Dark Souls plays like an MMO?

#1 Posted by MC_Hify (338 posts) -

This might have been discussed already but I couldn't find anything through searching. So I've watched a little bit of the Dark Souls videos that have been going up recently and I've noticed something about the combat. This game apprently plays like an MMO when you are trying to solo stuff that's higher level than you. The techniques I've seen people use in this game so far are kiting and pulling. It's about biting off a little bit at a time and pulling stuff back so it follows you but the other enemies give up because of the way their pathing works. Am I totally wrong about this?

#2 Posted by Nightriff (5096 posts) -

Yes that is true so I guess you are right, it uses MMO techniques

#3 Edited by Random45 (1213 posts) -

It depends on the area and which enemies you're fighting really. Early on you'll be able to handle 2-3 guys no problem, but later on that same amount will definitely give you some trouble. That being said, I did find myself employing this strategy a lot, especially in the second half of the game once you obtain the ability to teleport around the map. However, I can imagine that if you actually manage to master the parry ability and successfully land a counter-attack that you'll be able to take on several enemies, even in the latter part of the game, since you're invulnerable during the counter-attack animation.

#4 Edited by MB (12486 posts) -

One big difference in Dark Souls is that if you pull an enemy with a ranged attack, it's friends typically just stand there. This makes bows somewhat overpowered in some sections of the game. This is especially true since there is no inventory encumbrance, so one can carry an unlimited amount of arrows and just chip away at enemies outside their aggro range.

Otherwise, I guess the pulling is sort of like an MMO, but that is hardly specific to that genre. There really isn't any kiting, though.

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#5 Posted by Sammo21 (3297 posts) -

eh, maybe in very loose terms...sure. I would not say, however, that Dark Souls play anything like an mmo. After playing mmos for a very long time I would say that most mmo combat is pretty mindless unless you are doing something like a high end raid boss. Every encounter in Dark Souls takes even just a little bit of attention, unless its one of the mindless undead. Pulling stuff is less about the enemy being that much more powerful than you as much as its about managing the combat and doing things on your terms opposed to dealing with 5-6 enemies and different enemy types at once.

#6 Edited by Ares42 (2687 posts) -

It plays like a good RPG. People seem to think a lot of these "MMO terms/techniques/strategies" come from MMOs, but they pre-date MMOs by far. Go back to games like Baldur's Gate, Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore (and probably even before that) and you will see alot of the same concepts in play.

#7 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

A lot of games use the term kiting and pulling. This is not exclusive terminology for MMO's. I would say there isn't really any kiting either, although there are some monsters you can abuse the leash radius for (havel, taurus demons in the lava). Dark souls most certainly does not play like an mmo, in the slightest.

These are just general video game techniques.

#8 Posted by crithon (3307 posts) -

pulling for enemies away from agro..... yeah maybe. But no, generally the combat is pretty snap on responsive, you can counter practically anything, back stab a lot of things, tear of tails and actually being hit. There's more of a sense of a connection with the moves.

#9 Edited by MC_Hify (338 posts) -

Mainly, I'm asking this because so many people I respect love this game and it seems like MMO mechanics to me. And I am so fucking done with MMOs.

#10 Posted by TobbRobb (4663 posts) -

Dark Souls is one of my favorite games of all time, and I despise MMO gameplay. So you don't have anything to worry about. Pulling and kiting is more prevalent in Diablo than it is in Dark Souls.

#11 Edited by golguin (3940 posts) -

@mc_hify said:

Mainly, I'm asking this because so many people I respect love this game and it seems like MMO mechanics to me. And I am so fucking done with MMOs.

Dark Souls is not an MMO. I've never heard anyone use Dark Souls and MMO in the same sentence before this thread.

If this gameplay looks like an MMO then I need to get in on some of that hot MMO action.


#12 Posted by tarvis (75 posts) -

I've never played a game with, if we're being reductive, stealth mechanics and thought, I really hate MMOs. Like Thief or, I dunno, Far Cry 3. Dark Souls has levels with specific mob placement. Those mobs have cones of vision and can hear. So, naturally, you can pull them. Or you could just run at them and fight a bunch of dudes all at once. Like Thief or, I dunno, Far Cry 3. You can enjoy or hate Dark Souls in spite of your ability to shoot an arrow at a dude and have him be annoyed by the arrow sticking out of his head.

#13 Posted by chkdsk1991 (32 posts) -

The enemy placement is so well thought out and the level design so good that no, DkS doesn't play like an MMo at all.

I also don't understand why someone would think that those techniques are derived from mmos

#14 Posted by johnbakosh (115 posts) -

it plays however you play it

#15 Posted by Random45 (1213 posts) -

@mc_hify said:

Mainly, I'm asking this because so many people I respect love this game and it seems like MMO mechanics to me. And I am so fucking done with MMOs.

I played WoW for 7 years before I quit due to how burnt out I was, and I can promise you that Dark Souls is NOTHING like it. Dark Souls was one of the best video game experiences I have had in the past 5 years, and I think it's a terrible idea to avoid it. While there's the whole "DARK SOULS IS HARD" meme that is still popular, it's actually not too bad as long as you play defensively no matter where you go, which inevitably means that yes, having a bow/crossbow equip so you can pull enemies from a long range is a fantastic idea. You don't necessarily need it, but it will definitely make certain sections of the game easier.

#16 Edited by Spoonman671 (4645 posts) -

These things have never been exclusive to MMOs.

#17 Edited by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -

Just in terms of the concepts of pulling and aggro. Not a lot of singleplayer games really have those.

#18 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5549 posts) -

Not really, though I guess newer MMOs are closer to 3rd person action games then not. "Aggro" has been around in games since forever so that's nothing MMO specific, ditto pulling. There's never a point where you wait for the monster's cast bar to fill up for 2.5 seconds and there's no moment where you can't do anything for every 1.5 seconds.

#19 Posted by johnbakosh (115 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: I hope this doesn't ruin the magic for you, but there totally are moments in which the mechanics you mention are nearly identical. One can't do actions, quite often, in Dark Souls, for a substantial amount of time. Whenever one swings a sword, initiate a roll, etc. you are locking your character into a move selection that will take some time to complete. In some fights this can mean one's character is uncontrollable for more time than he is controllable. This is not dissimilar to the concept of "global cooldown" in most MMOs; however, the ways in which Dark Souls' "cooldowns" are implemented are much more logical, seemless, and beautifully animated. As a result they are almost completely invisible to the naked eye, as a opposed to many MMOs which quite literally show you are a shader progress across most abilities on your user interface.

As for your point to cast bars it is effectively identical to the previous point. Dark Souls does not, strictly speaking, have cast bars. However, nearly every enemy one encounters have significant casting/combat animations which tip the player off concerning their next actions. Again, compared to a cast bar, From Software has created a substantially more elegant solution. However, you would be fool to say one is doing nothing in an MMO during this period, and the same applies to Dark Souls. A player would typically be looking to minimize the effect of the cast/ability, in order to prolong their own life.

My overall point is this, many games have similar mechanics which create great, fun, and engaging core gameplay loops. The ways in which developers disguise, dress up, or enhance those mechanics can vary significantly. Thus, in my opinion, the games, all games really, are not as dissimilar as you convey. Though perhaps you realize this, and have adjusted your range of diversity so drastically that the two do seem like day and night, which in some respects they are. Though the gameplay systems you mentioned are not among those factors which make them so incredibly and brilliantly different.

#20 Posted by CornBREDX (5355 posts) -

No, it doesnt play at all like an MMO haha

Yes you can pull and kite, but the rule set is different than an MMO. A lot of RPGs have kiting and pulling, that's not standard to only MMOs.

#21 Edited by noizy (669 posts) -

@johnbakosh: Which MMO are we talking about here anyway? WoW? WoW combat basically has you lock to a target, only if you are in range are you allowed to use said attack, and the outcome is determined by a dice roll (hit or miss, and damage). Dark Souls uses animation priority. Each attack has a certain amount of frames which you can't cancel out of once you initiate an action. Your attack hits or miss based on the hit boxes, not dice rolls. If you want to call animation priority a form of cooldown, euh. i guess. I think they're at fairly different places in the spectrum.

I mean, if you find the similarities more interesting than the differences, feel free to call them similar. If we want to get loose about things, I would say that MMOs are a kind of really slow FPS, and your character is actually a physical instantiation of your reticule in the game world.

#22 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@nightriff said:

Yes that is true so I guess you are right, it uses MMO techniques

I use MMO techniques in pretty much every game. Yesterday I kitet an APC up a hill with a AA Tank, bailed out just before it exploded, laid a C4 trap behind it and ran off in the shadows of billowing plumes of smoke from my wrecked vehicle. Needless to say, the APC pursued me full of frevor, and found his doom at the twitching of my thumb on the remote detonator. Battlefield games have it all.

MMOs make for better players. I believe anybody who has raided in WoW on a high level (I'd say killing bosses/clearing dungeons pre-nerf counts) has become much better at videogames in general. Playing MMOs with dedication and success make you think about the game in-depth. Read up on theory and in-depth mechanics. Prepare for very specific challenges. Learn how to overcome them. Sometimes, things are rough, and you have to cope - which yields even more lessons in gaming mastery.

#23 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@mc_hify:

P.S. Kiting is an age-old tactic in war. It's how a lesser force can engage with a much stronger force, and hope to succeed. In that way, MMOs have thought you a life lesson.

#24 Posted by EuanDewar (4963 posts) -

This isn't really what you're referring to but I will say that the environment's in the game sometimes fill me with a sense of awe that is pretty heavily reminiscent to me of MMO's. Places like Ash Lake and that remind me of looking over WoW's landscape for example.

#25 Posted by Noblenerf (323 posts) -

It would probably be better to judge a game after you've actually played it.

In any case, here's my take on it:

Dark Souls is designed around betraying the player's expectations while constantly testing their skill and knowledge of the game's systems. Accordingly, the player's skill and knowledge of the combat mechanics is the deciding factor for achieving victory. Dark Souls' combat is quick, ruthless, and deadly in a way that MMOs can never be.

Conversely, MMO combat is very much rooted in tradition. Every action is thoroughly explained and specific roles are given to all combat participants. Battles are highly choreographed, with levels assigned directly to all participants so players know whether or not they can win. The mechanics of the game are the deciding factor in combat, primarily the level (stats) of the various combat participants.

Essentially, Dark Souls' combat is the antithesis of MMO-style combat.

#26 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

Kiting and pulling isn't really exclusive to MMOs...

Hell i kited heavies over to gas tanks so i could shoot the gas tanks to kill them all the time in Far Cry 3.

I think its kinda silly to claim its like an MMO just because you can kite and pull guys. You can do that in TONS of games. I mean any tactical retreat in any game (or hell the real world) could be called "kiting".

In AC4 i constantly would "pull" lone guards away from their posts with the whistle. Is AC4 like an MMO too? Just seems silly to me to claim this.

#27 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5588 posts) -

Although that one concept exists in both types of games, I don't think anyone would realistically refer to Dark Souls as "like and MMO. in any other respect"

#28 Posted by Belegorm (412 posts) -

You kite and pull in dark souls, but that's not specifically an mmo thing; it just tends to always be the most successful strategy in an mmo.

More importantly, what you do after the pull is incredibly different in dark souls compared to an mmo. In an mmo you start your rotation and whaling on the mob; most likely if it's only a few mobs you're in zero danger. In dark souls you begin this scary dance of death where one mistake will cost you dearly, potentially your life. And that's the case against nearly all the enemies in the game, even when you backtrack and go to an earlier area.

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