What I Learned on My 99% Naked Run

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thatpinguino

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Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

This week I completed an almost entirely naked run through Dragleic and I have emerged from my vision quest with a new-found respect for the Souls games and no desire to play any other games in this franchise. I figured I would document some of my feelings on this improbably popular game, and perhaps give some tips to help future naked runners.

First things first, my run was 99% naked because I was forced to wear the tattered rags that my character spawned with for a short portion of the Forest of Fallen Giants. I chose to make a deprived character since I was going to play naked anyway and the deprived offers the greatest level of customization for the later game. When I created my character I did not realize that my level 6 stats across the board would prevent me from equipping ANYTHING beyond a dagger for my first couple of levels. With a dagger and no shield (I wouldn’t use a shield anyway, but it wasn’t even an option early on) the mobs of 3-5 enemies that are found early in the Forest of Fallen Giants were a real problem. Over time I learned to deal with the basic soldiers, but the limited damage and reach on my dagger made dealing with multiple hollow knights a near impossibility. It is with this experience in mind that I recommend choosing a real starting class for your naked run (or perhaps don’t make your first run through the game a naked run). The combination of the terrible dagger reach with my 0 armor and low health made the run up to the Last Giant a frustrating test of patience that I would never like to repeat. Not to mention that I couldn't even grind once the enemies de-spawned. That is why I donned those damned rags and ruined my naked run. I continued my naked run before the Last Giant fight, but the damage was done.

Game Changing Lumber
Game Changing Lumber

I found that the key to my naked, no shield, no blocking run was to pour as many points as possible into strength and just make sure that when I hit an enemy they stayed hit. That meant that my run really was a tale of two runs; pre-great club and post-great club. Before I found the great club in the bottom of the Gutter I was using a combination of a regular club and a greatsword. The poor strength scaling on the greatsword made its slow animation unacceptable. It just didn't hit hard enough for its slowness, and I found its dual-handed heavy attack to be very unreliable when locked-on to enemies. It would often just swing and miss an enemy right in front of me, which in a naked run means certain death. Finding the great club and its 3-hit heavy chain was the tangible turning point in my run from a difficulty standpoint. That club let me break poise, hit hard, and get away, which was exactly what I needed.

Man to Hell with that opulent-ass roof
Man to Hell with that opulent-ass roof

I picked up another key lesson in my run during a dark period against the Belfry Gargoyles. That fight taught me how terrible the lock-on is in multi-enemy boss fights (which make up the majority of boss fights) and boss fights with environmental obstacles (the other recurring theme of DS2 boss fights). Locking on in that fight, and really in almost every fight, just eliminates your peripheral vision, which is terrible in a game that loves bottomless pits and attacks from the blind-side. I can attribute a bunch of my deaths to locking on to an enemy, trying to strafe around it, and then either falling into a pit I couldn't see or getting attacked by something off camera. Honestly the sooner you learn to control the camera the better (though I really wonder how many of my problems would be fixed if the camera was pulled back a few feet). Once I mastered the game’s camera (to the extent that camera is master-able, I still can’t see anything when I am backed up against a wall) I was able to fully appreciate how powerful running is in Dark Souls 2. Honestly running around a boss or running away from a boss is so effective that I had almost no issues with my no-block strategy after the Belfry Gargoyles beat locking-on out of me. Most bosses just can’t catch you if you run, and very few of them can effectively target you if you run. This made darting in and out my preferred method of beating bosses.

After beating the four Great Ones and getting my strength above 50, I realized the value of one hit kills and one hit stuns in Dark Souls. Most of the enemies in Dark Souls 2 can really hurt an unarmored character with any attack, but they also leave themselves wide open after attacking. Therefore, the best course of action is to bait one attack and then make sure your enemy can never attack again, either by stun-locking them or one-hit-killing them. The soft cap on strength does mean that putting points in strength beyond level 50 is inefficient on a pure value level; however, the difference between needing one hit or two hits is so huge that I think it is entirely worth investing beyond the soft cap. By the end of the game I was able to kill the final boss in 3 3-hit combos, which just meant less exposure to risk and less room for crazy Dark Souls stuff to happen. I don’t know half of the bosses attack patterns because they did not live long enough to repeat, which is just the way I like it.

I can respect what people like about the Souls games, but I found fighting with the game’s camera, gotcha deaths (opps! I guess there was a boulder rolling down that hill you were climbing. How weird!), and general reliance on overwhelming you with multiple enemies at once to be un-fun. I was mostly upset while playing, and that is just not something I look for in my games. I can appreciate the catharsis that comes from beating a difficult boss after trying a bunch of times, but I also know that the difference between winning and losing is often a matter of the boss picking a few crappy attacks in a row rather than world-enders. If they fix the camera I might reconsider, but these games might not be for me. But hey, at least I got to make my own Captain Caveman, and that’s pretty dope.

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SomeJerk

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#1  Edited By SomeJerk

I am so happy to hear the great club is viable because I will re-create this on the 25th >>

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#2  Edited By mosespippy

Seems to me like everyone is complaining about the poor boss design of multiple enemies in a battle. It's even worse in NG+ with added enemies to a couple of bosses. The other complaint is that all the bosses are easy except for the one hit kill bosses that are cheap. Gotcha deaths are all about paying attention to your surroundings and reading the messages on the ground. The tension of death around every corner is what makes the atmosphere. Variety to the deaths helps a lot.

I also started deprived and that dagger is so terrible, but you know what you're getting into starting with no gear. I tried killing that first ogre with no equipment and my fists, just because I knew it was possible.

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thatpinguino

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#3  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@mosespippy: I pulled off the ogre kill early with my dagger thanks to the short leash on enemies. The scripted insta-kills were not as bad for me as just the constant bottomless pits. Playing a character that relied on mobility really highlighted how many areas have giant, gaping death-holes dotted throughout. I found that there were a few time when I was walking and it turned out that the seemingly contiguous ground actually had a bottomless pit in the middle. Also in DS1 the deprived started with a club, which was what I wanted. In DS2 the deprived gets literally nothing.

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thatpinguino

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#4  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff
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deactivated-5d7530f19fbe4

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@mosespippy said:

Seems to me like everyone is complaining about the poor boss design of multiple enemies in a battle. It's even worse in NG+ with added enemies to a couple of bosses. The other complaint is that all the bosses are easy except for the one hit kill bosses that are cheap. Gotcha deaths are all about paying attention to your surroundings and reading the messages on the ground. The tension of death around every corner is what makes the atmosphere. Variety to the deaths helps a lot.

I also started deprived and that dagger is so terrible, but you know what you're getting into starting with no gear. I tried killing that first ogre with no equipment and my fists, just because I knew it was possible.

I agree about the variety to the deaths, and really, just the variety to the strategy that having multiple enemies brings. And I've seen plenty of people say that the bosses were easy, and I didn't have that much trouble with many of them, but then I had already played the other Souls games. The bosses in Dark Souls II were without a doubt harder than in Demon's Souls, and if you don't count the DLC for the first Dark Souls, Ornstein and Smough along with NG+ Four Kings were the only bosses I'd call considerably harder than the bosses in Dark Souls II, and that's before I min-maxed with a couple of builds and had almost no trouble at all.

@thatpinguino Oh, and to respond to the actual post. I definitely had more problems with the lock-on in this game for the very reasons you described, and I even responded to more situations by breaking lock and running, again like you did. I guess what made it more enjoyable for me is that I'd always heard people saying that the really good Souls players don't use lock-on, and I feel like this game forced me to become better at that. I also feel it does more to encourage getting used to dodging earlier on since you don't start with shields that have 100% physical damage reduction. Despite the problems with actually locking on to enemies and switching targets, I am glad that you can roll at angle now while locked on. I know you said ended up not doing a whole lot of dodging, but I found the addition to be really helpful in most situations.

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Sarumarine

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Yeah, I don't know if FromSoftware will ever master group combat. They seem content to use their wonky lock-on and then swarm you with multiple dudes so you're always getting jumped by somewhere. It's very telling when some strategies involve NOT locking onto bosses because the camera refuses to cooperate your your guy tries to swing at a bad hit box and misses bad. I do find your Naked Run a pretty awesome idea, but I'm sure any attack cut through you like a knife through butter. I bet you could dodge like a madman though. How many points did you put into Stamina?

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thatpinguino

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#7 thatpinguino  Staff

@sarumarine: mid 20s in stamina and mid 20s in adaptability, mid 30s vitality, and mid 70s strength. With no clothes I always had a fast roll though. The central issue I had was with bosses whose minions could disrupt my attacks because my heavy chain would one shot the minions if I could actually get it off. Whereas one stagger from a minion would setup the boss for the kill everytime. The Royal Rat Authority and the Gargoyles were the worst of it. I usually had to commit to killing the minions before even looking at the boss.

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golguin

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@mosespippy said:

Seems to me like everyone is complaining about the poor boss design of multiple enemies in a battle. It's even worse in NG+ with added enemies to a couple of bosses. The other complaint is that all the bosses are easy except for the one hit kill bosses that are cheap. Gotcha deaths are all about paying attention to your surroundings and reading the messages on the ground. The tension of death around every corner is what makes the atmosphere. Variety to the deaths helps a lot.

I also started deprived and that dagger is so terrible, but you know what you're getting into starting with no gear. I tried killing that first ogre with no equipment and my fists, just because I knew it was possible.

I agree about the variety to the deaths, and really, just the variety to the strategy that having multiple enemies brings. And I've seen plenty of people say that the bosses were easy, and I didn't have that much trouble with many of them, but then I had already played the other Souls games. The bosses in Dark Souls II were without a doubt harder than in Demon's Souls, and if you don't count the DLC for the first Dark Souls, Ornstein and Smough along with NG+ Four Kings were the only bosses I'd call considerably harder than the bosses in Dark Souls II, and that's before I min-maxed with a couple of builds and had almost no trouble at all.

@thatpinguino Oh, and to respond to the actual post. I definitely had more problems with the lock-on in this game for the very reasons you described, and I even responded to more situations by breaking lock and running, again like you did. I guess what made it more enjoyable for me is that I'd always heard people saying that the really good Souls players don't use lock-on, and I feel like this game forced me to become better at that. I also feel it does more to encourage getting used to dodging earlier on since you don't start with shields that have 100% physical damage reduction. Despite the problems with actually locking on to enemies and switching targets, I am glad that you can roll at angle now while locked on. I know you said ended up not doing a whole lot of dodging, but I found the addition to be really helpful in most situations.

There are quite a few bosses that I fought without lock-on because it was easier for me to dodge and counter attack when I could control my exact directions and movements. You slow down when you lock on and the attack arc from a dodge roll attack is always off when you lock on because enemies are moving.

I don't use my shield and I'm used to fighting with my two handed Uchigatana thanks to my PVP experience so lots of bosses become very simple if they have a slow moveset. Fast bosses and bosses with several targets have easily been the hardest match up for my set up. Add in the fact that everything is amped up in the Company of Champions and you have some very challenging boss fights. The hardest bosses that Dark Souls has to offer is a low level run against Artorias and Manus.

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Mezmero

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#9  Edited By Mezmero

LMAO. I feel partially responsible for this thread.

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darkendskys

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I wasnt much of a fan of the camera either, but in fights like the gargoyles I found it best to use the lock-on and strafe around to keep them in one mass. Just keep flicking the lock-on around so you dont get them behind you.

Honestly, I think you used that dagger wrong.

I took that lovely scrap of steel to end game with a mage. With 90% of the spells I had equipped at any time being big boss fighting things ( apparently the dwarfs in the belltowers drop flame swath, so I got 3), I got really good at dodging and backstabbing. And that dagger, upgraded, will one-shot everything tell you reach the castle. Its actually absurd.

But I still respect the crap out of you for doing the run to start with.

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thatpinguino

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#11  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@viciousanchovy: I did a ton of dodging. I just found that some of the larger enemies did not really require dodging if you just kept running in circles around them.

@darkendskys: I could see the dagger working if you upgrade it and have other attack options, but when you start as a deprived that dagger deals almost no damage and it has no reach. This allows enemies to easily swarm you if you stand and fight, and it makes pickoffs hard if you run around .

@mezmero: Shoutout for showing me that captain caveman link. I was going to write this post anyway, but that clip is a great way to end it.

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Zevvion

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#12  Edited By Zevvion

Seems to me like everyone is complaining about the poor boss design of multiple enemies in a battle. It's even worse in NG+ with added enemies to a couple of bosses. The other complaint is that all the bosses are easy except for the one hit kill bosses that are cheap. Gotcha deaths are all about paying attention to your surroundings and reading the messages on the ground. The tension of death around every corner is what makes the atmosphere. Variety to the deaths helps a lot.

I also started deprived and that dagger is so terrible, but you know what you're getting into starting with no gear. I tried killing that first ogre with no equipment and my fists, just because I knew it was possible.

I'd like to point out that Dark Souls didn't have difficult bosses. Smough and Ornstein are the only ones that gave me a lot of trouble (not counting DLC) and that fight wasn't created with singleplayer in mind. If the lock-on doesn't spas-out, it's not even that hard of a fight.

There are numerous tough bosses in Dark Souls 2 on the other hand. Yes, of course most of them aren't that hard. At least they are harder than Dark Souls though. Pretty much all of the Great Bosses in DS were a joke. Nito was just really weak, you didn't even have to kill the minions around him to reliably win. Four Kings is just hitting the attack button until you've won, Same with Seath and may I remind you of Bed of Chaos? Those were all the major bosses in that game. They were all pretty shit when you think about it.

The Great Bosses in DSII on the other hand, while not all hard, at least require you to pay some amount of attention. Lost Sinner is a battle of dodge and attack timing. Freja is running around from side to sidebto avoid her flurries and The Rotten and Iron King, while pretty easy, also requires some dodging. The bosses in DS could be defeated by just drinking the uber Estus when hurt and keep hitting attack.

People just misremember the game DS was. It was really great, but it truly wasn't that hard. DSII is also not that hard, but I find it harder than DS. You just don't get away with cheesy tactics as much.

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mosespippy

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@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

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thatpinguino

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#14  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@mosespippy: Did you play a style that allowed you to easily deal with swarms of enemies? If I had a quick way to deal with minions or multiple bosses I would have found most of the enemies in DS2 easy as well. As it was I found any single boss easy since my character was so nimble and hard hitting. Like I hear the Smelter Demon is supposed to be the hardest enemy in the game, but I beat him first try. Just knowing how I like to play and having some DS experience made DS2 seem easier than DS1.

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mosespippy

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@thatpinguino: I played the entire game without a shield. I'm currently level 232 and my atunement is still at 6 because I don't use spells. Once I got a halberd I played the entire rest of the game 2 handing a halberd. I didn't pick up a bow until after defeating Nashandra and started work on the PvP covenants. I defeated Skeleton Lords, Covetous Demon, Mytha and Smelter Demon all on the same life.

Really my only options for dealing with groups is the backstep+R1 and the second attack in the R1+R1+R1 combo. The R2 attack is too but it has 1 less rotation than the backstep+R1 and takes more stamina so I never use it. My entire play style is "Be nimble, hit hard."

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thatpinguino

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#16  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@mosespippy: So what level did you finish the game at? I finished at around 130 and I didn't grind at all. I could see the game being cake if you worked your way up to a high level, wore armor, and used a playstyle similar to mine.

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@thatpinguino: I finished at around 170. I wasn't grinding for levels but ended up with them as I was trying to collect every piece of armour once late game started. I would imagine that spell users would have an easier time since spells are all OP. Melee/Spell hybrids shouldn't have any problems at all. The only people who should have problems are melee only shield users. That's just inviting attacks with very few options to counter that are all one handed.

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#18 thatpinguino  Staff

@mosespippy: So were you using a guide or a walkthrough? I didn't look fro any particular weapon or armor because I had no idea where anything was and I was tearing through the back half of the game with just a club.

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#19  Edited By Seppli

I want to do quite the opposite someday. A Havel The Rock Run. Wear the whole set with shield and a Dragon's Tooth. I'll have to put every Twinkling Titanite I find toward that goal, lest I won't make it. That's 4x9 for the Armor 2x15 for the Shield and Dragon's Tooth. I managed getting a total of about 50 Twinkling Titanite without pimping an Amana bonfire, before I ran out of spawns. I guess upgrading the full Havel loadout is kinda like owning a Cadillac or something. I want it, because I want it. Not because it's particularly special, or challenging to play.

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@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

Yes, there are a lot of bosses I defeated first try as well. But that's only, and purely only, because I have played this type of game before. There were a few bosses I defeated in DS first try, but there were also a lot less bosses in that game, not to mention: I had no idea what I was doing on my first run through that game. A while back I reloaded my very first save and I saw I had a Silver Straight Sword +3. I finished the game with that thing. Put a lot of points into the wrong stats as well. Still finished a couple bosses first try, among which were Four Kings and Gwyn. On second runs, I don't even remember dying on any boss other than Smough and Ornstein to be honest.

Nah, I think DSII is harder. By a lot. I started a third character today with the purpose of going after hexes and man... it's kinda tough. I died almost as much as I did on my first go through the game.

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@thatpinguino: The only thing I looked up was how to get to Huntsman's Copse. I had defeated three old ones and didn't know where to go next. With no atunement I didn't talk to the miracle lady enough because I had no reason to. I started off with that damn dagger, switched to a short sword till I found the flame longsword and then finally got a halberd, which I used till I got a BKH. It was rough going till I got that halberd though, and I was also using gear dropped by those early enemies. I went through DeS and DaS two handing a halberd so that was my comfort zone.

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@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

I'd argue against that. I think the majority of bosses in DS2 are much quicker and a lot more relentless in their attacks. Pursuer is a fairly difficult boss to fight early on. Sinner is also another boss that pounds on you. A lot of people are saying how they two hand and don't even use a shield - maybe there is something to that. I always enjoyed using shields and heavier armors and thats how I like to play these games. With that in mind DS2 is a lot more difficult because when blocking you're not given a lot of breathing room.

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

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thatpinguino

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#23  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff
@humanity said:

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

That is the story of my early boss fights, "sometimes he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't." I often had no idea why one swing would hit while the others missed. I found that overhead swings in DS2 have crazy tracking until the last second. Like I would be in full sprint around a dude and he would still lock on and splat me. You had to roll at the last second every time, and the overheads all have a weird damage area around the weapon that made dodging tougher.

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#24  Edited By Dan_CiTi

The Royal Rat (first one) is the worst. Locking on is awful, though pyromancy makes it a much easier fight.

Also some bosses I end up using the Lost Sinner outfit because of how limber it makes you, that and a 100% block shield is all I need really. And to play well obviously. I found big guys like the Rotten or Smelter to be easier to roll at them at an angle under their attacks and end up near their side, it helps a lot. Also, some bosses I destroyed like those 3 skeleton kings, and in co-op that shit turns into Dynasty Warriors, just mowing everything down in that room.

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@humanity said:

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

That is the story of my early boss fights, "sometimes he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't." I often had no idea why one swing would hit while the others missed. I found that overhead swings in DS2 have crazy tracking until the last second. Like I would be in full sprint around a dude and he would still lock on and splat me. You had to roll at the last second every time, and the overheads all have a weird damage area around the weapon that made dodging tougher.

I think it's a combination of aggressive tracking and inconsistent hit boxes. Vendrick for instance is a fairly easy boss with slow patterns that are very forgiving in terms of rolling through. His horizontal swipes will very often just whiff by you with the laziest of rolls, while other bosses will hit you from a mile away. The most offensive of such wide area encompassing attacks that I can think of is the last giant whose stomp attack causes massive damage and doesn't even need to connect with you. Considering how many times my weapon missed by fractions of a pixel because of the shoddy lock-on, it feels incredibly cheap to have this boss that will stomp the ground and if you're even near it you take damage - it doesn't even make sense that the "shockwave" or whatever would hurt but alas.

This is their third game, and the lock on is still far, far from perfect. I used to get enraged in the past when fighting giant bosses and your only lock-on target would be center mass. They have finally caught up and allowed you to target legs on larger bosses to make it easier to hit them. Now the next order of business is doing something with the camera so that you can actually see the attacks coming at you when standing next to the leg of some giant boss.

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thatpinguino

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#26 thatpinguino  Staff

@humanity: Don't forget about flying enemies or multiple enemies. The camera does a terrible job of capturing ALL if the information you need. I honestly think just pulling the camera back a few "feet" would be a great place to start. There were so many times I couldn't see stuff beneath or behind my character when using lock-on or while running (since it is very hard to run and work tha camera at the same time).

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I had already learned in the first game that I don't like using a shield. I'm not about to do a full run unclothed, but I realized if an enemy can kill me in one or two hits with armor on, then I might as well take it off anf have a better chance of evading their attacks.

The problem I've got as I upgrade is that now I roll so far naked, that I can't get back up to the enemy in time to attack after I roll away. I ended up having to wear light armor just to cut the distance.

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#28 thatpinguino  Staff

@oraknabo: I find running to be preferable to rolling most of the time in large arenas. Also playing without armor is a whole lot easier if you use a weapon with range, so that you can still attack after rolling away.

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#29 ZombiePie  Staff

So uh...Reddit is aware of this blog now:

Have Fun
Have Fun

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Humanity

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#30  Edited By Humanity

@humanity: Don't forget about flying enemies or multiple enemies. The camera does a terrible job of capturing ALL if the information you need. I honestly think just pulling the camera back a few "feet" would be a great place to start. There were so many times I couldn't see stuff beneath or behind my character when using lock-on or while running (since it is very hard to run and work tha camera at the same time).

Yah, to be honest after playing this sort of game for the third time I hope they really polish things up for the inevitable next-gen release. Not only nicer graphics but all the targetting and movement woes. Although one might say thats part of the series I guess. I just wonder how many more times we will go through this cycle of: ok now you get carried off to a new area by some flying enemy, ok now this is the poison/dark area, ok this is the castle, so on and so forth.

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Karkarov

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Man and I came to this thread expecting to learn how you enjoy playing the game fun and fancy free but instead you just meant you didn't have your character equip armor. Let down man. Let down.

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thatpinguino

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#32 thatpinguino  Staff

@zombiepie: What have you done.

@karkarov: I'm sorry to be a disappointment.

@humanity: I mean Monster Hunter fans invented an entirely different way to hold a psp just so they could cope with that game's terrible camera controls. People will go to great lengths to deal with a terrible control scheme if they think the game is worth it.

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Zevvion

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#33  Edited By Zevvion

@humanity said:

@mosespippy said:

@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

I'd argue against that. I think the majority of bosses in DS2 are much quicker and a lot more relentless in their attacks. Pursuer is a fairly difficult boss to fight early on. Sinner is also another boss that pounds on you. A lot of people are saying how they two hand and don't even use a shield - maybe there is something to that. I always enjoyed using shields and heavier armors and thats how I like to play these games. With that in mind DS2 is a lot more difficult because when blocking you're not given a lot of breathing room.

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

Yeah, shields are far less effective in DSII than they were in the original. In Dark Souls, pretty much all my characters had a shield. In DSII, my first character had a shield and I tossed it at some point. I'm on my fourth character now and none of them have shields. Blocking just isn't that effective anymore.

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@zevvion said:

@humanity said:

@mosespippy said:

@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

I'd argue against that. I think the majority of bosses in DS2 are much quicker and a lot more relentless in their attacks. Pursuer is a fairly difficult boss to fight early on. Sinner is also another boss that pounds on you. A lot of people are saying how they two hand and don't even use a shield - maybe there is something to that. I always enjoyed using shields and heavier armors and thats how I like to play these games. With that in mind DS2 is a lot more difficult because when blocking you're not given a lot of breathing room.

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

Yeah, shields are far less effective in DSII than they were in the original. In Dark Souls, pretty much all my characters had a shield. In DSII, my first character had a shield and I tossed it at some point. I'm on my fourth character now and none of them have shields. Blocking just isn't that effective anymore.

Oh I think it's effective - I played through the entire game and a bit of NG+ with a shield just fine - it's just a bigger struggle than it should be. For the amount of stats you need to dedicate to playing a high poise armored character the payoff is really shitty. The amount of STR, END and VIT you need to dump into yourself to use large greatswords with greatshields and still be able to move is significant but in the end even the most meager of enemies can still do a shield block on you. After dumping all those stats you should feel like a tank and you just don't. With over 50 STR you'd think logically a guy should be able to raise his giant shield faster right? I just think it's shitty that you don't get anything back for your investment. Lightweight characters pump magic and they get a huge payout in the form of boss devastating spells and ranged combat.

Each time I tried dabbling in double handing a weapon or dual wielding it felt like hot garbage so I didn't. Some swear by it, I think it's awful. I think the controls just aren't up to par to reliably play the game that way - at least for me. There will always be a situation where you simply won't be able to roll for whatever reason and you'll just be resigned to taking the hit - and I don't want that, I want to be always in control.

Also from a pure Fashion Souls sense I like the way my character looks when wearing armor.

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golguin

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#35  Edited By golguin

@humanity said:

@zevvion said:

@humanity said:

@mosespippy said:

@zevvion: I would say that the majority of bosses in DSII are slower and telegraph their attacks a lot sooner than the bosses in DS did. I defeated more than half the DSII bosses on my first attempt. I can't think of a single DS boss I did that with.

I'd argue against that. I think the majority of bosses in DS2 are much quicker and a lot more relentless in their attacks. Pursuer is a fairly difficult boss to fight early on. Sinner is also another boss that pounds on you. A lot of people are saying how they two hand and don't even use a shield - maybe there is something to that. I always enjoyed using shields and heavier armors and thats how I like to play these games. With that in mind DS2 is a lot more difficult because when blocking you're not given a lot of breathing room.

The one boss fight I fought without using a shield was Smelter because it was easier to do that rather than get the 100% fire resist shield and try to tank his massive blows. Even then, it took me several runs mostly because the dodging seemed inconsistent. Sometime he'd hit me with the sword, sometimes he wouldn't.

Yeah, shields are far less effective in DSII than they were in the original. In Dark Souls, pretty much all my characters had a shield. In DSII, my first character had a shield and I tossed it at some point. I'm on my fourth character now and none of them have shields. Blocking just isn't that effective anymore.

Oh I think it's effective - I played through the entire game and a bit of NG+ with a shield just fine - it's just a bigger struggle than it should be. For the amount of stats you need to dedicate to playing a high poise armored character the payoff is really shitty. The amount of STR, END and VIT you need to dump into yourself to use large greatswords with greatshields and still be able to move is significant but in the end even the most meager of enemies can still do a shield block on you. After dumping all those stats you should feel like a tank and you just don't. With over 50 STR you'd think logically a guy should be able to raise his giant shield faster right? I just think it's shitty that you don't get anything back for your investment. Lightweight characters pump magic and they get a huge payout in the form of boss devastating spells and ranged combat.

Each time I tried dabbling in double handing a weapon or dual wielding it felt like hot garbage so I didn't. Some swear by it, I think it's awful. I think the controls just aren't up to par to reliably play the game that way - at least for me. There will always be a situation where you simply won't be able to roll for whatever reason and you'll just be resigned to taking the hit - and I don't want that, I want to be always in control.

Also from a pure Fashion Souls sense I like the way my character looks when wearing armor.

People that don't use shields are usually trained up in the ways of Dark Souls 1 PVP where you had several options to bypass shields. Dark Souls 2 provides an even better array of options to fight shields so you'll see most people abandon them for two handed weapons or some magical casting thing in the offhand.

Even though I'm for dodging all day every day I can still recognize that shields have their place in certain PVE situations. That area next to the Drangleic King's Gate is the perfect place for a shield if you accidentally cause 6 dudes to aggro. You'll run out of stamina with dodging faster than walking around with your shield up. The range on those spears and the attack variation provided by 4+ incoming strikes makes dodging quite impossible if you're in the attack arc of all of them.

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Humanity

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#36  Edited By Humanity

@golguin: Yah I like shields for that reason, which is all the more unfortunate that going down that path doesn't seem to reward all the points you invest in it. Since you can be a fast and nimble roller, you likewise should be able to become an unstoppable juggernaut - yet even with the heaviest armor you're still fairly squishy to certain enemies even on the very first playthrough.

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thatpinguino

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#37 thatpinguino  Staff

@humanity: In Dark Souls the unstoppable force beats the immovable object every time.

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Shields may not be as good but this causes the Great Shield class to really shine. There isn't the Balder Shield equivilent (fully upgraded that shield had 77 stability, which was near Great shield level stability for like 2/3rds the weight of one) which means that big honking physical tanking shields are soley the domain of strength classes.

They make certain boss fights a LOT easier (Lost Sinner is freaking relentless and will wipe out most of your stamina if you try to block every hit but using a Tower Shield on that fight turns it into a bit of a joke, getting the Gyrm Greatshield makes Smelter Demon an equally joke worthy fight).

Now in PvP...yeah, the fact they replaced the kick with the insta-guard break attack motion...kind of made shields not only pointless but kind of a liability, if an opponent hits you with that attack and follows it up they get a free crit on you. I personally think Fromsoft went too far in the other direction with regards to heavy armour, shields and poise in PvP. From making it insanely useful to making it near useless, a happy middleground would have been nice.

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thatpinguino

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#39 thatpinguino  Staff

@drmechano: What do you do with a great shield against the bosses with minions or the multiple part bosses? Don't you just get swarmed to death?

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#41  Edited By Humanity

@thatpinguino said:

@drmechano: What do you do with a great shield against the bosses with minions or the multiple part bosses? Don't you just get swarmed to death?

IF you have the stamina and a greatshield with high poise then you're able to absorb a lot of hits without getting staggered and either counter attack to minimize the enemy forces or back up into a more strategic position. I think it helps that people who use greatshields will generally go for a raw damage build and thus after you've "tanked" the hits from the mobs, it only takes one or two swings to thin the herd.

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DrMechano

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Pretty much what Humanity said, especially if you're using wide sweeping weapons like a Greatsword, it can clear a herd of enemies pretty damn quickly.

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Seems to me like everyone is complaining about the poor boss design of multiple enemies in a battle. It's even worse in NG+ with added enemies to a couple of bosses. The other complaint is that all the bosses are easy except for the one hit kill bosses that are cheap. Gotcha deaths are all about paying attention to your surroundings and reading the messages on the ground. The tension of death around every corner is what makes the atmosphere. Variety to the deaths helps a lot.

I also started deprived and that dagger is so terrible, but you know what you're getting into starting with no gear. I tried killing that first ogre with no equipment and my fists, just because I knew it was possible.

That came up in an old Bombcast as Vinny was describing Dark Souls (Oct 2011 I think). He was on beams and then was killed by a hidden enemy. Conclusion? Stupidly frustrating. Still there were probably messages warning about that threat. I think a lot of reviewers (and by extension the average game playing audience) just had to unlearn a lot of their habits of rushing into gameplay, clicking through text.

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emofratparty

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You are a maniac. Really cool post though, thanks for sharing. You should definitely try to include video if you do another playthrough.

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Super funny that you complain about the game being un-fun and frustrating ater intentionally playing the game in the dumbest way possible. Thanks for the laugh.

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#46 thatpinguino  Staff

@tourgen: Not being able to see due to the camera and getting swarmed by the multi-enemy bosses is not fun regardless of how many clothes you wear.

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There were times in DS1 just like in DS2 where lock on is good, and when it isn't the best. It isn't that crazy to occasionally not rely on it. If you want to 100% rely on it and complain about it thats pointless when you can do one thing differently and give yourself more options at times by simply not using it.

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#48 thatpinguino  Staff

@pause422: I abandoned lock-on a quarter of the way through the game since it really did not help in a whole bunch of fights and it frequently messed up my attacks with heavy weapons. I sill had a hard time keeping multiple enemies or flying enemies on screen while running and dodging.