The 'Treadstone' Covenant Conspiracy

Posted by MarkWahlberg (4494 posts) -

Breaking News: Dark Souls is a weird game.

I'd been hearing things about this game ever since it came out, but I never got a chance to play it until this past week (if you're wondering, I've rung the first bell, and am now dicking around in the Darkroot). I went in expecting it to be a cruel mistress best faced with patience etc, etc, but what I hadn't really expected was how deeply invested in its own atmosphere it would be. There isn't technically a whole lot to the game, just in terms of what you're really doing. The game is difficult, sure, but once get your jolly co-operation on, or figure out how to game the bosses, the basic simplicity of what's involved becomes quite apparent. Being an under-leveled dude facing normal enemies is actually when the game is at its most complicated, but that gets resolved just by grinding. Which isn't to say it's not fun, but the difficulty acts as a bit of a mask over the gameplay's weaknesses.

But the way they set everything up, the game takes on this weird sort of literary/abstract/philosophical vibe that's like a cross between The Magic Flute, Excalibur and a Gustave Dore illustration. For an 'open-world' game, it's actually quite small, with all of the places relatively close together, but each area is so self-defined that it becomes a sort of isolated image-concept - I'm really not even sure what the proper vocabulary is here. Maybe it's the way they name everything, I dunno. I'm really digging it, though.

I've also been trying to avoid getting too much information from the interwebs, just because not having any idea of what's going on is kind of fun. However, there was an... incident.

This might be something you guys know all about and won't be surprised by at all, but anyway. I was making my way through the second area of Darkroot Garden, and I bump into this Cheshire Cat type thing, who's all 'yo wassup join my crew, we wreck shit up' and i was like 'sounds tight daddy-o'. I chat with this one friendly dude with a ginormous sword around the corner, then I put on the ring and they warp me into another world and say 'so-and-so is your target'. Except there's two different dudes, one normal looking and one glowing like I am, neither of whom have a name tag so I have no idea who to attack. We stand there in a Mexican Stand-off for like 10 seconds, then the one dude who looks normal kills me in one hit with his magic whatever. So, fuck. I go back to my place and go mess around with the Asshole Ents for a while, but when I go back to hang out with the Cat, she's all 'YOU BETRAYED US, MISERABLE PIECE OF SHIT BURN IN HELL AEEARAHGAHSDHSAGH' and disappears. Then the one dude with the huge sword who had been all friendly before was like 'THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU SICK FUCK' and starts swinging. He kills me, I come back, he's still angry so I end up killing him and he's all 'why, you asshole, why'. And I'm just standing there like, 'the fuck is wrong with these people?.'

After I calmed down, I realized that I had become the Dark Souls version of Jason Bourne. Some secret assassination group hires me, I botch my first mission, they somehow decide that my failure is too costly and that it would be more expedient to get rid of me. I don't even know what their Covenant is even called, but from now on I'm referring to them as the Treadstone guys, and Cheshire Cat is now Brian Cox. As much as that sucked, it's also the most interesting thing that's happened so far. I'm sure there's some explanation for what happened, either a mistake on my part or just a glitch, but I'm just going to pretend I was the unwitting victim of some conspiracy. More fun that way. Especially if I ever see Brian Cox again...

#1 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4494 posts) -

Breaking News: Dark Souls is a weird game.

I'd been hearing things about this game ever since it came out, but I never got a chance to play it until this past week (if you're wondering, I've rung the first bell, and am now dicking around in the Darkroot). I went in expecting it to be a cruel mistress best faced with patience etc, etc, but what I hadn't really expected was how deeply invested in its own atmosphere it would be. There isn't technically a whole lot to the game, just in terms of what you're really doing. The game is difficult, sure, but once get your jolly co-operation on, or figure out how to game the bosses, the basic simplicity of what's involved becomes quite apparent. Being an under-leveled dude facing normal enemies is actually when the game is at its most complicated, but that gets resolved just by grinding. Which isn't to say it's not fun, but the difficulty acts as a bit of a mask over the gameplay's weaknesses.

But the way they set everything up, the game takes on this weird sort of literary/abstract/philosophical vibe that's like a cross between The Magic Flute, Excalibur and a Gustave Dore illustration. For an 'open-world' game, it's actually quite small, with all of the places relatively close together, but each area is so self-defined that it becomes a sort of isolated image-concept - I'm really not even sure what the proper vocabulary is here. Maybe it's the way they name everything, I dunno. I'm really digging it, though.

I've also been trying to avoid getting too much information from the interwebs, just because not having any idea of what's going on is kind of fun. However, there was an... incident.

This might be something you guys know all about and won't be surprised by at all, but anyway. I was making my way through the second area of Darkroot Garden, and I bump into this Cheshire Cat type thing, who's all 'yo wassup join my crew, we wreck shit up' and i was like 'sounds tight daddy-o'. I chat with this one friendly dude with a ginormous sword around the corner, then I put on the ring and they warp me into another world and say 'so-and-so is your target'. Except there's two different dudes, one normal looking and one glowing like I am, neither of whom have a name tag so I have no idea who to attack. We stand there in a Mexican Stand-off for like 10 seconds, then the one dude who looks normal kills me in one hit with his magic whatever. So, fuck. I go back to my place and go mess around with the Asshole Ents for a while, but when I go back to hang out with the Cat, she's all 'YOU BETRAYED US, MISERABLE PIECE OF SHIT BURN IN HELL AEEARAHGAHSDHSAGH' and disappears. Then the one dude with the huge sword who had been all friendly before was like 'THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU SICK FUCK' and starts swinging. He kills me, I come back, he's still angry so I end up killing him and he's all 'why, you asshole, why'. And I'm just standing there like, 'the fuck is wrong with these people?.'

After I calmed down, I realized that I had become the Dark Souls version of Jason Bourne. Some secret assassination group hires me, I botch my first mission, they somehow decide that my failure is too costly and that it would be more expedient to get rid of me. I don't even know what their Covenant is even called, but from now on I'm referring to them as the Treadstone guys, and Cheshire Cat is now Brian Cox. As much as that sucked, it's also the most interesting thing that's happened so far. I'm sure there's some explanation for what happened, either a mistake on my part or just a glitch, but I'm just going to pretend I was the unwitting victim of some conspiracy. More fun that way. Especially if I ever see Brian Cox again...

#2 Posted by golguin (3653 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

Breaking News: Dark Souls is a weird game.

I'd been hearing things about this game ever since it came out, but I never got a chance to play it until this past week (if you're wondering, I've rung the first bell, and am now dicking around in the Darkroot). I went in expecting it to be a cruel mistress best faced with patience etc, etc, but what I hadn't really expected was how deeply invested in its own atmosphere it would be. There isn't technically a whole lot to the game, just in terms of what you're really doing. The game is difficult, sure, but once get your jolly co-operation on, or figure out how to game the bosses, the basic simplicity of what's involved becomes quite apparent. Being an under-leveled dude facing normal enemies is actually when the game is at its most complicated, but that gets resolved just by grinding. Which isn't to say it's not fun, but the difficulty acts as a bit of a mask over the gameplay's weaknesses.

But the way they set everything up, the game takes on this weird sort of literary/abstract/philosophical vibe that's like a cross between The Magic Flute, Excalibur and a Gustave Dore illustration. For an 'open-world' game, it's actually quite small, with all of the places relatively close together, but each area is so self-defined that it becomes a sort of isolated image-concept - I'm really not even sure what the proper vocabulary is here. Maybe it's the way they name everything, I dunno. I'm really digging it, though.

I've also been trying to avoid getting too much information from the interwebs, just because not having any idea of what's going on is kind of fun. However, there was an... incident.

This might be something you guys know all about and won't be surprised by at all, but anyway. I was making my way through the second area of Darkroot Garden, and I bump into this Cheshire Cat type thing, who's all 'yo wassup join my crew, we wreck shit up' and i was like 'sounds tight daddy-o'. I chat with this one friendly dude with a ginormous sword around the corner, then I put on the ring and they warp me into another world and say 'so-and-so is your target'. Except there's two different dudes, one normal looking and one glowing like I am, neither of whom have a name tag so I have no idea who to attack. We stand there in a Mexican Stand-off for like 10 seconds, then the one dude who looks normal kills me in one hit with his magic whatever. So, fuck. I go back to my place and go mess around with the Asshole Ents for a while, but when I go back to hang out with the Cat, she's all 'YOU BETRAYED US, MISERABLE PIECE OF SHIT BURN IN HELL AEEARAHGAHSDHSAGH' and disappears. Then the one dude with the huge sword who had been all friendly before was like 'THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU SICK FUCK' and starts swinging. He kills me, I come back, he's still angry so I end up killing him and he's all 'why, you asshole, why'. And I'm just standing there like, 'the fuck is wrong with these people?.'

After I calmed down, I realized that I had become the Dark Souls version of Jason Bourne. Some secret assassination group hires me, I botch my first mission, they somehow decide that my failure is too costly and that it would be more expedient to get rid of me. I don't even know what their Covenant is even called, but from now on I'm referring to them as the Treadstone guys, and Cheshire Cat is now Brian Cox. As much as that sucked, it's also the most interesting thing that's happened so far. I'm sure there's some explanation for what happened, either a mistake on my part or just a glitch, but I'm just going to pretend I was the unwitting victim of some conspiracy. More fun that way. Especially if I ever see Brian Cox again...

There are a few explanations, but there is no bringing back that big sword guy (Shiva) who would have had a shop set up in Blight Town. As long as you don't kill the Covenant leader you can ask for forgiveness (pay souls) from that guy in the bell tower at the gargoyle boss fight area to allow you to join the group again if you want.

#3 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg: what happened was that you joined the forest hunters covenant, who defend the forest against humans who try and disturb artorias's grave.

but you attacked the wrong dude and they hate betrayers, so you got fucked.

/dark souls

#4 Edited by Jayzilla (2538 posts) -

Where's Jason Bourne when you need him? He shut down Project Black Briar and Treadstone.

EDIT: Haha. I didn't read your whole post. I thought there was something in the game called Treadstone and I thought I was being witty by throwing that reference in there, but the OP took care of it. I am gonna go learn to read all the way through before posting now.

#5 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Jayzilla said:

Where's Jason Bourne when you need him? He shut down Project Black Briar and Treadstone.

bourne would probably be in the blades of the darkmoon

#6 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg:

There's a perfectly reasonable explanation about how certain mechanics interplayed and caused the result you had.

But I like your theory a whole lot more.

#7 Posted by McGhee (6091 posts) -

I didn't even bother with those people. I just stabbed that damn cat as soon as she started talking.

#8 Edited by MooseyMcMan (9738 posts) -

You should have just paid the 12000 souls to bell tower guy to have him reset relations with NPCs. That might have worked. Maybe.

But yes, Dark Souls is a very strange game filled with a lot of obtuse nonsense. I recently started playing it myself, and just got access to Sen's Fortress. Then I stopped playing for the day because I needed a break.

Also, I should say that I really like the game thus far, even if it's not as unspeakably hard as people seem to think (but I'm convinced that at some point they patched the game to give you more souls, because after recently re-watching some archived footage, I saw that I was getting more souls from the same types of enemies).

#9 Edited by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@McGhee: that cat is baller as fuck, don't hate

(also the cat lets you get shiva of the east as a merchant who sells teh best weapons)

edit; @MooseyMcMan: they definitely patched it so you got more humanity.

#10 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

But yes, Dark Souls is a very strange game filled with a lot of obtuse nonsense. I recently started playing it myself, and just got access to Sen's Fortress. Then I stopped playing for the day because I needed a break.

Definitely start on that part with a fresh outlook. You will die multiple time until you figure out that area's tricks and a clear head will help you much more than bashing your face against it again and again. Keep an eye out for the hidden bonfire once you reach the roof. That'll make the second half of Sen's much less tedious.

#11 Edited by MooseyMcMan (9738 posts) -

@Ravenlight: Yeah, I did actually go into the Fortress, but as soon as I got to that first room with the pendulum blade things, I just left and went back to the nearest bonfire.

@Animasta: I just looked up some patch notes, and (if this is accurate) it seems like they did a lot to make the game easier (more item drops, a lot more souls, more humanity, etc.).

#12 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan: TIPS; watch out for pressure points. remember that the man serpent mages' thunder will knock you back a little with your shield up.

#13 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Ravenlight: Yeah, I did actually go into the Fortress, but as soon as I got to that first room with the pendulum blade things, I just left and went back to the nearest bonfire.

Haha, I did the same thing. Took one look at that room and was like "lolnope"

#14 Posted by Karkarov (2622 posts) -

Well if you really must know what happened.... you did one of two things.

1: You looted the wrong body and stole some Forest Covenant loot from one of their former dead members.

OR

2: You accidentally caused an invisible ninja to fall off a cliff and die. No, I am not joking.

#15 Posted by MooseyMcMan (9738 posts) -

@Animasta: I will keep that in mind. Thanks.

#16 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4494 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan said:

You should have just paid the 12000 souls to bell tower guy to have him reset relations with NPCs.

Oh, well, if that's what it takes, fuck that. Those guys never did nothing for me, not wasting precious souls to get back in their clique.

Also, I should say that I really like the game thus far, even if it's not as unspeakably hard as people seem to think (but I'm convinced that at some point they patched the game to give you more souls, because after recently re-watching some archived footage, I saw that I was getting more souls from the same types of enemies).

I wouldn't say it's unspeakably hard, because I've totally gone up against some guys and been totally fine, then fought them again 5 minutes later (after leveling up, mind you) and got my ass handed to me. It's just very... strict. And I wouldn't be too quick to assume they've patched soul drops, either, because the same types of enemies seem to give different amounts depending on which section you're in.

@Animasta said:

@MarkWahlberg: what happened was that you joined the forest hunters covenant, who defend the forest against humans who try and disturb artorias's grave.

but you attacked the wrong dude and they hate betrayers, so you got fucked.

/dark souls

Ok, so for future reference, who was I supposed to attack? The glowy red guy, or the non-glowy guy?

Also, what is Artorias' grave?

#17 Edited by MooseyMcMan (9738 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg: The patch notes I read specifically said that they increased souls drops, but you are right in that I sometimes come across two identical enemies right next to each other that give me different numbers of souls.

And yes, I think strict is the best word to describe the game.

Also, when you get invaded by another player, the invader glows red, so I'd assume that the person you were supposed to attack would be glowing red to signify that he/she was an enemy, but hey, this is the game that says YOU DEFEATED, so anything is possible.

#18 Posted by mosespippy (3735 posts) -

@MooseyMcMan: The cost to absolve sin is 500 souls times your level, not a set 12000 souls, so it could be cheaper or more expensive depending on his level.

@MarkWahlberg: There is a covenant in Anor Londo that has a similar ring and is rather difficult to get kicked out of compared to the forest hunters.

#19 Edited by Karkarov (2622 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

Ok, so for future reference, who was I supposed to attack? The glowy red guy, or the non-glowy guy?

Also, what is Artorias' grave?

You don't attack the cat, Shiva, or anyone who is invisible, or those random dudes who hang out near Shiva. You can attack anything else.

Artorias Grave is in the back. They don't like you going in there either, it is where the cat's BFF hangs out.

#20 Posted by MooseyMcMan (9738 posts) -

@mosespippy: Dang. I better make sure I don't accidentally attack any NPCs now.

If this game wasn't so weird, I might have assumed that something was up with that cost not being a multiple of 5000 or something along those lines.

#21 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4494 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

Artorias Grave is in the back. They don't like you going in there either, it is where the cat's BFF hangs out.

Is that the place behind the huge shiny door across the chasm? I went in there after this all went down, cuz it seemed like the only place to go, and then this wolf was like 'say hello to my absurdly large friend who is a sword'. So... I'm totally ok with not disturbing that place, even though that doesn't matter anymore.

#22 Posted by mosespippy (3735 posts) -

If I remember correctly, people who are blue or red have to defeat the people who look normal. People who glow white or gold are there to assist the normal looking player so they are also enemies of blue/red but they will disappear if the normal guy is killed. Red and blue may have the same target but aren't aligned and can choose to fight each other if they want. When one dies, the other will get souls even if they are fighting the same target.

#23 Edited by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

@Karkarov said:

Artorias Grave is in the back. They don't like you going in there either, it is where the cat's BFF hangs out.

Is that the place behind the huge shiny door across the chasm? I went in there after this all went down, cuz it seemed like the only place to go, and then this wolf was like 'say hello to my absurdly large friend who is a sword'. So... I'm totally ok with not disturbing that place, even though that doesn't matter anymore.

doing the DLC content before this will make that make way more sense.

but the DLC content is so hidden that it's hard for you to just stumble into it.

also you have to kill that wolf, fuck the catbros

#24 Posted by JackSukeru (5816 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg: I'm sure you noticed that the human enemies didn't attack you once you joined the covenant so not attacking them is one way to stay clean. What they don't tell you and what kind of sucks is that if you loot anything in the forest after joining (meaning stuff on the ground, not stuff from enemies) that counts as a "betrayal".

As for whom you were supposed to attack, the guy the same colour as you is on your team, he was also a Forest Covenanter invading that players world. In that area if you are alive you can be invaded by up to 3 players at once, unless you've also joined the covenant.

The cost for absolution used to be 2000 x your level instead of 500 if I recall...

Basically all the patches they've made that didn't nerf overpowered gear (Did you know that you used to not be able to lock-on to 'invisible' enemies, like the one you first encounter in that part of the forest? Players used to have that ability too and it was a pain) made the game easier in some way.

#25 Posted by Karkarov (2622 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

@Karkarov said:

Artorias Grave is in the back. They don't like you going in there either, it is where the cat's BFF hangs out.

Is that the place behind the huge shiny door across the chasm? I went in there after this all went down, cuz it seemed like the only place to go, and then this wolf was like 'say hello to my absurdly large friend who is a sword'. So... I'm totally ok with not disturbing that place, even though that doesn't matter anymore.

Yeah that's it. You will find this game pulls lots of crap on you though, for example, you eventually have to fight the doggy no matter what. There are other covenants I won't go into with similar catch 22's.

#26 Posted by golguin (3653 posts) -

@JackSukeru said:

@MarkWahlberg: I'm sure you noticed that the human enemies didn't attack you once you joined the covenant so not attacking them is one way to stay clean. What they don't tell you and what kind of sucks is that if you loot anything in the forest after joining (meaning stuff on the ground, not stuff from enemies) that counts as a "betrayal".

As for whom you were supposed to attack, the guy the same colour as you is on your team, he was also a Forest Covenanter invading that players world. In that area if you are alive you can be invaded by up to 3 players at once, unless you've also joined the covenant.

The cost for absolution used to be 2000 x your level instead of 500 if I recall...

Basically all the patches they've made that didn't nerf overpowered gear (Did you know that you used to not be able to lock-on to 'invisible' enemies, like the one you first encounter in that part of the forest? Players used to have that ability too and it was a pain) made the game easier in some way.

The biggest gift given to new players through patches is what they did to the Dino Torsos in Lost Izalith. They changed their location so you no longer have to fight them (you can skip them all) and they changed their aggro range so you don't accidentally trigger them. The Crystal Caves also "lost" their invisible bridges because they placed permanent messages on the invisible bridges so you know where they are at all times.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.