mason's forum posts

#1 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

Stuck at home and recovering from a surgery, I felt the urge to finally try the expansion content.

This time, I felt brave enough for Ironman. Now that I've experienced it, it's the only way I'll ever play. This is coming from a life-long save scummer.

Ironman has been scary and stressful, but the highs are so worth it. I almost wanted to quit and restart when in the mid-game, I had 5 bad missions in a row where all of my veterans were systematically wiped out. It felt pointless to keep going. Because I had not prioritized scientists, all I had were rookies with basic armor and basic weapons. Not where you want to be when the base invasion mission comes around. I regretted wasting so much effort on MECs and Gene soldiers, when that stuff wasn't needed in the early game.

I decided to just see things through, toughen up and bear witness to my complete downfall. Instead I found out that the game is balanced to give the illusion of impossible. It's actually very possible to come back from this. Apparently I had built my base well enough that I still had options. From then on I prioritized armor, then beam weapons (which I always skipped in Enemy Unknown) and suddenly my rookies started to survive.

Since then, I've lost only 2 vets (some close calls), and getting close to the end I have 8 colonels and a dozen others who are lieutenant or better. Despite that earlier setback, my crew is kind of OP.

Definitely moving up to classic next time. Or that Long War mod.

#2 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

I highly agree about Diablo 3. I went back to playing since the expansion and this time, gave Master difficulty a try. Doing so made it actually feel like a real game. Playing on Normal or Hard, I just used the game as a mindless distraction for listening to podcasts. On higher difficulties I'm feeling engaged, making interesting decisions on the fly, using my reflexes to get out of jams and getting rewarded for it.

Expert or Master isn't really that hard once you have decent equips. I might try to go even higher, but I suspect the enemies will get too damage spongey, and Master is already a nice meaty balance.

Also, taking a brand new character to level 20 in under an hour is pretty damn sweet. Especially when every level was hard won.

#3 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

@demoskinos: Those who love the Souls series must never ever stop replaying.

ABS: Always Be Souls-ing.

#4 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

I guess I could dust off one of my old NG+ characters, and try with them.

I just would have loved to play through the entire game with a fresh character, while remaining human the whole time and sampling all of the covenants. I think I still might, and just accept bullshit invasions as part of the experience. It's not like I care about dying and losing progress anymore.

It's weird though. A couple of invaders dropped some extremely good items for me, before trying to murder me with their OP build. I assume they're playing out some power fantasy where they're this benevolent killer with god-like control over my fate. I'm more like "Whatever gets you off buddy. Can we get this over with?"

#5 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

With Demon's and Dark Souls, I used to completely panic about invasions and play offline (or hollow/phantom form). As I became a seasoned player, I know I would have found the online fun, but never really engaged with it. Old habits die hard.

With dark souls 2, I'm changing my ways. The online has been great. Really great. I actually wish invasions weren't so rare, so I do a lot of duels.

Even so, I prefer the first Dark Souls. So I decided to go back on PC, and finally put some time into the PvP / Co-op.


What a colossal disappointment. There isn't a single non-twinker to be found. I'm level 5 in undead burg, with starting equipment, and every single summon is equipped with optimal end-game gear. I don't want overpowered partners.

Same with PvP. Out of the 6 times I've been invaded, I couldn't do more than 10 HP of damage to any of them. I could easily outmaneuver them and get my hits in, but the damage output is so low that it's futile. So I eventually suicide (Crestfallen warrior would be proud).

So either everyone is doing a SL1 run, which I highly doubt. Or cheat engine has ruined the experience. Either way, what a bummer. I guess I missed my chance to enjoy it years ago.

#6 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

I've been cranking the contrast on both my graphics card and monitor to make the brights brighter and the darks darker. It makes the game look a lot less washed out. Not only does it make things moodier, it also serves to make the game more exciting since I'm sometimes surprised by what's lurking in dark areas. It makes the torch a useful tool at times, and I find myself going out of my way to light those sconces.

It's never as dark as the Tomb of the Giants. Nothing is ever pitch black, nor do I want THAT. I just like it to look closer to the contrast level of the early DS2 footage.

#9 Edited by mason (260 posts) -

With every dark souls game, I hear a lot of complaints when players who enjoy a tanky, defensive build come across enemies that can out-tank them, and hit harder with better range. That's when the game is telling you to add some variety to your gameplay. We're intended to try different tactics. The game punishes players who place limits on their build. Such as the players who refuse to use any kind of range (not even consumables).

In my case, I hit some trouble with my pure INT build trying to take on those Lion dudes with high resistances in the shaded wood. I ended up using holy waters and a dagger for backstabs. Not what I built my character to do, but it worked.

#10 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

I could forgive a lot of the repetitive game design, respawns, fleeing bosses, time limits, etc., if only they made rank progression move quicker. Especially at the start, there are so many tedious 15-30 minute missions with small rewards, especially when you fail. Feels like it takes 5 to 10 hours for it to get interesting,

The game is just needlessly padded with grinding, which only serves to hilight how much fun I'm not having.

Compare to Diablo, where they keep progression moving at such a fast pace, that you rarely notice that the gameplay is thin and repetitive. But I still love it because of its sense of progression.