Use a FAQ for certain things?

#1 Posted by quicksand31 (72 posts) -

I'm about to start Dark Souls. I don't want to use a guide through the entire game, but hearing the guys on the Bombcast talk about never being able to figure something out without a FAQ makes me curious what things I should look up. I think I remember Patrick or Vinny talking about not understanding the weapons/gear stats until they looked it up. Same thing with the birds nest. Any suggestions?

I have played through Demon's Souls, but it's been a few years so I'm not sure I'll pick up the ins and outs of the game quickly (especially if Dark Souls differs substantially from Demon's Souls).

Any help would be much appreciated.

#2 Posted by TobbRobb (4760 posts) -

Using a FAQ for a couple of things might make your life easier. User discretion and all that. I'll take this opportunity to plug an "really old" post of mine that should bring you up to speed though. Even if Demon's Souls experience probably covers most of it.

Things that might not be common knowledge that I didn't mention in there is that Pyromancy spells only scale off the level of your glove and no stats whatsoever. Int will do nothing for fire spells.

Two handing a weapon only increases your strength by 50%. Which means it will only aid you in weapons with STR scalings or to meet a STR requirement to wield it. "16 str twohanded can wield a 24 str weapon"

Dexterity gives a negligble increase to the casting speed of spells.

#3 Posted by HeyGuys (550 posts) -

If you've played through Demon's Souls I think you'd be fine without a guide. At some point it comes down to whether you're willing to put in 50 or so hours for a "pure" experience or whether you want to expedite things a bit for time's sake.

#4 Edited by Noblenerf (330 posts) -

The game loses much of its charm once it's explained, so I'd recommend not using any sort of step-by-step walkthrough. I looked up some stuff towards the end of the game, which I now regret. That said, ToddRobb's post seems like a very good FAQ to familiarise thyself with the basic mechanics, which definitely deserve some explanation. There's a difference between frustration and challenge that Dark Souls doesn't always remember.

There is one thing I would recommend using a step-by-step guide for: accessing the Dark Souls DLC. It's a seriously convoluted process that would be difficult to stumble across naturally. Probably the same situation regarding the "bird's nest thing," though I've never attempted it. In both cases, I would recommend looking it up when you want to attempt it, and not before.

Good luck! You will not be prepared, and that's OK.

#5 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5799 posts) -

I think this is a do or don't situation, if you do use an FAQ then embrace it, but don't complain about bosses that you found to be too easy or what have you (but by all means have fun with the game). If you don't then all of your impressions no matter what they may be are at least somewhat valid (though it should be reasonably obvious if you lucked into an overpowered build somewhere along the way).

A Dark Souls legitimate blind run is a thing of beauty, but it's not for everyone. On the other hand there's plenty of ways to trivialize much of the game for yourself and there are a fair number of players that seek to do this as well. The more people buy it and play it the more chance there are of other series adapting to the Souls structure; so I don't particularly care how many of either type of player are out there.

#6 Posted by Sterling (2498 posts) -

If its your very first play through, don't use it.

#7 Edited by laserguy (448 posts) -

A FAQ for weapon and car. build is useful, but dont look for area maps or boss, going in blind to a boss and not knowing what your getting into is the point. You cant fuck yourself into a corner. The game isnt built that way.

#8 Posted by HistoryInRust (6347 posts) -

Don't psyche yourself out. Play as much as you can without a FAQ. Once you learn the game's systems of operations, you'll be fine. Certainly, there will be points where you'll be totally baffled. Those are good times to use guides.

#9 Posted by Lyisa (375 posts) -

I used a faq and some videos to decide which weapons I wanted to shoot for on my first playthrough, but that was about it. There isn't really a whole lot in the game that is impossible to figure out on your own except maybe what stats do.

If you get to a point where you feel like you need one, go ahead and use one. Whatever you discover in your play through isn't going to trump the amount of collective knowledge that already exists.

#10 Posted by crithon (3347 posts) -

@noblenerf: well, it looses it charm when everyone tells you "your playing it wrong."

To be honest, that starts out for a bit, just try not to feel overwhelmed by community support. I couldn't have gotten through Dark Souls if it wasn't for just help explaining me about how the Drake Sword doesn't balance along with your stats. All you need is a good weapon to feel comfortable with and a FAQ on how to upgrade it.

#11 Posted by pyrodactyl (2202 posts) -

bleh, if you know about weapon scaling you're all good.

#12 Posted by seveword (181 posts) -

Look up info on stats and what they do, and which ones are important (endurance), semi-important (poise, str/dex/int/faith as your attack skills) and which are useless (resistance). If you get the DLC, find a guide to access that, because it is a pretty convoluted process your first time through. Maybe look up a list of things to trade with the crow and how to do it, because otherwise you'd have no idea that it existed or what to give it. Other than that, there isn't too much that you can't figure out on your own. I made it through my first playthrough at launch, when there were no coherent wiki's to speak of, and although it was challenging I did persevere.

The only thing that I discovered later that I was annoyed at having missed was the way to Ash Lake because it's behind two, yes two freaking illusory walls in a dead-end corner of an area that discourages exploration because you are constantly taking poison damage. That kind of pissed me off even though there isn't really anything that's important in the Great Hollow or Ash Lake anyways.

#13 Edited by Noblenerf (330 posts) -

@crithon: I played through the entire game using my starting weapon. There really is no playing it wrong.

I forgot to mention, part of the magic of Dark Souls is the message system. It will be your guide, for good or ill. Jump!

#14 Edited by crithon (3347 posts) -

@noblenerf: actually, I'm referring to a recent Bombcast, where Jeff that's what he hears the most about Dark Souls and makes him regret how he plays..... but your totally right. There is no wrong way, and really all the weapons are fascinating, got the whip and looks really rad, debating about rerolling a guy with the whip.

#15 Posted by Sterling (2498 posts) -

The REAL Dark Souls begins when you realize you can play the game however you want, and everyone else is a bunch of jackasses.

#16 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5799 posts) -
#17 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

@sterling said:

The REAL Dark Souls begins when you realize you can play the game however you want, and everyone else is a bunch of jackasses.

Yes, agree.

you should load the game up and start playing. take your time, explore around. I had finished Demon's Souls before starting Dark Souls and that really helped. NPC invaders was probably the only thing I didn't really get until late game and all of that is more or less unimportant (but pretty cool and fun).

There are hidden areas, sure. But the bird thing I just naturally found. I mean, it's a big fucking bird flapping and making noises right over your head. It's not like they put much effort into hiding it. And that leads into the first hidden area, which naturally leads into the other. The other big one that springs to mind has about a 1000 user msgs near the access point.

I think if you are playing the game on a schedule you will feel like you HAVE to FAQ your way through it. I don't think playing through this game on a timetable is the way to experience it fully. But whatever. Do what feels right to you.

#18 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5799 posts) -

@tourgen: For my part I played at launch so there were only messages for the first like 3 or 4 hours of the game. No daughters of chaos, no forest bonfire, no amazing chest ahead!

#19 Posted by quicksand31 (72 posts) -

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I'm about 9 hours in, I've rung the first bell and am now making my way through the depths. I've experienced the joys of being cursed, invaded, and running in fear from many foes.

One thing I'm struggling with at this point is the map. I often do not know where I am, where I am going, and where I am supposed to go. And it's not that I don't want to explore the world. It's that I've already done the exploring, but now I can't remember how to get back to a certain area without starting from the beginning or trial and error with shortcuts/elevators. Is repetition the only way to learn? My wandering has already placed me in some wonderful and terrible situations, but I'd just like to feel a little better about my understanding of the map.

#20 Edited by Noblenerf (330 posts) -

@quicksand31: There is no map in-game; I think you're just supposed to get a feel for the areas - through repetition. As far as I'm aware, there aren't many occasions where you'll be stuck and unable to return to where you were, so feel free to explore. Shortcuts and secrets abound, so it's always worth trying to figure out every inch of an area. Messages can also help to guide you.

Keep in mind that it is possible to beat the game at Soul Level 1 (though I scarcely believe it), so If there's an enemy or area that seems impossible, perhaps try a different approach or go to an entirely new area and attempt progressing there. Nearly every boss I defeat requried me to change my approach dramatically.

@crithon: Right on! I, unfortunately, only learned about the whip after I finished Dark Souls, via Load our Last Souls... When GFWL is removed from the PC version, I am definitely playing through the game again with either a whip or the elusive Uchigatana. The variety of playstyles that are viable is really awesome.

#21 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5799 posts) -

@quicksand31: The world is contiguous so eventually it should all make sense just through repetition; maybe spend some time roaming the areas you've been before until you feel like you have a handle on where you're going. Don't listen to people saying "you can beat the game at SL 1," since I can't imagine that being helpful information at all particularly considering how most of those builds work. It doesn't sound like you're stuck just meandering at this point; which you can do for quite a while but talk to the NPCs and they should tell you where the next bell is; or just reach the exhaustive exploration conclusion.

#22 Edited by Zevvion (2142 posts) -

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I'm about 9 hours in, I've rung the first bell and am now making my way through the depths. I've experienced the joys of being cursed, invaded, and running in fear from many foes.

One thing I'm struggling with at this point is the map. I often do not know where I am, where I am going, and where I am supposed to go. And it's not that I don't want to explore the world. It's that I've already done the exploring, but now I can't remember how to get back to a certain area without starting from the beginning or trial and error with shortcuts/elevators. Is repetition the only way to learn? My wandering has already placed me in some wonderful and terrible situations, but I'd just like to feel a little better about my understanding of the map.

This pretty much sums up what Dark Souls does well. Yeah, you just need to memorize area's. It's not that hard I thought, because everything has it's own distinctive look.

On the subject of using a FAQ, I would only use one if you get stuck. Remember that if you get stuck in one particular area, you can always go ahead and explore another one. If you feel you're stuck everywhere, just look it up. Also, I think it's not the worst thing in the world to look up where you can get certain items like Titanite Shards, or where you can join Covenants. Some of the Covenants are pretty hard to find, easy to miss, or actually lock out of the current playthrough if you don't know exactly what to do.

I think reading up on Covenants, which benefits they give and where you can join them isn't a bad thing.

#23 Posted by kaos_cracker (637 posts) -

I used a guide just to see which section I should go to in what order. But fighting wise and equipment I did on my own.

#24 Edited by bybeach (4912 posts) -

What everyone else has said. using a faq is really not fun in DS, unless what is happening is even less fun, say being stuck, or missing out on Ash lake.. Also the message system is your friend until it is your enemy. So 'illusionary wall' is a nice gift that should be heeded, whereas 'need humanity. should mostly trigger thoughts of where the message giver could shove his or her's need..least that is the way I took it.

Because I tried to stay away from the faq/not reading anymore than neccessary caused me to miss a bonfire or 2 doesn't bother me. But understanding classes and weapons was key, even for my simple melee traveler from the far east.

#25 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I played blind and really didn't see why people say the game is so difficult, if something is truly *that* hard then you are probably not at the right level/equipment to be fighting what you're up against! (unless you are a total wizard who just goes naked)

#26 Posted by Zevvion (2142 posts) -

@bybeach said:

What everyone else has said. using a faq is really not fun in DS, unless what is happening is even less fun, say being stuck, or missing out on Ash lake.. Also the message system is your friend until it is your enemy. So 'illusionary wall' is a nice gift that should be heeded, whereas 'need humanity. should mostly trigger thoughts of where the message giver could shove his or her's need..least that is the way I took it.

Because I tried to stay away from the faq/not reading anymore than neccessary caused me to miss a bonfire or 2 doesn't bother me. But understanding classes and weapons was key, even for my simple melee traveler from the far east.

What do you mean by: 'should mostly trigger thoughts of where the message giver could shove his or her's need?

Also, my first time through the game I missed parts of Darkroot Garden and the entirety of Ash Lake, The Depths, return to Asylum Prison and obviously Painted World of Ariamis. And boy did I miss out. If I was only playing the game once, I would be disappointed I missed those area's. Also, even if I had played it several times, I doubt I would have ever found those area's. Perhaps I would have found The Depths eventually when I start messing around with the Master Key. But I never, ever would have found return to Asylum Prison and therefor Painted World of Ariamis. I also highly doubt I would have found Ash Lake.

If you plan on playing the game through once, I would highly recommend a FAQ. You're missing out on too much if you don't. Also, by the time I finished my first attempt, I still didn't really understand the game going in the second time.

#27 Edited by Sogeman (872 posts) -

How can you miss the Depths unless you know what to skip with the Master Key? Also means no upgrading weapons past +5.

#28 Posted by YapaPanda (127 posts) -

My opinion is to play the game anyway you want. If you don't get game mechanics, you should totally feel free to look them up. People always say that faqs ruin the secrets in Dark Souls but I think the messages left by players already does that so who cares, look it up. Only assholes on the internet likes to imagine there is some platonic form of a blind run for Dark Souls.

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.