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#1 Edited by development (2330 posts) -

edit: Okay, title is hyperbolic. Not "literally." Close, though.

There isn't some hidden mechanic or some secret we haven't figured out. Earlier on in development they intended the game to be much darker. They made it dark, they added sconces for you to ignite, and they even modified the equipment UI to include that torch timer. But it's all useless, because they -- for some reason -- decided to brighten everything up. A huge bummer for a number of reasons, the big two reasons being that it would make much of the lighting in the game way... way better, and it would change a lot of the way you play the game. The consoles could handle the lighting very well, as is demonstrated in a few spots throughout the game (and as with past Souls games, the real culprit in bad framerates is areas with too much geometry; has nothing to do with lights for the most part).

As it is now, the torches are entirely superfluous; a holdover from an earlier game build.

My thinking is they merely left it in because they'll be releasing the PC version as-originally-intended, dark and full of pretty lighting and useful torches.

Anyways, how do you feel about there being an entire, ever-present mechanic in the game that has absolutely no utility? (Okay, except for that one bonus thing you can do with the windmill... but that hardly excuses it).

#2 Posted by Sterling (2292 posts) -

I find them useful. I have my contrast and brightness turned way down so the game is actually dark. Same with the game brightness setting, all the way down. And there are many spots where I had to use one.

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#3 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5479 posts) -

They aren't useless, also you can definitely play the game dark enough to make them as useful as you want. If the game was literally pitch black everywhere it would have been God awful.

#4 Edited by golguin (3927 posts) -

I can think of two pretty big uses for the torch in the early game (I've only killed 8 bosses) and I'm guessing there are probably more. Actually, I believe there is a 3rd pretty big one with the boss I'm currently fighting.

The two hidden things that I know of are...

The blacksmith in the Lost Bastille doesn't seem to start working until you light the fire next to him.
The long arm monsters in No Man's Wharf are afraid of fire. You can avoid fighting them with a torch if you don't have a Pharros Stone for the huge fire.

#5 Edited by EthanielRain (851 posts) -

There's more than one hidden thing with the torch :) But yeah it does seem superfluous

#6 Edited by development (2330 posts) -

If you guys are talking about scaring enemies away with the torch... it's a neat trick, and I'm glad they included it, but it's nothing a shield or ranged weapon can't actually fix, rather than postpone (plus, there's the Pharros light in No-Man's Wharf).

edit: @golguin On yeah, forgot about that. These few things hardly make up for how weirdly-unused torches are, though.

And... come on, guys. You're seriously suggesting people should turn their darkness down to "fix" this? For one thing, I tried it, and contrary to what you're saying it didn't do much at all. I ran through The Gutter without lighting a single sconce. Either way, it doesn't change that it's still a largely superfluous feature.

#7 Edited by Ezekiel (448 posts) -

@sterling said:

I find them useful. I have my contrast and brightness turned way down so the game is actually dark. Same with the game brightness setting, all the way down. And there are many spots where I had to use one.

Does the game have one of those "Move the cursor until the object is barely visible" adjustments? Do you have to use the torch at the suggested level? Because turning the brightness "way down" would ruin the picture in other areas.

#8 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@ezekiel: It does. It doesn't do the trick at all, though. Makes the lighting look a little better, as it did with DSI, but it doesn't give the torches any more use.

#9 Posted by Sterling (2292 posts) -

@ezekiel: Yes, in the settings and the first time you start it up.

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#10 Edited by wemibelec90 (1664 posts) -

@ezekiel said:

@sterling said:

I find them useful. I have my contrast and brightness turned way down so the game is actually dark. Same with the game brightness setting, all the way down. And there are many spots where I had to use one.

Does the game have one of those "Move the cursor until the object is barely visible" adjustments? Do you have to use the torch at the suggested level? Because turning the brightness "way down" would ruin the picture.

It does have one of those, but having it at the recommended level makes it so you rarely would get any use out of torches (at least, it seems, for most people's televisions). Turning it down even farther would be the only way to get it dark enough to need them in most of the other areas.

#11 Posted by Dixego (385 posts) -

They aren't useless, they look sick as hell :D

#12 Edited by EthanielRain (851 posts) -
@development said:

If you guys are talking about scaring enemies away with the torch... it's a neat trick, and I'm glad they included it, but it's nothing a shield or ranged weapon can't actually fix, rather than postpone (plus, there's the Pharros light in No-Man's Wharf).

And... come on, guys. You're seriously suggesting people should turn their darkness down to "fix" this? For one thing, I tried it, and contrary to what you're saying it didn't do much at all. I ran through The Gutter without lighting a single sconce. Either way, it doesn't change that it's still a largely superfluous feature.

More like lighting every sconce and despawning every enemy in the game type stuff. I imagine all the uses of the torch won't be realized until the PC version is out, though.

#13 Edited by Oginam (447 posts) -

I was using fires as a way of reminding myself that I had been to an area but there aren't enough sconces in many of the levels to really allow for that. Aside from playing through a few areas with torch in hand (The Gutter, Black Gulch), I also found it really helpful in a later area to see where it is safe to walk (Shrine of Amana?). There are also some enemies that are attracted to light as well as those repulsed by it, so at least there is enemy interaction with the mechanic.

Besides burning the Windmill (which drastically changes the difficulty of a certain boss) there is also a place to light up the The Sinner's room which makes locking on to her during the encounter much easier. There is also a section in the Undead Purgatory that is quite dark but if you don't use a light there you have access to a vendor and later on a summon of that same npc for a boss fight. I suspect there are more uses as well though I am both a little saddened they don't play a large role or unlock secrets and glad they didn't lean too heavily on a mechanic that would restrict certain playstyles because you have to hold the torch.

#14 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@ethanielrain: Does that happen? Or did you just happen to run the same area enough times to despawn them?

#15 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@oginam: Wait... you're telling me the inability to lock-on to her is intentional? It really comes off as a bug, but now that you tell me you can light the room up it makes sense. That shit was driving me nuuuuttts in NG+ with those fucking pyromancers and Lucatiel's inability to stay alive when she's not walking herself off cliffs.

#16 Posted by Xeteh (51 posts) -

I'm okay with what the torches are in this game. I was dreading a ton of pitch black areas that required you to ditch the shield and wield that torch throughout like a Tomb of the Giants kind of zone. I found it to be useful in a few places, I enjoyed the mechanic and as far as I'm concerned it didn't feel like a forced mechanic.

#17 Posted by freakin9 (1120 posts) -

I've seen a few unique uses for the torch, and have occasionally taken one with me to light the way. It can turn a horrible place into a moody, romantic area. If it wasn't for the whole timing thing I might use it more.

#18 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@xeteh: My main gripe is that is just seems... really weird that there's a whole system built into the game that is barely used, and definitely not needed. Forced? No, the opposite: under-utilized. If you didn't keep picking up fireflies and torches you'd forget they were even in the game.

#19 Posted by Demoskinos (14830 posts) -

I really don't think they are useless. I've used them in several areas to help guide my way. Especially the Gutter.

#20 Posted by Seikenfreak (426 posts) -

I think the lighting is fine. Maybe I would've liked another area that was super dark like The Gutter but not stupid like Tomb of the Giants with cliffs everywhere (cause thats what The Gutter is already). Like an abandoned castle or home where you could walk through and light lanterns and candles making you feel much more comfortable. Maybe a monster does some sort of attack that blows out all the lights in the room making it super dark again and they are hard to see or something. Lighting fireplaces, burning wall paintings, or burning down a locked wooden door. When I reached the Undead Crypt and saw the really hard lined shadows at the entrance I got really excited and spooked and was expecting there to be monsters that only existed in the shadows etc but that didn't happen.

I would've liked more secrets tied to sconces. Like opening hidden doors or other tricks. I liked the uses for certain boss fights but would've liked to seen that expanded more and not just effect the boss fight. I'm still hoping there is some unknown secret that isn't in the guide about lighting them all. Pretty sure I lit all of them through my NG run.

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#21 Posted by Xeteh (51 posts) -

@development: I don't know, I never felt like the mechanic was needed in the first place. Regardless, I still found uses for it. Yeah it was great for No-Man's Wharf and The Gutter but I found that the torch was great in Shrine of Amana to see where it was safe to step in the water. Yeah, the torch could have been utilized better but... in my opinion I'm happier it was a side mechanic instead of something core.

#23 Posted by Reisz (1497 posts) -

I am really stoked I didn't have to spend the whole game with a Torch in my left hand to proceed. That would have been a game destroying turn-off for me. As it stands You get a really comforting feeling from lighting them and by my beard were they ever a godsend in The Gutter.

#24 Posted by Oginam (447 posts) -

@development said:

@oginam: Wait... you're telling me the inability to lock-on to her is intentional? It really comes off as a bug, but now that you tell me you can light the room up it makes sense. That shit was driving me nuuuuttts in NG+ with those fucking pyromancers and Lucatiel's inability to stay alive when she's not walking herself off cliffs.

I haven't confirmed it but it seemed incredibly obvious to me that her AI tries to "hide in the dark" (basically watched her keep jumping away from me and the 2 player summons I had with me more than she actually attacked us) - so preventing players from staying locked on to her unless she is fairly close makes sense. I would imagine both her AI routines and the lock on range change when you light the room up.

#25 Posted by McHampton (63 posts) -

Like someone already said: the torch is useful in the Shrine of Amana to see the edges of land underwater. Also useful in the foggy forest area and the poison mist caves to see where you're going. Other than that it does seem pointless, but I still felt somewhat good about having like 2 hours of torch time stocked up.

By the way does anyone who played the beta know if they really brightened up Huntsman's Copse for the full game, or is it down to the fact that I have a different tv now?

#26 Posted by Yummylee (21642 posts) -

@oginam said:

@development said:

@oginam: Wait... you're telling me the inability to lock-on to her is intentional? It really comes off as a bug, but now that you tell me you can light the room up it makes sense. That shit was driving me nuuuuttts in NG+ with those fucking pyromancers and Lucatiel's inability to stay alive when she's not walking herself off cliffs.

I haven't confirmed it but it seemed incredibly obvious to me that her AI tries to "hide in the dark" (basically watched her keep jumping away from me and the 2 player summons I had with me more than she actually attacked us) - so preventing players from staying locked on to her unless she is fairly close makes sense. I would imagine both her AI routines and the lock on range change when you light the room up.

That is indeed the case, or at least you can stay locked-on to her at a much larger distance.

#27 Posted by Shirogane (3574 posts) -

Like someone already said: the torch is useful in the Shrine of Amana to see the edges of land underwater. Also useful in the foggy forest area and the poison mist caves to see where you're going. Other than that it does seem pointless, but I still felt somewhat good about having like 2 hours of torch time stocked up.

By the way does anyone who played the beta know if they really brightened up Huntsman's Copse for the full game, or is it down to the fact that I have a different tv now?

I remember that start area of huntsman's copse where you can break the windows for light looking really dark, but that wasn't me playing on this monitor, and the monitor i'm using now is also new so....
That said however, it was REALLY dark, i don't think the difference was small enough for those explanations to really work. Though i'm kinda glad they didn't do that as much, cause i would've hated that. It also makes the new dual wielding stance utterly useless since you'd need a torch way too often.

#28 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@shirogane: Well, it didn't have to be one way or the other. There's a comfortable middle ground, where some areas would be dark... but not so dark you couldn't see without a torch completely... and then you'd have areas with light like Aldia Manor's big hallway or a bunch of the outdoor environments.

#29 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

In the shrine of anmana (i think its spelled that way anyways) There are actually quite alot of hidden items and paths in the water that if you're holding a torch you can see the paths, if not you'd absolutely fall off the deaddrop and die.

I mean theres a few times where its useful in the game, i got a bit anal about lighting EVERY sconce i saw too, just for funzies.

#30 Edited by obcdexter (602 posts) -

I used that feature quite a lot of times, I ...

... lit up all the sconces I could find just for laughs
... used the torch to set the windmill on fire, which made a boss way easier
... used the torch to set lights in a boss-room on fire, which made that boss a lot easier
... held the torch in hand through almost the entirety of The Gutter, which looked hella dark on my screen for sure.
... also lit it up a lot of times in Amana, because the cliffs were hard to see otherwise
... absolutely needed to light up the sconce near the second blacksmith, or else he would have never moved his lazy behind
... almost fucked up an encounter with an otherwise friendly npc because I wanted to keep my torch lit in another damn dark area later on
... used the torch to scare away enemies in No Man's Wharf cause I sure as hell wasn't wasting a precious lock-stone on some stupid lights at that point

It's a long game with lots of areas to explore. Sure: the torch could have been made more useful overall, but it sure as hell did have its moments.

#31 Posted by Aetheldod (3582 posts) -

I think it worked fine ... maybe a little more secrets tied to the scones would be nice , but they did do a good balance for a first time mechanic .

#32 Posted by YoThatLimp (1908 posts) -

The PS3 version is already fairly crap, sub 20 FPS most of the game. It kind of makes sense to take it out if they are already struggling with framerate. I would assume it was the PS3 version that was having problems, so removing the lighting to keep parity with both console versions would make sense. I would assume this decision came fairly late because, like you said, it is kind of weird to pretty much remove the mechanic but leave the UI stuff in there.

I am curious to see if the PC uses it, they could be since they have been telling us it is the 'lead platform' .

#33 Posted by sub_o (899 posts) -

Here are some uses of torch:

  • No Man's Wharf to scare those long limb monsters
  • Sinner's Rise, when fighting the Lost Sinner, you should light up the place
  • The Gutter, to help you navigate and mark places that you've been. There's plenty of loot there
  • Shrine of Amana, to help traverse the lake without falling to death
  • Black Gulch, by rolling with flame torch you can burn the monster in the tar
  • And burning windmill in the Earthen Keep

They are really useful, and since this is the first time that they've implemented torch mechanic, I'd say they are doing it pretty well. I'd want From to expand more on this mechanic in the next game. Maybe dousing lit sconce might help you in becoming stealthy, maybe you can ignite more things, maybe you can trigger secrets by lighting all sconces, etc.

#34 Posted by Dezztroy (794 posts) -

Do people not know what a sconce is? It specifically only uses a wall for support. The things you light are braziers.

#35 Edited by Deathpooky (1402 posts) -

I have found them really cool and useful in the dark areas - a great mechanic to force you to chose between defense and light, and they provide a ton of light for areas you'd otherwise be stumbling around in and falling off ledges assuming you keep default brightness. So I wouldn't say they're completely useless and you can see From's vision with them.

But it is disappointing since it's obvious they meant sconces and torch usage to be a huge mechanic, and it's really not outside of a few areas and limited situations. Especially since you can light from any of the plentiful bonfires, so it's not like you have to bring the light with you. I've got over 2 hours of torches now, and only relied on them significantly in a few areas. Though I also think having more super dark areas would have become tiresome, so they'd really need more mechanics like scaring enemies, or some incentive to light all the torches in an area. Would the game really be better off if the Bastille, Woods, or any other potentially dark areas were just another Wharf or Gutter with abject darkness?

#36 Edited by VioleGrace (47 posts) -

Torches will have many uses in the game , top three will be in Shrine Of Amana and the Gutter and upon Mytha, the Baneful Queen Fight , where having no torch can easily mean your death .

#37 Posted by JackSukeru (5912 posts) -

Who cares! I have to light them all! I have to light every single one I see!

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#39 Edited by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

Like some other people, I played around with the settings to get a brightness that would force me to use the torch in certain circumstances. It's not perfect, and I would have liked a more effective use for them, but it's my way of making do.

#40 Posted by Aetheldod (3582 posts) -

@yothatlimp: Dude it is an utter lie that the games runs sub 20 fps , do you really know how that looks? See older films that were shot in 16 fps then we talk.

#41 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

@aetheldod: the dude's not too far off, although when talking in FPS a little can make a huge difference. I'd say half the game runs at 19-23 FPS, give or take a few, but is hardly consistant. The rest hovers mainly around 25, with certain camera angles and elevator sequences giving you glimpses of a smooth 30+.

#42 Edited by ImBigInJapan (258 posts) -

Like some other people, I played around with the settings to get a brightness that would force me to use the torch in certain circumstances. It's not perfect, and I would have liked a more effective use for them, but it's my way of making do.

I tweaked the black levels on my TV and places like the opening to No Man's Wharf are extremely dark. It's very easy for me to fall into the water if I don't step carefully without a torch. The areas that are lit up still look pretty nice too.

#43 Posted by Shadow (4980 posts) -

I would really prefer if lighting all the torches in an area made a chest appear or something. That way, I'd have a reason not to just completely ignore their existence like I've been doing

#44 Posted by Turambar (6784 posts) -

I'm just going to make the point that superfluous and useless are not the same thing.

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#45 Posted by Belegorm (402 posts) -

I use torches, lets me see better

#46 Edited by Tobako (75 posts) -

Felt really pissed off when I found out about it but after tweaking my TV settings many areas are really dark and I have to use a torch, game still looks normal outdoors like majula, black levels low, almost full contrast and brightness at half, I can't see the dragon and almost can't see the flame either but if you adjust according to the game everything is gonna look like crap... this was most likely a design decision to avoid making the game too hard or frustrating, but the character also seems to emanate a lot more light than it did in the Beta, and because of that it's still possible to see the immediate surroundings a little bit even with low brightness.

#47 Posted by Marokai (2972 posts) -

"Literally useless" is absolutely an exaggeration. I've found torches very useful in specific situations; I wouldn't have wanted to go through The Gutter without one in my left hand at all times, and it was helpful in the Black Gulch and other areas for seeing platforms to drop down to I wouldn't have been able to see without either using a torch or being five inches away from my TV. Granted, torches are obviously not as useful as they advertised, and outside of only a few areas they're not necessary at all, but they still at least have a place somewhere.

I actually really like the way the game looks when there's a torch being used, anyway. It's a shame that they showed off a lavish lighting engine that they couldn't deliver on; if they had showed more or less what was in the current product all along, I would be fairly content.

#48 Posted by leebmx (2244 posts) -

Does lighting all the torches in one area make a flame appear on the map in the house in Majula?

#49 Posted by Turambar (6784 posts) -

@leebmx said:

Does lighting all the torches in one area make a flame appear on the map in the house in Majula?

No, that map is just based on story progression really.

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#50 Edited by leebmx (2244 posts) -

@turambar: so what does it mean that I have one flame lit on it at the moment? I thought it might be because the tutorial area is the only place I have lit all the beacons. Is it something else?