really lost sight of what was special about Assassins Creed (and especially the second game) and gone after a more action packed appraoch, which we're already saturated with, I prefered to more intellectual and philosophical approaches of the first 2 games, and the gameplay focused more on stealthy assassination and covert actions against secret organisations than, forgive me for generalising the rather complex issue of the american revolution, the approach of a big action packed "'MURICA FUCK YEH!".

On a similar note I just did some reading into Black Ops 2, and they've apparently brought in a lot of new things to the single player mode and actually been creative for once, which is both astounding and very helpful for the industry. By all means keep making shooters of the military variety, but make them varied and creative damn it!

-grumble-

Sorry I kinda lost my focus, but there's my view of games as art and hopefully the two examples make my perspective a touch more easy to understand, as my perspective on things is very rarely a black or white approach.

barbzilla:
Everyone I've seen argue the Pro easy mode, has argued to only slightly enhance survivability through stats modification. So I would assume that it would arguably remain a very similar experience for the players who actually "need" that extra time.

If that was true, they would have put easy mode in the game to start with. I really wish you would understand how untrue that is. That's how it works for most games. But Dark Souls is not most games. The only reason the player "needs" that extra time is because they haven't learned yet. It isn't because they can't do the ultra-precise aiming- there isn't any. It isn't because they can't do the ultra-precise timing- there isn't any. It isn't because they haven't figured out some complicated strategy- there isn't any.

They "need" the extra time so they don't have to figure out the game. But in Dark Souls, figuring out the game is what you do. The easy mode player is not having a similar but less intense or demanding experience. He is having a fundamentally different experience. If you could just make Dark Souls easy but leave it basically the same, like you can with Halo, I can only assume they would have just done that. Playing Dark Souls with more lenient stats takes away the CORE Dark Souls experience. You rip the backbone right out of the game.

It sounds like a lot of people would be fine with that. But it is not safe to assume that cutting out the CORE design philosophy, the basic premise of the game, the whole idea of it, the obstacle that the whole game is built around, would result in a similar experience for easy mode players. They would effectively be skipping to the end of the game without playing it. Figuring out how to make Dark Souls easy is Dark Souls. If it's easy to start with, that is to say, if you can beat it without learning, you may as well just make your character and skip directly to the end credits.

I am thinking about how to make everyone complete the game while maintaining the current difficulty and carefully send all gamers the messages behind it.

barbzilla:
However if From could walk the line between "selling out" and "selling more" wouldn't you want them to?

Of course, but the question is how.

SkarKrow:
Don't get me wrong I'm not huge on the "games as art "thing, and I certainly wouldn't waste my energy arguing about it with people, but games are definately an art form, they're a valid form of expression and potentially the highest form of expression, because rather than simply describe or depict your vision to your audience, you can throw them into your vision so they may experience is for themselves.

I also like when games try new and unique things, and take risks, though I understand that business requires stability in order for those risks to be less likely to be catastrophic failures.

Recently I got rather annoyed at Assassins Creed 3, because it seems to have really lost sight of what was special about Assassins Creed (and especially the second game) and gone after a more action packed appraoch, which we're already saturated with, I prefered to more intellectual and philosophical approaches of the first 2 games, and the gameplay focused more on stealthy assassination and covert actions against secret organisations than, forgive me for generalising the rather complex issue of the american revolution, the approach of a big action packed "'MURICA FUCK YEH!".

On a similar note I just did some reading into Black Ops 2, and they've apparently brought in a lot of new things to the single player mode and actually been creative for once, which is both astounding and very helpful for the industry. By all means keep making shooters of the military variety, but make them varied and creative damn it!

-grumble-

Sorry I kinda lost my focus, but there's my view of games as art and hopefully the two examples make my perspective a touch more easy to understand, as my perspective on things is very rarely a black or white approach.

I wasn't addressing you in particular about the "games as art" thing, but other people were talking about it. Sorry, I can see how unclear I was. But it worked it out, because you make some good points.

I think most hobbyists can agree that games are art. But it is so obvious there is a total lack of groundwork and language for discussing games as art. We REALLY need some scholarly literature on this topic. I mean Mass Effect 3 ending? artistic integrity! Dark Souls? easy mode please! It's art without merit, and until we can distinguish kitsch from art, there can be no serious conversation about games as art.

Rooster Cogburn:

barbzilla:
Everyone I've seen argue the Pro easy mode, has argued to only slightly enhance survivability through stats modification. So I would assume that it would arguably remain a very similar experience for the players who actually "need" that extra time.

If that was true, they would have put easy mode in the game to start with. I really wish you would understand how untrue that is. That's how it works for most games. But Dark Souls is not most games. The only reason the player "needs" that extra time is because they haven't learned yet. It isn't because they can't do the ultra-precise aiming- there isn't any. It isn't because they can't do the ultra-precise timing- there isn't any. It isn't because they haven't figured out some complicated strategy- there isn't any.

They "need" the extra time so they don't have to figure out the game. But in Dark Souls, figuring out the game is what you do. The easy mode player is not having a similar but less intense or demanding experience. He is having a fundamentally different experience. If you could just make Dark Souls easy but leave it basically the same, like you can with Halo, I can only assume they would have just done that. Playing Dark Souls with more lenient stats takes away the CORE Dark Souls experience. You rip the backbone right out of the game.

It sounds like a lot of people would be fine with that. But it is not safe to assume that cutting out the CORE design philosophy, the basic premise of the game, the whole idea of it, the obstacle that the whole game is built around, would result in a similar experience for easy mode players. They would effectively be skipping to the end of the game without playing it. Figuring out how to make Dark Souls easy is Dark Souls. If it's easy to start with, that is to say, if you can beat it without learning, you may as well just make your character and skip directly to the end credits.

I am thinking about how to make everyone complete the game while maintaining the current difficulty and carefully send all gamers the messages behind it.

barbzilla:
However if From could walk the line between "selling out" and "selling more" wouldn't you want them to?

Of course, but the question is how.

SkarKrow:
Don't get me wrong I'm not huge on the "games as art "thing, and I certainly wouldn't waste my energy arguing about it with people, but games are definately an art form, they're a valid form of expression and potentially the highest form of expression, because rather than simply describe or depict your vision to your audience, you can throw them into your vision so they may experience is for themselves.

I also like when games try new and unique things, and take risks, though I understand that business requires stability in order for those risks to be less likely to be catastrophic failures.

Recently I got rather annoyed at Assassins Creed 3, because it seems to have really lost sight of what was special about Assassins Creed (and especially the second game) and gone after a more action packed appraoch, which we're already saturated with, I prefered to more intellectual and philosophical approaches of the first 2 games, and the gameplay focused more on stealthy assassination and covert actions against secret organisations than, forgive me for generalising the rather complex issue of the american revolution, the approach of a big action packed "'MURICA FUCK YEH!".

On a similar note I just did some reading into Black Ops 2, and they've apparently brought in a lot of new things to the single player mode and actually been creative for once, which is both astounding and very helpful for the industry. By all means keep making shooters of the military variety, but make them varied and creative damn it!

-grumble-

Sorry I kinda lost my focus, but there's my view of games as art and hopefully the two examples make my perspective a touch more easy to understand, as my perspective on things is very rarely a black or white approach.

I wasn't addressing you in particular about the "games as art" thing, but other people were talking about it. Sorry, I can see how unclear I was. But it worked it out, because you make some good points.

I think most hobbyists can agree that games are art. But it is so obvious there is a total lack of groundwork and language for discussing games as art. We REALLY need some scholarly literature on this topic. I mean Mass Effect 3 ending? artistic integrity! Dark Souls? easy mode please! It's art without merit, and until we can distinguish kitsch from art, there can be no serious conversation about games as art.

Don't worry about it it's nice to have civilised and reasonable discussions here, far to often things boil into the usual internet dickery in recent months, What with the instant slagging of rumoured PS4 specs without actually seeing any performance as a recent example.

I didn't play Mass Effect 3 because 2 bored me half to death. Dark Souls is easy, you just need patience for it! If you want an easier Souls experience use the internet or a strategy guide to get you through.

But yeah it's hard to get a good discussion going about it without prententious funts ruining the whole thing by dragging it to far into the the art without judging it as a game. Personally if a game isn't fun it's not worth it, in my opinion, no matter how artistic it may be, a tiring or boring gameplay experience is not justified by a magnificient and creative story alone...

Rooster Cogburn:
snip

SkarKrow:
snipity snip snip snaroo

Just a quick interjection on the games as art thing. We can't have it one way and the other. We either acknowledge games as art, or we do not. I won't argue the fact that we get few good artistic pieces from games, but its a new form, it hasn't had the benefit of centuries (or even many decades). We have to make the choice, I find in favor of art only because I can see the artistic embellishments of the artists when a games comes out, even if it turns out to be horrible. Every person has their own unique style in the industry.

@Rooster;
I don't think the game "needs" an easy mode. Far from it, I "wanted" for there to be an easy mode for the reasons I've listed previously. The game is already a success and nothing more is needed. As long as they keep the servers up, they can stop support and we would be fine. Please don't think I misunderstand your points, I not only hear them, I understand them. I even agree with some of them, I just think the pros outweigh the cons (in my opinion), while you feel the reverse to be true.

@Skar
You've actually struck on an idea i've been tossing about for another thread about this debate. What if Dark Souls came with an in game browser that linked to a strategy guide (spoiler free) that disabled achievements on that character. Kind of an easy mode per say, in the fact that you get that helping hand (though I feel it would be a worse idea than an easy mode, it might alleviate some fear of game change). It doesn't change anything major in reality, as you can go online and check out strategies till your heart is content.

barbzilla:

Rooster Cogburn:
snip

SkarKrow:
snipity snip snip snaroo

Just a quick interjection on the games as art thing. We can't have it one way and the other. We either acknowledge games as art, or we do not. I won't argue the fact that we get few good artistic pieces from games, but its a new form, it hasn't had the benefit of centuries (or even many decades). We have to make the choice, I find in favor of art only because I can see the artistic embellishments of the artists when a games comes out, even if it turns out to be horrible. Every person has their own unique style in the industry.

@Rooster;
I don't think the game "needs" an easy mode. Far from it, I "wanted" for there to be an easy mode for the reasons I've listed previously. The game is already a success and nothing more is needed. As long as they keep the servers up, they can stop support and we would be fine. Please don't think I misunderstand your points, I not only hear them, I understand them. I even agree with some of them, I just think the pros outweigh the cons (in my opinion), while you feel the reverse to be true.

@Skar
You've actually struck on an idea i've been tossing about for another thread about this debate. What if Dark Souls came with an in game browser that linked to a strategy guide (spoiler free) that disabled achievements on that character. Kind of an easy mode per say, in the fact that you get that helping hand (though I feel it would be a worse idea than an easy mode, it might alleviate some fear of game change). It doesn't change anything major in reality, as you can go online and check out strategies till your heart is content.

Well that was exactly my idea, leave the game entirely untouched and just use some kind of strategy guide to supplement your experience, there's no shame in it whatsoever and it leaves the Souls experience untarnished. I'd probably buy a high quality hardback guide for the games just because I like those things and it'd be useful for quick referencing things and such.

Frankly anyone considering playing a Souls game is probably enough of a nerd gaming enthusiast that having such a thing on their shelf and indeed paying for such a thing is no hardship to them or their self esteem.

SkarKrow:
snip

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

barbzilla:

SkarKrow:
snip

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

I did my first playthrough of Dark Souls completely blind, although I am a Demon's Souls vet so it's hard to gauge how it would measure up to a first time experience with the game system. This probably led to me doing things that new people would not normally do, like suicide dashes to pick things up etc

I can absolutely attest to a strat guide ruining the game though. I looked at one for one of the worlds of Demon's Souls when I was first playing that and the game was suddenly very very different and I really wished I hadn't looked. Fortunately it was just for that one section but I knew I wouldn't go near one for Dark Souls.

From Software have a way of setting up places and events that almost subconsciously train you for other areas or techniques. Often it is a fantastically brutal lesson of misery and death but you learn quite fast from that. If you don't learn then you aren't improving.

barbzilla:

SkarKrow:
snip

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

That's fine if you don't want to use a strategy guide, and that's kind of my point. Soul's games aren't hard, they just demand trial and imrpovement (not trial and error), and thoughtfulness and patience. For some that's annoying and they just want to experience the world and content, and they can use a strategy guide for a much less frustrating experience, whilst those like you can willfully ignore it's existence and maybe use it to enhance a second playthrough or exploration in the post-game, and those like me who will turn to it after a few hours of failure and reaching the point of "ok just what the fuck is this thing weak to!?" for a quick reference for an elemental weakness and the like on occasions where I just desperately want to move on to the next challenge.

Frankly you could apply the same theory to a lot of games these days. Final Fantasy could do with being a bit harder again, same with pokemon! (Though Black & white 2 require grinding, which I just do not do so it's fairly challenging so far.)

The best thing is that such a guide is a separate thing to the game, and can be used to enhance the game for everyone, without detracting from the games artistic integrity or indeed the developers vision of the game.

You could of course keep things out of the guide, like the recently revealed pendant function in Dark Souls.

I also like maps for post games and such. Especially poster maps.

Tallim:

barbzilla:

SkarKrow:
snip

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

I did my first playthrough of Dark Souls completely blind, although I am a Demon's Souls vet so it's hard to gauge how it would measure up to a first time experience with the game system. This probably led to me doing things that new people would not normally do, like suicide dashes to pick things up etc

I can absolutely attest to a strat guide ruining the game though. I looked at one for one of the worlds of Demon's Souls when I was first playing that and the game was suddenly very very different and I really wished I hadn't looked. Fortunately it was just for that one section but I knew I wouldn't go near one for Dark Souls.

From Software have a way of setting up places and events that almost subconsciously train you for other areas or techniques. Often it is a fantastically brutal lesson of misery and death but you learn quite fast from that. If you don't learn then you aren't improving.

I agree, in my post above I tried to explain and justify the idea. It's definately a better option than an easy mode would be in my opinion, though Soul's games I'd personally avoid a strategy guide and spoilers because it defeats the point of what makes the games special.

For content tourists and atmosphere sponges that are faint of heart it would enhance their experience without affecting your experience like an easy mode would.

SkarKrow:

Tallim:

barbzilla:

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

I did my first playthrough of Dark Souls completely blind, although I am a Demon's Souls vet so it's hard to gauge how it would measure up to a first time experience with the game system. This probably led to me doing things that new people would not normally do, like suicide dashes to pick things up etc

I can absolutely attest to a strat guide ruining the game though. I looked at one for one of the worlds of Demon's Souls when I was first playing that and the game was suddenly very very different and I really wished I hadn't looked. Fortunately it was just for that one section but I knew I wouldn't go near one for Dark Souls.

From Software have a way of setting up places and events that almost subconsciously train you for other areas or techniques. Often it is a fantastically brutal lesson of misery and death but you learn quite fast from that. If you don't learn then you aren't improving.

I agree, in my post above I tried to explain and justify the idea. It's definately a better option than an easy mode would be in my opinion, though Soul's games I'd personally avoid a strategy guide and spoilers because it defeats the point of what makes the games special.

For content tourists and atmosphere sponges that are faint of heart it would enhance their experience without affecting your experience like an easy mode would.

It was incredible what a difference reading up on that one section of Demon's Souls made. It fundamentally altered my view of the experience and left that bit a bit hollow in my mind.

I actually get annoyed now when I see people trying the game asking for "tips" early on and almost always the first thing that gets suggested is exactly how to acquire the Drake's Sword which really undermines your learning early game as you don't have to deal with longer fights with mooks etc.

SkarKrow:

barbzilla:

SkarKrow:
snip

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

That's fine if you don't want to use a strategy guide, and that's kind of my point. Soul's games aren't hard, they just demand trial and imrpovement (not trial and error), and thoughtfulness and patience. For some that's annoying and they just want to experience the world and content, and they can use a strategy guide for a much less frustrating experience, whilst those like you can willfully ignore it's existence and maybe use it to enhance a second playthrough or exploration in the post-game, and those like me who will turn to it after a few hours of failure and reaching the point of "ok just what the fuck is this thing weak to!?" for a quick reference for an elemental weakness and the like on occasions where I just desperately want to move on to the next challenge.

Frankly you could apply the same theory to a lot of games these days. Final Fantasy could do with being a bit harder again, same with pokemon! (Though Black & white 2 require grinding, which I just do not do so it's fairly challenging so far.)

The best thing is that such a guide is a separate thing to the game, and can be used to enhance the game for everyone, without detracting from the games artistic integrity or indeed the developers vision of the game.

You could of course keep things out of the guide, like the recently revealed pendant function in Dark Souls.

I also like maps for post games and such. Especially poster maps.

Wait they announced what the pendant does? *rushes to look it up*
.
..
...
....
WTF; really? It does absolutely nothing. It was something they added to the game to have no function. Blah! Its genius though. Many people spent quite a number of hours trying to figure it out, hell I tried to figure it out for a bit (after I found out about Arty's insanity due to the pendant I started experimenting there).

I think we have reached an agreeable median point though in the argument. Just include a guide with the purchase. If they want to use it and lessen their experience fine, let them.

I love the way multiplayer is tied into the game. I'm part of the Forest hunters and always wear the ring so I can potentially invade to defend the forest. However what I've found is that ppl that actually invade the forest are usually guys that are overly geared for their soul level, and usually if you do manage to drop them they have over 200k souls - so yeah that's a bit fishy. Kinda cheapens the game down if you encounter such a player and pick up that many souls, managed to level up 4x and get my gear upgraded to +10 far before I should have been able to.

While I love the PvP in the game it really does have these annoying occurrences where you do something and the game doesn't respond, maybe its lag, maybe its the mechanics behind it. The whole backstabbing is seriously buggy, whoever lags the most lands it (at least that's how I feel it happens, I'm not that great at it but I've studied the mechanics of it and srsly that stuff is pretty badly implemented.)

TL:DR - PvP in Dark Souls is the most fun thing of the game for me - the randomness of being invaded or summoned to invade or assist makes it fun 24/7.
Downside - the game suffers from massive lag and occasional lag spikes (at least at my experience) to the point where PvP can be rather sucky. Especially when both of you are fishing for backstab because that's just the most efficient way to go... Feels like it takes the skill away. I suppose a good player just avoids getting backstabbed at all, though I never manage to do so. [also, Wrath of the Gods spamm is fckn lame and shouldn't be done -.-']
There's some really lame elements to the PvP in Dark Souls -yeah everything can be countered but I don't want to be 1 shotted by a player that seemidly was because of a lucky backstab or some lag spike so that you missed a parry...

Shadowcreed:
I love the way multiplayer is tied into the game. I'm part of the Forest hunters and always wear the ring so I can potentially invade to defend the forest. However what I've found is that ppl that actually invade the forest are usually guys that are overly geared for their soul level, and usually if you do manage to drop them they have over 200k souls - so yeah that's a bit fishy. Kinda cheapens the game down if you encounter such a player and pick up that many souls, managed to level up 4x and get my gear upgraded to +10 far before I should have been able to.

While I love the PvP in the game it really does have these annoying occurrences where you do something and the game doesn't respond, maybe its lag, maybe its the mechanics behind it. The whole backstabbing is seriously buggy, whoever lags the most lands it (at least that's how I feel it happens, I'm not that great at it but I've studied the mechanics of it and srsly that stuff is pretty badly implemented.)

TL:DR - PvP in Dark Souls is the most fun thing of the game for me - the randomness of being invaded or summoned to invade or assist makes it fun 24/7.
Downside - the game suffers from massive lag and occasional lag spikes (at least at my experience) to the point where PvP can be rather sucky. Especially when both of you are fishing for backstab because that's just the most efficient way to go... Feels like it takes the skill away. I suppose a good player just avoids getting backstabbed at all, though I never manage to do so. [also, Wrath of the Gods spamm is fckn lame and shouldn't be done -.-']
There's some really lame elements to the PvP in Dark Souls -yeah everything can be countered but I don't want to be 1 shotted by a player that seemidly was because of a lucky backstab or some lag spike so that you missed a parry...

You are correct about the lag. I don't know if it matters which player is more laggy. When I see someone sprinting toward me like they're going back stab fishing, I usually just put my shield up and back away from them. Eventually they realize I'm not interested in letting them just fish for back stabs.

On the other hand, sometimes it just happens and they never intended it. On their screen, it looks like you have made a mistake and left yourself exposed for a legitimate back stab. On your screen, they literally teleport behind you and back stab. It's bullshit but it's not really their fault. You may not know which back stabs you got by outplaying your opponent and which were the result of lag.

I think most players have decided that, since there is nothing to be done about this issue, the only thing to do is just accept it as part of the game, and adjust your strategy accordingly. That's not exactly ideal, but it seems to be the best we will get until the next title. I think they are aware how badly the lag situation impacted this game. I hope they really focus on fixing that for the next title.

I have heard Wrath of the Gods is actually pretty balanced once you get used to the timing for dodging out of it. I don't have enough experience to say though. The people who have tried using it against me either killed me by other means or weren't using it very effectively.

barbzilla:

The game is already a success and nothing more is needed. As long as they keep the servers up, they can stop support and we would be fine.

I just wanted to add that we don't have to worry about that with Dark. Due to all the issues with Demon's and people petitioning to keep the main server running longer and continuing to spend that money, Dark uses a P2P system. Basically, as long as people are still playing you'll be able to play with them. I think this is partly why the world tendency thing was done away with (other than you having no control over it online).

Either way, I think it's great that on the internet a conclusion and middle ground was reached through intelligent discussion and respect, with nobody getting banned. A victory was had here.

Saw this article about the makers of Hitman having trouble getting playtesters to improvise. Makes me wonder how badly some gamers today are conditioned with rail roading and handholding.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/180845/New_Hitman_asks_players_to_improvise_but_have_they_forgotten_how.php

TrevHead:
Saw this article about the makers of Hitman having trouble getting playtesters to improvise. Makes me wonder how badly some gamers today are conditioned with rail roading and handholding.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/180845/New_Hitman_asks_players_to_improvise_but_have_they_forgotten_how.php

Reminds me of this interview where they talk about the people playtesting Dishonored:

GON: It's cool because there's a lot of ways up the stairs, but it still felt a bit railroad-ey. What did people do before you put these clues in?

Julien: People would just walk around. They didn't know what to do. They didn't even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn't. They'd say "Okay, I can't go upstairs." They wouldn't do anything.

Sounds like the exact same situation. I don't think those people are dummies or anything, I just think they're understandably accustomed to being told exactly what to do. And when the game doesn't tell them explicitly how to progress, I imagine they probably feel like something is wrong. They may even feel like they did something wrong. That's just what games are like these days. That's part of the reason Dark Souls is so refreshing. Dark Souls says to the player "You know what? Enough is enough. You figure it out."

Rooster Cogburn:
snip

Maybe its because I used to be a tester, but I don't play games the way the developers hand them to me. I tend to say "Hey I wonder if that would work" when I am playing. This has lead me to many empty rooms and many invisible walls, but I still go for it every time. I think it was mostly invisible walls responsible for the current lack of exploration inclination. People have grown so tired of saying hey what's over there, and finding they can't get there, that they just leave it be now.

Rooster Cogburn:

TrevHead:
Saw this article about the makers of Hitman having trouble getting playtesters to improvise. Makes me wonder how badly some gamers today are conditioned with rail roading and handholding.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/180845/New_Hitman_asks_players_to_improvise_but_have_they_forgotten_how.php

Reminds me of this interview where they talk about the people playtesting Dishonored:

GON: It's cool because there's a lot of ways up the stairs, but it still felt a bit railroad-ey. What did people do before you put these clues in?

Julien: People would just walk around. They didn't know what to do. They didn't even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn't. They'd say "Okay, I can't go upstairs." They wouldn't do anything.

Sounds like the exact same situation. I don't think those people are dummies or anything, I just think they're understandably accustomed to being told exactly what to do. And when the game doesn't tell them explicitly how to progress, I imagine they probably feel like something is wrong. They may even feel like they did something wrong. That's just what games are like these days. That's part of the reason Dark Souls is so refreshing. Dark Souls says to the player "You know what? Enough is enough. You figure it out."

Reminds me of this section of the Half Life dev commentary:

barbzilla:

SkarKrow:

barbzilla:

See I've always felt as though I was cheating if I pulled out a strategy guide on my first playthrough. On subsequent playthroughs I would usually reference one to see what all I missed the first time through though, so I'm not completely opposed to them. I just figure that the developer laid things out in a certain way to promote exploration/experimentation so I followed them. This is honestly the first game I've seen where a strategy guide will literally give you the physical strategy required to beat enemies, so I feel it would be more detrimental than an easy mode. On the other hand it is a matter of self restraint, so I don't see the issue with implementing such an idea.

That's fine if you don't want to use a strategy guide, and that's kind of my point. Soul's games aren't hard, they just demand trial and imrpovement (not trial and error), and thoughtfulness and patience. For some that's annoying and they just want to experience the world and content, and they can use a strategy guide for a much less frustrating experience, whilst those like you can willfully ignore it's existence and maybe use it to enhance a second playthrough or exploration in the post-game, and those like me who will turn to it after a few hours of failure and reaching the point of "ok just what the fuck is this thing weak to!?" for a quick reference for an elemental weakness and the like on occasions where I just desperately want to move on to the next challenge.

Frankly you could apply the same theory to a lot of games these days. Final Fantasy could do with being a bit harder again, same with pokemon! (Though Black & white 2 require grinding, which I just do not do so it's fairly challenging so far.)

The best thing is that such a guide is a separate thing to the game, and can be used to enhance the game for everyone, without detracting from the games artistic integrity or indeed the developers vision of the game.

You could of course keep things out of the guide, like the recently revealed pendant function in Dark Souls.

I also like maps for post games and such. Especially poster maps.

Wait they announced what the pendant does? *rushes to look it up*
.
..
...
....
WTF; really? It does absolutely nothing. It was something they added to the game to have no function. Blah! Its genius though. Many people spent quite a number of hours trying to figure it out, hell I tried to figure it out for a bit (after I found out about Arty's insanity due to the pendant I started experimenting there).

I think we have reached an agreeable median point though in the argument. Just include a guide with the purchase. If they want to use it and lessen their experience fine, let them.

I know I found that hilariuous, I personally expected that kind of trickery from the developer and thus never worried about it much.

I think we have though I'm not sure making the inclusion mandatory would be financially appealling to customers, though if we're talking £50 and you included a guide and maybe a lenticular case or steelbook then that'd be a brilliant deal for all involved!

barbzilla:

Rooster Cogburn:
snip

Maybe its because I used to be a tester, but I don't play games the way the developers hand them to me. I tend to say "Hey I wonder if that would work" when I am playing. This has lead me to many empty rooms and many invisible walls, but I still go for it every time. I think it was mostly invisible walls responsible for the current lack of exploration inclination. People have grown so tired of saying hey what's over there, and finding they can't get there, that they just leave it be now.

Oh that's definately something I've sadly gotten used to, and I really do play games exploratively, it's why I enjoyed Skyrim so damn much, I love running towards the horizon and finding out just what I can dig up.

I do similar things in multiplayer shooters, I try to climb up things and find new places and such. I remember finding the ways up the cliffs in Laguna Presa on Bad Company 2 maybe 2 weeks after the game came out on my own and it took WEEKS before anyone figured out how to get up there.

I've never worked as a professional tester but I do tend to try break games and find it hilarious when I manage to. I managed to completely break Resident Evil 6's AI for example, it got stuck walking around a barrell and I couldn't persuade it to do anything else without killing myself.

The great big "secret" about Dark Souls: it's not a skill-based game. It's all about learning, adapting, and problem solving.

Ninja Gaiden. Devil May Cry. Serious Sam. These games test your skill. Anyone who can play these games with even mild proficiency has 10x the skill needed to best Dark Souls. But a lot of these people fail at this game because they don't bring the right mindset.

Instead of getting frustrated and throwing your hands up in the air, think about precisely what's happening to you. Then think logically about why it might be happening.

Are you getting destroyed by a group of enemies you can't seem to damage? Maybe you've ventured into a higher level area too soon. Maybe you don't have the right equipment yet.

Are you dying to an environmental hazard? Maybe you're lacking the right resistances or item properties. Maybe you need to perform certain actions that change the environment entirely.

Are you struggling to stay alive in general? Maybe you need to adopt a more defensive combat posture complete with the appropriate gear and stats?

Are you unable to roll out of the way of boss attacks? Maybe you're carrying too much weight.

Are you taking way too much damage when struck? Maybe you need to invest in endurance so you can equip heavier armor.

If you ask yourself these questions, you can logically predict at least some of the solutions. Then it's just a matter of tracking those solutions down, and that's where exploration pays dividends.

And if all else fails, you can buy a decent shield and spear from the very first merchant you encounter, and that should be enough for you to turtle your way to some better stats and items.

I don't feel that dark or demons souls are that hard but what they both could benefit from is an optional, extended tutorial area *that* hammers in basic concepts and tests the player with that knowledge before they move on). I'm sure someone will disagree with me but I honestly felt unprepared the first time I played dark souls in particular. The beginning area had complex groups of mobs and not alot of bonfire spots. Armored core suffers from this too. Great game but it skimps on tutorial sections. Demon souls was the best of the three with a relaxing jaunt into the castle. It slowly warmed you up to battle concepts and scenarios. Just my two cents anyway.

Whoops wrong thread don't mind me :p

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