Author Topic: Baker Plays: Dark Souls  (Read 1927 times)

Ryan Baker

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Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« on: March 03, 2015, 11:10:28 PM »
Hey everyone. Way back when it first came out, I tried for a while to play Demon Souls, but gave up on it because I don't have enough time to play games anyway, and I realized quickly that it was going to be a huge time sink compared to progress / reward. While this was true, I wish I would have latched on a bit faster. I was trying to make a real go of it, but after fighting some knight up on the bridge who was out of may pay grade, and being one hit away from killing him after 20 minutes or so of skillful parrying, I finally received a killing blow. That was pretty annoying. Then I went the "right" way, and kept dying and losing soul thingies, which got really tiring because I'm a perfectionist, and I want ALL THE SOUL THINGIES. Anyway, I had other things to do, and other games to play, and moved on.

But! After listening to a few episodes of the podcast "Bonfireside Chat" (http://duckfeed.tv/bonfiresidechat/) I realized two or three things:
1) Holy crap! Dark Souls is way more like a 3D Delver's Drop (or vice versa) from what I had thought.
2) It sounds slightly more forgiving than the original Demon's Souls, which makes it slightly more rewarding with my limited amount of time to put toward playing games.
3) Well crap, I should have been playing these games way more since we started DDrop. I thought I was familiar enough, but in reality I was only familiar with the surface-level details.

So... I'm going to dedicate some real time to Dark Souls 1&2. We're probably only talking a few (1-5) hours per week if I'm lucky, but this might be entertaining for everyone.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 03:41:32 PM by Ryan Baker »

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Ryan Baker

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Re: Dark Souls - played by Pixelscopic's Baker
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 11:19:37 PM »
First thing I'm noticing is that I suck at ripostes. But if I wait for the enemy to start their swing (after a typically lengthy windup), I can usually nail it. Should I be focusing on this, or just use it on harder enemies? It seems like my health is getting whittled down sometimes, even when I did not take a direct hit, so I assume this is some kind of chip damage that's penetrating my shield... or maybe I'm crazy. I also don't know how to effectively deal with groups yet, except by kiting them around and running backwards a lot with my shield up until I can pick off the forerunner.

Also, the game's camera sucks body parts that I'm not at liberty to discuss on this forum.

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Ryan Baker

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Re: Dark Souls - played by Pixelscopic's Baker
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 11:25:33 PM »
Oh, and after I'd gotten to Firelink, I got physically stuck twice. I think one was intentional because the developers wanted me to use the Homeward bone I found in a treasure chest after dropping down in an area I couldn't get out of, which contained 3 or 4 treasure chests. The second time I fell into this place between two walls, and had to keep rolling around until I finally went through a thin window that I could not walk through, and fell down into that room full of pots and the rather large who doesn't want to talk to me. Then I went over to the Undead Burg (I think that's the name of the first area with enemies), and got a little way into it. Their level design is really weird, and I kept finding dead ends and places where I could see the path but would have to kind of walk over a precipice and drop down to proceed.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 03:43:12 PM by Ryan Baker »

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Re: Dark Souls - played by Pixelscopic's Baker
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 03:54:43 AM »
Ripostes: Welcome to optional game mechanics! The chance of pulling off a parry (which leads to a riposte) varies depending on the enemy AND the shield you are using. It's best not to focus too much on them when starting as they are generally more difficult until you get a feeling for the game. Also, if you want to die less, I suggest NOT trying to parry strong enemies for now, because you are more likely to get hit in the face that succeed.

Shields have physical readuction, with your starting shield not having 100% reduction (so your observations are corrent and you aren't going crazy xD). The Hollow Knights (enemies at undead burg with a shield) are the first to drop a shield with 100% reduction, so you might want to look into that.

Group combat: Don't. All but the weakest enemies present a serious threat if present in numbers. It's best to avoid groups by picking out targets, forray carefully and often dispatch enemies that could join a combat beforehand.

Level Design: Most of that simply sounds like you got lost. ^^
The main parts are pretty fleshed out, but yeah, who doesn't veer out to the side paths and gets lost at times? In general, run for the biggest landmarks you can find.

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Re: Dark Souls - played by Pixelscopic's Baker
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 03:23:17 PM »
Awesome to hear you're giving Dark Souls a shot!

Like Doom said don't worry too much about ripostes, they're fun once you get the hang of them but very rarely necessary and take a back seat to the fundamentals, defense, evasion and attacking. Critical shots are quite useful, and if you can at least take advantage of a backstab here and there on more lumbering enemies then right on, it'll really help in the long run (as do the invincibility frames) but really as long as you take on each encounter strategically, exploiting enemy recovery and mastering the timing of their different attacks, you'll be golden.

And yeah level design can be occasionally wonky or bug your character out on the geometry a bit, but if I remember right that first section you were in has an cliff drop leading back out into the graveyard. It seems like a long drop but falling damage in Dark Souls isn't as bad as it seems, granted you bolt back to Firelink Shrine as soon as you hit the ground, as the skellies will be on your butt as soon as you're down there. The second time you got stuck however does sound like an unfortunate placement of geometry. XD

Dark Souls II did have a few parts toward the late game where you would hit a dead end and have to warp out (mostly in the Dragon Aerie) but otherwise I can't think of many examples where you're just trapped without a way out.
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Ryan Baker

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 11:41:18 PM »
Do I need to worry too much about how many times I die? And, relatedly, is the game going to punish me if I "grind" a little bit? What's been happening is I've died a few times, and had to go back through an area, and consequently retrieve my lost souls, plus gain some new ones by killing the dudes over again as I repeat the area. I assume the devs expected this, but I'm really afraid they are going to have me over a barrel later if I die to many times, and some demon god will come down from the sky and shake its finger and say "sorry Baker, you repeated that first area too many times and cheated death a bunch, so now you have to wear the thorny underpants of torture for the rest of the game."

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 11:42:37 PM »
The game won't punish you for grinding or how many times you die. Dark Souls 2 does the latter a bit but DS1 you can get as high a level as you want and nothing's going to change really. Doom will tell you that anything past 50 points is wasted however.

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 11:45:03 PM »
The game won't punish you for grinding or how many times you die. Dark Souls 2 does the latter a bit but DS1 you can get as high a level as you want and nothing's going to change really. Doom will tell you that anything past 50 points is wasted however.

You mean level 50? Or 50 points into a single stat?

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 11:45:29 PM »
50 points in a single stat.

Ryan Baker

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 11:48:27 PM »
Oh, and after playing for a while longer last night, I don't have much new to report, except that I'm definitely getting better. But there was that one last gambit of the night, where I was running down a long a bridge in the Undead Burg... I tried to auto-target a guy at the end of the bridge, but the game auto-targeted someone else above and to my left. I was too tired to react quickly, and when the unexpected auto-target jarringly changed my facing direction and camera, I immediately ran right off the bridge and fell to my death. That's when I quit for the night.

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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 12:15:24 AM »
Grinding never hurts to do if you're in a pinch and brute force isn't helping, but if you're doing well the game gives you ample souls to get what you need even if you have one of those disastrous soul losses, killing a boss almost always stocks you up a fair amount, and killing enemies along the way really does add up.

Though leveling your stats is helpful, I'd recommend you to put emphasis on upgrading your gear first and your stats second. Stat bonuses are more long-term beneficial, but every point you upgrade a weapon makes a big different, especially in the early sections of the game. Once you meet Blacksmith Andre, heavily consider upgrading whatever your weapon of choice at the time is to at least +3 or +4 if possible, it'll help hugely for the boss of the Undead Parish at the very least, and you'll be glad to have a more damaging weapon come Blighttown.

Really, the beautiful thing about the gameplay of Dark Souls is that despite stats and all, in the end a large facet of your success is your own skill and familiarity with your foes. There's a reason people have managed to do Soul Level 1 playthroughs or kill most bosses with a broken joke weapon in the case of DkSII. That reason is that some of them are kind of crazy, but it's also because they're damn good at the game and have learned to read and react to boss attack patterns and do crowd control to the point where knowing when to dodge and when to attack becomes second nature for them. It's a little bit of gaming Zen right there. XD

(P.S. if you ever need a friendly neighborhood Sunbro for some Jolly Cooperation I'm your man, as long as I've got a character around your Soul Level anyways.)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 02:08:24 AM by Quady14 »
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Re: Baker Plays: Dark Souls
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 03:30:24 AM »
Doom will tell you that anything past 50 points is wasted however.

Point of dimishing returns sets in at about 50.


Quady got a great point here: Grinding is optional, but sure can help. It's pretty much what a difficulty slider in other games would be, except that the game still stay challenging and that the difficult will slowly regulate itself back to normal over the course of a few hours when the leveling advanges evens out. Alternatively you can also explore the world and salvage for useful items.

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