Making Something out of Summoning

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Posted by ShaggyDude (249 posts) -
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I like the co-op system in Dark Souls 2. Summoning phantoms and being summoned as a phantom is a huge part of every souls game with it's own set of risks and rewards. There are plenty of souls players out there who will tell you that soloing everything in the game is the best way to play, but I would argue that fighting everything alone and never using the summoning system, while challenging, is not the ideal way to play Dark Souls 2, nor is it an enjoyable experience for a first time player of the game.

Dark Souls 2 in it's current state makes the rewards from summoning better than ever. Bosses have higher HP when you bring in help, but phantoms who help their summoners win will walk away with full estus, full spell charges, 5-10 thousand souls depending on the boss, and the chance to regain their humanity.

I won't argue that summoning doesn't make the game easier, but now that each death can reduce my characters health pool as he becomes more hollow, it seems even more fruitless to learn a new boss fight by dying alone over and over in Dark Souls 2 than it was in Dark Souls. While I'm typing this, the game has only been out for about a week, and just due to how many people are playing the game, there are more people summoning and looking for summons right now than there probably ever will be. Instead of fighting alone and walking into a boss fight blind with half my potential spells and estus, I consider this the smarter way to play:

  • As soon as I find a new boss gate I drop my sign. There are so many people playing right now that I usually get summoned in under a minute.
  • As a phantom, I can learn the fight in someone else's world and if I die I lose nothing.
  • If I win the fight, I return to my world with thousands more souls, full estus, full spells and possibly humanity. (The general consensus is that it is completely random whether you can regain your humanity after being summoned as a phantom whether you win the fight or not.)

Regardless of whether I want to play Dark Souls 2 solo or co-op, I always consider dropping the summon sign when I find myself in front of a fog gate if for no other reason than to refill my estus and spells before going through the gate myself. Sometimes I'll still die as a summoner and I'll run back to the boss only to lose all my souls, sometimes I'll summon people in who don't know the fight, or sometimes there just won't be any summon signs in front of the boss I want to fight. The point is, I'm dying a LOT less as a result of using the co-op system to my own benefit, and I'm spending more time as a human without using up valuable Effigy items.

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#1 Posted by Daftronaut (32 posts) -

Even though I make it my goal to finish every Souls game without help on my first run, I completely agree that summoning in Dark Souls 2 is pretty awesome. I love the subtle changes they made to the system and many of the bosses are actually still pretty challenging, even when fought with multiple people. Some bosses actually seem to be designed specifically with co-op in mind.

The reason I'm trying to beat every boss on my own first, is that I really want to figure out his pattern and be able to beat him alone atleast once, so I'm better at helping other people afterwards in jolly cooperation. Plus, I feel it is just much more satisfying to overcome that challenge and kill a boss on your own. On the other hand, I won't judge anyone who thinks otherwise and summons right away because: "Praise the Sun!"

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#2 Posted by ShaggyDude (249 posts) -

It's really a trial and error system, especially with how summoning and invading works with covenants. It's not really explained in the game and you just have to try it to figure a lot of this stuff out. And now with the invading covenants like the bell keepers and the rats, they try you out.

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#3 Edited by freakin9 (1226 posts) -

One thing I like about this game is people will often place their signs at the start of a level, while I haven't done much of a full level run with a co-op buddy, the few times I had it was a blast. It was a common thing in Demon's Souls, but almost completely nonexistent in Dark Souls 1.

This game definitely feels like they took out a lot of the frustration inherent in the first Dark Souls 1. Like being able to run around, inside boss rooms, whatever with a summon sign laid down, being able to become human anywhere, etc.. It feels like a game more catered to fun, than frustration, even though they added more ways for, unexpected, pvp.

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#4 Posted by buneroid (454 posts) -

Agreed summoning is one of the best parts of Dark Souls. Especially after you fuck up a boss with a complete stranger or two.

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#5 Edited by burgavo (1148 posts) -

I definately agree summoning is a great way to do recon or just have a bit of fun with other players in DS2 I laughed my ass off when me and 2 phantoms got stuck on a ladder in the earthen peak where a marrionet guard had gotten stuck at the top and we proceeded to take turns jumping of at the top for about 5 minutes. Helping other players find out about burning the windmill to get rid of the poison for the banefull queen fight and the merchant who drops ladders was really rewarding. I hardly ever played online when I played demons souls, and verry little at the launch of dark souls (played DS1 till skyrim came out and went back to DS1 in march of 2011 and mostly played hollow and offline so never got the patch that rebalenced humanity drops) but with the recent resurgence of DS1 I really got into at leat the co op aspect of it (don't really focus on pvp builds) had a lot of fun doing gwynn runs the weekend before DS2 launched.

Playing DS2 now I will usually do the same thing shaggydude described and recon the boss as a phantom.

Anyway having a great time

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#6 Edited by EdgeKasey (291 posts) -

Been thoroughly enjoying the summoning system. I love exploring the world but I'm a busy guy and I don't feel like banging my head against bosses this time around. I'm summoning almost every boss fight and it';s been very enjoyable for me. I have no interest in having a badge of honour or anything like that. I just want to explore and enjoy myself....Gaming is my downtime hobby so it has to be enjoyable at all times or I move onto something else that will be. Play it whatever way you want as long as you're enjoying it . :)

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#7 Edited by benspyda (2129 posts) -

The summoning is really improved this time round and a lot of fun. It's best to summon if you get stuck on a boss, which will avoid frustration and the people who get summoned are getting a ton of stuff out of it. Also if you're planning to become summoned a lot, join the sun covenant as early as you can to get even more out of it, for both the summoner and summoned.

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#8 Posted by TheHT (15890 posts) -

@buneroid said:

Agreed summoning is one of the best parts of Dark Souls. Especially after you fuck up a boss with a complete stranger or two.

Or get fucked up by a boss. Nothing like summoning some players who run you straight to the boss only to get in there and die immediately.

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#9 Posted by Gaff (2768 posts) -

@theht said:

@buneroid said:

Agreed summoning is one of the best parts of Dark Souls. Especially after you fuck up a boss with a complete stranger or two.

Or get fucked up by a boss. Nothing like summoning some players who run you straight to the boss only to get in there and die immediately.


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#10 Posted by sammo21 (5976 posts) -

Summoning actually can work against the player sometimes. Enemies and bosses can become harder, get different AI patterns, and more. I think its a fun mechanic. Anyone who "summons shames" people or tries to act elitist about it can screw off in my opinion.

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#11 Posted by Kaos999 (57 posts) -

Agreed, co-oping is so much fun I feel sorry for the players who ignore it for some useless badge of honor. I read comment after comment and can't help but either laugh or feel sorry for them.

Anyways, I realize fun is subjective and I'm having a blast in co-op and couldn't care less about soloing the entire game, though usually I'll only summon for boss battles with multiple bosses.Currently lvl 130 and loving it!

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#12 Posted by gla55jAw (2780 posts) -

"Going human" runs are pretty awesome. I throw my summon sign down and do boss runs and come away with 2 levels worth of souls and eventually turn back to human. This is pretty awesome being at level 107.

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