How do you deal with The Grind?

#1 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4868 posts) -

now, I don't mean grinding XP. Or grinding Titanite chunks, or humanity, or whatever. I mean The Grind. That kind of gauntlet you used to run in the arcades or while playing Roguelikes. For me, I'm twenty-something hours into Dark Souls, and I'm starting to hit what runners call "the Wall." From Firelink Shrine all the way to Sen's Fortress, I was having a fairly decent time and taking breaks for a day or so after extended play sessions, but after clearing Sen's Fortress... I don't know. I feel hollow, in a way. I've had help on my journey, though. A guy on Xbox Live I ran into with the GamerTag of Rishain has been incredibly helpful. From discovering Private Chat can be used to coordinate with a Phantom to him teaching me how to upgrade weapons, and this one special guy named Humgard who led me all the way to Quelaag and helped me defeat the spindly bitch in less than ten minutes. That's right, guys. I got through Blighttown in 10 minutes.

I'm not bragging, I'm trying to illustrate how the game can go from stupendously easy auto-pilot to the most punishing experience I've had in ten years. And I used to be into BDSM. Rishain was a hell of a player. All night, for all the wee hours of the morning for a straight week, he departed sage advice from a nasally, latin-american accent. Wisdom I committed to memory in order to better my play. If Rorie and the Drake Sword got me to the Gaping Dragon, surely Rishain could get me to Anor Londo. And yet, I don't feel like playing anymore.

I'm level 42, and I'm rolling a +5 Claymore with a bad-ass 100% phys. resist. shield. I've also got Stone Armour, and Goldhem Cloak/whatever the hell it's called. The armour you get when you trigger the Demonic Discharge, or Fiery Discharge, whatever the hell that thing is in the Demon Ruins. The one with the glowy lava dicks growing out of its face.

And yet, I feel like stopping. Not because the game is bad, I quite enjoyed my time with it. I feel like stopping because, during one conversation with Rishain, he delightfully informed me that I had another 40-60 hours left to go. I had so many areas to explore, so many bosses to defeat, and he made it sound like everything I had done up until Sen's Fortress was a trivial thing. Maybe it was, in comparison to what lie ahead. It was then I asked myself, "do I really want to commit to this?"

And that's where I am. That's what I mean by The Grind. The Grind is wearing on me. I'm getting tired of always running into new, powerful enemies who can whoop my ass in a couple hits. It feels like, for every time I take a step forward, where I start to feel in control of the experience, the game shoves me on my ass and tells me to remember my place. For all my experience, the techniques, the upgraded weapons and armour, I'm still, twenty-something hours in, almost as powerless and fragile as when I started in the Undead Asylum.

Perhaps I could power through if the story had more beef to it. I'm a big story guy. I like stories. I can put up with The Grind so long as the story is there for me. It's how I powered through Dragon Age Origins on the Xbox. But this? Outside of vague cutscenes and almost Lynchian dialogue with undead NPCs, there doesn't seem to be much here for me. I can understand that this isn't the kind of game where story matters, but it leaves me with one less reason to soldier on. Especially when watching the ending cutscene is a Youtube search away, I'm wondering, why should I bother?

RPGs, in the end, allow you to overcome and accomplish once you hit a certain point. Through accumulated experience and knowledge of enemy tactics, you can turn even the toughest enemies into your personal kitchen bitch. Dark Souls isn't like that, and I both love and hate it for that very reason. So here I am, at a crossroads of sorts. Do I put this game down and let it go, or do I try to soldier on?

So in any event, what about you guys? How do you deal with "the wall?" How do you push through The Grind? I'm curious to know what drives you guys to not only finish the game, but start again.

#2 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Mothefuckers in da grinder. I know what that's like.

I didn't start feeling some of that all the way until the Tomb of the Giants, and yeah, you've got a long way to go. Maybe take a break? But don't take such a long break that you forget where everything is. That would suck.

#3 Posted by 71Ranchero (2796 posts) -

I took too long of a break and now I feel like I am going to have to start fresh to get back into it.

I would say stick with it. Play a little every few days or something, just enough to keep it all in mind still.

#4 Edited by BelligerentEngine (348 posts) -

The game is kind of all about the grind, so if you're not enjoying that then you should maybe take a break. Though I'm a bit confused about you saying none of the boss fights getting easier over time. I found that if anything was, "too difficult" that a few more levels and some different approaches to the content tend to trivialize things that were previous dead ends. Regardless I wouldn't say Dark Souls is conceptually all that different from other rpgs, in the end it's about exploiting the mechanics to ease progression, however instead of couching that in a deep storyline it makes the exploitation of the games mechanics the core conceit of the product.

Additionally while I'll agree with you the, "story" wasn't that great I think the atmosphere of isolation they pull off, makes for a wonderfully immerse game. However that's what I got out of the game, if you're not getting the same feelings from it, or feeling that same tick in the pleasure centers of your brain when something that was hard suddenly becomes easy. Then maybe you've stopped in the right place for you.

#5 Posted by wealllikepie (757 posts) -

its even sadder for me, because i made it all the way to the new londo ruins and to the four kings specifically but after they killed me after a couple of times i just burned out (and thats after i took care of seath the scaleless and gravelord nito who i thought were in much tougher locations especially those motherFUCKING invisible platforms in the crystal cave). I DUNNO WHAT I SHOULD DO GUYS IF YOURE UP FOR HELPING ME SOME DAY ID BE INTO THAT :)

#6 Posted by LaudaSolem (57 posts) -

I hit the Wall after beating the gargoyles. I was beat and hoping DS would level off, but then I read a comment about the game in which the guy said, "After you defeat the gargoyles, then DS gets hard."

No way, I thought, but he was right. Twenty hours in is just skimming the surface. You got a lot of heavy shit coming your way, so bear down and prepare to die.

#7 Posted by morrelloman (608 posts) -

I am a pussy and gave up on it immediately, like an hour. Coming out of the marathon that is Skyrim did not help (just another long ass game), but jerky controls and unexplained game mechanics, F THAT. I even read a wiki before i started and the shit still didn't make sense. I liked the idea of this game but it just wasn't for me, I bet if another one comes out I'll convince myself to try it, and the same thing will happen.

One comment from the quick look. "I'm not enough of a hipster to play this" kind of sums it up for me. Quick look of the year tho, It's fun to watch others suffer, but that is not what games are supposed to be, at least not for me.

#8 Posted by CptBedlam (4455 posts) -

Sounds like maybe you've had a little too much help early on so the difficulty curve hit you hard eventually.

I love the story of DS btw. It's not handed to the player on a silver platter like in most other games, you really have to dig to get to know more about the world, the characters etc. Nothing is clearly spelled out and everything is so ambiguous. And then there's this whole deceit thing going on that most players won't stumble upon even when they finish the game (you have to do quite a few specific things to make a certain npc appear). Most players won't even discover the big ruse that is going on in this game and this is why I love it so much. It's deeper than the usual fantasy stories as in Skyrim, Dragon Age etc.

#9 Edited by CptBedlam (4455 posts) -

@morrelloman said:

One comment from the quick look. "I'm not enough of a hipster to play this" kind of sums it up for me. Quick look of the year tho, It's fun to watch others suffer, but that is not what games are supposed to be, at least not for me.

The "hipster" comment is just bullshit, coming from people who don't understand why other players love this game. I'm not a hipster at all but I love the game. I love old games... back 20 years ago games were actually hard and rpgs didn't hold your hand like they do nowadays. Dark Souls basically goes back to that.

Also, I didn't suffer at all when playing DS. Even after doing every single achievement I still can't stop playing the game.

#10 Edited by BelligerentEngine (348 posts) -

@CptBedlam said:

Sounds like maybe you've had a little too much help early on so the difficulty curve hit you hard eventually.

I love the story of DS btw. It's not handed to the player on a silver platter like in most other games, you really have to dig to get to know more about the world, the characters etc. Nothing is clearly spelled out and everything is so ambiguous. And then there's this whole deceit thing going on that most players won't stumble upon even when they finish the game (you have to do quite a few specific things to make a certain npc appear). Most players won't even discover the big ruse that is going on in this game and this is why I love it so much. It's deeper than the usual fantasy stories as in Skyrim, Dragon Age etc.

What's the big ruse? I did both endings so I'm kind of confused as to what you're talking about? Are you saying that by linking the fire's I'm perpetuating some sort of evil that Gwynn started, because my impression was that, becoming the new Darklord was the actual evil choice. Oh ok looked it up, I never talked to Kaarthe so, I kind of missed that whole thing.

Well that was a shitty way to find that out lol...

#11 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

I don't know - I never felt it. I did 5 times feel very powerless but not for very long, and it could easily keep my interest even through long ass sessions, where as Batman struggled to keep my interest for even an hour.

#12 Posted by morrelloman (608 posts) -

@CptBedlam: More power to you man. I was just quoting a comment that I didn't understand at the time, but the sentiment stuck with me, and AFTER giving it a go. I totally get it. Giving whoever made that comment more credit than they deserve, I think what the guy meant is that you really have to dedicate yourself to this game, and that it is so far from the mainstream that he could never even go there.

Leave me alone. I've already admitted that I'm a giant pussy.

I've popped on the DS boards twice today to put out there had bad my experience was. Here is what you and anyone who actually plays and finishes this game should take away from what I'm trying to say. 1) Me one dude did not like this game. 2) Anyone who played it and liked it, thumbs the fuck up. You're a better man than I. Also, you are a hipster ;)

#13 Posted by Doctorchimp (4078 posts) -

I think you ruined it by getting help.

Also Dark Souls is exactly like that, eventually enemies will be easily taken care of.

#14 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12005 posts) -

Honestly, I just finished doing the Tomb of the Giants, and I still am fully enjoying my time with the game. I dunno. At a certain point you figure out what to do in most given situations, and if you proceed cautiously you'll do alright. That, and high-level Pyromancy is kind of broken. I killed Gravelord Nito by throwing like 6 fireballs at him. Am I a bad person for saying that I haven't found the game especially hard since Sen's Fortress? I mean, the Spear/Hammer guys in Anor Londo kind of suck, but with another human and the NPC phantom helping I beat them on my second try.

That being said, I do know what you are talking about, even if it doesn't apply to me in this particular situation. I haven't finished Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne yet for that reason. In that game, it is on at all times and there has yet to be a part where even regular enemies aren't capable of causing significant wear on your party, not even mentioning the bosses. It's, quite frankly, exhausting.

#15 Edited by CptBedlam (4455 posts) -

@BelligerentEngine: Yep, it's kinda hard to find. Basically, everyone's just using you,

Frampt etc, Gwynevere is not even real and Anor Londo actually looks depressing, not golden.

Which ending is the good one is still open to interpretation but the ending that Frampt & co don't want you to choose will end the age of fire and start the age of man.

@morrelloman: Nooooooooooooooo...... ;)

#16 Posted by BelligerentEngine (348 posts) -

@CptBedlam said:

@BelligerentEngine: Yep, it's kinda hard to find. Basically, everyone's just using you,

Frampt etc, Gwynevere is not even real and Anor Londo actually looks depressing, not golden.

Which ending is the good one is still open to interpretation but the ending that Frampt & co don't want you to choose will end the age of fire and start the age of man.

I figured out that some of that, but I guess I didn't really put the pieces together, because of never talking to K dawg down in the Abyss.

Thanks though I probably wasn't going to play again so now I feel better about my new game + ending.

#17 Posted by Aquablak (198 posts) -

If things are too hard just grind out a pile of levels in Dark Root Garden. It doesn't take that long. You could even do that for brief sessions over the course of a week, half an hour at a time, or something. It would give you a break from the game's regular grind, at least. If you didn't get the Crest of Astorias, you should. I am having zero trouble with the bosses, because I prefer level grinding to the frustration of defeat. I don't find that the areas get any tougher or longer, really, and I personally don't think that after Sen's you've got 40 to 60 hours to go, if you approach it properly. The worst thing you could do is head to Anor Londo under leveled and get your butt handed to you, in my opinion. If you make the game a bit easier on you with some level grinding you'll likely have a much better time with it.

#18 Posted by Humanity (9870 posts) -

I think it's normal really. I also don't think getting help from the guy ruined anything for him. Maybe the better player running you through areas is bad, but they were talking and he was getting tips along the way. Theres definitely nothing wrong with getting advice from more experienced players to better understand some of the more obscure game mechanics. I beat Demons Souls twice with one pure melee and one pure magic user. I really loved that experience. Going into Dark Souls I was really psyched up. The first few weeks I hit the game hard, read wikis and thought about it constantly. Getting the the Four Kings fight was annoying because of ghosts but I did that and defeated them. My remaining options were Tomb of Giants or Bed of Chaos. At that point I hit a wall, started playing other games and really didn't feel an urge to go back. Every time I think about getting back to it I think well shit, I either have to get the crappy lantern and half stumble through that area, or I have to go all the way back to Darkroot to get that spell OR theres that helmet but it's somewhere in Bed of Chaos area and I don't have the item to trade for it at Sparkly the Crow twin. For some reason the fiction in Dark Souls didn't grab me as much. Even though it's technically a step back I preferred the hub world of Demons as well as the areas. Because of the lack of bonfires it seems as if levels didn't stretch out as much in Demons?

Some people really like this game and they will beat it no matter what. Others may have loved Demons and this just didn't tickle their fancy as much. Others are just not going to be that into it and they'll never finish it. I had a friend ask me what I thought about Dark Souls and if he should get it, and to be honest I had a hard time saying "yes of course!" because it's such a unique game type that I wouldn't want to lead him into something he wouldn't enjoy. If you hit a wall and the gameplay, the GAMEPLAY mind you is just not doing it for you then theres no shame in quitting, because it's honestly going to be 30 more hours of exactly the same thing.

#19 Posted by jakob187 (21732 posts) -

How do I deal with "The Grind"?

I goddamn beat it to death with a big fucking hammer.

#20 Posted by Icemael (6356 posts) -

Constant challenge means constant stimulation, constant thrill and constant satisfaction. At least that's the way I look at it.

#21 Posted by golguin (4012 posts) -

@BelligerentEngine said:

@CptBedlam said:

@BelligerentEngine: Yep, it's kinda hard to find. Basically, everyone's just using you,

Frampt etc, Gwynevere is not even real and Anor Londo actually looks depressing, not golden.

Which ending is the good one is still open to interpretation but the ending that Frampt & co don't want you to choose will end the age of fire and start the age of man.

I figured out that some of that, but I guess I didn't really put the pieces together, because of never talking to K dawg down in the Abyss.

Thanks though I probably wasn't going to play again so now I feel better about my new game + ending.

A lot of the descriptions on certain items and boss weapons tell more of the story. Actually, anything about the game that isn't spoken in dialogue is told through item/weapon descriptions so you'll miss story elements from not getting everything.

#22 Posted by barichnikov (2 posts) -

@KingWilly: That "grind" is what kept the game interesting for me. I've complained a lot about games being too trivial in the past, more and more in the past years. Well Dark Souls doesn't fall into that pit. I had to keep working on my skills to get through this game. It's not a game you figure out in 2h and then just repeat what you know until you beat it.

It's a game in which you always have to learn new things.

#23 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

I never hit a wall. I went thought it 100 hours of play time. Even beat the game and restarted. Im back at the Tombs right now. 

#24 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

i TOTALLY misread the thread title, thought it is Grindr.

#25 Posted by Tackchevy (266 posts) -

This game is all about The Grind. The experience of getting mashed, learning from it, and overcoming those challenges. The story is great as well, but it's really only apparent if you put some thought into it and play through a few times. It is a beat down, but that makes it great.

I played through it online, but this was pre-patch, so I never ended up using assistance. I looked for it sometimes, just never happened. Being methodical, I ended up using the lighting spear from Sen's fortress through the end of the game, just because I enjoyed being able to attack without ever compromising my block. If you love challenges, then stick with it and work your way through it. A good spear, dumping levels into intelligence, and a lot of patience did the trick for me.

The fun is that most games are about the experience; the developers want to tell you a story, or make you do things their way and enjoy the ride. DS is an open challenge- everything is possible, we just bet you'll wear out and give up, or just not be able to do it.

Hell, that one dude did a speed run of the game in 84 minutes. You can do it...

#26 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

First character, first playthrough, 106 hours.. I spent 40 hours grinding to level 210 on first playthrough. I did it out of sheer stubbornness to not be the best that I could be WITHOUT using the dragonhead glitch.

#27 Posted by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

i still play this game, name is rishian on xbox live..

doing a level 18 guy now ng++++ and at the last level boss so just about to head to ng+5

if you want a real challage hit me up

#28 Posted by laserbolts (5352 posts) -

I found with Dark Souls i just got better at the game while I got through it. Perhaps where you have been carried through you haven't really had to try and improve at all. Or maybe the game is just too difficult and intimidating for you. Honestly though there is only one more truly difficult encounter left in the game for you so I'd stick with it.

#29 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@laserbolts said:
I found with Dark Souls i just got better at the game while I got through it. Perhaps where you have been carried through you haven't really had to try and improve at all. Or maybe the game is just too difficult and intimidating for you. Honestly though there is only one more truly difficult encounter left in the game for you so I'd stick with it.
This. I never had to "Grind" I found a set up that worked for me and pushed though. The only time I hung around was to help people on a harder boss. I killed the King so many times it not even funny. Even funnier quite a few times people summoned me and we got in and they died right away because of not having the ring. 
#30 Posted by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

i need true coop.. my game cant be beaten with just me any more.

#31 Posted by BaneFireLord (2967 posts) -

I just stopped playing. I got to the part with the curse frogs and dropped that game like a hot potato.

#32 Posted by pweidman (2356 posts) -

I ran outta steam at Sen's. So I guess quitting was my solution, lol. I started some other games. It is a particular, but awesome experience and game though. And you know it ain't goin' anywhere. Never to be traded, it stays in the all-time library. I could totally see going back to it and playing it again and playing it co-op style more too.

#33 Posted by Gargantuan (1887 posts) -

@BaneFireLord said:

I just stopped playing. I got to the part with the curse frogs and dropped that game like a hot potato.

The frogs are super easy to deal with. Go to the trader in Undead Burg and buy firebombs, they only cost 50 souls (I think) and they one shot the frogs.

#34 Edited by HH (617 posts) -

i was done in by the guys who shoot spears from the side of that big cathedral in the clean-looking marble area that you fly to.

i got past it but my patience for the game was broken by that one bit where a shield does you no good, and you get pushed off a ledge every time, until you fluke a couple of rolls and a desperate attack, all the while just hoping you don't fall or get pushed off. (wtf is that about?)

no idea how much i had left, but i do hope I've seen all the good stuff, cos i did really like the level design.

#35 Posted by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

you had about a little over half the game left depending on how you play. im sure you didnt do the painted world, great hollow, or go back to the undead asylem, you might have been to the forest but im not sure, you also might have went to the valley of the drakes but you might not have. but for sure you did not see alll of tomb of the giants, the archives, demon ruins, lost izolith, second half of new londo ruins. you had a lot of game still

#36 Posted by HH (617 posts) -

hmmm, may have to go back and finish it then. i'm kinda stuck for somethin to play at the moment anyway. but does it get any more unfair than that spear/ledge fiasco?

#37 Posted by mosespippy (4378 posts) -

@HH: Nothing is more unfair than that section and poison arrows made it much less frustrating for me. Well, I guess the unwinable fight with Seath is kind of unfair too, so wear a Ring of Sacrafice when you go to the Duke's Archives. Also, you are one boss fight away from being able to teleport between bonfires, so that will make things easier.

#38 Posted by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

that sections is one of the easier section once you learn how to do it. the problem is most people try to rush instead of time the arrows. if your time how long it takes them to shoot those arrows you willl see you can get to him pretty easily, also when ur on the second half of the way up.. the silver knight on the left cant hit you.

#39 Posted by wjb (1689 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

I'm not bragging, I'm trying to illustrate how the game can go from stupendously easy auto-pilot to the most punishing experience I've had in ten years. And I used to be into BDSM.

First of all, that's such a record-scratch of a comment, and also, how does one not be into BDSM after being into it?

The Souls games are usually not my cup of tea, but I chugged through Demon's for the first time last fall, said I was going to wait a while for Dark, but got into Dark a few months later. Finished both of them. When I grew fatigued, I usually was chomping at the bit after not playing it for a couple days.

#40 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

I know what you mean, I just stopped playing the game a bit further ahead of you. I'm not bored of it, it's a fun game, I just.. have absolutely zero desire to play anymore. Maybe it's the fact that it's so long and new areas constantly open up, I don't know, I just really don't have a desire to play anymore.

#41 Posted by jozzy (2042 posts) -

I agree that the guy helping you through parts of the game didn't do you any favours. Now you got that idea in your head that the game is really hard and you need an expert to guide you through it, while everyone can get through it without knowing all the little details and min-max shit. You don't need any of that to get through the game. Just take your time, one step at a time and do it yourself. Only get help if you are really, really stuck.

If I was you I would start over, you will be surprised how fast you can go through the areas you have done already.

#42 Edited by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

since i was the one helping him i take offensive to the fact that your pretty much saying i ruined his experiance. i help a lot of people and none have ever said that because i helped them they were unable to play the game. i help by passing along knowledge, not only on how to play through areas but how to fight enemies. after playing with me he would have had enough knowledge to tackle most if not all areas by himself. hes problem was not that i help to the point where he couldnt play the game by himself, but rather that there was just too much game for him. i have a level 18 guy ng+5 and now mainly teach people how to play the game at a lower level.

you asuming my level of help was too much really pisses me off. because i helped a lot of people that are now really good at this game.

#43 Posted by Twiggy199 (506 posts) -

To beat the grind i like to tuck my penis between my legs and pretend im a lady.

On a more serious note, I feel it's less of a grind, more of a challenge.

#44 Edited by dragonfrost (12 posts) -

there is a grind?

#45 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4868 posts) -

@wjb said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

I'm not bragging, I'm trying to illustrate how the game can go from stupendously easy auto-pilot to the most punishing experience I've had in ten years. And I used to be into BDSM.

First of all, that's such a record-scratch of a comment, and also, how does one not be into BDSM after being into it?

The Souls games are usually not my cup of tea, but I chugged through Demon's for the first time last fall, said I was going to wait a while for Dark, but got into Dark a few months later. Finished both of them. When I grew fatigued, I usually was chomping at the bit after not playing it for a couple days.

The BDSM comment was a wise crack.

All that being said, I eventually picked it back up in April and chugged through the rest of the game. I'm not sure what exactly clicked for me, but something did. It became more enjoyable after getting beyond the two sniper motherfuckers in the Anor Londo cathedral. Fuck those guys. Seriously. Fuck. Them.

#46 Posted by Slag (4735 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

The BDSM comment was a wise crack.

All that being said, I eventually picked it back up in April and chugged through the rest of the game. I'm not sure what exactly clicked for me, but something did. It became more enjoyable after getting beyond the two sniper motherfuckers in the Anor Londo cathedral. Fuck those guys. Seriously. Fuck. Them.

That's cool to hear OP.

I didn't see your post when you put up, but it's always neat to find out what happens after advice is requested

#47 Posted by nitronomicon (52 posts) -

if the grind is getting you down, take a break and consider what your next goal is going to be. do not boot up the game and think you will beat it in one sitting. for example, my first playthrough took me about 60 hours and that was only up to the beginning of blightown. my 2nd playthrough was done in about half that time. in terms of story, the game does not present it in a normal format. most of your back story will come from dialog and item description. if you get really thirsty for dark souls lore check out youtube poster epicnamebro. he has a great series on the lore of the whole game. i suggest also checking out youtube videos of other playthroughs. it is amazing to see how far other players can get in th game in just a few hours. it could be good inspiration for you. have fun with the game.

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