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#1 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (238 posts) -

I've noticed that when people discuss the Souls series summoning white phantoms to pal around with is sometimes referred to as a negative aspect of the game. As if you're ceding to the boss by summoning a helper. This was so deeply impressed on me that I didn't summon help at all in Dark Souls, but I decided to try it out for the new game. It's absolutely been some of the most fun I've had with the game. Helping strangers, getting assistance with a tough boss... I'm loving that jolly co-operation.

So, I ask you Giant Bomb community, what do YOU think about summoning? Is it a last resort? Do you do it all the time? Or are you a summon shamer who shouts fie on anyone who doesn't go through the game alone, broken straight sword only, Final Destination?

#2 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3019 posts) -

On my runs through Dark Souls I went strictly solo against bosses; I called in Solaire against Ornstein and Smough a few times out of desperation, but for the most part I looked at them like tests. I wanted to know if I was at the right level/equipment/skill barrier for the areas ahead, so I always wanted to take the bosses down myself. I had a lot of fun with it, but I'm not gonna call BS on someone who makes use of summon signs. They're there for a reason, after all!

#3 Edited by MiniPato (2721 posts) -

The Souls games always try to pile the odds against you, so do what you can to get the upper hand I suppose.

But I will say this, at least attempt an area or boss on your own before summoning help. I summoned a player for an area in Dark Souls 2 without even stepping foot in it once. He must have gone through it once before, cause he just opened all the secrets and killed all the hidden enemies while I was still taking my time looking around. I was kinda disappointed that I hadn't discovered this stuff for my self. It did take away from the exploration aspect of it and that feeling of unknown danger that lies ahead. Also glad I didn't summon help for The Pursuer boss. I was overwhelmed by him at first, but learning his patterns after several tries and dodging stuff, it made for a fun and satisfying fight. There are some bosses where I just had to summon help though.

I'd say go through an area and boss at least once or twice before you summon help. I wouldn't shame anyone for summoning help the first time, but I do think you would be missing out significantly if you do.

Online
#4 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (238 posts) -

@make_me_mad: word! It feels like this game is more multiplayer oriented. I want to start assisting people as a blue phantom ASAP.

I also have felt that in dark souls 2 the bosses aren't necessarily an indicator of how hard the next area is. Some feel way too easy, some feel very difficult. It's less linear than dark souls, surely.

#5 Posted by YI_Orange (1128 posts) -

I always like to beat the bosses solo, but I enjoy helping people. No real reason other than fun. It's kinda lame summoning a guy that just stomps the boss. Subsequent playthroughs that's ok, but the first one is strictly solo boss kills for me.

Online
#6 Posted by shinjin977 (748 posts) -

@quid_pro_bono: it is less about shaming but more about you summoning 2 guys that died pretty much right off the bat at the boss, leaving you with a boss with 2 times the hp that also happen to hit quite a bit harder. I just ended up soloing all the bosses after trying a couple of times with the summons. I think that is the negative people talk about but if you get some overpower player? great.

#7 Edited by Kieran_Smith5 (139 posts) -
#8 Posted by Sterling (2071 posts) -

I've never heard about this stigma to the co-op before. Sounds dumb to me. Play the game how ever you want. I personally love dropping my sign and helping anyone who wants my help. I spend hours of play time some days just helping with bosses. And showing people things they may have missed.

Online
#9 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5338 posts) -

@kieran_smith5: Most bosses get a substantial boost to resistances; some of them get more aggressive AI patterns in Dark Souls II. Farming infinte souls via White Phantoming is the new "easy" way to play the game; summoning help is no guarantee considering you can't even see the guy's equipment anymore. I did trivialize one of the hardest bosses for a guy the one time I got summoned with my high SL guy yesterday though.

#10 Edited by Yummylee (21250 posts) -
@kieran_smith5 said:

@shinjin977: The bosses don't scale, do they?

Indeed they do. Though this is new and wasn't the case in the first two Souls games. If people are doing that (joining then intentionally dying) on purpose, though, 1) That's a real dick move, and 2) I'm not at all surprised to hear people are committing such shenanigans. I've always seen that as a downside frankly, how the Souls series are basically a playground for griefers worldwide. Though while you're going to encounter that in every game, in the Souls series it seems like it's much more ripe for griefing potential and is even encouraged in some regards of course.

#11 Posted by Zeik (2222 posts) -

Co-op kind of broke the game in the previous games. There was literally nothing challenging anywhere in the game if you had two other people with you.

I haven't actually done any summoning in this game, so I really have no idea if it's better balanced, but even if it is I'd probably still go solo. The sense of accomplishment just isn't the same with other people helping.

I will likely put my own summon sign down at some point to help other people though. I find that's a good way to play some co-op without having to mess with my own progress.

#12 Posted by Aetheldod (3511 posts) -

No shame in enjoying the game as you want to. I did summon once yesterday only to deal with a boss just because it was fun and trying to communicate with only gestures was neat ^^

#13 Posted by Skyrider (330 posts) -

I summon all the time for bosses. I do like to try the bosses on my own, provided I have Human Effigies to spare (if I'm human and have none left, then I summon all the phantoms I can and try to gank the hell out of the boss). I don't bother summoning for the actual level portion, at least not unless there's a spot that I have a lot of trouble getting through. I just really love the co-op in this series.

#14 Edited by thomasnash (539 posts) -

I think it is really worth trying to complete every boss on your own, because it feels a lot better when you manage it with your own two hands, so to speak.

I would say that my general rule is that if I can't beat a boss straight off, but I can tell what I need to do and understand the patterns fairly well, I'll keep going until I do it. WIth that said if it's a choice between summoning, beating your head against a wall or putting the game down, I'll summon every time.

The big problem with summoning as far as I'm concerned is that all you really get from it is a bit of space. The enemies can only focus on one dude at a time so the difficulty of healing disappears because if you back off the boss will just focus on a buddy for a while. Likewise you can be a lot looser with your attacking as not all of the attacks are going your way, you can get a few more hits off a lot of the time. It just feels a bit too much like throwing bodies at the problem rather than truly cooperating (especially as there aren't a huge number of ways to actually interact with each other).

The biggest problem for me though, is that by the time I've caved and summoned help, I'm frustrated, and that looseness from the last boss fight stays with me so I end up getting my ass handed to me in the next section.

#15 Posted by SteadyingMeat (1113 posts) -

I always try to beat them by myself first, but if I just can't, then I summon. That's kind of what they're there for after all. The only boss I've summoned in someone for in Dark Souls II so far though was those dumbass gargoyles, 'cause that was total bullcrap.

#16 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I do the exploration on my own. When I hit a boss fog-wall, I put down a summon sign, and help out another player, whilst doing recon for my attempt. If I'm hollow, I pop an effigy - then I summon some help for the boss encounter. Why would I go at it alone, if I don't have to? I still beat about 50% of all bosses on my own thus far, just because there weren't any summons handy, or because there wasn't any writing warning me of a boss.

After beating the boss I usually hang around a bit, and help out some more players for the souls. Precious precious souls.

#17 Posted by TheBlue (316 posts) -

I see nothing wrong with summoning people for help, if it's part of the game and they let you do it, you should take advantage of it. It's like cheesing far away enemies with a bow, if it wasn't a viable strategy, I wouldn't do it. The game is punishing enough as it is, enemies hiding in ambush, sniping you from afar, luring you into traps. Why shouldn't you punish them right back is how I see it. I had a hell of a time fighting the Lost Sinner to the point where I wasn't even coming close to beating it. I then helped some other guys fight it to see if there was a trick or strategy I wasn't getting. Then I summoned people to help me out. I like to overcome the challenges myself, but I don't have the time to waste hours and hours trying the same boss a million times.

I've since been Sunbroing it up helping people fight bosses. It's fun and I use the souls to buy items instead of leveling cause they're souls I wouldn't normally have.

#18 Posted by ajamafalous (11848 posts) -

I mean, Dark Souls 1 is a literal joke whenever you have a summon (or two) with you. The game is challenging the first time through, so people are obviously going to brag about beating it without any help.

Can't comment on DS2.

#19 Edited by freakin9 (1101 posts) -

Maybe you are encountering losers that think they are tough for soloing a boss? I don't know, I've never heard of that. It's a videogame, have fun with it the way you want. It's not a status symbol.

#20 Posted by supermike6 (3540 posts) -

It's a game where there are a ton of different options of how you can play. Because of this, people are super defensive about the way they beat it, declaring it "proper", and judge-y of how other people play. The fact that the game is so challenging is a part of it, too. People want to brag about beating the game, and when someone beats the game doing something "cheesy", or just something that makes the game easier, they feel like it is devaluing their accomplishment. Personally, I love summoning; I think it's a ton of fun. I do like attempting each boss by myself at least once, though.

#21 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

Fuck that, I am not letting the pursuer kill me in the ass more than five times before I summon help. And it's pretty fun to help and get help also.

#22 Posted by HatKing (5817 posts) -

I'm new to the series, and I'm kind of bad at the game. Well, not bad, but I am still in the mistake making period. I find myself losing fights that I should have definitely won because I got impatient and went for another strike instead of backing off or blocking. On top of that, I'm still getting a firm grasp on some of the games systems. While it does feel more straightforward than previous releases, not having a lot of experience in the franchise kind of has be fumbling around with what I want to use. I mean, it's one thing knowing how the systems work, but understanding how that has an impact on my personal play style is entirely different.

So, I think I'm very much in the position where having a slightly more experienced player along with would be beneficial. Granted, I'd only summon him or her if I felt that I really needed it, but it's a great option for me. Of course the online portion of the game has yet to be functional for me, so this is all theoretical. I'm seriously considering putting the game away until it's working properly. The online stuff seems like a relatively small part of the game, but it is something that I'm not getting to experience.

#23 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4594 posts) -

I don't summon help because the bosses get harder, the summoned are squishier, and I hate getting stuck with a super aggro buffed up version of the same boss I could've beaten solo. That's really it. When I tell someone "don't summon on this" it's not a dick measuring contest; it's because the boss will be easier alone. If people want to summon in Dark Souls 2, great! Just know that the boss will have a greater HP pool, more aggressive AI, and add new tricks to his/her attack pattern. If that's all something you want to deal with in the name of Jolly Co-Operation, so be it.

Overall the tweaks to summoning really sucks for me because there are certain NPCs that depend upon a successful summon (beating the boss and they survive) to complete their side quests. Knowing that I'll need to baby sit them and kill a buffed up boss is going to be more frustrating than straight up player murder, I think.

#24 Posted by tourgen (4427 posts) -

To answer your question, plenty of gamers are shit-talking assholes with poor impulse control. Otherwise why would they care how you have fun with a game?

Personally I like to leave summon signs around and help people out. I also like to invade and use all the dirties, exploit-iest tricks I can come up with. I haven't summoned for a boss before but that's just how I like to play. If other people want to summon a crew, avoid PvP, and roll through the game, awesome. Have a great time! That's a fun way to play too. This game allows for a huge range of play styles and strategies. All kinds of amazing stuff to go do. Just enjoy playing the game however you like.

It's like all the uptight people giving Brad grief for using soul arrow in Demon's Souls. You just have to learn to tune out the whiny cry babies.

#25 Posted by 0xdtmx0 (9 posts) -

my two cents:

1) you only get to "first time" experience a souls game once, so tread carefully the first time through in regards to aid/research/outside interference...you might compromise or ruin the rewarding experience (discovery, triumph, and "i did it" over "we did it")

2) blind/solo will be the most rewarding experience yet toughest

3) summoning has the potential to aid you on your journey at the cost of robbing you of learning and/or challenge which is kind of what makes the game great

4) helping others via being summoned is great fun and an opportunity to use what you have learned

5) if you are streaming a let's play of any souls game, you are doing a disservice to your community by any measure of cheesing (ie ranged bow/spell from outside aggro range) and/or lame boss battle techniques such as overleveled summons with op weapons (ie lightning claymore vs gargoyles) ; overleveled gear or item stacking to the point of ridiculous damage (ie dusk crown, bellowing, tcc dark bead)...where is the fun in that?

6) let's play's (unless themed) should be blind and should avoid chat interaction...nothing's worse than potential moments of discovery, trials, and tribulation being ruined by someone who thinks they are helping by spoiling what's next or suggesting something cheesy...you wouldn't spoil a movie's ending so why spoil the let's play

#26 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

My first time though Dark Souls 1 I summoned players sometimes on hard boss fights. It made the fights easier but I enjoyed them all the same. It is part of the game and if you want to co-op then go for it. It is only a bummer when you summon someone who can easily beat the boss.

#27 Posted by Brodehouse (9585 posts) -

#fightsummonshaming

#28 Edited by Gatehouse (580 posts) -

I like to take on the bosses on my own, but if they keep murdering my ass (or I hear they're awful like The Pursuer) then I'll summon some help instead of getting frustrated. I actually prefer using the NPC summons, simply on a narrative point. Having Solaire by my side was a big part of Dark Souls for me. I do however really like to be summoned for boss fights. This game can be a dick, so I'm all for helping others out in jolly co-operation.

#29 Posted by Shadow (4977 posts) -

People who don't like it can fuck off. Summoning is a purposely designed and implemented part of the game. Therefore, it's a valid part of the game. That's not even a relational thing. I'm literally saying "A. and therefore, A". I choose not to do it because I can't be bothered to waste an effigy on a one-shot chance at success and I just like the epic feeling of battling bosses alone, figuring out their weak points, and coming out on top. People who get others to help them are no better or worse than me. In fact, they're smarter because my method means I'm dying a shit-ton of times before I get the hang of a boss. I don't really get the difficulty argument either. This isn't even a hard game when you get down to it. All problems can be solved by grinding until you outlevel the enemy and min-maxing your build. The fun of the game is all about trial and error. They tried something that worked and they're rewarded by not being stuck there stubbornly bashing their head against a wall because they refuse to accept offered help

#30 Edited by 0xdtmx0 (9 posts) -
@shadow said:

People who don't like it can fuck off. Summoning is a purposely designed and implemented part of the game. Therefore, it's a valid part of the game. That's not even a relational thing. I'm literally saying "A. and therefore, A". I choose not to do it because I can't be bothered to waste an effigy on a one-shot chance at success and I just like the epic feeling of battling bosses alone, figuring out their weak points, and coming out on top. People who get others to help them are no better or worse than me. In fact, they're smarter because my method means I'm dying a shit-ton of times before I get the hang of a boss. I don't really get the difficulty argument either. This isn't even a hard game when you get down to it. All problems can be solved by grinding until you outlevel the enemy and min-maxing your build. The fun of the game is all about trial and error. They tried something that worked and they're rewarded by not being stuck there stubbornly bashing their head against a wall because they refuse to accept offered help

it's valid...but at the cost of the bolded items as you explained. i'd also like to point out that outleveling is not a guaranteed win b/c of diminishing returns and lack of skill solo will still result in many deaths

#31 Posted by bnutz2k (90 posts) -

The multiplayer aspects of the Souls games are a really big draw for me. The messages people leave for each other, the invasions, the cooperation... They're so unique and brilliantly implemented. It's one thing to take pride in soloing the content and I applaud those that do, but everyone's experience is their own. I personally feel like if someone plays offline, they may be missing a significant part of what the developers/artists intended the game to be, but that is their chosen experience. The idea that using an in game feature cheats you out of some intangible reward is ludicrous. Getting enjoyment out of whatever features the game has to offer is all that matters. Play it how you want.

Personally, I enjoy the anonymous comradery more than the challenge, but I also enjoy the challenges I do get to experience in these games immensely. I love these games so hard.

#32 Posted by Humanity (8809 posts) -

It's been part of the series from the very first game.

Some bosses are ridiculously hard on your own, while they become trivial with even one other person. There is no real in between and thats the kind of crummy part.

#33 Posted by HistoryInRust (6274 posts) -

@sterling said:

I've never heard about this stigma to the co-op before. Sounds dumb to me. Play the game how ever you want. I personally love dropping my sign and helping anyone who wants my help. I spend hours of play time some days just helping with bosses. And showing people things they may have missed.

Same. Especially in Dark Souls 2. The game really feels like it's making a concerted effort to incorporate multiplayer.

That said, there are absolutely members of the Dark Souls fanbase who are high on the power trip of soloing the franchise's myriad challenges. They're the same people who look down their noses at new players struggling with the difficulty, the same people who say, "X isn't tough because I beat it without weapons or armor and with one of my hands tied to a doorknob." Summoning is an admission of weakness. And having an assist help you overcome the game's obstacles is, in some way, "impure."

But it's unfair to single out the whole community for these types. They're present everywhere. On the whole, the Dark Souls community is really inclusive. And, again, Dark Souls 2 seems custom-built with summoning in mind. As someone who Long-Ranger'd his way through the original game, I've had a lot of fun helping folks out this time around, and have absolutely sought out help a couple times.

#34 Edited by Xeiphyer (5594 posts) -

The multiplayer aspects of the game are my favourite part, and also the part that made me the most addicted to playing those games over and over. By summoning players and being human, you also open yourself up to being invaded. It adds so much more variety to the game, especially when the levels are completely static and enemy placements never change.

#35 Posted by bnutz2k (90 posts) -

@humanity: Well, they have kind of addressed this with at least some of the bosses. Some of them will get bigger HP pools if more than one player enters the arena. It does seem like it could be implemented a bit better/more frequently, but it's a step in the right direction.

#36 Posted by Frobitz (176 posts) -

Bosses are shitty in pretty much all games. They suck. They need to go away.

I love the bits in between the bosses in Dark Souls so I just call in some goons to murderise them for me and call it good. Then I can get on with the real bit of the games which is creeping through new areas, crapping my pants.

#37 Posted by hollitz (1419 posts) -

I like to try a boss solo a few times before looming for help.

I love how far you can be away from your summoning sign in DS2. As soon as I beat the first boss, I spent the next 90 mins throwing down my sign and helping people out.

#38 Posted by vikingdeath1 (928 posts) -

They put it in the game.

Why is this even an issue?

#39 Posted by Yummylee (21250 posts) -

With my third character (I should note I still haven't even completed the game with my main character yet; this is just a weird habit of mine...), I decided to summon a little help with the Ruin Sentinels; I had already beaten em solo before, so I figured I'd try getting a little help this time. I summon a fellow, walk through the fog gate, and he then immediately leaves... Man, that's some bullshit right there. Like I said in my first post I'm not surprised this is a thing that happens, but having it happen to me kinda pissed me off. Just the idea that someone is really sitting there placing their summon sign down, waiting to get summoned, waiting through the loading screen... all just so they can then leave to make the ensuing boss battle harder for the other player(s).

#40 Posted by Solidsnak (123 posts) -

As far as I'm concerned Dark Souls 2 is a co-op game.

#41 Posted by Demoskinos (14562 posts) -

I'm fine with it. I'll often use effigys to make sure I have full health and most of the time I feel like I just wanna get my monies worth so to speak out of using my effigy so if there are signs laying around I'll use em. The first rule of the souls games is THERE IS NO CHEESING IT. Win by any mean necessary.

#42 Edited by Deathpooky (1374 posts) -

I only used NPC summons in Dark Souls, haven't summoned at all here. It might have taken me forever to take down The Pursuer, but damn if it wasn't immensely satisfying and an incredibly tense battle when I did so. I'd rather learn the boss and figure out the fight myself. Having a person who already knows the battle come in and take him down just wouldn't be the same.

But who cares what anyone else does? Play through how you want. Everyone comes to games for different reasons and wants different things out of them. Summon shaming is just as nonsensical as shaming people who play certain classes, or styles, or use guides to help.

The only thing I'll say is that I think most people are wrong that there are bosses in there that you have to summon on. Even multiple target bosses like the Sentinels or Gargoyles can be taken down solo if you play careful and don't get cornered. And the game gives you fast travel and lots of options for a reason if a boss wipes you first try.

#43 Posted by TheHT (10880 posts) -

I dunno dude, some people are silly.

I didn't do it often, mostly because my connection on the PS3 wasn't properly set-up and it would often fail while summoning, but when it worked it was really cool. I found it the most fun when you summon someone who doesn't know where they're going (or what they're doing), so it's closer to playing the game normally but with a buddy along for the trouble instead of a pro who's just blazing through to the boss.

Unless you're summoning specifically for the boss obviously. I remember an early story I think Kevin VanOrd had in Demon's Souls was him fighting against Tower Knight from the ramparts while another play was facing him on the ground. Stuff like that sounds great.

#44 Edited by Cyrus_Saren (530 posts) -

I've always battled the bosses on my own. I have always seen it as a test on if you can figure out the patterns of the boss and complete it on your own. The sense of accomplishment doing it on your own is incredibly satisfying and, for me, having someone help kind of diminishes that. A slight problem I have with this game is that they seemed to make it where you need someone to help you beat a boss. An example would be in The Lost Bastille, where you have to fight the three Ruined Sentinels. I was unable to do it on my own and I ended up summoning the NPC to help me out. While I do not mind that they incorporated the multiplayer more, I wish they would have made it where you could still beat a boss on your own without help.

This is not to say that I condemn the multiplayer. Although I've played Demon's and the first Dark Souls, this is the first time I've actually tried the multiplayer out. It has been really fun to do and I've already made some friends out of it.

I don't really understand why it would be shaming. People are different as to why they like Dark Souls and if they like fighting the bosses in co-op, who cares? It shouldn't bother anyone else and there should be no shame in it.

#45 Edited by Yummylee (21250 posts) -

@theht said:

I dunno dude, some people are silly.

I didn't do it often, mostly because my connection on the PS3 wasn't properly set-up and it would often fail while summoning, but when it worked it was really cool. I found it the most fun when you summon someone who doesn't know where they're going (or what they're doing), so it's closer to playing the game normally but with a buddy along for the trouble instead of a pro who's just blazing through to the boss.

Unless you're summoning specifically for the boss obviously. I remember an early story I think Kevin VanOrd had in Demon's Souls was him fighting against Tower Knight from the ramparts while another play was facing him on the ground. Stuff like that sounds great.

I'd love if From basically made their own equivalent to Monster Hunter, or at least had a specific set of dungeons & boss battles in their next Souls game that is specifically designed for coop. Monster Souls!

#46 Posted by bnutz2k (90 posts) -

@yummylee: I'm not entirely sure if there's a bug or it may be a limitation of the small white soapstone somehow (as opposed to the regular-sized one), but a few times early on, I was summoned to help and upon the host entering the fog gate, I saw a message that would say "Task complete. Returning to your world." I didn't understand it and I felt absolutely horrendous that the host was inadvertently abandoned.

#47 Edited by Yummylee (21250 posts) -

@bnutz2k: That's happened to me as well, but only during the dual dragonrider boss battle. It's possible it affects other bosses too, but from my experience as a summoned helper that's the only one where the game has forced me back into my own world. It'd be nice to think it was down to the bug and he didn't intentionally abandon me... but you consider the sort of people these games in particular attract, and I can't help but assume the worst.

#48 Posted by CaLe (3911 posts) -

I revel in my affinity for loneliness. For me it's a warm blanket and any form on jolly co-operation would simply suck the warmth right out of my blanket of loneliness.

#49 Edited by tread311 (352 posts) -

If I find myself banging against a boss for too long and it's either grind out some levels or summon, I'll often summon. I do try not to though.

#50 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (238 posts) -

@bnutz2k: the soapstones have time limits for how long you can be in the host's world. The small one has a smaller limit! That's what you're seeing.