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Thread: Do optional settings to make a game easier really ruin it?

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    There aren't really any classes in Dark Souls. The point in the video is more that using magic makes the game much easier. If you are merely curious enough to try it out, you'll see immediately that it can make a big difference.

    As for b), true enough. But there are some bosses where all beginning players struggle (Gargoyles, O&S) and, for example, summoning an NPC to help there can make it quite a bit easier.

    And c), you'd be surprised. Dark Souls is really a communal experience and IMO people are even too eager to help at times to the point of spoiling new players. I've seen people giving walking tours through levels pointing out every secret the player might have missed.
    Last edited by Starker; 29th May 2017 at 16:45.

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Games CAN be ruined by optional player aids, but they don't HAVE to be.

    I'm with NV and Thirith. Make the game difficult but still playable without the aids, and then add player aids to bring the difficulty down for more casual players. When designing levels, don't assume the player will have quest arrows, location markers, automaps, et al. Make sure there is a way for the player to figure out where to go and what to do on their own. Make sure that important quest items are visible without having to turn on usable object highlighting for everything.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I'd also suggest asking the player to choose between player type presets when they first start a game, so players who don't want those features can opt out, right at the start, without having to rummage around in the options screens for ages.

  4. #29
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Having options hurt no one, people should stop being elitist cunts. As long as their actions aren't damaging the hobby as a whole (eg partaking in anti-consumer practices and setting a precedent for companies to screw us all) how other people their enjoy single player games is none of your concern.

    Multiplayer games can be an entirely separate of fish though. PvP games especially need to be properly balanced, otherwise you end up with bullshit fests like Modern Warfare 2.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    Dark Souls has an easy mode? It's called co-op.

  6. #31
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Co-op in Dark Souls is only for the good players.

    The bad/new/sub-mediocre/slow/uninformed players will have ran out of humanity/effigies/embers long before they realize they can or should play all bosses in co-op mode. Also, if you don't know how to deal with all quests, then probably half the NPCs will not be summonable for the bosses.

    The difficulty of Dark Souls is not in the lack of location-markers or quest-descriptions. The difficulty is that there is a steep learning curve. Both in strategy and execution. And if you don't get over the curve quickly, the game will introduce extra hurdles. Like bad players having to play with less health most of the time. Constant shortage of humanity/effigies/embers. If you don't know what you're doing you will probably invest your early upgrade materials in the wrong weapon (or wrong weapon-type): split-damage sounds nice, but is not. Dying often probably means losing souls and not leveling as fast. Etc.

    Another proof that Dark Souls has "easy to learn, hard to mast" completely upside down is the NG+ mechanism. When I played DS3 first time, it took me ages to advance through the game. Some bosses were borderline impossible for me. Like Aldritch, Lothric Twins, Soul of Cinder, Nameless King. Especially because 3 out of those 4 didn't have an NPC summon. (I play DS3 in offline mode, I don't want to be invaded). Pontiff and Gundyr were only doable in under 10 tries because I could summon an NPC. DS3 was not an easy game for me.

    But last few days I've played NG+, and I just started NG++. I am blasting through the game. It's not hard at all. Of course I know the areas, I know the bosses. And I have better gear. But even while considering that, NG+ and NG++ are severely under-tuned. Just too easy. I've one-shotted most bosses solo in NG+, including Aldritch, Gundyr and Dancer. But I even one-shotted Soul of Cinder and Nameless King solo this time. It was ridiculous. I'm sure I'm a little better than I was before I played DS3, but not that much. It's probably the gear and the high level. But in any case: it's the absolute opposite of extra challenge.

    It strengthens my belief that the Dark Souls series have difficulty upside-down.
    Last edited by Gryzemuis; 3rd Jun 2017 at 06:10.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    Co-op in Dark Souls is only for the good players.

    The bad/new/sub-mediocre/slow/uninformed players will have ran out of humanity/effigies/embers long before they realize they can or should play all bosses in co-op mode. Also, if you don't know how to deal with all quests, then probably half the NPCs will not be summonable for the bosses.
    IMO you're mixing two entirely different things here, namely how good a player you are and how informed you are. I've never been particularly good at any of the Souls games, but I've been reasonably well informed, and this has made a huge difference with bosses. But just being informed did not make me a better player; I still died a hell of a lot, and even by the time I got to the final bosses of the games, I was mediocre at best.

  8. #33
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    You are partially right. But my point was: even if you are an informed player, if you die a lot, you are going to run out of Embers. And have a lower level because you missed out on souls (that you dropped twice). Being informed does help in a lot of games, especially RPGs. But with Dark Souls, knowing what to do might not be enough: you also need to be able to execute your strategy. Or else you can't even do the strategy, because you lack the levels, embers, gear, souls.

  9. #34
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    I believe they do. Most people, like 80-95% play in easy modes if they are available. It has consequences -- generally degrading games difficulty, and for me, a way too easy gameplay on supposedly hardest difficulty can ruin experience. The latest example - RotTR.
    Last edited by 242; 3rd Jun 2017 at 10:54.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by 242 View Post
    Most people, like 80-95% play in easy modes if they are available.

    I'm sorry. I just couldn't resist

    But I am curious where that information comes from.

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Dark Souls has adaptable difficulty -- if things are too tough for you, you can always farm souls and humanity and upgrade materials to make things easier. It's an RPG, after all. A massive RPG, dozens of hours long.

    The whole point of Dark Souls is to present a seemingly impossible challenge and then have you overcome it, make it seem easy, even, because you are constantly improving both your character and your skill at the game (which is not action game button mashing, but patience, observation, exploration). If you have an easy mode to make it less challenging, overcoming seemingly impossible odds becomes overcoming kind of tough but doable odds and you will be able to learn less, because you will die less. The lessons of Dark Souls are harsh, but crucial -- if you button mash, you risk your life. If button mashing becomes a valid strategy in easy mode, it's no longer teaching you as it should.

    Also, it's a game about perseverance. It kind of undermines the message if you can select an easy mode instead.
    Last edited by Starker; 3rd Jun 2017 at 15:08.

  12. #37
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Yes, arguably, an Easy mode for Dark Souls would make you worse at playing Dark Souls. But in reality, an Easy mode for Dark Souls would have to incorporate more hints and changes to make things more obvious, as the game's real barrier to entry is its abstruse nature, rather than the standard gaming mechanic of giving you more stamina/HP and reducing it for the NPCs with lower difficulty settings. Making things more obvious is exactly what would undermine the experience in the first place, since half of Dark Souls is those little moments where you figure out how to progress, right?

    However: if someone wants to fumble their way to the end via an easy mode, why stop them? They may lose the meat of the experience but still know enough at the end to say, 'Hmm, I think I could play that better now since I know a few of the tricks to it.' No skin off your nose.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 3rd Jun 2017 at 15:32.

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    If that's all it was, sure. I'm not against explaining the mechanics better or giving some more hints, like perhaps place a few more developer messages. Hell, make it a part of the main game, even, rather than a separate mode.

    Though I'd argue that Dark Souls is more about the journey than simply getting to the end. The difficulty is a part of the game that can't be cut away without cutting away some of what makes it Dark Souls.

    Certainly, that is not to say that the difficulty is perfect in Dark Souls. I think there are lots of places where the game is too hard or too easy, personally. But there are tools available to adjust the difficulty in the game.

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    However: if someone wants to fumble their way to the end via an easy mode, why stop them? They may lose the meat of the experience but still know enough at the end to say, 'Hmm, I think I could play that better now since I know a few of the tricks to it.' No skin off your nose.
    But why enable them? Is it merely to try to appeal to a wider audience? Dark Souls is not meant to be fumbled through. Making an easier option available undercuts the point of the game being seemingly a tough challenge.

    Dark Souls: Prepare to Select an Easy Mode edition.
    Last edited by Starker; 3rd Jun 2017 at 15:53.

  15. #40
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Think of it as a 'discovery mode'. There's obviously more going on, and if the person wants to engage with it, they can. Else they can still explore if that's the real draw for them, and not the combat.

    If there's one thing Dark Souls does superlatively (amongst the other things that it does just as well), it's the architectural design and sense of place. The last game that boasted of spaces that felt as realistically considered and designed as Dark Souls 1's environments was Ico, with its castle.

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Tourism mode? Hmm... intriguing. Yeah, I can see that. Like in System Shock where you turn off combat.

  17. #42
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    I wanted to play Dark Souls because of the world, the environment, the architecture, the loneliness, the dark colors, the brown colors, the weird conversations with NPCs. When I saw the movies on YouTube, it looked awesome.

    But when I read about it, everybody on the net said: "it's hard, it's frustrating, it's unfair, it's hell". I didn't want to play that. I'm a decent gamer, but not much above average. On top of that people said the controls on PC are terrible, you must use a gamepad. And DS1 was a terrible PC-port. All that didn't make the game attractive. I don't give a rat's ass about challenge, difficulty, achievement, reward. So the first few years I just didn't play. Only when DS1 was on sale at Steam of a few euros, I bought it. And then it still took me 6 months or more to actually play it. And it took me quite a while to get through the first 2 levels. Only when I found the Halberd, got to Andre and upgraded my weapons, then I started to get the hang of the game.

    And that was because I was stubborn. I really wanted to play this game, even if it did so many things wrong. I don't think there are many gamers who would do that for a new game. The Soulsborn games are missing lots of potential players because of that.

    And again, read what I wrote. I wouldn't want quest-markers. I wouldn't want a bigger HUD. But some stuff it just too obscure, and requires you to read a wiki-page. I'm in the middle of my 4th play-through (main character is now in NG++, and I did a second character). And this is the first time I've been able to send Greirat to Irithyll and have him come back alive. It's that hard to do the quests in the right order, at the right speed. I don't want detailed quest-instructions in the game. But it would be nice if you have more flexibility in dealing with NPCs. And that the quests wouldn't fail at the slightest deviation from the path that From picked for you to walk.

    And what I've said before: this game has mechanics that make the game harder when you fail, and easier when you succeed. In other games, if you fail 10 times, and then succeed, you have the same chances as a player that succeeded the first time. I think that is wrong. It's not fun for anybody, except for players that already know the game or are good at it.

    I'll give a comparison about another game.
    In 2000 Unreal Tournament was a huge success as one of the first online shooters. Servers were packed. Capture-The-Flag was the most popular game-type. On those servers there was always a mix of experienced players and new players. The new players would mess-around a bit, try to defend, and would not dare to enter the enemy base often. They could (and would) use so-called "splash-weapons". The rocket-launcher, the flak-cannon. When they got a bit better, they would use the ASMD and do shock-combos. Maybe use the goo-gun. Kinda lame, but they had fun. And with a lot of spamming, and some lucky shots, they could kill a good player once in a while.

    The experienced players (especially the deathmatch players) didn't like that. They found it humiliating if a noob would kill them. Even with splash-damage. So when Epic made UT2003, UT2004 and later versions, they convinced Epic to make the game "more skill-based". As a result, the splash-weapons would do less damage, be slower, have less range. They would be a lot less effective to kill people. And the movement was made even faster. UT had dodging, which was awesome. The newer UT versions had dodging twices as far. They had double-dodging, wall-dodging, double-jumping, etc. Basically the good players could move around like lightning. And the new players had 0 chance to ever kill a better player. Exactly like the veterans wanted.

    Result: the newer versions of UT never became popular. And relatively soon after each release, the new game would be dead. Only hardcore veterans would play. And that was a small group, which only got smaller. And no influx of new players who would become better. Epic just never understood what the appeal of UT was to all of us noob players. UT99 was a lucky fluke, I think.

    Dark Souls if of course different. But I think that if From had changed some mechanics so that the game would be less frustrating and less unfair to new players, they could have had double the success.

  18. #43
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    Quote Originally Posted by Buccura View Post
    But I am curious where that information comes from.
    From trophy stats in PSN. Sometimes trophies for completed hardest mode show only 1% or less. I was surprised too.
    Last edited by 242; 4th Jun 2017 at 06:31.

  19. #44
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    That's not really any kind of acceptable statistical analysis. A relative absence of trophies for completing games on the hardest difficulty does not mean it's proof that they're all playing on easy. The majority of people would go with normal as that's the default option unless you change it.

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    The majority of people would go with normal as that's the default option unless you change it.
    This statement also isn't based on an acceptable statistical analysis, is it? I need to check trophy stats for normal vs easy. Anyway, by easy modes I meant difficulties below hardest.

  21. #46
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Well, it's not a statistical claim like yours, so why would it have to be? I'm using common sense as a starting point.

    Anyway, I doubt you'll find an equal (or statistically significant) number of games with trophies that differentiate completing a game on Easy vs. Normal, and your definition of difficulty modes is... at odds with accepted definitions, so the point is moot.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 4th Jun 2017 at 07:11.

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    I'm sorry that some of you had such a hard time w/ the Souls games. There are definitely ways to make the Souls games easier your first time through.

    The biggest noob trap is poor stat distribution. Get your minimum requirements for your chosen gear and focus on HP. HP is by far the most important stat in the game for a new player. It maximizes the number of mistakes you are allowed, which is vitally important for learning bosses and areas. The second-most important stat is stamina.

    Use a longsword. It has cheap requirements and the best move set in the game. Upgrade at every opportunity.

    Get a shield with 100% resistance against physical damage asap. Also the higher the stability stat of the shield, the less stamina you'll lose when you block. This will allow you to turtle most enemies.

    You can dodge through attacks because dodging makes you immune to damage for several ms during a dodge. This was a game changer for me when I finally understood this and made the game much easier. In Bloodborne, this strategy must be mastered.

    In Dark Souls 1, upgrade your armor. This isn't required for any other games in the series, but makes a huge difference in DS1. I neglected to do this my first few characters and it made my life much harder.

    Faith has excellent low requirement spells. Having extra healing is extremely useful for starting players.

    When faced with a group, pull them one by one with a ranged spell or weapon.

    Not every enemy has to be fought. You can run away from any trash mob in the game.

    Use rings that upgrade your HP / stamina regeneration / estus flask recovery.

    If you run out of summoning consumables, you can farm them by helping other players beat the area boss.

    Following these steps and summoning a friend for tough fights, anyone can beat Dark Souls.
    Last edited by TannisRoot; 5th Jun 2017 at 08:59.

  23. #48
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Girl with the Patreon Tattoo
    I'm not sure I understand the issue: the developer needs to stick to their goals and identify what their target audience is, and that's all.

    Not everyone has to play and enjoy Dark Souls, in fact it's great that some games are still made like this and not for everyone. It shows a real vision by a developer which is not fixated on sales across all gamer ranges.

    If the developer wants to add an easy mode, and then create a wholly different experience for other player types, then it's their decision. Maybe this decision comes from pressure by the marketing departement, in which case, yes the game is ruined because its vision is compromised. Maybe it comes from an increase in scope of the original vision. Who can really generalize?

    And I don't understand the problem from the player perspective (who, if it wasn't clear, doesn't have a say in how things should be done in my opinion). There is absolutely no reason for me to care if a game adds a baby mode if I enjoy it playing on hard, unless I choose the baby mode by default. And even then, if I enjoy myself then what's wrong?

    Really, I can only see the problem in terms of "would the dev be compromising their vision or not?", and that's not really for us players to tell.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by TannisRoot View Post
    Following these steps and summoning a friend for tough fights, anyone can beat Dark Souls.
    Most of that is stuff the developers (and community) expect new players to spend a lot of time learning through trial & error and/or reading guides. The game itself never bothers to do anything to help players adapt to the gameplay.

  25. #50
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
    Most of that is stuff the developers (and community) expect new players to spend a lot of time learning through trial & error and/or reading guides. The game itself never bothers to do anything to help players adapt to the gameplay.
    Why not play Zelda then?

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