Playing with a guide?

Edited 3 months, 10 days ago

Playing with a guide? (76 votes)

Yea 20%
Nay 22%
Only when stuck 58%

The proper use of guides/wikis in playing this game seems to be a recurring topic in threads here. Did you/are you/do you use one? If yes, for the whole game, or just when you're feeling stuck?

I have a few thoughts:

  1. I wanted to play without any guide. But since I have a job and a family, I don't have a whole lot of time to play video games. I didn't want to waste the time I had, so I have used a guide on occasion to help me stay on track. Most notably I used a guide throughout most of the Depths and Blighttown, then regretted it and mostly stopped.
  2. The Master Key is not a good starting gift. But if you're not using a guide, I think you'd pick the Master Key every time. It's just that it's the only one that looks like it will be useful throughout the game. I picked it for my first character (no guide), but when I restarted after an hour I picked black firebombs (with guide).
  3. On the other hand, without a guide you'd probably miss the Drake Sword. I got it, but found it didn't suit my play style very well, so I didn't use it much.
  4. Not using a guide led me to missing the most important bits of lore in the game. Basically what happened was this: I had wanted to know if it was possible to jump into Frampt's hole, and since I wasn't using a guide at this point, the only way to know was by testing it. But thanks to Lautrec, the Firelink bonfire wasn't available as a convenient restore point if I died, so I kept putting it off. Then while getting the Lordvessel, I also killed Lautrec. I went back to Firelink Shrine, restored the Firekeeper, and went to talk to Frampt. He was asleep. So I decided to jump on down there. The result? I fell down to Firelink Altar, placed the Lordvessel, then warped back up. Frampt renounced me and left, and Kaathe never showed up at all. The only two characters that offer any purpose to your quest were both out of my game permanently. And more pragmatically, no one was there to tell me to get the four Lord Souls and give them to the Lordvessel.

There are plusses and minuses to it, in my opinion. The biggest plus is saving time on things that the game doesn't tell you. The biggest minus is losing the sense that you're discovering the world on your own, which was a big part of the appeal for me throughout Undead Burg/Parish.

#1 Edited by Melvargh (479 posts) -

Only look up when you're seriously stuck.

Don't look at boss strategies.

I used it to find items for crafting.

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#2 Edited by Monkeyman04 (834 posts) -

I pretty much use wikis to see if a certain weapon will be useful for me to upgrade without having to waste souls and upgrade items. At least that's how I've been going with my first run.

#3 Edited by cloudymusic (918 posts) -

It's probably a lot more fun if you don't use a guide, but there are a lot of things that I think could be really frustrating (missing bonfires or shortcuts, etc) if you were trying to do a complete playthrough with no assistance whatsoever. Theoretically that's what the in-game messages are for, but in my experience they've been much less helpful than they often were in Demon's Souls.

After you beat the game the first time, it's probably okay to fully spoil yourself before you go back for another playthrough. There are entire covenants (that you might really enjoy) that you could easily not even know exist unless you read about them somewhere.

#4 Edited by GnomeonFire (643 posts) -

I use a guide for gear because I don't want to waste a bunch of materials. Never use it for Boss fights though, that ruins the fun of learning the fights.

#5 Posted by captain_max707 (471 posts) -

I usually look up items that are vague in their descriptions to see if they are useful. This led to me going to Oolacile, which I would not have figured out on my own had I not looked it up.

#6 Posted by Aetheldod (3331 posts) -

Nay , never , nope , not once.

#7 Posted by DeepSpace9MM (98 posts) -

I would say to only use it when you're stuck, at least on your first play through. I think it's fair game on NG+ or on a second play through, though. I thought it was fun going back and finding all the stuff I missed my first time through. It also led to a lot of face palm moments, at least for me haha.

#8 Edited by Nadril (520 posts) -

It really depends what your goal in the game is. I probably 50/50 used a guide and didn't for stuff, but my goal was always for end-game PvP stuff.

When Dark Souls II comes out I'll probably not use one at all until NG+. (still undecided to get it on PS3 or wait for PC)

#9 Posted by EXTomar (4121 posts) -

There is no wrong way to play this but there also isn't a correct way either. Use a guide or don't. I think this game has issues that necessitates seeking help outside of the game.

#10 Posted by dudeglove (7245 posts) -

A blow by blow, step by step account should be avoided. The most fun I had in the game was in Sen's and Anor Londo (where I ended up going to painted world by accident for several hours), where I didn't use the guide. The environments are relatively straightforward with some exceptions. If you're genuinely stuck, like you were, then sure, turn to an FAQ or ask a forum. Yes you might have to wade through a torrent of bullshit to get the info you want, but - at least on GB - my experience has largely been Ask And Ye Shall Receive when it comes to asking something about any game. Part of the initial fun and zeitgeist of dark souls was people sharing info and strategies when no one knew anything, and from software weren't gonna tell you. Work it out for yourself, motherfucker, is the general lesson you walk away with.

Also the drake sword is overrated.

#11 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2576 posts) -

It is illegal and punishable by life in prison to use a guide before completing the game once.

#12 Edited by CornBREDX (4454 posts) -

Frampt and Kaathe are meaningless unless you need someone to be the pinnacle of "sides" when there really is no sides. That is their purpose, though, which is completely meaningless.

I will admit I have played this game twice, though, and only recently figure out why Frampt keeps leaving at that part where you place the lordvassel. Apparently if you do that without talking to him first he's offended and thinks you're working with Kaathe- which is weird since you don't meet Kaathe until way later. That part was very much so designed poorly. Being that you're afraid of angering NPCs, how could you ever know to attack him to wake him up? haha it's so nonsensical but that's Dark Souls and again it doesn't really matter anyway unless you want exposition dumps.

I used a wiki (you say guide, but who buys guides anymore? haha) to figure out where I wanted to go next. I also used it to compare weapon stats and buff stats and what not, stuff like that. That's it.

#13 Posted by jimmyfenix (3680 posts) -

I had to look at a guide because i didn't know how to get out of Blighttown :(

#14 Posted by ZolRoyce (416 posts) -

I'd say it depends on what you want to get out of the game, like the pure Demons/Dark Souls experience is one of not knowing something, on testing your gathered skills and knowledge and what lays ahead, whatever it may be, and you may get through it, or it may kick your ass to the bonfire and back. So a guide might take away a good portion of that feeling of "okay game, show me what you got."
Basically think of Dark Souls as that scene in Jurassic Park where the hunter is tracking the Raptor, has her in his sites, thinks he has her, but then all of a sudden another one pops out beside him "Clever girl"
So basically you have to ask yourself if you are okay with the "Clever Girl" moments being spoiled or not, and if you are I guess go for the guide but I'd say try not using it for a little while and see how you get on.

#15 Posted by HistoryInRust (6214 posts) -

@zolroyce said:

Basically think of Dark Souls as that scene in Jurassic Park where the hunter is tracking the Raptor, has her in his sites, thinks he has her, but then all of a sudden another one pops out beside him "Clever girl"

So basically you have to ask yourself if you are okay with the "Clever Girl" moments being spoiled or not, and if you are I guess go for the guide but I'd say try not using it for a little while and see how you get on.

This is a great way to describe the game.

#16 Posted by believer258 (11035 posts) -

Only if I'm stuck and have been banging my head against a certain part for a long time.

#17 Posted by DefaultProphet (310 posts) -

Is there a guide for like easily missed stuff?

#18 Posted by senrat (290 posts) -

I dont find wandering around aimlessly to be fun, so when in lost I look up where to go.

#19 Posted by StrainedEyes (1306 posts) -

The way I played Dark Souls the first time was to use a guide only to tell me the best area to go to next. I didn't use it to navigate the area or find items, just a basic list of the order to do the areas in.

#20 Posted by Spoonman671 (4371 posts) -

The first time I played Dark Souls I had no idea where to go on the Anor Londo bridge, when you have to climb up the buttressing. Had no idea how to stop dying every time I went to fight the Four Kings.

Other than that, I mostly use wikis for stat comparisons when character-building.

#21 Posted by endoworks (253 posts) -

i think it depends on what you are going for. I don't have a lot of time so I use a guide as a guide, I don't follow it word for word and I do plenty for extra exploring but I know Dark Souls is a massive game and while I would like to think I could do it all in a reasonable about of time I know if I want to stay interested and don't want to burn out on it I need the guide. I don't like it but I think the game has plenty to offer even when using a guide.

#22 Edited by Atwa (562 posts) -

I think it ruins the fun of the game, much of the fun that comes from games like Dark Souls and games like it that are essentially focused on exploration is diminished if you just look things up. Many bosses especially have a trick to them that if you know it, essentially makes it a breeze.

I would use it if I was stuck for a long time but that rarely happens. Both in Demon's and Dark Souls the much of the fun was finding stuff out by myself. I had a friend that played it with a guide and just breezed through it, but I doubt it would be much fun like that. At least for me.

#23 Edited by Deathpooky (1338 posts) -

I think it's all where you draw the line. For me, some of the exploration, experimentation, and surprise is fun - like making it through new areas for the first time, finding hidden weapons, and discovering how to beat bosses or enemies. Other parts of it are not fun - wasting souls on useless stats, a lack of clarity how the upgrade or scaling mechanics work, well-hidden bonfires that can make already hard areas ten times more excruciating, and entire plot points or side areas that get lost without the Internet. For the latter, I have no qualms about consulting the Internet.

But that's just me, and I'm sure the fun frustration line will be different for each person. The game itself is challenging and still requires combat skill even if you use a guide throughout, so I don't begrudge someone for using a guide for whatever they want to, especially if you don't have much time to play and can't afford to waste hours banging your head or building a terrible character.

#24 Posted by Beforet (2884 posts) -

I made the mistake of staying up late into the night reading the Demon's Souls wiki instead of actually playing Demon's Souls. On the one hand, I avoided a lot of frustration and annoyance Yurt the NPC murdering Hunter. But then that also meant I missed out on the wonder of figuring out boss encounters and the way the world would surprise you again, Yurt the NPC murdering Hunter. I intend on not doing that again with Dark Souls, and just not worrying about it. That said, from what you mentioned, yeah I'll probably use a guide of I get stuck somewhere.

#25 Posted by JayEH (512 posts) -

I played through the first few hours with a guide and still had a blast! I eventually went on my own and only looked at them when I was really stuck.

Nobody should feel bad for using a guide so if you need to use one, use one!

#26 Edited by Zeik (2104 posts) -

I would have never bothered to get past the early parts of Demon's Souls if it wasn't for the wiki, and that would likely have been the end of my experince with the franchise. I tried to figure out stuff on my own more when I jumped into Dark Souls, and lean more toward "only when stuck", but stuff like weapon forging is still a pain in the ass without the help of a guide.

I'll never understand why this issue has become such a point of contention recently. One of the best things about the series since Demon's Souls was how the community came together to figure stuff out and help eachother by pooling knowledge. This whole "do everything yourself or you suck and shouldn't bother playing" attitude that has cropped up recently is complete bullshit and is not at all what the series is about. There's nothing wrong with doing that if that's what you enjoy, but it's not the only or "right" way to enjoy these games.

#27 Edited by Ezekiel (316 posts) -

I used the Wikidot pages too often the first few times. I feel I robbed myself of a lot of the discovery and problem solving. I want to play the sequel without any help and without a starting gift.

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