Creator contemplating adding an easier difficulty - thoughts?

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#101 Posted by Loafsmooch (307 posts) -

@yinstarrunner said:

@DJJoeJoe which mechanics specifically? There are only a few parts of this game that i would feel are unfair at all. As a matter of fact, i feel that Dark Souls is probaby one of the most "fair" games I've ever played.

Indeed, when you fail, it's because YOU failed. And when you succeed, it's because you're awesome, not because the game held your hand all the way through. Not to be a douche, but those of my friends who tried and hated the game aren't the brightest guys. They're not good at figuring things out and learning from their mistakes, I think that has a lot to do with how you enjoy this game.

#102 Posted by supamon (1333 posts) -

Adding an easier difficulty would be pointless. The difficulty is as much a part of the game as any of the other core mechanics. It'll just waste From Software's time in tuning two sets of difficulties and make the third game come out even later. Better yet, the people who wouldn't have bought the game would say "this game has no story" or "the font is too ugly I can't play this" or something else to complain about.

No, thank you.

#103 Edited by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

@yinstarrunner: @Loafsmooch: I feel the opposite. When I know what to do but have to confine my actions based on the game's mechanics, waiting on animated etc, feels very frustrating and never feels like it's my fault for failing to know that animation X takes 4 seconds to complete and the attack animation of an enemy is only signalled 2 seconds in advance, not allowing me to react to enemies but rather forcing me to remember their movements and expose their mechanics like I'm some excel sheet game player who plays games based on knowing the occurrence rates of attacks.

It's very clearly a separating factor in players, some people find this the opposite way to have fun playing games (me) and others think it's the only way they have fun playing games (people who like Dark Souls). I don't want to be aware of the mechanics behind what I'm seeing on screen, basically, I want to react to what I see and feel like I have a fair chance to succeed based on what the game shows me.

I'm not in favor of adding an easier option to this game, I don't think it can be done because the entire reason for people's love for the game is the exact reason for anyone who hasn't liked it already won't ever like it and you can't change one without destroying the other. I don't think the creators can actually add something like this, I don't think they know how and I think it's an amazingly difficult task to do regardless of developer anyways.

As a side note, trying to explain (maybe to myself, as much as to others) my reasoning about the game's difficulty and mechanics heavy gameplay. I want to feel as in-tune with my avatar in a video game as I am with my own body. I don't want to have to think about the things you need to think about when playing dark souls, in reality with your own body you react and your body moves according and isn't stuck in animations based on a decision made prior. I basically want more cancels and for a game to be built around these cancels (see batman, or assassin's creed, or others like these). The 'wait for an animation to finish' seems to be an eastern games developer thing and I've never understood the actual appear other than a sense of conquering this handicap.

#104 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

I don't mind the idea of an easy mode, however while the game does have a reputation of being difficult I don't believe making an easier mode with less damaging enemies or more health is going to bring in more people. I think the design of the game is what puts most people off. The part where you have to figure so much of it out for yourself by being observant, inquisitive (by looking at all item descriptions and examining the menus) and taking things slow. Tthe way weapons and animations are handled is also a factor, probably. Even the GB guys use "animation priority" as a dirty word that somehow signifies style over substance when what it really is supposed to do is force you to consider your actions more carefully. It's the same type of design that the early Castlevania games had and I love it. It's also generally more forgiving than something like Monster Hunter, I believe (I'm not really into that series).

Design wise I think the game could be improved somewhat by being clearer in the information that it conveys to the player. I think that you should be able to discover everything on your own, but when you do discover something well hidden you should also understand what it was you did to make that happen and not get any conflicting information.

I should be able to ask the blacksmith how weapon upgrading works as many times as I want and I should be able to tell when he's got new things to say (like the late game hint he gives you about Artorias grave). I should naturally also still be able to kill him and make things harder for myself.

Menus like the bonfire menu could have descriptions for the different things. Unhollowing(?) could be described in this way "Use Humanity to restore your humanity and allow for summoning of phantoms" (Invasions should be a hidden surprise in that context) Kindle should be described as "Offer Humanity to enhance Bonfire", simple. If you try to do it while hollowed the usual message pops up.

I think things could be done to push people to dig through the menus more to learn what the different stats are, and to encourage them to read item descriptions (I also think that the menus themselves could be improved somewhat), in other words teach them how to approach the game. Item descriptions on the whole are pretty good, with a few confusing exceptions, I think the same could be said about the entirety of the game's design.

Off topic rant about the series:

Overall I liked Dark souls better than Demon's Souls, the less floaty feel of movement, the heavier feel of heavy armor as well as the Poise stat. Upgrading was made easier (thank god for infinitely respawning crystal lizards(until you killed them at least)), I liked the multiple checkpoints, open world and the changes to the health item system. I think the style is better/more distinct a lot of the time though Demon's Souls had its share of awesome locations. Music is about on par, though I think Demon's Souls wins out, barely. I liked the life/death system better with Humanity being way easier to come by than Stone of Ephymereal Eyes, yet this devalued the act of Invasion and co-op as a means to restore your life somewhat. The experiments with new kinds of PvP and co-op for the different covenants were cool but needs some work. Pyromancy is pretty sweet.

I thought the messages were less useful in Dark Souls, I missed certain key words like "friend" or whatever it was. I'd like for any subsequent game to just have a wordlist of words that you are allowed to make messages from, kinda like what you do in Persona 4: Arena and Theatrhythm have for making personalized messages, only with a few more words.

#105 Posted by JackSukeru (5903 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe: I think you put forth your reasoning really well and in a fair way. The way I see it is that while some people are better at acting and reacting, others are really into learning and understanding the mechanics of a game, observing and experimenting. I'm sort of inbetween when it comes to that though so this part:

some people find this the opposite way to have fun playing games (me) and others think it's the only way they have fun playing games (people who like Dark Souls). I don't want to be aware of the mechanics behind what I'm seeing on screen, basically, I want to react to what I see and feel like I have a fair chance to succeed based on what the game shows me.

is not true at all since I enjoy both kinds of games, even if the ones that stick with me longer are the games with mechanics I like. Regardless, there are also a lot of other things I come to Dark Souls to besides the mechanics, but I digress.

As I said I believe the divide simply comes from people being different and having a different set of skills. I myself suck whenever I'm thrown into an unfamiliar situation where I have to act quickly, usually dying a couple of times every other encounter when playing third person shooters with agressive enemies. In short, to act quickly is not my strong suit. Because of this I usually prefer to stay back for a moment and observe, which just so happens to be a playstyle this game greatly accommodates. Putting up your shield is the fastest action you can take in the game aside from walking, so to turtle down and observe your enemy becomes fairly easy. Once I'm comfortable in a situation I can even get pretty agressive (sometimes you need to be).

For me, the weighty animations and, more importantly, the equally weighty animations of your enemies, sets the pace of the game to be much slower than a game where there's no extended vunerability to any action. It's one of the ways that it puts more of a emphasis on timing and less on pure reaction skills or hand eye coordination and it gives players like me who have these different strenghts an opportunity to use them. Once you do understand the mechanics and learn the timing, the game can be quite easy and it's a rewarding feeling because even if you start a new character and abandon all your gained levels, you still have the skill and understanding that you earned from your previous one. You feel like you genuinely got better, not just your character. That's not to say that there isn't any depth or skill involved in the games that don't follow this formula, but rather they just rarely ever require you to get really good at the game to finish it.

In the end it's not a playstyle that everyone enjoys and I sorta wish that there was more of an understanding of this by both sides sometimes, myself included.

One other thing, the following video talks a bit about the different game designs of the two first Castlevania games. Because they share some similarities design wise with the Souls games I thought I'd share it, though maybe ironically some of the points made against Castlevania 2 can also be leveled against Dark Souls. It has some interesting points..

...however I make no guarantee that you will enjoy Egoraptors particular brand of humor (I love it).

#106 Edited by yinstarrunner (1182 posts) -

@RockmanBionics said:

For me, the weighty animations and, more importantly, the equally weighty animations of your enemies, sets the pace of the game to be much slower than a game where there's no extended vunerability to any action. It's one of the ways that it puts more of a emphasis on timing and less on pure reaction skills or hand eye coordination and it gives players like me who have these different strenghts an opportunity to use them. Once you do understand the mechanics and learn the timing, the game can be quite easy and it's a rewarding feeling because even if you start a new character and abandon all your gained levels, you still have the skill and understanding that you earned from your previous one. You feel like you genuinely got better, not just your character. That's not to say that there isn't any depth or skill involved in the games that don't follow this formula, but rather they just rarely ever require you to get really good at the game to finish it.

Exactly. It's a very deliberate design decision that extends beyond "archaic japanese games". It really is meant to emphasize knowledge and timing over raw reactions. It's really important to the game, and it's not something that you necessarily need to research or spreadsheet out, either. You'll learn it naturally as you're playing, through making mistakes and learning from them.

Also, , you were saying how you wish your avatar felt like an extension of yourself. Well, it's not quite the same, but I feel that way about the weapons in Dark Souls. Thanks to the animation priority, the methods of attack attributed to each weapon are super important, and the game is balanced around having each weapon type be viable, so you'll be able to choose a weapon that fits your playstyle well. If you don't want something with long attack animations, then there are still plenty of weapons that you can choose from.

Dark Souls is a game where progress shouldn't really be measured physically or in "soul levels". You could spend an hour playing, and not technically get any further in the game, but still be leagues ahead of where you first started. In Dark Souls, learning from your mistakes and from the mistakes of others is valued above EVERYTHING else.

#107 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@rebgav said:

Not sure if this has already been posted;

Namco Bandai got in contact with us, claiming that there was a ‘translation mistake’. Although we did note at the time that the interview’s translation wasn’t very good the sentence in question always seemed pretty unambiguous. But this is apparently what it should have been:

‘This fact is really sad to me and 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.’

According to Namco Bandai, ‘This revision has been made in order to inform Miyazaki-san's true intention and what has been originally posted had a mistake because of mistranslation.’

http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/games/910855-miyazaki-backtracks-over-dark-souls-difficultly-level

Oh thank fucking christ.

I mean, they can still fuck it up, but concentrating on getting a good translation - fuck you Tiny Being's Ring fuck you forever - and maybe streamlining the outlier content like covenents would be fantastic... as long as that feeling of you just being some random asshole in a world that gives absolutely no fucks about you one way or the other remains.

Because the feeling when you walk up to the world that didn't expect anything out of you and punch it in the damn jaw and make it pay attention is priceless.

#108 Posted by High_Nunez (218 posts) -

I've never played Dark Souls, I have no intention of ever playing it. But even I'm against them softening the game up. No compromises, that's what this game is famous for after all.

#109 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

I'm too lazy to go through all 100 pages of discussion, so I'll just post what I think. Playing a game like Dark Souls requires patience. You take the need for patience out of the game, you take away the point of playing the game. So as long as the easy difficulty is only there to soften up the challenge a bit and make it more easily accessible, I see no need to complain.

#110 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I'm glad that was just a translation error. Would not want that at all. That game would not be the same at all were it easy. The game is designed with it's difficulty in mind, changing that would make the game worse.

#111 Posted by EXTomar (4497 posts) -

As it is today, there are a lot of people who will not be able to finish Dark Souls. Does that mean it needs an "easy mode"? I feel it needs to be better designed and polished more where adding an "easy mode" to wonky game is just a crutch.

#112 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

ENB - AKA "that crazy motherfucker who is the de facto 'guy' of English Dark Souls" - uploaded a video with his thoughts on the whole thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b91BWzLigs

Of course, don't give his opinion any more thought than you do anybody else's - after all, he's just an elitist on the internet who seeks to deny you the honor of "seeing the credits".

#113 Edited by Shaunage (689 posts) -

Well I stopped playing it 15 hours in because it was fucked-hard. I'd welcome this.

EDIT: Actually, no. I installed a trainer and made myself invincible ande STILL gave up. Kept falling to my death on those wooden walkways and couldn't be bothered running back through the sewers for a fifth time.

#114 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Shaunage said:

Well I stopped playing it 15 hours in because it was fucked-hard. I'd welcome this.

EDIT: Actually, no. I installed a trainer and made myself invincible ande STILL gave up. Kept falling to my death on those wooden walkways and couldn't be bothered running back through the sewers for a fifth time.

Ah, Blighttown.

You missed a shortcut, by the way. You can unlock a door that leads directly from the Depths bonfire to the bottom of the waterfall where those 3 slimes are.

#115 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

No.

#116 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5338 posts) -

@Terramagi said:

Oh thank fucking christ.

I mean, they can still fuck it up, but concentrating on getting a good translation - fuck you Tiny Being's Ring fuck you forever - and maybe streamlining the outlier content like covenents would be fantastic... as long as that feeling of you just being some random asshole in a world that gives absolutely no fucks about you one way or the other remains.

I still think there's a wonderful charm to poor translations. What the hell is "Ceaseless Discharge?" Tiny Being's Ring is such a minor thing and for a brand new player there isn't really a reason to fear having to make a new character; as if it wasn't obvious enough that the Master Key was going to be the way to go regardless. Fuck the new patch,

"You Defeated!" is the only version in my eyes.

#117 Posted by The_Ruiner (1010 posts) -

As someone with a stressful job, I play games to relax and unwind. I love the world and enemy designs of Dark Souls but at the end of the day, or on weekends, the last thing I want is to be hunched over in front of the TV afraid to step around every corner of my rpg world. An optional easy mode is perfect for people who just don't want or don't have the time for that level of commitment.

#118 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5338 posts) -

@The_Ruiner said:

As someone with a stressful job, I play games to relax and unwind. I love the world and enemy designs of Dark Souls but at the end of the day, or on weekends, the last thing I want is to be hunched over in front of the TV afraid to step around every corner of my rpg world. An optional easy mode is perfect for people who just don't want or don't have the time for that level of commitment.

I find Dark Souls to be a relaxing, philosophical experience. Aside from Four Kings you can pretty much approach any fight calmly, strategically and win; if you fail there's generally something more to learn from the game. If you get frustrated you're approaching the game the wrong way, death is a rite of passage not an albatross; deaths are stories to write, things to tell your friends, always memorable. Take away the deaths and you're left with... a generic action RPG?

#119 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@Terramagi said:

Oh thank fucking christ.

I mean, they can still fuck it up, but concentrating on getting a good translation - fuck you Tiny Being's Ring fuck you forever - and maybe streamlining the outlier content like covenents would be fantastic... as long as that feeling of you just being some random asshole in a world that gives absolutely no fucks about you one way or the other remains.

I still think there's a wonderful charm to poor translations. What the hell is "Ceaseless Discharge?" Tiny Being's Ring is such a minor thing and for a brand new player there isn't really a reason to fear having to make a new character; as if it wasn't obvious enough that the Master Key was going to be the way to go regardless. Fuck the new patch,

"You Defeated!" is the only version in my eyes.

Once you know the story behind Ceaseless Discharge, the name totally makes sense. Also

YOU RECOVERED

#120 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@The_Ruiner said:

As someone with a stressful job, I play games to relax and unwind. I love the world and enemy designs of Dark Souls but at the end of the day, or on weekends, the last thing I want is to be hunched over in front of the TV afraid to step around every corner of my rpg world. An optional easy mode is perfect for people who just don't want or don't have the time for that level of commitment.

All I'm seeing here is "I don't understand why this game sold millions of copies, and want it tuned to my taste because the decrease in quality that worries the current fans is of no concern to me."

The Souls series is not like other series'. Stop trying to dilute it. The game does not go to you, you go to IT and bludgeon it until it respects you enough to divulge its secrets.

#121 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

I love Dark Souls to death, but i'm all for an easier difficulty. Just allowing players to keep their souls upon death would be enough for me. Disable certain loot, like boss souls, to counterbalance.

#122 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

The Souls games just aren't that difficult or punishing, most of the challenges can be overcome by being patient and paying attention and there is rarely an instance of being punished for poor execution.

And the only one that can't is called "Four Kings", and fuck that fight forever. IT'S CALLED FOUR KINGS, NOT SEVEN KINGS. JESUS CHRIST FROM, A CHILD COULD CODE A SPAWN LIMITER

Real talk, that's the ONLY example of bad game design in that entire game... and, not-surprisingly, it's very rarely bitched about because the same kind of people who decry the game as "weird Japanese bullshit that should've died out at the cusp of the 90s" never get that far.

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